The routine is the reason that we’re able to acquire skills. The routine is the reason we’re able to go to work, make a paycheck, pay our bills, and keep a roof over our heads. The routine of self-improvement exercises is the reason we continue to get stronger and more self-aware. The routine is also the reason that some of us start to lose our shit.
I’m not losing mine, not that I know of anyways. But man, do I feel like I need some goddamned spice in a day here and there. Sometimes I feel like there’s this “waiting for the weekend” type of feeling that lingers through the Tuesday-Thursday. Each day, grateful for each and every one, it can be such a long wait for everyone’s workday to come to a halt, just so we can gather again. On the weekend we’re finally able to get together, travel new places, meet new people, experience more that life has to offer. But on Monday-Friday, we’re just doing a thing so that we can do other things for 2 days… then it’s time to do that other thing all over again just to get to the other things.
This isn’t all the time, of course. There’s a lot of weeks where it feels like our purpose in society’s cog is so meaningful that we wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s like being totally Zen with that daily work. Maybe it’s the constant week after week after week that just wears on us a little bit, until we’re struggling to get excited for much of anything.
This feeling can come from the inability to become one with the “now.” Which is absolutely wild because the future doesn’t actually exist. The future isn’t a thing. All we really have is the here and now. To think about “tomorrow” just clogs up your thoughts, because tomorrow doesn’t exist. Wrap your head around this. The only moment that exists is the one RIGHT NOW. What really gets me is that I know we all constantly get lost thinking of the future… planning and mapping things out. I was once asked what my 10 year plan was. Bitch, I struggle thinking about my 10 minute plan. The most productive moments are when we get lost in the “now.” Some would call this a flow state. One person would say it’s when you “don’t think.”
Great advice – “Don’t think.”
But it’s so valid… especially when creating art. It’s when we think that we get lost and can’t hear or see what’s really in front of us. We can’t actually “experience” the moment. Wouldn’t it be like slapping the universe in the mouth when you start thinking about anything but the present? Maybe not a slap, but a poke in the chest. A slap in the mouth is overly aggressive for this scenario.
The past is similar. It doesn’t exist in anything but a memory. The past is what used to be the present and so if the present is the only moment that exists, what is the past? The past is us thinking, in the present, of something that we assume happened to us once…in what was the present. Fuck, my head hurts. I need to stop thinking.
Last night I was diving down a YouTube rabbit hole and found a 4 year old live stream of the Okinawan Tournament I competed in. To go through all the footage (yes, almost 28 hours of footage I scanned through), I had memories in bits and pieces. Lost in thought, trying to remember all these moments and the memories I created through my eyes, the thought started to creep into my mind…”Did this even happen?” It wasn’t until I saw my bald head walking around a few times that I was able to realize that my memories were not a farce. Hard to find mine in what looked like a sea of bald heads.
How can we become better at being one with the present? People talk about meditation, but how much time can we designate every day to thinking about nothing? It truly does feel amazing when we’re lucky enough to have such time, but if we’re jacked to the tits with things to do in a day, how can we bring ourselves back to all that exists? These breathing exercises can give us a quick reprieve from our thoughts of the future or the past, but unless we have hours peppered in throughout the day purely for nothing, it feels like we’re running on a treadmill that’s slowly speeding up. We’re going to fall off.
Look at the monks in the east. They spend hours a day in silence, strengthening their ability to be one with the present. They seemingly experience more than most of us in life. It always seems like a monk is the most present and peaceful of any human around. Although, a story comes to mind of a monk that received some troubling news from a student once, he blew his lid off the kettle and became very, very irate. But because he allowed the anger to surge through him, it was gone momentarily and then he returned to normal. There was also a story of a monk that would palm heel his ballsack against a desk to condition his testicles. But that’s irrelevant here.
So when the emotions rush through us, should we express them immediately? Does that help reel us back into this moment… the only moment that exists? Yell when we feel the anger rush into our chest, cry when we feel our heart in our throats, dance when the music compels us, laugh when the joy lifts your spirits. These are the feelings humans were meant to experience. For us to silence ourselves for societal norms is to go against our human nature, against what keeps us healthy and happy. Does this include being spontaneous when your heart calls for it? Calling into work, going on a road trip, and meeting new people…does this fall under emotion? Does the craving for seeking adventure count as an emotion?
Some people find solace in the daily ritual for months on end, but for some it’s like building a magnificent castle and accidentally locking yourself inside. How can you see the countryside when you’re locked within your own walls? Why be locked in the castle when you can explore the lands and see all there is to offer?