Sunday, May 2, 2010

emptying my mind to see who is really in there

I've always thought that, no matter what I achieved, I've been sneaking in the back door and would be found out and severely punished someday soon ;-) .

Over the past few weeks, a novel idea has been presenting itself to me again and again: What if you're just as good as everybody else? What if all of the life difficulties you're concerned about are nothing more than a tornado going on inside your head?

Have you ever heard the phrase "get out of your own way" and thought that was a great idea, but how?

In the words of Anne Lamott:
"You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself.

"I can't tell you what your next action will be, but mine involved a full stop. I had to stop living unconsciously, as if I had all the time in the world. The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode. So one day I did stop. I began consciously to break the rules I learned in childhood: I wasted more time, as a radical act. I stared off into space more, into the middle distance, like a cat."

It can feel so disastrously self-indulgent to stop everything. Last week, I wrote about taking a three-minute break -- a break so short that anyone can justify it. But what about a silent, 15-minute break right in the middle of the workday, or carving out 15 minutes to empty your mind in the maelstrom of a weekday morning, or . . . precisely when is this downtime supposed to fit in?

I think the radical act in all of this is the refusal to live a driven life as measurable by the opinions of others. Hmmm. How to get started?

For me, it means mindfully stepping off the hamster wheel and realizing that, if I accomplish 80% of what I set out to do on any given day, it's enough ;-) .

For a wonderful 10-part Korean drama on this very subject, see New Wise Mother, Good Wife (and if you're not yet familiar with the wonderful genre of South Korean tv dramas, soon you will be hooked!).

And here's the full article by Anne Lamott.

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