Productive Zen

As a result of taking constant walking breaks, meditation pauses, and breathing exercise spells, I got an absolutely outrageous amount of work done today. And I’ll do that big administrative task ahead of time.

There’s no such thing as being too busy to go to the gym or out for a walk. If you don’t go, it means you aren’t busy enough. Extreme business requires total inner calm. I’m even putting Klara to good use. I’m taking her out for a fun activity every day after school this week because I achieve complete inner peace through interacting with her.

My Marathon

There are two times in the year when I ration every ounce of energy and treat myself like a convalescent invalid. The first is in May or June, whenever the first heatwave of the year hits. I’m all right with the rest of them – well, not really all right but mostly resigned. But the first one I have to ease into very slowly.

The second time of the year when I meditate 10 times a day, take endless walks, go to bed at 9 am, and behave like I’m a precious vessel is the week before the beginning of the academic year. I got so, today a major administrative deadline was pushed to 3 weeks earlier and is now due on Friday, even though we have received zero numbers we need to do it, and my only reaction was, “oh, well. . . I’m due for a walk in the woods, so bye, major deadline.”

The pressure is insane this time of the year but I don’t care. I’m very relaxed, and tomorrow plan to go explore a new poke bowl place that opened in town.

The Meeting Curse

Very few meetings, only one recurring every two weeks and only because it’s in the contract, and no quiet hour interruptions. Everybody told me I’d never publish anything again once I become Chair, and not only am I publishing more, I picked up a second job as a translator. The secret is: no meetings, especially not on Zoom and definitely no recurring ones, no cc: threads, no soul-sucking busy work.

Everybody can do it but people are choosing not to.

Lovable Imperfection

I’m very glad that Klara is into art and is constantly sculpting, building, drawing, painting, and glueing something together. She’s little, so the things she creates never look perfect. They are crooked, lopsided, something always sticks out in the wrong place, something falls off or bleeds through.

This way she learns that the world is imperfect but we still love its imperfections. And that things and people are precious not because they are perfect but because we put our love into them.

Deep Work Challenge: The Week Is Young

For this week, let’s choose one activity a day we will concentrate on deeply. It can be a pretty mundane thing. Eating, brushing teeth, making your bed in the morning, preparing a morning cup of coffee, or an afternoon cup of tea, toweling yourself after a shower.

Pick one such mundane activity every day this week and when you do it, give it your complete, undivided attention. Be so into it as if a solution of a grand mystery of life lay at the end of it. Go as deep as you can into every motion, every sensation.

You’ve got to brush your teeth and make the bed anyway, so why not practice deep concentration while you are at it.

COVID Difference

I hang out with a very liberal crowd at work and a conservative crowd at my kid’s school. The #1 difference at this point in time is that the conservative crowd doesn’t talk about COVID at all. Everybody moved on. I was at 3 events this past week, and one was pretty crowded. Zero masks, zero COVID talk, no sanitizer, it’s all gone. But at work, people start conversations with a litany of boosters. Some are still not only masked but double masked.