Regarding your last sentence, it can be that simple, but it is not easy.suomalainen wrote: ↑Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:14 pmI think the theme has been that since the accident, my internal life has been thrown topsy turvy in a way that has been very difficult to get a handle on. I started reading IlliniDave's journal today, the "Journey of Mindfulness" title catching my eye. Something he wrote really resonated with me and my struggles -- "I think too much." There's a certain myopia to the thinking and even the thinking about thinking.
When it comes to early retirement (or "freedom", which seems to be what retirement symbolizes for me), it's like navel gazing and picking out each piece of lint as it gathers, or more graphically, picking at a scab to see how it's healing. I don't know that it's healthy. So, the struggle has been, as it seems to have been at least in the early entries for IlliniDave, to learn to live in the moment.
And yet. and yet. I'm not satisfied. Perhaps I never will be. But what if I could just choose to be satisfied? Could it possibly be that easy?
I'm afraid my journal has moved away from its original theme and become a bit drier of late. That started around the time my mom became ill and I became quite a bit more guarded about my inner self. That situation for a time became a setback as well as the worrier in me made a heroic attempt to reassert itself as a dominant facet in my person.
I was thinking of mentioning this in my journal but I'll add it here. My job is slightly unusual in that for the last 19 years I've maintained an office both in one of my employers buildings and a second in a facility of a different company we've been teamed with on a long-term project. Due to some major reshuffling I'm having to give up my office in my employer's building (temporarily from their perspective but in reality by the time they finish all the renovation/construction they have planned I'll be retired). I spent yesterday finishing up the clean out of my "on-site" office. I had arranged for some storage space to preserve a modest fraction of my stuff that I did not want to take over to my off-site office (though a partner in some areas, this company is a competitor in others). But I realized that it was mostly sentiment that made me want to keep the stuff, and that keeping it was just an attempt to cling to the past. I had noticed your reference to my journal on Thursday which had renewed my sensitivity to mindfulness, so once I recognized that behavior for what it was, I destroyed everything I'd planned to store.
I wish I could say that that act was a major epiphany of enlightenment. In truth it was really difficult. Unlike many here my "career" was overwhelmingly a positive experience. Perhaps it was because I never let it be a "real career", but that's another subject. So besides a couple of boxes of old college textbooks I have stacked in my garage until I can figure out what to do with them, the scant amount of stuff I need day-to-day for my present assignment, and the very few framed mementos/awards that survived the purge which I'll stick up on the wall of my off-site office, all physical ties to my 30+ year run have been obliterated. So far the feeling is more one of being cast adrift than one of freedom, but I think time will remedy that. And I am still drawing a paycheck from them .
The point to that too-long anecdote is that it's not like throwing a switch and suddenly becoming some sort of carefree enlightened spirit. It's a series of incremental challenges that you just have to take one at a time. There's a family of sayings in Zen philosophy that each step (or the present step) is the journey; or alternately that the obstacle is the path. Mindfulness is giving all your attention to tackling what is right now under your control. Being immersed in the moment is just that, it's not a detour around the tough things in life. From a more western perspective you could maybe call it an analog to having grit.