Sometimes when I am writing, I get in a groove and I don’t have to think much to get the words out. There is a musical pitch I’ve found and I follow it word after word—listening more than thinking. It’s like all I have do is let my fingers type and then, lo and behold I am done. This could be called channeling or being in the flow. It could also be called skating or staying on the surface or not challenging myself or being lazy.
How do I know the difference? How do I know when I’m in the flow and all is good and how do I know when I’m just typing words that sound like they belong together because somewhere I heard them beaded in a similar manner?
How do I know when I am living out of habit and when I am living consciously?
Does it even matter?
How do we know what makes a good sentence? A good life?
What does good even mean?
I am looking forward to tomorrow because I think it will be a good day. In the morning I get to eat oatmeal I will have soaked overnight in the frig and then go for a walk along the beach for an hour or so. At 9:30 I drive to a coffee shop by Pleasure Point to talk to Frosty Hesson about life and goals and waves and love, and then I get to drive over the hill from Santa Cruz to San Jose to go to the Five Branches University and have the doctor treat me in front of his students. Because I am volunteering to be treated in front of the class, I get excellent medical care and acupuncture for something like $35. This means, after he puts in the needles, I get to lie on the table for at least 30 minutes and feel like a cat napping in the sun: dreamy, safe, alive. Then I get to go to my office and give a massage to one of the coolest people I know, one of those people whose presence makes you feel like the best version of yourself. When I am finished with that, I will meet my brilliant and funny friend for pizza and beer (when you don’t eat a lot of this stuff, it is triply delicious when you do) so we can brainstorm a new writing project I’m doing that I want her to be part of. It will probably be dark by then, and I will drive back over the hill to Santa Cruz, write a blog post, watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show, and go to sleep.
Just a few months ago the idea of going to sleep seemed like work because both falling asleep and staying asleep were like trying to speak a foreign language. These 57 days of eating cleaner and (finally) not drinking coffee and defining some long-term goals and working on the negative self-talk that is in my head has made bedtime feel like a gift: now I get to sleep. I have already forgotten what it is like to wake up at 11, 2, 3, 4.
This ability to sleep when you have not been able to is like when your toe aches and then it stops hurting and you forget what it was like to have a hurting toe. It’s been such a short while, but I already forget what it was like to dread trying to sleep—all the work and focus it used to take to get myself to sleep that made me even more exhausted—trying to get myself to fall asleep was like trying to push someone wrapped in floaties underwater.
When I was in Austin this past weekend, I woke up the second morning and I felt so light and strange, and I was trying to figure out what was wrong, and then I realized: I wasn’t worrying. What was wrong was that my brain was waking up to the pleasure of morning instead of trying to solve the problems of the world. What was wrong was that nothing was wrong.
Being at ease in the body and mind can be so shocking! It’s like if you were on fire for all your life and suddenly there was water and a magic salve and you woke up and you weren’t on fire. You didn’t even have scar tissue. You just had your skin and the smell of clean sheets.
How hard is that to bear?
Surely there must be a problem.
Well, yes. There are problems. I have even less money than I did at the beginning of the 93 days. That’s a drag. But the funny thing is, the thought now rolls off my like it’s water and I’ve been greased. Oh well. Chop wood, carry water. Repeat. The worrying doesn’t get the wood chopped or the water carried. What I am learning is that worrying about not having money tends to equal not having money. I'm working on changing my brain. The fact is I do have money. I have a so much stuff I have a storage space over in Willow Glen. My brain wears the opposite of rose colored glasses when it comes to money, so I'm working on creating a new pair of spectacles. You can't see the good in front of you if you can't see.
I am on day 57 of ths 93-day project, and I want to dig deeper in the effort of living a fully conscious life, one where I take responsibility for my actions and my needs. I want to get even more curious about what I’m doing and what is happening around me. I want to get really clear on what it is I hope to accomplish. I’m an archer astrologically, after all, and a good target is heaven for me.
All of this is to tell you that I’m starting to feel a little bit like I’m skating, and I want to slow down and go deeper. I'm falling into habit, and although habit can be wonderful and grounding, it can also be like wearing a blindfold and having someone steer you buy the arm so you miss the thrill of choice and new experience.
How do you know when your life is wild, when it is precious? What did you do to get there? And what happens next?
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
You can hear her read it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16CL6bKVbJQ
See you tomorrow.