Post #3055: Wanting to do and be.


I would call it a problem but I don’t think it is one really. I suppose issue fits – so I can say, my biggest issue (conundrum?) in life is that I want to do everything and I have a hard time getting it all done.

By everything I mean (at the moment), I want to be writing, weaving, working, trade unioning, meditating, restoring my loom, working out, going for walks, doing yoga, sewing, knitting, making art, being in community, gardening, cooking food, working, playing music, writing songs, and reading – every single day. And it’s just not possible to do everything – not when 8 hours are already taken up with work, and another 8 with sleeping. That leaves just 6 hours when you subtract life stuff, or maybe only 5 – and it’s just not enough.

These past few days I’ve been experiencing the desire for voracious reading. Of the book a day kind – over the weekend I read both Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) and Birdie (Tracey Lindberg), and then started The Curve of Time (M. Wylie Blanchett) which I’m now halfway through. I’ve got a few more books on the stack (including Barkskins by Annie Proulx), and have gone ahead  and ordered several more. I’m not sure what it is that has spurred on this re-emergence of significant book interest – except perhaps a very deep need for escapism at this particular juncture, and also a tug that I’ve been feeling towards writing again.

Which is what brings me back to my everything interests which is not a problem unless I think it is one, and that only happens when I am not fully present in the task I am currently doing. It’s this lack of presence in the moment, the forward planning of life that leaves us with the bad feeling of “too busy” or “not enough time” because really, you can only do one thing at a time and in that, there is no being too busy. You are just doing what you are doing in that moment. The problem for me starts when I am writing, but then I think – I would rather be weaving. Or I’m restoring my loom, and I long to sew instead. As none of these activities are requirements in my life, there is no need to feel hemmed in by them, as if they are crowding each other out – for each of them can be done in turn, as long as I stay present to the finish of each thing before turning to the next. Even work deadlines, which bear more importance, are not that fixed as I’ve bought enough good will in my career that I can let a few slip – not to mention the fact that feeling hurried doesn’t help me achieve them anyways.

And so, as long as I am comfortable with long finish times, and can move from one thing to the next without flitting (that is, staying with each thing long enough to truly sink into it), then I can do all the things.

At a zen shuso ceremony I participated in a couple of years ago a student approached the teacher and asked: “There are so many things in my life, I have this commitment and that, I want to do so many things but I feel so busy. What should I give up?” to which the teacher answered “Give up feeling that you are busy.”

And that is why it’s not a problem, or an issue, or even a conundrum. It’s just a state of mind that allows the generalist in my to run free.

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