I think my life was too polarized in terms of chaos and structure. My time was insanely structured (between commuting, working, sleeping, and outside commitments) so that in my remaining, limited free time, I became the utter embodiment of chaos, barely able to scrape myself off the floor, prepare food for myself, think about anything fun - i.e. abstract. Yes. Too much structure AND too much chaos. So, even without fully realizing consciously that this is what I've been doing, I have tried to reduce structure AND chaos, to allow time for pure being - a term I stole from Caterine Vauban and applied to something else - that harmonious welding of order and disorder. Here are the small changes I've begun to implement in my life, hopefully long-term ones. I have a slightly different set of small changes for while I'm at work.
- wear retainers each night
- wake up between 6:30 and 6:45
- return things to their place when I am done using them
- don't make plans if I don't want to; limit commitments
Zen? That is not zen, you think. Well, in a weird way, I suspect it might be. Bear with me.
Rising early and wearing my retainers at night helps me to begin and end each day purposefully. I have a few moments, just to myself, in the morning: I can prepare for the day with focus and intention. And, at the end of the day, by setting up the conditions in which I’d actually wear my retainers (carefully brush and floss, wash face, etc. – essentially go through a full-out evening ritual) I have a time to refocus and reflect and let myself just be. The rock just sits and is.
Making an effort to return things to their place helps me to be more aware of each action I do, the impact of my choices, etc. etc., and gives me a more ordered physical space as well.
Limiting commitments has created more space for reflection, meditation, just existing, the psychological space for my soul/spirit to breathe, move, rest, renew…
It seems I have had more awareness and control as a result of these small lifestyle changes, though I'm wary of too much control. I think I am going to go through another week of living like this (I called it "de-tox" to Bubber) and then re-evaluate and see if it is actually what I need to be doing or if I just end up spending so much of my attention on living deliberately that I actually miss the things that I'm supposed to notice or maybe if it's some sort of short-term thing where I just needed to get back into some sort of balance by swinging in the opposite direction first.