Life is much about choosing your focus, changing your focus. What is real may be the thing or an image of a thing. Even an image of a thing is enough to chase. See a cat chasing shadow of fly on the wall. Frog trying to eat fly on the iphone, seems more frustratingly out of reach. For mental exercise and challenge, needs can be as much met with simulacrum as the real.
Is a to-do list complete without the level of do-dadding-diddle, for what? and that for what benefit? And why is that good and useful?
As monk Thomas Merton considered The Way of Chuang Tzu, he at one point concluded about the pitfalls of making an effort to improve, “The more “the good” is objectively analyzed, the more it is treated as something to be attained by special virtuous techniques, the less real it becomes. As it becomes less real it recede further into the distance of abstraction, futurity, unattainability [...] a devotion to the systemic usefulness of practicing means that lead no where. This is, in fact, nothing but organized despair.”
Improvement: doing it wrong.
It’s easy to overcomplicate and mistake good route for the goal. Best practice might be to print one manuscript on blue paper and manuscript B on pink so I can find them in a sea of white papers. But it’s not necessary. The system isn’t the thing. The doing is the thing. Do it efficient, or do it chaotically, throw in emotional weight or do it and not care about outcomes. The action is the thing.
One can figure out rules and patterns that should optimize. It is easy to forget why and that they are not the ends in themselves. For what, for what, leads me towards less pain for others and for self, an eased path in the long and short term.
What are good practices? If we were confined to best practice we’d spend most of our time deadlocked. Doing and not straining is a good practice. Use your muscles for something other than clenching; to keep them and heart and ends of the blood system pumping properly. Stay hydrated. Eat nutritionally varied and nutritionally dense food. Do things that improve the world around you meaningfully. Cultivate peace and beauty without hiding from or denying ugly and neutral. Exercise your compassion and your critical thinking. Sleep enough. Work enough to sleep well. Spend time in communication with like-minded and different-minded. Happiness techniques. Balance the spheres of your life.
There are times when one sphere rightly rules and displaces other things, just as there are seasons when fruit comes in season and the grains are set aside. Sometimes are not for full sleep or proper diet or listening.
It’s good to prop open the mind so new possibilities can come but not so uncritically that any fool thing is given equal weight as the sound and tested things.
It’s impossible to be in all the right place & all the right times. There’s now. There’s the now chipping and slipping away. It would be easy to pursue the disappearing moon. Or let it go and wait to see what is now.
You’re never going to run out of motivation. You’re never going to stop driving yourself and find you become a null. The body rests and like inhale follows exhale, something else to chase rises.
If you treat yourself like driftwood and decide that whatever happens is to the learning and to the good, you can have a state of rubberstamping good. This can take more energy than calling a downside and moving on.
If the mandala of the world is that all things are to the good, all bad contains good outcome, that’s going to take a lot of legwork mentally to justify. Work to see the benefit and overriding logic in the random which gives a sense of large picture purpose and path but there’s a tradeoff in the delusion and the crunch comes when you try to make sense of something out of reach.
You may feel you personally failed, spiral into self-blame but all the patterns were fanciful structures as substantial as cotton candy.
I’ve been blogging for enough years to see the pattern that when someone who blogged daily drops back to weekly, or so, the writing’s on (or rather disappearing off) the wall.
That said, the pattern usually happens within the first 2 years of blogging. Most often with someone who blogs under a pseudonym and runs out of classified but not personally identifying things to say.
Typically people who quit (previously, invisible to the audience) wrote to navigate a personal crisis, often offering drama or upbeat pictures until the big reveal where they can go public that they are now in a new country, new career, new marriage. Then they disappear again since the distraction about and use of talking about something else is over. That makes sense. Why wouldn’t a purpose underlie communicating?
But then why wouldn’t communicating be a way of being, shooting the breeze, connecting without a motive past the talking? That works too. Not so crassly-based. Maybe that’s my countryside roots showing. Urban is on the clock and the clock on the money and there has to be a purpose and payoff, a ROI, but countryside is you’re here, I’m here, let us entertain one another. What are you about?
Quitting happens. It can be a good thing. To stop one thing allows room for something else.
Some of the people who quit sometimes regroup to re-amalgamate all their blogs to one site, often an author site, or for food bloggers, a bookselling site where they slowly erase content until a professional veneer remains that then peters off in a couple years or until the next cookbook.
In contrast since National Capital Freenet days I had a showcase area and a blog area and by the time I had multiple blogs I had an author site. I’m deviating from pattern enough that my blog demise isn’t fated from the signs.
Maybe that’s madness.
The biggest laugh I ever had at my in-laws was one Christmas when my brother-in-law apologized for any extra cleaning incurred because of his kids being there and my mother-in-law said, no, no. I clean the kitchen that much whether it is used or not.
I busted some eardrums with my laughter. They looked perplexed.
To me to clean whether need or not struck me as utterly obsessive compulsive. Uncharacteristically comically, uneconomical and useless.
But it makes as much sense as for me to write whether a subject is driving it or not.
There’s always something to say. There’s always something to clean. It’s not what you do but what you’re doing makes you.
OC, I suppose that too is a pathological/illness-based filter. I seem to use that a lot.
What if my model is of flourishing rather than compensating? What would that change in perception?
Skinning Dipping at 50: How An Ordinary Person Lives an Extraordinary Life is a weekly blog of making a bucket list and doing it. She’s in week 40 now. Great thing. If you carpe diem enough, how is there room for regret?
At Living From this Day Forward, a compliment or a tease. When you’ve been teased, that the same thing could be admired isn’t the first thought. Good story.
In Japan Orchid stopped to watch a dragonfly.
Here, Holly was chittering and looking up at a dragonfly then meowing at me to bring it down. She’s convinced we create moths from our fingertips when we point at them, so why couldn’t we bring down a dragonfly, or make the rain stop? Or maybe she was just bellyaching.
