My life seems to be governed by a bunch of moments. Sometimes the moments flow quickly into each other and sometimes there is a waiting period before the next one arrives. Whether it be from one event to another, from party to party, meeting to meeting, meal to meal, the significance can fall by the way side and it simply becomes from one end to another. Unfortunately, I find myself wondering aimlessly once A to B has occurred, and the next B to C is nowhere in sight. You see, it’s the in between moments that render me, well, daft. I feel purposeless and unsure of my place when there isn’t ‘a something’ to anticipate.
Now, everyone knows you cannot live for the next week-end / holiday / pay raise / grandchild / whatever, and so my mission for this year is to learn to appreciate the in between. My goal is to make something more of the interim – not to create more drama in my life, simply to acknowledge everything (and the everytime) that makes up my life.
It was when I was I was recently chatting to my babe’s younger brother, Davey, that I stumbled on a potential action plan. You see, Davey is an exceptionally talented graphic designer, potjie chef, and a striving minimalist, so he rates highly in my book. He explained the method that effectively banished cigarettes from his life. This method was nothing other than that of mind trickery, if you will. He practiced installations of 30 days of deprivation. The first 30 days he practised the art of not shaving. While his beard grew bushy, I am sure he learned tolerance for that itch. The second 30 was meat free and the third set of 30 was smoke free. He has mostly maintained his cleaner habit even though he now religiously shaves and eats plenty of meat – the point he proved to himself is that he could do without.
His method was extremely personal but it got me thinking that perhaps this could be my method too. My chance to enjoy my in betweens could start with a challenge of deprivation or even take on good habits in a challenge of provision. What if I was to challenge myself to 6 types of deprivation or provision before my 30th birthday in July? They say you can’t change too much too soon so I think that the only way to handle such a large assignment would be to treat these installations as one long in between moment. As if, by denying it any sort of identity (for example, the Great-Pre-Thirties-Mind-Control-If-You-Will-Challenge) I will numb the fact that I am doing something outrageous and I will just get on with it. Furthermore, if I do set these challenges for myself, I will also learn to appreciate the me that I am, even in the seemingly aimless in between moments.
I began to strategise and came up with a plan:
· In January, I decided to take on a good habit – to exercise for thirty minutes every single day. Now for some people, this practice is not out of the ordinary or even that big a deal. For me, who considers a walk from the parking lot to the shops as a way of getting my heart rate up, this would be a (ahem) hefty challenge. January came and went and even though I didn’t stick to 30 days straight, I was blessed with a new sense of energy and purpose.
· In February, I decided to tackle my neglected spirit and meditate every single day. Child’s pose, hanging upside down, lying in the bath, it doesn’t matter, so long as some sort of mental quietness engulfs me, it’s all good. (you’ll be pleased to know that I am achieving my 30 days, even though it is bringing up a huge anger issue that I wasn’t aware of).
· In March, I will have to release my creativity in a manner that is out of my comfort zone. Sketching, drawing, painting and sculpting etc. Every single day, come hell or high water, a creation needs to be unleashed in a big way, regardless of my insecurities of it being ‘good enough.’
· April, I will up the ante with deprivation, meat free all the way.
· May is reserved for the toughest challenge – wheat free. This extends from white breads, sauces, Italian breads, crumbed anything, seed loaves, biscuits, French loaves, baked experiments, did I mention the breads? One of the aspects of this challenge that I am excited about is the joy of finding an alternative baking outlet. A very dear friend, Jess who is also Davey’s girlfriend, showed me how to make cupcakes from beetroot and while they might look like baked faces of old men, they sure don’t taste like the faces of old men. For other alternative recipes, follow Jess’ blog here: http://www.intolerantkitchen.com/index.html
· June is reserved for a large once-off challenge. I will have to perform one task that scares me to smithereens. I’m still undecided because pathetically, I’m petrified of everything.
And so, I have started a series of moments that will be on-going during the course of my life’s other moments. And, if I accomplish this mind trickery (if you will), then the result will be that I won’t focus too heavily on the challenges and I won’t mind the emptiness too much either because there won’t really be any.