Not Good Or Bad

If you do a lot of reading about mindfulness (which I obviously do), one of the concepts you will inevitably stumble across is the idea that we label all our experiences. Something happens and we think "this is amazing!" and then something else happens and we think "this is really bad." 

But this is just our brain telling us stories. 

The other day I planned to work from home and I was so looking forward to it. It was one of the last days I would be working from home for a while, because I was just about to start my new job and I knew that I would have to be in the office all the time for at least the first few months, while I got up to speed.

I was looking forward to throwing on jeans and not worrying about how I looked. Wearing my old glasses. Not having to wear shoes. And also the peace and quiet of being absolutely alone.

And then. My computer failed to turn on properly. I couldn't even get the home screen, so our I.T. help people from wherever-they-are-in-the-world couldn't even connect to the computer to help me out. The guy on the other end of the phone asked me, "how quickly can you get into the office?" 

I sighed. 

I was so irritated and annoyed -- this was so bad, I thought. The worst. But then, because I've read like a million books and blogs on mindfulness, I stopped myself. This just was. I took a deep breath and got ready to go into work. 

Miraculously I made a conscious choice not to be annoyed, not to label what had happened. And a funny thing happened. I enjoyed the late trip into work. The train and tube weren't crowded. I had a conversation with the man who sold me my coffee about keep cups and when someone came into the shop looking for a job, I remembered I had seen a notice at a pub looking to hire staff and told him about it. 

Also, I found out that day that a good friend of mine was very close to losing his battle with cancer. I ended up going to see him at the hospital that very evening. And I can't say for sure, of course, but I don't know if I would have made it there that day if I had been working from home. 

But what I do know for sure is that I made a choice that morning. I made a choice not to label my day as bad, and it made all the difference. 

So next time you find yourself labeling something good or bad, try this. After you say it, add "maybe" to the end. Because maybe, just maybe, you will find out that you do have a choice on how you perceive, and then experience, your life.

Photo credit: Reid Rosenberg Rage against the machine via photopin (license)

Photo credit: michaelmueller410 Flockenblume via photopin (license)


  1. I love this article Taron! It's so true that it is all about the choices we make and how we label them. I missed my flights back home once and was totally annoyed....only to bump into a school friend that very afternoon who was staying at the same hotel...and we were half-way across the world. Totally random but a lovely surprise. Something that would have not happened had i NOT missed that flight!

  2. Great story! It is amazing the opportunities that can come to us when we slow down and make peace with the fact that we can't control everything.


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