want – want

I did a little experiment this morning. I am one of those people who wakes up to a litany of mental shoulds – I should have woken up an hour earlier, should have meditated before I checked my email, should have written a chapter before lunch, should, should, should.

So I took the cue from Manuel J. Smith’s lessons on assertive therapy and decided I was going to articulate what I want instead and be mindful of the consequences. So the morning went: I want to stay in bed for another half an hour, I want to meditate for shorter rather than longer, I want to work on my new blogs. It turns out the consequences are never as dire as the shoulds would have you believe. Yes, I still have work to do and deadlines to meet, but I am much more positive about approaching them later, rather than resenting that I have to do them.

I’m not speaking of indiscriminate wanting and giving in to wanton desires, and neither was Smith, but rather of being aware of what we want moment to moment and really living it instead of in the past (‘I should have woken up earlier’) or in the future (‘Ugh, I will have too much to do later’) and finding one isn’t ever here, now, at all.

Wanting, in this sense, is giving up. In my case, it is learning to give up the idea that there was such a thing as a perfect, productive day. Ironically, the result was, I actually got my day back.

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