Do Just One Thing

I’ve been neglectful.  I have not been posting weekly which I had promised myself I would do.  I thought that that would be the least I would do.  And still weeks go by without a post.  I have plenty to talk about.  I am making tremendous progress with two new therapies that I cant wait to tell you about.  But even as I’m getting better, doing more, getting back into life, healing, growing, learning, looking forward to telling you all about what’s been going on, I’ve not posted anything.  I have many posts that I’ve written.  Some of them are about the same subjects.  But I want them to be great!  I want to have all the answers.  I want to speak not only from experience but from the knowledge of how these therapies work.  I want the authors involved.  I want the creators involved.  I want networks setup so everyone gains access to these therapies if they are interested.  So what’s my problem?  Trying to do something big.  Trying to set everything up just right.  Trying to be perfect.  And when I’m feeling depressed, not doing a damn thing.  I will work on being less.  Sometimes less is all you need.  Sometimes less is more!

In Recovery International aka Low Self-Help Systems Dr. Low constantly reminds those with sensitive nervous systems to avoid trying to be exceptional.  Why he calls undesirable exceptionality is the need to be or at least appear exceptional while the underlying truth is that we feel inadequate.  It’s like chasing a shadow.  We are imperfect human beings; the best of us are.  So Dr. Low suggests that we strive to be good average people.  Good average.  With a mindset like this we can still do great things, but we don’t have to engage in that chase of the shadow.  In a sense we’ll be free from it.  And when we are free from the chase we can take action in accordance with what we wish to do with ease and grace.  So let’s put Dr. Low’s strategy to work.

Make a promise to do one thing tomorrow, just one thing.  Pick an area of your life that you wish to work on.  Find one small thing that you can do to move yourself in that direction or towards a goal, and do it.  I have been complaining about my weight and lack of stamina and energy all winter long.  I thought I’d get going in spring so I’d look good by summer and what did I do?  Nothing.  So tomorrow morning I’m going to get up and do just one thing.  Well actually I’m going to do two things because I’m still an overachiever, or at least I used to be.  I’m going to do one pushup and on sit-up, and then I’m going to go about my day.  And on the following day I am going to do two push-ups and two sit-ups.  And the following day I am going to do three push-ups and three-sit-ups.  And by the time I hit 30 days, I’ll have a 30 minute workout!  You don’t have to do exercise if you don’t want to but it really is great for Depression.

Perhaps there are other “one-things” you can do that will meet your needs.  Write one sentence in a journal.  Call one friend on the phone.  Listen to one motivational message.  Read one verse from your bible.  Step one foot our of the door.  Just do it!  And then give yourself a credit for doing something today that you hadn’t yesterday and move on.

I remember when in the midst of that last multi-year depression that I was seemed impossible to get myself ready for the day.  I’d think, wake up, use bathroom, brush teeth, take shower, do meditation, …  And then I’d just stay in bed.  So one day I said, Okay. I’m going to just get myself to the shower and then I’ll be done for the day.  So the following day I was able to get myself to the shower.  I then got back into bed, but I felt a sense of accomplishment.  I know it sounds really sad, but sometimes life is like that.  The next day was better.  I didn’t get back into bed after the shower.  I didn’t do my meditation, but at least I stayed our of bed for a while for the first time in God knows how long.  Things go easier, little by little, and soon the small things started to add up.  Whenever I felt unsatisfied with myself for not doing something greater I remembered a story that my mother told me about when she fell into a depression.  She told me that she had been stuck getting nothing done.  Wasting the day away.  I know, God knowns how many days I’ve wasted away.  She had one thing that she had put on her do-to list for the day – to by Scotch tape.  She told me that after she had gone out and purchased the tape she wrote it down in her journal and gave herself credit for doing it.  That one small thing led her out of depression.  Not too long after that time she was working three jobs and taking care of us kids.  She was living a hard working, but normal life again.  An it all started with doing just one thing – buying a roll of Scotch tape.

So what’s your one thing?  Pick something, anything, and just do it.  If it is something that should be built up then add one more each day.  If it is a one-off type of thing then add a new “one-thing” to your plan for tomorrow.  Just go on like that and you will be amazed at the change in 30 days.

They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit.  I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” say so.  Thirty days seems like a better number because it corresponds to a month, and a lot can happen in a month.  In the yogic tradition the “one thing” might be called your sadhana.  Sadhana means practice, your yoga practice.  Traditionally sadhana last for 40 days, and 40 days is a kind of magic number in yoga.  Forty days also appears in the Christian-Judaic Bible.  I rained for 40 days and 40 nights.  It took the Jews 40 years in the desert before reaching the promised land due to their disobedience.  Jesus spent 40 nights in the desert to prepare himself for what was to come.  So who knows?  Maybe 40 is the magic number.  Right now, let’s worry about one-thing.  Do one new thing tomorrow, add one more the next day and keep going until you hit at least 21, or 30, or 40.  Just do it!

In the meantime, check out what The Peaceful Warrior has to say about doing just one thing: