There were lots of different things happening over the last three days, but one of them was this: I was chasing a dream of re-reading all my January entries and making sense of this first month of the new year.
The dream was to “summarise” these into a single blog post, or newsletter — but I cannot seem to do it, at least not right now. But the essential point is — a lot of meaningful things have been happening in all areas of my life, much more than I would have ever imagined possible just a short while ago. There was a definite, palpable “shift” of gears somewhere around the turn of the year, moving the whole experience of life to a different level.
I don’t think I can trace this shift to one specific cause, but I believe the new approach to life I’ve been experimenting with, and the accompanying new “structure” of the day, have a lot to do with it. And so I’ve decided to just summarise it here for now — because this structure has been pieced together, gradually, from a variety of sources, and among them from people sharing with the world, in books or in blogs, their own approaches and “daily routines”. So, I gather, mine can help others, too. I am very far from thinking that a single strategy can “work” for everyone, so there are no guarantees, but maybe you can find something useful for yourself.
But first, the cornerstone of this approach.
Any meaningful “work process” has its own curve, its own timeline, which includes, almost inevitably, a stage of “struggle”, of diving into the very depth of something (I am not quite sure what). But once this depth is reached, there is an impulse to act, to swim back upwards as it were. It’s not unlike the process of breathing in and out — and just as it makes little sense to force oneself to breath out before one has breathed in, it’s pointless to try and force oneself to act, to make something, before the stage of struggle, of “deep dive” has been accomplished. There is an art to riding these waves of “struggle” and “flow” — and I am by no means an expert in this, I am just learning.
But one thing I do know: that a strict schedule, a pre-conceived “plan” goes against the grain of this organic process. Because if there is an impulse to act on one thing (say, X), and I have another (say, Y) in a pre-determined “plan”, it’s the weakest point of the whole arrangement: the point where procrastination kicks in, and neither X nor Y is actually happening: X doesn’t happen because I feel obliged to do Y, and Y doesn’t happen because there is an impulse to do X. So the cornerstone of my new way of life is not to have any Ys, as far as possible, but to act instantly on X when the impulse arises. And I must say, it works miraculously…
Having said that, this is supported by a certain “structure” of the day, which helps me “keep track” of all the various processes I am juggling… It has three components, for “morning”, “midday”, and “evening”.
- “Day creation” journaling begins with writing some notes of what has transpired, what has been understood, since the last evening (in my dreams, or in the waking periods of the night). The next stage is to re-connect with what I am doing here, and why. What is it that I want to accomplish in the long run? This is followed by revisiting all the major processes going on — all major work and life areas. After that, I decide what I want and intend to do today, and when.
- “Day creation” is followed by a half an hour of meditation.
- Midday. It doesn’t necessarily happen midday, but it’s really simple: a walk in the nearest park.
- Evening. Journaling, which consists of two parts: reflecting on the events of this day, and re-reading and editing the journal entry from the previous day, in case there is something relevant to my studio practice to post here.
And that’s it, basically…