Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
I don’t know about you, but life has been a little nutty this winter. My brain has been soaking in stress chemicals, and my executive functions haven’t been all that “executive” – too much TV and chocolate and feeling the coldness of the earth leaching into my bones, not enough exercise and writing and generating my own heat.
Things are a little more stable now. My grandma is a little better, and my own non-life-threatening-but-extremely-life-disturbing health problems seem to have chilled out.
But, honestly, it doesn’t really matter how stable things are, does it? I mean, no one can fault me for stumbling around a bit the last few months – they have been intense! – and I don’t “fault” myself. But I do recognize that it’s kind of irrelevant. Life will always be full of hijinks and hilarity, but there are things I want to accomplish regardless. And there’s no way to accomplish them while slugging out.
So. Time for renewal. It is spring, after all, even if the weather doesn’t know it yet. As good a time as any for a decrazification, an exorcism of the droopy, lethargic spirits in my chest. Time to throw open the windows and let some fresh air back in.
What does decrazification look like? Well, it’s different for everybody. For me, it looks like making sure that I write and meditate and exercise every day. Because if I get those three things in, even if only for a few minutes, everything else seems to fall in line.
I could spend the next couple of paragraphs examining in great detail why exactly I resist these things that I know are good for me, time and time again, and instead choose to lie on the couch watching Tina Fey-era Saturday Night Live reruns. If I dig around in my past, I’m sure I can come with “good reasons” to explain my lameness.
But I’m not going to do that. Why? Because however “good” my “reasons,” they are also 100% irrelevant. Because trying to understand my craziness doesn’t really help me get over it. Sometimes it can even make it worse, because then I get wrapped up in thinking about my problems and why they bother me so much, and what events in my childhood set the craziness in motion, and isn’t it all so fascinating?
At a certain point, though, I realized that no, it’s really NOT that fascinating. It’s just garden-variety narcissism. I lose myself in looking at myself, and I fall in.
Does this happen to you? I remember a great story a teacher friend once told me, about an older man in one of his classes who had shown up one night excited about a huge breakthrough he’d made in understanding why he was late to everything his entire life. He told the tale of how, as a child, his father always made him wait in a car while he made sales calls, and some part of him hated it so much that he vowed never to wait for anyone ever again. Hence, he was always late.
As this fellow described his epiphany, he was full of excitement at finally having gotten some clarity around this previously opaque issue. And then my friend said, well, that’s wonderful, but I gotta ask, are you on time now, or not?
He wasn’t, of course. Why would he be? Understanding why he was late and learning how to be on time are two completely different skills. And yet we have this idea that the better we understand our own particular insanities, the easier it will be to get over them.
But that’s not really how it works. In truth, the only way to stop doing dumb shit is to just stop doing it. To stop mucking around in the origin story of our craziness and get over the idea that our neuroses make us special.
Because they don’t. The thing that makes a person special is how they show up in the world REGARDLESS of their neuroses. How they move past craziness, not how good they are at describing it.
So, no reasons, no excuses. No shame and no blame, either. Just the opening of a window … the feel of cool morning air on my face … the moment-to-moment decision to keep trying.
How’s your springtime going, love? Do you feel the need to air out your head, too?