Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Independence Day III

My brothers and I like to tease each other about our oddities. I have a big head, the middle brother a big chin, and the older brother can walk under limbo bars. All of us, and my parents, lean towards intensity. Thoughts and emotions tumble around in my Orange on a toothpick. 

Today is my  'Independence Day'. Three years ago, I decided I had enough to move on from being employed. As long as I was frugal, and I spent less than my money made, my engine could be the breadwinner and I could become a homemaker. In a world where everyone who was important to me seemed incredibly busy, I would be 'the guy with time'.

A downside of 'free time' is you become aware of those thoughts and emotions. Work can allow you to put things aside even if they matter to you. Every day the alarm clock goes and you go to work. Thinking time can wait. Feeling can wait. Till you have free time. Then, like in 'A Beautiful Mind', if you search for patterns you will find them everywhere you look. You can end up being trapped in your own personal cabin in the woods of your head.

Nash's cabin in "A Beautiful Mind"

Of my immediate family, the one with the chin has the best ability to get out of the woods and onto the road. He runs regularly, and it definitely lends him an aura of calm. Some problems can't be solved in the head, or in the heart.

I have gradually been working myself up to becoming a runner. But, my chosen form of getting out of my Orange is Yoga. Yoga transforms how I feel, and how I think. When I am practising regularly.

Late last year, I decided to dip my toe back into doing work. We are interdependent rather than independent, and I wanted to help build engines for others. To strengthen our sense of community.

My problem is, I get too binary. On and off. Huge work guilt kicks in, and anything that isn't work feels indulgent. Even exercise. Reading for pleasure. Time with friends. The bottomless pit of work that could be done takes priority. My natural default in these situations is to climb back into my Orange and neglect my toothpick.

I don't find public declarations a particularly effective way of motivating myself. I know the theory is that we will be embarrassed if failing to meet the target we have told people of. I have written posts about learning isiXhosa, eating fruit, and getting back on my bike. All of those are unfulfilled ambitions.

Rather than doing that, what I am more aware of as I try to pull myself out of my head once again by getting my yoga practice back on track - is that everyone is struggling. I know no one who isn't. There will always be challenges to think and feel our way out of. All we can do is be honest about it, and do the best we can.

Part of that is looking after yourself. In the literal sense of making sure your bits are maintained. That part, at least, isn't rocket science. You just have to do it.

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