An Idiots Guide to Digging

Life is strange.

We are not meant to understand it. We’re not meant to know its meaning or solves its mysteries.

The best we can hope for is to learn to adapt to it. Does adaptation imply understanding? What’s the distinction I’m digging for? And in what fashion am I attempting to dig?

A drill bit is capable of digging straight toward the goal. It does so in a circular, multi-faceted, fashion.

A shovel also strikes directly toward a destination, but only so deep before the digger must stray from the direction of the goal in order to widen the hole.

I believe there’s a lesson in this. Shovel versus drill bit. Progressing slowly versus more rapidly. Man versus machine.

A drill bit can be reckless and dangerous, causing great and immediate destruction. A shovel is more controllable and less likely to do damage. I hope to learn in this life, only that which can be uncovered with my shovel.

My shovel was passed down to me from my father.

On the wall of the cabin formerly known as Monty’s (now George’s), my late Uncle Pat’s shovel hangs in memoriam with a small plaque that reads, “Pat Sinnott, The Human Backhoe.”

In my journal writing yesterday, I made a list of the following goals:
1. Walk more!
2. Drink less coffee!
3. Spend more time in the garden!
4. Spend more time reading!
5. Spend more time cleaning!

Today, I consider how I might “dig” toward each of these goals with a shovel rather than trying to drill straight down, through bedrock, to the achievement of my goals.

1. Walk more! – To dig with a shovel may be to first consider that which is preventing me from walking already. Why do I list walking as a goal rather than it being something I’m already doing?

Reason/excuse #1 – the time it takes. When I consider the time it takes to go for a walk, my monkey-mind immediately starts listing any number of other things I “should” be doing with that time.

Reason/excuse #2 – Fear. For over a year, since my “breakdown,” I’ve been battling a fear of heart attack. The physical symptoms that have accompanied my panic have been allowed, by me, to stack fear onto stress, resulting in panic. For over a year, this fear has kept me from exercising regularly. More recently, my mom’s deteriorating health has resulted in choking-like episodes of aspiration. She’s temporarily unable to breathe, for as long as it takes for her airways to clear. This can be a serious issue, and it has made me afraid to go for long walks and leave her home alone.

Interesting. According to the diagrams above, I’m actually closer, in proximity, to my goal when I dig with a shovel.

Also interesting is that a hole dug with a shovel, having taken the time to widen it out at the top, is less likely to cave back in on itself. Meaning I will be more likely to sustain my new habit of walking once it is reached.

So, in digging with a shovel, I will temporarily stray from working directly toward a new habit of walking. I will allow myself to genuinely consider that which is preventing me from walking already, without feeling rushed or feeling like I’m wasting time and should “JUST DO IT.” I will reach my goal eventually, and when I do, I will have done so in a way that makes it a more durable achievement.

To be continued…..maybe.

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