I’m catching up on our first two chapters of Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet for the Next Chapter book club.
In week one, Martha offers us a daily dose of nothing. This means for 15 minutes each day, you do nothing. You schedule it in. You go someplace quiet. You become inaccessible to everything and everybody for those 15 minutes. And then you do nothing. If it helps, you can choose to move your body in a meditative, repetitive way, like walking or jogging. And if your body is tired but it still feels hard to sit still, you can focus on a rhythmic part of nature, like a crackling fire or ocean waves.
Ideally, my nothing time would come first thing in the morning. But, what works best for me right now as a mother of a preschooler is to take my 15 minutes just after preschool drop-off and before my work day begins. I even purchased a yummy Aveda Rainforest candle to help me mark my sacred nothing time.
In chapter two, Martha adds a special twist to those 15 minutes. She invites us to add in the elixir of truth by asking ourselves a series of truth-telling questions. To give you a taste, here’s my internal conversation from this morning:
What am I feeling? I feel a bit tired…and sorta excited too. I feel rushed almost like I’m anxious to get a lot done really fast.
What hurts? What hurts is a spot on my right shoulder. And my heart feels a bit achy [not sure where that came from, but it came, so noted it is!].
What is the painful story I’m telling? The story I am telling is that I don’t know what to do. That I don’t know what I’m doing with the next direction of my work. That I don’t know enough. That I’ll never figure it out and I’ll fail.
Can I be sure my painful story is true? Well, yes. It seems I can’t make a clear, powerful decision on how I want to move forward with my business. I’ve been dilly-dallying around, batting around too many ideas. That’s my evidence that it’s true…and yet, I am taking action and trying new things and testing the waters. I also know for sure that I’m heading in the direction I want to go, I’m just not clear yet about all the pieces to it.
Is my painful story working? My story is not helping me feel well, balanced, strong and powerful. It is not helping me feel loving towards myself or others around me. It gets me all anxious and icky-feeling. It keeps me playing a small game. It is working in the sense that it enables me to not choose or risk….which feels like that keeps me safe.
Can I think of another story that might work better?[Here we are supposed to “turnaround” our story by stating its opposite to see if it rings more true, like Byron Katie’s Work Process.] My opposite story might be I do know what I am doing with my work. I do know enough and I will figure it out…or maybe the opposite is that my work knows what direction to go in next and it will figure it out for me. Now that rings true. Follow the work and how it wants to develop. Listen to what wants to be created.
The last step to this is to get all love-y with yourself. To be gentle with yourself and those parts that feel unsafe, scared, or icky. To offer compassion and care. Mmmm. Deep breath, deep breath.
Are you up for a dose of nothing and truth-telling? Are you craving more joy?