Friday, May 25, 2007

Rushing In My Dreams - Balancing Act?

In my last post I talked about procrastination.

During the week or two before writing that I became aware of several dreams in which I was rushing. There was no particular place that I was rushing to. No particular task to accomplish. Not running from anything. Just rushing. Just the feeling of pressure that comes from rushing.

It may have been related to the fact that I was procrastinating with those reports and that led to a feeling of "having to get something done." Maybe that's it; in my daytime consciousness I was doing a fairly good job of pushing the task out of my mind - and then in my sleep / dream time world, it shows up as the concrete abstraction (how's that for juxtaposing two words) of just plain rushing - without any specific content.

But another thought also occurred to me. That was that with any change there is an inevitable backlash which tries to re-establish the original state of affairs.

In my situation, I started this process when the words "I will rush no more" became my mantra by applying them in an ongoing, daily, and gradually expanding manner. The "ongoing" was important because to not do that it would just become another incomplete experiment in living and I've had enough of them already. The "daily" was important because that has a more cumulative power and helps to maintain momentum. An analogy would be with exercise. It's better to do some exercise every day than to save it up for extended periods of exercise every few weeks or so. As we all know that is the surest way to increase injuries and then that will set the person back even further.

And the "gradually expanding" was important because that both makes it real and that also makes it much more interesting and "alive."

I also wanted it to be gradual to forestall the inevitable backlash. The bigger the initial change, the more abrupt it is, and the more radical it is the bigger will be the pushback. It is as if the force of habit of the original lifestyle suffused with rushing and mindlessness and consumerism has a life of its own, and if you push hard, it will push back hard. Isn't that one of the basic laws of physics - every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It's not just physics. That's also life.

Another way of looking at this is that a person or a system tends to keep doing what it's doing unless it is acted on by an unbalanced force. (If all the forces are balanced, i.e., equally counteract each other, than the object / system will either remain stationary or will continue at it's same rate of speed and in the same direction it's headed.)

The strategy I adopted was to apply an unbalanced force combined with the principle that "the slow way is the fast way." You could call it a stealth approach the goal of which was to allow for change of very well ingrained habit clusters (lifestyle, society-style) by keeping the change beneath the radar so the pushback would be (almost) avoided.

To go back to the dreams now, I wondered if the mindless rushing in my dreams was a signal that "the old way" was "creeping" back in?

And then an interesting thing developed. When I made this connection, the dream sequence ceased ( - at least so far.) My further thought was that now the new system (I will rush no more) is well established and the pushback from the dreams (unfocused rushing) is a "threat" to the new and more prized system and therefore I / it wants to neutralize the potential resurgence of the old system.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gotta Vs Wanna

I'm baaaack! Ahhhh....

Here's the simple fact: I had some paperwork to fill out and I didn't want to do it. No way around it - I just didn't want to do it. I dug my heals in, and, in essence, threw a good old fashioned temper tantrum. The tantrum was quiet and essentially passive. The wish was played out with the internal words, "not doing it!" playing over and over in the background.

Guess what? It was effective in the sense that it reinforced the fact that I didn't want to do it. It kept that wish alive and kicking. But, it was also effective in keeping the pressure on me to finish it, and I knew from past experience that the pressure wouldn't subside until I got around to doing it. It was like procrastination on steroids.

Thankfully I was efficient in dealing with other day to day things. They got done and that part of my desk didn't start accumulating more "stuff." But that first report that I didn't want to do remained there. Then another report had to be filled out. That didn't get filled out either and then they were both laughing their heads off at me. And just to keep this real, a third form (a dreaded reaccreditation form - dreaded because they truly are a useless pain) came in and, you got it, went into the same pile and joined in the discordant chorus.

There was a part of me which knew that if I started new posts here that I wouldn't get back to the "work-pile" till even later.

All kinds of bargains or strategies with myself took place and all were equally ineffective.

I even tried to invoke my mantra: "I will rush no more!" but I quickly short-circuited that because I knew it was just a cheap marketing trick to get me to buy something that was not in my best interest.

I knew I had to do the work..."just gotta."

But I didn't "wanna." No, no, no, no! But you gotta!

Waaah, waaah, waaaaaaaah!


Then I had a lucky break. I knew that I wouldn't feel good again until I started writing on my blog again. That became a....I gotta and I wanna. Yes! That motivation got me going and was enough to break the log jam. First the homework and then the play.

The next day I started the reaccreditation form and kept at it in a piecemeal fashion till it was finished. Then I got to the last report and I sailed through that easily. None of this work was heavy lifting for me, you understand...but I just didn't wanna because I had a spasm of my "dig in my heals" reflex to a "you gotta" command.

That evening I sat with my wife telling her about this, and I play acted a grade school temper tantrum complete with whining and fake pounding on the table. It felt great and we both had a great laugh.

The next morning I tackled the first report, the one that was on the bottom of the original work-pile. On a lark I called the person to whom it would be sent and asked if they still needed it. Guess what. They didn't. Long story but practical fact was the report was no longer needed. That turned out to be only a minor relief since I had organized the whole report in my mind and had all the pertinent information assembled and it would have been finished in a short amount of time. I guess you could say the work pile had the last laugh.

Yes, it's good to be back.