A mind like water

Living the dream

Living the dream

As I’ve mentioned, cosmic colonic has helped me clear out the stuff I don’t need to  make room for what matters. But years of procrastination habits are hard to break and Ole Bonita backslides now and again. These are the things that built up in my head the last few weeks:

finish latest mix and make label, kids need shoes, get rx refilled, order moisturizer on-line,  we’re out of trashbags, need to get tons of pics off camera and edited and shared, many emails to catch up with, need to get rental car for europe, and that one night in a’dam, need new sunscreen don’t like the one we have, want to get the bedroom painted, blog entry, blog entry, blog entry, need time with hubby, need to research video editing software, what is that smell?!, what’s for dinner, shit we’re out of coffee AGAIN….

As I’m thinking about them, even just typing them now, my shoulders tense, I hunch over, my jaw tightens. I’m wound tight, this is not good for my mental or physical well-being. This stuff has to be managed or it takes over. I don’t get to enjoy the good stuff of life when I am obsessing over all these unfinished tasks. The saddest part, I got half of these dumb nuisances handled over the weekend most of them took, you guessed it, less than 10 minutes.

The problem with stuff…

This is from 43folders.com:

Stuff is bouncing around in our heads and causing untold stress and anxiety. Evaluation meetings, bar mitzvahs, empty rolls of toilet paper, broken lawn mowers, college applications, your big gut, tooth decay, dirty underwear and imminent jury duty all compete for prime attention in our poor, addled brains. Stuff has no “home” and, consequently, no place to go, so it just keeps rattling around.

Worst off, we’re too neurotic to stop thinking about it, and we certainly don’t have time to actually do everything in one day.

So you sprint from fire to fire, praying you haven’t forgotten anything, sapped of anything like creativity or even the basic human flexibility to adapt your own schedule to the needs of your friends, your family or yourself. Your “stuff” has taken over your brain like a virus now, dragging down every process it touches and rendering you spent and virtually useless.

This is exactly what my brain feels like....

This is exactly what my brain feels like....

A life less reactionary

That’s exactly how use to feel all the time. Like I was always two steps behind and always in danger of dropping the ball completely on something critical. If you are buying presents on the way to a birthday party, you are in the same boat, my friend. I hated always doing things just under the deadline, or worse, just past the deadline. In the case of the birthday present, it meant I spent more money than I planned on a gift that wasn’t what I had in mind. Nice, huh? And then the guilt sets in, leaving me in a constant state of unease and anxiety.

I couldn’t keep it up any longer. My worrywort brain was killing me, my guilt was eating at me, I was always late and you can imagine the quality of my relationships with Mr. Applebum and the little Applebums. I had no time for the good stuff like swimming, bike rides, movies with my man or evey decent conversation. I was too busy bouncing around like a pinball through my days. I dropped into bed at night exhausted, but always with a fresh batch of worries and procrastinations to keep me up for at least an hour.

And then, one day, I heard about GDT. It’s the current trendy time management system that geeks have really taken to. Proponensts of the GTD system claim that it can help you achieve a mind like water, that is, a mind uncluttered by all those random thoughts boucing around.  I loved the idea of freeing up wasted mental capacity for the big stuff that I never got to: pursuing art and music, planning beyond this day or this week, or most importantly, just giving my loved ones the time and attention they deserved.

Mind like water

This is where we are headed.


This is from Ana Maria González

In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: mind like water. Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is: totally appropriate to the force and mass of the input, then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.

Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does. Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a mind like water.

Zenhabits describes the mind like water as:

… the calmness and peace that you are trying to achieve. Have everything in its place, and empty your mind of busy-ness and junk. Then your are ready for anything that comes your way. Sometimes when I don’t feel this way, I look at others around me, and realize that I have come a long way towards Mind Like Water.

Getting Things Done

I’ve been trying to keep GTD off this blog, I find time management systems annoying. But today, as I researched GTD, it turned out, I was naturally doing most of what they advocate. Here is a really summarized version (also from 43folders.com):

  1. identify all the stuff in your life that isn’t in the right place (close all open loops)
  2. get rid of the stuff that isn’t yours or you don’t need right now
  3. create a right place that you trust and that supports your working style and values
  4. put your stuff in the right place, consistently
  5. do your stuff in a way that honors your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment
  6. iterate and refactor mercilessly

Don’t the first two sound suspiciously like the Cosmic Colonic? And doesn’t #3 sound like Clearing space for what matters? The last three, well, we’ll get there. But there is still much to be done to empty your home and mind, so you might have mental peace and clarity.



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