Here is a post which has pretty much nothing to do with cancer, except that cancer kind of underlies everything in my mind these days, and, probably more to the point, the lifting-away of a major heap of cancer anxiety yesterday left some room for these thoughts to emerge. Which they did as I did yoga in jaylake’s kitchen this morning.
To wit: I don’t really feel like doing yoga. I don’t really feel like writing. Like, ever. If it were up to me, I’d lie in bed half the morning reading, and then eat chocolate old-fashioned donuts, and never bathe, and then read all afternoon, and then drink wine, and then read some more and go back to sleep.
But I get up early and do Ashtanga anyway. And the first few poses–especially if I’m not at class, if I’m in (oh for example) a kitchen where my computer is in the next room, and good things to eat are right nearby, and I kind of just don’t feel like it–those first few poses, I’m thinking, Okay, that’s Sun Salutation number four, one more and then I have the second five, and then the standing poses, and then the floor poses, and then the finishing poses, and if it’s 7:15 now, I won’t be done until 8:30, sighhhhh… And then after a while, I realize I’m nearly done with the floor poses, and my mind has gone somewhere else entirely and the practice has flowed and I feel lovely and energized and strong and accomplished.
And the same thing happens when it is time to sit down at the computer to write. I am fidgety and squirrelly and time-wastey and I have to get the desk organized first and I have to fool around on the internet and answer all my emails and put them away and go read my flist and refresh it and read it again and and and and…
But I have my word count goal based on how much time I have, and I eventually get myself started, and fidget around in the outline, and read over what I wrote yesterday, adding a word here and there, and then I start with new stuff, and write one paragraph and check word count again, and go and update it on my spreadsheet, and copy down the formula and see that I’ve written 37 words, and go back and write another paragraph, and read ahead in the outline and see where it’s going, and and and… then suddenly I’ve written a few thousand words and it has just flowed.
That’s the deal with a practice. You just show up. You don’t feel like it, but you just show up. It will come. I never crave writing, I never crave yoga: I just feel crappy if I don’t do those things. If I really did lie around and eat and drink and read all day, I’d be miserable. But if I’ve done my work, the work that makes me me, then the reward of reading or lazing is so very, very sweet.
The important thing I’ve learned about myself is to make room for the fidget, for the time-wasting; to not judge it. Well, I think I’ve learned that. I still overplan, overschedule; I still don’t get as much done as I’d like. But I can only be as productive as my monkey brain will allow. It’s a delicate balance: don’t force it, but keep on target. Move forward, gently but firmly.
Does anybody really want to write (or exercise, or anything hard-but-rewarding)? Or do you just feel incomplete if you don’t?