Tag Archives: stress

Day 370: How To Enjoy Hobbies With Limited Time

Being the father of a young girl, time has become a scarce resource. Before becoming a father I had time to participate in big projects and move them forward fast. That is not possible anymore – at least – I cannot do it in the same way as I used to do it. This has opened up a new dimension/understanding of creation/participation/movement that has to do with quantity compared to quality.

An example I have is my recent exploration of growing vegetables. Initially I wanted to and also tried to become self-sufficient on vegetables. However I realized that it took too much time – also considering that I have many other interests/hobbies that I want to continue. Practically speaking, there is simply not room in my life at the moment to grow all my vegetables without compromising responsibilities in other areas/parts of my life.

As I ran into this practical conundrum of wanting to do something, yet not having the possibility to do it, I began looking at solutions. While pondering various approaches, I realized that my interest in growing vegetables really had nothing to do with self-sufficiency. Becoming self-sufficient was an idea that I created, that mirrored my passion/intensity/desire to expand and learn about vegetables, earth and nature. However, self-sufficiency was not the core point. Instead, what really drove me and motivated me to invest myself in learning about and growing my own vegetables was the expressions within me that this hobby opened up.

Looking after a plant from its infancy as a seed to its blossoming into a full grown vegetable is soothing, deep and intriguing. Putting my hands into the earth, and using my body to dig and carry is rejuvenating and refreshing. That is really what growing vegetables is about to me. It is a moment of expansion into a new area of interest – an area where I have no past experience – and where everything is new and fresh – that is why I enjoy it. I also find pleasure in learning recipes, and finding ways to store the produce for a longer time. I expand when I participate in this interest – and that is the core – that is what matters. Hence – it is not of prime importance that I do as much as I can, it is however important that I put as much of MYSELF into what I am doing – that I am really HERE and allow these words/expressions to develop within me as I participate in the specific type of hobby.

When I approach my interest in growing vegetables like this I can fit it into my schedule. It does not have to be that much, though it has to be substantial. And I find this to be true of all of my interests. It is a lot more rewarding when I make sure that my commitments are in balance with the rest of my responsibilities. And then I am able to do a little, however do that small part with intensity, specificity and my total focus – and push myself to develop the soft values/expressions that are hidden within each and every hobby that is part of my life.

To sum it up: When time is scarce, instead of looking at acquiring a quantity, I move to achieve quality and to balance the hobby in harmony with the rest of my life. And instead of focusing on the amount I create, focus on the expression within me that I live as I am walking/participating while in my interest.


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Day 458: Learning How To Act Without Motivation

During my years at the university I met countless of people that explained to me that they were not able to start a project well in advance, because they needed ‘pressure’ to move themselves. Consequentially, they ended up doing a spurt, writing their essay 48 hours before it was due. Oftentimes the result was that their assignment was compromised in some way.

I used to be the same. I had the tendency of waiting, waiting, waiting, and then, when anxiety and fear struck in, I began to move myself. However, I realized that this caused undue stress on my body and that my results were not satisfactory. Furthermore, it caused an unbalance in my life. I moved from not doing anything productive, to trying to squeeze in 20 productive hours in one day. It is obvious that such a contrast cannot be healthy. I understood that routines and a sensible balance would assist and support me to remain calm and stable – and to not go into highs or lows.

Thus, I decided to change my way of dealing with assignments/projects/deadlines. Instead of waiting to the point where stress and anxiety arose – I decided to MOVE myself. I realized that I did not need motivation. In-fact, motivation is a very limited concept – at least when it is defined as a energy that comes up from within and that allows us to move. Because if that is the case, we will always be slaves to the movement – instead of being our own masters – where we decide to move ourselves because it is the BEST thing for us to do.

In physical reality, motivation is not required. Physical reality works within the principles of physics. And in physics the laws of physics abide. One of these laws is that movement in the physical happens when we move physically – meaning – that in order for us to move a ball – we have to in someway exert physical energy unto that ball. The key here is PHYSICAL ENERGY. It is impossible to move that ball utilizing thoughts, it is impossible to move it utilizing feelings or emotions – WE MUST exert PHYSICAL force. And – exerting physical energy is NOT dependent on us feeling motivated to do so.

My assertion can be proven easily. Simply move your hand in-front of your face and shape it into a fist. Now ask yourself, were you able to do that because you felt motivated? No – you simply DID IT. And that is the secret – the REAL secret. Physical movement requires no feeling or emotional backup. Our physical bodies are in direct connection with our PRESENCE – our DIRECTION – our SOUL for a lack of a better word. When we decide to move – we move – unless of course – we are hindered by a ailment of some sort.

