I played Wax Tailor’s version of How I Feel for my friend the other day, and she played the Michael Bublé version for me in response. Both versions me into a beautifully relaxing, appreciative realm for all things within this crazy thing called life.
I have been sitting here for hours trying to get my thoughts together and it has amounted to writing and deleting paragraphs repetitively. Why? I place so much expectation and pressure on everything I do I launch myself into cycles of paralysis by analysis. Naturally, I throw a hissy fit, smoke some cigarettes, breathe, and stop thinking about writing until I can actually write.
Defeated, not good enough, and sucking at life are the words that begin the swirl in the old grey matter. As much as I like to follow the beat of my own drum, I have eyes and ears, which allows me to interact with the world around me and inevitably compare myself to the world around me. I should do ___ echoes in my mind far more frequently than great job on ___. Every avenue I explore in this beautiful world, I find someone far more __ier than me, selling me things that will help me be more ___ier, and telling me why I just need to keep doing better, because we as a society seemed to have declared happiness to be a destination, journey, and everything besides choice and perspective.
“Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and most of them stink”
I don’t know who said it or where I read it, but this changed my life. This got me away from looking at everyone’s opinions as some sort of holy grail. When it comes to opinions on myself, however, my o-ring can be overwhelmed with shitty ones.
Every article I read seems to have this exclusive all or nothing mentality. If I am pro kumquats, I am anti avocado. If I have interests beyond my children’s bowel movements, I’m not an attentive mother. Yet, if I am all about my kids, I am not honoring my sense of self and authentic femininity and purpose. I’ve allowed other people’s noise to invade, creating a cacophony of “not good enough”. I spend so much of my time feeling inextricably torn between being the best everything I can be and being myself. It’s as if the two are mutually exclusive even though I’m the person being pulled around by my noisy freaking brain.
All of this does nothing but block me up like a 4 day cheese bender.
“Life imitates art”
Another goodie that I am clueless to origin, aside from Lana Del Rey’s Gods and Monsters, and I already wrote about her vagina. This is Michael Buble’s asshole we’re talking about today.
Everything I do is best when I don’t think about doing it. I am learning that’s actually how the brain is supposed to work. My brain is supposed to call out problems, because it’s trying to keep me safe. It’s using tomes of data to predict outcomes, because it’s a big fucking noisy computer. It’s easy to forget, though, I determine my brain’s focus. The brain is an amazing tool but an awful master.
My gut and butt, on the other hand, now that’s where the good stuff lies if you can get past the noisy brain. If I turn off my brain and let my fingers fly on the keyboard, I will see strokes of brilliance – even if I’m the only one appreciating it. When I sit here trying to construct witty thoughtful prose that will somehow make me successful, I spend hours doing nothing.
Life is like poetry. It is effortless if done right, and if you are doing it right, you’re not thinking about how. I call it getting in my flow and for something that requires doing nothing, fuck me it’s hard to do. Feeling Fine is the perfect metaphor for how it feels in my flow, but in order to get that, I have to be careful about what tracks I’m listening to or playing in my brain, as well as where those eyes and ears are going.
If I listen to my brain, I get overwhelmed. I feel so completely beaten down without having moved a muscle. I wake up exhausted, and I go to sleep unaccomplished. Day by day, I get slightly better at disregarding at least some of this endless chatter, but I find that as I become more adept at navigating around this, my brain gets more adept at beating me down with it. If I listen to other people, I am a failure because I didn’t follow their 27 steps to better butt/bundt cake/buddhism. Bastards
This year is teaching me that I am a very successful failure. I am learning to trust myself and my instincts. I am learning happiness is not a milestone, it’s perspective. I have yet to transform my life, I have yet to complete a 30 day yoga challenge, and I am gaining as opposed to losing weight. Not a single goal that I set for my 34th year on this earth has been remotely achieved. If anything, I’ve gone the wrong way in every one. Yet, I keep trying. The only failure is giving up, right?
You know what? I’m smiling and I am happy. I don’t care. Yoga taught me to stop listening to my inner critic. Alan Watts taught me no amount of guilt will change a damn thing in your life. Meditation taught me the value of not doing a damn thing. Buddha taught me all the narratives in my mind expectations and inherently built in disappointments.
I can allow my perspective to focus on everything going wrong. I’ve done that my entire life, and I find that more wrong comes. I’m putting my brain on the task of finding data and creating more supporting data. The second I start appreciating the little things, everything changes. My brain finds data to support, it gets quieter, and then my butt and gut can get the good stuff going. My gut and butt are teaching me the importance of intuition, sense of self, and creativity. When I pop on some music and let life flow – from my fingertips, o ring, or mad culinary skillz, life is poetry. When I mechanize, plan, narrate, and think, I get nothing done. I am successfully failing at life by focusing on every beautiful thing I can, and I keep finding more.
If I held myself to external standards, I’m a colossal failure. Except, I’m genuinely happy. How can I not be? I have a fresh start every morning, I have air in my lungs (did anyone else immediately see Leo in Titanic?), and…
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Reeds driftin’ on by
You know how I feel
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good