was listening to a short (5 minute) podcast the other day by Eric Zimmer called The Exhaustion of Avoidance – link here. think you should be able to listen to it but in case not, in it he talks about being in avoidance and how it makes him feel. he described how he feels when he is avoiding a work task as follows:
‘When I’m avoiding something, especially something work related, I get very tired. I can notice it. And I don’t think I was able to tie that together before. I start to get restless, and morose. I’ll start to surf the internet, and that tends to numb me out, and make me forget time.
In the past, days could go by like this. However I think more recently I’ve become more conscious that I’m doing it. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it, I just don’t think it goes on nearly as long.
But what’s amazing me is the difference I feel from when I’m listlessly avoiding something and when I undertake it, and actually start to work on it. It’s remarkable. My mood almost instantly lifts.’
the moment when I heard that was like the demolition of a structure that has stood for far too long.
what I tried to describe in a previous post, as a feeling of ‘unhelpful and unhappy thought patterns’ – that is what that is.
if I am feeling morose, listless and tired – it is because I am avoiding something.
and like a molting chicken, I droop around both angrily and pathetically, waiting for it to stop. except unlike the chicken, I do not grow new feathers unless I choose to actually just bloody do something about whatever it is.
and I have been thinking that I am, I don’t know, cosmically empty or in need of more magnesium, or need to completely change career or continents but is this feeling just the symptom of my old cell mate Procrastination Pete?
because I know how to deal with him. make a list, cut scary task into smaller chunks, tell myself I only have to do it for five minutes, sooperdooper reward afterwards.
awareness is all:
- feel the feeling
- recognise where it is coming from
- do something about it. as Glennon Doyle says, ‘when you start to feel… do.’
maybe this is why we feel so soul sick in the contemplation phase of getting sober? because we know we have to make a change but we don’t know how to, yet?
so if you or I – when otherwise happy and doing well – start drooping around like a molting chicken perhaps it is worth trying to identify if we are procrastinating on something – an action? a decision? – without even letting ourselves be aware of it? and then start fucking doing something about it?