SELF-HELP MEETS THE SYSTEM
Starting Monday, September 11, Julio Vincent Gambuto will present “Modern Muting” — a weekly Medium story series dedicated to helping readers step back from all the bullshit of modern life, create quiet, re-evaluate, then go forward boldly. It’s 500 words a week of “self-help meets the system.” New stories drop each Monday.
It’s the last week before “Back to” season begins. Back to school. Back to soccer practices. Back to the office more than once a week. Whatever it is, here’s your permission to not go back to pure madness. Take a few minutes this holiday weekend to yourself — at home, at the beach, in a corner away from the kids — to actively decide what gets to come back into life and what does not.
How do you do that? First, name the three major sources of anxiety, tension, disruption in your personal life and in your professional life. As you try to locate them, look for them in three places: (1) on your screen, (2) in your calendar, (3) in your social circles. Who or what creates a disproportionate amount of noise? How can you step away, set clearer boundaries, eliminate, or soften the overwhelm? What conversation might you be avoiding that will help you to do that? Pick one — the noisiest — and go after it with a fucking sledge hammer. (Not the person, the noise.)
Next, take a look back at these years. These have been not only odd years but they have been disruptive to our lives — and to our hearts and minds — at a tectonic level. What are the three things you have learned about yourself or your family or your work? What was eye-opening during the pandemic? What did you discover you wanted to change but that has just sort of gone “back to normal”? How can you incorporate the lessons you learned into your day-to-day schedule and into the flow of your week-to-week calendar? Less is more. Even less is even more. It’s okay if these years change us. We’d be psychotic if they didn’t.
Last (for now), what is on autopilot? What have you already committed to for “back to” season out of pure habit? Why? Dig deeper. Get off auto-pilot. Get out of “the loop” — that feedback loop in your brain that says you have to do x, y, or z. Are you committing because this will bring genuine joy and meaning into your…