Friday, July 17, 2015

Dream Day: Successes and Lessons

"Tomorrow, I'm going to evaluate my Dream Day calendar."
Corujitear Art Print
One of my goals for June was to figure out what my Dream Day looked like and live it. I made a separate Google calendar with alerts to remind me to switch tasks throughout the day. It included everything from a writing schedule to eating times. I knew from the beginning that something that strict wouldn't work for me, but I wanted to see how it wouldn't work for me, and hoped that some parts would.

Well, I stuck to the strict schedule exactly zero times. But here's what did work:

1. Reminders to eat.
I have habit of distracting myself all day, forgetting to eat, and then eating one huge meal at night. And I wonder why I feel so tired every day! My Dream Day calendar included reminders to eat, which included general amounts (Big Breakfast, Medium Lunch, Snack, Dinner). Those reminders encouraged me to check in with myself and attend to my hunger/fullness levels.
2. Rituals and Sacrifices.
I learned that it doesn't work (at this stage of my life) to assign myself a ten minute slot in which to brush my teeth, and the follow it with a ten minute window for face-washing. What does work is generally putting it into practice that face-washing comes after tooth-brushing. That "Order of Operations" routine ensured that I took care of myself and my home even when I was distracted or tired because there's no thinking about what comes next.
3. Cleaning as Meditation.
Having an alarm tell me when to clean was...ineffective. (Had to prevent myself from writing "stupid.") As I expected would happen, after a few days I developed a Don't Tell Me What to Do attitude at the alert. After a few more days, it became just another notification on my phone that I glance at and ignore. However! I think there was something helpful about seeing the words "Cleaning Meditation" twice a day, like they were planted in my subconsious.
Since I made that calendar, I've been placing less weight on chores. I feel less of a sense of "OMG, I'll be washing dishes everyday for the rest of my life!" and more of a sense of "It feels good to care for my belongings."
4. Confidence my ability to take charge of my time. After how much I struggled to keep a schedule for school or jobs, I believed that I was incapable of maintaining a schedule. I would forever have to deal with erratic sleep times and cancelling plans last minute because I didn't have the "discipline" to follow through.
I'm learning that time management is a skill. It takes practice and patience to master. Establishing routines that work for me requires a deliberate effort, but my Dream Day does not require discipline.
It's like time is an ecosystem and all the tasks sustain each other. My morning routine is smoother if I've done my cleaning the evening before. I have more creative stamina when I start the day off with that productive morning routine. 
5. The Dream Day is a State of Mind
When I imagine my Dream Day from waking to going to sleep, it's ultimately not about the tasks of the thing. It's about how the tasks make me feel. When I say, "I want the sink to be empty before I go to bed," it means, "I don't want to worry about the little things." I want my headspace clear for art and science, explorations, love and loss and sensory brilliance. (Too arty?)
When I sleep my dreams are awake. Art PrintAnd that is why there is no shame in missing a step in the routine. Or totally losing the routine. Or not even trying to have a routine. Routines fit us like clothes. The clothes can be the wrong size. Our bodies can't be wrong. A routine can be the wrong organizational tool for us. We can't fail the routine.

Today's curated art prints were "Corujitear" and "When I sleep my dreams are awake" by Rodrigo Troitino. Love the description on Society6: The best translations for "Corujitear" is to act as a owl around, 'carpe diem and carpe nocte'. Yes, it´s about coffee and good feelings.

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