The reason you can shape your fist without motivation, yet feel unable to move yourself when it comes to other more extensive and complex movements/projects is because the latter requires a steady, consistent and deliberate exertion of physical energy. Most of us are not able to do that without training. The skill I am talking about here is SELF-DISCIPLINE.

For me, self-discipline means, ‘doing things even though you do not feel like it because you see that it is what is best’. And is not this the big problem everyone is dealing with? We do not feel like it, and we do not have the discipline to simply do it – and instead we depend on feeble and untrustworthy experiences such as motivation – to help us get shit done. That is not a sustainable way to live.

Self-discipline is a skill that can be developed. Yet it takes practice and it takes pushing and breaking through the invisible walls we have created for ourselves. That process can be difficult, depending on how much you believe in the idea that you need to be motivated to move. Though, it is possible to re-create ourselves in this regard – I have done it – it took a couple of years – however today – I can move myself for extended periods of time without the slightest inspiration or motivation to do so. Instead I move, because I decide to do move.

 


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Day 442: Slowing Down = Speeding Up?

In my work, one thing that I have noticed, is that mistakes and errors most of the times arise as a consequence of wanting to move too fast. When I want to get more things done than what I am able to handle, and more speedily at that, mistakes will be made. Thus, to be slow, structured and steady is really an art-form – a valuable skill – especially in today’s world where everything moves faster and faster.

I have realized that having a clearly defined structure and a simple and grounded method assists and supports a great deal with keeping a steady momentum. An example would be the way I have decided to set up my proof-reading technique. I always proof-read everything I write, and I do it one, preferably several days after I have done the writing. That will give me space to forget and reconsider what I have written, so that I can re-read it with fresh eyes. Further, I always proof-read first thing in the morning, because that is when my mind is fresh and alert – ready to catch any small inconsistency and mistake. I then read through the text and mark each mistake or change I want to make. I read through every line – and push myself to be attentive and concentrated – and really READ all of what I written – which can be very hard to do. The reason being that it is easy to start reading on a automatic pilot, to begin to assume that words have been written that have not. For me to proof-read effectively, it is of essential importance that I am HERE – and that I am not stressing or hurrying to get to anywhere else. Hence, the importance of pace. If I move too fast, I will miss points, and create mistakes.

For me, the challenge has been to push through the state of urgency/stress I experience sometimes when I am at work, with deadlines and responsibilities, because when I am in such a experience, it feels like there is just not enough time for me to slow down. Though, the opposite is actually true. To slow down, and do things properly and effectively ONCE, actually means that I am able to speed up. The speed though is simply a outflow of being precise, concentrated and focused – SLOW and DELIBERATE – and not rushing and being all over the place.

Slowing down is what allows for real speed and efficiency. And I have seen this in my work time and time again. If I am slow and deliberate, I only have to do it once, and it will be done, all points and dimensions considered and directed. However, if I do it in a haste, there will be mistakes, things I have forgotten, and it does not help that I might feel confident or self-assured, because when I move too fast, mistakes are unavoidable. Perfection requires a steady movement, a movement and pace that allows for deep concentration.

Another important point to consider is to not fear making mistakes. The fear of making mistakes actually supports the state of rush/stress and is hence NOT conducive of slow, efficient and precise self-movement. Many seem to believe that the fear of making mistakes is supportive when it comes to developing thoroughness and focus. Though, consider the following, we have a body and a mind, our tools that we use when we work. These tools have a limited capacity – there is only so much physical energy at our disposal – and when that is used up – we have to rest in order to regain our strength. Thus, if we are continuously in a fear of making mistakes, this is going to use up part of our limited energy capacity – and thus – there is less energy at our disposal to be focused/directed into concentration and focus – and hence – we are actually increasing our risks of making mistakes by fearing to make a mistake.

The best possible approach is to be fearless. When we are fearless, we can place our focus on that which MATTERS – the MATTER at hand – and put all of our attention unto what we have in front of us.

