|« Aug||Oct »|
Music is love in search of a word.Sidney Lanier
If something doesn’t work out we often think the reason is that we didn’t try hard enough. But maybe the approach itself doesn’t work. Maybe instead of questioning ourselves we have to question the method.
Today my muse turned into a moose that is not budging, staring disinterested into the headlights, giving me absolutely nothing except of a bored expression, while chewing. Some days all the prompting and prodding doesn’t help. We just have to shrug our shoulders and commit to try again in an hour or two. No need to freak out. This doesn’t determine how creative I will be in an hour or seven.
People enlarge their comfort zone in two very different ways:
- Just doing something scary like jumping out of a plane
- Growing from within by taking steps which are a little bit scary, getting used to it and then repeating the process.
It doesn’t matter which camp you are in. If you accept and move forward even approach two will help you outgrow quite a few fears. What’s helpful about doing that is not only will you be less afraid, your baseline anxiety might drop which means your mind is free to contemplate other things.
To some singing a song without being a good singer in front of a full bar of mostly strangers is bravery. To me it’s Thursday evening fun. Among others I admire fire fighters but for them it’s a job. Bravery lies not in the act but in how you feel about doing something.
We all have routines. Not only the activity itself is routine but the thoughts that accompany it as well. Thoughts lead to emotional reactions and different feelings combine to make up our moods. So if we pay attention to the thoughts we have each time we do routine tasks we have the chance to adjust what we think repeatedly. If you want to be more grateful, savour more and appreciate the good focus yourself while you are brushing your teeth. In the beginning it requires effort but after a while just seeing a tooth brush will remind you of positive thoughts and feelings. Give it a try.
Usually I am all for quality as the world is obsessed enough with numbers as it is. However when it comes to working on something the more often you do it the easier it is to not do all the things that screw up the experience: pressurize yourself into being completely blocked (hey this is one of 300 trials, big deal if today doesn’t work), having too concrete expectations (it’s clear that you don’t feel the same during every meditation session for example as you realize the more often you sit there) or chasing only one outcome (you notice all the side-effects you didn’t anticipate but which make the practice worthwhile).
So if you’re struggling consider making a daily practice out of it.
Our brain specialized in making super quick judgements of situations and other people. It’s super helpful to have a bad gut feeling when you’re fraternizing with a serial killer or someone trying to take your money off you, but since that’s not most people’s goal, it often leads to harsh judgment. Based on snap assumptions we think we know a person and have already sorted them into the appropriate box.
One antidote to doing this is to think about the result of your interaction instead. If you’re on a date instead of thinking ‘he’s clearly a freak’ what if you think instead ‘our interactions don’t flow’ or ‘there is no ease when we’re together’. That not only acknowledges that each and everyone of us has a part in the interactions we have but also is a helpful alternative to making harsh judgements.
People often wonder how to stay motivated and seek a steady stream of inspiration. But doing something consistently is in itself rewarding if you enjoy the activity in the first place. Of course it’s not always as easy as that but chances are you will find consistency easier if you notice the pleasure of consistency without coupling it with explicit expectations.
Guided mindfulness meditations emphasize the importance of the right amount of effort: too much and results will evade us. Too little and we simply fall asleep. In the West hard work is excessively glorified. But sometimes the hardness is the very thing keeping us from getting what we need. What are you trying too hard? Where could you relax a little bit and see what happens.