Monday, March 05, 2007

know thyself

I'm still fasting. This may be the longest 19 days of my life.

One of the silver linings, however, is that I am continually forced to face my own habits. I can't run from what I am feeling in the moment.

I never realized how much I used food and drink as an anesthetic. Whenever I am feeling uncomfortable, the first thing I want to do is put something in my mouth. Now that I can't put something in my mouth, I truly have to deal with my discomfort.

(And I am - kind of. I've also found a new anesthetic: sleep. Naps are good. I'm having no difficulty rationalizing them, either, because I need lots of sleep now that I'm weak from not eating during daylight hours, right?)

Many of my posts over the last month have dealt with recognizing our dreams and visions for ourselves. Once we know what moves and inspires us, we can begin to think about taking action to create more fulfilling lives.

It's also important to know yourself. Know your habits. Know what makes you tick, know how you habitually react, know your common defenses, know how you sabotage yourself. If you don't know, you can't change.

Many spiritual disciplines (especially eastern ones) speak of developing your ability to witness your own life. That's what meditation is for, at its core: becoming aware of what is. Other disciplines (I'm thinking specifically of the Toltec path, www.miguelruiz.com) encourage us to become hunters or trackers of our own minds. If you're tracking an animal, you need to have intimate knowledge of the animal's habits. In a similar fashion, it can be valuable to know your own habits.

Try tracking your energy cycles. When do you have the most energy? When do you have the least?

I know that I have a lot of energy in the morning. I seem to wake up more easily than many people, and I enjoy being awake very early (five a.m.) in the day. If I do physical work at this time, I feel well-coordinated and enjoy what I'm doing. If I sit down and do mental work I have energy for a while, but it starts to taper off by mid-morning (10 a.m.).

Noon is my absolute slump time. If I stop moving, I fall asleep. When I had my own cleaning business, I would park my car somewhere safe (preferably near some green space, like a park) and have a catnap during my lunch break. I always woke up feeling refreshed.

These days I save any activities that need a sharp mind for late afternoon or early evening. This is when I love to write, and I can often work for hours into the evening without fatigue.

The joy and the gift of being self-employed is that I can use this knowledge to organize the tasks of my day.

What do you know about yourself? And how do you use that knowledge?

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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