Sunday, June 7, 2009

Self-Sabotage


My dear friend (DF) recently asked if I'd been doing much writing.
"No," I replied.
"Practising yoga?" she asked.
"No," I replied.
"Hiking?"
"No."
She just looked at me, eyebrows raised. She knows those three things are my major passions, aside from friends and family.
I opened my mouth, about to launch into my many excuses. All legit. But then I didn't. Instead, I threw the same questions back at her.
"Have you been painting?"
"No."
"Practising yoga?"
"No."
"Meditating?"
"Yes." She grinned, knowing she was one up on me.

But the questions hung in the air between us. Why aren't we doing those other things? We know they are good for us. We know they bring us satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. In short, they make us happy. We've been busy all our lives but in the past we still managed to carve out time for them.

With a sigh, DF and I agreed that staying on track with our passions is like staying on track with anything else. Routine is essential. As with exercise, or a diet, it just takes a few days of breaking the routine and the chances of falling off the wagon increases tenfold. We are creatures of habit, and we have to be diligent in making sure our habits are healthy ones. Ones that bring us pleasure. Ones that help us grow into our best selves. It's hard for me to get started each day on my writing projects, but once I'm warmed up, (like with exercise) it begins to feel good and I don't want to stop. It's just getting myself started, facing that blank page, or getting myself to the yoga studio or to the trailhead that is the hard part. I can't explain why, it just is.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. There are still boxes to unpack, my mother to take care of and a to-do list a mile long but I think I'll start the day with a sun-rise yoga class. The natural high I experience from practising yoga will stay with me for at least a few hours, helping me accomplish many other tasks. I'll ask one of my daughters to walk the dog and my mother is stable enough to manage a day without a visit. So, after yoga I'll dust off the novel-in-progress. I'll face that blank page. And I'll do it again the next day, and the next. The page won't stay blank for long. I'll be a happier person for it, and the people in my life will benefit as well. Good energy begets good energy.

I know this to be so.

11 comments:

Leslie said...

Thanks, Shelley for writing about a sensitive subject that often is misrepresented as procrastination but usually is a result of our jammed packed busy lives and the tendancy to stop the activities that belong just to us in lieu of doing for others.

A good friend taught me this a few weeks ago....We need to be able to give loving kindness to ourself before we can give it fully to another.

I hope your day of sunrise yoga and writing was a blessed one.

L.

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