U139: Über Focus

Yesterday was sad as it is every year on May 31st. I re-live a horror, the most unspeakable day of my life. I have come to know the ups and downs of the seasons and times where I am most vulnerable. We all do this, regardless of our particular brand of roller coaster reality. Life is not one monotonous giggle against the constant backdrop of a rainbow. We are all more complex than that. Despite what the retailers, drug manufacturers and psychologists might have us believe, we need not be relentlessly happy.

Sometimes life is crap and then it is not.

I have found that I can get through the plunging parts if I focus on something that brings me fulfillment and / or forces me to work towards a goal. Reaching out and grabbing hold helps unclench my fingers gripped around my thumbs. My eyes look to the distance rather than that unfocused stare looking back over and over and over and over . . . There is nothing to be done to make the story have a different ending, except to write another chapter, and another.

Recently I recalled a couple of times when I re-focused and reached way outside my comfort zone to transform and energize my life. Although the expression ‘comfort zone’ has become hackneyed, I believe that comfort is a prime motivation for Americans habituated by advertising. The first was about sixteen years ago when I started walking. I lived in Philadelphia and had lost my job a few days before Christmas during a recession that had hit New York where we had lived and lost the year before. I was unemployed for some months and I took up walking several miles daily. Mine was a life of the mind. A sedentary lifetime had caused a real disconnect between my body, mind and spirit. It felt healing to walk. And, I felt a re-birth within myself. I dedicated it to Angel and the life she missed, I would live as I would have wanted her to live. It helped me grieve.

When I left the corporate world for my own business in 2003 I gave myself an extreme makeover in my physical activity, ending addictions and commitment to living the kind of simple, frugal life I could be proud of living. This period for me now is a re-dedication to that transformation and the patterns started back in Philadelphia. Even though there is nothing really new within my life, this challenge and this period is about focus, über focus.

What works for me is to impose some arbitrary structure. I have made a plan (I just can’t escape the concept of make-a-plan) to follow a series of daily, weekly routines for a long enough period to create a set of patterns that will become somewhat reflexive. I think this will be the outline for a start.

Dawn routine: Get up, brush hair, wash face, brush teeth (water into bucket for plants), toilet (flush & swish w/soda) & dress – including shoes. Make coffee and put quinoa or oatmeal out in solar cooker. Water plants or just weed some. Make bed, open curtains, pour coffee into carafe and into mug. Have one cup while eating and reading book (outside preferable) before morning work chunk. Est. 6 am

Sunset routine: Figure out next day’s meals, clothes, projects & pull out what is necessary (like soaking beans). Sweep floor and porches. Feed worms the day’s scraps while checking plants. Wash any dishes and wipe surfaces of counters, tables & desk stuff with dishrag (fresh one each day). Put grey water into shower bucket for morning toilet flush. Close doors & curtains and dress for bed. Est 7 pm

These AM / PM routines are just a portion of the things I have been recording. The need for them has been growing for weeks and weeks. I have a whole series of constructs for walking, working, reading and other aspects of my life. I will no doubt blog each and every word. Today I simply name these two routines as a starting place. Chile Chews has an addiction challenge and I named procrastination as the thing I was going to give up. Hey, procrastination is rough for its ubiquitous nature. Every moment of every day could potentially bring procrastination from something or other. I will consider my challenge successful if I can incorporate these dawn and sunset routines into my life.

Flickr focus by Ihtatho

Flicker timer by Jax3683


Chile said...

Sounds good, Kate. I have often found that I can minimize procrastination during a day by simply making the decision not to and reminding myself of that anytime it tries to creep in. In other words, for me, it requires attentiveness. It's easy for me to lapse into procrastinating otherwise.

katecontinued said...

I know that it sounded like a good plan, then my son got home and I spent all morning out to breakfast.

It started with first thing in the morning needing a shower and having to wait for the water to heat. Before that it was not getting to sleep until after 1 am - going through his vacation photos.

Oh well, just a hiccup.

lavonne in san diego said...

Excellent idea, Kate--thanks for the inspiration. I like to joke that I'm a world-class procrastinator, but it's not funny. I've paid a high price for my little addiction to inertia. Btw, the link to chilechews post didn't work.

katecontinued said...

Thanks lavonne, I will fix that link.