Pay Attention

Y’all ever try one of those SAD lamps, or lightboxes, or whatever they’re called? I’m curious about them. No particular reason. Apparently the Winnipeg Library has ones for just hanging out by and reading. Apparently, the Winnipeg Library actually has a lot of cool stuff now, like, maker spaces and a recording studio??? Also books, nice.

I’ve been slowly continuing to read The Mindful Way Through Depression and one of the challenges it issues to the reader is to pick a mundane, everyday activity and spend a week trying to be as present for it as possible. Not like, hyperfocus or whatever, but just try to be aware of the actions, sights, smells, your breathing, your body posture, all those things. Take it all in with gentle curiosity and interest. Pretend you are visiting Earth and doing these things for the first time, if it helps. And then, each week, add a new thing. Oh, and here’s the thing: don’t try to “force” yourself to do things, or chastise yourself for “failing” at the exercise, either. That’s a sure way to frustration.

So, here is what I’ve tried so far:

  1. Brushing my Teeth. This one seemed easy and relatively short, and yet it still takes practice and attention. One thing I did realize pretty quickly is that I wander all over the house while I do it, looking at other things, and I waste a lot of time because I can’t remember if I already brushed certain teeth or not. So making myself stand still, consciously picking a place to start in my mouth, and then carefully ensuring that I brush each area of my teeth has been good. Despite this, I forget myself all the time and fall back to old habits.
  2. Showering. A hot shower is wonderful, but I’m rarely there for it, at least mentally. The shower is where I get a lot of arguing done, OR a lot of explaining things. As in, I picture somebody asking me “what’s a Metroidvania” for instance, and then I go on a big thing of how I would break the concept down to this imaginary person. Similar to toothbrushing, it’s taken a conscious and systematic effort to fight this impulse. And again, I forget myself and fall back on old habits all the time.
  3. Driving. Possibly the scariest thing, and I feel I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, is that around here we’re often piloting big fast hunks of metal and barely present for any of it. This is one where I make sure that I’m conscious of my breathing and body posture, how my hands feel on the steering wheel, trying to notice things in my field of vision. I haven’t decided if music helps or not. On the one hand I think that listening to the intricacies of a song helps me get away from More Arguments In My Head, but on the other hand I can definitely get too wrapped up in the song. As with the first two, I forget myself, and fall back on old habits all the time.
  4. Cat Stuff. This encompasses the daily cat things that must be done such as give the cat a food, and a water, and empty the litter tray. This is my most recent one and it’s tough because it’s pretty boring. I haven’t been trying this one for very long. I’m not really sure what to hone in on yet…maybe things like the sounds that I’m generating, like food pouring into a bowl, I don’t know.

Thing I Saw: A big black truck parked by the mall, covered in aggressive slogans. I assume they were custom-made stickers because they were the same colour and had a similar design style. I’m also boggled because I don’t at all understand the person who has made these choices. The first one to catch my eye said something about “I may not get 60 mpg, BUT I GET LAID” as if those were mutually exclusive? The only other ones I remember said “Locally Hated” (this…is a point of pride???) and plugged the guy’s Instagram, which is actually set to Private, so why even the heck put it on there.

I read recently that if you really can’t understand people’s actions, (and especially if you’re inclined to judge their choices negatively,) there’s probably some crucial piece of context that you’re just missing. People make choices for reasons and I’m just saying I’m very curious about those reasons in this case.

Thing I Learned: All kinds of things from Quite Interesting‘s twitter feed, which is here and worth following.

I’m Grateful For: Cheaply available vitamin C because it is Cold and Dang Flu Season y’all

Yukon Blonde is the Sloaniest band I’ve found since Sloan, and I mean that in a good way