Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Get To

In my efforts to remain present, a new tactic has arisen. I was working on something unpleasant and I began to say to myself..."Half an hour until I get to vacuum."  The next task is something I "Get to" do.  Combine this with I CAN, and positivity about tasks finds itself creeping in.

I'm trying to reconcile this with remaining present in my current task at any given time.  I read a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh where he says that, "People sacrifice the present for the future, and life is available only in the present moment."  He is speaking about living consciously and remaining wholly present where you are, living a meditative life.  

There is a desire to work towards a reward, saying that if I can just stick it out through my current task, I get to do something fun or something else.  I mean, what am I really depriving myself of when I choose to focus on the pleasant thing that will come next?  What does it mean to remain fully present in something unpleasant?

Let's say I am pulling weeds, and I know that when my task is done I get to sit down with a glass of lemonade.  As I kneel in the dirt, straining by back, hurting my hands and generally disliking the experience, why should I remain present?  I've been thinking a lot about this.  My conclusion is that I need to remain present because that is where I am.  If I repeat to myself that I can pull the next weed, I can do this one foot of ground, I am performing an act of empowerment.  My back still hurts, my knees still ache, and I'm still itchy, but I am empowered by the act of consciously believing that I am completely capable of this task.  

It all boils down to a habit of self-talk.  I am trying to change how I speak to myself and about myself.  If I continue the habit of saying, "I hate this.  I am miserable.  I want to quit.  This is boring." I will not find any fulfillment in the necessary task.  It is hard for any sort of calm or pleasure to arise amidst a storm of negativity.  The effect is cumulative, so if I remind myself at all times that I am fully capable of doing the exact task in my hands at the moment, I am living universally empowered.

So, again, how do I reconcile this with a reward at the end of a particularly arduous task?  How do I reconcile this with looking forward to something far more pleasant (or at least less unpleasant)?  Perhaps I can set a timer.  I get to do this other thing when the timer goes of.  I get to do it.  I CAN do it.  This way I can remain fully present in the moment, and let the timer take care of what happens next.  There's nothing wrong with having a plan, I really like knowing what is happening next, and having plans eases my mind.  Once I have a plan, and if I continuously empower myself by remaining in the exact moment and time where I am, then what happens next will naturally occur with little effort on my part.

When I complete a task and manage to remain fully present throughout, the reward is generally one of beauty.  I have reaped that reward several times.  A sense of contentment and fulfillment at the task complete, as well as a deeper sense of ownership over the final result.  Because I was present and mindful for the task, I see a piece of myself reflected in the final result and I like what I see.  

Sipping a glass of lemonade while fully enjoying the results of my efforts is an added bonus.  And suddenly finding myself excited that now I "get to" vacuum somehow makes task completion happen with greater joy.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!