begin somewhere

Posted on May 11, 2013 by

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I have a rather unusual weekend before me: nearly completely unscheduled.  And I don’t know what to do with it.

Ironically, just recently someone I know on Facebook posted that they had an unplanned day and were at loose ends.  The question that rose to the surface before I could even think about it was, “What would please you?”

She said, predictably, that she didn’t know.

Indeed.

I don’t know, either.  And it’s usually my job to ask those questions.  But faced with the actual reality myself, I have maybe a 50% success rate at asking and answering the question and then doing the thing.  All too often I spend my extra hours or days or weekends refreshing social media, sleeping, eating when I’m not hungry, or staring at the ceiling.

Two things:

First of all, if you spend most of your time sprinting from task to task, it actually takes time to downshift.  The staring at the ceiling part is important.  It’s part of the process.  You need the break from doing anything, even something you might enjoy.  Think of it like unschooling for the entrepreneur.  It takes practice and even discipline not to pop up or flip open the computer to “just see” something.  Don’t. Do. It.  Let your brain unwind.  There’s good stuff in there, caught up in the constant spinning.

Secondly, if you’re feeling a little tired (or a lot) or a little down (or a lot) it can be forty times harder to answer the pleasure question.  Make your lens really, really small.  Stop trying to find The Big Pleasure Thing (YAY I WILL HAVE HOT MONKEY SEX ALL AFTERNOON AND THEN EAT A SUNDAE! –wait, that sounds like a lot of work, maybe I will just check Facebook again) and let even the tiniest little whisper of pleasure be the place you start.  (That wild violet:  I want to put it in a bud vase on the kitchen windowsill.  The house is chilled.  I will turn up the heat.  I will have a mug of my favorite tea.  I will wear my happy socks.)  Pleasure doesn’t have to start (or even become) huge.  But the wiring of your brain (for reals, they have studies) gets into recursive loops.  The more it does x the more of x it will do.  So anything you can do to shift the loop will help.  Anything.  Tiny square of dark chocolate.  Funny cat videos on YouTube.  Using the good smelling soap.

Let “What would please you?” become, “What is pleasing you right now? (and how can you do a little more of that?)”

Anything is everything when it is the beginning of something.  And when it is the beginning of pleasure, so much more true.

Begin somewhere.

Just begin.