October 20, 2018 – Morning Journaling

Well, my day is definitely off to a super late start. My calendar had a 5:30am wake up on it because Anna is working the opening shift, but I just kept sleeping. I’m fine with that. I will not be owned by my clock, especially when recovering from last night.

We ended up going to a friend’s house to sit around the firepit and chat with people. It was kind of exactly what I needed. Working from home can be a tad lonely and it is easy to just sit myself in my home and not really leave. So, getting out was great and I had a blast. I really need to be more proactive with social stuff.

Basically, I’m “running behind” today, but there isn’t a ton on my schedule. I’ve got a five mile run that I’m going to start as soon as my phone is finished charging, and then I need to do some yoga to make up for missing it yesterday. Then, work around the house and probably do some work. A pretty standard day in my life.

My readings this morning didn’t really give me a ton to reflect on, at least they haven’t yet. Maybe after I water them with sweat another blog post will come to mind. I have started to give more thought to why I spend the first 30 minutes of my day reading these short passages, though. Everything should be re-evaluated from time to time to make sure they are still a benefit in our lives. Nothing is beyond examination. I definitely feel better when I do and it gets me off to a good start to the day, but I sometimes wonder at the efficacy at it improving my life in a more long-term fashion.

It’s like my life is a stone and I have a vision for a statue inside it. These books, whether they are philosophy, spirituality, self-help, writing, or whatever, are like buckets of water. When I read them I am spraying the stone with water, an act that given a lot of time and a lot of water will break down the stone and shape it. I’ve seen positive change with this method, spending a year reading Stoic philosophy every morning very much improved my ability to deal with the world. But simply using the water is a very inefficient way to make change, I need to be more proactive in my pursuits.

How am I going to do that? I don’t have a fucking clue. Hell, even the vision I see in the stone is pretty fuzzy. This is definitely something to think about though. There is more to my personal growth than a few minutes of morning reading and meditating. More direct action is needed. I need to break out the chisels and start chipping away. The water will help but it isn’t enough.

 

“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” by Tian Dayton

Today’s reflection felt very Stoic, so I thought I’d share it 🙂

Today I will remember to ask myself, “How important is it?” before I let myself get upset or angry about something. When I allow my feelings to run ahead of my senses and forget that I need to keep them in balance, I run the risk of producing the very circumstances that I fear in my life.

The Stoics would answer that question with “Is it something within our sphere of influence? If it isn’t then it is not important or worth your time and energy.”

 

“The Upanishads” translated by Eknath Easwaran

I started the Shvetashvatara Upanishad today and I can tell that it probably won’t be my favorite. It is in a more poetic prose which doesn’t usually stick with me as well. There is one part I read today that reminded me a lot of Christianity if you replace “Meditate” with “Pray”.

Know him to be enshrined in your heart always.
Truly there is nothing more in life to know.
Meditate and realize that this world
Is filled with the presence of God.

 

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Alright, on to the big gun for this morning. It is taking a lot of self-control to read only five pages a day instead of plowing through it like I did the first time I read it. But, to continue that terrible analogy above, I will get more from it with a daily spritz of water than dumping the whole bucket once.

The pages are still identifying traits of Resistance, which includes being fueled by fear, only opposing from lower calls to higher calls (you aren’t going to face Resistance to quit volunteering at your church to sit down and play video games all day), Resistance is most powerful at the finish line, and Resistance recruits allies.

Those last two struck me the hardest. When I was writing my book the most difficult times were the first day and the final week. I was literally 95% of the way done and I faced more Resistance than ever. In a way, the Resistance won on that project because the real final part of writing is editing and I basically neglected that. I finished writing, but I didn’t finish creating because the Resistance kicked my ass. So yeah, it is powerful near the finish line.

As far as Resistance’s allies, this trait refers to how outside pressure (particularly from close friends and allies) will try to stop you from your calling. That isn’t always the case, my partner has been super supportive, but there is some truth in that old phrase “misery loves company”. When we see someone succeeding, following their passion, becoming who they can become, there is some envy that develops and we sometimes want them to fail (or will even work on a conscious and subconscious level to encourage defeat).

I once knew a married couple that this seemed to apply to. One partner started working hard to get healthier by exercising regularly and eating healthy. They faced Resistance, it was tough, but they stuck with their plan. Unfortunately, their partner became Resistance’s ally and the partner would refuse to pick up healthier options at the store or say things like “If you get in better shape you will probably leave me for someone else”. Guilt and neglect became Resistance’s tools. Why would someone do this to someone they love? Pressfield uses the writer as an example:

When a writer begins to overcome her Resistance she may find that those close to her begin acting strange… They are trying to sabotage her.
The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance. The awakening writer’s success becomes a reproach to them. If she can beat these demons, why can’t they?

Other’s success shines a light on our failures. And sometimes it is easier to tear others back down than lift ourselves up. I’m sure we’ve all experienced (or seen others experience) this in many forms. A person wants to quit their job and do something they are passionate about but their partner convinces them that the timing isn’t right. A retiree wants to train for American Ninja Warrior but their friends convince them they are too old. Someone has a crazy dream like riding a unicycle around the world but their friends remind them that it has never been done before, so it probably can’t be done. Our soul, our love, our passion, our dreams, our work, our purpose for existence is pushed down to the status of hobby, at best, or delusion, at worst. All by our “friends” who would rather be surrounded by mediocrity instead of encouraged by excellence. Resistance is a piece of shit.

Alright, three new words today.

motate – to move from one location to another. I think this is actually slang. I couldn’t find a definition in the normal, more credible sources. (From “The War of Art”)

milquetoast – a timid or submissive person. This was used to describe Trump’s behavior towards authoritarians around the world, specifically Putin and the Saudi leadership. This word comes from the last name of a comic strip character in the early 20th century (Casper Milquetoast) and is a deliberate misspelling of ‘milk toast’… which is apparently something people eat? Use of the word capitalized peaked in the late 1940’s, but the lowercase version is currently at its highest point. (From Electoral Vote)

paucity – A small or insufficient amount of something. It comes from the Latin paucus which means “few” or maybe the Old French paucite. Paucity use in literature hit its high point in 1665, dropped off quickly for a century or so, and then has sort of steadily grown in popularity until 1979 when it peaked again. Its been on a steady decline since the end of the Carter administration. (From Electoral Vote)

 

Alright, that’s it for my morning (I say at 11am). I am not really breaking down my day into hours. I just want to accomplish a few things.

  • Five mile run
  • Yoga
  • Move storm damaged stuff to the curb
  • Clean out outside shed
  • Mow lawn
  • Clean bathroom

Have a wonderful day!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
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Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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