me

To be great, live a great life

Sometime back I wrote about taking control of my time. After calculating the hours I spend working, commuting and sleeping, I have about six solid hours to myself.

Finding ways to spend those six hours meaningfully has not been easy as I am a workaholic who has a problem relaxing and “shutting off”. It’s hard for me to “lose myself” and “be in the moment” because my mind keeps on thinking — worrying — about the future and my never-ending to-do list.

The good news is I know I have a problem and I’m constantly looking for ways to solve it. As the ancient Buddha’s saying goes: when the student is ready, the teacher materialises. Author/blogger Ollin Morales’ article could not have come at a better time.

Morales aimed the online article at writers but I think the wisdom applies to everyone.

He says that “If you want to be a GREAT ______, you have to LIVE a great life”. This is so true!

Morales had a horrible year in 2010 but he learned to tweak his “chi” by “living” instead of “drifting”.

These are what he did:

  • I began meeting regularly with a therapist to learn how to deal with my emotions
  • I trained for a 5K to learn how to deal with my body
  • I kept a daily journal to learn how to sort through my heavy thoughts and clear the way for the lightness of my truth
  • I developed a daily meditation routine, hiked in the mountains, and began to pray so that I could learn how to reconnect with the universal, sky-bound spirit that unites us all.
  • Most importantly, I reached out to friends and family, wrapped my arms around them, and allowed myself to burst open with the greasy showers of pain, letting all that was broken slice through me, until the release of life’s vicious shrapnel lubricated my blackened, rusted heart. It was this “reaching-out” that taught me how important it was to be part of a larger community.

He attributed these steps to making him a “whole” person/writer again instead of just ¼ of the person he could be.

Why do these steps work? Morales says:

“After everything I went through, the most surprising thing I learned was that being a writer requires MORE than just your mind.

Why? Because you don’t write with only your mind. You write with your heart. You write with your spirit. You write with your body. You write as a member of a community.

Now, you can ignore all these aspects of your being, sure, but then you would only be about 1/4th of a writer.

On the other hand, if, every now and then, you listen to the intelligence of your heart, or to the intelligence of your spirit, or to the intelligence of your body, you might find the solutions to about 75% of your writing problems—problems that your mind told you were impossible to solve.”

I have read countless articles that preach about the importance of a balanced life but none made more sense to me than what Morales wrote.

It takes more than just honing your skills to be good at what you do. You have to go out there, spend time with people, network, engage in conversations, try new things,  have fun — in other words, live!

Many great inventions and creations are inspired by mundane things in life. Mark Zuckerberg — in The Social Network at least — came up with the relationship status idea after a collegemate came up to him asking whether or not he knows if Girl A is dating anyone. He had an epipheny the moment he said that people don’t carry their relationship status on signs (around the necks).

I’m so inspired by this article that I vow to blog regularly, exercise, reconnect with God and religion and be emotionally and mentally “present” when I’m with others.

Blogging took a backburner last year as I made a conscious decision to concentrate on work. I hardly exercised because I let excuses like work get in the way of getting fitter. I turned down invitations to go out because I have work to finish. I’m frankly sick of letting work take centre stage.

So I’m making plans to attend the aerobics class tomorrow and I conquered my fear of walking alone to the park last weekend and hope to do the same thing next weekend.

You don’t know how guilty I feel right now writing this blog post because I do have that story to finish but this is part of my “daily journal” which is my way of sorting out “through my heavy thoughts and clear the way for the lightness of my truth”.

Well I’ll take it one day at a time.

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