Monday, May 22, 2017

Cultivating the Conditions of Productivity

Simple foods = the best foods for me. Steel cut oats, fruit,
ground flax seeds, salt and cinnamon. Plant Power!
Today feels like the first day of Summer break, and I'm alternately excited and apprehensive to behold the relatively unstructured days that are ahead. This past academic year, the days were carefully assembled to reduce interstitial-time inefficiencies, and I'm pleased to report that I largely kept up with schoolwork, maintained my commitment to practicing the Dharma, and stayed pretty physically fit. Whew! Now a new relationship to time is unfolding in front of me, and I'm eager to feel this new time-relationship in my body/mind

This morning felt like the first day of the new chapter, and it sure has gotten off to a great start. After a cup of quasi-Bulletproof coffee (espresso, chia seeds and coconut oil), I donned my FiveFingers for a run in the UW Arboretum. Today's training agenda was LSD (long, slow distance), though the first step was to set a compassionate motivation.

I strive to begin my workouts with the aspiration that my activity benefits me personally (as fitness activities assuredly do), and perhaps more importantly, to also include the wish that the workout helps me to be a kinder, more patient person - the wish that this morning's run be of benefit to others in addition to myself.

With the setting of compassionate motivation, I set off into the forested trails of the Arb. During the run I alternated among object meditations (sound and physical sensations, primarily), and resting my mind in objectless meditation. After 9+ miles, hunger was starting to become a motivating force (thanks to Systems Neuroscience, I now know that signals from my paraventricular hypothalamus and the nucleus accumbens were involved!)

Setting a course back home, I ran into my good friend Jonathan and The Mighty Taz in Vilas Park. What a nice surprise - to bump into a friend and his high-energy dog! After a brief visit, we went our separate ways to embark on our week's activities.

By now I was definitely feeling appetitive drive, and I walked into the house to find that the slow-cooked steel-cut oats were ready for consumption. I find that simple foods work the best for my system, and enjoyed a satisfying five-ingredient breakfast.

A quick shower, and now it's time to write. The academic paper that I'll work on this morning is a review of the current research on Joint Laxity, and I'm eager to buckle down and make some progress. I'm going to sign off, now, and head to campus.

Have a great start to the week, and hopefully our paths will cross sooner than later!


Jeff Olson said...

Hi Scott,
It's great to hear how you're able to get the day off to a good start. What advice do you have for someone like me, a procrastinator, who has a lot of anxiety and little drive? How do you stayed focused on the important tasks?


Mickey john said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott Anderson said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for reaching out. How to get going on days when motivation may be scarce?

For me, setting the intention has been a key component in boosting productivity. Some days I wake up feeling tired and/or cranky, and the following quote from HH Dalai Lama often helps me change course. I have this quote adjacent to the bathroom mirror, so that when I'm getting going with the morning's shower, these are the first words that I see.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

I hope these words are as beneficial for others as they have been for me.