0258 – entirely within my control

I’m in bed right now and I feel strangely compelled to start and complete a word vomit before I go to bed. I don’t even have anything in mind to write about, so I guess this is one of the “true” stream-of-consciousness vomits.

Earlier today when I was at lunch with a couple of colleagues, I talked about my Xiaomi “Mi Fit” (basically a poor man’s FitBit/Jawbone) and how it was tracking my sleep– and I talked about how I find that when I sleep early and wake up early, I seem to have a lot more willpower and I make much better decisions. Yet that doesn’t happen very much, I said. “Isn’t that entirely within your control,” my boss asked. That hit me pretty hard. It’s very silly of me to sit upon a realization for so long and not do very much about it. I’m just sort of wringing my hands and going, “Yeah, A is better than B. But I’ll just stick with B anyway. Because B is familiar, maybe. Even though I actually know for a fact that A is better. And that A makes my life better.”

Isn’t that strange? It’s literally impossible to explain… the amount of effort I would have to take to try and rationalize that one is effort better spent trying to change and revise the habit. So I’m doing that. I’m going to sleep right after I finish writing this.

A couple of vomits ago I wrote about the importance of having daily reviews. I’m sure I’ve written about that many, many times– and again I’m sorta curious about how many times I’ve written about it, but I’m not nearly as curious about that as I am about finding out what my life will become like if I do those daily reviews. So I just did one earlier– and the very act of writing it down made me feel compelled to go and finish one more task that I had left hanging. So that’s done.

The next thing then is to do the review again tomorrow. And the day after. I suppose at some point I’ll even add a planning segment to the reviews, where I think about what I want to do the next day. But that’s over-planning for now, and adding too much complexity. I have to get this super simple thing done. I’ve started using this little moleskine book that I’ve had for a while but didn’t find any use for. It’s thin, it’s pretty and I can keep it by my bed. I should be able to remember to write in it before I go to bed everyday, and I’m keeping it where I charge my phone. (What would be awesome would be if I’m not able to charge my phone until I’ve done the review. That would be awesome.)

I’ve been doing more thinking-about-meditation (though perhaps not enough meditation). Just a sort of broad, reflective sort of thinking. I stopped to take a walk today around the block– something I do sometimes– and I did it with the lens of “do this like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do.” And in a sense it is, isn’t it? Everything is the last thing you’ll ever do in that moment. You might do something similar later on, but in that particular moment that is entirely how you’re going to spend that brief gift of time. It doesn’t make sense to ever be sloppy in practice, or ever to be sloppy in anything, really. If you act, act hard. If you rest, rest fully. It doesn’t make sense to do things in a half-hearted way. And yet I do… seemingly because of unenlightened legacy processes.

Maybe that answers the earlier question. I don’t like taking responsibility for my life. I haven’t developed it– it’s an atrophy muscle. I haven’t yet learned to trust myself to take actions that benefit me, so I allow myself to fall into habits that do NOT benefit me- or even outright damage me. And as always, this sounds silly when I write it down. So I’m hoping that the act of writing it down regularly will help me internalize just how silly it is.

If I do nothing else with these vomits but remind myself that I want to live life fully, to embrace rather than reject or deny the present moment, I think I would’ve done well. In these spaces I create the beginnings of the sparks that will turn into the flame of lightness and awareness that will consume my life. And I will take back this world that I have given away to forces beyond my control. I will greet at the door the stranger that is myself, and I will feast on my life. That’s the plan. And that’s the doing, the being, right now.

Yeah, cheesy language I know. But I think it’s true. I think I’ve caught tantalizing little glimpses of what it might be like to live life without fear, without anxiety. To pay attention– not as a fine, not as punishment for being a lousy human being, but because attention is a gift worth lavishing on every single facet of being.

What of prioritization? I suppose I can’t even begin to think about prioritization if I’m not even here. Only when I’m here do I have the luxury and privilege of scanning through my environment, scanning my own body, scanning my own mind and discovering what the most important thing is. And then I can do that. As Marcus Aurelius put it, if I concentrate at each minute on what’s in front of me, and I act upon it with tenderness, with justice, and I put away distractions and I focus, then I’ll find in fact that I don’t actually need to do everything. There are actually just a few things that need to be done in life– it’s just that they need to be done well. There’s an elegance in that that’s eluding me right now, but I am determined to grasp it– or rather, to embody it, because it’s not something you grasp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *