The dog barks. Is there any statement more truthful? Most things can be debated, but surely the dog barks. I can feel the weight of my hands pulling my wrists as they hover over the keyboard. The table height is not right you see. The chair I use is a dinner chair. It is wooden and harsh. It is meant for dinner tables. The height of the chair is also not right. I can feel my lower spine crumpling into itself. This is not a fault of the chair and table, but a fault in my general principle about how I posture myself. Each individual muscle can be isolated by its obvious effort to keep me straight. I stare straight down onto a flat screen. This causes my neck to support my head at a forward labored angle. The muscles in the back of my neck are straining to keep my face from falling forward. There is no room on the desk to be made. The air is thick. Too many unfinished piles of projects and chores clutter my visual space. Like sirens with no where to swim. They are bright lights in my eyes that I can not escape. I sit in a pocket underground by the roadside. There is tremendous wealth all about me and flowing through me. Smiles from the most important people are easy to come by. Peace is found often. Sound has its own room and I can sometimes visit. There is a critical mass being reached all around me. I am easily distracted. All of these had come to me as reasons not to write. Reasoning good or bad, fact of fictional, seems reason enough to not do the creative thing.
Is the truth I represent just a convenient truth? How do convenient truths affect me emotionally, physically, and, spiritually? The truths that I represent in order to make peace with the actions I take can be convenient truths. They can be convenient truths that allow me to feign comfort in unsettling environments. For instance, I could tell myself “I am just putting up with this for now.” Or, “I have no power over this situation so I will just get through it as best I can.”. I find these convenient truths can sometimes pile up and become burdensome. They can be very taxing on the body and even build up a lot of stress. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I only ever acted out of honesty. How messy would I have to get before I got down to real honesty? How many mistakes would I have to make? If I considered that everyone spoke and acted completely out of honesty it would seem ridiculous to me. It isn’t hard to imagine that if every individual was encouraged and given liberty to act out of complete honesty then barbarism would occur. I’m not saying that everyone would falter into a state of impulsive murder and whim. I’m saying enough may turn to chaotic behaviors that would endanger everyone. That is not hard to imagine. I wonder then what if I did it. What if I acted solely out of honesty? Would I turn to barbarism? Society has codes of conduct in various settings and elements for these reasons. Things like societal law and cultural opinions on what is considered normal behavior and what is not. In other words, be polite to me when you tell me that I am completely useless, and I can no longer work at Stanton Metal Enterprises. Even if you do not like what I represent as a person, can not do the job, or am a general nuisance.
The only thing that is real is what I tell myself is real. Sometimes life can be convincing of what reality is and what reality is not. But I have seen enough examples and come to believe that what is thought to be reality can be altered and changed by thought itself. Reality evolves and our understanding of it may allow us to evolve it how we wish. This can be made example of easily by the way I choose to receive news. For instance, I may one day receive news that I scored very poorly on a written exam. I can choose to receive this news as tragic. I can load the weight of sadness that goes along with my inner story that I am not good enough. That I am not smart enough or did not try hard enough, or, missed out on too many opportunities. I can use whatever excuse I want to let myself feel bad. Conversely, I can choose to adopt a completely optimistic point of view. I can interpret this news as an exciting new opportunity to do a lot better on my next chance. I can be thankful for the graded score so that I know where I am and what I must do to get to where I want to be. I can choose to receive news of death of a loved one as a great personal tragedy. I could also choose to view it as a rejoiceful rebirth. Many people do choose to experience it this way. Whatever I choose of course I still acknowledge and feel the undeniable core emotion of loss. However, in the end the choice is up to me on how I write that story personally and internally. How I let it affect me is a choice up to myself. Well I not take that next creative leap because I think I am not good enough or will I do it knowing I can get better?
Personal stories are a valuable tool. When shared they can cause a great personal easement both for the listener and the person sharing. They are also highly contagious. I think it is this way because honesty, for some, is such a rare occurrence. Honest connection is something the soul craves. The reach of desire for a human to connect is undeniable. Honest self expression often encourages others to do the same. Honest expression of self is what I expect from others. That is why I am compelled to express myself honestly. I will give an example and share a personal story. This personal story will be about me and my guitar.
