Have a Nice Day

I had dinner yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants in Charlotte, Lang Van. It is a Vietnamese food place that makes great fresh food and serves it with a lot of heart and soul. The owner makes each guest feel like he or she is her favorite customer. And at the end of the meal, Yung or Tao brings a little peanut biscuit and a fortune cookie with the tab. 

I like to keep the interesting or inspiring fortune strips in my wallet.  “You will travel to many places.” “A financial investment will yield returns beyond your hopes.” “Don’t be hasty; prosperity will knock on your door soon.” 

Upon cracking open my cookie last night, I pulled out “Have a nice day.” Really? I left the strip on the table and rolled my eyes. What a lame and vague fortune.

It occurred to me later that night that maybe having a nice day was not such a trite fortune after all. Think about it. If I figure out how to have an interesting morning, and then create a pleasant afternoon, and go on to experience a calm evening, I’ve just had a great day. String seven of those together, and I’m living an enjoyable week. Put four weeks back to back, and I am having a good month. Twelve consecutive months…you get the idea.

The key, as Eckhart Tolle encourages in his book The Stillness Speaks, is to let the now be primary and not get out ahead of the present moment. Being fully engaged with what is happening right this minute makes all the difference. I can consciously choose to create a meaningful experience through paying attention to what is. Don’t like “what is…”? Then “what is” either needs to be changed or something needs to be added (patience, acceptance, or a shift in perception). Why not stop and notice a beautiful puffy cloud against the blue sky or the sweetness of a bird singing as I walk into work? Am I really so busy that I can’t look the sales person in the eye, smile and sincerely say “thank you” as I get my purchase? What keeps me from eating my dinner by candlelight and adding a flower to the table on a Tuesday night? 

Breaking life down into the smallest denominator not only makes living manageable but also more delightful.

I should have put that strip in my wallet after all.