Monday, July 24, 2006

Disconnecting from What You Want

I've been noticing this really interesting thing that happens to me at least once or twice each week. I go through my day, totally engaged and fully connected to my heart and my values and keeping my sight set on the goals I'm heading toward. And I make great progress. I mean, I exercise, I eat a series of nutritionally healthy meals all through the day. I move with purpose toward whatever goal I've set before myself that day, and generally I do pretty well.

And then, somewhere around 8 pm, I turn into this cat. (Actually, the photo would be more accurate if you put a bowl of cereal or two next to the remote, but you get the idea.) Now, I'm not a cat hater, exactly. But I'm not a cat lover, either. I guess you could say I'm a cat agnostic. I accept that they exist, but don't have any particular interest in making contact with them. So the fact that I turn into one is more than a little unsettling to me.

When I am a cat, I sprawl infront of the TV, brain off, with a remote in one hand, and some manner of food I don't need in the other--usually cereal. Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds), to be exact. I flip through channels for hours, making a game of avoiding commercials at all cost, which results in me trying to watch anywhere between five to seven programs at once, just to avoid the ads. And none of the programs, in general, interest me that much. But my brain is off, right? So I don't care.

By the time I fall asleep, I have usually frittered away somewhere in the neighborhood of three hours, and have consumed between one and two big bowls of cereal and/or various other snack items I may have around the house.

Now, just to be clear, this catization of my person is NOT me relaxing, or me enjoying myself, or me having down time or refueling or vegging for the sake of my sanity. I don't get recharged by being a cat; rather, it leaves me feeling rather blah and drained. I don't particularly enjoy it. And I can think of at least five other ways I could (and want to) spend my evenings that are more relaxing, fulfilling, interesting and fun. And yet, week after week, I fall into my cat zone.

So what is really going on here? Well, I've been thinking about it (during the day, while I'm still a person), and I think what I'm actually doing is disconnecting from my soul. I'm breaking off my connection to heart, to life, to what I actually want, and instead just stop living for a while. I play the zombie. I check out.

Now, I don't actually believe that checking out in this way is always such a bad idea. We all need cat time sometimes. But I think it needs to be something you choose consciously, like, "Wow, it's been a really stressful day, and I think the best thing I can do for myself right now is turn into a cat for a few hours." That's cool. But in my case, it's happening unconsciously. And it's not really the best thing for me, or even what I actually want. I'm turning zombie out of habit, and (dare I say it) perhaps a bit out of pure old fashioned laziness.

I share all this because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there with this catatonic malady. And here's the thing: I realize that this whole cat issue isn't about being more disciplined, or guilting myself into action each night, or anything like that. It's about choosing to stay consciously connected to what you really want (your values, your dreams, the goals you're going after), from morning to night, and making your decisions about how you spend your time from that deep and true center of your soul.

So my new goal isn't to stop watching TV or stop eating cereal after 8 pm. It's simply to stay connected to what I really desire, and let those true desires guide how I want to spend my evening. Posted by Picasa

3 comments:

seahorse143 said...

I loved this post! Specifically your insight that what you are actually doing after 8 pm is breaking off your connection to heart, life, and what you actually
desire.

I must admit that there is some sense of relief to find out that you are not the only one and then to have an added bonus of a new perspective and insight into what you are actually doing.

a fellow cat agnostic! Have a great weekend

Joshua said...

Interesting. I came to the same conclusion some while back after pondering the "blah". In other words, what did I see or experience that made me feel "blah", and (excessive) TV was the response ( avoiding the commercials was actually more like pong. Blip....blip....blip...). Eventually, I decided to (a) limit my time in front of the TV (b) set a "no-later-than" time of 10pm to be allowed to watched TV, and (c) only watch programs that are interesting or uplifting ( and with the advent of Tivo...who needs to flip channels ! )

Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I can relate to everything you described from your self-diagnosis of "cat agnostic" to your admission of being disconnected to your own soul. About 8 months ago I recognized the same phenomenon happening to me. Since then I have decided to "fill up" on God's Word (a.k.a. my daily Bread) when I feel tired and empty at the end of the day instead of allowing myself to 'turn into a cat'. This has transformed my life. I feel more energized, happier, and at ease than ever. I have accomplished more, taken on more responsibility, and feel more than ever that I am in the center of His will for my life. I was already a devoted Christian but since disconnecting from television, I feel better than ever. My life has also transformed on the outside as well: I have finally begun pursuing publication of the book I've been secretly writing for years, I have purchased a rental property for the first time, and I established a new Bible study group that meets at my home on Friday nights.
I am a huge fan of your book, Alone with God. Thank you for that. Your words continue to inspire me every time I go through it.
Darilyn
Winnipeg