Are you wise, would you say?
Does it matter?
Does wisdom have a place in contemporary life, what use would you put it to if you had some?
I’m still not sure I know what being wise is.
I haven’t ever really considered whether I was or wasn’t wise and have no particular aspirations in that direction.
This year, however, I have a bit of a life change in mind.
I decided that it’s time to let go of struggle. On reflection that seems like a wise thing to do.
I’m pleased with my decision, maybe wisdom is with me now. Bit late in my years but welcome.
So, decision made, intention set. Now, how? I need some wisdom brought to bear on that.
I get insights while I’m journalling.
I sink down into feelings that are below the surface, that I wouldn’t know about if I didn’t sit still and write. My mind would be occupied and they wouldn’t surface.
I get other ideas, ideas I didn’t know were there when I write out what I think that I think and as I write my mind wanders over to other thoughts which I don’t recognise as mine and so my thoughts develop.
I’m willing to believe there’s a universal source of wisdom, kind of like a membership site with access via the almost subconscious state. Certainly the calmed state with the functioning mind quieted.
Once I’ve become aware of needs in this way ideas about what to do about them just seem to show up.
An article on handling e-mail only once a day that caught my eye.
There’s loads of these things that I’ve been noticing.
Is that wisdom?
Those little insights.
I imagine wisdom as big, higher view stuff.
I didn’t expect to find it in the mundane. But I appreciate the ideas and I think it’s lovely the way wisdom will come down as low as you need it to. If changes at the mundane level of your life are needed it will turn up there to help.
There’s a strong theme running through the ideas of ‘how’ to drop struggle.
‘Do less’ feels more recognisably wise. It’s also a plan I’m happy to experiment with.
Back in the mundane, there’s struggles in every little nook and cranny of my days.
On their own, each one trifling, but together adding up to a proper struggle and everpresent sense of rush.
Rushing. My least happy state ever.
To rush is to fail to notice,
To fail to notice is to fail to enjoy,
To fail to enjoy adds up.
Moment by moment, day by day, to an unlived life.
THAT is big.
Back to the mundane again. These things are really mundane so they sneak in unobserved ringing no alarm bells…here have a look at a few
I don’t get hundreds a day like a lot of people I know, so I didn’t think this would be contributing to the sense of struggle.
I check e-mail several times a day, yet my business doesn’t require rapid response and every time I wander over to check (slave to the beep), I almost invariably get embroiled. A ‘quick’ look at twitter or a forum I belong to. It’s not necessary. And it shatters my focus.
Not very noticeable but important.
It’s too boring to talk about. But a lot of my struggle is hidden in here, in these small things all joined together.
client session booking and re-booking
My clients are busy people. Very busy. We book sessions in advance but the diary juggling for emerging priorities is intense with an average of 10 out of twelve sessions needing to be re-organised. Each re-organisation taking on average 6 back and forth telephone calls to settle. At about 4 mins per call x 6 calls x 10 sessions = 240 minutes. They’re not all this high maintenance but for those who are that’s an extra 4 hours, but it comes in 4 minute slots and could easily stay hidden away.
Generally clients have no idea this is the case as they don’t manage their own diaries.
Now I explain and we either agree to allow for this in the fee or skip any cancelled sessions or they decide to treat our sessions as high priority….sacred immovable time.
This way, my time is taken into account and if there is re-organising to be done I can relax about it.
It’s still hard when clients forget that this is our agreement and I have to say it again.
I used to put loads of washing on in a completely random way. Many washes, many half empty loads, many puttings up of the drying rack or pullings out of the washing line outside.
Many puttings up and takings down of the ironing board.
Now on Thursday morning, before work starts, I set off one dark wash, at lunchtime one white wash.
That means two long sections of the day are uninterrupted. I can’t believe I’m describing this, it’s too boring. Yet it’s right in this mundane detail that my flow and happy rhythm is restored.
The overall pattern that’s emerged is that staccato, choppy energy of little and often, frequent bursts doesn’t suit me at all. I find it very unsettling. If I arrange things so I have long spells of uninterrupted time I’m much happier.
Half my mind still on what I’ve just left at the computer, I start to gather up the ingredients for dinner, get the cook book out to check if I’ve got them all, no. Back again. Put some music on, ah yes, better.
Still some ingredients I’ve not got out. Back again. Tripping in and out of the utility room where the good sized fridge is.
Start chopping, mmm little glass of wine while I chop…ooo yes, stop chopping, back into the utlility room.
All stilted, much repeating and mental ‘doh’ing for the forgetting.
To help the flow, I could close down what I’m doing before dinner properly, make any decisions or write them in for attention the next day so I can feel safe they’ll be attended to. Put the papers away. Close laptop.
To the kitchen. Music on, pour wine, get recipe out, make smooth sweep of kitchen from fridge to larder to spice cupboard gathering ingredients. One elegant sweep through. It’s almost art.
Beautiful. It’s much quicker but there is absolutely no hint of rush about it what. so. ever.
This stripping away, and doing less, gives me back time in visible tangible ways but the real gain is in less tangible ways.
The flowing and smooth rhythm of work suits me so much better.
So my focus on what I’m doing at the time is much, much better,
So I get more deeply absorbed in what I’m doing
So sometimes I don’t even notice the time.
So it feels timeless.
Ah! That’s it! That’s it, that’s it!
So it feels timeless!
THAT is how to eliminate a sense of rush.
Finding your right rhythm and your right rhythm making it easy to fall into something, absorbed and timeless.
That feels like wisdom.
Would you have been pleased with that do you think?
The timeless revelation?
Struggle greatly reduced via greatly reduced sense of rush, via the right rhythm and the timelessness.
I was feeling very pleased.
Good work for March.
Then I read Henry David Thoreau and understood that the level of all my work this month has been nursery school.
Have you read his “Where I lived, and what I lived for”?
I’ll fill you in on the main points next month if you haven’t.
In the meantime, I’m going to reread it and work out whether nursery school to Phd is too great a leap for April.
Maybe a five year plan is more in order.
How about you?
Have you decided it’s time for a year of pleasure for you?
Join me at the blog for weekly updates on the pleasure and the pain.
The theme for April is ease.
All during March, ease wanted to be the theme. Flashes of wise insight leading to ease (albeit nursery school ease).
So much of the stripping away and eliminating the unnecessary that I’ve been doing this month is about ease or lack of it.
It has such grace and beauty that I want to dedicate a month entirely to it.
Ease of physical movement
Hope you enjoy April.
Wishing you much pleasure. And ease.