Monday, March 01, 2021

Stops and Starts

I was talking with someone about meditation recently.  And of course meditation isn't just the act of successfully sitting still listening to one thing and thinking of nothing else.  If you can get there and stay there, it can be incredibly helpful and useful.  But - as with so many things - the act of trying can be important.  I think it's easy to get caught in the continuous improvement cycle. Every time I meditate, I must meditate better than the last time.  But I hang out with a lot of runners and they talk about things like tapering.  The idea that after you've hit a good milestone, or as you prep for a long race, you plan for a few days where you do less of it.  
For me meditation has sometimes looked like knitting and doing nothing else while knitting.  Or knitting and listening to one thing.  Or going for a walk and not listening to anything.  But some days, I cannot stop myself from trying to add another thing.  Maybe I could listen to that audiobook and also check my email.  I cannot do both well.  I know this.  
I was recently thinking about how sometimes I bounce around trying to make progress on six projects, instead of working on one and getting it done or closer to done.  How having worked on pieces of six things feels like working harder than working on one even if working on pieces of six things often means none of them are done yet.  
Now, sometimes, some projects need other pieces from others, so cannot be finished and the ability to bounce is useful and helpful.  And some days, I trick myself into working on all the things, instead of finishing one thing.  
My friend likes to quote me saying isn't it nice to know it's a blip and not a system failure.  There are reasons I work this way.  There are days this is a useful way.  And there are days it is less helpful.  And recognizing the pattern makes it more likely I can identify it and adjust as needed.