I once heard Tommy Angelo say that “there are some things in life that we can never be reminded of too many times”. I think I always felt that to be true but I had never really thought about it until I heard Tommy say it, and the funny thing is that there are a whole lot of Tommyisms that fit in to that category of “things that are worth remembering over and over again”.
So I decided to start making a short list of things that I’m better off remembering. On one level, it’s feels good to remember them as concepts and say them to myself, but that doesn’t really do them justice. Ideally I want to be able to feel these ideas.
1) “If you don’t get it here you won’t get it anywhere” (footnote at bottom)
In other words, the only real moment is the present moment. We have all these ideas of what happened in the past or what might happen in the future, but the past and the future can only ever exist in a different “now”, and it can be useful as a reference sometimes, but usually it takes you away from the “now” that is right here.
If I think that I’m finally going to be able to be at peace in the “future” i’m probably forgetting that the future is going to be a “now” just like the one I’m having at this moment. While I’m in that future “now”, I’m almost definitely going to have another idea about the “future” after that or the past before that, no matter how good my life situation is. It’s basically a cycle like this and if I can’t get myself to experience the now right now then I won’t be able to experience it later either
2) Mind your surroundings (zoom out)
We’re surrounded by an extremely vast amount of space. First we can feel ourselves, sitting right here, in the room we’re sitting in, surrounded by all the things that we’re looking at, the furniture in the room, the things outside our window, then we can feel the empty space around us, the space that needs to exist for all of those pieces of furniture and things outside to have a place to rest in. If we keep zooming out, seeing our neighborhood, our city, our state, our country, our planet, and then switch our perspective back to our body, it can feel really pleasant to know that all that space is out there and we just exist within it
3) Nothing is ever permanent
It’s hard to live your life and feel this at the same time, but when you can, then you’re seeing clearly and you feel more alive. Everything is changing, nothing is ever staying the same. This includes my body, my mind, my feelings, my ideas, my beliefs, and everything around me, and my state of mind, which is one of the reasons I want to write this blog post, to help myself remember
4) Why am I doing this?
I want to be able to remember to ask myself why I am doing things. Especially things I’m doing a lot of the time. Sometimes I’ll have a good reason and sometimes I wont. Usually it takes a series of questions to get to the root of the answer, and if the end of the chain of questions doesn’t make me realize that the thing i’m doing either makes me happy or something else would make me happier, I’m definitely not going deep enough with the “why” questions.
For example: Why do I play poker? I play to make money. Why do I want money? I want money to give me the freedom to do the things that I like to do. Why don’t I do something else to make money? Because poker gives me more freedom during the workday than other things could. Why do I want freedom? I want freedom to do things I like to do. Why do I want to do things I like to do? Okay, I’m done with all the questions, these are getting stupid
5) There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be
Aspiring to be “right” to act “right” to act the way you “should” act in a situation instead of the way that comes the most naturally to you is largely a fruitless task when it comes to your happiness. There is no “right” that goes beyond how you feel. It can take a lot of unnecessary energy to try and live up to your definition of what the “right way to be” is.
Thanks a lot for reading this. Let me know if you thought it was too short or too long or you liked it or didn’t like it or you want to talk more or anything like that.
(footnote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP2ISUThbcQ taken from a good dialogue outro at 3:15.. Arrow of God by Cyne, which definitely gets honorable mention on my top 100 favorite hip hop songs by the way..)