Friday, August 21, 2009

five percent more present...

A couple years ago, Atavist had a video linked on his blog which I've remembered frequently in recent times. The link was to a video of Nathaniel Branden speaking. I can't find the video now, but at the time-- nearly two years ago-- I was recovering from pneumonia and thinking of how to move forward in my life. Anyway, it made an impression.

One thing that's always bugged me about contemporary American life is this idea that you as you are now are simply not enough, not good enough. I hate the mindset that you must constantly strive to make yourself over. I think what is within you is uniquely your own and should be the thing you are bringing to the party, rather than making yourself over in the image of someone else's ideal. While it's good not to be overly self-indulgent, I think it's a good thing to feel that your own soulful spark is innately good and something to be treasured rather than reviled.

Anyway, the Branden video seemed profound, and I still think so. He said "what if you brought 5% more presence to everything you do?" or words to that effect. What if you are 5% more attentive, try 5% harder, bring that much more energy to your tasks in life?

I have a lot to do on my house. I think pretty much anyone does, at any given time, have a lot they need to accomplish to maintain the place they are living. My problem is my busy life has given me plenty excuses to dawdle in my task. I've been justified in moving at a glacial pace. It's hot, I've reasoned. I'm tired and working a lot, I've told myself. I need more time to goof off, it turned out. Well, all these are good reasons and I don't regret how I've spent my time, but I've stepped the home maintenance into high gear.

I've been painting and reorganizing and slowly unpacking more things from the storage unit. I don't want to make the house over into any particular thing. I just want it nice and clean, and to have more of my things around me again.

I'm getting there. I'll have a goal of working 5% harder on it, but this week, it's been more like 95%. Let's see how long that lasts! I already know I'll creak out of bed Friday morning, having painted part of the hall ceiling Thursday night. I expect I'll be whimpering, but it feels good to see the results of the painting. Pictures to follow.


Zelda said...

It's a phenomenon I noticed in NY. It was as if you had to have a schtick. And if you were not markedly different in some way, then you just weren't your own person. So it seemed to me that there were a lot of people suffering miserably under their own pretensions, faking their love of interpretive cannibalism while drinking organic elderberry wine, when all they really wanted to do was watch ER and eat pizza (but it would have to be a certain pizza from this really great place that no one knows about, but that manages to stay in business.)

FatQuarterQuiltFarm said...

5% is totally do-able... but how do you measure that???
I'm always struggling with ' MY OWN desires to kick my life up a notch ( I'm talking about my creativity and what I'm accomplishing within that realm..) I could give 2 craps about all of the typical "superficial trappings" society tells us we should be dreaming of /getting/upgrading....
Sometimes we do need to say today/this week was good enough..cause we DID stop to smell
the hosta blooms and really appreciated the clouds.....and I prefer my turds unpolished anyway!;)

JOn said...

I guess I have a t-shirt and bluejeans attitude about life. All the hype, spin and self-improvement hooplah seems to be like fashion. It changes, moves forward in exponential leaps and eventually settles, once again, on a t-shirt and bluejeans. To me, the greatest improvements in life are those that give you strength and character. They take the edge off age and cynicism