I was reading through the archives of a blog I just discovered. The author’s archives went back to 2012.
It made me wonder how far mine went back, so I checked.
And lo and behold, February of 2009 was my debut here. And I have amassed close to 700 posts.
When I first started, the idea here was that I would be on the lookout for things that inspired me, and then write about them. Thus the title, Inspiration Location.
That didn’t last long, though. After a while I just found myself writing about whatever I was obsessing about at the moment, inspiring or not.
Now the idea is to chronicle my thoughts as I tend my streaks and develop my projects.
Back in 2016 I self-published a little book calledThe Project-Driven Life. It’s basically tips and tricks for finding out who you want to be when you grow up. It involves tending streaks and completing projects.
My next project is a book called The Yoga of Everything and I have started maintaining some streaks that will help get it finished: writing 1K words daily, reading, meditating, and blogging here once a week.
But, back to that new-found blog.
Whenever I find a new blog, the first place I go is to the About page.
I want to know: Who is this person? Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do besides blog? Do I have anything in common with them?
I want to see their picture. I want to know a little of their backstory.
I don’t have an About page currently. I changed WordPress themes recently and forgot to include one.
Maybe that’s a lie.
Maybe I didn’t forget.
Maybe it’s just that I hate writing About pages. They never seems to fit me and they keep going out of date as my life morphs and changes.
For example, if I say I’m a 66 year-old yoga teacher living in northern Pennsylvania, is that an accurate description? It’s true, of course, but is it my true deal?
I don’t think so.
What if I say: I’ve been writing every day in personal journals for over 40 years?
Now, that might be getting closer.
I think it’s because if you’re the kind of person who writes down your thoughts every day, and keeps doing it obsessively for decades, you’re defined by that activity.
We are what we repeatedly do. ~Aristotle
And you also find out that you’re that weirdo that needs to write down your thoughts every day.
But seriously, a journal is a place you go to describe yourself, analyze yourself, contemplate yourself.
And then, if you do a strenuous amount of editing, take out all the gibberish, remove the nonsense, and give your words a beat to dance to, voila, you have yourself a post.
Which is basically what I do here.
And have been doing for 10 years, apparently.
If you’ve been following along here, for however long. Thank you. It makes me really happy to have readers. So onward!
Persistently. With reverence. For a long time. ~Patanjali
I can’t seem to get any traction going. I can’t seem to get consistency on mybig rocks.
My scorecard this week:
I blogged last week, so Blog 1/1
The writing is the easiest. The blogging is the hardest, but since the blogging is only once a week, I managed, at least for the first week, to gut it out.
I credit Nanowrimo for getting me in shape to write 1K a Day. After having to hit that 1667 word-a-day benchmark every day in November, a thousand words a day is puh.
As for the meditation, even though I haven’t been consistent, I really like the new meditation app I’ve been using. It’s Sam Harris’s Waking Up Course. There are daily, ten-minute guided meditations. And even though they are talkier than I would normally be able to tolerate, I find, at this stage in my meditation practice, I kinda welcome his intellectual guidance. Having spent decades on the cushion doing zazen, and other techniques, and not quite understanding what the hell I was doing, Sam’s guidance is causing some of the the mist to dissipate.
My greatest resistance is to my 30 minute daily personal yoga practice.
Is it that I just don’t want to confront how inflexible I’ve become? How physically weak?
I haven’t come up with a good time-slot for it, either, and that is a stumbling block. Plus, I have this thing about changing my clothes. I hate changing clothes. It takes everything I have to get out of my pajamas into day clothes. And then when it’s time to teach, I resist getting out of day clothes into yoga clothes. It’s a ridiculous struggle.
I was talking to a fellow yoga teacher friend and she practices first thing, in her pajamas. But I don’t like yoga first thing. I like yoga, like third thing, after writing, and meditation. But then the puppy needs a walk, and then the day often derails.
The solution would be to take a regular yoga class. Plop down a lot of money and commit. I’m an Obliger. I need accountability. But there is no regular class or teacher around here. Mine are the regular classes. I am the teacher.
I blogged, what? Twice? The goal was 8? That was a miss.
I don’t want to let this one go. I am going to try for once a week and set up a Project in Scrivener called 2109 Blog Schedule. Put down all the dates, and then just fill them in.
I did nothing toward learning the Excel spreadsheet. That one will roll over into the new year as well. I need some incentive to do this, though.
And while I didn’t learn any new tricks on Scrivener, I did download the latest version, Scrivener 3, and I’ll take that.
I’ll give myself a pass with the writing of writing notes. I wrote quite a few but not 6 a week. I did figure out that if I just pre-address and pre-stamp envelopes and leave them lying around with their notecards inside, I’m more likely to scratch something onto one of them at some random moment.
G got me a Sproket printer and I tried it last night and I really like it. It’s a machine that spews out small 2×3 inch pictures. It works through an app on my phone. I took a pic today of Stella sleeping on her back, her legs all splayed out. I think the kids would laugh at this in a note.
I am having a ball compiling my sequences using my new Circa system from Levenger. Big win. Game changer.
While I walked Stella to the Post office today, G took down the tree.
This tree did not last. The guy at the tree farm nicked the bark at the base. I think that was the killing blow. It never took up water. Something happened.
Not a good tree year.
