Friday, February 11, 2011

Viveka: what good's a theme without a test?

For the past two weeks, I've been seriously dragging by Friday morning, so so sleepy and eager for the weekend and rest.  School started three weeks ago, and the Shri Series with Laura Christensen last week, so I'm gone from home Tuesday - Thursday evenings, getting home between 8:30 and 10.  I recognize that for regular people that's not late, but since we wake up at 5:30 around here, by Friday, I am little more than a caffeinated zombie.

Naturally, I exagerrate.   It's the caffeine talking.

I am remembering that my theme for the year is viveka, discernment.  For me, this really means being discriminating about how I expend my energy.  Since I said Yes to pretty much everything last year and ran myself ragged, this is the year to practice saying No.  So far, sort of good.  But as an indication of how things are going, for the past couple of days I've been carrying around an index card in my calendar, adding notes to my list of Priorities: Allocation of Personal Time.  So far I've written:

- more time to read, read more consistently.
- more time to write, write more consistently.
- time outside every single day.
- set a bedtime and stick to it.

There's more but I'm too tired to get up and fetch the card.  The details matter less than the point -- which is that already, 6 weeks or so into the new year and my new theme, I have come to its first test.


I am really, really serious about doing less and being more particular about what I say Yes to.  I have definitely said No to some things already this year, and made some different choices about how to spend my time.  It's been fun and a little sad also, as I shift the pattern.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that I arrive from class or yoga, excited to be home and eager for kick-back family time on the couch.  Which generally means that the TiVo is in someone's hand and I'm hanging around, in a pile of pillows, watching an animal show or comedy or enjoying Steven Tyler as a judge on American Idol.  Watching TV isn't an activity that really does anything for me at all, except that it's companionable time under a shared blanket, laughing together or discussing yet another delusional singing contestant or crying about some astounding feat of vocal prowess.

But it's keeping me up way too late at night.  Because of course, once the tv goes off and we make our way to bed, then there's the book I've been waiting all day to resume reading.  I can get by on 6 or so hours of sleep for a couple of nights, but if insomnia happens to strike somewhere in there, I'm done for.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to stick to my resolutions if there weren't so many distractions? If it weren't so hard?  But that's exactly the point, ain't it -- if you want it, sometimes you have to work for it.  For me in this year of viveka, I know I need to come back to foundations, re-establish some fundamental discipline at the core of every day.   I need a schedule, damn it, including a bed time.  Since I started my new job at the beginning of January (not coincidentally, at the beginning of viveka-year), I've been de-toxing and floating a bit, part of my recovery.  Enough!

Tomorrow, while Joe is gone at his race, before and after I go to yoga in the morning, I'll be sitting and thinking about how to structure my new schedule so that I'm spending my time on what I really want to spend it on -- reading, writing, thinking, being outside, hanging out, having fun, and still getting enough beauty sleep.  'Cause lord knows, I do need that beauty sleep.

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