– Jose Ortega y Gasset –
I have decided after an inordinate amount of thought, that this year there will be no resolutions – no vows to do this or that, or not. I don’t much like rules anyway and a life filled with what you should or should not do, with a Greek Chorus of inner voices constantly judging and criticising every move is somehow lacking in joy and spontaneity.
New Years Resolutions have become something of a standing joke in my house…. give it a couple of weeks and even the most resolute amongst us tend to be back on the old well worn paths – and with good reason: whilst acceptance and awareness are a pretty good start when trying to make changes, most of the patterns we’d like to change are controlled by psychological habits which suck up our energy – some of which gain momentum over months and years to become programs that begin to rule our lives, potentially using up resources and crippling our actions and well being. They become embedded as well worn paths of thought and behaviour – often so well worn that we begin to buy into their story as they pose as real and necessary parts of our identity. I can certainly testify that battling against these tides – or at least standing strong and resisting them, is hard work.
Without a steady opposing energy we’re at the mercy of these “drive and crash programs” semi aware but unable to respond effectively. They’re infinitely more likely to be a problem when we re already stressed and tired, or when our energy is manic and unfocused. It’s a vicious cycle – the more out of balance we are, the more likely we are to be unable to oppose the self destructive behaviour and as a result in the long run it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the coping strategies that landed us up in this mess in the first place.
My resolve for 2016 is to attempt “The Energy Experiment”:
Given that energy and time are infinitely precious resources, I’m constantly astounded at how much of both I waste in distractions, meaningless behaviours, fueling the very habits I’d most like to get rid of. My attention is so frequently grabbed by (rather than given to) so much that’s neither fulfilling or useful: never ending internet trawling, mindless grumbling thought patterns, eating or drinking just to pass the time. Sometimes energy can be dissipated in ways that are less than obvious – One of my most energy depleting habits is the need to “hack life” to work out the whys and wherefores, I suppose to bring coherrence to chaos. The last few months – maybe it’s an Autumnal thing, have been a time for this kind of reflection as many of these recents post testify. It’s been immensely helpful for me to put pen to paper but I’m well aware of my tendency to get caught up in the patterns of thought and processing.
The irony is that the dripping tap of wasted time and energy results in less of both being available for the things I really value – the things I feel passionate about and that actually serve to make life better in the long term.
So The Energy Experiment is all about setting boundaries: an attempt to say “no’ with resolve when I’m tempted to expend energy on something that’s not worthwhile or that I cannot control or change. Sometimes a committed “yes” to see something through – with determination and energy even when things get tough and it would be easier to go with the flow,
I am sure sometimes I will fail, but I hope to find it’s worth coming back to these boundaries – I look at them as “edges” – places to keep a watch on, to notice when they cave in or are too tight and to learn a few things.
It’s simple stuff: the theory is to cultivate awareness, chanel energy wisely and then act with commitment and resolve – attempting to be kind to myself when things don’t go to plan, recognising that old habits die hard. Progress not perfection as a zeitgeist.
So that’s it for 2016
I’ve loved writing here – and am looking forward to continuing in a more simple and quiet form in the coming year. Thank you for reading and many good wishes.