In one fell swoop Deb has conquered the magical blog-o-sphere and has us all doing her evil bidding. Ok, well, it’ actually benevolent bidding, but you get the idea. She has issued the writing prompt for week 1: Making Way. Specifically she is focusing on three areas: cleaning house, using time, and dealing with weights.
Cleaning House: I am married to the black Martha Stewart, so despite having 2 year old twins, my house is usually friggin immaculate. Chances are that if you came to visit me, she would be spending every moment from waking up, until your arrival getting the place ready. The last time we had dinner guests involved touch-up paint… So the physical space is not such a deal.
We also are at maximum capacity when it comes to space, so when something can go, it goes. We are minimalist as you can be with two kids and a smallish house. That said, I am trying to be less of a slob about things to make life easier. Meditation helps.
Now, the space crunch has had an effect on my practice. Giving up the temple room for the kids play-room forced me to scale down, which in turn has had a very positive effect on my practice. In fact so much of my practice is now scaled down so tight that unless I am working for clients or producing something for sale, I hardly use equipment. When I do use it, I break it out and go whole hog, the other day dressing in Alb, Stole, and Chasuble for a Sandalphon evocation.
Now that I am settled though, I want to scale down even further. I want to drive more and more practice internal, and eliminate a lot of the long term physical object driven magic that I have going. Also there are some spirits that I just don’t work with much anymore and would like to give their bottles or houses to someone else. I am still working out the particulars of how exactly I am going to manage this.
Time: This is the big one for me. Time management is the largest issue in my life, and in 2012 it is about to get much worse because of some healthcare issues of a family member that will be drawing a lot of my time.
The balance between family and Sorcery has been a tough one. It helped getting rid of the day-job, but that meant only having the kids in day care for two days a week, so really it only freed up 14 hours a week. When you consider all the other chores and stuff that you have to frantically perform any time you get a moment away from caring for two toddlers, that is not much time to maintain a practice and writing schedule. Since the economy is what it is, I may actually have to take the kids out of day care. That will leave my night time hours. I usually work from 10pm to 1 or two am, then get up at 6am. I use a lot of magic and physical techniques to mitigate the effects of not enough sleep. At this point more than 6 hours of sleep actually doesn’t even feel good anymore.
There is no more time to squeeze, so that means productivity. I have rules for this:
1. Family time is family time. Don’t split attention by trying to play with the kids while answering e-mail, reading a book, or mentally obsessing over a to-do list. All time must be quality time.
2. Low-Information diet. I experimented with this when I first read The 4 Hour Work Week, but did not really get how beautiful it is until this past year. Today Kim Jong Il died. I know this from the headlines and from NPR on the car radio from the way back from dropping the kids to day care. The old Jason would have spent hours reading numerous articles about it. New Jay knows he died and his son is taking over. More information will filter in naturally. The World is SO overloaded with information, that you really don’t need to seek it out every day. I spend a few minutes a week on News now unless something important happens and funny enough I am no less well-informed than I was before. If anything I am a little more informed because I am absorbing what I am exposed to. I feel like I have a much better grasp on the Eurozone crisis and how I will be ass-raped by it next year, than I would have a year ago.
3. Get things out of your head and into a recording device. It’s like this: I am driving and I suddenly remember that I need to get something out to someone. I record it on Evernote using my phone. At home, my phone and PC will sync. On Monday, and Thursday when i review these notes I will schedule a time for it or if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately. Its that simple. If it doesn’t get recorded and assigned a time to review it, it stays in the head and creates stress. I never remember when I can actually do something about it, and alway remember when I am doing something else. Thus cuts that.
4. Set the PC to ask me periodically if I am being productive or just busy. Things like Reddit and reading blogs and having FB conversations can make you feel like you are very busy. Busyness is not the same thing as productivity however. Reminders like that help re-frame the day.
5. Make time for meditation as well as non structured alone time. These are not the same thing, but both have important mental effects that will effect the rest of the day. The first is cushion time that is set aside and has a formal structure, at least heading into the contemplative state. The second can be done while driving, mowing the lawn, taking a walk, or anything else that you do alone and silently. This second silent space is important because during meditation you are deliberately not-engaging in thoughts that arise. In this space you DO engage those thoughts, and it is often the most productive thinking you will get done even though are are ostensibly doing something else. I like bouncing a ball against a wall or walking, or doing both.
6. Limit in-take of magic and occult information. I don’t have any firm rules for this, but it is quite a simple concept. You can either be a producer who occasionally consumes, or a consumer who occasionally produces. Something this runs in cycles, at least that is what it does for me. At the moment I am working on a book against a deadline and entering my “Paris when it Sizzles” period. This means I will not be reading oodles of books. I will take a month break or so after that, and then dig back in and get “The Strategic Self” course off the ground. I stay out of yahoogroups almost entirely. Groups like G4J that I care about but are high volume, I often ask someone to give me the occasional 411 on important stuff. Even my own blog here, I have to weigh in comparison to other activities.
7. I do not chastize myself for failing at any of the above. I am not a robot, and I cannot always live by the ideal. I do what I can and have the principals to live by. Guilting myself or punishing myself for falling from the ideal is not productive.
I have finally gotten really good at making sure the important stuff comes first, followed by the less important stuff, and than letting go of the things I simply cannot do. This includes the things I simply cannot be. I have some family members (no one I live with mind you) that are rocks, and they think that I am a complete dick because I despite their status as family I just will not give them the time they want and engage in the passive aggressive nonsense that they seem to thrive on. I am even worse now that I have kids because I wont expose them to it, which means they get seen less than some people would like. I will not be who they want. It’s cliche, but life is short. By all means show compassion to people, but sometimes that means NOT engaging in someones nonsense rather than humoring them.
Release your rocks this season. Cut the ties that weigh you down and feel yourself rise. The real trick here though is that the biggest rock is not anyone else. Its you. Your own former bad decisions and actions: release yourself from them. Forget about knowing the past or being doomed to repeat it – forgive yourself and forget yourself. Get over yourself. You are so much more than what you normally think of as your self. 99% of what you think is just crap that you have accumulated over a lifetime being influenced. The world presents problems and you spit out programmed responses – it is the machine mind that most of us think of as the self. Cutting through that will be cutting the line to the largest rock in your life.