Weekly rundown

Now, that doesn’t actually sound horrible to me. “The Weekly Rundown.” I’m sure it’s derivative of something else, but I may stick with that.

What I’m reading: Spook by Mary Roach. “What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that—the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my lap-top?” In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die.

What I’m listening to: Halloween music. Or more specifically, classical pieces of music that has a spooky tilt to it. You can try these out for a start.

What I’m spending my time with: The AFI 100. They’ve been on my list for a while, and I’m checking them off. So far I’m fifteen films in. I’m planning on getting them all watched by the end of the year.

Other things of interest:

  • The Fountain Pen Network. Here’s a place to nerd out over fountain pens. If, you know, you’re into that sort of thing…
  • A24’s screenplay books. The first run of three books has sold out, with second printing arriving December 13th. These are attractive books to add to your screenplay collection – if you have one.
  • And in my continuing struggle to find a good night’s sleep, here are some suggestions from Huckberry’s Brooke Vaughn.

Kondo

In my realm of time-suckery, I’ve been decluttering a house ala Kondo. It’s exhausting. When I’m not working, I’m decluttering. There’s quite literally stuff piled on every possible service in this house, because I’m emptying boxes, cabinets, drawers, and doors that had been closed off for years. Jimmy Hoffa may still be in one. I haven’t checked them all.

While doing the task, I’ve noticed I’ve had little energy for reading or writing. My mental capacities have been used up in decision making – Does this item bring me joy?

If the answer is no, it’s gone. But then it gets separated into donate, sell, or trash/recycle/shred. It seems as though I’ve spent 16 hours a day on this project, though I know that’s not possible. Not because I’m sleeping 8 hours a night, but because I know I can’t concentrate on any one thing for that long. And I’m tempted to just leave everything outside and let Dorian take it when it comes by.

However, the light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel, and it is a joy-filled light free of unnecessary things.

Maximizing energy

I’m a little over a month in to a new sales job (one of my many avenues for income). I’m on a strict schedule, mostly, and my mornings are starting much earlier than I’ve been used to over the past four years. So, I’m tracking my energy through an Excel spreadsheet, along with other metrics that I think will influence my well-being and state of mind.

Sleep hours, quality of food, quality of day, supplements taken, and creative hours are among the metrics that I’m listing. I may even start breaking down each meal and time I take it in to see where my energy peaks and troughs are. This may sound somewhat obsessive, but biohacking has been an interest of mine for several years now. It’ll be fun to play around with my performance habits.

The night is dark

Woke up, after many troubled minutes of trying to get to sleep, with only 90 or so minutes of rest. Again, tried sleeping but couldn’t shut down the brain. It sort of rip-rocketed on overload tonight. There’s a familiar feeling in my stomach, one that harkens back to a night spent on my couch in 2004. Oh, the things you remember.

So, after trying to put myself back to sleep for near an hour, I knew it was impossible. I published my website, started writing, and read a little of Steven Pressfield’s War of Art. This month I finish this book, and check it off my reading list.

Why no sleep? Why is the brain disquieted on this dark night? Because the past is real and it isn’t. Though the Buddha teaches that only the present moment exists, the past has a living representation in our mind. When we recall a feeling, be it hurt or love, it isn’t anything external to our self that is causing that feeling. Only our mind.

And control of the mind is one (of the many) aspects of Buddhism I’ve not mastered.

Thus I decided to take the advice of Jim Collins, who said, “And what I’ve learned is I guess two or three things specifically about the sleep process for me. This is just personal. One, the 20-minute rule. If you wake up in the middle of the night and you check the time — first of all, it’s also by the way fun to see if you can guess what time it is, right? But then check the time. And then if you’re not back to sleep in 20 minutes, get up. Go back to the simple work.”

Circadian living

Been conducting a personal experiment of sorts. First, I’ve taken what Dr. Satchin Panda said in his TED Talk (you can also hear more on the Bulletproof Radio podcast), and have been eating within a ten-twelve hour period during the day, no longer snacking later than that window.

Second, I’m being more mindful of the light that inhabits my senses. I try and wake at sunrise (to an extent), and shut down blue lights at sundown. I’ve been slowly adjusting into this experiment, and am finding a better night’s sleep.

(One exception to my better sleep were the two nights following my viewing of the film Hereditary. Honestly, that last ten-minute sequence – or however long it was – has been playing in my mind every time I shut the lights off. Didn’t care for the movie on the whole, but that sequence was enough to give me pause before crawling into bed.