Middle of the night musings

Something new, and weird, and kind of awesome happened to me in the middle of the night last night.  I had been sleeping for about an hour and a half when I found myself half awake and then fully awake when, coincidentally, my gentleman friend came to bed… and I really surprised him by exclaiming “Merde!”

No worries, I promptly explained what it was about: huge parts of a blog post had just appeared in my mind, as if my brain had suddenly downloaded the thing, and I didn’t feel like getting up to go and write it.  But I didn’t want to lose it either, and I was sure that it would happen if I didn’t write it down.  This is when he showed me once again, as if that was in any way necessary, how wonderful he is: he got up, turned on the light, grabbed his clipboard and a pen for me, and a book for him.  Sweet!

I scribbled furiously, not wanting to keep him up any longer than was reasonable, trying to capture as much as I could of the content of that file that had been downloaded to my mind.  But you know how those things go: crystal clear in your mind, clear as mud when you try to get them out of it.  Oh well, I thought, I’ll dedicate my Shiva Nata practice tomorrow morning to remembering what it said and learning more about it…  Anyways, once I was done we turned off the light, I put my head back on the pillow, thinking that now that this was out of my mind I’d be able to go back to sleep, no problem.

Yeah, right!  Apparently, the giant server that is my subconscious wasn’t quite done, and my brain went at it again, this time not downloading new ideas, but literally writing the first few sentences of the post.  I stubbornly decided I wasn’t going to play that game again, and was finally able to go back to sleep.  The price you and I have to pay for this, though, is that those brilliant first sentences are probably lost forever.  Oh well, you’ll have to do with this story, instead!  :)

Now that you have the story, I guess it’s time that I’d try writing the post… because it apparently won’t be writing itself – no matter that it already did it in my mind in the middle of the night!  Considering the backstory on this, you’ll have to excuse me if what follows ends up not making much sense, or not being as insightful as it seemed to be at the time.  I’m publishing it anyways because, considering the circumstances, there’s no way I can *not* publish it!  Hey, I want to keep whatever/whoever sends almost complete blog posts to my mind happy so that it keeps doing this! (maybe just not at 2 in the morning…)

On to the post, now!

I have mentioned last week that I was playing with the Sailboat Kit – a time management tool “for people who hate structure but love metaphors” (that’s *so* me!), the sailboat being the metaphor Eileen, creator of the kit, has come up with for her weekly schedule.  And, well, I still haven’t built mine.  I’m thinking about my sailboat, sure, how I want to build it, what I want it to look like, how it will help me, etc.  I’m thinking about it a lot.  Just not doing it.

Oh, that’s not exactly true.  I have moved forward a little: I have done the first step of the process.  It’s not that the process is hard, scary, confusing, or anything like that, no!  The kit is pretty awesome, actually, and most certainly the only time management thingy I could ever see myself using.  The thing is that as I move forward, some resistance is surfacing.  Ah, dear old resistance!  It’s not full-blown, crazy big resistance, no – but still enough to slow the process down quite a bit.

Also, my particular relationship with time doesn’t make it easy for me to envision being able to build a functional sailboat.

48-hour days, anyone?

You see, I’m naturally slow.  Everything I do takes me much longer than it takes anyone else and, most importantly, much longer than I’d like.  Which means that I can’t accomplish a lot in a day, a week, a month.  I often find that to be saddening and frustrating, but that’s how it is.  I can’t push myself to go faster (not without having to spend a while in recovery mode afterwards, anyways), and I can’t really cram more into my days either, nor do I want to.  As my friend Fabeku very eloquently puts it: “Eff cramming!”  Being able to accomplish more would be nice, but cramming more stuff into my days?  Hm, no thanks.

On a personal level, this means that I’m not moving forward at a satisfying pace.  Beyond that, I often find myself not to be in phase with the world.  Both are hard.  But a few months ago, I’ve had an insight that made me understand these things better: I’ve realised that what I’d need are 48-hour days with a 9-hour nap in the middle!  If in any given day I accomplish about half as much as I’d like, somehow it helps to think that it was just a half-day.  Unfortunately, I’m the only one thinking that and it doesn’t slow down the turning of the calendar pages… but it is still helpful to be able to consider that my daily cycle is simply different than every one else’s, instead of thinking that I’m broken in some way.

Now, the sailboat I’ll build will probably be the best tool ever for me, because I can build it in accordance with my own quirky circadian cycle.  Which is a big awesome yay!  Still, I worry that my 3-days-and-a-half weeks won’t be able to hold all that I would like them to hold, so that’s also one reason why I’ve been delaying the building of my sailboat: I don’t want to see it confirmed that I’m unable to fit much into my weekly schedule, and that I’m screwed and won’t get anywhere ever – ok, it’s really not that bad, but you know how it can be sometimes when the monsters start yelling horrible stuff…

Actually, the sailboat thing makes me more hopeful than I’ve been in a while regarding the way I can use my time.  It gives me hope that I can find ways to use it both mindfully and productively, which feels really good.

