So what is going on? Why do I hurry so much? I’ve been reflecting on this, and the answer seems to be that my mind has a tendency towards greed. This isn’t greed in the sense that I want a lot of wealth … but my mind finds something it likes and it wants more. Always more.
It’s not just something you practice when you’re learning something — though dropping the “expert’s mind” and seeing the learning as a beginner is an important practice in learning. It’s something you can practice every single moment of the day (if you can remember to do so).
The two key fears are the fears of uncertainty and not being good enough, and in my experience, they’re both the same thing. We’re afraid of the uncertain future (and uncertain situations) because we don’t think we’re good enough to handle whatever might come out of the chaos.
If one felt that this were true, what might one do unlearn such fear? As usual, Leo has a considered opinion spoken from the position of experience.
Human connection is not so common in our age of connectivity. We see lots of people but find our little cucoons to hide in. We don’t realize we’re craving a deeper connection with others until we find it.
It’s hard to connect, because cultural norms get in the way — we’re supposed to talk about the weather and sports and the news, but not our deepest struggles. We’re supposed to say cool or witty things, but not share our greatest hopes for our lives or the person we want to become.
Why travel? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Now, telling ourselves stories is natural — we all do it, all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if we’re not aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can’t understand how they shape our happiness, relationships, moods, and more.
(Part 8 of 23 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)
Post class thoughts? Not many. Class is usually pretty visceral, (as one would expect,) and there’s not much time for an internal dialog of philosophical thinking. There were of course various opportunities to come up with relatively creative solutions to physical movements and challenges. But nothing particularly interesting in the context of this discussion. I think the primary reason this “alternate paths” section didn’t stand out in class was that everyone there already thinks this way. Almost everyone in class is already applying this section’s ideas — at least applying it in the physical context.
And so, I hadn’t bothered to put up a “nothing to report” report. Until I happened to read:
As you begin to learn something, notice when you feel frustrated with sucking. It might be really difficult, confusing, full of failure. You’re out of your comfort zone, and you want to go back into it.
Now turn to this feeling of frustration, or whatever difficult feeling you’re having: confusion, impatience, boredom, feeling bad about yourself, wanting to quit.
Turn to the feeling, and instead of trying to stop it or avoid it … try sitting with it (or running with it). Just be there with it. Let it be in you, give it space.
~ Leo Babauta, from The Gentle Art of Trying Something & Sucking at It
I’m pulling disparate threads together here of course. But this is the feeling! I look at something really sketchy, challenging or downright scary, and my mind flees to the easy path. Took a lot of work to get my body to NOT flee to the easy path, which eventually gave my mind a bit of time to look at the “I don’t think so…” path and give it some consideration. In hindsight, I think it’s what Babauta describes so succinctly.
So, uh, yeah. What Thibault said. And also what Babauta said. :*)
(Part 6 of 23 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)
Another something that jumped out at me as part of my regular, ongoing reading. Leo talks a lot about “mindfulness” and related practices. If you’re digging Vincent’s section 1, I think you’ll like this too.
Finally, going forward, let’s practice tossing out our expectations of how we’re going to do today (and in life in general), and instead adopt an attitude of curiosity. We don’t know how we’re going to do at work, or in our relationships, or with our personal habits. We can’t know. So let’s find out: what will today be like? How will it go?
~ Leo Babauta, from A Guide to Dealing with Frustration & Disappointment in Yourself1
One of the insidious things about the distraction habit is that we often don’t even realize it’s happening. It sneaks up on us, like old age, and before we know it we’re addicted and powerless.
But actually we’re not powerless. The power we have is our awareness, and you can develop it right now. Pay attention to what sites you visit, how often you’re looking at your phone, how long you’re spending in front of a screen all day.
~ Leo Babauta, from An Addict’s Guide to Overcoming the Distraction Habit1
Not claiming I have this one all figured out. Just claiming you should read everything Leo writes…
There’s no right answer. The present self usually wins, because he controls the action and so his interests are more important. But the future self actually has a stronger case: he’s actually a bunch of future selves (you in 10 minutes from now, an hour from now, a day from now, three days from now, a year later, and so on). So shouldn’t a thousand future selves outweigh the current self’s interest?
~ Leo Babauta, from Savor Discipline: Merge the Interests of Your Future & Present Selves1
To this student, and to everyone else who feels this way, I’d say this: your plate is too full. You have too much going on.
The only answer, unless you want your health to decline (and that’s not good for anyone), is to start saying No.
I really hope everyone else finds this totally obvious.
…because I didn’t, and I wasted a lot of my life “should’ing” on myself. I should do this. I should do that. I should be working. I should take time off. blah blah blah. I started saying “No” to little things first… really silly dumb stuff that I did all the time. Like check my email FIRST thing after opening my eyes. Saved myself, maybe, 5 seconds every day right there. Maybe instead now I glance out the window first. Then I moved on to bigger and bigger things; Do I really want to try to start this professional meetup group? Do I really want to continue studying tai chi? Do I want to keep writing in my journal? (Yes, but I can change my expectations for what gets into the journal from, “a good long journal entry for each day,” to “just write a couple of thoughts — literally, two. If more flows, great.”
I’m not trying to soap-box preach, I’m trying to say: Hear! Hear! Go read what Leo has to say.