So much to do. Why does that weigh on me so much? When will it ever change? How might I become comfortable with things unfinished, things out of order? I know that things “undone” or “out of order” are my dukkha.
The gap between my ambition and reality will never close, so I have to figure out how to “love what is”, to use Byron Katie’s words. Amor fatii, to invoke Nietzche’s stronger form. But without resignation.
I am always trying to wriggle out of the present moment. Some do it by fantasizing about an ideal past. I do so by imagining a better future. I happen to think my way is superior, as it provides some motivation and material for actually creating a better future. But for me, personally, it is a deep source of anxiety resulting from the tension created by the gap between that imagined future and my present reality. David Emerald Womeldorff calls this Dynamic Tension and uses the metaphor of a rubber band stretched between envisioned outcome and current reality in his book The Power of TED. Buckminster Fuller called created his “dymaxion” architecture out of this idea of dynamic tension, finding that it created maximally strong yet materially efficient structures.

Perhaps that’s the cognitive reframing I need. Not anxiety from fear of shame or embarrassment but dynamic tension that then draws me to action. In this framing, that feeling that so frequently visits me is not to be avoided but instead embraced as the energy of life.