After the excesses of Christmas I had been cutting right back on my sugar intake. This has involved me self-regulating, and being aware of my eating patterns and associations. I’ve noticed that my craving for sugar is much greater when I’m tired, and so instead of just reaching for a sugary snack I have been paying more attention to my need of relaxation, and finding ways to relax even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I also need to self-regulate much more due to having repetitive strain injury in my right arm. I have to respond to the feedback from my arm at an early stage to prevent it getting very bad.
While paying attention to this principle this week I have been aware that self-regulating doesn’t mean always having to regulate the same point. For example a certain amount of exercise one day might result in sore muscles, but another day the same exercise might be just the right amount. Likewise for myself being self-employed I have different amounts of work each day and week. Some weeks are more suited to larger workloads than others. Our self-regulation needs to allow for change and growth.
I have a monthly mind map, which shows all the things I need to do that month, it includes self-care activities, family and friends as well as all the work activities. I do this an A3 sheet of paper that allows me to visually see how much I have got on, and if the paper gets too crowded then I know I need to prune some activities.
The second part of the principle accept feedback is very interesting culturally. In my culture, at least, there is a tendency to be defensive, and gives excuses, explanations, or justifications, (otherwise known as D.E.E.J ing). Feedback that is given in good faith and trying to be helpful, can be seen as an attack when met with defences. Just before Christmas I quite randomly went into a shop that I had passed many times before, previously I had the impression from the shop window that all they sold were expensive paintings and sculptures. When I went in just have a look around I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonably priced gifts and toys inside. When I was making a purchase I tried to give some feedback quite politely about the impression I had to the shopkeeper. She became very defensive and gave me explanations about the different shop windows she has had. When we D.E.E.J in the face of feedback we are in danger of losing message completely. When we give feedback on teaching sessions with co-facilitators we have a policy of not giving feedback on feedback to avoid the conversation ping-ponging back and forth. This allows us to hear a different perspective and to take what’s useful for ourselves.
With this cultural tendency we are often not given feedback on our actions and attitudes. With the emphasis on the word accept, if we are ready to accept feedback then perhaps we have to show willingness and even invite it into our lives with specific requests. Rather than just expecting it to be given automatically.
This week I have been reading Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye. One of the pieces of wisdom that struck me was how when something goes wrong we tend to go to extremes of either externalising or internalising blame, i.e. it’s all someone else’s fault, or it’s all my fault. A more balanced way to apply self-regulation and accept feedback would be to acknowledge that there is a middle ground here, there are things we could learn from and do differently next time, AND there were factors beyond our control, and reasons we may not understand as yet.
Over the next week or so, I have my tax return to do, and finances to sort out – so perhaps the principle catch and store energy will help me.