by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia
I had an amazing experience yesterday: I was editing a text and I could feel how I wanted it to be finished before I went to my day job. Nothing new really, but I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. As usual, I even checked ahead to see how full the remaining pages were and how much text there was on the last page especially – the less text, the quicker I would be able to get it done and send it off.
So I checked to see how much more there was to do. I had already realised over time what a bad habit the counting of pages and checking ahead was, but it was such a strong pattern it seemed hard to crack. Okay, three more pages left in this Word document and I could feel how my head, and mind especially, just about elongated themselves towards the screen and seemingly into the document itself; everything in my head felt like it had come to a very pointy and narrow place outside my body and that this point was hovering just in front of the text and felt very sharp and intense. All my focus was directed along a narrow line leading into the very near future towards an arbitrary endpoint that, if I only reached it, would somehow make me feel better or satisfy something in me. I had told myself many times how silly the checking ahead was and how one document finished really only meant that there were more to come – so why have this endpoint at all, and how could I work without checking ahead? And what was it really doing to me?
Well, I decided to do it differently this time: I finished when it felt right to finish and went on to do something else. Big deal? Well, yes… there were only two and a half pages to go! What about getting things done, the tick in the box and the brief satisfaction of having something lined up in front of me taken care of and moved out of the way?
I could feel how leaving the document at that point and moving on to something else felt great in my body. Shortly after, I went upstairs and I could feel that I felt different. At first I called it floaty because I had no other reference point. Floaty? Was that good or bad? Oh, I realised floaty was the wrong word… it felt light and my body felt light. Then I could feel an expansiveness across my upper back and the freedom of movement and the ease in my body.
All that from leaving a text two and a half pages within sight of the finish line? Yes, one small choice, or call it a scientific experiment – and all that loveliness and spaciousness in my body and the clarity and stillness in my head to follow.