Hey, y’all, I’m back. [cricket, cricket … ]

Um ... wait ... 
I deactivated my Facebook profile back in August in order to take a personal retreat into my analog life. I wanted to reset the way I was consuming social media and get back to prioritizing those things in my life that align with my intentions and aspirations. I wanted to reinvigorate my meditation practice and I needed to spend more time writing.

Facebook can be an excellent distraction. I drive a truck for a living and can only accomplish other things once I've stopped somewhere. I’m often only stopped for a few minutes, and it was so easy to decide that all I had time for was a quick check on FB. Soon, it was just a bad habit; almost an addiction. I was always hip deep in my news feed, strenuously arguing politics and keeping up with all kinds things that don’t matter me. There was always something else interesting to read. And while it wasn’t endlessly interesting, it was an endless supply of things that seemed
interesting. I have always been a voracious reader but I wasn’t reading things I wanted to read; I was reading the next shiny, interesting thing that came by. After a while I could tell it was only a felt sense of interesting; something artificial. One friend once told another, “you can find Todd on Facebook, he’s always there.” While I am back and a bit ambivalent about being back, I won’t be back in the same way that I was before.

I am working the road hard lately, with the goal of being able to quit by late summer to work full time on my boat. Most truckers don’t have a regular schedule; I am one of those for sure. This has made it tough to maintain a regular meditation practice. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to blame the irregular schedule and get lazy. My meditation became catch-as-catch-can for the last couple years. Even though I actually take Buddhism quite seriously, I had become the proverbial night-stand-Buddhist; I was mostly
Buddhist in what I read at bedtime. With a little extra effort during these analog days, I have managed to return to a regular practice. In fact, I may be sitting more now than I have since the time of the precept ceremony I participated in. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until it began soaking back into all the corners of my life.

Habits have to be cultivated. Life is good, and quite settled right now, because I’ve taken back control of my habits. When I’m not paying attention to my intentions and the good habits I’ve developed around them, they are easily replaced by habits not of my own choosing. Someone or something else is deciding what direction I should head. I cannot achieve my goals without maintaining habits that contribute to that achievement.

This is the time of year when people talk about resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions are really about developing and maintaining good habits. However, I believe that habits can only be cultivated with daily discipline -- not an annual review. Wresting control from external forces and taking responsibility again for my own navigation was not easy, but it is my only chance to keep making good decisions and get Emma in the water to go vagabonding.

The same effort to live more inline with my aspirations has got me writing regularly again too. There are new posts here at the Zennish Boy blog as well as on the Bubba the Pirate blog. I have also started work on a sailing memoir that will stretch from my very first sail at a boy scout camp in northern Michigan to the present day on the cusp of escaping to sea from the Atlantic Coast of Florida. I'll let you know when it comes out as an ebook. There are also bits of other writing soon to appear over at the Secret Other Blog.

I miss my Grand Rapids Sangha Family.

1 comment:

  1. I am experiencing similar challenges and hope to apply many of these lessons to my own life as well.

    Good work on renewing your practice and resetting your priorities. Keep being you.