Nine years ago I wrote a journal entry containing this quote:
At the end, when your legs are tired~ unknown
and your arms are giving out,
Get angry that you are tired.
THEN HIT IT HARDER.
Although I still like that quote, I no longer find it inspiring. For me, the time and place for that mindset are behind me. I’m not quitting. Rather, when I get tired and my arms and legs give out, I now think: I misjudged the goal. I can access that other mindset if I choose to go on, but I’m also serenely happy to rest.
A somatic approach to movement can help us get reacquainted with ourselves. This is our home base after all. It’s our guts and tissues, our thoughts and perceptions. It’s our subjective experience of life. […] When we cultivate self-awareness through movement, we come up against the boundary of self and other. We recognize that we don’t live in a vacuum.
~ Chandler Stevens from, http://chandlerstevens.com/blog/2016/11/9/connection-relation-and-somatic-ecology
The word “reacquainted” leapt out at me. Every time I truly pause to pay attention, I’m immediately confronted by my physical self. There’s the inevitable settling towards senescence, and frankly that doesn’t bother me. I enjoy looking back at the things I was once capable of and thinking, well, that was nice! No, the confrontation I’m talking about is the stuff that I know is my fault… and I’m not going to list physical metrics. Suffice to say: All I’d have to do it remove the stress and everything else would settle back to a wonderful baseline that I’d love to return to.
The small choices we make on a daily basis either work for us or against us. One choice puts time on your side. The other ensures it’s working against you. Time amplifies what you feed it.
~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/small-steps-giant-leaps/
I don’t truly know if I’m unique. For me, the only way I can manage to feel as if I’ve enough time in my day is if I’m ruthless with myself about not giving my time away. I’ve spent so many decades feeling harried and busy… only to realize, duh, I did that to myself. I’ve spent so many dark days simply wanting some peace… only to realize, duh, all this craziness, I chose that. Somehow, I managed to slowly let this same idea Parrish mentions seep into my bones. Now I feel like I’m able to relax and simply experience being, through most of my days. Sometimes, I even take naps. My 25-year-old self would be horrified.
We often turn it into something bad: I suck for not being disciplined, I suck for not being able to focus, I’m not strong enough, etc etc. But it’s just a part of being human — we all have fear, uncertainty, doubt, resistance built into our survival instincts.
~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/resistless/
My “I suck” dialog has different vocabulary, and I have a penchant for petulance. Nonetheless, it’s always a good reminder to be aware of it. I can sabotage myself, without fail, by setting expectations—any expectations—for anything I’m working on. The only way I can stay balanced on the narrow, mountaintop spine of rock that is sanity is to pay attention to the next steps. There’s not really much option about where the path along the ridge leads. In recent months I’ve been tinkering on a new project creating something I’ve been curious to try for a long time. It’s interesting, but not particularly difficult work. It’s definitely creative, and I’ve repeatedly found interesting little twists in the path. Am I going somewhere in particular with the project? …not really. I have ideas of what might be farther along the path, but that’s more an interesting additional possibility, rather than the reason for doing the work.
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
~ Sun Tzu
First thought: What if the enemy is myself? Surely, Sun Tzu would consul alternative options which do not involve full frontal attack. Because telling my petulant self that it has to sit down and “Eat. Just. One. Pea!” …that’s not going to work. (Actually, hold on, maybe if I try frontal assault one more time… nope, that really does not work.)
How does one break one’s own resistance? Can I ruminate on goals, or the “whys”? (e.g., “Why did I say I wanted to do this thing you’re now resisting?”) Can I examine, and then let go of, sunk costs? Can I visualize the finished place, state, or situation?
If I could do any of that, would I have then solved the bigger problem: Why am I [in point of fact] my own worst enemy?