For the past week, I have made it a habit to write down my activities and attach an emotion to each one. I thought that it would be a relatively straight forward exercise. But as I pulled back another layer of the onion, I found other “reasons” why I chose that activity. I wonder if this was a common occurrence — this shiftiness of reasons. Was it in their nature to be so… so changeable? Or was it me? Hmmm.
Here is what I did: I took a sheet of paper and divided it into three columns. I then wrote Activity, Reason and Emotion at the top of each column. Under each column, I filled in the activity with the corresponding reason and emotion. I decided that 1 week was enough time to conduct this experiment.
I won’t bore you with all the details, but what I did find really surprised me. For example, I thought I wrote for thirty minutes to record my daily experiences. The feeling it gave me was calm. But when I started to ask myself, “What does writing the ‘Morning Pages’ give you?” I got a completely different understanding. By asking the question that way, I found that I write, because reflection leads to awareness. I found that awareness gave me clarity. I then found that clarity gave me safety, and finally safety led to peace. So I write for 30 minutes in the morning so I can feel peace. There were four layers I had to go through before I understood what writing gave me. That is so weird. It would seem that while I thought I knew myself well, the reality was something quite different. I hate when that happens. 🙂
I also found that the reason I wanted to do an activity was ultimately decided by the circumstances of the decision. For example, when I tried out trail riding on a mountain bike for the first time, I wanted to do it for the novelty. Novelty gave me the experience of wonder about the world, which ultimately gave me the feeling that there are forces at work greater than myself. However, when I was actually trail riding, my reasons changed. Now, having experienced a taste, I wanted to do it for the zen like experience of being in the moment with the overriding emotion being peace. So when I tell others about my experience now, I talk about the zen of it, and not the novelty of a city girl riding a mountain bike. Interesting, no?
How about you? When your reasons change for an activity, what do you tell yourself? For me, I think I want to play a little bit more with this idea.
I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading.