Susceptibility to externalities

After a day of ego blows the day before, it was fascinating to reflect on my response yesterday. I gravitated towards creating things, and showing people what I had created in order to get positive feedback, and help me feel better again.

One of the things I created was a soccer goal for my kids, combining two other soccer goals that were falling apart to make one that was perfect for our purposes. The act of creating was soothing. Able to look at something I had put together from other, discarded, things was satisfying. Showing it to others gave me a buzz.

I did some similar things with a spreadsheet I had created at work: refining, revelling, showing. And with some sales I made of the breath mints.

I am taking some good and not so good points in reflecting on this. The good is that in acting despite how I feel, particularly in creating or refining something, I feel empowered and alive and taking responsibility for my plight. This is so good in helping me move through a tricky patch.

The not so good is the desire for and boost I get from external feedback. In itself there is nothing wrong with it, it can be a great way of validating that I have created something useful. However if I become dependant upon the feedback to get me out of a tricky patch, then I am simply finding the other end of the spectrum of where I was: having my feelings dictated by externalities.

Externalities can be a good guide, but I don't want them to be my driving force. This I want to come from within.

Ready, aim, hold...

The time to hold and the time to fold...or fire.

Sometimes I know the decision that needs to be made, or the action that needs to be taken, but the timing is not right. I get a sense of it in my stomach.

Holding my nerve can be one of the hardest things to do when my head is assessing all the evidence and telling me one thing, but my intuition and gut another.

As I experience this more I trust it more, so that I do not prematurely act. 

Cold showers

Each morning I have a cold shower for 30 seconds after my piping hot shower. While I never enjoy this experience, I get so much out of it, like the following:

1) It would be so easy to dread going into the shower each morning knowing that I am going to have an uncomfortable experience at the end of it. I remind myself to enjoy each part of the shower, making the most of the warmth and comfort while it is there.

-- Broader lesson for the day: live in each moment, even when knowing that there is discomfort ahead, there is no need to let that deprive me of what is happening in the current moment.

2) As soon as the cold hits me I am tempted to switch off from what I am feeling and ignore it, or to try and act as if I can handle it without overt expression or emotion. Both are not helpful. The truth is I can't help but move around; my breathing gets heavy; sometimes I even yell. But as I allow myself to feel the unpleasantness of the cold shower, the feelings somehow pass right through me and my body experiences a flow and release.

-- Broader lesson for the day: feelings and emotions are there to be felt. As the appear through the day, no matter what they are, I acknowledge them and let them do their thing as they pass through my body.

3) Just before I turn the shower from hot to cold, I start telling myself that I don't want to do this. That it will be too painful. That I can't handle it. And then I do it anyway. The truth is I can handle it. It is 30 seconds of discomfort, and I can stay with that discomfort for as long as I need to.

-- Broader lesson for the day: even when I know something is going to be uncomfortable, I have the power and agency to choose to enter into it, and the will to stay with the feeling until it ends.

4) Once I count to 30 and turn the shower off, the energy the is running through my body is joyful. Sometimes I start giggling. I always feel ready for the next thing, despite how lethargic I was feeling before getting into the shower.

-- Broader lesson: I have energy reserves available to me that I don't always access. When I am feeling down or lethargic, the positive energy I need is not actually that far away, and can be quickly unlocked.

I'm not sure I will every really enjoy the cold shower. However I am starting to value what I get from the exercise.

Being here now

Having let people know that I am writing a blog, and getting some positive feedback about it, I find myself in a strange state of not wanting to write. I feel nervous that people I know are going to read about me. The veil of anonymity was liberating for my writing. Added to this I have felt quite lethargic and low over the past few weeks.

So today I have decided to write how I feel, regardless of this reluctance to write and my burning desire to alt+tab away from this page and check facebook/soundcloud/gmail (which I have just done anyway).

Today I feel sad. I miss my boys. I feel lonely. I really want to start working and earning an income again.

I am working, but the money is not yet coming in. I did a podcast interview this morning which went really well, but at the same time depleted my energy. I did some work on my mint business which was great, but that is still months away from brining in revenue.

I walk around my house and it seems big and empty. I feel disconnected even through I am spending more time on facebook than I ever have. 

This may be the most depressing post I have written. What am I to do?

It is simple really. I think most of the solutions to most of the problems are simple. I need to reach out to people. To take the first step to connect and talk and ask for help. I'm off to call a friend. Thanks for reading.