I really enjoyed my morning walk today. I’m looking up at some birds having fun and thinking about what it would be like to fly.
Sometimes Lists Can Add to a Slump
I can drive myself INSANE with internal to do lists. Because my brain loves to churn, there is no end to the mountain of productive things I can come up with that ‘could be, should be done‘.
Lately, I’ve been in a weird-ass slump of sorts. Things are overall fine and progressing, but I likewise feel stuck – as if a hypnotist paralyzed me for fun in a Vegas show and the post-hypnotic suggestion to GET NOTHING AT ALL DONE took permanent root firmly and aggressively in my brain. I watch in a kind of slomo horror as the piles in my dusty house of horrors grow higher, my list of show notes and segments for the next episode grows longer, and the necessary practice for voice work grows more and more overdue.
I wrote a bit about this and my therapist’s take on this behavior in my status report of 6/19/15
My Zen lassitude has been increasing ever since. Partly, I find this relaxing, but mostly, crazy making!
Here are some of the things I perceive I am ‘not doing’ and need to put on an agenda
- Get a dang show written and recorded
- Answer all emails and comments
- Finish sound checks with new mic for placement
- Work on animation homework for next class
- Do daily vocal exercises, including diaphragm strengthening
- Call the Dr. about medicine
- Take my friggin’ vitamins
- Make sure to apply the gel the dentist makes me use to my gums after brushing my teeth
- Do SOMETHING in the dusty house of horrors
- Remember to get in touch with the friends I said I would get in touch with
- Cut Tiger’s nails and brush him
- Exercise, dang it!
- Eat Intuitively again, pay attention!
- Write a blog post (at least THIS one can be crossed off)
- Look up recipes to cook for the next few days and make grocery list
- Go buy groceries
Ok, now what’s weird, even though there ARE some out and out chores on the list, the vast majority of items are things I LIKE TO DO! But this is what I hear in my mindful, Zen brain.
- There are ALREADY 116 shows if anyone wants to listen. It’s fine to wait until you want to record something.
- There is NO NEED to answer within hours. You always get to it.
- No one is insisting you record something with this mic yet. You’re not even ready yet to demo. Plenty of time to get the placement right.
- You can do your homework tomorrow. Better to work on accents today.
- Missing a day or two of vocal exercises actually lets your chords rest and your diaphragm recover.
- You haven’t needed to refill the medicine for quite a while. The discussion can be put off until you get around to it.
- It’s not the end of the world if you miss a few days of vitamins
- Your teeth haven’t been killing you lately, and you HATE that gel. Wait until you need it more.
- You’ve survived the dusty house of horrors before, and you will again. No need to stress over it.
- Those friends could get in touch with you if it was so important.
- Tiger is sleeping mostly in this heat. He won’t notice a few days off.
- Too HOT to exercise, dang it!
- At least you’re NOTICING you’re not eating intuitively right now, that’s step 1.
- Hooray! Blog post is done.
- We have plenty of frozen leftovers, just use them.
- No need to go to the store yet – why buy food you aren’t going to use?
- Easier to reheat than start from scratch.
If you compare list one and list two, what’s your reaction? When I re-read them, I get kind of anxious, like these rationalizations and excuses are UNACCEPTABLE. However, part of me is quite proud of my newfound ability to ‘chill’. I’m mindfully practicing cutting myself slack, since my crazy compulsive brain likes to boss me around so much. It’s not REALLY in my nature to be a lazy bum, and I have to admit that part of this slack-cutting just doesn’t resonate with me. Is there another way?
Positive and Negative
I decided to do or not do all activities in my day today by asking myself one question.
Is doing this activity or avoiding this activity positive or negative for any of my life goals?
- Get a dang show written and recorded (To Force Myself to write and record a show today will not make a good show. Better to wait)
- Answer all emails and comments (Doing this will make me feel better about skipping the show recording today. I LIKE to answer BCs.)
- Finish sound checks with new mic for placement (This can wait. Better to give mic placement my full on attention. It’s important, but not a burning priority)
- Work on animation homework for next class (This can wait. I DO want to research and accent for this one. Better use of time today)
- Do daily vocal exercises, including diaphragm strengthening (This will make me happier if I do it. I’ve had a day off already, and I want to continue my progress as a voice actor)
- Call the Dr. about medicine (This is a get it out of the way chore. Why waste mental energy on it? Done)
- Take my friggin’ vitamins (These are needed for me to feel the most energy, so DO it.)
- Make sure to apply the gel the dentist makes me use to my gums after brushing my teeth (Don’t like this stuff, but if I neglect it, my teeth kill me. Do it)
- Do SOMETHING in the dusty house of horrors (Can wait. I’ve been keeping the dishes and laundry up. Good enough for now)
- Remember to get in touch with the friends you said you would get in touch with (Will go to a voice acting event tonight. It IS important to keep up with friends).
- Cut Tiger’s nails and brush him (Can wait until tomorrow, but he loves it, I love it. Tiger is part of my cuddly happiness and he needs to feel good in his coat)
- Exercise, dang it!(Got up early and took a walk just for fun. Was pressuring myself to record a show – but if I waited until all of my segments were written, then it would be too hot for comfort. Decided walking is better than not walking, and took precedence over show recording this time)
- Eat Intuitively again, pay attention! (Decided to apply the negative positive question to every bite today. So far, it’s working, and I feel much more Zen about my eating with this technique)
- Write a blog post (at least THIS one can be crossed off) YAY!
- Look up recipes to cook for the next few days and make grocery list (Have enough on my plate without cooking, so will wait a few days)
- Go buy groceries (not cooking, no need)
- Cook (I can still eat well by eating what I have that I’ve cooked prior)
How Do You Deal With Your Lists?
Now I know your internal lists don’t look like mine, but it IS interesting to listen in on what you tell yourself about the items on YOUR list. Are you anxious like me if you don’t think enough items are being crossed off RIGHT NOW? Are you Zen to the point of floundering? Do you have a good balance with moving ahead without beating yourself into submission? I’d love to hear your thoughts about lists and how you motivate yourself. I’m finding that the more I can tie my items to life goals and internal desire vs. the internal berating I usually give myself, the more I get accomplished in the long run. I also notice I am less bitchy and snappy and I feel better in my body and in my mind. But I won’t lie, it is a tough one to change my thinking. To actually say I’m choosing NOT to do a chore that occurred to me is very, very tough. I guess I’m more used to people pleasing even those bossy people in my head. It’s kind of strange AND liberating to be mindfully assertive with myself. Baby steps into a better future.