Did you get the pun?
You are sitting in front of a computer as you read this. What is your posture like? Are you relaxed? Do you have any discomfort? How long do you do this activity daily? Are you a maniac blogger?
I had to cut back on blogging for awhile because I had so much pain from misusing my body. It nearly consumed me. Plus I was ignoring my real life by spending so much time in front of the computer. The blog filled my every waking thought: what to write, what to edit, how to publicize, who to read….I think some of you know the feeling.
The reason: I was so narrowly focused on reading and writing on the computer that I had shut out all sensory input from my body and conscience. I was “end-gaining”, a term used in the “Alexander Technique”, a system of body learning. My head and eyes were strained unnecessarily. My back was held in an unnatural position. I ignored these signs to focus narrowly on the screen and its contents.
But the “end” which I attempted to “gain” was endless, a rabbit hole of possibilities. The blog had me snagged, a carrot on a stick which always seemed to remain beyond my reach. I wanted recognition, I wanted to fill the literally bottomless pit of the virtual world of the web with all my glorious “possibility”, my potential, my rich spirit. I wanted control.
I have been working to retrain my physical and mental attitude toward blogging. In Alexander, this is called using “the means whereby” while achieving a goal. It’s a critical attitude in learning or changing behavior, at least in the body. If I am open, aware and poised in the present, I can do something which is ultimately good for me, and do it in a balanced way so as to cultivate direction without unbalance or obsession. I can be aware of head (all parts), neck, back, hips, and find balance and poise. As for the addiction, that needs my full, honest presence as I learn to control it. No excuses, no lying to myself about what is reasonable. My 17 year old cat often wants attention after I’ve been in front of the computer for an hour. Perhaps that can be my cue to take a break.
It’s a delicate balance between striving forward and remaining present. I still struggle with it as the goal of “bloglightenment” begins yet again to engulf me. As a perfectionist, I tend to obsess over a goal, unable to let it go until it’s, well, perfect. Of course, perfection is an ideal, not a reality, so the compulsive addiction ensues. (What can I say, I’m a classical musician) This is a character trait I need to gently heal. I don’t want to give up the blog, which gives me so much and can be so satisfying. For now, I still blog as much as I want, but I have a list of other important things I must accomplish, wether it’s before or after blogging. Rather than be my own stern parent, forbidding and punishing, I hope to simply remain honest and nurturing friend to myself. The keyword is consistent honesty.
Sadly, I admit to my blog friends here, I have not spent much time catching up reading their blogs in the past 6 months. Putting my self first is not something I’m accustomed to. That’s an ironic part of addiction, losing the self to a rampant selfishness. But my mental and physical health offers little choice. I hope to eventually better manage my time so as to give more attention my on-line friends. In the meantime, I give a warm hello to: Liz, MB, TrÃ©e, Kelley, Andy, Betty, Theriomorph, Ned, Shankari and Scot.
Ultimately, the awareness suggested above can also help beyond just one activity. Ultimately, one can learn to be fearless by letting the body/mind/spirit be poised for anything, never clinging, never assuming, wasting no energy, just flowing deeply with grace into a more balanced life. One can learn to take something or leave it. The next moment flows, cleansing any attachment with fresh poise.
Combined, the body and mind are freed to do the spirits bidding.
So blogging is then seen for its value, as a choice, not an addiction or a compulsion. Ultimately this attitude can be applied to almost any activity. Being free from addiction is a worthy pot of gold to seek.