Some quack doctor prescribed my mother a strong anti-depressant. It’s beyond ludicrous because even according to the theory that fans of anti-depressants uphold, she can’t possibly have any chemical imbalances in the brain. Her grief began on the day her husband of 47 years died. She’s not sick. She would be if she didn’t grieve such a loss.
It’s normal to suffer terribly when the people you love die. This shouldn’t be treated like an illness. It’s the definition of human normalcy.
I’d find it an insult to my grief if people started treating it like a disease.
The Russian teacher is all set to arrive on campus next week. Who wants to place bets on whether she’ll bring me a gift with a picture of Putin? I’m betting that she will and not as trolling or from any bad feeling but in complete, wide-eyed sincerity. There’s going to be a gift for sure but what will it be?
We will begin with a warm-up that will test our readiness for deep work and show us what kind of difficulties we might encounter.
The task for today is this:
Do some kind of manual work for 30 minutes without listening to anything or watching anything. Cooking, folding laundry, cleaning, gardening – it can be anything. But you have to remain alone with your thoughts for half an hour. No music, no reading, no podcasts. It has to be an unbroken stretch of 30 minutes.
For some people, this is so easy that they won’t even understand what I’m talking about. For others, it will be hard. But a daily habit of working with your hands in silence, even if it’s for a short period of time is crucial to developing the kind of concentration you need for deep work.
I once did an important, work-intensive project during a 4-hour wait for a connecting flight at the Barajas airport in Madrid. Absolutely nothing intruded upon my thoughts because I shut it all out. There’s great power in being able to go deep inside, and this challenge is about developing this skill.