A quote I’m pondering…
“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone” ~ Alan Watts.*
Since making running a regular part of my routine I’ve noticed my mental health has been pretty good and I haven’t felt as strong a need for regular meditation in my life. But while the running helps with my mood it doesn’t quite deal with the mental clutter and distraction and reactiveness in the same way that meditation does. This quote has got me thinking about the importance of quiet and stillness, and it also reminded me of something Julia Baird wrote in a New York Times opinion piece about her cancer diagnosis…. ‘stillness and faith can give you extraordinary strength. Commotion drains.’
Our modern lives are full of commotion and chaos and muddy water. Perhaps our way through that to improved wellbeing is not found in personal productivity hacks or new technology or to-do lists or outsourcing, but in more silence and stillness.
* I read the above quote in a recent installment of Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter which I’d highly recommend. We’re apparently at ‘peak newsletter’ so you probably don’t need anything more to read, but in case you do, I also enjoy receiving updates in my inbox from Emi Kolawole, Austin Kleon, Adam Grant and Jean Hannah Edelstein.
Adding value to my life right now…
Reframing ‘I have to’ into ‘I get to’. A little tip I took away from James Clear’s interview on the 10% Happier podcast – next time you find yourself saying (or thinking) that you have to do something, try reframing it and tell yourself that you get to do it instead. ‘I have to pick up E from school’ -> ‘I get to pick up E from school’, ‘I have to deliver 3 workshops this week’ -> ‘I get to deliver 3 workshops this week’. It’s a great way to quickly shift yourself into a place of gratitude rather than obligation.