Week #8 – (Re)commitment – and maybe I oughta be…

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.  Stay positive.  Apply “Squirrel!” mentality (otherwise known as Attention Deficit Oooh, Shiny!) to thoughts of ‘I’m lesser.’  And in the words of Logician Jahana Shaharan ar-Drindi of Orocno, “Stop emoting and analyze!”  Figure out what I’m addicted to, and why, then set up mental guards to shift the stimulus (thank you, Mark!  That was one of the pieces I was missing).

Monday I caught up on household chores – felt good not to have them hanging over my head any more.  When I did my reads I held in the back of my awareness the memory of flying from when I went parasailing in Catalina – I actually laughed with delight through the words I was speaking.  No TV, limited iPad and computer (no computer anyway – it won’t boot up properly again.  Which also means I’m cut off from my pictures); I used a notebook to scribble my writings in so I’d have the rough draft handy and could just type the words in quick when I turned on the device.

Attending the funeral of a long-time family friend (to which I was nearly late), I found myself wondering why I do this kind of thing to myself – I’d fallen back to sleep after my alarm went off and I’d done my first read of Greatest Salesman and woke up just barely in time to have my shower and drive to the church.  I got there before the service – by about three minutes.  (Beautiful ceremony, by the way, but I kept wondering why religions encourage people to look outward to a Source greater than they, rather than inward to a Source greater than yet part of themselves…)

But.  I’m addicted to the peptides I produce when I think about ‘sleeping in’ even when I don’t need to physically, and apparently I’m also addicted to rushing, rushing, rushing.  Reminds me of a poem from Black Beauty that the character Jerry Barker would sing –

“If in the morning you throw minutes away,
You can’t pick them up in the course of a day.
You may hurry and scurry and flurry and worry,
But you’ve lost them forever, forever and aye.”

What to replace those two stimuli with?  Haven’t decided yet.

I was twitchy about the no TV thing.  I didn’t think I would be.  After last week I’d already decided to do what we were going to get told to do on Sunday, so why the craving?

(Because it’s a form of mental dissipation that releases peptides I’m addicted to.  What can I substitute…?  Constructive imagination for new novels, that’s what.  Keep a pen and notepad handy, scribble outlines – still need an alternate main character and beginning for Guardian’s Genesis: The First Guardian.)

So I didn’t yield to it – point number 2 to celebrate – not even when Jerry got home and immediately turned on his video game and then later the Monday Night Football.  Instead I dug out an old workout DVD, loaded it into my laptop and put some time into exercise.  (That might be pushing at The Rules a little bit – but I wasn’t doing it for entertainment.)

I also did my requisite 2,300 words for NaNoWriMo.

For those who aren’t familiar, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  A group of friends back in the nineties challenged each other to write 50,000 words in 30 days; it’s grown through the years from that core group to include thousands of people worldwide, all busily writing away during the month of November.  And it has to be either a completely new novel, or you have to add 50,000 words to an existing one.

You can write an entire book in 50,000 words, did you know that?  The Great Gatsby was 47,094; Old Yeller, 35,968; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was only 30, 644!  I’m behind this year – first the cruise, then the lazy fit – I didn’t actually start writing until the 12th.  But as of last night I have 20, 982 words and the story is moving along.

I was also doing a lot of thinking around the idea of ‘Everyone has exactly as much faith as everyone else.”  Where am I applying mine?  To believing in faith, or believing in doubt?

Tuesday I made more recordings to play when I’m at the gym walking the treadmill, alternating Master Key reads with my DMP/PPN/POA recording – that felt good, too.  Then I went to the gym and walked my three miles, and wonder of wonders, I didn’t feel that urge to cut my exercise short at the end of the first mile – that was when the music-based recording of my new reality cut in, and I found the pace of the treadmill (3.5 mph) was just too slow.  I got my requisite writings done and posted on my website and blog, and they were decent as far as quality goes.

