what coffee in a whiskey cup taught me about practicing maintenance

there’s nothing i love more than coffee

and i have three kids. but if you have kids, you probably love coffee as much as i do. anyway, this post isn’t about coffee, it’s about the damn cups i drink my coffee in.
they’re filthy.
i need to clean them. i really do.
and i just walked past them and thought, man, i should really clean those and then i thought, ah, but there’s so many other things i’d rather do and you know, i believe in honoring myself. i believe in fighting for the fun things in your life. and the meaningful things.
but cleaning cups is just…maintenance.

it’s just maintenance

the thing about maintenance is it’s always there, but it’s never fun. it almost always feels like work, and it rarely ever feels creative. and it doesn’t matter how well you do it, it just needs to be done again in a few days. like laundry. or mowing the lawn. or feeding your kids.

the payoff is fleeting, so why bother?

i like drinking my coffee out of clean cups.
dammit. it’s true.
if given the choice, i would rather drink my delicious Nespresso-Napoli-with-a-splash-of-cream in a clean cup than a dirty one. so, if i honor myself, i do the things that light me up. also, if i honor myself, i drink my coffee out of clean whiskey glasses. fuck. how do you spell “dilemma”, again?

so what do you do?

the answer is simple: you hire someone else to do it (you lazy ass brilliant individual). or you do it yourself.

ok, so i’m going to clean my own coffee cups

ok, good girl. real proud of you. i decided the same thing. but there’s still this problem of not really wanting to clean my cups, but wanting a clean cup.
so here it is: maintenance is not about desire. i mean, not really. you could channel your desire for a clean cup, you could tune into your self-kindness and do this favor for yourself. and do that every time you have to suck it up and clean the damn cups. that’s one approach and it works for a lot of people.
other people just do the work because they have to and life is hard so stop bellyaching and clean the damn cups already.
but i can’t do that. i hate that reason.
the other option is to look at maintenance as a sort of practice. like gardening. it is a different energy than making or performing, or consuming, but as you commit portions of your day to the practice of maintenance, it keeps your contribution centers healthy and supports sustainable results. mostly, yes, you will feel like a grownup but almost in a good way. maintenance kind of becomes like a muscle. and as you exercise it, the heavy things get lighter. you’re working out of a positive habit rather than an impulse. and as you do so, you realize — it’s an act in which your present is self showing kindness to your future self.

maintenance kind of becomes like a muscle. and as you exercise it, the heavy things get lighter. you’re working out of a positive habit rather than an impulse..

the meat of the paragraph above

recognize the resistance; lean in

just like any exercise, there will be some resistance to your maintenance intentions. resistance comes from two places – 1) a soul that doesn’t want to force itself to be what it isn’t anymore and 2) a brain that’s doing what a brain does and attempts to reduce stress & effort. this isn’t #1, it’s #2 – so let’s talk to your brain.

you: thank you, brain - you are awesome at your job. the thing is, i really do want to incorporate the exercise of maintenance in my practice, so i’m going to push through this resistance and do this fairly simple but unpleasant task, and i’d appreciate your help - cool?
brain: you waste my power
you: you’re really good at what you do. let’s go!

doesn’t that taste good?

when you’re done cleaning those coffee cups, now give thanks to your former self. they had to overcome a lot of resistance to do this for you. also, appreciate the sheer magic of a maintenance habit – it’s going to be your friend for a long, long time, so keep the relationship strong.

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