Last Wednesday I was starting out my day to visit and work with the stallion Nelson and then go to the barn to ride my two boys, Capprichio and Sanne. Then back to the house to write my blog and work on a chapter of my book that reads like a leaky boat. Then walk the dogs and fix dinner, and then maybe more writing.
The problem was not the things I was doing, but the way I felt when I woke up. It all felt like duty – things that had to be done, checked off and completed. There wasn’t any joy in it, even though individually, each of those tasks are pretty fun. I felt overwhelmed.
The real reason that I am doing each of those things because they are about joy, devotion and part of a practice, like sitting or yoga. The feeling of duty that I had was leeching out the joy, eroding the quality of devotion and care and pleasure. Almost like there was “duty mold” obscuring the shape and nature of my day.
Pam, who is a brilliant life coach, suggested that I just hold that image and awareness as I went about my day. So I did that, and what I noticed was that when I was in it – in the stall brushing Nelson, riding Capprichio, writing the blog, that it didn’t feel dutiful, or at least not nearly as much as when I looked at the whole day laid out before me.
Aha! so it is a problem of mind and orientation and a problem of not being in the moment. I remember when I first got sober, that my wonderful sponsor, Bo, would tell me that sometimes it was just about staying sober one moment at a time. Forget about one day at a time – that was too much.
So it is like that now too. One thing at a time. When I am in it it isn’t such a problem. When I am standing outside of it, or trying to climb the whole wall of it, that is when it feels like duty.
This reminds me of The Golden Compass, which I am listening to now as I drive from one place to another. Each of the humans in the book has what is called a daemon – a creature in animal form that thinks and feels what they are thinking and feeling – like a psychic twin. To be separated from one’s daemon is the most hideous and unthinkable thing possible.
I think that to be separated from the joy and the devotion of the moment is like that – a severing from what is most precious and essential.
Where is your devotion?