Today – Easier to get up this morning.  I have two blog posts done.  I’ve rewritten my Movie Trailer card ’cause I found out when making the recordings that the sentences aren’t quite right, and because I was out of lines on the WPOA side.  I’ll have lunch, do my second reads, and go to the gym for my walk.  Then write a post for my other blog (1 hour on the timer!), and after that I’ll be free to saran-wrap the windows for the winter and write my 2,300 words for NaNo… might see if I can push it to 4,000, since Jerry’ll be home by then and he’ll want to play his video game.

(I’m glad we put the door back on the room that is my office; shutting out the cats was regrettable but necessary, as they never did understand why they shouldn’t park themselves on my keyboard and stare at me until I petted them.  The door also blocks out most of the sound from the living room.  I actually work better to silence; I can hear my own thoughts and imagination better that way.  I don’t play music when I’m writing, or in the car when I’m driving, either; I find it distracting and sometimes a bit irritating.)

But this week is a good week.

Mental detoxing,
Not easy to do –
So many words in there,
Yet not one ‘I love you.’
To get bad words out,
Good words must go in –
Words.  Are.  Power.
Their proper use, a ‘win.’

Major slippage

The last thing I want is to be a poser.  And if I didn’t convey the difficulties as well as the triumphs of this journey, a poser is exactly what I’d be.

I don’t believe I am inspiring – though I do want to.  I am not a standard, regardless of how the term is used – a benchmark, or as a flag, a sign, a symbol.  I refuse to live up to any expectations other than my own.

After my last blog post, my week devolved.  I became addicted to the TV.  I got my writing done, sure enough, and I always had the tube shut down an hour before I went to bed… but that just made my bedtime later… and later… and later.  The mental diet was shaky – I had no trouble halting negative thoughts toward others, but cleaning up the negative thoughts directed at myself got harder, the thoughts themselves darker.

My writing, which was supposed to be my joy, became work – something I ‘had’ to do, not something I wanted to do.  Ditto the index cards, the shapes and colors, reading the Greatest Salesman, my DMP and blueprint builder.  I got all the readings done, but they were lifeless; not a service, but a chore.  Painful.  Required.  And the harder I had to work to get everything done, the more I began to dislike it.  Where was the effortlessness that had been promised?  Why was that mysterious source which never sleeps not giving me the words to say in my articles, posts, and books, so that I could get things done in the hour or two I was giving myself?

I could blame the TV – but it was me who turned it on, and me who couldn’t force myself to turn it off, and me who got sleep-deprived because of it.  I could blame what was written on my index cards, pushing the boundaries of my time, pushing me to write in a hurry instead of seeking high-quality posts (which more often than not never got published because they were never ‘right’) – but it was me who chose what to put down on those cards, and it’s me who wants to be able to achieve those things.  I could blame the 7-day mental diet for throwing into sharp relief just how negatively I talk at myself – dear god, you’re fat; why are you forcing yourself to follow those cards, that’s stupid, just pick something easier and rewrite them; boy, you must be a weak-willed mook if you can’t even pick up the remote and press the power button! – but if not for that, I wouldn’t know how bad my mental state is and therefore wouldn’t be able to do anything to change that self-loathing attitude.  I could blame my upbringing, for being taught that emotions are to be suppressed if not outright eliminated, because they can’t be chosen, nobody chooses how to feel, that’s a ridiculous, juvenile notion!  Keep your emotions to yourself, because you don’t want to be the person who wears their heart on their sleeve, people will take advantage of you; stop being so sensitive!

But blame does not serve me.  It mght feel better in the short term, but like procrastination, seeking to blame instead of taking responsibility simply pushes the problem onto my future self.  And like procrastination, if a person keeps it up for long enough, passing blame instead of fixing the problem creates problems of monumental size.  And I’ve had enough of that.  Honestly, truly, forgiveness – however hard it is in the short term – makes life soooooo much easier in the long run.  And I’m here for the long run, am I not?

