Week One

29 September — 5 October

Taking a few minutes to reflect in writing on the past week, and how my life measured up to my intentions, and the advice that I give others.

The framework for my self-analysis consists of two parts; the Zen mantra that is my phone’s screensaver, and the recent article I wrote about life lessons from Burning Man. Let’s start with the latter…

Lessons from Burning Man.

Stay hydrated. Did a pretty good job of this. (1)

Dress up (and down). I bought a caveman costume for a party the following weekend. That sort of counts. (0.5)

Give hugs, get hugs, smile and laugh. Got hugs from my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids, had a few good laughs from listening to The Bugle. (1)

Clean as you go. This has just become second nature – picked up stuff all over town and around my base… I’d say this is such a habit that in the future I may not even comment on it, unless I pick up something really weird, like a boa constrictor or a grenade launcher. (1)

Stay shiny. Nope, no shine or glitter for me this week. Bad sparkle-pony! (0)

Value your time. Not sure I did a good job of that this week. (0)

Let your inner child play / release your inner artist. My inner child played some poker and strategy board games at my brother’s house; the artist (writer) published one new article. (1)

Adopt polyphasic sleep. Tried this, but am having difficulty working it into my work schedule, and my body/brain haven’t been enjoying the experience. Nothing good comes easy, though – I haven’t given up on the idea, but I definitely need to regroup before I reengage on this one. (0.5)

Live small. Yup! I think the Gypsy Danger counts! (1)

Clean as you go, redux. I’ve done a pretty good job of this around the boat, but my office is slowly coming apart at the seams. (0.5)

Walk and bike more. Still walk everywhere at work, but the biking didn’t happen. Must improve on this. (0.5)

Volunteer. No points here. (0)

Give gifts. Hmmm… Bought beers for all my officers and staff… Not sure if that really counts. (0.5)

Total Score? 7.5 out of a possible 13… 57 percent is not a great score.

To improve this week, I’m committing to “5-S’ing” my office, buying gifts for my sisters with upcoming birthdays, biking to/from work on at least 2 days, publishing one new article, dressing up, and valuing my time by not trying to squeeze everything into just one week!

OK, what about achieving a little more balance in my life through the application of Zen principles?

Do one thing at a time; do it slowly, deliberately, and completely. OK, pretty bad at this one, but I’m trying. (0)

Do less. Ditto. (0)

Put space between things. Nope, pretty much bouncing from one thing to the next. (0)

Develop rituals; designate time for certain things. Hmmm. Nope. Hasn’t happened. (0)

Devote time to sitting. I am really not very good at this whole Zen thing. (0)

Smile and serve others. That’s hard to do in my line of work, but I guess anyone could say that. I’m trying hard to take care of my Marines, and I do try to smile while I do it, but it’s a pretty thankless job. But I’m a Zen master, what do I care about thanks? Nada, that’s what. (0.5)

Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking has mostly been putting things in a crockpot and going to sleep. I award me no points. (0)

Think about what is necessary. My friend Zoe sent me a really interesting article on this topic – could I live with just 100 things for a year? What would they be? (0)

Live simply. I sleep, I go to work, I come back and do a little work on my boat. Unfortunately, I think that the amount of things I involve myself in at work and even in my off time sort of defeat the intent of this one. (0.5)

OK, 1 out of a possible 9… That’s pretty bad.

To improve this week, I’m going to focus on reducing my “multi-tasking” at work, and work one thing thoroughly, start to finish. Create one ritual that serves a useful purpose. And that’s all. If I just that, I think I can check the block for “Do Less,” as well.

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