Choices: The Haunting of February

7 03 2017

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I thought about writing every day for the past month. I was restless with thoughts of what I would write about, more than not reverting to a feeling that it was pointless.

I ruminated in the dwelling of the everyday routine – caught between that split second when one emerges from sleep still not fully in the day and the flood that happens in the mind when the day takes its place in the week and the tasks and thoughts line up like soldiers waiting in line waiting for their number to be called.

It was a very introspective month for me and I didn’t even realize it until a friend messaged me on Facebook a very simple message: “everything ok? You’ve been awol” and it snapped me out of a weird fog because I knew I was sort of passing the days but didn’t investigate why. This is someone who I haven’t seen since we were not much older than my son is now and it just took those 5 words to inoculate me from February sliding into March. I am very grateful.

I spent the majority of the month just completely immersed in parenting and work with the occasional self-reflection. I am trying to come to terms with the idea of choices and where they lead to – this idea that it is not who we are that leads us down a path as much as it is based on who we think we are – for better or for worse. It’s hard for me to look forward without looking behind because so much of where I want to go is where I was to afraid to go in the first place.

If we are lucky, we do not accept our station in life simply because there seems to be no other choice. But to do so, we have to accept loss of who we thought we were or thought we could be before we can kill our fears and accept hope of who we know we are now and where we are meant to be headed.

This isn’t some Tony Robbins style bullshit. This is just the reality of human existence. It is not for us to judge where someone happens to be in their life because we don’t know how they got there – the causes and conditions that led to one choice versus another. For me, it’s time to stop questioning “why” and start focusing on “how”.

It is not a coincidence that I received a call on the last day of the month about a choice that a family member made that was absolutely disastrous. I was not close to this person but am part of the extended family and am not sure it will ever be fully understood. I do know that sometimes, we have choices that go beyond ourselves that do count, though…like a quick message to ask if everything is ok.

I hope everything is ok with you. If not, you know where to find me.

Until next time,

Marc





Wake me when it’s over.

18 02 2015

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I may be aging myself here but what the hell.

I remember decades ago watching “30 Something”. One of the main characters, Nancy, was going through treatments for cancer. In once scene, I forget – she may have been speaking with a therapist – she was describing those first few hazy moments when she is transitioning from sleep to a waking state. She described those first few minutes when she is not aware of her present situation (basically forgets about having cancer) and then describes the feeling that comes forth when she comes to full consciousness and realizes that everything is not ok.

Don’t ask me why I remember this scene at all. I have no idea. I think I was still a teenager at that point. I just recall how poignant that was because it is something that I have definitely experienced and suspect most of us have, particularly when dealing with a long-term, stressful situation.

Going through something unpleasant can tear you down for good or it can build you back up stronger than before. It is cliche but it is true – read any great comeback story or novel. For me, I am working extra hard to build a stronger foundation than I had before – whether it is for my relationships, work, comedy or most importantly, the way in which I process thoughts.

Mornings are tough for me. I don’t know why but I have this weird and annoying thing where I run through all the things in my mind that have to get done and then hit the ground running, as if it is some sort of race, to get it all done before lunch time. When I am first waking up, it feels pretty good and for the most part, I can look forward to the day until reality sets in that with respect to that one stressful black cloud looming over me, the day can take a turn and twist in a direction that I have no control over. I know that it will end – some day and it will get better – some day, but the anxiety of not knowing when that day is is something that is difficult for me.

Even when I was going to graduate school part-time, while working, raising kids, finding money to pay for it, etc., at least I had an idea of how many years it would take so I had a goal to work toward. In contrast to that, however, with this “black cloud”, there is no end date and it just gets worse before it gets better (though I know it will).

That’s where meditation has really helped. As I mentioned before in previous blog posts, I am not even sure if I am truly meditating, but I have been doing a 6 phase mediation from an app called “Omvana” and I really do feel much better in the morning to take on the day. It also really helps me focus the anxiety away from the unknown future to the aspirational future that I can work toward.

There is a lot of talk about being happier. It’s strange. I just got my latest edition of “Outdoor” magazine today and what is the cover article about? You guessed it – how to be happier. I am finding out the hard way, that happiness really does start within and it’s all a state of mind. I really do hope I have a half of a life yet to live because something tells me it’s going to take me at least that long to get where I’m trying to go.

Until next time,

Marc








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