The Mind in Spiral

Once a death spiral of negative self-esteem starts, it takes a lot of work and energy to pull out of it—much more than it takes to just maintain one's altitude/attitude.

I typically try to meditate every day in the morning before I do anything else, when I do this consistently, it really works to even out the ten-thousand-things that can throw me off balance. I'm new at being a administrator of my program area, and the way it is set up I have a lot more things to do, but without the commensurate power or authority of a department chair to really drive change that I know can happen. The result is a lot more little struggles, a lot more terse incoming emails with meaning hidden in the spaces between the words, a lot more of everything. And in the fog of February (a.k.a. Exploding Head Month), it's hard to tell when to just brush my shoulders off. Meditating helps.

Except when I don't do it. Here's the thing—I've been skipping. The semester started fast and furious, things going well, and I'd hit time to sit, then think "nah, I'm good" and go get to work. Then mid-to-late-February hits and boom. I realize that I'm mired in some stupid thing or three that has me completely off balance, preoccupied, fearful, angry. More than ever I need to sit and re-center and see things as they are, but when I get in position, I can't quiet my mind. I can't even point it in the right direction. I can't even breathe right to get myself down to start.

Why should this be surprising? I get on my student's cases all the time about this... if they don't make a daily practice of animating, they get destroyed in the week before a film is due because they haven't strengthened the necessary muscles to face the real challenge. I just did the exact same thing.

(I like the book Mindfulness in Plain English, you can get it here for free.