Thursday, January 10, 2013

need some mind-fi

It's the new year and we all want to be healthy, am I right? Trot that ass to the gym? Banish the sweets? Do more of this and less of that?

Typically, I'm up for all sorts of rearranging come January. Last year, I timed the launch of my new website with the new year. In 2011, I went on that cleanse. Remember that? In 2010, I pledged, once again, "to write before my monkey mind has a foothold." Ha! And here I am in 2009 with my workshop besties, promising this and that.

Now, I'm not knocking the tradition of taking inventory and forming intentions to better navigate the path ahead. I'm for it big time. And yet. Life, you know, sort of happens. The unscripted disasters. The earthquakes, the shootings. Biology, destiny and gravity all meeting in secret, putting together a powerpoint on the ways in which life will conspire to fuck you up.

A word that gets bandied about this time of year is "balance." Yoga and cardio. Fun and work. Kale and steak. Coffee and cigarettes green tea. Balance. Yeah. I'm feeling that one. Lack of balance, actually. Despite my carefully-crafted work time management plan:
  • 25% writing for paycheck
  • 25% teaching/editing
  • 25% marketing, email-checking, blogging, tweeting and generally fucking around on social media
  • 25% work-in-progress writing (includes research)
...that ain't happening.

The "marketing, email-checking, blogging, tweeting and generally fucking around on social media" is probably, oh, uh, 78% of my office time. If you pull the "research" out of WIP and stick it where it rightly belongs, in the "fucking around" section, then we're probably up to 86%.

Look, at the start of 2009, Facebook was just beginning to get its foothold. Nobody was on Twitter yet. Blogs were ramping up, but not ubiquitous. Pinterest? Not even a gleam. Now, there are all these sparklers and messages and imperatives to join this, respond to that. And don't, by the way, make a mistake because your digital footprint is unerasable. Sometimes, I'll follow a trail that starts with a tweet, and before I know it, I'm up a dark alley that holds no clue to what I first set out to explore.

What I want for 2013 is engagement. Substance. Depth. I want more steak, but balanced with kale, 'cause, you know, kale is good for you. I want to immerse in my projects and not write myself into a Googleable corner. (Oh, I guess I'd better find out what the world record for the 1500 is, 'cause my character needs to beat it--wait, what sort of training shoes should she be wearing. Better text my stepson and ask him.) Like that. Sometimes, I'm multitasking from device to device, as in:
Yeah, need some serious Mind Fi. So. What's my plan? Do I have a plan? I'm not sure I do. Other than, I think this whole idea might start with reading more. Reading deeply. A novel, a memoir, an article. From beginning to end. With engagement. I long to get deep enough into a book that I forget to check my email, my texts, my Google Analytics. Do you know what I mean?


  1. Man, do I know what you mean. Read some poems, girl. They won't hurt ya.

    1. On the list! Starting with yours!

    2. Oh yes indeed, I do know what you mean. Sometimes it seems like my attention span has shrunk to the size of a peanut (or maybe just to the size of a pea). AND still, I read some books last year that made me want to stay with them and not go to the computer. I plan for more of those in 2013. And to sink deeply into my own WIP.

    3. Peanut or pea, there certainly are a lot of activities that encourage shrinkage, right? The mind-numbing parade. Good luck with all of it!

  2. Anonymous8:00 AM

    You've put your finger on it. The problem is that there's simply too much reading material---not to mention movies, TV, etc---and no way to really digest it all. We get into the habit of skipping around instead of really giving our full attention to what's in front of us.

    I've been trying to retrain myself. At the moment I have a sticky note on my laptop: "Where are you going?" Sometimes it works. Other times I tell the note, "Away from you, muthafuckah," and then I go back to pinballing around as per usual.

    It's a process.

    1. Anonymous4:48 PM

      Today I took my son shopping at the mall--he needed dress pants of all things. I accidentally left my phone at home, and this inadvertent experiment, wherein we became separated and then criss-crossed the mall several times before finding one another again, revealed the following:
      1. I've stopped verbally communicating logistics because I can always just text/call my kid to arrange a meeting spot.
      2. My phone has not only become an emotional support object, but I rely on it to satisfy a zillion random questions and thoughts.
      3. I'm more impatient than I thought.

      Retraining. Yes. Perhaps I'll make a habit of leaving my phone at home like once a week (just typing that makes my stomach hurt).

    2. Concrete evidence of being over-tethered to cyber voice--I used my empress user name instead of my suzy user name. Most people just choose, you know, have a blogger blog or a wordpress blog. Natch, I have to have both. Doh!

  3. we now live in a world that is fueled by distractive energy. i think it's sucking the soul out of us 140 characters at a time. there is no zen. no buddha. no hardcore so far into world according to garp territory that you didn't hear the phone ring. because you're phone doesn't ring. it vibrates. the fuckers have gone and made our distractions interfere with our wavelengths--literally.

    i have no answers here. or solutions or lists or resolutions. i'm adrift on a sunday night.

    1. Well I'm there right next to you, adrift in a sea of vibrations. (see my afternoon o' panic post in response to Averil, above.) I need to add that during this 20 minute separation I actually contemplated a couple of scenarios:
      1. Approaching a cell-phone holding stranger to ask if I could borrow their phone--but abandoned this because, in my panic, I sort of "forgot" his phone number (since it's just the button "4" on my favorites.
      2. Getting in my car and racing the 8 miles home in order to call my son at the mall and let him know I lost him.

      Is that fucking ridiculous, or what? Luckily I talked myself out of both of those stupid ideas.


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