I’m pretty sure that if I could focus my mind a bit better I would have no problem making stuff happen – maybe even be able to move stuff around the room lol! That is not to say that I don’t do pretty well as it is, all things considered.
However, my timeout during COVID-19 is really showing me how my concentration skills and willpower have gone downhill in the last 4 – 5 years. Having said that – and I am thinking out loud here, I am not 100% sure if it is a problem with my willpower aka self-discipline or me giving myself permission to be lazy.
Maybe more importantly – my timeout is showing how my feelings, attitude and moods are affected and, to a degree, controlled by what I see and hear.
You see, at the beginning, two months ago, I was tense (but didn’t really acknowledge it), on auto-pilot and a bit directionless. Should I do this? Should I do that? How long would this last? How to make the most of my time? How to be productive? See, still on the old millwheel!
If you are having thoughts like the above, here is a really good piece from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram about the pressure to be productive
Then I started to relax and gain somewhat of a balance (or so I thought). In actual fact what I did was give in, more or less completely, to what took my fancy in the moment (or so I thought again). No harm in that, after all I did deserve some time out (my justification)
Started a great health routine (maybe not)
So, for SEVERAL days I started out really excellently – wake at 4am (without alarm clock), 1 hour Dr. Joe meditation followed by about 90 mins on the bike along the Nile and some countryside. Back to Mara House, shower, breakfast, coffee. Now, in all fairness, we have a degree of social distancing going on here in Egypt, but even without that, I would not be going out for the rest of the day anyway – just too hot for me.
So the rest of the day is spent on my bed (because it is easier for my back than sitting on any chair I have), with the laptop. I have a lovely little table that sits like a bridge over my legs and has enough room on which to rest my arms also – very comfortable.
Some days I was very good – did lots of work on writing my family history stories and also my book about the private lives of Mohamed Ali’s family. BUT, if I sat on the bed and first turned on YouTube, then mostly my entire day went on watching “Magnificient Century”. Yes, I felt guilty at first, then I accepted it as relaxation. Oh, how we lie to ourselves!
How a film series affected me
I know I am rambling here… the thing is, in the beginning the series really gripped me, the set furnishings, the clothes, and of course the true story line. I was rooting for Hurrem Sultana, the underdog, the slave who rose to be an unstoppable power in her own right.
However, I found myself turning against Hurrem – she just turned out to be too much of a bitch for me. Plus they changed the actress and how she dressed – colors all wrong for her (red dresses with red/ginger hair, for God’s sake!). Hurrem now look more like one of Disney’s wicked witches – they have even changed her crowns to reflect that.
So, now when I would finish watching the episodes I no longer felt good or even ok. I felt apprehensive about whom Hurrem was going to kill next. Added to that I liked her sons, not so much her daughter because she’s like Hurrem, and I liked her stepson whom eventually she will succeed in having executed. That’s the worst part, I already know the actual historical facts. This is now the biggest help to me NOT to switch on YouTube first thing in the morning! But I am quite sure I will watch the series to the bitter end.
Hooked – Addicted!
This addiction to the series and inability to switch off from it once I started had me questioning my lack of willpower.
Along with my inability to switch off the show after an episode or two (they are really good with the cliffhanger endings on each episode!), goes a decreasing ability to focus in my meditations. Now, I don’t know how these tie in with each other, or if they do, but I do notice these two facts.
Today, I searched on YouTube for ways to strengthen my power of focusing. If you are thinking about the same then below are some of what I have found.