Time = space?

This idea feels like it’s only half-baked, but I’m putting it out here because it was part of what popped into my mind last night, and it would be interesting to explore it further.

This equation isn’t common, or even really intuitive.  What prompted it, I think, is the physicality of the time management tool I’m playing with here and now: the weekly schedule is filled with little boxes that we can take and move around, and that probably got my mind to equate time and space.

As I was thinking about it, I realised that the metaphor holds true in that regards too: the space in the weekly schedule is limited, just like it is on a real sailboat!  Ooooh, neat!  I can totally picture it, because my ex-gentleman friend has spent five months sailing on a tall ship several years ago, and I know that space was extremely limited on board and he could only take stuff that was really important for him to have.  Oh, that will help when I’ll be building my sailboat, filling its space and trying to
decide what I take and what I leave!  Remembering that I don’t want to make my boat sink, and that I want to be able to comfortably maneuver it without feeling cramped will be helpful.

Then I got to thinking that equating time and space feels somehow related to the fact that what I choose to spend my time on occupies space in my life, in my schedule, and in my mind.  Now, is that space related to how important these things are to me?  That will be a useful question to keep in mind as I fill the space that’s available in my sailboat.

That idea also reminded me that a little while ago, I was acutely feeling like I needed more mental space.  My mind was horribly foggy, but through that fog it was clear that having time for myself and for the things that were important to me would help me find the breathing room I needed to free up some mental space.  So, interestingly, the time and space connection was already there.

Getting closer to setting sail

My sailboat may not be as far as I’d have liked it to be by now, but all those insights I’ve had while just thinking about it have already brought me much farther than I was before – and it gave me ideas that I want to explore further.  If those were the only things I’d have gained through playing with that brilliant sailboat kit, it would have been more than worth it.  And yet, the best is still to come!

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16 Responses to Middle of the night musings

  1. Shellyfish says:

    Wonderful thought process…your story reminds me of something that happened to me about 10 years ago. I always keep a notebook & pen next to my bed because you never know when you’re going to need to write down an important thought.

    I woke up in the middle of the night with an incredible breakthrough – it was crucial that I write it down. So I did.

    When I woke the next day I found that I’d written “This is so important. You must write it down and not forget.” Bravo, Shellyfish!

    I also agree with the time-space idea. There is much to be said for less meaning more time.

  2. Patty K says:

    So glad to know that I’m not the only one who
    a. moves slowly
    b. has brilliant blog posts show up at the most inconvenient times – while sleeping, showering…or worst of all: having sex. “Hey, hon, can you pass the clipboard?” (it is *so* not a good idea to think of humourous posts at this time…)

  3. celine says:

    you and Shelly are my heroes. seriously.

  4. Josiane says:

    @Shellyfish: Thank you for sharing that gem – it is truly priceless! I really couldn’t stop laughing. :)

    @Celine: And you both are mine! The world better watch out when the three of us finally get together… watch out for what, I’m not sure, but I know it will be pretty awesome!

    @Patty K: You say you move slowly? Well, I’ve seen you making fabulous moves lately – they may have been simmering for a long time before you got there, but you got there and that is hugely inspiring to me. Even more so now that I know we’re typically moving at the same pace. Wishing you more of your brilliant blog posts, and at less inconvenient time! ;)

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I’m pretty sure I had a brilliant comment to post, but the giggling induced by Shellyfish and Patty K’s comments has thrown it out of my head. ;)

    Maybe you can consider that if your weeks don’t hold as much as you like, that you have so many years in front of you. I know life is short, but we really have more life than we think. I think.

    This sounds like a great way of looking at things. (And you are making me want to get started on that kit. I’m waiting ’til I’m done with the day job, because it’ll be more useful to me then. :)

  6. Josiane says:

    @Elizabeth: So sorry you’ve lost your brilliant comment, but I can understand – I find myself laughing each and every time I think about those comments!
    Thank you for reminding me that there’s time, as Havi says. I have to repeat it to myself quite often… not because I’m in a rush, but everything takes me so damn long that it gets disheartening sometimes. But yes, there are years ahead, and there’s time. :)
    As for the Sailboat Kit, if you want to get started with it, I’d say go for it! I really love it, and one of the things I love is that we can easily tweak it and change it anytime we feel like it, so it would be very easy to build a version of it that works for you for now, and adjust it to your new needs once you’re done with the day job. But if things are working well for you right now, you can wait too, of course – and then it would be part of the new rituals that supports your new life.

  7. How fantastic!
    I love your metaphor. What I’ve been considering these last few days is that nothing has meaning but the meaning we give it (i think this thought comes from T Harv Eker)- and this includes time.

