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In the beginning of the south work (We work the four directions on this path), we select three stones to make friends out of. Each of these stones are used with a specific emotion, feeling, or terrible problem.
In this post, I would like to discuss my Granite Khuya. This is a stone I got from the ashes of our first ceremonial fire I attended with my mentor. I connected this stone, in my mind, with Pachamama. (Which is Qechua for Mother Earth.)
To create this Khuya, I needed to find something in my past, inside me, that illustrated Greed or Addiction.
I am happy to say that I couldn’t find much in my character (Where I am now, at least) that I can attribute to Greed. Addiction wasn’t much easier to locate. And I thought about how I had had a hard time giving up Soda a few years ago. (And in fact, I still drink it on road trips, when we eat out, and from time to time otherwise.)
After we spent time thinking about this, we needed to sit around, and speak about our issues with our Wyna Allyu (Small Group), and mentor. Upon hearing my unsure suggestion at a soda addiction, Jim was like, ummm, no. That is not it. Can you not think of anything that is a bit truer? And I couldn’t. I truly couldn’t see it.
He said, do you not see that you have an addiction to Data? He then began to enumerate, from just the seemingly few interactions we had had, all of the ways that I would become obsessed with knowing ‘all the things’ about any topic.
I had never considered this as an addiction, but as he spoke through some of the examples, I really saw the possibility.
From there, we were given a more difficult task. We were to take a walk. And the point of this walk was to spend time, in nature, almost in meditation, while thinking about our addictions. I guess that statement doesn’t do this justice. It was to focus so hard on the individual issues that you are able to locate the source, the point in your past from where this addiction came. The challenge here was really to go through and find the worst parts of yourself, and explore them in broad daylight, and without being able to close your eyes, or point at someone else. This was the truest experience of staring into the worst of myself, and finding the root cause.
With the other two Khuya I created during this time, it was EASY to find those things, and work to their source. (Easy in the sense of how vivid they were in memory, not actually digging in, that was terrible) This particular thing, an addiction to data, was one that I wasn’t going to question when Jim brought it up, but at that time, I really didn’t see it. I saw how it could completely be true, but not how it was. Nor could I really see the dangers in such an addiction. And here is the answer, and perhaps this is true with all addictions, and I am just unaware. It is insidious. It is subtle. You are completely unaware of it, until it explodes in your face, and then you are stuck in a place where an unbelievable effort is required to extricate yourself, and a lifetime of ongoing work to keep yourself free of it.
I think it is important to know that I get into a job, any job, and immediately start looking for the ways to improve it. How can I do this job better? And after a bit of effort, I master the job, find the best paths to walk, and the best shortcuts I can take to make it more efficient. Then I get bored. I start taking on the other tasks to fill my time. And then, all the tasks are done, and I get bored. The average job would be exciting for about 2 months.
In fact, working in computers has been so amazing because every time I learn one thing, I hear of five more that I had never even seen before. I took me a long time to get bored. This job really held me for about 10 years. But I still fall back into, what can I do, to learn more, to make this interesting. I am not saying I know everything with computers. I have learned a large amount about the parts I can make myself care about, and those are ones I have been working on for 15 years. Anyway, the point of the matter is, I look for stuff to learn outside of work. I have taken up, Martial arts, running, Archery, Violin, Board work for my church, giving sermons, teaching, reading, writing, blogging, weight lifting, Astro Physics, Quantum Physics, and studying about spirituality, religion… I wish the list stopped there.
And I don’t know of any sane person that says learning is a bad thing, but the problem with almost any addiction isn’t that the thing itself is bad. I mean, you can have a drink, and not be an alcoholic. My addiction was disrupting the balance of my life, and I didn’t see it.
I kept complaining about how I felt that there wasn’t enough time for anything, I was too stressed, too much going on, anything was just one more thing. In fact, I still feel this way, but a friend pointed out that it comes from being too fragmented.
I am a father, a husband, an uncle, a guardian, a martial artist, a programmer, a manager, a leader, a speaker, a blogger, a runner, a president, a congregant, a teammate, a friend, a lover, a shaman, a problem, a physicist, an educator, a student, a hunter, a protector, and an artist.
While I often shift which has the highest priority; father, and husband, are always on top. But it is not always easy to see that. Anyway, he pointed this out, and I had never seen it before. These are not just roles that everyone has, these are the culmination of the damage that my addiction to data has brought me. And as I see it, I have to separate each and every one of my roles and then re-evaluate its individual value in my life to keep myself sane while figuring out how to curb the addiction.
After I have evaluated it, I can then attempt to find a way to bring it back into my life, in a way the suits my current goals moving forward. If it doesn’t fit, then it should be shelved.
The best metaphor I can come up with is to look at the pile of dominos on the floor, and pick up each one, and then stacking them sequentially on their heads.
They will inevitably fall down again at some point. But this will be a job of finding balance and a firm grounding on which to build my track.
And while I am always shocked when these rambling posts come to a point, this one brings me back to balance. Which I think is what all of this work is about. Finding the places in your life that are so far off the “bell-curve” that even the outliers’ call them outliers, and bringing them back in to balance with the rest of you. The first step is seeing the problem.