Thursday, January 18, 2007

Untie yourself!

In India, they believe in something called the muhurat, or the auspicious time to begin a task. People trying to ensure success in their marriages, or their new businesses, or any other endeavor, ask a pundit to check their astrological chart to find the right day and time to start.

If only I could confine myself to the right day and time. Instead, I tie my desires to so many other variables that I can’t seem to tease out what I originally WANTED to do from all of the newly created barriers.

Take my new desire to start meditating on a regular basis. I’ve read that it’s very beneficial to mediate first thing in the morning—that it helps you set a positive intention for the rest of the day. So I’ve gotten it in my head that I shouldn’t start until I can find a morning.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

We co-sleep with Madam, and I usually don’t wake up until she wakes me up. The few times I have managed to get out of bed without waking her, it does not take her long to realize that I am gone, and to register her displeasure. Loudly.

I could, theoretically, wake up MUCH earlier, in the wee hours of the morning, and hope that having TEG in the bed will fool her into continuing her slumber. But then…I’d be SO tired the rest of the day, and thus irritable with her, and…

And then I feel so bound by all of these plans and conditions that I feel immobile, trapped in fly paper. I spend the whole rest of the day feeling vaguely as though I’ve betrayed myself.

I’m doing the same thing with returning to my novel. The other day, while Madam napped, I took a deep breath and started leafing through the planning notebook I set up back in October. Unfortunately, my notes are SO voluminous (can someone please point me to a good outlining resource? Because I ALWAYS get stuck at this stage!) that I immediately started feeling dizzy and overwhelmed. So I thought, “Well, once I start meditating, I’ll have the presence of mind to go through all of this material and hopefully pick up the trail of my old ideas.” The saner part of my mind was trying to remind me that when I finished the first half of the novel in November, I’d been planning to firm up my plot for the second half. In another words, nothing had been fixed. Yet, I still feel that if I don’t decipher my complicated notes and follow THAT plan, I will be failing my novel.

And then I spent that rest of that day feeling as though I’d betrayed myself.

I believe I tie my REAL goals to all of the ancillary goals for the same reason some Indians seek help from the pundits—to try and ensure success, to ensure that I won’t fail, or worse, to ensure that I don’t succeed a LITTLE and THEN fail, thus getting a glimpse of the realization of my better self only to have it snatched away.

But the more hoops I set up for myself, the less chance I’ll have to getting through ALL of them at the same time.

Which, come to think of it, might be the plan my Fear has had all along.

Well, tonight I took a chance and meditated at night, after I put Madam down. Maybe it’s not right after all. Maybe I’m cheating myself of the TRUE experience, available only to those who meditate in dawn’s early light. Maybe going back to my novel based on ideas I dream up now instead of the original plan will result in a vastly inferior work. But I'd rather know that through the actual experience, instead through my fearful, inertial imaginings.

Hopefully my imperfect experience will help me loosen some of the threads that bind, and help me remember that having the auspicious time is only a part of the accomplishing the goal. The bulk of the effort still has to be...effort.

And I think even the pundits would agree.



Blogger deirdre said...

I do the same thing - wait until the moment is right rather than just jumping in and giving it a try. I often come back to knowing that if it's worth doing it's worth a good try.

11:05 PM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Frida World said...

I've decided that sitting still for 15 minutes is better than not meditating for 30... So I'm sitting still for 15 minutes.

What ever you manage is better than nothing and I hope you give yourself lots of credit for that.


6:05 AM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Sophie said...

i meditate - mostly in the morning,
yes, but also in the early
i am also a mom so i wake up
early - i love it as it is MY
time - i wake up very early
around 5:30 and i have coffee
and puts around in the early morning quiet after only 1/2 hour
of meditation...then i either write in my journal or blog or work
on my book - on Sundays i read the paper -
either way i think you need to find
the time you are most likely to
be relaxed - and peaceful -
and that is your very own
magic time to create...

i AM tired from my early morning
rise - but i am happy when the little guy is up as i have
already had my time and it sets
the tone for my day

blah blah blah


i love your writing voice -
it is so unique and personable and
i love your blog:)


9:43 PM, January 19, 2007  
Anonymous fern said...

I tried meditating a few times a few months ago, and each time I tried to sit still and not THINK, I got engulfed by the depression that I was trying hard to meditate away. So then I tried to keep myself so busy that I didn't have time to sit still AT ALL, but that only made me more anxious. *sigh* I hope you find the time to try, and best of luck.
As for your novel, try to simplfy it like everything else that you've had to do...breathe deep and jump in. Maybe you could try just writing a part of it that excites you the most...a part that's been BEGGING you to write, and please don't bog yourself down with the thoughts of it not being perfect- as I know you're apt to do...just get back to the LOVE of writing, and the love the idea tha you started with. Keep us updated!

10:25 PM, January 19, 2007  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

I believe the gift of rules lies in the power we unleash by breaking them.

5:47 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger K-Oh said...

Ah-- good that you reminded me of my resolution to start meditating!

3:46 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Alexandra G said...

Isn't it amazing how we tangle ourselves all up in expectations and rules? I relate to this post so very much M. I'm really glad that in the end you decided to do it YOUR way, to try how and when it works for you. You don't have to have their experience anyway whether they are experts or not and are "sure" that their time of day is THE time of day. What you are seeking to find can probably be found not just in the early morning hours and I commend anyone, ESPecially a new mom, for giving herself any permission at all to carve out time that is just for you. I hope 2 mins will become 12 will become 20 will become more as she grows and your belief in yourself does as well. xo

8:47 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Paris Parfait said...

I agree with Frida. I'm not sure I'm really calm enough to meditate, but sitting still and thinking is what I do as a way of getting the day started. It's hard to push ourselves to write more, but we must!

12:23 PM, January 24, 2007  

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