What I feel is my choice; anger, love, joy, depression.  To believe otherwise is to deny a long-standing conviction that I am responsible for everything I say, do, think, and feel – and if I am responsible, then I can affect what I say, do, think, and feel.  And if I can affect it, does that not logically mean it’s under my control and therefore a choice?

I thought about quitting.  I won’t say I didn’t.  I wanted my ‘life’ back; my leisure time, my indolence, my excuses.  After seven weeks, I should ought to have all my future successes set up and be able to relax a little, just let the subconscious take care of everything.

But retraining the mental habits of a lifetime takes longer than a mere seven weeks.  And all I did was place stress on several of the good habits I had been building; right now those baby habits are like blood feathers; tiny, fragile, needing care, because if they are broken through rough handling life will bleed out through them.

So this week, I and the various characters living inside my head start over.

Week #7 – Firing thoughts

Timers.

Ellen's clock collection

Ellen’s clock collection

I love timers.  I have a clock collection.  They don’t run, and they all say different times; I like ’em because they’re pretty, and unique, and… well, because I just like clocks.  Tiny gears with tinier teeth, all meshing and clicking away to create a whole that was magical and useful.  You know, the kid’s question – ‘How does the clock know what time it is?’  I used to take a look at mine and wonder where in the world that time was, and what was happening there.

So this week, I upped the ante on my writing.  An article for my website, complete with research.  Two blog posts, complete with good pictures run through Lightroom if necessary.  Two thousand words a day for the NaNoWriMo challenge.  And Wednesday is the day I schedule for my MKMMA blog post.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was still up at three, four and two in the morning, respectively.  I was tired, my eyelids were heavy, heavy… and I damned well wasn’t going to bed until they were done, because it was written on my index card.  And the alarm still rang at the normal time the next day – ‘next day’ being relative.  It isn’t properly tomorrow until I get some sleep!

Mississippi sunriseStill not a fan of mornings.  They’re beautiful – I love sunrises, especially the ones with pink and orange and gilded, shiny gold clouds.  Over water is best.  Love the water.  All the reflections – you get two sunrises for the price of one!  So mornings are worthwhile for sure.  They just start too early.  And I’m still anticipating waking up with a vigor I have never before known.

So I woke up this morning with the thought of ‘timers’ in my head.  I set a timer.  An hour each for the blog posts, two hours for the research and writing of the website article, two hours for the NaNoWriMo challenge.  That’s six hours.  I can do that.  That leaves me plenty of time for sleeping, the MKMMA-related work, regular household chores and other projects…  And we all work better to deadlines, right?

So gonna try that today.  I have a timer running right now, as a matter of fact.  And woe  betide me if this post is not done by the time it rings, for there will be no fudging allowed and yet I must complete the task.

Because I said I would.

Oooh.  Just flashed on the parental phrase, ‘Because I said so.’

Hibiscus and tomato plantSo something else that was different this morning:  I woke up and I was seeing the shapes and colors I have posted around the house.  They’re on my index cards and all, but I’ve never really seen them, if you know what I mean.   I have to make a conscious effort.  My eye just kind of skips over them; it’s the words that are important.  Well, I’ve thrown myself into the spirit of the exercise, and every time I pass one of my signs, I pause, read it, and trace the outline as I close my eyes and imagine what that goal is going to feel like.  This morning I saw the colors.  Red is my first book getting published.  Blue is developing my network marketing team.  Yellow is my website – fifty articles of quality content by the end of the year.  And green is what the bank accounts are looking like in two years.

Hibiscus and tomato plantOh – these are my hibiscus plant, and behind him is my tomato plant.  Aren’t they lovely?  (And yes – that is snow outside the window.)

I think I’ll talk to Jerry – see what kind of plan we can come up with for being snowbirds next year, spend the winter somewhere warm and sunny.  With water and pink-gold-orange sunrises.

(And just like that, we go from ‘I wish I could,’ to ‘How do we want to do this?’)