As everyone (who knows me) already knows, I recently resigned my position at Four Kitchens and took a month off. During my “sabbatical”, I went on a road trip through the Southwest, soaked in a hot springs, hiked in Sedona, rehabilitated my daily habits at the Lake Austin Spa, and spent a glorious week in the Bay Area attending BADCamp.
All good things …
People asked me, “What’s next?” When I made this decision, I didn’t know what was next. (Leap of faith!) I’d planned to do all the job searchy things a person is supposed to do — after I got through the transition and had some time to rest. But this is web development, this is Drupal web development, and recession or no recession, there are more jobs than people to fill them. I was solicited early and often enough to not worry (too much) about rewriting my resume. Also, I wanted to give everything I had to Four Kitchens before I left, they remain a valuable part of my professional and personal life.
Then came a fateful brunch.
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I wonder if the people who market Spam, a canned meat product made mainly from ham, hate that the word now means unsolicited bulk email, comments, social media posts, or text messages. Though I don’t eat it anymore, I have a soft spot in my heart for the former; it’s camping food and Python camp. I am plagued by the later.
When I began blogging regularly, I received very few comments on posts. The comments I did receive felt like gold and made me happy. Now, I receive multiple “Approve this comment” notices every day. Which, I confess, felt good for a while.
Now, I am jaded. During the 31 days of the Yoga Yoga challenge, I have received 222 comment submissions. 202 of them are spam. These are low numbers. As my blog ages and shows up in more search results, I’ll receive more spam. The ratio will likely stay the same though, 10% of the comments will be worthy of my attention. 90% will waste my time.
I’ve had an article due, project deadlines looming, longterm problems with short-term issues to solve, social events to attend (always a stressor for me, even when I want to go), future plans to make, and laundry piling up. My mind dived inside of these tasks and clutched onto them, as if they were a flagpole in a tornado. Everything else, my home, swirled around me, untenable. Including, for the last few nights, my evening yoga practice.
Meanwhile, my body aches. I’m tight and sore. Hormones are adding their own discomfort while not eating (well) stirs the pot. I’d understood that letting go was central to my practice, but I did not understand that letting go is a literal thing. Open my hands and place them on the floor in front of me. Let go of all the reasons not to begin. The physical act of beginning is the physical manifestation of letting go. The metaphor relies on the literal. My mind relies on my body. My practice relies on my presence.
Rather than wait until tonight, which was my plan when I began writing this post, I will stop now and practice. [pause] Course corrected. (And oh, I feel so much better.) No matter how compelling the mind storm, it is always that easy to change direction.
Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it. — David Foster Wallace
Today is Friday, my weekly letting go challenge day. On Friday, I decide which TODOs, issues, and concerns I will carry into the weekend and which I will leave behind. Some weekends (most of them lately) the DO vs DON’T DO wrestling match continues until Monday and I never, really, let go. I surrender, avoid, attend, dramatize, and fail to do the one thing that will renew me — let go and become fully present. I starve for relaxing moments while surrounded by the fullness of time.
Choices: I can work all weekend, attempting to stay on top of things. Removing tasks from that giant pile of “things to do” makes me feel less anxious but also leaves me exhausted on Monday. I can spend two days trying not to work, all the while, stressing. I can overdo socializing when I really need solitude. I can isolate myself when I really need connection. I can blunt my feelings with activities that numb instead of renew.
I can escape or let go and come home. It’s up to me.
I overcomplicate things. Ironically, my job is to uncomplicate situations and turn them into satisfying results. Web development, all software development really, is about that — understanding what is needed and creating an elegant and satisfying solution. Life is, basically, about that, isn’t it?
Perhaps I complicate things so that I can uncomplicate them, creating a need for myself. Perhaps I make all these BIG PLANS about how things are going to CHANGE and GET ORGANIZED just so that I reinforce my sense of powerlessness when I fail. Maybe overcomplication is a habit. I don’t know and I don’t need to know. What I need, what I crave, is simplicity.