Here’s a confession: the Should has been muffled lately. I’ve been crazy busy – new clients, old clients, trying to get Cogh and The Machine (my current book) prepped for Amazon, along with new cover art, keeping up with kids, Jen – even the dog. Life becomes a fast blur, and I can’t believe it’s already Saturday. Again.
But I’m trying to stay true to my promise during all of this – and I’ve been taking little daily notes on what’s going on. To be honest, the Should is working, but it’s hard. Still, too often, I know what I Should do but am not doing it. Little things are easy, but I sense some awfully big decisions lurking in the depths – radical changes. I Should listen to them, but the reality is I have a family to take care of and these changes might affect us economically for awhile in a tough economy. So, to be honest, I am muting some of those Shoulds right now. But that’s a rationalization, right? I know I shouldn’t…
Anyway, below are some small thoughts from the week – daily mental Tapas, but recipes all using Should as a main ingredient. Enjoy!
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One of the things that’s begun to open up for me as I start to adopt my Should lifestyle, is not putting things off – especially what I’d like to say – my opinions and such that, normally, I keep to myself, or in close-quarters conversation. Quite frankly, I think that I keep some of them to myself out of what I used to think was a rational, practicality – a ‘don’t say that or it’ll come back to bite you’ mentality.
I guess that’s maybe a rationalized mentality. Perhaps living the Should life requires courage…
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I ran into a client and friend today, and he mentioned that “I must’ve been bored on Friday’, because he saw that I was active on Facebook. Actually, I wasn’t – I’d just hit the ‘post to FB’ setting on my twitter account – but it also shook me a little. I have friends, clients on FB – and I’m not actually all too hard to find on the ‘net anyway. So It also now occurs to me, for the first time, that there might be a danger in putting it all out there. True authenticity is dangerous, but also so much more powerful than a carefully curated veneer. And, maybe, it’s also self-filtering; maybe by being as straightforward as possible it’ll bring me closer to where I sense I need to be, and how I need to live. Yes, I know I Should do this – there it is again. You see, I know that if I don’t – if I don’t leave it all on the field for this little experiment – then it will, inevitably, be a failure.
And trust me when I say that I’m good enough to fool you all. And even myself – for a time.
But that’s not why we’re all here, is it?
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Today, again, the concept of this being a ‘practice’ – like meditation: mindfulness is key. It’s easy to forget to ‘listen’ for the voice, much less to actively ask yourself ‘what Should I do?‘ in the hectic swirl of the day But I’m happy to say that when I did manage to remember, even the simplest decisions became clearer, and the results better. For example, it’s 6 pm, and I thought I might have a cup of coffee. Normally, a no brainer, but now – with some effort – ‘Should I?’. And my immediate answer was, of course, no. As it is, I don’t get to bed early enough, and I knew – now that I’d self-prompted – that I simply shouldn’t because maybe in not having the coffee, maybe I’d get to bed that much earlier (a nagging issue with me). And, Maybe, doing so would impact to other things. Plus, even in simply stopping to ask myself, I also asked, well, why? Sure I liked coffee, but why was I going to have a cup this late in the day? Not because I was tired, but because – I decided – I was bored. I wanted the quick buzz. Like I said, I do have an addict’s predisposition to things – never been a gray-area guy.
So I didn’t have it, and it was good. And maybe the real lesson there was to address why I’m bored – and do something about it….
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I had Olivia home this morning, as we’re opting out of the ill-conceived, poorly executed and for-private-corporate-profit agenda known as the Common Core. Jen was at work and I figured that, after my morning routine of book edits and a workout, Olivia could come in to the office with me for awhile before I took her into school. She’s becoming a good artist, and my office is a pretty creative environment. Plus, she was excited about coming in to work with Daddy. Me too. But somehow, my edits ran long and I still wanted to get in a workout, so I ran upstairs to change. She was on the couch using her iPad.
“Hey”, I said. She looked up, eyes bright.
“Hi Daddy. Are we going to go to work now?”
“Um, yeah” I said. “I’m just going to work out quick, shower and then we’ll go.”
She deflated a little. “Oh, ok Daddy.”
“You ok?” I said.
“Yeah. I’m fine.”
I changed into my gym shorts and started the dvd downstairs.
Then I heard it.
‘I Should skip today and take Olivia to work.’
My rational mind said exercise was good. I’d still take her to work, right?
I listened to the Should. Off went the dvd.
“Hey, I’m gonna skip today,” I said as I came back upstairs.
“Yay!” came the cheer. Big smile. Both of us. And it was great.
Listen to the Should.