Saturday, 16 January 2016

Practice always

Summer fun
I haven’t been turning up at my desk often enough lately – not the work desk, that has its own rhythms and strictures. I mean the home desk, my creative world. I have lost the habit. What can I blame it on - change of job, the festive season, summer days – all of the above or none of the above? No doubt the answer lies somewhere in between, and really it doesn’t matter. The point is to break out, strike out in the direction I want to go. There are reasons, and there will always be reasons and musing on them doesn’t change the situation.

A quiet mind
But other shifts that I have been trying to make have flowered. Several months ago I signed up to a mind/body studio. I pay a weekly fee and can go to as many classes as I like. After a rocky start I am averaging two classes a week – one pilates and one yoga. I’d like to get it up to three but sometimes there just isn’t enough time or inclination. The change which is less easy to articulate is that I am not fighting with myself half so much to get there. It is like having set the benchmark, and having had a bit of practice at meeting it, and missing it, I am settling into it.

A new park
The job change has also meant a route change for my walk to work. I am now walking all the way – not walking to the Vic market and jumping on the free tram for the rest of the journey. My new route means I don’t have to traverse the city at all. I skirt round the edges of a park, walk through the university grounds, along fashionable streets to another park and then arrive at my building. A gentle stroll of 4km, done five mornings a week is good for me and easy unintentional exercise.

Growing time

All this body work is good for my mental health. The walking helps warm up my mind in the morning. I can’t be doing anything else, just looking at the world around me and moving leaves me with space to think. In the evenings the yoga/pilates helps clear my head. I have to focus on what the instructor is saying and then try and arrange my limbs and core into the required position – always remembering to breathe.

Light in the dark

The challenge still remains how to get all this lovely clarity and creativity to my desk. I know that when I do sit down something has to happen, because that’s what happens at work. But it doesn’t happen in isolation. At work there are a lot of external drivers – expectations, plans, requests. At my home desk this is not the case, in my own room I have to set these parameters myself. I need a plan. A plan with sufficient detail that I feel I am not starting with a blank page - a plan that will lead me to the next milestone, a sense of what the milestones are and a sketch of where the milestones will lead. Interestingly this is usually how my blog posts come about. I have an idea, I make an outline of what I want to cover and a few days later I come back and do a longer write up. The drafting doesn’t take much time or thinking because the basic concepts and structure are already there. So I guess I already have my answer – and some practice at using it!

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