I am very fortunate that I knew how to love guitar from a very early age. Some of my earliest memories are of guitar. I have memories of annoying people by how interested in guitar I was. Those people where usually older than me. Despite my interest in guitar it seemed to me that no one I knew who had a guitar was interested in letting me touch it. I’m not sure how this really happened. I’m not even sure if it did happen. This is the personal narrative I tell myself. Guitar became a very sacred thing to me. I thought it of something that was hard to obtain. This strengthened my respect of the instrument when I finally did get my hands on a few of them.
Over the years I told myself the story that I could practice guitar very hard and that I could make a career out of it. I never really wanted that career though I did tell myself that story. I glamorized the musician lifestyle because these stories where interesting and fun. But my stories about rock and roll never had anything to do with my love for the guitar. My love for the guitar, surprisingly, has nothing to do with music at all. The guitar is a sonic press board that can literally radiate my feelings. I’m just baffled by that and completely obsessed with it. My love for the guitar is separate than the story I tell myself about other ideas that might relate to the guitar. These would be stories of being a musician and being successful and living that lifestyle. When these stories get mixed up with my love for the guitar they hijack my feelings and use them against me. In other words I create stories related to things I love, such as guitar, and those stories become expectations of what that love will do for me. These expectations do not happen. What I love doesn’t have to do anything for me but I put those expectations on it. Unfulfilled expectations usually lead me to resent what I loved in the first place. My love is pure and wonderous, unexplainable and passionate. It does not need to have any reason or justification. My expectations are just confinements. Taking expectations out of the equation has also removed resentment and stress. This is turn alleviate anger and fatigue. It has left me more room to play and appreciate the time I spend doing something I love.
Knowing these things about my relationships allows me to separate my expectations from my desires. I can decide if I am playing guitar because I expect recognition, or, if I play it purely for my love of sound. Deciding on which value I choose is important to me is also up to me. My choice influences the quality of outcome that I produce.
The first half of this entry draws attention to the narratives I tell myself about uncontrollable outcomes in my life. It is the inner dialog that goes along with life’s ups and downs that are however I wish to draw them. I believe the more I isolate my pure values the easier it will become to choose actions that produces the highest quality outcome. For instance, if I play guitar simply because I love the sound, I will have a much better time doing that than playing to try to impress people.
When I consider a person in good physical health I recognize that a happy attitude is associated with the outcome. I personally would not consider someone who is depressed to be healthy. Good health is established by a multitude of things and mental health, now becoming made aware of, is just as important as any other component of a healthy individual. Therefore, when I consider this, the inner dialogue I speak to myself, becomes very important.
If I am disappointed every time I hear news that I consider unfavorable then I will wear a disappointed face. My brain will read the actions of my face and mind then will produce the corresponding reactions. This will create a data bank of what it finds, so that it can produce the appropriate moods efficiently. My scowling face will trigger my brain which will become sad, causing a further scowl. If I choose to “look on the bright side”, or, consider how great improvement can be, or, choose to learn from the experience, then I can wear a better mood. I will wear a brighter face and become happier and also appear that way. My brain will record these moods and will in turn produce more of them. I challenge myself to put this theory of what I am saying to the test. Everyday I will adopt the superhero pose for five minutes. Stand like superwoman and raise my chin up to the sky. I will tell myself with my inner dialog that I am simply amazing. That I can command untold power. That I can accomplish what I truly desire. That I am a bad ass creative soul and nothing can stand in my way. Even if its not true I will believe it. I will do this everyday for one week. Hopefully I will, like many others, find a new surge of power and determination in my being and purpose.
I’m not even going to tell you what will happen if I where to instead curl up into the fetal position on the floor and change my inner dialog to self directed hate and contempt. In fact, I do not even what to write much about this example. In case anyone is considering trying this please be aware that I DO NOT RECOMMEND it. It is physiologically compared to the effects of torture. It has a horrible effect on the human body and millions of people are doing it everyday. I bring attention to it here to illustrate the enormous potential of benefits associated with doing the opposite. I.E. I WILL DO the super human pose and PUMP MYSELF UP! (with my inner dialog). “I can do this!”, and, “I accept the responsibility of my reactions.”.