I don’t have much to report today. But I’ve decided to write anyway since my two “top lines” in SLAA are to mediate and write every day. I’m sure that it’s common to have far more than two top lines, but my life has always consisted of a big list of “shoulds”, so I decided to keep it simple, as there’s less chance of my freaking out that way, and self-sabotaging. My pattern is to impose a lot of rigid rules on myself, and then panic, break them all on purpose, and hate myself for doing so. I’m not quite sure where that comes from, but I’m sure it’s got something to do with my overbearing, over-controlling mother. I feel like I have two people inside me – my mother who’s telling me to do something and me, as a child, who wants to yell – and sometimes does – “Fuck you, mother!”
The biggest challenge for me is not getting to my meditation cushion or to my desk; the challenge for me is believing that there’s a point in writing or meditation if I can’t do it “properly”. Meditating “properly” means sitting down for at least thirty minutes and, ideally, I’d do that twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening – but that has yet to happen. I do usually manage to sit for thirty minutes once a day.
When I was twenty-one, I went on a ten-day, silent Vipassana retreat in France, where I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, and practically meditated the whole way through until 9:00 p.m. I’m not sure I ever want to go on a silent retreat again (actually I didn’t mind the not talking part – although my friends would be astounded given that I’m known for not being able to shut up for more than two seconds – but the no-reading/no-writing rule really got to me!) but I will forever be grateful for my first introduction to mediation and Buddhism. However, the one bad thing about the retreat was that we were told that we needed to continue our practice at home by meditating for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Two hours of mediation a day!? Well, I’m sure this is indeed optimal, but how many people have that kind of time to spare? I managed to keep up the two-hour meditation rule for the first couple of weeks at home, but it became too much after that. A healthier person wouldn’t have beaten themselves up for this slip, and would have simply tried to do what they could, but ever the black-and-white thinker, I couldn’t tolerate such compromise. I either meditated for two hours a day, or I thought “Fuck it!” and did nothing at all. Soon I just stopped meditating altogether.
To be honest, I still don’t really see how meditating for just five minutes a day (if that’s all I can manage) is going to help me at all. But I guess the idea is to just develop a meditation habit, and take it from there. Research shows apparently that if you stick to a new activity for twenty-one days, then you form a habit.
As for writing, my dilemma is very similar to the one I have with meditation. “What is the fucking point of just writing in a blog about the pitiful, little, self-obsessed dramas of your life?” my bitchy mother’s voice asks me. “That’s not going to help you start a career as a freelance writer!”. My bitchy mother is right in a way, of course, as I really would like to do some “real” writing, but I do think it’s important to write here every day. I’m incredibly lonely, and it’s nice to write something and say “Hello, world! I’m here! I have a voice!”. And again, it’s back to the matter of creating a habit. I shouldn’t feel that I can only write something when the muse strikes.
It doesn’t matter how unimportant, uninspired, uninteresting or short a blog post might be, I just need to do it!
Just fucking do it!