It’s disappointing when I realize that large swaths of green on a map are actually a golf course and not a giant park.
Every time I wake up, I have a moment of perfect freedom from my life. It takes a moment to remember who I am, where I’m waking up, what I’m doing with my life, who is important to me, and what problems are currently unresolved.
As I rebuild all of these details in my working memory, sometimes I feel myself energized and can’t help but get out of bed and get my life moving again.
Other times, that peaceful, empty place is quickly filled with the sadness or frustration that weighed on my mind as I tried falling asleep. For my own safety, I feel like running from my thoughts and sheltering myself with a distraction. Though, it is at times like this that it’s hardest to engage my mind with something else.
There are also times, I suppose, when I wake up feeling neither excitement or anxiety, but that doesn’t happen often anymore. When it does, those are the times when I can roll back over and continue sleeping.
The goal of meditation, from what I’ve gathered, is to allow yourself to slip into that moment of freedom. I’ve never had much luck with meditation, but at times I have tried and found myself in a place of mental release, experiencing my own existence, without the tumult that typically fills my head.
I used to think that at some point in my life I would “arrive,” and finally enjoy a comforting consistency to the experience of waking up. Now it seems that life will continue to be unpredictable. The more I find myself excited and engaged with my life one day, the deeper the feeling of regret and anxiety will be another.
Life has moments when, for whatever reason, you feel like you have it all figured out, where all of your rough days, the hard work, and those lonely nights seem to have some kind of meaning. Your mind has taken a collection of bad memories and suddenly pieced them together into some important narrative culminating in the present moment. You had to earn the happiness you feel right now and all this time you were paying that price. You just didn’t realize it—until right now.
It’s usually a pretty fleeting feeling. Tomorrow you will probably wake up, served with a fresh set of challenges and reasons to doubt yourself. Life has no destinations. From birth to an eventual death, it’s just one journey, lived one day to the next.
There are those moments, though, moments when it all makes sense. If you don’t slow down every now and again, they can easily pass you by.
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“Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
As I look back, I’m convinced that impulsively quitting my job was the single greatest decision I have made in my life so far.
Reckless, stupid, irresponsible, challenging, stressful, frustrating…
…liberating and empowering.
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”
—Robert Costello “The Departed”
“The only authentic pronoun is ‘I.’ All I can reliably talk about is what I am thinking, feeling, and doing.”
If there is ever a time in my life when I know where I’m going to be five years later, I’ll know I’m well overdue for some big changes.