Catastrophe living

Running from one near-catastrophe to another, doing nothing but putting out fires. It’s the way some businesses try to operate, and some people.

I lived that way for years, until my body gave out and I was – very thankfully – forced to find a different way. It really did take that physical breakdown to force me to try something else, because I loved living on the edge. I still do!

I couldn’t imagine living any other way. I didn’t want to live any other way. And, I discovered that I don’t need to live any other way.

It wasn’t that I wanted to do nothing but put out fires: I’d plan around those possibilities. But what I wanted was to live a full life, from the moment I woke to the second I fell into bed. And my idea of that full life was to fill it so full that I was always late, never having the time I needed to do everything I wanted to do.

Some people call that being overly-optimistic. I now call it being driven by outside forces beyond my control. Driven by all kinds of things – a desire for recognition, a desire for physical and financial security, a desire to make a difference … an impact.

Well, since that standoff with my body, I’ve learned a different and much better way of living a life of meaning and impact, one that doesn’t require physical sacrifice. In fact, this new way of living increases my energy and capacity instead of depleting it. It helps me focus better and prioritize in a way that really works and feels great.

Jon Kabatt-Zinn, in his book Full Catastrophe Living, writes about slowing down, and gaining control of our thoughts and impulses, so that we, in fact, stop living catastrophically. He makes some good points, and has some solid suggestions, but the main thing he misses, to my mind, is that there is nothing wrong with living to your fullest.

There is nothing wrong with living all-out. You only need to learn how to do it in a way that really supports you.

Quote of the Week

And yet is not mankind itself, pushing on its blind way, driven by a dream of its greatness and its power upon the dark paths of excessive cruelty and of excessive devotion. And what is the pursuit of truth, after all?
― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

 

The benefits of not being a jerk to yourself

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