Last night I was playing racquetball with my friend, and I wasn’t doing very well to begin with. I think he had something like four or five points before I scored any. So I observed what I was doing and I realized that most of the time, I was off balance. My mind had been mostly in other places and I wasn’t taking advantage of the time available to regain my balance. So I decided to change the way I was playing: I hunched over a bit more, bent my knees, and focused on staying above my center of gravity. It helped. Because I was more balanced, I was able to change directions more easily, and because my knees were bent I had more leverage to start moving quickly when I needed to.
And after the game, I realized: observing in that same way the wider scope of what I’ve been doing in my life recently reveals the same thing. Many things have been moving rapidly: planning the wedding (mine with my wife; we are married now by common law, but are having a wedding at the end of June), buying the house (we weren’t really looking for one but the perfect deal for us is just, suddenly, falling into place, though not entirely without stress), organizing (if it can be called that–maybe “capturing” would be a better word) ideas for my side project (codenamed Arianna–an AI system for games at a stage where it is much too early to talk about it), new and promising opportunities opening up for my wife, and at work trying to maintain the will to slog away at a frustrating, almost entirely unenjoyable project which is quite behind schedule. As in the racquetball game, I see that most of the time I have been off balance.
I’ve been using every spare minute I could find to throw myself into reading stories and news and blogs, playing games, and research for Arianna. It’s as if I’ve been trying to do as many things I enjoy as possible as a statement to myself, to the universe, that I have the free time to do so. But I haven’t been taking advantage of the time I have available to regain my balance. Work hard, play hard–for some it’s a motto; for me, the one engenders the other, as the more work I do (or am supposed to be doing), the more I end up doing the things I enjoy. And there are people who can live like that, but it leaves me feeling worn out, with precious little energy left for emotions I want to feel. I yearn for a respite, a break that if it’s like it was a couple of weeks ago, may not come until I’m burned out enough to be too sick to go in to work, to even think about the things I enjoy doing, or to do anything much more than eat and sleep fitfully with dreams composed of the mental garbage accumulated from the weeks of overactivity.
So it comes down to this: I need to let myself not have as much time to do the things I want to do. I need to take the time to meditate, to regain my balance. Instead of letting my mind go every which way, I must focus on maintaining my center. I know that when I make that my goal, I will be able to adapt more readily, act more quickly, and I will begin to realize the full potential of Who I Really Am. I have said that attention is energy, and it’s true. Lately I have been dispersing my energy almost completely. It’s time to change that. It’s time to focus.
Can I do it? Well, writing this counts, so I’m already taking a step in the right direction. And I did end up winning that racquetball game.