Self-forgiveness

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel empowered when I become anxious and fearful of making mistakes, and think that this fear is my fuel, my power, my motivation, that will guide and assist me, and be my guardian angel that I can rely upon when things get tough – instead of seeing, realizing and understanding, that this fear of making mistakes is actually causing me to make more mistakes, because I do not have my full focus and attention HERE

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to trust my fear of making mistakes and see it as an asset that I can use – instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that I become inefficient when I move myself from within and as this fear of making mistakes, I become irrational, and I start making decisions that are based on fear instead of common sense

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that my fear is empowering, and thus I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to continue to be in my fear and anxiety, to hold unto it, to fear letting go of my fear and anxiety, in the belief, that if I let go of my fear and anxiety, I am going to lose myself, my motivation and my drive, and I am going to start making a lot more mistakes, and I am not going to do anything worthwhile with my life what so ever

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that I am strong, capable, and able of directing and moving myself effectively, be specific, focused and concentrated, WITHOUT fear of making mistakes – because I can make decisions as to who and what I am – I do not need nor do I require anxiety to exist within me and be a part of my life – because I can live in the physical and create myself to live and be what I want to be and what is best for me as well as others

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that fear and anxiety, that survival stress, will help me to be more specific and exact – and thus I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand, that in accepting and allowing survival stress to rule and determine my life, and my world – I am more prone to make mistakes – I am more prone to miss important facts and facets of a problem or decision – and thus more prone to create things in my life that I do not want in my life

Self-commitment statements

When and as I see myself going into survival stress, when I begin to move myself hastily, from task to task without no flow, ease and without deliberate action – I immediately stop myself, I take a breath and I bring myself back here – and I see, realize and understand that this survival stress is holding me back from being effective in my life and from creating myself – because when and as I have this survival stress within me – I miss what is HERE in my life – and I miss MYSELF – as my living becomes focused on and around this survival stress – and thus I commit myself to deliberately slow down and to practice grounding myself back into the physical – and to practice moving myself from within and as BREATH – each and every time I notice that I go into survival stress/anxiety


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Day 425: Revisiting STRUCTURE

This week I have returned to look at the word STRUCTURE and one person that supports me a lot when it comes to practically applying and living this word is my partner, because in many areas of her life, she is very structured – and one such area is cooking.

When I was younger, my way of cooking used to be very chaotic. Let us say that I were supposed to cook beef, potatoes and some sauce. I would then throw myself into it without prior considerations, and probably, begin frying the meat, while at the same time trying to peel the potatoes and stirring the sauce, hence creating a very chaotic environment for myself – thus no structure.

Through my partner, I have come to appreciate planning, preparation and considering the process of cooking before embarking on the journey. Hence, what I do now, is that I will prepare all the raw material, before I begin to do something with it. Hence I will peel all the potatoes, I will cut the meat, and I will pick out the ingredients for the sauce. By doing this, I have been able to create a much more relaxing and rewarding relationship with cooking, and obviously, I have become a better cook. Though, there are still points that I want to improve and expand upon in relation to my cooking.

The first point is to learn to slow down to read the recipe, preferably two times, so that I make sure that I know the steps needed to be walked to cook the dish. This practice of slowing down and looking/investigating/researching before I move and act is actually something that I would like to integrate in other parts of my life as well – because I have a tendency of moving too fast. When I get excited about something, I want to move NOW – however – the problem with this is that I will then many times miss points and make unnecessary mistakes, that could have been easily prevented with a little bit of forethought.

Another cool example of living structure that I realized as of late had to do with removing rust on my car. I had been thinking of removing the rust for a while, however, I had only thought about it, and not really planned how I would do it, for instance, where I would park the car, what kind of materials I would use, how long it would take, etc. Then one day, I just began, I put the car outside and started removing the rust spots, and naturally, it began to rain as I was applying the new coating. I stopped, and looked at what I was doing. I could see and feel that I was moving in a state of stress and excitement, I wanted to move, move, move, and get done, move ahead, apply – however – in that state of stress/excitement – I was missing to PLAN and take into CONSIDERATION my environment – and effectively preparing myself and my surroundings so that I would be able to walk through my project successfully.

I then decided to change direction. I used about two hours to clear out the garage, to prepare a work bench, electricity and effective lightning, preparing my environment for the operation I was about to commence, until I satisfied and content. Then I began anew with my project, and this time it flowed A LOT better.

Thus, similar to cooking, in making minor reparations on my car, it is very supportive to prepare, plan, look ahead, and structure my movement and my environment, before moving on to the actual production. Though, it is fascinating, that at times, this preparatory phase does not feel as real, as important, as significant as the actual ‘production’ phase – and I will actually resist spending the necessary time, preparing the point. However, this is a faulty proposition, because ALL parts of the project, is in-fact, however indirectly, connected to the actual production, and will all have an influence on the finished result. And it is the same with cooking. The cooking process will be a lot less stressful, and hence, there will be more time to direct the specifics, and make sure that the details are in place.