I felt this load lift yesterday when it was finally over. I get exhausted easily at Christmas time. It’s a struggle for me to feel optimistic at this time of year. Whereas at other times of year optimism feels like my natural born state.
The weather is a factor of course, but so is the work involved in keeping traditions going.
All worth it, of course, but still.
I know I am dehydrated. Too much sugar and alcohol.
So let me remind myself why I set this as a year-end goal in the first place. What was my why for this one? Frankly, I don’t remember. But my 3 main reasons for starting any project are:
1. To see if I can endure or persist over time.
2. To gain some new knowledge or skill.
3. To reduce an irritant.
Which box does blogging regularly check?
Probably persistence, but that’s not the real why.
I think it has more to do with my fear of being judged unkindly.
I need to find a way of defanging this self-limiting belief. I need to tell myself another story, one that will have me approaching the writing of the blog with interest and enthusiasm. Now I approach it like cleaning the toilet. It has to be done, but I don’t want to do it.
I think I am delusional. What I mean by that is I think I can achieve things without doing work.
I am work averse. I believe in magic. Magically, this will happen and I won’t have to suffer. Work makes me question the worth of everything.
“You are defined by what you are willing to struggle for.”
This is a tenet of stoicism. I believe it. It explains a lot of my lack of self-definition. Who am I? What am I willing to struggle for?
I honestly don’t know.
As a young woman, my motivating struggle was freedom and autonomy. I needed to get free of my suffocating family. But once that happened, I still wasn’t free. I was free of them, as people, but I still bore the wounds of bad or non-existent parenting.
Low self-esteem, being the major wound.
Needing to be seen. Another one.
Needing approval. That, too.
So the blogging meets my need to be seen. And sometimes I get positive feedback and that meets my need for approval. But it’s the crippling low self-esteem that creates the avoidance and the resistance when it comes to posting something. The writing has to have a point. And sometimes, or most of the time, what I write seems pointless. Or no. Not pointless, just irrelevant and boring. It’s not helpful. Except to me.
So I figured a positive motivational ploy would be to tell myself there is value in showing people what it looks like to set goals and struggle to achieve them. That a blog devoted to that would have a point. It might even be helpful.
There might be a few people who would enjoy watching the on-going saga of a how a projects develops, thrives or dies. And that’s what I would show here. Show your work, as Austin Kleon advises.
I wish I could say that this articulated blog mission has cured my resistance, but it hasn’t. So far. Maybe I just need a few more thousand repetitions of the mantra: Show your work, show your work.
I’m now in the home stretch in NaNoWriMo. I’ve no doubt I’ll finish. I have 7K words to go and 3 days to finish, so even though it’s going to be a bit of a crank, if I know anything, it’s how to crank.
Afterwards, I’ll celebrate, then report here on how it went for me this year.
I’ve decided that’s what this blog is going to be about from now on: me giving a weekly report on my projects.
I like this use of a blog because I can use it as an accountability tool.
There’s only a month left in this year. For some reason, this thought shocks me.
The other day I decided on some year-end goals.
1. Win NaNoWriMo
2. Compile my classes and spiral-bind them.
3. Learn 2 new Scrivener skills.
4. Learn to make a spreadsheet in Excel.
5. Blog twice a week, until the end of the year.
6. Put 6 little notes in the mail each week.
Here are the 3 types of projects I like to take on:
Some sort of endurance challenge where I have to complete something hard over time.
Something that gives me a new skill or new knowledge.
Something that makes my life easier by reducing an irritant.
Right now, winning NaNo is my endurance challenge. Learning Scrivener and Excel will up my skills game. Compiling my classes will definitely make my my life tons easier. I’ll finally be able to locate the hundreds of sequences I’ve compiled over the years.
The blogging and the notes projects represent things I resist. I don’t know why, so I’ll need to think about that, get to the bottom of it.
So that’s the plan for this blog going forward.
Now though, I have to crank words. Next post: How I Won NaNoWriMo in 2018.
I was going to do something for Lent, but never got around to deciding what.
I don’t want to “give up” anything; I want to add something.
I want a new challenge, a new activity, a new project.
I did the digital declutter in January and started a book club in February, now I really need something for March.
I could (re)commit to Edna’s O (my new reference book about endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, anandamide, serotonin and oxytocin) and say: FIRST DRAFT: By Easter I’ll have a first draft.
I could do that, but it doesn’t meet one of my Project-Driven Life criteria for a new project. It doesn’t check the “excitement” box.And it really needs to. Or else I’m not going to be happy.
At the same time, I also realize that happiness isn’t a requirement for a worthwhile and enriching project.
I realize too that happiness requires struggle. (I wholly subscribe to that Stoic tenant. I do.)
But, I also need stim every day, even painful stim, if necessary. I want to feel as amped doing my work, as I will for having done it.
And truthfully?This research really does excite me —once I’m in hip deep. So why all this sissy toe-dangling at the beginning? All this reluctance to get wet?
Once I’m in I know I’ll be fine, happy as a clam in fact. But it’s the anticipation of that head-hitting-the-water dive into the deep end every day that stops me, that fuels my procrastination. That’s the real struggle, not the actual work.
So I resist. But not for the next 6 weeks. No!For the next 6 weeks I’m going to slay the resistance monster, make it numero uno on my To-Do List every day.
Might also be a good time to re-read The War of Art, and find an accountability partner.