Is four pm a kind of witching hour? Is there some sort of Ayurvedic twist of the clock, a Basal Metabolic shift, a change in the internal tides at that time? It seems my daily resolutions fall apart about then.
I set intentions each day. Some are affirmations of long-term Sankalpa, others are directions I wish to bring to the day. I mean them with a full heart, one-pointed attention, and focus, hoping that they are in alignment with the plan from my universal spirit. Seldom are they “selfish” but sometimes they are. I want to eat in a more healthy style, I wish to set aside critical thought, I wish to let go of anxiety (borrowed trouble) and to be in the moment as it is. Simple, but not easy steps on the path towards my true spirit.
But come four o’clock I lose my mind. I am not sure why. I have even set an intention to make it through the evening with my intentions in tact!
This may have something to do with my drinking and using days. I would wake up in the “never again” mode, pledging no more late nights, no more drugs, no more booze when I groggily got out of bed in the morning. I would do my best to eradicate the putrid breath that came from a stomach that had been steeped in alcohol the previous day, wash away the oily sweat of late-night drug consumption, card games, and smoke. Pulling on the least dirty jeans and shirt I would drop the kids off at daycare, go to work and muscle my way through the day.
Then four o’clock would come around. I didn’t feel as terrible as I had in the morning. The fries at lunch had stabilized my digestion and heading for home was in my sights. Home is a place of privacy but also of isolation. It is safety but also danger. It is refuge but also a huge trigger. I would get the kids and my car would pull up to the curb in front of a neighborhood store. Scraping the bottom of my purse to find loose change I would find out how much liquor I could buy for the evening. All thoughts of abstinence and “never again” were not even a memory. Starting the cycle again was all I was interested in.
When I was relapsing on drugs I would make it through the whole day, standing firm in my resolve until I got home from work, the kids home from school. The stray though would enter my mind – “smoke a joint, you deserve it. You have been good all day!” or “It was a hard day and you deserve a break.” Or the biggest lie of all – “Just a little – it won’t matter.” And so it went until I turned it over completely. Until behavior took its place.
Is this a neurological habit? Is this a vestigial remnant of years of breaking my own promises? Had the bio-rhythm of the day coordinated with some long ago habit, conspiring to have me change my own best intentions? I don’t know. I only know that it is HARD! I have difficulty remembering or implementing my plan to eat a small meal. I jump into the critical mind of self-flagellation when I had aspired to be kind even when I erred. The evening progresses and my resolutions weaken. I know this and yet there are days that I am destined to watch them, best efforts of the day fall away in the evening and the night, self-esteem falling by the wayside with a final sigh of “oh well.”
Fall down seven times rise up eight. That is my new intention. I see the pattern. Sometimes I can persevere and overcome the slacking of intention. Other days I don’t even notice that I have fallen once again. I grabbed the cookie, decided I didn’t really need a walk, pressed “buy” on my online shopping cart, I started looking at my life with doom and gloom, even criticizing my critical thinking. I did again what I had vowed to avoid.
When I now notice the backslide I can pause, redouble my efforts, call on my spirit guide and try again. The big thing is to try again at 5, or 6 or whenever I catch myself. Don’t give up.