Self-forgiveness

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to want to jump immediately to the ‘productive phase’ of a particular project/expression and not prepare or structure my movement beforehand, and hence, I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand, how it is that I am in-fact compromising the finished result, compromising my expression, because structuring, and preparing, are actually important aspects of the process and indirectly impacts the finished result of whatever it is that I am participating within

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that by placing focus on the finished result and the direct actions that result in the finished result, and not looking at the entire process of creation as a whole, I am limiting myself and my movement within the point, and I am compromising the finished result, as I am not allowing myself to structure my movement, to create a sound foundation from which I am able to move and create myself and express myself within the particular project that I am taking part in

Self-commitment statement

When and as I feel stress, excited and anxious to get going, and I want to move on a project without structuring it, preparing for it, and considering the walking of the project, I take a breath and I bring myself back here – and I see, realize and understand, that I have consistently proven to myself, that I will do a lot better, and the finished result will be much more effective, when I take time to structure my movement, when I take time to look at what is required and needed, and how to best facilitate my movement, and then, when I have made that plan, move myself forward – thus I commit myself to practice preparation, structure, slowing down, and using the time that I need, in order to walk a point of creation methodically and slowly, to get it done in the best way possible.


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Day 423: Moving Physically Instead of With Stress

I now have around one week left on my holidays and that has triggered some stress and anxiety within me, because I feel as if there is so much still to do, so much I still want to get to, so much I still want to participate within. If I follow along with this anxiety and stress, the physical movement/behavior that follows is that I start to act spontaneously and irrational – trying to ‘do things’ as fast as possible, and preferably, as many things as possible. The idea behind this way of living is that I will through that ‘save’ time. Needless to say, usually the opposite happens instead, because I will move around aimlessly, and forget to prioritize, and do the things that are really of importance, and do them effectively and well.

Hence, I find that the solution is to SLOW down, to move with breath, to do the things I do have time to do, and to simply leave the rest for another time. Instead of stressing about the fact that my holidays are soon over, I could instead use the time I have effectively, through remaining stable, and planning, structuring my days, and my time, so that I move, and get done the things, I know are important and relevant for me to direct, and that I might not have as much time for, when I start working again.

Self-forgiveness

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to access, and go into, anxiety and stress when I notice that my holidays are soon over, and fear that I will not get to the various responsibilities and projects that I have in my life, and thus I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to trust anxiety and stress, and believe that anxiety and stress will support and help me, that they will guide me, and distrust myself, thinking that I am not able to or capable unless I have some form of energy that comes up within me and motivates and propels me forward

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to distrust myself, and believe that if I move myself through the physical, only remaining, and standing as the physical, and not use any anxiety and stress, then I will not do anything what so ever, and I will but become a lazy bum, sitting on my ass all the time – and thus I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that its through sanding within and as the physical, and moving as the physical that I am able to take everything into account, and move in a way that is best for all, instead of merely stressing myself ahead, and fast forwarding life, believing that this is going to lead me into a better life

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to trust stress and anxiety more than what I trust the physical – and thus I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not develop a deep and intimate – one and equal – relationship with my human physical body – similar to what I had when I was a child – where fear did not control me and move me throughout my day – but instead – I MOVED myself with and as my human physical – and hence I commit myself to move myself WITH AND AS my human physical body – to move myself within physical structure and planning – to look at what requires to be done – and then move to do it – however not overexert myself or become irrational – always remain grounded

Self-commitment statements

When and as I see myself becoming stressed, anxious and worried because I am not getting done with as many things I think I should, or things are not moving fast enough, I immediately stop myself, I take a breath and I bring myself back here – and I see, realize and understand that this stress and anxiety is not a help for me to move forward, it is rather what holds me back, because while in it, I become irrational, I become lost in a state of fear, where I start to do things that do not make sense, only to feel like I am moving forward; and thus I commit myself to remain grounded – to stick with structure and practical planning – and to trust myself as the physical – that I will move myself and get things done – maybe not the way I have before in my life – though I will move and direct points until i am satisfied – in the pace of breath


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Day 384: Solving Fear With Structure

I have worked a lot with fear, anxiety and insecurity in relation to work and managed to stabilize myself in many dimensions/areas. However, what is cool, and also challenging about my work, is that I am continuously moving into more expansive positions of responsibility, which then opens up new experiences/dimensions of anxiety, fear and insecurity. I have realized that there are a couple of things that assists and supports me to remain stable at work. Firstly, structuring and planning my work thoroughly assists and supports me to remain stable. Secondly, preparing myself and devoting the time and effort required for me to be fully knowledgeable as to the point I am directing assists and supports me to remain stable. Though, recently with work, because I have been given new responsibilities, it has been more difficult to fall back on my previous tools.

