I definitely learned some things this week in my practice of applying Austerity #1: manah-prasadah (peace of mind) at work. Overall the experience was a good one. In a short week of work, three days rather than 5, I did well 2 out of 3 days. Day 1 I managed to remain calm, not to get whipped up into strong emotions. Sounds like nothing, but in the climate I work in, strong winds blow. Day 2 I cultivated a cheerfulness which was extremely helpful. Day 3, yesterday, felt neither calm nor cheerful. At all. It was just the same as before, but perhaps that's a helpful contrast.
There's something to be said for choosing a short week to apply a new principle at work. The amount of constant self-awareness and devotion required for me to remain cheerful in every situation at work -- and there are situations I'm in which seriously push every button I've got -- is intense. Holding on to that for less than 5 days, as a starting point, was probably a good idea. The problem is that the pressure level in short weeks is actually higher than in a regular week, since the demands on me are unrelenting, relentless. No matter how present I am able to be physically or mentally, the expectations of work-delivery remain exactly the same, so that I am pushed to accomplish in 3 days what in "normal" circumstances I would have completed in 5. The stress level is ridiculous.
Also, I'm seriously a crazy lady who didn't bother to look at the calendar. This week, the second week of the month, is when I am most at risk for a migraine. It is when I need to do the best possible job I can of managing my personal physical conditions so as to escape the skull-crushing multi-day headache -- drink lots of water, chill, sleep, chill, practice, chill. But really all I can do is minimize and manage the risk factors, because what I've learned is that I can't turn off the hormonal triggers. I just need to do what I can on the other factors, to arrest the pain before it hits 10.
You could argue that this would be the perfect week to practice some Peace of Mind, but any of the three other weeks would have been slightly less of an uphill battle. All things considered, I'm not unhappy with the experiment and plan to continue next week (a 4-day week), layering on Austerity #2: saumya (gentleness). I'm stealing a little saumya for myself right now as I review the past week -- no point being critical of how it went, I'm just observing.
It occurred to me yesterday again that at its core, the work situation I'm in is unhealthy and that all of my attempts to improve my own reactions in it, while laudable of course, will not change that fundamental dysfunction. There is really only one solution which puts my own well-being first, and that's a step that I must defer. In the meantime, I will boldly continue to apply the austerities everywhere in my life, even at work, working on the project that is Me. It's more fun that way, believe me!