My word for this year is serenity. In the 1st Quarter, I’ve reached what I defined in my previous post as entry-level serenity which means nearly always speaking at or below a decibel level of 60 (conversation in a restaurant, office, background music, air conditioning unit at 100 feet) and speaking around 120-150 words per minute.
However, I don’t feel entry-level serenity has significantly affected my life on a day-to-day basis. As I pondered the problem, I came to the realization that most of the people I know and spend time with are quite anxious and busy even if they speak slowly and in a patient tone of voice. This includes me as well because my parents were two highly anxious people who kept on saying, “It’s best to relax,” but whose actions are “Go go go.”
I don’t want to continue living according to the patterns my parents and relatives modeled for me. Always on the search for another injection of stimulation. I want to try a truly serene way of living after listening to The Tim Ferriss Show: Tara Brach on Meditation and Overcoming FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) (#94). Of particular impact was when they discussed the Chinese word for busyness, 忙. Tim Ferriss pointed out that the left radical means heart and the right radical means death. Together it literally means busyness is heart death. Wow. According to the CDC, Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
I’ve read and written 忙 numerous times in my life and know the meaning of both radicals and yet couldn’t see the creator’s intention for the character. It brings to mind the quote, “You can’t see what you don’t understand. But what you think you already understand, you’ll fail to notice.” The Overstory: A Novel – Richard Powers
Modern life is exciting in that it offers so many options. However, it also leads to FOMO and decision fatigue. For example, I want to attend flower festivals, have a fun double date with friends, play board games with friends, go hiking with friends, go picnicking in the park, attend a book club meeting, learn judo, try out pilates, try out Orangetheory, and etc. However, I can pick only one event a week of the above if I also want serenity and if I want to accomplish all my 2023 goals, logistically speaking.
In the 1st Quarter of 2023, I’ve been squeezing in two events a week. It’s actually too stimulating and mentally draining for my introverted self. Another thing I realized is that I dislike hosting/planning get-togethers involving more than 4 people. That I did so in the past mostly to make Mark, my parents, or my friends happy. Before I can make them happy and not resent them for it, I first need to fulfill the promises I made to myself namely my 2023 goals. “Consider yourself important enough to keep promises to,” is a concept I’m trying to embrace in 2023 as well.
Going forward, I will pick one event a week instead of two to invite more serenity into my life. When faced with a scheduling question, I will ask myself, “What would Tara Brach (meditation teacher, psychologist, and international bestselling author who blends Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices to pay mindful attention to our inner life, and engage with the world compassionately) do?”
Hopefully, this will lead to a more serene 2nd Quarter of 2023 for me.