Thursday, March 29, 2007

Starting today.

Pema Chodron says, "Start where you are." What I would add is, "Okay, now again. And again. And one more time."

I realized when I was in the long slog of logging and editing my film Life in a Box -- the first and only time in my adult life during which I was completely free of outside work -- that I did well with a strict schedule. I had the day, and the week, scheduled down to the hour. Two hours for coffee and the New York Times, one hour journaling, one hour for showering and meditation, six hours of logging, and so on. It worked.

I had always thought, before then, that I was a little lazy and certainly not a morning person. But suddenly, with no extraordinary effort, I was getting up at 7 a.m. (with no alarm clock!), working at one thing or another all day, and going to sleep at 11. It turns out I was not lazy, I just didn't want to do a bunch of shit other people wanted me to do. I stuck to that schedule, more or less, for two years, until the money ran out and the film was done.

Even though, for the past couple of years, I've had to do various jobs to pay the bills, I'm trying to live by a schedule when my time is my own. Sometimes it works better than others. I have trouble recovering from any disruption. I plug along on my schedule for a couple of weeks, but then I do one of these drug trials and get all out of whack.

The drug trials are better than having a job as far as giving me time and psychic space to write. I have blocks of free time while I'm in the trial, and there's not much to do in the facility but read and write. I just have to nudge myself to do less reading and more writing. But it's been two weeks since I ended the last trial, and I haven't been able yet to get back on a schedule. Today, I'm starting again. At noon, I shower.

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