A New Year brings new thoughts, reflections, ideas, and focus. I use the word “focus” lightly, as I’m not one to get focused easily. For me, the things I do are completely organic. Like they have a life of their own and no matter how much I want them to get done, sometimes it feels like they conspire against me to be completed. And so, in previous years when I think of what I want moving forward, of a word I might choose to focus on, the word “Begin” has been rattling around for me for the past 2 years. The thinking for me has always been that I can avoid putting things off by just BEGINNING. “Jump in and dig your way out,” my family would say. Ironically I’m quite good at beginning….not so good at finishing. I start projects, and then things happen and sometimes I don’t get back to them until much, much later..sometimes months, sometimes years, sometimes not even yet. So perhaps “begin” is not the word to overcome procrastination. Upon reflection I also note that “begin” is a “doing word”. I am cursed with the “Doing Sickness”. Always obsessing over what I must get done. Feeling like I’m not doing enough. It’s brutal pressure – all this doing, doing, doing. No time for just BEING.
So, as I’m ruminating on all this, I notice that a project I started in 2010 to paint my “Word for the Year – BEGIN”, based on Jill Berry’s Artfest project, can also be rearranged to “BEING”. That’s a far better energy to put oneself in. I know this of course from practice. My creative work, once I settle in to it, is always from a place of mindful “being”. It’s just the rest of my life (mostly my “monkey-mind” thinking) that is too easily hung up on doing.
Today as I was pondering all this I inadvertently stumbled upon a blog post – a project really, by Lisa at Life Unity. It’s called the Wild Elephant Project. She is working her way through a book called “How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness” by Jan Chozen Bays. It looks intriguing, and maybe something good for me to try….so I read on. The first exercise is to “use your non-dominant hand for ordinary tasks each day.” And, instantly resistance roars in my head, I feel my guts get tight. My mind protests, “That’s ridiculous. I don’t have time for that. I have things I need to get done. I guess I’ll just have to skip this exercise and wait to see what the next one is.” Sigh…what can I say – I’m a work in progress. I’m encouraged by the simple fact that at least I am aware in the moment of the nonsense of my own monkey-mind, and I catch it before it derails me….this time. Determined, I will hang out with Lisa and her Wild Elephant Project for awhile and see what it might teach me…after all, I need all the help I can get…and there is such inspiration in sharing a journey with others. Care to join me on a Mindfulness trip?
Now, I’m off to a moment of BEING with my tea…drinking it with my non-dominant hand, of course.