Decided on a therapeutic journal exercise yesterday; I’ve been feeling the internal pressure of lots of things I feel I should be or should do, so I decided just to list them in my written journal:
- I ought to exercise more
- I ought to promote my music
- I ought to be more organised
- I ought to stop chasing after what I can’t have
Writing fast and spontaneously, without self-censorship, the list ran to two and a half pages of A4, or 68 ‘oughts’! And I could have written another two pages today! It was very liberating – the clear understanding, on paper in front of my eyes, that I could never in this lifetime be or do everything I feel a compulsion to do, leads to my mind dropping them all and resting in the present moment. And time and again during the day, as I noticed another one popping up, I would recall the list and realise this was just another automatic impulse, not in any way a divine command or real personal responsibility. And it would drop away, leaving peace in its absence.
The next step, I would imagine, is to examine the list and take two or three that I could regard as legitimate and constructive aspirations and say ‘these are the ones I’m going to cultivate – the rest can be ignored as so much static.’