Excerpted from When Was the Last Time You Didn’t Feel Tired? « how to save the world, by Dave Pollard:
For the last 15 years or so … I’ve been trying to find ways to alleviate my anxiety, and with it my exhaustion. For the most part it was an “energy conservation” project — trying to do less, to work less, to get upset less, to own less. I’ve done this, pretty successfully. But this is more a prescription for dealing with physical exhaustion than mental (emotional) exhaustion.
What might be the components of an emotional “energy conservation” program? What would it take to put your life in order so that you no longer felt so tired all the time?
Although I hinted at how I’ve been trying to deal with this last month, I’m hesitant to proffer answers to these questions (to myself or to others). I’m starting to think that my personal ‘prescriptions’ on this blog are just more impossible “self-help” prescriptions that make things worse instead of better. “There’s the obvious way out, why can’t I just take it, what’s wrong with me?” — you know the feeling. “I just need to learn to be more accepting of what is, less self-critical, more self-aware, to let go of what I can’t change.” It’s all in your mind, so just change your mind.
If only it were so easy. There’s a reason things are the way they are, including our mental states. We can only be who we are.
Perhaps it’s time for me to stop striving to be more present (in both the intellectual ‘on’ sense and the instinctual ‘connected with all life on earth’ sense depicted on the right side of the chart above) and accept the moments of presence as the rare gift they are. Perhaps I’m going to spend 70% of the rest of my life in the ‘anxious’ state and 30% in the ‘ecstatic’ state (left side of the chart above) no matter what I try to do. Perhaps I’ve caught Civilization Disease for good, and chronic anxiety and disconnection and occasional depression and emotional exhaustion are just symptoms of this disease that I will have until I die, and the moments of ecstasy are pleasant times of escape, of play, when that disease doesn’t hurt so bad, even if the ecstasy just masks the pain rather than lessening it.
This is not a pleasant thought. But perhaps, having moved past the denial that our civilization can be reformed or should be saved from collapse, and that anything I can do will have any significance on any scale once I’m gone, it’s time to move past the denial than I can, by ‘practice’, learn to be anyone other than whom I’ve become, not even, any more, the ever-’present’ child I was when I was five.
But just as I’m not sure I’m totally ready to give up fighting the Tar Sands and factory farming, I’m not sure I’m totally ready to give up trying to find the person, trapped inside this terrible disease, that I always thought I was, and used to be.
~Dave Pollard [Excerpted from When Was the Last Time You Didn’t Feel Tired? « how to save the world.]
[Dave Pollard contrasts a lot of things above…various different states, biases, and approaches…
I sometimes think there is a meta-practice of living (a dance of life?) that is suggested by the ubiquity of bilateral symmetry and lateral alternations in things like animal locomotion, heart pumping, breathing, etc.
Perhaps efficient “motion” through life (along with energy conservation or even energy production) depends less on favoring, maximizing, or “holding” any particular practice, state, approach, tactic, bias, etc. and more on alternating them in symmetrical (complementary) and rhythmical ways. ~PR]