Coffee – with out it nothing in my day happens.. I stand in the kitchen waiting for it to finish and even then don’t have the patience to wait for the beep, just that tell tale gurgle that tells me that just enough water has made it through that it is now drinkable. Yes, I have tried the timer.. but inevitably I will get out of bed before the scheduled time. Maybe I don’t want to disappoint the coffee maker by asking it to do it’s job all alone. It is a rare moment in my day that I can be rebellious and impatient, pacing, cursing or just passively sighing, waiting.. whatever I want. It’s just between me and the coffee maker.
Anxiety is what usually gets me out of bed in the morning. It seeps up from the depths of my subconscious and disturbs whatever rest or peace I had going. I wonder sometimes if it has just become habit, like a muscle memory and somewhere in my mind an alarm goes off and Anxiety wakes up, stretches and will decide which topic to wear once it gets moving. Seriously, between the hours of 3:30 and 5 I can worry and be anxious about everything from the mildly legitimate; whether A will get in to a good high school, does the new health insurance actually cover anything, to the outlandish; a meteor hitting the earth, never working again and big A leaving us. It seems to me that anxiety just exists inside me, like my stomach or my liver, and when it decides to act up then the mind gives it topics, pictures and themes to justify it. Just like when you have a stomach ache and you start reviewing everything you ate for the past 48 hours. Mind games…
My question has been for a long, long time now – Why is it that the brain/mind ALWAYS defaults to the worst case scenario, the negative or the self reprimanding. Everyone tells me that the key to managing this is meditation.. my friends, all the self help books all say that is the key. I want to know is how we got wired this way in the first place. Why aren’t we hard wired for joy? I would think especially at this moment in our evolution that Joy would be a way better default for the survival of our species than anxiety and fear. Those things are literally killing us inside and out.
As for meditation, and monks … I would be calm and centered too if all my worldly needs were taken care of, I lived on a mountain top and all I had to do all day is sit quietly and breathe. That is not at all what my life looks like.. and I am a bit skeptical that 20 mins of mindful calmness alone is the secret, magic bullet. No doubt it helps and I will try and cram it into all the other – If you only do it for 20mins – things in my day.
Look I am writing two days in a row. It’s a start.
You know what one of my favorite things in the modern world is? No.. you will never guess it. I love that in our computerized, need to know the latest world that the newest items of anything are the first things up. This post is over the last post and so on.. When I was first starting out in film in the mid-80s, yes that’s right, I remember working in the production office and part of my responsibilities was to file all the various documents and forms. The POC at the time who’s face and name have faded away – sorry – was explicit in telling me that the latest had to be filed on top or in front of everything else. The past documents were less important than the ones generated today and the further back you went in time the less important. This was unusual, obviously, given how clear she felt she needed to be and it was. In other offices, I later discovered, files were stored by any number of ways – job number, PO number, some random job security method, dewey decimal etc.. (For the record, anytime I hear “Best Practices” I roll my eyes, ’cause there maybe an industry wide “Best Practices” but in my experience, everyone does shit the way they want to or feel they need to. If your lucky the “Best Practices” are the guide.)
This idea of latest first appeals to me on two levels; practically and philosophically. I am dyslexic, reading is still not easy and as a kid it was torture. A tutor taught me to start at the conclusion of any essay, article or paper and then skim the rest for proof. It was a cheat and a hack, but it got me through a lot of texts more easily and better than if I had to read them straight through. It also gave me a sense of power over the text that I could read it anyway I wanted too.. to this day, I scroll to the end and the work my way back up through the articles. Even books, before committing to reading them, I will read the last paragraph or two to see if it’s worth the hours. Philosophically I like it because, well obviously the past is the past. There is nothing you can do about it, other than learn from it, to look forward is obvious.
Now, I need to look forward to today..