Getting life into gear
My “to do” list reads like this: housework, swimming, shopping, recycling, visiting my mum, shopping, tidying, answering the door, and getting life into gear. You know, get a grip, get organised, do things.
But… I’m doing them already, and there must come a limit to the number of times, or the speed or the efficiency with which I tackle the jobs in my life. Some things are more fun than others. Visiting Mum, while sometimes worrying, is also enjoyable, interesting, and a good way to remind myself of life priorities, in other words, how lucky I am.
But still, the notion resurfaces occasionally that I could do with being more disciplined about my own work, that, “I need to work harder”. Periodically, I glance at the stats comparing average earnings with mine, and think, “Right! It’s time to get organised…” and I wilt, thinking that surely, hard work alone does not answer that particular ambition.
So perhaps there is something else I could be doing, some different way in which I can frame life challenges that would make achieving things easier. Perhaps I’ve known all along that if I can make enjoyable what I am doing, that is worthwhile in itself. When I am happy, life is already lighter and more interesting, and my life automatically becomes what I want it to be.
More soberly, I begin to perceive that there is a marked difference between pain – which is, I believe, an inevitable part of life, the see saw of change – and what we generally call suffering, which is what happens when we internalise pain, in some ways erecting it into our next great project. Pain of all sorts is both natural and inevitable; our thoughtless conversion of it into what we call suffering might become a bad habit. I know myself, that I can tolerate quite a lot of pain. And so long as I do not rehearse it, hold on to it, I can accept it, feel it and allow it to be until it goes away. I do not also need to say, as I have been in the habit of doing, “Ah me, I am in such pain, life is hard etc etc etc.” Which is a bit like picking myself up from a fall, only to bash my head against a brick wall…
Funny what I think about while waiting at traffic lights.
Thanks for listening.