    SO you’ve just recreated the meaning of time for yourself! How lovely- and i’m so pleased this came up for me to read today, because time is a learning tool for connecting with our spirit, and this metaphor shows me that in an excellent way.

    thank you!

  8. Josiane says:

    @artistKatanaB: Recreating the meaning of time for myself – that’s a great way to put it. I’m glad the post was timely for you! ;)

  9. Jessica says:

    Hi Josiane! I just realized that it took me over an hour to comment on this post. Because I kept following links – first to the Sailboat which is AWESOME and then to PattyK which led me to another blog which led me to Havi’s “non-sucky yoga” which I’ve been thinking about getting into and so of course I had to buy it . . . ADD at work in the middle of the night!

    Anyway, I love that you are following your inner guidance and writing what you feel called to write. This idea of time=space is really interesting. Since I’m not really working (I sort of am but don’t work very much because I don’t like what I’m doing and I’m ready for my new life but my new life isn’t ready for me yet), my issue is getting things done that NEED to get done (like taxes yuck) but that I don’t feel like doing. But if I don’t get my tax return done there will be all sorts of heck to pay and I don’t want to deal with that. So somewhere in my space/time continuum I have to make space/time for “have to’s” and not just “want to’s”. Or maybe I need to find a way to turn the have to’s into want to’s. Not sure yet – need to meditate on it I think. Aaaand the ADD took over again. I think I need to take it away from the computer for the night. Sorry!

  10. Josiane says:

    @Jessica: Hey, hi! It’s so great to see you around again! No need to be sorry, I understand very well that go offline when it’s already the middle of the night and the ADD has taken over!
    You know, I’m totally with you on having to find a creative solution to the frustrating problem of having to make time/space for the “have to’s”, and feeling like it’s taking it away from the “want to’s”. I haven’t figured it out satisfyingly yet. I have to play with it in my sailboat (which, yes, is awesome! and so is the non-sucky yoga kit – have fun with it!), and meditating on it would certainly be good for me too.
    It’s good to read that you’re ready for your new life. I’m sure that’s the best incentive for your new life to get ready for you! I’m sure it will happen in good time, and I hope that means soon!

  11. neil keleher says:

    your time=space struck a chord. For myself I’ve been thinking about what consciousness is and one of the things I thought of was that we can expand our conscious in time or in space. I thought of being in time as thinking while being in space we are doing-using our senses and responding to what we sense. The thing is that if we only have so much consciousness the more we are in space the less we are in time and vice versa.
    for me this leads to the idea that if we first think about what we are doing (in time) we can then become present in what we are doing. We can focus on using our senses and respond to what we are sensing and we can get what we are doing done. And if we get stuck we can step back into time to think about what we are doing.
    The clearer we are about what we are trying to do the less we have to “think” while doing. Now the notion from here is that when we are doing it is like we are on a wave and that wave carries us. The wave that carries us is time and so time ceases to pass us by. Instead we are riding that wave while we are doing what ever it is that we have to do.
    While thinking we can decide which wave it is that we want to carry us.

  12. Josiane says:

    @Neil: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I like the idea of time being a wave that carries us when we are doing stuff, and that it thus ceases to pass us by. There’s interesting food for thought in there!

  13. Natalia says:

    It’s superb that you allow yourself the extra time you need to do things instead of punishing yourself or who-knows-what!

    Your downloading of this post reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on TED, toward the end of which she relays Ruth Stone and Tom Waits’s stories of how poems and songs come to them. It’s funny and lovely, you may appreciate it too: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

  14. Josiane says:

    @Natalia: Needing the extra time is sometimes frustrating, but spending my life punishing myself would be even worse (not to mention ineffective)! Kindness to myself is a much better option, even when it’s hard. :)
    Thank you for sharing that link. I haven’t yet checked it out, but am looking forward to doing so – the little you’ve said about it got me curious, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it!

  15. casey says:

    I am so relieved to know that I’m not the only one who needs a longer day! I think 36 hours would do it for me: 12 hour sleep, 12 hours awake, 6 more asleep and then 6 awake. On paper it sounds like I could make that work in the 24 that we’re given, but somehow I’m sleepy if work gets me up before 10 and can’t get to sleep before 10.
    I tried the sailboat and couldn’t fit the personal/soft time into the spaces. Your idea of it being like physical space has sparked new thoughts for me and I’m going to try my sailboat again.

  16. Josiane says:

    @Casey: We should start campaigning for longer days! :) Seriously, I’m really glad the feeling I had that related time and space sparked new ideas on how you could integrate the ever so important personal time into your sailboat. I hope you’ll be able to create something that works better for you, because I have a feeling we are stuck with those 24-hour days for a while longer… ;)

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