February 25, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Penelope Trunk is a regular read of mine.

I may not always agree with her perspective, but I look forward to reading every post because she's a great story teller, she's very open, and she's an optimist.

In short, she has several qualities that I admire, but do not possess.

(As an aside, am I the only one who, occasionally, when typing, sees a word and thinks, that can't be how it's spelled, so I look it up, and realize (a) I did know how to spell it, and (b) if I went with my second-guess, I'd be talking about posses? As in Andre the Giant had one? Anyway, I digress...).

Penelope's post today has played a proportionately large role in my day, in terms of waking minutes spent related to any one thing. First, I read it and thought it was insightful. Then, at some point, I sent it to my sister. Later, at lunch with H and A, I brought it up again. H asked me to send it to her so she could pass it on.

And now, here I am, blogging about it.


I don't *know* Penelope. But, because I enjoy her writing and she's very open, I know much more about her than I do about many of the people I work with, my clients, and even many of my acquaintances and less intimate friends. I speak of her written thoughts and perspectives to my closest friends and family as if she was one of them. I *introduce* them, so to speak.

In many ways, this stranger to me is playing the role of one of my friends. In fact, her blog shows up on my RSS feed just below two of my close friends' blog feeds and above another two close friends'. The times... they are a changin'.

So, anyways, the most insightful thing in her post today, for me, was this,

Be honest about what you love. If you’re not making time to do it regularly unpaid, then you probably don’t love it. Here’s the litmus test: Sex. We do it regularly, unpaid, and we love it. Run this test on other stuff you supposedly love. Do you crave it like sex? Then you probably don’t love it that much. You probably love the idea of loving it, the idea of who you are when you say you love that thing.

Amen, sister.

This ties nicely into the realization I had last weekend about relaxation. I hadn't thought of it in her terms, but when I do, I agree. I make time to do a good (although not perfect) job at work. I make time to cook and enjoy dinner with E. I make time to run and do yoga. I make time to see my family and friends. I make time to keep this blog up to date and I make time to manage the financial details of my life. But I don't make time for pure, unadulterated, zen relaxation. Because, as she so aptly points out, I don't love it. I'd rather cross more things off the list, because I *love* to make lists and cross things off of them.

This is not to say that relaxation isn't good for me. Or even, that I don't enjoy it. I don't love vitamins, I don't love sleeping when I could do more stuff, and I sure don't love difficult emotional situations that make me grow as a person. But I willingly seek them out because I know they are good for me and I like the effects, so I exercise discipline and make them happen.

The exercise of discipline is a noble pursuit. The idea that my personal brand of discipline may have to involve forced relaxation is antithetical to my idea of discipline. But, it fits with my eastern philosophy studies, and it seems very correct, in some way, that since I'm the type of person who finds the typical struggle with discipline almost simplistically easy, my personal version of discipline would look more like the opposite of discipline for most people.

Well, that's enough navel gazing for the evening, don't you think?

No comments: