Saturday, July 7, 2018

Derailed By Petty Mental Drama

I've concentrated hard on diet and exercise for three solid months, losing eight pounds and reaching the proud point where I could stride up a very steep hill without pausing to rest. But my regimen was derailed for a week, and last night I returned to it...and had to pause four times going up the damned hill.

It was exactly like this, the pivotal Slog posting. My first reaction was to moan in dismay. "I'm going backwards, giving back hard-won gains! I miss just a few exercise slots and quickly revert to being old and fat and wheezing. That's what I truly am; pathetic frailty is always right around the corner. I'm chasing a rapidly vanishing ideal. Woe = Me."

This, of course, was absolute nonsense. The feat of walking up the hill in one burst is worth less than a cup of coffee. It's no real victory at all, it's just that my mind's been conjuring up entertaining little dramas amid the grind of mindless hill walking, and I've pretended to take those trifling dramas seriously until the pretending froze into something more solid-seeming. What matters here - all that matters - is elevating heart rate and expending calories...period. If I had to stop a thousand times en route, I'd still be 100% successful in this enterprise. The rest is silly mental chatter. It's literally nothing.

Even at this late date, I still get caught! I do, however, notice quickly. That's the best one can hope for: snappy recovery!

This isn't really about exercise, any more than the above-linked posting was about Christmas. It's about mental illness; the habit of indulging empty whimsy - unreality! - to the point of emotional pain for no good reason whatsoever. This is what happens when, having expunged all the classical human blights and nemeses which would ordinarily galvanize our emotions, we make dire, weighty fake problems out of our petty dramatic yadda yadda.

I'm relatively impervious, but after missing a few meditation slots, the fake dramatic chatter starts feeling just a bit solid, and I can be self-trolled into a few moments of senseless anguish. Fortunately, we all have an innate mechanism for rebooting; for shedding useless and indulgent emotional weight.

1 comment:

Display Name said...

Nice post Jim. I sell stuff on ebay and have for many years. I am surprised at how much I still enjoy it. But to do a good job and keep positive references I have to create a little drama. On days when I really want to skip driving to the p.o. I shout "the mail must go through!!!!!!!!" I sometimes mess up and can't find the cards someone bought. Like today. I stayed up all night slinging spells and even crushing a close friend in a tense match. I had to show no mercy. I'm trying not to beat myself up right now for screwing up. Your post is helping. Gonna walk out the front door and pick some black raspberries now. Thank you.

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