Yesterday, I went through a rather upsetting & ultimately liberating series of events.
Naturally, my day started off just fine, but a real battle was waged when I decided to boot up my computer and start off the day's work.
Yesterday was no regular day. I had 2 major projects due and an array of other things that also needed my attention.
And so I decided on the biggest, most important thing first—a programming challenge my peers had been complaining about.
I sat down and got to work. I was furiously writing lines of code, checking documentation websites, and testing. I had an anxious need for this program to work. I NEEDED it to be done.
Failure. After failure. Banging my head against the keyboard. My eyes started to feel heavy & dry. My vision was blurry. I was ready to give up.
"Let's make a last ditch effort to make this work. Otherwise, I give up." my mind says.
I take a step back and try to see if I am missing anything obvious. It is easy to get lost in the weeds doing this type of work.
I realize that I missed 1 thing.
One small piece of code was missing.
I swap it out, and the program finally works!
Imagine the most child-like glee. I hop out of my chair and start dancing. Literally. A mix between a poorly timed jig and who-knows-what-else. My heart is on fire. I feel on top of the world.
But something starts to happen. I feel something start to creep in on my parade. Ah. It's all the other boulders I have to push.
The other project is still due. And the 16 other things still on my plate.
At that moment, I recognized the game I was trapped in.
Every time I accomplish something. Something else rears its head.
And that joy. Gone. Instead, slight anxiety takes its place.
"Here we go again."
One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy
"It's not the destination. It's the journey" people say.
But, reality check, our brains don't work that way. We crave completeness. We crave accomplishment. We need things to reach their end state. To reach their outcome.
And I suppose this is simply a learned behaviour.
We learn it from people around us. And they learned it from the people around them.
You might even call it a behaviour-virus.
Structure defines behaviour, and behaviour defines structure in a self-reinforcing feedback loop that cannot be stopped.
You stop playing...
If you stop rolling the boulder up the hill, then what? If you stopped and thought about why you're rolling it, would it ever occur to you that you could do something else?
The questions I asked myself to try to answer this:
Why am I pushing this boulder?
Did I choose this boulder? Or was it chosen for me?
- Are you pushing this boulder out of fear/anxiety or beauty/excitement?
- Did you pick this boulder, or is this someone else's agenda?
What if you spent years pushing a boulder that you didn't even get to choose? Someone else gave it to you. Wouldn't that make no sense?
I am suggesting that you can pick your own boulder, which doesn't feel like a boulder but looks like a boulder to everyone else. A boulder that you enjoy pushing.
Remove all distractions... Both physical and mental.
Get back with your breath. It's always around for you to get back into contact with.
The Tuning Process:
- Ask yourself whether or not this action (boulder pushing) you're about to take on is coming from a place of inner alignment. Don't intellectualize it; see what comes up.
- Ask yourself if this action is of your own agenda or someone else's.
- If this action does not seem appropriate (it comes from fear or someone else's agenda) – hold off on doing it for now.
- If this action comes from a place of inner resonance (not conditioned responses via recurring thoughts & emotions), then do it!
- Repeat when you are doing other things.
Expect to feel immense amounts of fear. Maximum amounts. You're currently challenging what you might have spent years doing or thinking.
I am feeling that fear right now. But I know that to get something new, we got to do things differently. And this is simply a response our brains are making to breaking the pattern. That's all.
CAUTION: YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
Don't use this as an excuse not to do something you're directly responsible for. If you have obligations, you must continue to ensure that these continue to get completed.
What I am offering is to get rid of the optional boulders you may be pushing that take away rather than give.
Then, having gone through this process many times, there will come a day when you'll have the energy & availability to tackle the more enormous, more impactful boulders in your life.
Pick your boulders.
If you do this tuning process during the day, you'll start to understand which actions (boulders) best resonate with you. You'll also be put into a challenging position where you'll find actions that don't resonate with you.
I am empowering you, if there aren't large 2nd or 3rd-order effects, to stop pushing that unhelpful boulder. It will be hard & scary now, but you'll be better for it in the future.
Live an aligned life.
We've all had many things pushed onto us. We rarely get the time & space to choose what we want.
Use this process to get rid of the things pushed on to us. And instead, nourish & grow the things that we DO want.
This is how "the journey BECOMES the destination."
By living from this place of resonance, it doesn't matter where you end up because what you're doing makes sense to you. You don't have to imagine Sisyphus happy. You just got to pick the suitable boulders for you.
You have that power. Just wake up and use it.