One thing.

Right now, I am writing a blog entry.

I have my word processor window taking up the whole screen area on my computer so as not to notice any other windows, notifications, or other distractions. Ideally, the desk that the computer is sitting on would be bare. I prefer it that way. The desk is not clean because I am not cleaning right now. I am writing a blog entry. I am only focused on the one thing I should be doing right now, which is writing a blog entry. I am doing it because my calendar told me that tonight, I would write a blog entry.

Later on, there will be something else to focus on. Later on tonight, I will work on learning about data structures. After that, I will prepare myself for the work week. After that, I will talk to a friend, then exercise, and clean up my living space, before getting ready for bed. During each of those times, I will only worry about the one thing that I am doing right at that moment. At a previous moment, all I worried about was making a schedule for the week ahead. This morning, I planned out today’s schedule with more detail.

 

What is the most important thing? The thing you are doing right now. Do it well, immerse yourself into it, make it the only thing you are worrying about.

What is the most important time? Right now. The past is gone, the future is yet to come.

Who is the most important person? The person or people you are with right now. Do what you can to make them feel that their needs are eased by your presence.

 

Yes, this philosophy is not perfect. We need to think or plan ahead. But if you are thinking or planning ahead, make that all that you are doing at the moment. Plan the snot out of whatever you are planning. And when you have a plan, move on. You can come back to it later.

Yes, while I am focusing on my blog entry, thoughts have come into my head about my plan for the rest of the night. I stopped writing for a second to think about if what I’m writing aligns with things I have read, and I wondered if I should check and see if my dinner had cooled down enough to put away in my fridge. I thought for a few seconds about the music that I hear from a neighbor’s house.

I let the thoughts go. I will worry about them later.

Right now, I am writing a blog entry.

How much better is our work; our time investment; the relationships we maintain and build; when we only focus on doing what we are doing in the present?

I find it therapeutic both work and at home to ask myself: “what is it I am doing right now? Is it a conscious decision? Am I worrying about something else?” If the answer to any of those three is something resembling uncertainty or “no”, then I probably should move on to something else to with more of a conscious effort.

Right now, I will spell-check, edit, and post my blog entry. Then, I will go do something else.

One thing.

You’ll be OK -re-post from Zen Habits by Leo Babauta-

The following is an re-post from Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits (found here). We all (including me) sometimes go through mini-bouts of anxiety and thought-spirals. It is important we remember that they are temporary and that our minds tend to focus on bad outcomes that might not come true anyway. Please read on.

A link to the original article: You’ll Be OK.

——————–

You’ll Be OK

By Leo Babauta

You’re walking down the street, and you’re worried about being late for meeting someone.

You’re anxious about what they might think of you. You pass some people and worry a bit about what they think of you, without realizing you’re doing it.

You’re worried about some things at work, and all the things you have to do in your personal life (taxes, errands, bills). You have this feeling you should be doing more, doing something else. All the time.

You worry about how you look, about how you’re perceived, about how you’ll do, about whether you’ll fail, about how much you have to do, about what you don’t have, about what you’re missing out on, about how you compare to others.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all worry about these things.

Here’s the thing: in all of these cases, you’ll be OK. Life will turn out just fine.

We’re always worried about what might go wrong, about the bad things people think about us, and so on. We’re focused on the bad outcomes only.

Those bad outcomes are just a few possibilities out of many, and they’re unlikely to come true.

And even if they do (let’s say someone thinks badly of you), the bad outcomes rarely ever mean anything disastrous for our lives.

Even if the bad things come true, you’ll be OK.

Picture the things you’ve worried about in the last few years: little things mostly. And in all of those cases, you turned out fine. Life didn’t collapse.

If you start to build confidence that you’ll be OK, you can let go of the worries (when you notice them). You can feel good, rather than being consumed by worry and anxiety all the time.

You walk down the street, relaxed, with a smile on your face.

——————–

P.S.- I have been terrible about sitting down and writing lately. Shame on me. It’s for good reason though- I’m investing time in things that at the moment are more important. It’s nice to see that the site is still getting traffic despite my lack of activity.

Tom

Slowing down.

The picture at the bottom of this post is an x-ray of my left small (pinky) finger. In the middle of December I unknowingly fractured it. At the onset, I thought it was merely bruised. I finally decided to have it looked at and x-rayed. It turned out that I fractured it in three different places and required surgery. Last week, I had two pins drilled into the first bone and joint of the finger to better align the bones and joint as they heal.

Life has moved at a slower pace as a result. The surgical dressing after the operation limited the clothing I could wear because of how think the dressing was around my wrist. Picking up things, cooking, working at a computer, driving and even sleeping have proven to be more challenging with one functioning hand. In a Chicago winter, it can be pretty frustrating. Extra layers of clothing are required and I need to constantly clear snow out from my vehicle and walkways. While I am right-hand dominant, I use my left hand more frequently for lifting, throwing, grabbing, eating, even brushing my teeth. The dominance isn’t distributed perfectly. The pain isn’t too bad, not enough to merit painkillers. It’s been a trial and experience.

The splint I now wear does help in practicing awareness and mindfulness, though. Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog has a guest-post from about a year ago on Craig Ballantyne’s 12 rules to live by. His seventh rule features two mantras: 1) “Nothing matters”, and 2) “It will all be over soon”.

While those may well be the mantra of a very depressed person, it can also help the majority of us in learning to see ourselves through both challenging times and rewarding ones. Spilling coffee on the kitchen table because of my splint isn’t the end of the world. I just laugh it off and clean up. My splint will be off in four weeks, I will have better control and dexterity then. I remember that life is finite as well, and to make the most of the time I do have, be it by learning, writing, spending quality time with my inner circle, or taking care of myself.  It’s not worth wasting time complaining or feeling sour about the splint or other restrictions.

My drum corps motto applies here too: 3) “Figure it out”. I tore up some thermal shirts from Goodwill so I’d have a warm layer that could fit over my cast. I’m wearing non-lace up shoes as much as possible to save time and frustration. And I’m not feeling bad about asking others for help. I am appreciating the fact that I have people who are willing to aid me and I look forward to the chance to pay their good forward. Until then, I’ll be drinking lots of milk.

2014-01-03

X-ray showing the pins drilled into my finger.