Documented Explorations of the Chaotic Mind




Nocturnal Animals

Yesterday, I went to a meditation session for the first time in weeks.

Prior to stepping into the place, I was on the phone with my dear friend. It occurred to me in the way that I was expressing myself that I was in a manic state. I get like this sometimes. I have a chaotic mind. One that sometimes forgets all the things I praise and preach about. I forget sometimes that life is ups and downs. It's ironic. I've spoken before about how I am born on the day of ups and downs, and yet it still gets me every time. I am never prepared for the downs. No one is. But with me, it's almost like I forget all the positive and flowing things I had felt or believed in just the day before!

    Those born on July 20 often live lives where they rise to the heights and descend to the depths. This metaphor of being alternately up and down can be central to their occupational, emotional, family or social life, as well as their dreams and hobbies. Such rising and falling activity is as integral to their personality as the seasonal changes are to nature.

   In order to truly understand me, you must observe me in transition, as I am so often passing from one state to the next; it is actually not up or down, win or loss, or any state in between which defines my joy, but movement itself—going somewhere. Thus becoming is more important than being, and I prefer to feel dynamic rather than static. In so often changing my state, I am aware that I run the risk of becoming highly unstable at times, like a radioactive element. Yet it is within this constant process of change that I feel evolved enough to find stability and repose. I enjoy being living proof that the center of the hurricane, the eye, can be the calmest point of all.

But sometimes, even I forget that everything is temporary.

I am sometimes a slave to excessive behavior and complacency. Both are dangerous roads. I have learned how to curb these appetites over the years, but the hunger is always there. It's like I am a vampire for motivation and reward.  Strangely enough, I find I can be unhappy after achieving a measure of success, for what I may need most is to experience the little failures and frustrations that might motivate me to make fundamental changes in my life. Again, the greatest danger I know about myself is becoming too “comfortable” or “satisfied” with my efforts or life situation. It may be especially difficult for those closest to me (friends, mates, lovers, children) to understand my need for struggle; these loved ones may not wish to share in a process of growth that seems to embrace angst at the expense of happiness. But I know I can never be satisfied through a mediocre existence. If I can find the excitement and challenge I need in my career or everyday life, perhaps I can strike a balance between seeking and having. If not, I run the danger of suffocating in “contentment.”

Now, I know this is some pretty self aware shit. It's not easy having this run through your head on a constant loop. It's alienating. I didn't even realize that what I was experiencing the past few days was exactly what I just described. I had grown comfortable with the effort and motivation that January brought me, and when those efforts paid off...I almost couldn't accept it. I had to knock myself down to build myself back up stronger, because there is a part of me that doesn't know what to do once I succeed at something. Like I said, the process means more to me than the reward. But then there are times where the rewards stop happening because the mindset in which you inhabit begins to change. My mind was open, clear, and confident to be in the world as presently as possible. Then a few setbacks occurred...and I forgot who I was!

In fact, I was actually enjoying being content because I had struck the balance of fun and work. But then both of them struck a high chord in my life and I had to retreat. Which led me to my mania. You can tell when I am stressed or dealing with something because it is transparent on my body. My body language is manic and wound up and everything I say usually relates to some thought I am having about myself and what I need to do. I can feel when it drains other people. But as I described, I sometimes have to hit the wall hard to see my path again. Ups and downs. It's constant. 

When I look at my life objectively right now, I must's not down. But for some reason, something in me shifted at the start of a new month and I couldn't shake it. Then I went and checked my monthly astrological month meaning (judge me but I told ya so) and of course the theme for February is CHANGE. Everything is going to change. You can't be sure what will change, but if you feel the wheel spinning it's because change is in effect. I feel it. Hard. And I must embrace it and accept that I don't have to do anything. I listen to my body and I listen to my gut. And then I flip a coin. I simplify it to stabilize it. The mania that is. Otherwise, I am capable of going so far into my brain, and not in a fun way. 

It is difficult being a creative in this way. I have now seen two movies in the past few days that had correlating stories. In both The Last Five Years and Nocturnal Animals, there are female leads who at one point had the dream of living and being a creative in their respected arts. In both stories, the woman is suppressed or broken in some way. They both never reach their artistic potential; one needing to be always saved and the other only trusting to save herself. And they both end up the ones unhappy and alone. Seeing these stories inspired me. It reminded me of the life that is possible when you give in. When you give up. When you succumb to the lack and the fear that you will not reach your potential. It's my biggest fear. I used to think it was being misunderstood. But I channeled that into understanding I am more afraid of unfulfilled potential. These women watched the men in their lives excel with their crafts while they were left in the downs of cynical thinking and mania. 

So I took my heart and made it art. I decided I was going to ride the wave and not analyze why things are happening or what I need to do more of. I just need to do what I have and continue to find opportunities and moments to live out loud. It's ironic, I have lost my voice this week. In many ways I realize it was necessary. I had to be in my head to realize how to get out of it. So I am going to write about it. I am going to write about my ups and downs. My love story. My next five years. I've never written a play before...

And once again, I have some purpose again. And once again, I can feel the up is coming. After every down is an up and I am still learning how to manage that. In the heat of unraveling my mania, I found a miracle.

Which is what led me to my meditation class. My dear friend asked me what the theme of the meditation would be and I replied that there usually isn't one. It's just mindfulness. Long story short, the original meditation leader unexpectedly had to dip and another lovely young woman took her place. She reminded us that sometimes we can't plan for things to happen and we must accept to either ride the wave or get up and leave. She then stated that she would lead a simple meditation focused on mindfulness. SYNCHRONICITY at it again! I smiled as I sat on my mat and allowed myself some inner peace again. She ended the session with the notion that we are our own teachers. We have to listen to our bodies and follow our gut so we are not ruled by our experiences. 

My point is this: behind every set back is an opportunity. A chance to claim a different happiness. A chance to try. Sure, it doesn't feel good at the time. But we are not our feelings. We can observe them and be grateful for them, then decide to move on and stay in the moment. It's hard. But it's necessary. Otherwise, a rough day turns into a rough week which turns into a down right rut. And no one wants a rut. Not if you're living to be dynamic.