Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Vacation from Triggers

This summer, I went on a 10 day wilderness and folk art driving trip. Thanks to my cell provider's misinterpretation of the word "unlimited", I had very little contact with the social media, news, and daily anger of American life. Did I really miss it? Yes, and also no.

Take me back, I had no cell reception here.

Yes, because I like being connected with friends. That's what was promised, right? But no, because when I got back, it was very clear that my friends can't help themselves from a toxic connection to outrage.

I can't even relate a classic example, because the particulars change hourly. Something was tweeted! We must all take sides and denounce / celebrate, as required. A pronouncement must be made, or evil will be allowed to flourish. And on, and on and on. Use the quote!

What you realize on the beach, is that it doesn't change anything. The waves come in. The rocks are unmoved. The clouds hover towards shore, mist descends, sun burns it away.

What is so clear when you're not right in the middle of the muck, is that you don't need to take a side. It will continue whether you have or not. A twitter beef literally does not matter. Proves nothing. The only thing that matters is voting or actual criminal charges. No, I'm not naive. Your opinion is irrelevant, and so is mine. So many hot takes, for nothing. Served cold, in 36 hours.

Of course, if it's an issue that personally affects you, have a take! But for many of these controversies, you can observe from afar and maintain your sanity, dignity and clear headedness. A bit of vacation in your life from the daily outrage.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Micro-habits can save the world?

So self improvement seems pretty selfish in a dystopian world, lately. This bothers me, of course. My optimistic nature wants to believe that things can always be made better, and it won't hurt to try.

But it does hurt to fail, sometimes, and also not to try. So I am going to try, again. And again and again. I'm doing this daily micro habit thing (since February!) that's turning out pretty well. For example, who knew 1 push up a day could make a tank top do-able at my age?

My micro habits are built on giant systems, like the Passion Planner, the previously mentioned morning pages, and the extensive self-help reading I have done. I would even argue that it's partially based on the quality improvement programs.

In February, I decided the minimum amount of exercise I could do in a day was a forward fold and one push-up. So I made a checklist in the back of my Passion Planner on the graph paper and checked it off each day of the month. It was so easy, in March I added 2 more tiny habits, all the way up to today, in August.

I did have one little problem. At first, I was checking the boxes in the graph paper. But in March, when I wanted to keep going with the same habits carried over, I started using the X instead, only with the right slanting cross first, (then the left slanting cross, and the straight-up and down, then the straight right to left). In the end, I'll have an asterisk essentially, and then I will graduate that habit from my checklist (although maybe not from my life!).

Most successful habit so far has ironically been that push-up. My arms are not gym-jacked, by any means, but I'm not ashamed. The least successful is to dance every day (too vaguely defined, maybe?). I try to do two habits a month, one physical and one mental. August is mountain climbers (the exercise) and tracking my expenditures.

But yeah, still not addressing human trafficking or white supremacy or anything important. This is still just me. Can I build up to addressing these giant problems? I don't think so. I, personally, will not solve world hunger. Why is that hard for me to accept?