The reading ban is over. It has been over for three and a half days now so I feel I owe myself this post. Something I would like to begin with is that the fact of not being able to read didn't necessarily give me more time. Still in the office for most of the day + 3 hour travelling time each day don't allow too much spare time anyway. Was it worth it? Well, YES. In a strange way.
First feeling: Oblivion. Exactly like the ride (: the build-up (OMG, OMG); the anger (I really don't want to do this, why am I still here?); the fear (What will I do?); the increased anxiety levels (where do these voices come from now? Have they always been there?). I need to say I have experienced both 'Oblivions', the metaphorical and the physical ride (Thanks R, R and Zafron), and they have LOADS IN COMMON.
First question: Why do I read?
- To stop time
- Being transported to a different reality
- To stop doing chores
- To stop other activities that, although I want to do them, they ask for greater effort (i.e writing)
Consequences of the ban:
- Many, many unexpected thoughts. Anxiety.
- Thoughts would create chaos around my life and the tiniest decision.
- Thoughts couldn't be quiet. I had to isolate them and deal with them separately. That took time and effort.
- When I was too tired to do anything else, I had to try very hard to avoid TV. I was bored, something I hadn't experienced in a long time.
- Isolation. Most of communication exchanges happen via electronic devises nowadays: e.mail, blogs, texts. Personal and social isolation (I tend to read news rather than watch news, especially because I can select what I want to know about. On TV or radio somebody decides for me what I should know).
- Disruption of night ritual.
What I got out of it:
- I tidied up the house and the office.
- I tidied up my head (dealt with thoughts I hadn't before)
- I went straight into writing when I had to.
- I experienced a different way of creativity. Something less artistic and more embeded in everyday life: cooking, food shopping, yoga series, clothing, writing, advice given to others.
Some of the main benefits I have taken out of it are
- Awareness of how I distribute my time during the day.
- Awareness of why I read and decision of keeping reading but only for the right reasons.
- Awareness of having to find a balance in my life by deciding the time I allocate to the activities which are important to me.
- Need for a reading-writing balance.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Need for empty time to allow creativity to emerge and deal with inner thoughts.
- In LIFE, like on Oblivion, even after taking a peek at the colossal vertical drop, you only have three things left to do: breath, relax and enjoy the ride.