Friday, April 10, 2009

Discipline and Freedom

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating--in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

The Way I See It # 76, Anne Morriss as seen on a Starbucks cup.

I dislike paperwork. No, that's too kind. I rather despise it.

If someone had told me how much paperwork would be required to be a therapist before I started, I might have reconsidered my decision.

I dislike it so much that when I sit down because it is time to do it, I find myself looking for one more little distraction before I hunker down. Or, I look to find myself a reward that I can give myself when I get a good chunk of it done.

Hence, videogames. Just solitaire or a game of Scramble with a friend on Facebook. Twister is a good one too.

The problem was, was that I often I didn't do "just one"...I got sucked in, and spent too much time doing these games instead of getting down to the job at hand and getting it done. Then I'd be frustrated with myself when, a while later, I still didn't have my paperwork done, was no closer to the end of the day's work, and I was running short on time.

Lent is a time when one can choose to abstain from something--a time when one can become connected with sacrifice or suffering, and free up time to focus on matters spiritual. This year, I chose to give up solitaire and all manner of computer video games. I'm not under the illusion that there was any suffering happening because of it, but I did have a sacrifice--I could no longer fool myself in the way I had been.

I'm not proud to realize how often my impulse was to go to a game rather than face the task I needed to do. I was sobered to see how often I would have gone to a quick round of something rather than tuck in to the job. But I had the freedom of getting work done quicker, which allowed me the feeling of accomplishment as the tasks didn't hang over until later, and the choice to use the saved time in any number of ways. The liberation of this commitment was more remarkable than I anticipated.

This time of Lent, then, was a complex time interwoven with spiritual growth, honesty with myself over something that I had rather been fooling myself about, and the satisfaction of maintaining discipline toward a set goal achieved. I did it. Not one video game for the entire period of Lent.

Lent ended today. I still haven't played one. Tossed the idea around a couple of times I or don't I? While my commitment has ended, and my original goal achieved, I'm thinking that the advantages to maintaining my "electronic solitaire fast" outweighs the lure.

I still don't like paperwork, but recognize it as a necessary responsibility for the privilege that I'm allowed to walk with people through the most important work in their lives. If someone had told me how much paperwork would be required to be a therapist before I started, I might have reconsidered my decision.

I'm glad no one told me.

1 comment:

Blasé said...

We have something in commmon-Videogames and paperwork. The difference would be that I dislike both. I'd rather keep losing my ONE sock than to be involved with 'TV Pong' or 'filling in the blanks/paperwork'. Congrats to you in your newfound "freedom".