There are primarily two things that builds this pressure within me. It is the fear of making a mistake, mishandling my responsibilities, and facing critique/anger from colleagues and others – and it is the feeling that there is too much, too many responsibilities, and too little time for me to effectively handle them. The latter of these pressure points is not only mind-based – it is a fact that I have little time – and to get to all my responsibilities – it is hence important that I am efficient, precise, prepared and structured – because that enables me to walk through it effectively. The former, the fear of mishandling my responsibilities, is however a mind point, in the sense that, it does not make sense to worry about critique/anger that I might potentially face from others, as it should not affect who I am anyway. Hence, it is these two points, and my relationship to these points that I want to work with. If I am able to stabilize these points – I know that I will be able to work and care for my responsibilities without going into pressure/anxiety/fear.

Thus during the past week I have worked with the word STRUCTURE. Initially I found this word empty and vague. Though, as I considered, looked at, and practiced implementing structure into my life, I came to see that structure is very much practical. Living the word structure is not the same as having routines – because routines does not necessarily have to be structured. In the word structured there is an element of prudence, sagacity and foresight. When something is structured, it is planned, it is considered, it is a plan develop with clarity and understanding. A routine on the other hand is simply something I do because I have done it other times. Structuring my life requires intelligence and self-movement.

I practiced structure through pushing myself to take one day each week, either at the beginning or the end, to plan the week ahead, using ‘to-do-lists’ and basic timetables. This then gave me the opportunity to slow down and look at my work and my home-life from a birds eye-view – which would allow me to prioritize, plan-ahead, consider, refine, and prepare myself for the week to come – so that nothing would come as a surprise. The results of this practice was that I remained grounded and stable throughout my week. When something unexpected came along, I dealt with that, however when that point was sorted out, I would return to the plan.

Another way which I would live structure was to already before I went to take my coffee break, decide on how long it was going to be. I did this because I have a tendency to otherwise, sit at the table, and wait until some of my colleagues leave, and then get up and back to work. However, when I do that, this is sometimes compromising, because I will loose time, that would have been better used working. This, similarly supported me to remain stable, to know what was coming, to know what I was doing, when I was doing it, and how I was doing it.

Hence, structure, a very interesting word, and I have come to see that it is in-fact practical, concrete and very much earthed. Living and integrating structure has however been quite challenging, because I have a tendency to ‘flow out’ into unstructured and spontaneous activity – and although I enjoy this form of expression at times – it is not very supportive to live like this all the time. In other words, it is always supportive to have a direction, though that should not limit me from improvising when it is needed, or I decide to do so, because it is something that I want to experience.

I will continue to experiment with the word structure in the week to come. Will be back with updates.

 


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Day 374: Irrational Priorities

For a while I have pushed myself to take on and develop carpentry as a hobby for myself. In this process I have come up with and walked several creative projects in and around my house, which I have found enjoyable, fascinating and challenging. However, in taking on this hobby, I also became aware of another pattern – that of irrational prioritization and placing an unmotivated amount of value on projects/things/tasks – that in turn creates stress, anxiety and worry.

Irrational prioritization is when something, that when observed in a wider context, is of no real impact, is seen as REALLY important. This happened to me with my carpentry hobby. I would come home from work and be tired, cook food, and then to my great dismay find that I had only a small amount of time left to devote myself to my hobby. Other times I would find that I had no time at all. Because of this I started to feel stress and resentment – stress because I had no time to do what I wanted to do/felt was important for me to accomplish – and resentment – because I felt that my work was stealing all of my valuable time that I could have devoted to my hobby.

However, I realized that I could not continue this way of relating to my hobby – and I saw that there was a misalignment with regards to how I prioritized my time. I looked at the point and saw the following: My hobby, it must be something that I do for and as myself, something where I develop and expand myself, my skills, my application, and where I do so as a moment of enjoyment. Carpentry as such is not something that requires me to complete projects, and there is no need to feel stress when I do not have enough time to apply myself within the hobby during a couple of days.

What is of REAL priority and REAL necessity in my life is in-fact such things as MONEY, FOOD, WATER, CLOTHES, TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, HYGIENE – if those things are not in place there will be consequences – and thus they are a real of REAL importance – REAL priority. If those points are not aligned effectively, and I do not have enough time to get to them, there is a real problem – however – when I do not have enough time to get to my hobby – that is not a problem – it is not an issue – it is simply me not having the time to commit to my hobby.

Thus – what I have come to see is that a lot of my stress have been based on irrational assessments as to how important certain things are in my life. When I have defined and established the real priority/importance of a task/activity – it has been a lot easier to structure my life and move myself without stress. If I have had to little time to get to all the things I have wanted to accomplish, it has been easy to let go of the points that are of no real consequence – and then continue with my day.


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