online: 9 july 2003
modified: 10 july 2003, version2 1 august 2003

8 july 2003 outside the zerobox

version2 (*details at bottom of page)

15:37 For years, even decades, I've been keeping lists of things which I can't do this minute but hope to do later. I never manage to do all of them and the presence of the list of not-yet-done things is a constant nuisance, a thought that stops me from thinking and acting freely... I'm sure many people find the same.

But this morning, instead of organising the list into priorities, I decided to forget about all these not-yet-dones and put them into 'the zero box' as I've called it... Once in the box they are gone - or nearly gone - they can only come out one-at-a-time... and so I never have more than one thing to deal with... It sounds promising.

As each activity goes into the box I give it a number... to get it out I have to choose a random number and accept whatever comes.

Another rule is that I must not take another thing out of the zerobox until the current one is done... or put back (if only partly done)... or abandoned!

20:00 At a seat near to viaduct pond. Humid and warm, I don't wish to walk further until I feel cooler...

All day I've been testing the zerobox. It was a struggle to tackle each thing that came out in random sequence but I did complete (or partly complete) about 10 of 17 activities - but I've done nothing of my primary activity (perceiving, thinking, and writing in public) until now - and as I write this my feelings and perceptions become less disorderly and more integrated. Yes, I am at last recovering what I recognise as my real self - one able to see connections and to enact them in small ways, here and now. Outside the zerobox and untroubled by its contents!

As I sat here I saw a heron fly by, an exceptionally large dragonfly (about 10 cm long) shooting from place to place, and two or three crows who habitually walk about on this hillside. One of them arrived in a beautifully controlled glide without a single flap of its wing - and then tipped up into a stall at just the right moment for a safe but slightly bumpy landing.

Now that I'm cooler and have written something here I am fit to walk on - in this city forest, this terrestrial adventure, this world of unexpected and easily missed perfections... (and difficulties - but they are in the zerobox!)

20:40 The light is going and there is a bird singing nearby. There are still some bees visiting the tall grasses. The air is very still, the sky a misty blue, and for the first time today I am feeling happy, not struggling. Surely this world is as good or bad as it need be and it's up to us to discover ways to live in accord with the whole of it - despite our frequent inability to do that...

9 july: ...welcome to the zerobox - I'm going to test it again today... it workred!

1 august: zerobox version2's still working - not quite as liberating as at first but very helpful.

I now have it on (25+8=)33 numbered cards, and write the 'things to do' in pencil - and rub out each when done to create an empty card. The zerobox is an envelope.

I have to select often enough to maintain a few empty cards!

There are also some nice things to do (like 'go to see such and such a film', or whatever) and priority things to do.

First, a random number answers the question: 'priority or ordinary?'

Then, a second random number answers the question 'which item?' (priority items have a 1 in 8 chance of being selected, and ordinary items have a 1 in 25 chance).

I suppose I could do this on the handheld - it has an automated 'to do' list - but I prefer cards and writing in pencil, and rubbing out.

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