So Last Year

by Yule Heibel on November 22, 2017

[Note: For the time being, I’ve made this Nov. 22 2017 Thanksgiving Eve post, which begins the year-long So Last Year project (Thanksgiving 2016 to Thanksgiving Eve 2017), “sticky.”]

For many months now I’ve kept to a journaling routine called #MorningPages, popularized by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Writing longhand, avoiding pixels and screens, the routine has helped me get back to writing, an activity I love, but which got badly damaged and smashed to bits by the floods of social media.
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January 20, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on January 19, 2018

At some early point in each meditation session, Andy tells us to close the eyes and to feel, almost immediately, the body: points of contact, against chair or floor, feet/ soles on floor, hands / arms on legs, etc. And today it made me think: what if I could feel the mind this way? Are there people who do? I think I asked myself this because during the ensuing body scan, setting my intention to connect my life, I had an inkling of this mind-feeling. Spontaneously, it made me say (inwardly) that I want to unleash my mind. “Unleash” was the best word that came to mind, mostly because my mind somehow felt powerful – but restrained, held back, leashed. The feeling stayed with me: as though this powerful, straining-at-its-bounds (put there by me!) mind is always there (like the proverbial blue sky above whatever equally proverbial clouds are blocking it). It’s there all the same, irrespective of the hedges, ditches, and fences I’ve erected around it. Which is why I wondered, “What if I could feel it, the way I feel my body pressing down into the chair, my feet on the floor, hands on my legs?” So, to connect my life (intention #1) I need to feel my mind (intention #2). It’s a fascinating, if totally a no-brainer obvious notion, this idea that one should “feel” one’s mind the way one feels one’s body. It’s tricky, though, and on another level not obvious at all. It’s not a matter of emotions as such, although they factor into it. But emotions can also be part of the constraining architecture obscuring mind. It might be more a question of what Andy is getting at with directing us to sense the underlying mood.

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January 19, 2017 (Thursday)

January 18, 2018

It’s cloudy, not too cold at all. Eerily warm, perhaps, for this time of year. Behind the clouds, the sun has risen high enough to cast a diffused kind of glare which reflects back at me from the patch of ocean I can see through the bare trees. In spring and summer, I’ll have to […]

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January 18, 2018 (Wednesday)

January 17, 2018

My intention. Andy, the fearless leader of the meditation program I use, almost always asks this, or asks us in meditation to clarify: what is your intention in doing this exercise? And today a very clear intention struck me. My intention is to connect my life. I suppose the corollary to that is a feeling […]

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January 17, 2017 (Tuesday)

January 16, 2018

Headache. Big bad one. Sinuses. Not good sleeping conditions. Sinus pressure. Unpleasant. It’s funny – no, actually, it’s not funny – what we habituate to. I’m now again, once more, habituated to living in B., and I still don’t know if I’m kidding myself when I think, “This is where I’ll stay put,” or if […]

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January 16, 2017 (Monday)

January 15, 2018

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and therefore a holiday, meaning a no-rush morning. And our President-Elect is still on a feud (albeit I don’t think there’s anything new since a few days ago) with John Lewis, a black civil rights leader who got beat up marching for justice way back in the sixties when […]

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January 15, 2017 (Sunday)

January 14, 2018

Ah, Sunday… Not getting up that much later to start this routine, but having the “luxury” of knowing I can take my time is blissful. Begin. Benefit. Write. I feel like all this should be preparation for taking “massive action.” Or maybe, “massive” “action.” That is, first thought: what or which action? The more I […]

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January 14, 2017 (Saturday)

January 13, 2018

No headache this morning, yay. It feels good to awaken without pain. Yesterday afternoon, since I didn’t need to cook or anything, I took myself to A.café around four or just after, having packed noise-canceling earplugs, over-the-ear headphones, my iPad, a keyboard, a notebook, and the book by Elaine Scarry I’m reading. The plan was […]

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January 13, 2017 (Friday)

January 12, 2018

Woke up again with a headache, and yesterday’s headache lasted all day and night, too. I suspect that my headache is some kind of incipient inflammation – it feels “sinus-y,” in terms of pressure. Tonight I’m not cooking, and I may not bother grocery shopping today, which means I just might structure my afternoon around […]

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January 12, 2017 (Thursday)

January 11, 2018

Cloudy, windy, birds whirling overhead. I do like my hilltop prospect, even if I like less the noise from the street below. Yesterday M. and I were on the phone, and I realized that the conversation had  somehow made me very – profoundly – uncomfortable. We eventually got on the topic of politics and Trump. […]

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January 11, 2017 (Wednesday)

January 10, 2018

I was thinking this morning – and it evoked not a little panic (the topic, not the thinking) – that I feel my life is stuff is which somehow overwhelms or consumes me, takes my time, and that I consequently don’t feel I have time for one more thing in my life. This is some […]

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