Sunday, September 30, 2012

Make or Break a Habit Week

You know those moments in life when you wake up and think, "Well, now what?"

That was me seven days ago.  It was me six days ago.  In fact, I'm still kinda asking the question.  But the reason I decided to dedicate Things I'm Gonna Do This Week to making good habits and breaking bad ones was because of that of question.  I was tired of imagining my world spinning out of control without any scientific justification.  So in my desire to figure out what's next for me, I concentrated on the little stuff, and then paid attention to what bubbled up.  I also forced myself to journal about it.

(deep breath)

Here's what happened:

I'm slightly regretting the choice of blogging that I feel my world is spinning out of control.  With a statement like that, you run the risk of everyone that loves you feeling like you don't know they love you.  I also don't want this week to look like a fishing trip designed to catch a six-pound Sympathy Card.  But enough of my insecurities…

I'm journaling this week because I have long-term goals and not many short-term ones.  I don't know what's next.  Nothing new there, I guess…  Show business is a constant trust fall exercise.  This is different, though.  I'm very busy, but feel like I'm at a stand still, and I think that's what's making the Earth seem like it's turning so fast.

Ugh.  Even as I write that, I can hear my head giving itself advise that doesn't make me feel any better.  That's probably how I ended up on the couch this morning watching crime shows on TNT.  Knowing you should do something and not feeling any motivation to do it is a perfect recipe for cable surfing.

OK, so short term goals.  Wash my car, get a haircut, go to the bank, grocery shop, walk the dog, do laundry, wash dishes, exercise…

A rerun of the Oprah show is on.  "When people show you who they are, believe them."  Maya Angelou.  Oh wow.  I almost wrote Maya Rudolph.  HAHA!  Not the same person.

It's Wednesday, and I accomplished all my goals yesterday!  I'm going to allow myself to celebrate it for a few minutes, and then move on.  I don't want the efficiency of my life to be dependent upon a checklist.  

I took about ten minutes to meditate and pray last night.  (Can't believe I'm posting this kind of stuff… Breathe, Jeff.  It's just a few days.)  I've started implementing a "technique" to my prayers that has seemed to make them mean more to me.  When I'm asking for blessings or giving gratitude, I picture what I'm saying and surround it with light.  It makes Prayer feel more powerful.  It's incorporating the non-physical: my imagination, my faith, my hope.  Definitely a new habit I want to keep. 

Other habits I'm trying out today: a new workout routine.  Bad habit I'm trying to leave behind: not eating because I don't want to spend money.

Thursday = My legs are sore!

More importantly, though, I've found not only a new habit I want to make, but a full on REVOLUTION I want to begin!  I'm single handedly going to revive Audience Etiquette.  From here on out I vow to be the best audience member in the world, thereby setting an example that hopefully others will follow.  It consists of three very important pledges:

#1- I will enter the theatre 100% willing to go on the journey that has been prepared for me to take.  

#2- I will applaud after every musical number because I am NOT watching television in my pajama bottoms.

#3- If I stay after the production to say hello to the actors, I will initiate conversation with them, realizing that they have been working for the past 2+ hours and shouldn't be expected to keep entertaining me.

Sounds simple, right?  Apparently it's not!  I was in an audience tonight, and I'm positive we are currently experiencing a very scary dip in audience etiquette.  Our attention spans are shot, we arrive to the theatre already grumpy and judgmental, and there's this pervasive attitude (particularly among theatre performers) that actors should be more excited to see us after a show than the other way around.  Not true!  Give them a compliment, people!  It will not kill you, I promise.  In fact, the pious restraint of your self-righteousness could possibly be a character building exercise.

In other news, I need to stop "scripting scenes" with people before they happen.  Talk about character building…

I remember talking to a good friend of mine a couple years ago and asking her if she thought it's possible to be taken advantage of if you know that you are.  My assertion was it isn't possible because your awareness allows for your choice.  It's only when choice is taken away that you become a victim of such behavior. 

Now that I think back on it, though, I'm reminded of the famous proverb, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."  Perhaps it isn't so beneficial to spend time justifying someone else's actions, as it is to discern what kind of person you are for going along with them in the first place.

So…it's Friday, and I'm angry, and I don't like it. 

But the good news is I'm just angry at myself.  That means I can just tell myself to "go to hell," which then makes myself come back with, "No! I don't want to cuz then I'll have to be there with YOU!"  And then I retort back, "Then why don't you just stop being mad at me!"  And then I say, "Good idea. I'm sorry, Jeff."  And then I say, "No, I'm the one who's sorry, Jeff."  And then we kiss and make up.

Anyway, bad habit: Being too hard on myself.

Good habit: Stretching.  My hamstrings are way too tight.  Maybe I can meditate tonight in a wide second and kill two birds with one stone.  Poor birds…

I hold my breath.

It's always been a downfall of mine.  Artistically, physically, socially… sometimes I just forget to breathe.  I've never passed out.  It never goes that far, but it does keep me from being at my best.  Like tonight, I had to sing into a sound system that was kind of wretched, so I started holding my breath, not knowing how loud I should be.  The good Lord gave you lungs, dang it, use them!!

Today's Saturday, and I'm taking a look at my world.  It feels like the old one.  Not biblically, of course, more like the old one from two weeks ago.  Less spinning, familiar...  That worries me.  It should feel like a new one, shouldn't it?

Either way, I guess I'm grateful for a reprieve.

I relapsed.  

I returned to my bad habit from Thursday.  BOO!  I was in the middle of a conversation and had a thought to share, but was immediately interrupted by my own brain "scripting" what the other person might say in response, and so on and so on until finally the person with whom I was having a conversation asked what all the silence was about.  ugh–

In better news, though, I was reminded of something very important tonight.  Conversations aren't about right or wrong.  Relationships aren't about right or wrong.  Life really isn't about right or wrong. 

I mean, does anybody really ever get into a situation and think, "You know, I want to make the wrong decision here."  Even if they do, it's because they think for whatever reason that the "wrong" decision is more "right" than the "right" one.  So why do we put so much stock in that way of thinking?

Say you convince someone that they're wrong.  So what?  What do you get out of it?  The possibility of the other person feeling bad?  The knowledge that you're right?  Do these things actually make life more fulfilling?

Conversations are about sharing.  Relationships are about sharing.  Life is about sharing!   And regardless of how any of those things turn out, isn't it amazing to know you participated?  The joy is found in the selflessness of your participation.  It's so much more satisfying than walking away thinking, "At least I was right." 

So to review, here's a summary of the good and bad habits I discovered this week:

Bad Habits
  • Not Eating
  • Scripting Life
  • Being too Hard on Myself
  • Holding My Breath
  • Relapsing on Any of the Above

Good Habits:
  • Short Term Goals
  • Prayer & Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Audience Ettiquette
  • Stretching
  • Sharing

I'm happy with this list.  It looks like a good start for me.  There's power to be found here, and that's exactly what I need.  

Here's to "Make or Break a Habit Week."  May it continue for the next 28 days and beyond.  That way, it won't just be a list, it will be a life.

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