I have had the privilege of working at some restaurants in NYC over the last year, and the last two days have been a blur: yesterday, an early afternoon in TriBeCa, meeting with a potential boss, and today, visiting the floor of one of the finest restaurants in NYC (one of their magnificent preparations is pictured above). This does not mean that I have abandoned ship in my production life; rather, I'm shifting my gaze towards a life that better accommodates my working style. Freelance-wise, I keep my own hours; day job, I like to have a fixed schedule. Workarounds are simple: you trust your team, you swap and make sure the biz runs smoothly. In a production situation, that's not possible. You trust your team and yourself, but outsourcing? Not a chance. This brings to mind the plight of a construction worker who, without a crew of his own, lost a significant contract because a) his boss was incompetent and b) the subcontractors were slow and lazy. Without his own infrastructure, the project fell apart.
So what are we doing for self-care throughout this magnificent mess?
Tonight I participated in a podcast that brought things into a nice frame. I'm recycling vocabulary from rehab these days to think about windows, perspective, and gaze - and how we then prescribe meaning and value. I started a new medication last week, just a small amount, and it's given me some welcome mental stillness and reprieve. There's a certain social stigma surrounding the term "medication" - associations with addiction, chemical dependency, all these sorts of rabbit holes that even Sherlock Holmes himself could not avoid (hello, opium!) - that I myself assign too much consequence to the idea that adding a medication could be toxic. I had some bad encounters in the hospital in 2018: first lithium, then depakote, both of which had deleterious effects on my health; so there's a certain inner resistance to the idea that I *need* anything more than my regular regimen.
One thing that has been helping me is the integration of mindful walks and sitting into my daily routine. Rain or shine, I'm up by 7am to take a walk. If I have the headspace, I'll sit for a few minutes in silence. This is affirming because allowing yourself to sit (see Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh's short primer "How to sit") gives you the opportunity to be within yourself. I now understand the value of meditation/sitting practice in yoga. Finding stillness amidst our collective chaos is a challenge.