Today turned out to be a “R.A.I.N.” day.
RAIN is a helpful acronym invented by psychologist Michele McDonald to help you practice a mindfulness approach. It stands for:
- Recognise what is going on. Consciously notice and recognise whatever is going on right now, in the moment – acknowledge feelings or thoughts that seem negative as well as those that seem positive.
- Allow the experience to be there as it is – no judgment. Avoid judging yourself for your reactions Instead, notice them and acknowledge even the unpleasant thoughts and feelings as valid parts of your experience.
- Investigate with kindness. This crucial part involves showing yourself and others compassion as you investigate your present moment.
- Natural awareness arises from not over-personalizing the experience.
We are in the process of building a new home. It is coming along nicely, although – to my mind – extremely slowly. In Tasmania things seem to move at a slower speed than in the mainland states.
Anyway, we noticed that on the plan there was a set of french doors that were drawn swinging inwards into my office rather than outwards onto the back deck. So we called the builder and asked that the mistake be rectified.
The carpenter and on site manager had told us it was no big deal. The frame would need to screwed out and another one screwed in. Piece of cake.
However, this morning, we received an email stating that because of our “proposed changes” another month would have to be added to the build time.
Now this is when I should have applied the R.A.I.N. approach.
Recognise that this was a possibility – albeit unlikely. I mean, why should it really take a month?
Allow the experience. Okay, this is happening. I feel angry, disappointed, confused. That’s perfectly normal.
Investigate with kindness. What is really going on? Perhaps it was a mistake. Why would the building company say that another month was needed for something relatively minor?
Natural awareness. This is not about me. This is the hard part for me. I find it tough to convince myself that what I am feeling does not define me. What is happening does not mean that I am a bad person. It isn’t my fault. It isn’t my husband’s fault. Yes, we asked for the change, but it was a sensible change. We are not bad clients. This moment will pass and I will be able to deal with it.
For a while there, I forgot about R.A.I.N. I just felt dreadfully sad. My heart raced. My stomach flipped over. This was a shock. I didn’t know what to do. I could think only of the words “one more month”. Anxiety levels sky high.
My husband was unhappy too, of course, but he simply sat down and wrote an email to the CEO of the company asking for an explanation.
As I watched him typing, tears in my eyes, hands shaking, breathing far too quickly, it finally dawned on me what I was allowing to happen.
I needed to breathe. I needed to calm my mind and BREATHE.
And I did. I began my meditation routine.
Twenty minutes later I was feeling so much better….not perfectly calm…but certainly a whole lot better.
I feel as though I have made a conscious choice to feel clear and positive. The time factor involved in the building process has nothing to do with me. It is not something I can control so I have to allow those who can control it do so.
Next time I encounter a R.A.I.N. day, I hope I will remember what it means so that I can spare myself (and others) a meltdown.
P.S. My husband received a reply to his email saying that the extra time had to be noted in the contract, but did not necessarily mean that the build would take any extra time. It was a legal requirement when any changes were made mid-build.