Friday, February 19, 2010

Sit. Feast on your life

Have you ever heard of the Myers Briggs test? It determines your psychological preferences in how you see the world and make decisions. I am an ISTP, "The Mechanic" as it is often called. ISTPs have a strong drive to understand how things work. We're very analytical. Constantly asking why...our minds never stop processing.We also live entirely in the moment, absorbing nearly everything around us. I love recording my endless ticker tape of thoughts in journals. It helps me slow them down, organize and make sense of them. Another important element of being an ISTP: We need plenty of time to be alone; that's when we sort things out in our mind and make sense of the world.

The downside of being an ISTP is that we strongly resist routines. I do love journals, but for years my entries would begin very frequently with "wow its been a long time, lots of things to catch up on..." followed by my guilt-driven entry to recount all of the seemingly journal-worthy events of the most recent moments of my life, and by the time I finish my task I'm tired, have lost interest, or have run out of time for journaling...and thus the cycle repeats. I made a vow to myself several years ago that I would no longer write with my long-standing goal of what some distant descendant would need or want to know about me. I shifted gears to consider that perhaps who I am is made up of much more than simply a collection of external events of which I was part, photos in which I was tagged on facebook. Discovering my ISTP preferences reaffirmed this belief. I live, primarily, intently...internally. Most of my world is in my mind. So...why not record that? At least it will interest me. Buddha said, "Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
So here I am, starting my collection of present moments. Hopefully my internally driven, intensely analytical side will keep my mind dancing enough to create interesting blogs, for me and, hey, maybe even those great, great, great grandchildren. And hopefully the spontaneous, routine-allergic side will be appeased by an everchanging pallet of photos and entries of places and faces from my world, internal and external.

Love after Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
you will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.