Becoming self-aware?

Mindfulness without meditation?

I’ve had a couple experiences in the last month that suggest I’m actually getting my shit together. These are obviously the result of increased mindfulness on my part—paying attention to my thoughts in the moment. And yet, my daily meditation practice would be best described as “anything but.”

It shows up simply enough, most often when I least expect it, too.

I’ll be fuming mad about something and think, “I *want* to be angry right now. Just a few more minutes.” And then I get back to living.

Most recently, I found myself standing on the side the interstate in the middle of nowhere. The sun was setting, and my weekend camping plans were canceled because the new engine we’d installed just five days prior had apparently blown a seal. I found myself with the usual doubts.

“This is it. I’m done with cars.”

“If I’m not interested in cars anymore, that’s probably the end of GBXM, too.”

“WTF am I going to do, then? WTF am going to do now?”

“This stupid hobby is as damaging as it is beneficial.”

The weekend prior, when we built and installed that engine, SNAFUs like this pushed our timeline into almost triple overtime. It was awful. But I wasn’t the least bit upset. I saw the disappointments, but I simply chose to focus on solutions over sadness.

And here I was, stranded on the side of the road, contemplating the end of perhaps the most significant aspect of my life beyond my immediate family—and I was evaluating the situation dispassionately.

“We’ll get it to the shop in the morning, pull the engine, replace the rear main seal, and this will all be done and behind me within 24 hours.”

At 1AM, adding a gallon of oil to Fezzik under the streetlight after the tow truck finally dropped me off, “Ugh. I am so tired. This is bullshit, but we’ll fix it tomorrow. It’s gonna suck, doing this all over again out in the sun this time, especially on less than five hours’ sleep—but we’ll get it done and I’ll be home in time for dinner.”

I was home by 3PM.

And since I didn’t make the camping trip, I actually felt like I had an extra day that weekend.

Not bad.

Not sure what all this means, but whatever it is, I like it.

And then you get a letter from the IRS.

It WAS Monday, after all.

(But it was a genuinely good day up until that point.)

Feeling like Clark W. Griswold right now.

You know what I want for Xmas.

(We’ll try again tomorrow.)

PS: Boss should be implied as President, sitting member of Congress, naturally. I work for excellent people.

Enlightenment & adult growth spurts

Now with counter-productive temper tantrums!

My five year old daughter gets cooler every day. She’s so much more fun than she was back when she was just this adorable little chub with bright blue eyes and curly blond hair.

And yet, she can be a mean, vindictive, little cuss. Daily.

We’ve come to realize that her growth spurts are preceded with attitude and drama. Every. Time.

And it’s only natural. She’s constantly soaking up an inordinate amount of information, processing it with whatever means she has, and adapting her worldview/life-model to suit.

You can imagine how frustrating this must be. These are challenging times. She knows she’s about to figure something out. It’s on the tip of her tongue—but she’s just not there yet.

And, boy, does it piss her off.

But once things click, she goes right back to being her wonderful, amazing self. She’s better, smarter, stronger than she was before. And that’s exciting to see.

And if you think about it, growth spurts like that continue on throughout our lives.

As we soak up inordinate amounts of information, processing it with whatever means we have, and adapting our worldview/life-model to suit, it can get damned frustrating.

Eyes on the prize, though. It’s probably a good idea to consider the times when we’re completely fed up at our wits’ end adult growth spurts.

Something wonderful is going to happen.

You’re just not ready yet.

Keep trying.