Suffertember VI starts tomorrow!
Suffer V was a rough one for me—I failed at most of my goals.
I did have a few wins though, like reaching the first jhana, successfully not taking any warm showers, and hitting some of my physical goals. In a 21 day period I went for three ultra-marathons and a triathlon, and completed 3/4. I had to pull out of the last of the four, a 50-mile ultra just outside of Berkeley. Four miles in I started cramping and after limping my way through 15 or so miles I pulled the plug. Overall I felt pretty good though, and it was an interesting experience to find exactly where my edge was (and go over). Other than that I was pretty overloaded with work and training and never really found the extra slack that I love about Suffertember.
This year I’m planning to dial it back on the physical stuff a bit and focus more on presence and how I spend my time. This is really one of my favorite parts of Suffertember—getting to be intentional about all the time I get from giving up extraneous parts of my life like news, social media, and snooze buttons (such a time-waster!).
The other two aspects of this month that I love are that it’s essentially a lab for trying out new behaviors, and how it lets me practice equanimity. The lab part is that it’s just much easier for me to try new habits or behavior changes during this month than any other time of the year. The shared camaraderie and community and team goals and peer pressure make it so much less hard for me to stick to things, at least for this bounded period of time. So I can play with parts of myself and find the changes that will actually be easy to make stick in the long run. This was how I became vegetarian; I gave up meat for the first two Suffertembers and after that, once I’d let go of the part of my mind that thought no meal was complete without 60% meat, it became simple.
The equanimity part is that it becomes easier to practice this when you push yourself to do hard things. Cold showers are always my favorite example—they’re a perfect opportunity to practice not reacting to my ego-mind when it tells me (over and over) things that are wrong or even harmful to me. In this case it’s just ignoring it saying “cold water will make you dead and is very scary and don’t go in it”, but I think the practice of not reacting to this is transferable to any emotional or egoistic arising.
Anyways, here are my goals for this year:
- out of bed by 6:31 AM1
- exercise within one hour of waking up2
- do the ugh-iest thing on my to-do list first3
- cold showers only
- 30 minute adhiṭṭhāna meditation
- 10 minutes of metta/loving-awareness or visualization
- no coffee, sweets, or fried food4
- no social media, news, TV/movies,5 or dating apps
- be as alive and fearless as possible
- Donate 10% of my income for the month to charity6
- Give away half my clothes
- Hit Inbox Zero at least once7
- Do a 48 hour fast
- Maybe try to do a one mile wetsuit-less swim in the Pacific?!8
Happy Suffering! 😅
Weekdays only ⤴
Five minute plank, one mile run, 200 push-ups, lifting, or going on a ride ⤴
Start with one (free) hour of morning exercise, spend at least 30 minutes on it ⤴
Except on days when I do 2+ hours of exercise! ⤴
Exception here if I’m doing this as a social activity with friends (1x/week max; mostly for the new LotR show 🧙♂️), also social media is ok for work stuff ⤴
For personal email, work email, and to-do list ⤴
This will be a tough one, going to think of it as a stretch goal ⤴