Friday, January 5, 2018

Seeking Sanity from the Insane

Marcella looks at the topic for the week and giggles for fifteen minutes straight. Amused by the notion that she has any sanity to preserve in the first place. But hey! Let's assume for a moment that my sanity = yes. How to keep it in three easy-ish steps?

1. Know what you want - Sounds self-evident, right? Not to mention that it's easy to say 'of course I know what I want'. But 'winning the powerball' isn't really what you want, is it? You want whatever it is you believe that amount of money would bring you. Security. Safety. Freedom from worry. The ability to help your struggling parents/sibling/loved one/charity of your choice. There's an ideal at the core of the things we think we want. What's interesting is that you can chase a thing all you like. You might even get it, but unless you're clear on what ideal you're trying to fill/accomplish, you're likely to find the thing doesn't make you feel accomplished. By having a firm grasp of your core need, you'll find that it becomes very clear what you ought to be doing day by day to move you toward that goal. Funny thing. While working toward your core need, you often find you're fulfilling it just by pursuing it.

2. Focus on the small stuff. Once you know what, you gotta know why. Why is it important to keep
pressing the word count? Why is it vital to challenge the assumption that you're a pantser and learn to outline? Everyone will have their own why. Family. Charitable work. Proving the meanies in junior high wrong. Whatever it is. Remember to take the time to look at, really look at, and enjoy your why. The single most grounding thing in our lives are those things we love and enjoy. For me it's my family - the dh, the cats, the parents, friends, and getting to explore. The photo is from an expedition my folks and I took to one of Tampa's power plants. The manatees gather in the warm water outflow. The plant built a viewing center. Silly, maybe, but getting out of the house, shutting off all social media and news to just be in the world is eminently grounding. Coming back with silly photos is just a bonus.

3. Define success - What does success look like to you? Not long term. For today. For this week. What three things, if you got them done, would make you feel like you succeeded for the week? Write 'em down. Make a plan to get them done. Schedule them into your days. Example: my goals for this week were to get a WIP written right up to the point of the final battle. Try one new recipe. And start learning to outline. You can see I'm not aiming for the stars this week. But week after week, I'll be building on the previous week's goals. One goal (the recipe) has an element of fun to it. Maybe yours would be knitting something. Or binge watching Dr. Who. No judgement. Just make the goals reasonable so you can build on success. And if there are mistakes, assess and learn from them. Bonus grounding/sanity preservation technique: Give up feeling like a failure. Seriously. Just give it up. You're trying things. Learning stuff. If you come at this with beginner's mind, you can grin at something not working out. You can examine it and figure out something else to try. And something else.

Above all else master the mundane. Sleep. Eat. Hydrate. Exercise. Meditate - whatever that looks like for you. Sanity comes more easily when you take care of all of you.

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