pushing & pulling

Half an hour ago, I was out at the mailbox pulling weeds & feeling cranky.

Not because of the weeds—I’m skilled at ignoring them—nor the mailbox. It was That Voice, muttering, “Weren’t you going to spend this time practicing your meditation habit? And doing another blog post? Why are you weeding instead?”

Being contrary, I answered, “There are only a few here that I’ll pull. I don’t do this often. And what’s bad about going with the flow?”

I don’t know what’s bad about going with the flow. In fact, I think that’s one of my habit-problems. But here’s the thing: for myself, I can’t push a habit.

It’s taken me several years and a mental argument with Pressfield’s The War of Art to realize that using sheer willpower—the “I Will Do This; I Will Do This At This Time, For This Long” approach—fails me miserably. It feels masochistic, to begin with. And remember, I’m contrary. When I tell myself, “You must!” I snap right back at myself, “Who says? Who made you the boss of me?” (Bet you’ve figured out I don’t diet, either.) Or I drag myself along like a grumpy toddler—arm in the air, body slumped, tops of shoes scraping the sidewalk. If you’ve ever done that, you know that it’s too tiring to sustain. Easier to drop the toddler’s arm (gently!) & leave her face-down in her grumpiness.

When I can figure out a “pull”—”Jenny’s waiting for you at the corner to walk with her.” “Remember how gloriously cool the water is at 6:30 a.m.?”—I’m relatively successful. Strike that. Read: I’m successful. ‘Jenny’s waiting’ is now in its fourth (fourth?!) year.

Huh. Guess I’ve managed to acquire a habit without telling myself. Gotta think about that.

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