Tom Waits on habits

“It’s very hard to stop doing things you’re used to doing. You almost have to dismantle yourself and scatter it all around and then put a blindfold on and put it back together so that you avoid old habits.” 


― Tom Waits

Wipe the slate clean every day.

You don’t need to worry about your reading lists. Mark them all as read. Don’t worry about all the social media posts you haven’t read. Don’t worry about all the blogs there are to search through, or all the news sites there are to keep up with. Each day, your slate is clean. Then you can decide how to fill that slate each day, and enjoy whatever you choose to experience.

Then let go, with a new slate each day.

Here’s what I’ve learned from not writing about my life because I was scared you wouldn’t like it: I’ve learned that you don’t care what I do in my life as long as I’m interesting. If I am doing something that’s scary, and I tell you, then you can identify with me when you do something scary. What this community is, really, is people who want to do something scary. Because life is very, very boring if we don’t scare ourselves.

After attending the Green Vale School in Old Brookville, N.Y., where her classmates included Gloria Vanderbilt, and graduating from St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Md., she turned down a scholarship to Radcliffe to marry Arthur Twining Hadley II, whom she later described as “handsome, but a cad.” Her mother handed her off with the only bit of intimate advice she ever imparted: “Don’t worry, Dear, sex will only last a year.”

"My whole life is a coping strategy."

While seeing my physical therapist the other night, he asked if I liked my eating habits (an odd way to ask the question, but it got me thinking) and I babbled for a few minutes about the little things I’ve picked up on eating, hunger, diets, and the like. b/w line art drawing of coping

I told him about how I was at 250 lbs. in my mid-20s, my work with a nutritionist where I learned that starches shot my weight up like nobody’s business, the various diets I’ve been on in my life, how food and money are both lifelong meditations since I tell myself so many stories about what they say about me, how fasting one day a week has taught me the difference between hunger and cravings, and the little tactics I weave into my life: make a plan for how to navigate the dessert table at the family reunion, put a hand on my belly and ask myself “Am I hungry?” when I stand in front of the candy machine (for some reason, I can’t lie to myself when I do that), using the No S diet eating plan when eating normally through the week. And on and on.

He smiled and said, “Sounds like you have some great coping strategies, there.”

To which I replied, without thinking, “My whole life is a coping strategy.”

(There’s probably a blogging rule somewhere about not making the punchline the title of your post, but I’ll deal with the blog police later.)

I repeated this line to my mastermind group later and they laughed and said, “You’re right.”

Not quite sure what to do with this self-appraisal that bubbled up out of nowhere, but it’s something more to meditate on.

 

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