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.
Experiences and your fear of engagement
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