Get Mindful, Get Your Shit Together
When we succumb to entropy, things become disorganised. This is what entropy is – the transformation from order into chaos – and maintaining order requires energy. Not much, but just enough to keep things where they need to be. It feeds the routines that keep our lives ticking along – getting to bed early so that we’re not exhausted at work tomorrow, getting to the gym when we really don’t want to, maintaining our standards and values, keeping on top of things so that they don’t get on top of us.
The difficulty is, we aren’t always aware that we’ve succumbed to entropy. When we are in that state where life is simply something that happens to us, when we believe that we have no control over it, then committing the energy to gain control seems like an impossible task. One that is too big for us. And so we wallow, stuck in our ruts, smothered in depression, victims of circumstance. But none of it is our fault, we tell ourselves. Life is so unfair.
A quick side note here – I am using ‘we’ but I don’t mean everyone. I’m just referring to those of us who can relate to this situation. I’m using it to refer to people like me who, now or in the past, have felt like life isn’t for them, and they are the unwitting passenger of something that isn’t working in their favour. That is someone that I used to be, until I committed the energy to bring order back and get on top of things.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the king of the world. I’m not a millionaire with a perfect life. I’ve still got my struggles, for sure, but only a couple of years ago life seemed too much for me. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then and life is pretty good now, thank you very much. And it’s all because I was able to commit the energy required to overcome the entropy that had caused my beneficial patterns to fall apart. The entropy that took hold too long ago to remember. It was part of my programming from an early age.
And so I’m using ‘we’ when I really mean me, and also anyone that this might resonate with, who might find it useful. Anyone who knows where I’m coming from. That’s us. We are ‘we’.
Back to it…
So ‘we’ have succumbed to entropy, and now the idea of being anything but a victim seems like a flight of fancy. There are a thousand reasons why we can’t take control and get on top of things. We don’t have enough money. We don’t have time. We aren’t good enough, clever enough, skilled enough. We only have one leg. We just can’t face it.
But these aren’t reasons, they’re excuses. Our inability to tackle our situation has become so ingrained in who we identify as, that we feel incapable. Unable to change anything. Powerless. And things just get worse and worse.
And because we don’t know any different, because we don’t think we’re good enough, we can’t even imagine a scenario where things actually work in our favour. So when opportunities come along, we find a reason not to take them. Any reason. Because we’ve become stuck in our ways, and getting out of them is too much effort. And what if we fail?
But this is just our ego talking.
By engaging in a mindfulness practice, we are able to teach ourselves to step aside from our internal mental and emotional processes, and focus on simply ‘what is’ and not what we assume it to be. We gain the self-awareness to see past our excuses and we are able to recognise our strengths without the caveats of insecurity. But, more importantly, we are able to see our weaknesses without the defensiveness of pride and ego.
When we are able to see the areas where we are lacking, we are able to see that these are the things which are holding us back. Our laziness, our lack of routine, our lack of discipline. Our inability to face our financial situation, our health situation, our skill situation. We can finally admit that the reason we got sacked from that job was because we didn’t have the discipline to get to work on time. We see that our low self esteem stems from our inability to make the effort required to keep ourselves and our environment in good shape. Because we don’t believe we can. And so we are surrounded by mess, we are out of shape, and we are eating poorly. Because what’s the point?
But when we can face up to this, and without any sense of shame admit that we have caused this, then we are also able to know that we also have the power to change it. One step at a time. And it really doesn’t take much – just the belief that we have the power to take ownership of our situation.
We have the power to tidy up behind us. We have the power to go to bed early. We have the power to skip that first cigarette of the day or that Friday night kebab. We have the power to run around the block, or to see what small thing we could do to be better tomorrow. We have the power to make a decision, right now, that will change our life. We just have to believe that we can.
Yes, we might fuck it up. Yes, we might fall off the wagon after a week, but where’s the shame in that? There’s no such thing as perfection, just the act of striving for it. And that is all it takes to own our life, to get our shit together, and to be the one in command of our situation.
So next time you find yourself coming up with a reason why you can’t, just remember that you have all the power you need to do the opposite. Just a little bit of energy, a tiny bit, and you’re already a new, better version of you. Instead of hitting snooze, just get out of bed. Instead of leaving the dishes for the morning, wash them now. Do something, anything, that will make you pleased with yourself, and tomorrow you’ll be even better. And in a week, a month, six months, five years... you’ll be looking back at how far you’ve come.