Friday, January 29, 2010

Zen again

It's getting late, and I remind myself I don't need to be profound; I just need to write. But what about and where do I go with it?

I've been in what seems to me to be a low energy phase; I'm usually the human whirlwind who starts most days with a to-do list and then congratulate myself that night for crossing off as many items as I can. However, I suspect that anyone observing me lately would think I'm about average in getting things done--dinner's on the table, the dishes get washed, junk mail tossed, milk purchased. Kids get transported to wherever they need to go, reasonably close to being on time.

And yet I perceive myself as stuck in the blues. Oh, I definitely know or people who are naturally hypercaffeinated...putting in 12-hour shifts at work, volunteering regularly in their community, shunting their collection of kids to multiple activities each week, establishing charitable foundations, and keeping their homes spotless. I am not one of those people. Never have been. (I really believe the secret to their accomplishments is having staff.)

I still haven't gone through my three boxes of journals and memos from my previous job; I just don't want to face it. And yet, if I go back to full-time work...well, to paraphrase Shrek, "it'll never happen." (say aloud with thick Scots burr for best effect). I need to toss the stuff, move on, let go. Admit that I will not look at research that is 4 years old--I have no cause to, and if I'm writing an article, I'll go through an electronic database anyway (or weasel my way into Penn's library).

I spent today--after going to an interview--running about, shopping. Okay, it is better than taking an antidepressant, maybe even cheaper. I purchased items I will truly use (we are not mentioning the spending of the $$ while underemployed, of course), I got some exercise trotting from store to store and building to parking lot; and let me include the six-block round trip hike to the interview. Although I'm pleased with my purchases, it still feels like a do-nothing day. Running about ticking items off a shopping list (Dang, I forgot the power adapter for my son. Ugh, well, I'll be near a hardware store tomorrow)feels unsatisfying. Somehow, even grocery shopping is more gratifying, seems more purposeful. Which may be because I've become coupon happy, and the whole event is now turning into hunting/gathering rather than nomadic wandering to see if 70% off is legitimately worthwhile.

I don't watch TV; really haven't, in years, the only times being when I am staying in a hotel and I can watch all the food shows I want without interruption. But I have become a 'net junkie, stumbling for new websites and realizing that you really can find one of anything out there in cyberspace. And that has become a time-eater as well. Fun but not very satisfying. I have reading I'd like to do--all 4 books that I ordered from the library appeared in the last two days, waiting lists notwithstanding. So that would be a little more nutritious for my brain and my spirit. I'm working on a needlepoint picture for my mom, a tiny thing, really, but also fun as I hadn't picked up needlework in years. There is satisfaction in doing that, watching the picture emerge, glorying in the colors, and feeling a sense of accomplishment as it comes together.

I struggle with letting myself veg, knowing on the one hand that the vast majority of people do at some point during their day and that it is okay; and on the other hand realizing that vegging is the default. It happens without my deliberate choosing...but do I really want to live out my life floating around, being done to rather than doing?

When I started writing this post tonight, I didn't know what to title it. But as the thoughts started flowing, I knew what this post should be called. What I am asking myself to do, what I know is the place where I am happiest, is when I am aware of what I am doing in the moment. It becomes choice, it becomes meaning, it becomes satisfying and substantial--the difference between eating a dinner of a hearty bowl of soup versus a glazed donut. Zen again.

My eyes are tired, tomorrow is a full day (first thing on the agenda, after turning on the coffee maker and downing a cup, is to make a to-do list) and sometimes not-doing can be the most important doing of them all. Good night.

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