Last night, while idly watching my spouse youtube channel surf all the live views of the New York Times square, I was flipping through the "sample" pages of all the books that remain in my library "wishlist" queue, sighing. I was sighing about my decision. Sighing about my commitment to not reading books for pleasure in 2020.
Now, to be clear, there is nobody holding a knife to my throat. No one is going to condemn me for picking up a book for pleasure when the semester gets hard, or I get a cold and want to stay in bed reading. There is no one whose judgement is going to affect my sleeping if I happen to give in to the twinge, when I get the twinge, except my own. And for that, I was sighing. I am a certified facilitator for Franklin Covey's "Foundations of the Speed of Trust" and one of the things they talk about is how integrity, doing what you say you'll do, starts with yourself. So if I want to trust myself, then I have to make commitments and keep them. For myself.
A few years back, I read The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg and was impressed with the information on what is really happening in our brains as our basal ganglia keeps us safe with the patterns are created in our brains. And I'm not trying to play it safe in 2020. So thinking about the recommendations from Duhigg, I'm going to attempt to pay attention to the physical cues that trigger my reading. For instance, I know that reading on the bus after a long day at work then eating supper and immediately sitting back down on the couch often results in an evening spent only on the couch. The bottom-black-hole syndrome is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.
My vision for myself after I've gone one year without reading is one where I've been engaged and interested in what my spouse is doing, where I'm creating instead of consuming, where I'm active instead of lethargic, and ambitious rather than stagnant. The pieces of me that I'm trying to leave behind with my commitment to abstain from reading for pleasure in 2020 are the pieces that are "ok" with the status quo, the pieces that ignore my spouse in favor of a ripping good tale, the pieces that let the inertia of sitting on the couch keep me at rest for far longer than is healthy or needed. Rolf Gates, in his book Meditations from the Mat, talks about the importance of "renouncing" that which doesn't serve your highest self as a part of your practice of "yoga". So to "yoke", to unite and engage in the universe of experience going on around me, I am renouncing reading books for pleasure in 2020.
Today's poem is me trying to capture a little of the trepidation and resolve toward my commitment.
Creative enthusiast, gregarious naturalist, opinionated humanist, MBA, RYT 200. Amy Kay Czechowicz completed a poetry challenge for 2018 and 2020 by posting an original poem daily to this blog. She's started a Patreon for 2023 where you can find her more recent work!