Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feeling Tension versus Filling Tension

I admit it. I am addicted.

I can't seem to stop watching Jericho. Of course they planned it this way - that toward the end of the first season you would stop everything in your life - you would drop all social activities unless they involve others watching Jericho with you, you would stop sex, eating, anything that got in the way of watching the riveting final hours of a town constructed from the post-Apocalypse. But I have it on DVD, which makes it far worse, as those of you whom watch TV shows on DVD know full well.

For the last couple of months, about the time span I have had these DVD's on hand, I have also ramped up meditation practice to, on average, 1 hour/day (as part of Shambhala Guide requirements, but I am also happy to report that it has helped my practice a TON) and I have also started working out regularly (3-4 times a week, swimming or elliptical at the Y) and both of these activities, as regular habits, are almost addictive - I feel off when I don't do them, and clear when I do do them. For instance, yesterday, I had this tremendous anxiety about getting back to work after a week of basically vacation in Toronto, and after watching an episode of near-war situation Jericho, of course. But the fact that I had both worked out and meditated in the morning set me up to see the anxiety pretty quickly, regard it, acknowledge it, and get to work anyway, wading through the piles of emails and getting my online class set up for WCATY.
But what if meditation and exercise didn't have to fight Jericho? I won't be asking that until I am all caught up with the show, I fear. In the meantime, writing also tends to fall by the wayside (you see it wasn't in my list of regular healthy activities ramped up up there) - it has gone back into the perilous position of something I don't do just to do, regardless of how I feel (which is where things like contemplative/meditative practices and exercise MUST go for me, lest I forget the part where I love them and believe I hate them until NOT doing them makes me totally nuts).

So here I am. Baby steps. A meditation instructor recently told a friend of mine "Just sit for 5 minutes", as she was having anxiety returning to meditation after long absence. And I feel like I can use that, too. "Just sit down and do the blog, baby, you don't have to write a chapter of the novel and three letters all in one day". It's the "making up for lost time" feeling that I have a hard time shaking - I used to have it, almost ridden with guilt, at the end of every weekend, and I certainly have it still after vacations, where the lack of structure, which is a necessary freedom now and again!, also means that things I don't do without structure fall apart.

From the "good news" side, I have finally nailed down one very significant aspect of organizing my days, besides the exercise and meditation (and writing!) in the last week alone. For a long time I have plagued myself with uber-long to-do lists, and I have tried prioritizing them and giving myself a break when I don't finish them, but it always feels like there's some super human me on the other side of the fence getting it all done (Yeah, me, 5 years ago. Ugh. Not going back to that!). Starting Tuesday, my first day back from vacation, I made a two-thing to do list (both were pretty complex, mind you, but I knew all I had to do) and then, I did both things, plus a few extras while I was at it, but the key thing is that I got the two things done that would have made me nuts had I not done them (sounds like common sense, but I'm not so good at this particular task!) and didn't worry about anything else. I gave myself space, and didn't feel guilty when some of it went to a Jericho fix. All this while PMS'ing! Not bad!

This afternoon, some of the tension returned and I discovered I wanted to fill it with a list of things to do, and so choosing to write was choosing space and acknowledgment over busy work. This feels like a shift long-coming, and I am sure it won't be without struggle, but if I can learn to work in this realm instead, this realm of reckoning and choosing to feel the tension over filling it, things could be a lot more peaceful in my life. I recognize that I have an awful lot of room in my life right now, for two more weeks, anyway, and actually celebrating that, even if with tv, or best with fall walks and calling people, DOING NOTHING, is great. Some kind of something - step, improvement, cause for cheer, to be feeling instead of filling.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you thank you thank you! for this ... I really apprecaite the honesty (as always) and the reflection of behaviours that makes me think a lot about some of my own spaces that I'm in ...