This is just my thought for this morning. Sitting, eating my breakfast, learning to eat more slowly–having grown up with so many siblings, believe me, eating slowly has been a life-long challenge! Anyway, as I eat slowly, yes, my food is delicious, I think about how in a hurry people are to get where they are going. Pop culture has taught us that we must achieve certain goals by a certain age, and yes, I have been deeply brainwashed by these ideas in my own time.
There was a time I thought unless I became a famous rock star by age 25 then I would be doomed to endless failure. I took a full plate of music courses and sang three hours a day, stayed in shape, mingled with musicians and songwriters, recorded in private studios for practice, planned the creation of a band with other people (some are now famous stars in Latin music), etc. What I didn’t get was proper rest. I also didn’t tend to the state of my soul, nor did I see the signs that I was on the brink of collapse. More of that story later…
My 25th year was spent in the jungle of south Mexico, which was one of the best things I’ve done in my life! When I came back, I had to put my pieces together, but it wasn’t only a basic life I was dealing with, i.e., find a job, get back in school, etc. What I had to do was re-create my reality and how I viewed the structure of the world. My idea of god was shattered, and along with it, everything else that had been mapped out for me since childhood. Everything I believed in didn’t actually make sense in the real world…and I thought god was unchangeable! God to me, was always a dark cloud over my life, ready to judge me and punish me at every move. Was I doing right in “his eyes” or was I doing wrong? How would I know? Nothing made sense!
Then I stood up.
The standing up process happened one agonizing step at a time. The Dark Cloud would no longer be the ruler of my life! There was a new Ruler, and she was inside of me, and she wanted to play! This didn’t happen all at once, because I still had to get permission from the Dark Cloud. This breaking free process took years, and no one else’s logic could help me. I had to fight, with my own muscles and determination, to get myself out of my own tormenting cocoon, the the Dark Cloud fucking with me the entire way. Ugh!
Then I thought the Dark Cloud was the devil. So I believed in that idea for a while. Now I believe that it is mental conditioning. The pathways in our brains/psyches are created when we are in the womb and through our developing years, and they form to copy almost identically that of our parents. Well, my parents were cult members and my father was the leader. Our religion was inhumane and the future of the world was only armageddon. My mental pathways were formed and nailed in so deeply. (My father suffered from several versions of mental illness, among them bi-polar and paranoia, as well as a sense of grandiosity. His followers really believed he was part of the “Godhead”. You know, there’s Father God, Jesus the Son and another actual member who was a physical being, the “Holy Ghost”. That was my father!)
Because we were trained to fight hard and prepare for the end of the world, when it came to working hard in school, I was at it nazzi-style. I thought I could become a rock star in a matter of a year or so if I gave it my best. Then I would have what I wanted, be famous and would not suffer anymore. That meant, the black hole inside of me that was starving for love and attention would automatically go away. Zap, just like that! I would be glamorous and beautiful and ride around in sweet convertibles. But I also would be a hero (more conditioning here!), I would ultimately live out my father’s wishes by returning to Mexico to save all the poor people. All of them. And I would do it single-handedly.
In my thirties now, and I have helped a lot of people. I might have even saved a few, just by being a great friend and not judging them through their struggle to be free of depression, alcohol and drug addiction. (There’s so much power in not judging people!) To date I have not saved the whole world, nor am I a famous rock star. I can’t even sing anymore! (But the dream is still there).
I remember a musician named Mark. He struck me big because he was at least in his 50s and acted like a 20 year old! He was so fun and happy, and yes, a great, great guitarist who played in a very popular band in Austin. Whenever I interacted with him, I never got the sense that he was older. He inspired me to have fun, dance and drink a lot of alcohol, and in a good, clean way. He loved to hang out and party with young people, but he wasn’t creepy and predatorial, so everyone loved to have him around. That’s when I decided in myself, that no matter what age I am, I will always be my fun self. There is no timer on my personality, nor on the artist inside of me. I committed to myself that I would not grow up–ever. Yes, the Dark Cloud came to mess with me here too, but I fought back and I fought hard.
The Dark Cloud says I must be in a hurry to get to where I am going because my time is running out. If my time runs will I just spontaneously combust?!
What runs out with time? Beauty doesn’t run out. Beauty is forever, but it’s in your soul and you have to bring it forth on your own will. If you’re angry, controlling and resentful, you won’t be beautiful. Beauty is in your graceful steps through life, and every single person can do this–if they really want to. (Some people will think of the greatest victims in life and point to them. What about them? Then I will point to people like my mother who was the most graceful martyr I have ever met! Though she was in a messed up religion, her heart was in the right place; or Viktor Frankl, and my statement still stands true).
I’m still in my thirties. If I buy into the idea that I’m “getting older” or that I’m in some sort of hurry to get to some socially accepted place, what will happen is that I will get ugly really fast, I know it. So I give up what I want the most–grace and beauty–to have some bullshit idea of what pop culture wants me to be. That’s not a good trade-off!
Back to the awareness of my reality and the moment I am in, I am choosing to rest and breathe in deeply. I will chew my food slowly, take a hot bath and accomplish nothing today. Moreover, I will feel no guilt. It is a good day.