Do you remember (if you were here back then) when I used to write and send a Grace Note every single day, without missing even once?
I think that happened for about five years. (Some of you are saying to yourself, thank goodness for fewer emails–LOL).
Something then shifted.
I love how the flow of activity, reality, the pace, the attention, creativity, focus, results….somehow change.
Did I plan it?
Did I decide the way it would go or should go?
In fact, if left up to my mind, the directive was to keep it up. Keep writing as my meditation, my work shared with you.
That mind will shout internally “You should ______!” or “I have to_____!” or “I’m going to start ______ !” or “I’m going to keep _____!”
There are common lists of what we ought to be doing or what we need to keep doing, even if it doesn’t always serve.
It seems they’re usually related to improvement of some kind, or an effort to become better, or grow, or make sure we don’t lose.
So internally, my voice said “you should be writing every day” but I noticed I wasn’t anymore. My thumb grippers had a little ache from carpel tunnel overworking. I wanted to dedicate more time to an actual book on dissolving compulsion especially around eating using self-inquiry (which appears to be underway, slowly but surely). My heart wanted to fall into more silence and meditation and holding still.
It can be very stressful to want to relax, and yet have a voice screaming in the mind that you should be doing something (in my case writing Grace Notes, daily).
People have “dictator” voices telling them to do all kinds of things that are supposedly good: do this, acquire that, stop x, quit y.
What I notice sometimes, too, is that when a voice like this gets too loud, it backfires. A rebellion strikes. Less is done, not more.
But let’s look at this stressful belief “I should change”.
Think about something you want to accomplish or achieve. It can be as simple as weeding the garden. Losing weight (as you probably know, I went far, far down into this one and love the study of compulsion and freedom). Upgrading something around you. Contributing. Giving. Donating. Building.
There’s something so appealing about being in action, participating, “doing”.
And yet. Ugh.
The pressure of “I should_____.”
Let’s inquire and see what happens when we question the thought “I should” that involves some kind of change.
I should be writing.
Is it true?
YES. What good is sitting alone in your room (remember the line from Cabaret)?
We need to DO.
This here isn’t good enough. I’m missing success right here. I’m missing love, sharing, clarity, peace, sustainability. All these are accessible if I write! I can’t slow down! I need to write, write, write every day, day, day.
Who am I with the thought that I need to write? How do I act? What do I feel? What happens?
I stay up until midnight. I don’t take vacations. If I’m actually on a holiday, I’m writing every morning and skipping outings with other people. I’m fretting.
The actual thing that was fun becomes burdensome, and harsh, and weird.
So who am I without this thought; “I should be ______” (in my case writing)?
I am entirely free to notice what I want to actually do in any given moment. I’m free to choose. I’m not living a prison sentence.
I remember this well with food and eating. As soon as I began to limit and restrict and set up conditions for my own eating, I got jittery. I got thin, and nervous, and then freaking out by binge-eating and swinging to extremes. It all became overwhelming and chaotic and off-balance.
I was no longer myself, sitting in the center of my heart, doing then not doing. I notice we’re all awake, then asleep, and everything in between.
Who would I be without conditions on any of it?
Taking a deep, long, wonderful breath and not having any unbreakable rules. Rules unnecessary. Freedom.
I’d be present in this moment, now, without fear about what happens next or what is required for success, or what is required to hold on to.
Turning this thought around: I shouldn’t be writing. I should be NOT writing. I should be nothing. I should be thinking. I should be. Writing should be me-ing.
How could these be just as true, or truer?
Well, the carpel tunnel ache said stop. I love meditating. I love not having conditions on my own existence (right!?), I value sitting and thinking, and being. I know it’s very precious to be quiet and Not Know.
I can see how writing or creating or doing anything in this world are spontaneously born. A thought happens, an idea occurs, someone suggests or invites, an offer is presented.
We respond with a yes, no, or maybe. The next day, the response might change.
I notice I’m not the one “in charge” (it’s almost funny how not in charge I am). Many events and activities and happenings are going on right now, in this very moment.
If writing is occurring it should be expressing whatever “me” is (or not). I definitely should be nothing. One day, I will be anyhow. If I’m not writing, then I shouldn’t be (what’s the reality of it? Not writing).
There appear to be advantages for doing or being exactly as I am in any given moment. Just like sleeping sometimes happens (which looks very still) then also “doing” happens (which can look very active).
All of it interesting. That’s freedom.
“When you discover–inside yourself, behind everything you’re thinking–the marvelous don’t-know mind, you’re home free. The don’t-know mind is the mind that is totally open to anything life brings you. When you find it, you have found your way.” ~ Byron Katie