Practicing the State you Want to Cultivate

I haven’t been able to decide what I want to write about today. I seem to have a lot of excess energy that even my normal workout plus quite a bit of research/writing work for my next piece for FeelGoodNow has not been able to quell.

But I made sure I got to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour last night (around 1:00am) and didn’t get up till 7:30 so I got what for me is a full night of sleep.

That got me thinking about people’s energy and sleep needs in general. I know that studies have shown that 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is what is “natural” or “necessary” for most human beings to function at their optimum level. In fact, studies have shown that most people, when forced to sleep only two hours less than the 8 hour quota (6 hours per night) for a week began to function in a manner comparable with someone who has a blood alcohol level of .10! That is above the legal limit for driving. So that study made me wonder, am I walking around half-drunk because I am sleep deprived every day?

But I looked up some other facts and learned that the “normal” 8 hour sleep quota doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, that is just an average. There are many people who can’t function normally unless the get more like 10 hours of sleep a night. On the flipside, there are people, like myself, who can function on 6 hours a night without feeling any really difference. In fact, when I “sleep-in” and sleep for 8 or 9 hours without interruption (which hardly ever happens) I wake up feeling sluggish, groggy, and it can sometimes take me half the day to wake up.

Today I was up and going immediately and I only had a single cup of coffee, for no real reason except that it was there. I didn’t need the caffeine, clearly. I’m literally sitting here typing at more than 100 words-per-minute and at the same time I’m tapping my foot and jiggling my knee along to the beat of the music to which I’m listening while also going back and forth to my phone to make calls and text.

Obviously, I didn’t need any extra energy boost today. I even have my music selection set on my “chill out” playlist that I use when I’m relaxing or often at bedtime.

I think in the past having this kind of restlessness, this excess energy, was one of the things that drove me to use or to engage in self-destructive behavior in general.

I felt like I NEEDED to quiet that noise inside my head. That I needed to calm the nerves in my body that seemed to be over-firing. But the longer I have been on this Wellness Quest, the more I am realizing that this energy is a part of me. And the most important thing is how I choose to channel it.

And today, I’m choosing what I believe most supports my goal of optimal wellness: I am channeling this energy into doing a lot of the little clerical things that I just haven’t been able to get done over the past week or so. Calling this person back, making appointments, doing laundry – what my mother calls “playing catch-up”.

And when I reach the point where I run out of things to do, I will find other things I can do.

My martial arts instructor said something to me on Tuesday night that just reinforced some of the ideas I’ve already had and talked about on this blog. He told me, “the state you are in is the state you are practicing. If are ‘bored’ then you are practicing the state of being bored. If you are ‘calm’ or ‘focused’ then you are practicing the state of being calm or focused. You make the choice which states you want to learn and practice those.”

My meditation practice has, regrettably, slipped down to a few times a week rather than every day the way it was before, but partially because my routine has changed so much, and keeps changing from day to day.

And I think the reality is that although a few parts of my routine will remain the same every day (namely my meds and my exercise), my schedule will be changing so often in the next few weeks that I probably won’t have a truly regular routine again for a while.

This is a good test for me. Can I put what I have learned while living with my aunt and uncle into practice while actually trying to live a life rather than stuck in a cocoon of safe and unchanging wellness practices?

I believe that I can. If I didn’t truly believe that, if I didn’t see myself making good choices on a daily basis, I would see my upcoming move and the reality that necessitates as a burden and possibly even as something that might produce a significant amount of anxiety for me.

Instead, I feel like it is the next step forward. I don’t feel overly optimistic, just confident that I can use this opportunity to truly move into a life that is “a part of” rather than “apart from”.

I look forward to sharing these new revelations with you as they come.

Thanks for reading and for following my journey as it has transformed itself, and transformed me.

Peace to you,

-Nathan

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2 responses to “Practicing the State you Want to Cultivate

  1. I love your realization that the energy is a part of you and what matters is how you channel it. I, too, have been guilty of using less than helpful methods to try to rid myself of excess energy (particularly anxiety-type energy, to which I am quite prone) rather than learning to channel that energy into more productive activities. I really like the way you re-frame this, and I think I will try this the next time I’m feeling anxious. I’ll try to figure out a way to use that excess energy to move in a positive direction instead of trying to “make it go away.”

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your journey!

  2. Your blog is my “time for rest/sleep” signal. I love keeping you in the radar night after night. Believe I will see you Sat. Night for Luke and Rachael’s wedding celebration.
    Love,
    Aunt Laura

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