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I felt so frustratingly restless today.

This generally comes about after M leaves; I anxiously want to scoot into the future, toward the time when we’ll be able to live together. Our occasional weekends are wonderful, to be sure, and all the more vivid for their infrequency, but I still can’t help but hunger for something more.

It is frustrating, though, because I know I’m fortunate to be here. I love my job. I love my grad program. And at the same time I want to be finished with both; I want to have graduated; I want to have obtained my license. I want to take a year off to travel and learn at least one language; I want to decide in what country I want to live. I know this eagerness for the future is silly. Life won’t be any easier, certainly, once I get there, and god knows it can’t possibly be any more enjoyable than it is now.

Still. I want, as usual.

autre tentative.

I need to write here again. It’s getting ridiculous. I miss the community I used to be more a part of. I miss the luxury of sitting down and sorting out my thoughts. I miss the habit, and the easy fluidity with which words start to flow. The writing I do now is exclusively for work and for my classes, and it has a different feeling entirely. This? This is heaven.

I haven’t been writing because, I say, lamely, excusing myself, I haven’t had time. This is not entirely true, though. I don’t have an exorbitant amount of time, but there are days in which I don’t have class in the evenings, days in which I do get home before ten or eleven at night, and there’s no reason why I can’t put aside a few of those minutes for an entry.

I haven’t been writing because, I say, lamely, I have nothing to write about, or, more to the point, because I feel the need to censor. I don’t want to expose anything about my day job, and don’t want to betray the confidences of my classmates or clients. This limits me. This makes me think I’d be better off keeping a private journal. Perhaps I’ll talk myself into it yet.

The thing is, I miss writing here. I miss, again, the interaction. I miss the checks and balances on my thought process, and I miss being able to cull and respond to the richer ideas of others. I don’t know whether I need to just recognize that now is not the time to move back here; I don’t know whether these fleeting efforts to reestablish myself on these pages are anything more than lazy nostalgia.

I have too much going on, I think, and I relish all of it, but at the same time I feel the pull of wanting all this too-muchness to be over. It bothers me, this eagerness to race ahead. I’m happy now; why am I squandering an entirely pleasant and challenging and frankly wonderful period on impatient wishes for post-graduation? I know full well as soon as I get settled into private practice (this has been a dream for so long) I’ll start getting anxious and restless and eager to travel. The tension I feel has nothing to do with my outside environment, and everything to do with internal regulations. I am content here, when I take the time to notice.

It’s these miniature insights, these gifts to myself, that I miss when I don’t write.


I stumbled across a New York Times article two days ago that I read with mild interest. It was a brief description of the role of moral disengagement in prison staff members, especially those who worked on death row: it chronicled an ongoing line of research at Stanford, in which the conclusion was that the closer the staff was to the execution process, the higher their levels of justification (moral, social, and economic), and the greater their denial of any personal responsibility.

I hadn’t given much thought to the topic, but I was meditating this morning and later, on my way to work, I realized how the article related to a central Buddhist tenet. It’s not a particularly brilliant insight, but I appreciated the connection nonetheless. It’s merely that a deep engagement in life – that remaining as aware as possible in and of each moment – is the path toward compassion, and thus toward a more ethical and a more moral life. It’s awareness (and a commitment to staying aware), and not reason, that provides the clearest path toward skillful behavior.

I am not denigrating reason and rational argument by any means; rather, I was just struck by the power of justification – and the depth of their belief – and how essential this was to allowing them to do the work they do. I’m doubtful that many of them could be argued out of their actions, but I’d be very curious to see what effect meditation would have.