Today was a pivotal day for me for so many reasons. I’d love to go into detail about all of them, but 1) you would find them terribly boring and 2) I’m really trying to keep my word count below 500. So here’s the short version.
Life’s been challenging lately (believe me — I know I am not alone), and now that I’m in my fourth day of my lifestyle change, my body is beginning to react with the daily exercise and the change in diet. I knew these first two weeks were going to be tough, but no matter how much knowledge you have of what lies ahead, there are moments when it still simply sucks.
This morning, though, I had a conversation with a very good friend about some things that she experienced over the weekend. What was most surprising to both of us was her reaction to those experiences. It doesn’t matter what they were or how she “should have” reacted, based on common mores and standards; what matters is that she reacted in such a way that struck to the very essence of the human condition. She bypassed rules, regulations, and restrictions and got in touch with the core of that experience. There was little emotion and even less analysis. There was, instead, this agreement with the self that it’s all good. It’s all okay. And it’s perfectly fine to even break a smile and do a little jig.
I had a similar conversation with some of my college students a few weeks ago about the image and the message, versus intent and authenticity. In nearly every circumstance in our western culture, the former trumps the latter. We are constantly searching, reaching, seeking, journeying for something that we believe to be far, far away from us and, most likely, barely within our grasp — if at all. We seek to find beauty and wisdom; capture it and claim it; slay it and consume it; rise to the top and see how far along we have journeyed.
I don’t believe any of it is necessary. We do not need to journey like Siddhartha to discover what is already within us; we do not need to suffer or strangle ourselves with rules and regulations, secretly longing for this little tidbit or that simple joy. All we have to do is just still the waters, stop the thinking, and realize what is truly within us.
Years ago I wrote a satire about living dangerously. It was never picked up, presumably because it went against every fad and politically correct action you can think of. I wrote about nothing that hasn’t been shown, mocked, or featured on any television show either made in the sixties or seventies, or made in the 21st century about those two decades (no seatbelts in the ’70s? mid-day cocktails and cigarettes in the 60’s?). My point in the essay was this: We shouldn’t be shunned for living a little, or just living at all for that matter.
Well, I’m at 500 words, so I better quit and give all of you a turn to chime in. Sometimes, folks, we gotta turn off the thinking, kick back a little, and just smile, smile, smile.