I haven’t posted here for a while but I’m on holidays so I’ve got a bit of time, more time than I’m used to these days. And it has occurred to me, with all this time off, that I’m not really good at taking a break. Here I am at the cabin, without a lot to do, and I find myself agitated instead of relaxed. And I don’t mean a little bit agitated. I mean the kind of agitated where I’m having trouble sleeping and I can’t sit still even though I don’t have anything to do. When I do sit down for a few minutes I feel guilty about sitting without getting up and doing things that I feel a bit paralyzed from it. Which I suppose is how I get so much done in a day normally, and what I’m valued for.
But here’s the thing, my meditation path is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I often find myself giving instruction and advice about how just sitting can save our lives, I really believe this to be true. But at the same time I can’t just sit. I am doing all the time. Even when I am meditating, and I am sitting for an hour a day here, I am doing something. I am meditating. I track my meditations in an app, I work to increase the length of my sit, I practice with techniques I hope will change my life. I am vigorous in my study even as I recognize this is the antithesis of the zen path.Which is not to say that Zen equals doing nothing but it does require that one occasionally step back and allow things to rise without acting on them.
These days my life is all about acting on things. I became the president of my union local in February, my current job is demanding and people rely on me every day for advice, I am often at home on Gabriola alone and so I have to make sure that everything is running smoothly without Brian’s help.
While I definitely feel that in some ways moving to the island has freed up more time and space, it has also has created the sense that I must always respond and prove I’m available even though I’m no longer in the city. For the first time ever in my working life I gave coworkers my private email case there is an emergency while I am away, and just days into my holiday I have already received three emails to it. What that does do is make sure I don’t check my work email but I don’t take it as a great sign that I’m holding on so tightly to my sense of self importance. I’ve always poked fun at the people who could not put down their BlackBerries at night, but I recently became one of those people.
This vacation at the cabin is illuminating that fact, and I’m aware that I have more than another decade of working life to go and if I keep up the delusion of being all things to all people I am going to burn out before I get to retirement. So it’s something to think about, to let go of, so I can find days where doing nothing is ok.