I’m reading The Willpower Instinct which is more of a self-help book than I’d like but was recommended as an engaging and well-written look at the way our brains work. This is one that I would pass along to others, particularly those thinking of starting a new habit or taking a new direction. At any rate, I’m reading it in conjunction with the book my mother sent and together the science/faith perspectives are fascinating. I would not have said that, come August, I’d be knee-deep in self-help, but there it is.
Honestly, it’s nice to think solely about myself (and science and faith) for 20 minutes every night. It gives my brain a chance to step down from the constant effort required to raise a thoughtful and peaceful three-year-old. Being dynamic and engaging while also reframing situations for the better is mentally exhausting. I spend a lot of time in the space between action and reaction riffling through a mental rolodex of possible responses and tactics. She’s an exceptionally good wolverine and a fairly good kid, so the mental gymnastics pay off (and my own good parenting is becoming more habit).
The Willpower Instinct barely gets started before discussing meditation (nice summary of that here). It really isn’t something impossible (in theory). Just five minutes spent focusing on breath. Incidentally, meditation is also something that my mental health and fertility doctors have recommended. I would love to have that five minutes but I can’t find them.
Getting up earlier doesn’t guarantee quiet – in fact, it would almost certainly wake up the rest of the house, gears of daily life grinding. Staying up later feels like I’m depriving myself of the peaceful conversation with my wife in bed and the wind-down of reading. Tuning out to meditate and then tuning back in to re-engage feels uncomfortable to me. I’ve looked for a spot at work but I can’t focus for fear of being crept up on. I have a fleet of excuses.