Thursday, October 27, 2011

on eating dessert first

growing up (a process in no way complete...) i learnt that food and pleasure are a reward. for work, for pain, for the unavoidable unplesantness. eat your cabbagey thing first, then you'll get cake. clean up your room, then you can read your book. as i grew, the tasks changed, but the principle didn't. waking up early and tired on what i know will be a busy day filled with work appointments and administrative circus, my first reflex is still to brace myself, to mentally map my day around all those 'shoulds', and somewhere on the far horizon, hopefully, hopefully before the sun sets, to leave a small patch of peace. maybe i can have a walk then, a cup of tea, do some yoga.

but experience is a wise teacher. i know that that small patch of peace is a mirage. it will disappear before i get there. i know that being tired and cranky while doing a whole bunch of 'shoulds' will just leave me more tired and cranky. i also know that it's not the tired and the cranky that is the issue here, nor is it the fact that there are clouds of 'shoulds' hanging over my day.

would you venture on a difficult hike on an empty stomach and with no provisions? probably not. because that's pretty much what it boils down to. i need to eat first. then i can work. and being tired and cranky means my soul needs food, as does my body. can i really afford to postpone nourishing myself until i am 'done'? will this improve the quality of my life, or my work? nope. i can say this with great certainty. it won't. because it never ever did.

so these days, i try (and sometimes even manage) to practice the other way. yes, there are lots of things i need to do today. but i am going to start right here, in this space that i love. with a cup of tea. and a blogpost. i will have a tasty breakfast. do some yoga. walk on the beach. (maybe even) do some writing. i will take my time. i will meet my breath. whatever it is that makes my tired cranky face break up into a smile. and then, when i am filled with the sense of the abundance, the goodness, the spaciousness of my own life, i will get down to work. (experience is whispering that i just might enjoy that too...).

and yes, i know that some of my 'shoulds' are likely not to make it, they will probably fall off the edge, and crash on the horizon of this day. but i won't be missing them. not today.

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