I have come to the end of my Nature experiment (December 2nd to January 2nd). The clearest conclusion I have made, is that I am doing it again (January 3rd to February 3rd).
This month of inquiry revealed some truths about my nature. I can be incredibly hard working, and I can procrastinate. I experienced my zest and enthusiasm for the beginning of this endeavor, and the wind was taken out of my sails part way through, how or why-I’m not yet sure. I waned with commitment, allowing other tasks to take priority over my own self-care.
This is a self-sabotage habit that I am ready to release.
One note-I did keep track of my findings relatively regularly, and I wrote them in blog form (haza! Not at all is lost).
There are three phases of any cycle: the beginning, the middle and the end. In the Hindu tradition these each correspond to a deity, a manifestation of the Divine–Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva–the Creator, the Sustainer and the Destroyer.
Everyone has all three of these energies, and we are likely dominated by one. I realize I am quick to be excited about a project (Brahma), and can lose steam, petering out before the end (lacking Vishnu and Shiva). Enthusiasm alone does not make the world go round, there is an element of discipline and persistence needed to get through the hurdles and humps. My new-age mind has gotten the best of me in these regards, too often tuning into what “I feel” and sometimes being overrun by feeling lethargic. When I was in college I busted out projects and papers no problem, I had the support of a deadline and grades to keep the fire lite under my butt. The beauty and challenge of self-motivation is there is no one else to do it for you.
My partner James notices my ability (or inability) to finish things. I’ll leave the last few sips of tea, because they aren’t delightfully hot any more. I have shuffled through books, picking up one, reading, and starting another before I complete the first. I, like many modern day humans, can be easily distracted. We live in a culture built on distractions–commercials, advertising, billboards, social media, cell phones. In recent research I heard the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. I’m not sure I even drink water that frequently. I aspire to be less easily taken by the wind of whatever floats by, and be more grounded, direct and committed to myself, my projects and relationships.
This wisdom stuck with me from an article I read about the creative process: the enemy of creativity is distraction; not just from the outside world, but of the internal. When one is in a flow, has caught the wave of the rhythm, the ego loves to find distractions to fight the groove. It thinks it will be forgotten if we are in flow, there is no “I” when one is in flow, there is simply what is happening.
As a commitment to myself, and my desire to be more connected, I am going in for round 2.
My experiment will look quite different this time. I will be living still for most of the month, in a colder climate. I am committed to technological retreats- 3 days with no phone, no computer, no internet, no reading or writing. Basically no words from the outside. I’m curious to see what comes up in a distraction-free place. I anticipate the feeling of boredom or discomfort of not “doing” something, not “being of purpose.” I commit, that in those moments of emptiness, to simply be, and let it pass. I aspire to be my own great lover, soothing and easing my pains and celebrating my delights and achievements, no matter how large or small.
The mind my story makes up to keep me struggling is absurd, and I am ready to be free of it. No longer will procrastination take over my time, leaving me stuck at the end of the day wondering how I didn’t accomplish what I set out to. I will take my creative energy by the horns and rally it to guide me and my mind, clearly and firmly, in the direction of my dreams.
Thanks to all who followed the journey, and in some from did your own experiment. Please continue if it serves you, and let me know how it goes. We’re all in this together!