• don’t strain yourself, kid

    by  • September 12, 2011 • Uncategorized

    You get to do it the easy way.
    Really.

    I know it’s crazy, revolutionary, really even bizarre to think about it, but there is NOTHING wrong with doing things the easy way.

    For example: I write.  I write as part of my personal practice, and I write as part of my work.  I write poems and newsletter articles and the occasional mini work of fiction.  And yes, of course I have an idea for a book floating around in my head.  I will write that, too…someday.

    But writing is as integral to my life as breathing.

    And sometimes, I’m completely stupid about it.

    I’m a morning person.  Six to ten AM are my peak hours.  Best thoughts, most brilliant inspirations, sweetest energy and writing just flows.  I can almost guarantee that it will be smooth as silk if it happens before nine.

    After that?  Not so much.  Stops, starts, mechanical difficulties–much more like a rusty train on rusty tracks than a clear mountain spring after the first thaw.

    So why would I write in the afternoons?

    Well…because…um….

    yeah.  No good reason.  It’s like choosing to drag a ten ton sled across rocky ground rather than putting it on wheels.

    Charlie Gilkey talks about heatmapping your day; this is a similar idea.  Do it when it’s easiest.  But also, do it how it’s easiest.  Instead of having a system and forcing yourself to fit into it, have a YOU and build a system around it.

    Learning to do this is a process of undoing a lifetime’s worth of learning.  If you went to school and if you work for someone else, huge parts of your life have been built around fitting you into someone else’s system.  In the homeschooling community they talk about “deschooling” — basically, learning to think outside the box of “school” and “education” so you can actually create your own optimal education.

    Creating your own optimal life can be much the same.

    For example, laundry.

    Perhaps you have a laundry system that works.  YAY!

    But if you’re like me, there are places in the house where you’re always picking up dirty clothes after the fact and putting them in hampers.  In my old house, it was the living room.  Because of the house’s configuration, the washing machine, the living room, and the bathroom were all right next to each other.  In the winter, the woodstove made it much nicer to undress in the living room (the bathroom floor was cold).  Ergo, pile of clothes in the living room.

    Not pretty.

    Then the laundry would get piled in the living room (right in front of the washing machine).

    I had this big story that the laundry had to be in the bathroom.

    And finally I figured it out: covered hampers in the living room.  What I needed was hampers that looked good enough to be in the living room.  Problem solved.

    Ease is not ignoring things.  Ease is this: don’t try to fight what happens.  Just change the system so it works.

    Which systems will you change to make your life easier?  Tell me in the comments.

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