The first weeks of this year have been straining because they were lonely, yet at the same time highly satisfying.
I would even argue solitude was the only thing that was going to purge my life of everything that was ultimately just clouding my vision, and kept me from seeing what needed to be seen.
And also from everything that was keeping earlier insights from becoming ingrained into my daily life. From becoming part of who I am, to the point where to-do lists are no longer needed of what your daily routines are.
Just like you don’t need to write down you have to brush your teeth.
But like I said:
A massive amount of solitude was needed for that.
If I had not been so sure this intense period was required to change me, I would not have lasted.
There are plenty of things I could have done to come back up to surface noise level, where things could be “done” in order to solve the problems. I could have rebooted my social life, go to museums and expos in other cities. I could have gone looking for work, since I already knew that even when my writing will make me more money that I can spend in a lifetime, I do not want to “be” a writer.
I want a normal job.
It was particularly tempting to make looking for a job a priority, and instead I held the course.
I looked loneliness in the eye, the void where my profession as a yoga teacher had once been, the place where my lover had been, the place where all the friends I had lost along the way had been, and I said:
“Show me what I need to know. Show me what I need to understand. Show me my purpose and my true path.”
It had been twenty years, since the last time I let myself come this close to the cliff and looked down. But regardless of what you learn or see, it is an extremely empowering experience to not run or fix things and just be where you are. On a cliff.
With your eyes open.
This morning my lessons went from big, abstract principles I had learned this year, into practicalities and priorities.
And I noticed something strange and funny!
The activities “doing yoga” and “working between men” were interchangeable. I only needed one of the two, on a daily basis.
And yoga, was part of a much broader category, of activities that could substitute yoga. Or working between men.
Cleaning my house.
Beautifying/ taking care of my body.
And being with a lover.
Being with a lover is a tricky one. It’s not really fair to put it up there, but I did choose to make it explicit, so that I don’t say No because I think I need to clean my house or do yoga or something.
Maybe I get so busy, my brain gets fried, and then someone special says: “Would you like to meet tonight?” and my fried brain answers: “I really can’t”
Thinking: “I need to do yoga.”
To prevent that, I put “Seeing a Lover” in the yoga/body/house category.
But the reason being with a lover does not count as one activity, is that I do beautify and take care of my body before I would go see him, so it should count as double. Triple if he comes over to my place, and I clean the house.
No wonder seeing a lover made me feel so good.
But I kind of knew why dates with my lover had felt so good, so that wasn’t my big Aha!
No, what struck me as odd after writing out the 7 Major Things, in their correct order, I could rewrite it with a big OR in between two of them.
It was between work (originally at #4) OR yoga/body/house/lover (originally at 6).
My ideal job, where I will stay for the rest of my life, is among men.
And we work in a team creating something together, so it’s not (for instance) like a sales team, where we each have our own client base.
It’s also not a shared work space for creatives, where I work my own business as a writer/ entrepreneur;
Because then we don’t work together.
As I adjusted the list of daily activities, adding a big OR and adding my number 1 which I had forgotten – “Sit with cats”; I let it all sink in, and realized there was another big one, which also didn’t need to get done, as long as I had a great place to work.
I wasn’t 100% sure about this one..
But enough to make the leap.
It was writing.
Not the daily writing of smaller posts, 1 hour blog posts, or reposting something with a new quote, or from a new perspective.
Those are my “breath” and butter and need to get done every day even if the world would stop turning and humanity would cease to exist.
You could not stop me from doing that, even if my life depended on it.
No, I mean writing big stuff.
The four to seven hour stuff.
Like this one.
I realized that too, was an OR thing. Not an AND!
Ultimately my original list of 7 Daily Things to stay happy and on track, had 3 activities or areas of my life, where I only needed one a day.
Either I would work between men.
Or I would take care of my body/yoga/house/see a lover.
Or I would write a blog post for multiple hours.
One out of three, was more than enough.
Daily To-Do List, based on core values and goals 2020
- sit with the cats
- mindset work: listen to audio/ YouTube/ journal
- write small post/ repost social media
- track my finances, revenues and expenses
- write long post OR work between men OR do yoga/house/body/see lover
- (optional) social/ fun/friendships
- (optional) publish my books
Creating Peak Experiences
For better or worse, number 1-5 must all get done in order to feel accomplished. There is no way I can cut corners here, it will feel sub-optimal at best.
But most likely it will make me feel terrible.
The last time I remember being absolutely fine not doing 1-5 was when I had a Bon Jovi concert.
These were my days for about four weeks straight, I d say:
1. sit with cats
2. my mindset work was omnipresent but it was all related to Bon Jovi videos, interviews, writing about Bon Jovi, making videos about Bon Jovi and so on
3. I didn’t use my phone or post to social media at the concert itself, but was extremely productive writing and making videos for my pen name accounts. I did not post anything under my real name, since my mind was 100% English speaking and not in tune with my Dutch work (I didn’t have this Rock Star Yoga blog yet)
4. I did not track any finances. It even became the only time I forgot my payments. For weeks before and after the concert I was just not present in my personal finance at all.
5. I wrote many posts about Bon Jovi, all under my pen name
6. Not much social activity and I attended the concert by myself.
7. publishing books? I didn’t even know how many syllables that were
So the weeks around the Bon Jovi concert show what happens to the dailies, when I want a peak experience.
I stuck to the routines that served me, but they were completely colored to Bon Jovi. I dropped the rest. It could have caused problems because I was definitely not paying any attention to anything else.
I risked it.
And we’re 7 months later, and I still think so warmly about that Thursday June 13.
If Bon Jovi comes back (and I expect they will in 2021 or 2022) I will adapt the routine again and take a minimum of two weeks off from work, one week before and one week after, to give myself full experience of it again.
So although I have now formalized everything I want to do each day, I will not make the mistake of being rigid. I think the value of having such a list, is that it prevents you from unconsciously creating a life that is not in line with your values, or simply with what you need to function as a human being.
It makes it explicit what the cost will be, if you answer to everything and everyone who wants or even needs your attention.
Just knowing you’re at the equivalent of sacrificing a limb, if you throw a Sunday at something which is not in your top 5, is already a big win.
But if Jon Bon Jovi asks you over for tea, all you need to do is give the cats a big cuddle and you’re ready to go.
Never say No to a peak experience.