Light Ascending; Making Adjustments, Punishment is just a Meme
Happy, peaceful holidays to all. "Solstice" means "sun standing"--the day length changes very little for about four days around the shortest and longest days. Time standing stiller. Good time for looking inward and for family festivities. Thanks to Skype, I visited with family long distance; otherwise, I had quiet, inward time, played with herbs in the kitchen, read books. I did no work, for the first time I can remember except when I've had company (which is work).
Doing no work yesterday felt like the sun "standing still," like ignoring what's always on my shoulders. It felt like I'd left undone something I should have attended to. And turns out, there was a client wanting work urgently today, but I got up early this morning and got it done in time, feeling fresh and clear and focused toward the work.
A good lesson: taking a day off is just like any other form of inserting space, it allows for borders to become crisper, tasks to become more discrete, mental grasp to come clearer. What time I did spend on the computer, I organized bookmarks and downloads, purged junk that was taking up room in the system--maintenance I'd been wanting to do for months.
That's what I like about my "three posts per Nundina" frequency as interface between this blog and the Gong too--I'll be working on the blog every day, but two days out of three will be behind-the-scenes magic. I prefer the "work magic behind the scenes two days out of three" paradigm to the "clear/organize computer once or twice a year."
Hence, the 100-day gong structure with so much attention to cycles. The idea of a gong is that it's a deal you make with yourself. If you miss one item, you've failed and must start over from day one. But the gong also allows for making adjustments, or for incremental increases (e.g. start with ten reps, next week twenty, and so on).
Rather than preset increments, I'm letting the course corrections refer to the mission statement and have that dictate adjustments.
For example, one aspect of my mission statement involves cultivating my internal fire and lightness. I have various practices built into the gong for this purpose. But then, through a lifetime of habits around the holidays, yesterday I ended up eating in a way that left me feeling far less than fiery/light, out of congruence with my mission statement. I hadn't broken any specific gong items, but the feeling was a mismatch.
So, rather than beat up on myself, which would have been another lifelong habit that doesn't cultivate fire/light, I had to consider how to clarify my gong practices to avoid that mismatch. I recognized that I needed to make my mealtime ritual more nuanced and specific. Ritual, just like mantra, is good for cleansing memes. Ritual is repetitive and rote, but done mindfully and consciously, it replaces the unconscious behaviors and takes some of the agony out of countering memes that are screaming to stay.
I've been turning on the gas heater (pictured) in my sitting room some of these cold evenings. Even when I don't turn it on, the little blue flame of the pilot ascends and ascends and ascends. I always had my altar above the fire, and now I really feel like an ancient Greek or Roman with the ever-burning flame on the shrine's hearth. The little seed of yang within the yin, ascending, ascending, ascending.