This week our focus was on becoming a “Time Jedi.” In my short time of being a student one of the most interesting pieces of scientific information that I’ve learned about this term “Flow” is that struggle and frustration are signs that we are on the right path to “Flow” and not the other way around.
For the majority of my life if I was struggling and getting frustrated in an endeavor I was undertaking I took it to mean that I was obviously missing something and needed to go back to the beginning and start all over, apparently I was incorrect in this, not the first time in my life that has happened.
I don’t know about you but when I struggle or get frustrated with a task or trying to learn a new skill one of the main reasons is the pressure of time. This comes on as an internal expectation as to what I think or feel my ability should be to pick up and implement that information or skill quickly so I can move onto the next task. So rather than time being an asset it becomes a deficit, a hindrance and counterproductive.
Struggle as I being reminded is the natural state we should always expect when embarking on something we’ve never done before like trying to learn a new skill. A critical factor in this process is either having the time or creating the time to give ourselves the time to struggle through to the other side which is release. Once we’ve struggled through to release “Flow” is the next stage which then leads to recovery. These then are the four stages of learning: struggle, release, flow and recovery.
Learning about these four stages took me back forty years. I was in my early thirty’s, I had been playing bass guitar for a few years and I wanted to improve my chops so I set time aside daily for scales practice. Every day from 6 to 7 PM I would practice. At the beginning as I began to practice my forearm muscles would cramp up to the point I would have to stop, massage them until they relaxed at which time I could resume my practice. As much as I practiced it seemed that my arm muscles would continually cramp up around twenty minutes into my practice time which became very frustrating. I just couldn’t seem get beyond that point until one day I did.
One day my muscles started to cramp as they always did but that one day I just played through the cramps and out the other side and never looked back. I achieved release. Yes my muscles would cramp up but now I knew now that I could play through them achieving release which led me into “Flow.”
This leads me back to the week two study of being a “Time Jedi” and the reminder of the importance of having dedicated time to work on and practice any new skill. If you’re like me I feel that there is so little time left in my day to do anything other than what I’m doing already. That is until I was asked to write out the things that value the most which I identified as: learning, reading, exercising, teaching, gardening, writing and yes, sleeping (recovery) a minimum of 7 to 8 hrs nightly.
The things I identified that I wanted to eliminate where: worrying, doubting, stressing, and self depreciation. All of which I firmly believe were the cause of both my heart attack and stroke. Our task then became to create a calendar blocking off specific time slots and the activities that would take place inside that time. Here’s an example of my morning “Power Hour:”
7 to 8 AM Mon Wed and Fri shave and brush my teeth, 5 minutes Box Breathing, 30 minutes morning salutations, weight, core exercises and stretching, 21 minutes meditation. Tues Thurs Sat and Sun shave brush my teeth, shower, 5 minutes Box Breathing, (5, 5, 5, 5) 15/20 minutes morning salutations, stretching, 21 minutes meditation. This regimen is something I’ve done for years so it was a great jumping off point for me which I have now carried over blocking off sections of time in other areas of my day detailing the activities that will take place within that time slot. These time slots are non-negotiable i.e. if I have an early morning meeting or private lesson I simply get up earlier.
I have told my students for years that most valuable thing we have in our live is time. The truth though is that I have done a poor job of practicing what I preach. Our week two study reminded me that there was definite room for improvement in this area of my life. This week I have taken the steps to improve this situation.
You can find out more about me at https://www.lornedavidson.com .
See you again soon.
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