It’s Good Not to Achieve the Goal

This month, wanted to get off Facebook.

Facebook is just one of many indicators that I am feeling lonely or overwhelmed or stuck. It’s an easy one to notice, and one that I don’t have a lot of guilt or shame around. While my progress on specific goals below has been spotty, I’ve made a lot of progress on noticing when I’m turning to Facebook and choosing to do something different instead.

As happens with practice, the more I notice my habit with Facebook, the more I start to notice my other, more complicated habits as well.

1. Nurture local friendships

When I checked in mid-month, I was sure I was doing poorly on this one. I’ve been sitting a lot with loneliness the month, so it seemed like a sure thing that I had not spent time with anyone. I was wrong.

Again, I feel like I have not been nurturing local friendships. There’s both a sense of loneliness, and a sense that I’ve spent a lot of time engaging with people who don’t live here.

But. I spent last weekend hanging out with three different sets of people I know locally. I also had dinner with a friend, and connected with several people at various gatherings.

I am coming to realize that the people I feel most at home with are the people I’m connecting with around engaged Buddhism. I am resisting this, since I want some amount of work/life balance and I work all day on engaged Buddhist issues.

I want to find some resolution to this, where I can both connect deeply with folks and feel balanced. So far, it seems like I need to establish that balance moment to moment, rather than switching to a new mode at 5pm.

2. Walk or meditate in the morning before getting online

The rain continued to make walking difficult. I often headed for a shower or breakfast as a way to start my morning without Facebook.

Meditation has not been as solid this month. Instead, I’ve been really focused on ease. I’d like to find a balance next month of easeful meditation. I’m not sure if that means shorter sits, more walking or guided meditation, or perhaps trying out a few sanghas.

Even though it’s been hard, I’ve still been sitting 2-5 times per week for 30 minutes. I continue to celebrate this as a success.

3. Writing 5 minutes every day

Tracking two daily goals (meditation & writing) seemed to make both of them hard. I didn’t work on tracking this at all, though I did some writing 21 of 31 days this month.

I wonder about:

  • Tracking these two together – 30 minutes of meditation + 10 minutes of writing happens at the same time. (Ahhh! It will take too much time!)
  • Focusing on only meditation for awhile, until it feels more solid

I totally forgot that I did some focused writing in response to a call for articles. It actually felt like the kind of writing I would like to be doing. Perhaps setting this goal created more movement than I realize?

Sometimes achieving the goal is less important than setting the intention. Especially when the goal is a baby step like “write for 5 minutes.” This really isn’t my long term intent. I wouldn’t be happy if I spent the rest of my life writing for 5 minutes every day.

What would it mean to set a writing goal I would be excited and energetic about? But would still have the spirit of doable within my current capacity?

4. Practicing restoration when I’m tired

This month has been all about rest and restoration. I feel fantastic that I have ended a busy, busy month at work still feeling excited about my job and not in a space of burnout. This is so important, as I didn’t want to bring a new co-worker in to a culture of burnout and exhaustion.

I want to track my need for rest this next month. Will I still need completely and total restoration in the same way? Can I recognize that need quickly, and get myself what I need? Do my needs change as my social energy at work changes? How does the weather affect my needs for rest?


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