Okay, I’ll cop: It’s the time when my papers are due, so I actually did a few days in advance so that I could get into writing zone. I’ve been doing so well with this, that I really would have beat myself up if I had to skip days.
This does sort of counter the whole “Balancing Action” goal of today and what I identified as my weakness–exchanging periods of intense activity for periods of intense listlessness. However, I’ve got to say that this was the least-stress free major paper I’ve done in…well, I can’t remember how long! Maybe ever. I took breaks, I did meditations to calm myself down, and I let my knowledge flow. And I didn’t plagiarize, so that’s always a plus. I turned it in yesterday (I’m doing a “2 for 1” this term) and, at its longest, it ended up being 24 pages, not the 15 I say below–that was a minimum needed. I did make an effort to moderate my writing process by writing five pages over three days…but on day three I realized that I needed to write a helluva lot more. Still, it was a very do-able process and the twelve pages I wrote on Sunday was as painless as writing twelve pages in one day can possibly be. I’m up early this morning to turn that 24 into a 10 page ‘speaking paper’ for another class. Wish me luck!
Yesterday I worked on balancing thinking, an air quality. Today I turn to fire in work on balancing action.
Roderick notes that being imbalanced in action can go one of two ways: “you might be either overly active or […] listless.” He notes that there is nothing wrong in getting things done (rather sounds like productivity guru David Allen), but if you’re not balancing activity with time to rest, then you run the risk of burn out: very unbalanced action. Besides, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. What’s the point in living life if you can’t enjoy some of it? Roderick also says that “[w]hen we are overly active, often we are masking some level of anxiety, sadness, or fear. When you keep yourself from experiencing these suppressed states you also keep magical empowerment blocked and stagnant.”
Procrastination and listlessness, however, can do much of the same things. Listlessness, according to Roderick, can “be a form of avoidance; it may be avoidance of task completion or of being competent.” Moreover, “when you do not complete whatever it is that needs doing, you leave holes in your psyche and gaps in your true spiritual abilities.
- In reviewing your activity levels, do you find that you are out of balance in your action?
- In which direction do you tip the scales? In overactivity or in listlessness?
If you find that you tip the scales in the direction of overactivity, take planned break times from your usual routines today. If you have ten activities or tasks planned, only complete eight of them. When you break from your routine, monitor your feelings. What happens inside of you when you are still? Allow whatever sensations you have to emerge fully, so that they flush up and out.
If you tip the scales in the direction of listlessness, it is time to make a plan of action. Make a list of tasks that need completion and that you have been avoiding up to now. Vow to complete at least two of the tasks today. Whenever you sense that you are resisting action, take not of your bodily sensations. Where are you gripping, tightening up? Allow the body to relax from the gripping sensations and continue on with task completion.
Like with the balancing thinking exercise, I think I demonstrate at least some level of both. However, I know my issue is with listlessness. I am the procrastination queen, especially when it comes to my schoolwork. Right now I’m extremely worried about my paper. I have one week to write 15 pages. This seems impossible to me: I’m a very, very slow writer, and I have to “see” the draft in my head before I write. I’m not at the “seeing” stage yet. To be honest, I only started making some serious advances in the paper yesterday. I should have been researching for at least a couple weeks prior to this, and I seriously procrastinated. I didn’t even run an MLA bibliography search for potential sources, let alone read them.
What inevitably happens is that my listlessness results in an intense period of overactivity, and I get drained and angry…and it takes me several weeks to recover, which makes the cycle repeat again.
So today, I’m making a plan of action. I had wanted to complete a 366 exercise, to make at least one decent comment in class, to go on a 20-30 minute walk, and to do at least some drafting/outlining work on said paper. Today I also have to go to class, work, and the SCA corporate meeting. I really, really need to do drafting, and I’m pretty sure I can complete the 366. If I can squeeze in a walk on top of that, I’d be happy, but it’s not crucial.
Well, drafting was a bit optimistic. It’s currently about 9:30 in the evening, and this is the first chance I’ve really had to work on it. Both corporate AND dinner went very, very long (lots of proposals to muck through at corporate and a house membership dinner and tour…LONG). I suppose I could work on it, but I’ve had a long freaking day and could use an early night. But I’ve done this, I did comment decently well in class, AND I did manage a short walk after work ’cause I got out 15 minutes early. I accomplished an awful lot today!