Monday, January 11, 2010

Wading Through Mud Today

I've noticed that there's a rhythm to my productivity and my get-up-and-go. Mud-wading periods are followed by flying-faster-than-light periods when most things are easy. The mud periods inevitably feel to me like a failure of nerve: as if timidity were slowing me down. This may not be true at all; it may be just a cycle, like waking and sleeping.

Today I was having my monthly cafeteria lunch with four mystic-philosophers I know (the group I refer to as Mystic Pizza). One of these wise individuals said that her theme for the year was Confronting the Resistance.

The idea of The Resistance comes from the excellentWar of Art book/CDs by Steven Pressfield. The Resistance is the great invisible force that can get between any of us and the good that we intend to do.

My friend's resolve/theme isn't to beat the Resistance every time. Instead it's to recognize when she's justifying not doing the right thing and instead make a conscious decision about which way to go.

For example, she finds herself saying: I'll go to the Y and work out after I finish this Sudoku. But she knows that what she needs is exercise and not more mental games. Her resolve is to simply acknowledge that exercise is the right decision and decide yes or no. I'll do the right thing and get moving. Or, I'm going to sit here and do this puzzle because I want to.

Her idea is to acknowledge when she's using gradual procrastinating rationalizations and instead admit that she's making a choice, on the probably correct theory that this awareness will lead to making good decisions more often.

I think she's on to a good plan. Maybe I should decide to wade through mud for the rest of the afternoon--doing easy things slowly. It would at least be better than brow-beating myself. (If I had a resolution for this New Year, it would be no berating myself.)

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Debra W said...

There are those hours, days, even months when we just have to give into the mud and enjoy the mud bath! I have found that if I am gentle with myself for a while, it is easier to accomplish those other tasks later on.

And, dear heart, NOT berating yourself shouldn't be a resolution(I think they are kind of silly.), but a way of life. If we aren't the ones to acknowledge the dips and valleys in our own energy levels, then who will? We need to honor ourselves by backing off on the self-judgement. It's easier to say than to adhere to, but it is so crucial for our emotional and spiritual well-being. Be proud of the things that you DO accomplish in a day, even if that means admitting that you left some things undone, simply because you didn't feel like doing them. Like I tell my husband(who is Type A), even on the day that we die, there will be a list of things that we were supposed to get to...And?

Your energy level inspires me, Peggy. Go easy on yourself, at least for today.(and tomorrow if need be:))


Peggy Payne said...

You're both inspiring and soothing, Debbie. Great combo! Raising four daughters polished up those skills a bit, I'll bet.

mamie said...

Peggy, I went to your links for the book and to my excitement, instead of finding a link to that mega online bookstore for ordering information, it took me to the Quail Ridge Books website. Thank you for that! I wish more writers would link to their local indy bookstores. I plan to comment on this in the QRB newsletter.

Peggy Payne said...

Well, I'm pleased you noticed, Mamie. I'm just now reading "The Wal-Mart Effect" by former Raleighite Charles Fishman, who did a reading at Quail Ridge. A sobering (and riveting) story.