Writing though I’m not in the mood to write. It’s not as though I’m forcing it really, no whips and/or chains. Just a gentle nudge of my fingers onto the keyboard, see what comes out. There’s material available. It’s all there always.
Discipline. I’ve talked about this word before and talked about my favorite definition for it: become a disciple of what you love.
I’m not the best at this. No I take that back. Well I don’t quite take that back because I’m certainly not THE best but I’m not terrible I just love a lot of things and thus have difficulty disciplining myself in one particular direction for very long. A while back I decided to move to California and fix that ‘problem’ but just ended up fixing it so hard I broke: ‘…the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow develops a definite will to be black and evil and destructive….The fact is that if one tries beyond one’s capacity to be perfect, the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.’ — Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
I do believe in the importance of maintaining some regular healthy practices: finding what we love and setting aside time for just that every week. It usually takes a bit of maneuvering to determine the appropriate amount of time to devote to this new habit we’re attempting to cultivate, and that amount of time is also likely to vary a bit from week to week. But in order to cultivate a new habit, we’ve gotta get enough repetition in to maintain that habit beyond the initial ‘oo hey look something new to do’ energy. That means doing it even [especially] when we the opposite of feel like doing it. If that thing is writing and we think we are utterly uninspired, start writing about that lack of inspiration. If that thing is exercise and we think we’re just lazy right now, that’s the time get off our butts and do a couple of crunches. If that thing is meditation and we’d rather watch a movie, we can sit for five minutes then move on with life. Doing the things we know we love despite what kind of mood we are in teaches us that we don’t need to be in any particular mood to do what we love. And often the reason we’re in a lazy, uninspired, bored kind of mood is in fact because we’re neglecting the things we love. Every time we make the conscious effort to do this new thing even though our old habits might dictate otherwise, that new habit is doubly reinforced.* Then after we’ve done that thing we can notice how much better we feel just as a result of taking the tiniest step towards developing something new.
Take home message: it’s good to do good things and it’s good if every thing you do isn’t perfectly good.
*Based solely on anecdotal evidence from my own life.