Greet the shadows and ask, what’s here right now?
Well, there’s Frogpond in the mail with my senryu in it. That’s a big haiku market. It’s been years since I tried. If you don’t play…
Did you know Charles VIII died from running into a door lintel while playing tennis? Guess I got off lucky if the wild badminton swing is what did in my shoulder for a year or so.
Using her own perisistence, body weight and strength, Kacy Catanzaro did some amazing athletics. I’ve probably watched this half a dozen times already.
“this life is a bottomless blessing“. Even the awkward stuff. For instance?
My cousin, introducing me to another cousin’s girlfriend said, “you are both writers. you should talk. C won an award for short stories and Pearl once wrote a nice poem about our old cat, didn’t you”.
I totally understand how quickly C ducked and made herself scarce.
I remember being 20 and thinking 40-year-olds are indistinguishable from retirees.
Coelho said there,
I understood two very important things. The first is that no matter how famous you may be, you will always have the feeling that you are alone.
The other is that no matter how unknown you may be, you will always be surrounded by friends, even if you have never seen their faces.
And to close off the read-recently round up, Laughing Housewife has a growth-challenge photo post.
Forget about living on air. How about pure electricity, eating and excreting electrons? Does a bad vibe make them fart or hiccup?
That’d be nice to have planted, to attract some butterflies and because the little boats of pods and silk are fond memories.
I envy the cultivar daisies but I want wild daisies for a sunny spot, and trilliums, dog-tooth violets, all the native forest floor plants to reinstate what was once here a couple centuries ago.
Know what would also be nice? To have peppers survive to our table. The second big one was swiped. Them being eaten at the picnic table is civil of the critters and all, but I’d rather see the pepper turn red.
I suppose gardening is a variation on plant a tree you will never sit under the shade of.
I thought the pole beans didn’t come up but when I look closer I see the ones that did are chewed to the ground. Chicken wire is now around the survivors.
Radishes are coming up. First and second planting are weeks apart but thanks to the heat and rains all coming together this week, they’re the same size.
And some squash that was way past proper planting time but threw in the ground anyway? Three of them coming up.
Such amazing fertility of seed. You could rake and bale the amount of sow weeds and creeping joe and manitoba maple seedlings and crab grass. Where invasive species meets invasive species, that’s a kind of rainforest thriving, except everything is inches tall.
It’s good to count your blessing while you can remember them. When the neural weather system reverses, they still may be unreachable as something with significance but they might glimmer.
A family reunion was fun. I like having something to do that is needed. So I was in charge of getting people to sign the attendance sheet and write their names on a slip for door prizes, and then going to find the people when they won who had scattered all over, in a circle playing music, or another playing badminton, or kicking a soccer ball,
or gone up to visit the neighbour’s cows, or down to the river to look for snakes, or gone for a walk around the pond, or sitting in the shade.
Got a chance to have a few words with a few. Lowering expectations to dribs and drabs that may accumulate or not, but being present for little bits.
Mom dropped another couple bags of things I left at her house when I moved out, including the best jeans ever. If I ever return to my 8-year-old frame, I would totally wear those red roadrunners again. Also, this:
I do not remember cutting the sleeves off a sweatshirt. Or writing this. Misspelling totally unintentional I’m sure. Did I wear it in public with that written on the back? The past is a mysterious country.
Five social events in 2 weeks. What butterflies we are. And after a sense of well-being. For Canada Day I thought I pulled a muscle in my face from smiling. I haven’t laughed that much in a long while.
Yesterday slow, mellow easy company. Sometimes it feels impossibly hard as such a long pattern and then this. Sometimes one gets the illusion that life might be easy. And/or funny.
Older Ladies by Donnalou Stevens has that wonderful balance of good humour and standing self-assessing as acceptable and self-assured. With 5 million views in a month, seems the world has been waiting for that message.
A time for refusing and reflecting putdowns, not silently shrugging off like that 14-year-old Carleigh. Determine one’s own terms of engagement.
And canning small joys. For almost a month I’ve been planning to try this. (The post at Eaten Up at noon tomorrow.)
It’s a hard sweet spot to hit to want something enough to do it and to not want something so much that it is paralyzing. Stage fright and performance anxiety aren’t just for conversation and presentation. Alone in the kitchen. Until it’s in the thick of it. Then there’s a breakthru in the doing. As with anything else.
To do something concrete. To saw off 4 limbs and have the backyard less overhung with leaves. I have a sap-lust. Is this how lumberjacks start? Or deserts? If only we could eat Manitoba Maple we’d never be able to go hungry.
Imagine all the funny human tricks I can do — like lift a heady pot, or carry limbs again. Or lift laundry onto the line. Or carry a table. It’s been 14 months or so since I was that normal. Sometimes the shoulder aches if I lift too much for too long, or lie on it for too long, but it is largely normal.
A good normal of wanting the well-being for one another, asking after, the casual walk by with a touch on the back or arm. And the longer time off together, with an excuse of food.
Sunny days of zig zag hopping all around the yard. I don’t know how we’ll explain winter to her. A rainy day is lament enough. Her ears back and meowing when it’s raining out not just the front door, but at the back door too. She adds an inordinate joy with her curiosity and innocence.
And yesterday the sweetness of standing together under a roof in a white out of downpour, sheets of rain blowing down the water-covered river of a street. Cat at our feet. On other verandas along the street other people out watching the torrential rain. I ran out in it for the cold shock and at my squeak, the cat retreated closer to the door then as the rained eased came back to hunker between our ankles.
It’s rather nice that a being so independent could be anywhere and chooses there. I woke to her sleeping against my ankle. Hubby at the other side. Good way to ease into a day.