I realize that to the random observer (i.e. “you”) it might seem like I’ve fallen off the wagon with my wushu blogging and training. I haven’t been training as much these days and haven’t been writing much about wushu either.
The truth is, there is a reason for this. Maybe a couple reasons.
Focus and Work
The first is that I am trying to finish my tea before re-filling my cup. Meaning, that I have a lot of things on my plate and I need to take care of them before I start focusing on my wushu again. There are many projects that I’m in the process of clearing out of my work-load and in order to do that effectively I have to really spend some time and focus on them.
This also stems from my understanding that I am much more effective in my endeavors when I focus energy on just a few things (even just one thing) instead of trying to “multitask” my life into oblivion. The truth is, multitasking is totally inefficient. Just because you can do more than one thing at a time doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I really think that one shouldn’t.
When you take the time to just focus on one important thing, doing it deliberately, with a concentrated effort and all your mindfulness, you are able to not only accomplish more in the long run, but you will get much more out of your task as well.
I used to write down a list of a dozen or so things that I had to do each day; a task list to end all task-lists.
Now? I just write down the one or two things I really want to finish. And I spend the necessary time to do each one. It allows me to do better quality work and get the most vital tasks taken care of.
So often we distract ourselves with mundane tasks like checking social networking, organizing our to-do lists, cleaning our desks and keeping our e-mail inbox open at all time just in case something comes in. Well, nothing is ever that important that you have to check e-mail on a constant basis. I try to check only once or twice a day if I can. And generally I just go through and answer them in batches once a day. Facebook and the like, while a lot of fun, are actually a significant drain on my time and energy. So I only check them once or twice a week. I’m probably going to start reducing the “friends” list there too.
The idea is to spend less time doing the less important so that I have more time to focus on the truly vital.
I do mess up from time to time and get distracted, but I’m far from perfect. and this is a skill that I’m developing, not an instant quick-fix. It is a good practice though, and I think it relates to wushu too, since one of the distinctions I’ve made over the years with wushu training is that, unless you are totally focused on what you are doing in class, you won’t get the best benefit from your training. You have to be totally present in mind and body with wushu, and that is the same with the rest of your life.
Why not treat your work or school like you do your wushu? Focus on the basics at the start of every session, maintain your energy and create an optimal experience. You actually end up needing to spend less time on tasks when you use more of your focus and energy. As counter-intuitive as it might seem,
not multi-tasking is actually more productive.
Anyway, so part of the reason I haven’t been focusing on my wushu training these days is because I want to focus on getting these work projects out the door, thereby allowing myself more focus on my wushu later on. It is coming along and a few of my projects have started to get finished up.
Travel and Time
Another reason is the recent work-trips I’ve been taking to Hong Kong. Traveling away from home means I have to cram a lot more of the things I do in Xi’an in much smaller time chunks. So, I end up being much busier. And while I’m home I feel it is most important to get my work done before I head off to the wushu guan.
That might just be an excuse, of course. Maybe I’ve lost some of my motivation for training. Since the athletes started training for competition I haven’t been able to get as good of a workout. And I think I also have a fear of doing the “wushu start up” again, which is always quite painful. (When you are away from wushu and start up, it is never easy — and gets harder and harder the older you are.)
I’ve even been thinking about switching from nanquan to taijiquan, as I think that might be a little easier on my body and something I could maintain for a longer period in my life. Of course, if I just lost 50 pounds I would probably not have such a hard time training. Again — I might just be making excuses.
In any case, a combination of a lot of travel with limited time and an increasing drop in motivation to train is probably the second reason I haven’t been as involved in my wushu these days.
I’ve also been going through a phase of re-evaluating my life. Not in a major way, but at least Ruhi and I have been thinking about ways to create a life with less physical, emotional, social and professional “clutter”, so that we are able to have a lifestyle that is congruent with our belief that “less is more” and that you don’t need to inundate your life with “stuff” in order to be happy and fulfilled.
As you noticed from my packing system for trips, I try to be as efficient and uncluttered as I can. I really don’t own all that much stuff to begin with. But part of my personality is that I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and uncluttered in my approach to various facets of my life; whether it is work, school, life or whatever. There is always a better way to do something and always new distinctions we can make in doing more (things, work, happiness, fulfillment) with less (stuff, clutter, tasks, distractions).
We’re thinking about our work, about our living environment, our finances, and our involvement in activities to figure out what is the most important to us, the most ideal for our personal philosophies and figure out a way to integrate that with our lifestyle.
Some of the things we’ve been thinking about is eliminating some of the work we do. Or changing where we live to a more efficient location for her school, our friend and our interests.
Anyway, it is a work in progress.
The gist of all of this verbose-ness is that, in order to find your way, you sometimes need to step off the path and think about your true destination. The process of stepping back and thinking about your life is occasionally necessary and often times quite healthy, as it clarifies your mind, realigns your priorities and helps you step back on the path with a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.
So, here goes. I am stepping off the path and taking a look at my life and what I am doing.
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