The Whole Life Challenge is now half done and we are onto our next lifestyle challenge. For the first two weeks we were to drink an inordinate amount of water and other fluids didn’t count as water for the challenge and so I was nearly drowning. I did it for thirteen days and used a bonus point to blow off the last day. I have not and will not continue this practice. I do, however, down enough fluid throughout the day; it isn’t just water. My kidneys don’t mind the cessation of all the unnecessary work.

The next two weeks were spent getting enough sleep. We were to get seven hours of sleep a day and if you didn’t get enough sleep during the night, take a nap. Since I stopped drinking all the excess water, I also quit getting up in the middle of the night every 2-3 hours to pee. This allowed me to get enough sleep. I went to bed early enough each night to get enough sleep even if I was awake for a while in the middle of the night. The one night I was awake for way too long was a morning with no alarm clock set and so I pulled it off.

Now I’m to practice mindfulness. I have no idea what this really means. I can spend ten minutes a day in quiet meditation or journaling. Well, I’ve tried meditation before and I cannot get my mind to focus on nothing. I have no idea how to turn off my brain. If I knew how to turn off my brain, I would do it on those nights when I can’t sleep for hours on end.

As to journaling – well, I write all the time. I write all sorts of things. I have no idea what, exactly, I’m supposed to put in a journal. Is what I’m writing here supposed to be what I journal about? Am I supposed to spend this time on introspection just in case after sixty years I still don’t know who I am?

Should I examine my compulsive need to win or achieve? Is there a reason I can’t let go of some of these damn points and enjoy my life a little bit? Is the WLC really supposed to be punitive? Do I have to continuously compare myself to others and see where I rate in the overall scheme of the world? (The answer is yes.) Why?

Practicing mindfulness, according to Google, is living in the moment. Am I being mindful as I drive to the box and notice the gorgeous full moon weaving in and out through the Carolina pines? Am I being mindful when I see the family of deer grazing by the side of the road and appreciate the gracefulness as well as their alert understanding of the morning traffic? Am I being mindful when I actually pay attention to my driving and don’t gawk either up or to the side of the road but concentrate on where I have this lethal missile of a car pointed?

If what I understand of autism is in any way correct, it is the issue of being too mindful. Instead of living in the space we call the real world, every incoming bit of sensory data is important and attended to. Water has color and taste and air has sound and there are no filters shutting out what most of us ignore minute by minute. If I sit here and concentrate, I can feel my clothes against my skin and the weight of my glasses on my nose and the stems slightly pinching my ears. I can hear the hum of the computer and the tapping of the keys.

There are voices outside my window and I can’t hear what they are saying and a car just drove past. Is this being mindful or distracted? The clock is ticking, actually two of them are and I only just noticed that both analog clocks make a sound for every tick of the second hand. They are not synchronized.

On my trip to the dentist last week, I was given Novocain of some sort or another. That meant that when I touched my lip, my hand could feel it but my lip couldn’t and it was a very odd feeling. Years ago, when I had a spinal, touching my legs was like touching a horse or something. It felt different to my hands just like my lip did last week. I think that is because I expected a feedback loop that was not feeding back and it just confused my entire sensory system.

There are all sorts of thoughts that run through my head at all hours of the day and the waking hours of the night. I tell myself the story of my day as my day progresses and make judgment calls based on it. I like this or dislike that and am annoyed by nearly every other damn driver on the road watching the beautiful moon or looking for deer along the side of the road.

I not only have the story of my real everyday life going on, but I read a lot and have the stories of the books I’ve read and enjoyed. I also watch videos and Amazon Prime has brought me TV programs to view. I also write and care about the characters I have created. It’s been a while since I wrote a Station tale, but Cassie and Hiro and Doston are all still right there, just waiting for me to get off my duff and put them into action once again.

So am I being mindful when I pay attention to this world or when I tune out this world? What about the fiction world that makes up such a huge portion of my day?

I have no idea if I am doing this correctly or even what it is I’m supposed to be doing. I have no idea what “mindful” really means because it often has this dichotomy I don’t know how to explain. It is being present in the moment and yet it seems to want me to live outside the moment in a nothingness state that I have no idea how to locate.

Anyone out there have a map so I can find this?

Do I just figure I’m doing the best I can and know that I spend ten minutes a day in worrying about how my life is going? Am I supposed to worry about how my life is going?

Do I just not give myself the points and learn to live with the whole “not doing it all” thing?

I’m in trouble here. I have no idea what I’m doing and I therefore I have no idea if I’m doing it correctly and for me, correct is important.

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