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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gathering, Not Hunting

I recently hit on another way to take myself out of my mental comfort zone, and tried it today. I knew there was at least one item I wanted to buy at Rite Aid, but instead of going directly to where I might expect to find it, I made myself walk slowly along each of the aisles, simply scanning the shelves to see if there was anything interesting there. If I saw something, I would then consider whether it was something I ought to buy now or sometime soon.

This may seem pretty quotidian to some, but for me it wasn't, because my whole life I've shopped exclusively in "hunter" mode, knowing what I planned to get when I went in and aiming straight for it. This fits into my general pattern of needing a well-defined purpose all the time and not easily getting comfortable with non-directive activity. I knew, therefore, that this exercise would be a stretch for me, one that I hope (especially with repetition) will help me learn to be less anxious and more able to live in the moment.

The proof that this actually was a stretch lay in how I felt as I was doing it. It was a slightly heady feeling, a bit as if I were floating -- an appropriate metaphor in that I had intentionally let go of the "mooring" of being fixed on a purpose.

Also today, in view of my clear pattern of procrastinating about clubbing, I decided that starting immediately I will set aside an amount from each pay deposit for that purpose, so I won't spend it on something else and then have the excuse, "Oh well, I can't afford it now." I intend by this means to ensure I get out to a club once a week, instead of only a few times over the past several months.

Eric Hamell

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