I’m writing this Saturday morning, it’s white-grey overcast and I’ve decided I’m taking the day off. If it doesn’t seem amusing, I’m not going to do it! I may even indulge in booze or some other psychoactive – need to interrupt my program – reboot as it were. Think I’ll finish up here and pop in the blu ray of “Interstellar” – haven’t seen it – but I enjoy the company of artistic ambition and this was an ambitious film.
I’m a creature of habit, which is a strength and weakness, and it’s proving to be a weakness this particular seven days. Been experiencing “racing brain” syndrome, like a car on high idle, burning a lot of energy but no forward mo. So instead of doubling-down on discipline and planning I’ll see what some anarchy can do.
My day-to-day rhythm is out of whack, and more of the same hasn’t done the trick (shocker), what’s bee missing is “enthusiasm”. When I think of enthusiasm it means high energy, amped-up action driven by curiosity (not certainty) and I can be a certainty-monkey. I can point to a lot of inputs that triggered less than enthusiastic mode of late, the inputs aren’t the issue, it’s that I allowed the inputs to slow my roll. Happens to the best of us (even the less-than-best of us like myself), and I’m betting this “day off” will help me reset and refocus on what’s important – creating, generativity and passion.
I very much prefer going through difficulty to seeing the people I love go through difficulty. But when I think about it, there’s the stink of arrogance to that sentiment, that somehow hardship is harder on others than it is on me. And its never super-joyful to know you’re powerless to change the unchangeable, but accepting it is preferable to wallowing.
My specific “tough things” aren’t relevant to this meditation – tough things happen all the time – it’s how we deal with them that’s important. No value in giving each a name and investing a particular difficulty with identity and relative importance. I got knocked off my game this week, in a slow-motion way that I didn’t notice till Thursday and I’m just getting around to addressing it. I bring this up because I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all if I didn’t have formal goals with weekly deadlines. They force me to “see myself” when I might prefer to look away. They aren’t foolproof, but when used as a positive affirmation (not negative scolding) of life, goals can pull you through a lot.
We’re all on a freight train to the grave, so’s everybody else, the clock’s ticking. From time to time some things will bust through our defenses, we become sad, we mourn, we worry – but if we honor our mortality we’ll make peace with our “tough weeks” sooner rather than later. Freeing us to live in the present moment, and live by the decisions we make.
Hate as Identity
So, Bruce Jenner told the world he’s a woman. There will be meticulously phrased encouragement by actual friends, and way more by strangers. And, to the point of this piece, a tsunami of bizarre, poorly phrased negative, emotional gibberish in condemnation from nothing BUT strangers plastered across the interwebs. They’ll say some horrible shit they wouldn’t have the balls to tell Hitler to his face.
I’ve been thinking about identity, where it comes from, how permanent or ephemeral it is. And Jenner’s announcement got me thinking that a lot of identity is derived from either aligning yourself with creativity or destruction (hate being the social medium of destruction). Jenner finds himself in tough spot, his decision to transition is inherently creative, forging a new identity to suit his needs. And as best I can tell, he’s not asking anyone to do it for him – it’s a karmically neutral action. But that’s gotta’ be a hard decision, no reason to hate on the guy.
But think of how fast you can create a personal identity by adopting a hate posture. For everybody who vilifies you as a bigot, bleeding-heart, nationalist, hipster, religious zealot, misogynist, sexist, etc. – there’s a group who will embrace you as a brother. Defining yourself by creation, on the other hand, is almost a surefire path to outsider status, you may be loved but you won’t be liked. I believe that’s why so few people do it. For every Martin Luther King Jr. there’s a million hateful knuckleheads, and I think it’s because it’s hard to be generative but easy to throw a firebomb.
I bring this up mostly as a self-check – I constantly question whether I’m making decisions or just being swept along by life’s current – and one way for me to tell is if there’s any valence of “I hate that thing” to my thinking. You can get some short-term juice from negative thinking, but as a habit it’s destructive. So if you: vote, choose groups/associates, choose politics, choose art, choose to troll on the internet, choose ANYTHING because of what you hate or want to destroy (even a little, gossip is a bitch) get a grip. Think about what you want to create, what the positive outcome you seek is, and use that to guide your decisions. It can be difficult, we do love us some self-important outrage, but your life and the world will be better for it (may not be easier, just better).
Jeez, this shit’s kinds’ heavy today, not really what I was shooting for – but this has been a day of introspection (oh, right, it’s now 6:20 pm – I did everything I said I would, “Interstellar” could use an editor, and I’m finishing this up to make my blog goal for the week!).
Anyway, I just wanted to capture the dream I had earlier in the week. (The symbolism is paper thin, which caused me to be miffed with my subconscious for being a hack. But it’s a perfect example of what happens when you sublimate – I’ve postponed a decision about my employment related to creating more time for my creative pursuits – my Morpheus won’t let me forget.)
I’m scheduled to do a book reading, it’s my introduction to the world as an author – the place is packed, like unnaturally packed – more like a theater than folding chairs in a bookstore. I become aware that all of my coworkers are there, being super supportive. It becomes clear that I’m wildly unprepared, and awareness of my lack of preparation is flustering me further. Public speaking is a relative strength of mine, and I’ve come to take it for granted. The deeper a hole I dig myself, the more I see the supportive faces of my coworkers. The massive hall is silent except for my fumbling attempts at communicating, the silence seeming to grow more oppressive. Finally I finish – nothing, no polite applause, just thousands of dead-faced and silent people. The walk off the stage is, like, a mile long…the only smiles coming from those I share my days with doing something not my passion – I wake before I get off the stage.