Thursday, July 07, 2005

Who's in charge here?

This theme has a familiar ring for me, so it may be a duplicate. On the other hand, it may be an improved version.

When I work up and wandered upstairs this morning, I decided to be self-directed this morning rather than hand off my starting thoughts and attention to others. It's not easy to break the routine of flipping into autopilot. To grab the mental reins, I decided to jot down what came into my head before checking email, reading the New York Times, or see what's new in the Blogosphere. It's refreshing to set out for the day's exploration without the chatter and rules of the outside world.

Mr. Rossiter was my favorite teacher in high school. He taught general science but didn't mind straying from the book. He told us he drank a glass of orange juice with his morning croissant. (My freshman and sophmore years in high school were in Paris.) Every now and then he would substitute another juice or skip drinking juice altogether. Why? Because he didn't want to get in a rut. The OJ ritual was symbolic, a subtle reminder that first we make our habits and then our habits make us.

We each have control over how much we are self-directed, and how much we take from others. I've got a lot to think about today so I'm not going to check in with my RSS feeds and news sources until I get a few things off my to-do list.

Twenty-five (?) years ago Richard Bolles was leaving the Episcopal priesthood shared his notes on finding a new career with other drop-out priests. These eventually grew to become the best-selling What Color is Your Parachute? The book has grown to become the job-hunter's bible, but its primary focus is on finding oneself. Bolles says the book is really a self-help book disguised as a job-hunting manual.

Try this exercise: Get up half an hour earlier tomorrow morning. Take the time for yourself. Reflect on the good in your life. Free yourself from the chatter of others. Don't open the paper. Don't cut on the computer. Jot down a few words or draw a picture. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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