Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday Ten (belated) - Recurring Ideas

10 ideas that keep popping up for me . . .

(1) Respecting my capacity: This one comes from Havi Brooks. I'm feeling a need to acknowledge that there are limits to my energy, my ability to absorb information, my ability to focus. And when I reach those limits: Stop. Rest. Breathe. At least in theory. :)

(2) Noticing how tension saps my energy: Holding my muscles tightly or squinting my eyes in concentration in time makes me more tired. When I notice myself doing this, I remind myself to release. I am hoping this will give me more energy.

(3) Noticing how making housecleaning a "reward" for doing something I don't want to do even more, makes it fun and look forward-able. This is true for many tasks. This is a basic mind-training sort of technique. I'm just amazed that making something a reward that I don't intrinsically think is a "reward" makes it fun (this is not a novel concept, of course). I want to call it "treatifying."

(4) Noticing how much time I spend imagining how other people might attack my work or critique how I spend my time (particularly true at work). More wasted energy. Imagine what I could do if I could consistently approach these time-suckers with loving attention and redirection!

(5) Somehow, I always have "enough" time to get everything done at work, even when I am sure I will not have enough time to complete everything I've decided to do. So why worry about it, I ask myself? More energy-suckage.

(6) Reading as a meditation exercise: I find that reading is so easy for me now that I can read without thinking. My inner-voice is quieted as it listens to another voice. I don't have to "think" about what I read - I can just experience it. This is particularly true with fiction. It's kind of how you can lost in a movie. I'm not sure how such a verbal, cerebral activity can calm my monkey mind, but it does.

(7) I don't really believe in "non-self": I read a fair amount of Buddhist writing and I find myself fighting with this idea of "non-self." If there is no self, why worry about suffering? Why try to end it?

(8) When anxiety hits, talking to it doesn't work: I noticed this one morning as I was lying in bed, breathing, waiting for the alarm to go off. I thought for half a second "did I leave my keys attached to the cart at Harmon's?" and felt an instant tightness in my chest. And I walked through my memories and distinctly recalled opening the car for the children, then driving the car home, with my keys. My mind was calm, but my heart was still racing, my chest was still tight. All I could do to ease the anxiety/pain was to keep breathing. Equilibrium eventually returned. Then it happened again. I had some anxious thought, instant tightening and pain above my heart. Resolved the matter in my head but my body wasn't done yet. I'm trying to think of ways I can notice my body's reactions to anxiety/stress when I'm in the midst of daily life, instead of just when lying in bed, relatively still.

(9) How is that I can let my body rest while my mind flies? I have had this "problem" since childhood-my body is exhausted and needs to sleep, but my brain is wide awake. I learned as a child to let my body go dormant, essentially asleep, while my mind flew about where it would. Eventually my brain would drift off, but I got the benefit of more sleep than I "actually" got. My brain has slowed down as an adult but I still have those nights occasionally. I'm grateful that the "totally body rest while mind flies" technique still works for me.

(10) How stressful it is for me when things don't happen the way I think they will. When I'm expecting something to happen a particular way and it doesn't I get this pang of anxiety (as described in 8). I don't think I can stop the anxiety, it just hits. And I don't think I can stop expecting things. I am slowly releasing my attachment to my ideas of how "things" are "supposed" to be, but what to do with the anxiety in the meantime? Just keep breathing, I suppose.

What thoughts have you, my beloved readers, been tossing about in your heads?

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I've been thinking of similar issues (mostly)! By the way, I love the idea of "treatifying"-- I think it works quite nicely.

    I was just thinking yesterday about how there's way, way, WAY too much stuff to do and I can't possibly do it all. And you know what? That's okay. What has to get done gets done and that's all I can do. The overachiever in me hates that idea, but I'm learning bit by bit to quiet that overachiever. Recovering from surgery helped with that, too.