Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?
Sometimes I feel like Superman. I don’t have a lot of powers, and definitely don’t have that whole hair curl thing going for me, but I do have one thing in common with the man of steel. I am on a personal quest for peace. The past few years of my life have been a bit of emotional turmoil, and I’m finally coming to a place where I no longer feel like I am going to just explode at any moment for any reason.
The greatest gift is inner calm
I’ve written before about the moment when actions take over and the mind shuts down. Its a moment of pure and true inner calm. There is no fear, there is no anger, only yourself moving. That feeling of “no mind” is somewhat addictive, and I find myself looking for it in all aspects of my life. The “Zen State” if you will. As a person who’s mind is constantly busy running rampantly through the universe like a kitten that got into the sugar, the rare and few moments of mental quiet are euphoric.
I’ve spent a long time working on it. I’ve tried the classic approaches, solitude, prayer and meditation, and found them to be of little help to me. Yes, there is a positive energy that you feel when you unload your problems, even if you are only sending them out into the universe and not directly to another person, but it wasn’t the pure calm I was looking for. Prayer and meditation make it easier to handle our burdens, but there is more to true enlightenment than that. When I’ve figured out that secret, I’ll happily share it with the rest of the world. This year I have learned 3 lessons, though, that have made my mind feel more restful.
1) Sometimes, you just have to Bounce.
Something I’ve only really learned recently, and have been trying to remember ever since. Earlier this month a group of friends and I all went out to see another one of our friends perform with his band at a local bar. We sat and tweeted to one another, because the music was too loud to really talk. We had fun just hanging out and bullshitting, and I’m really hoping that we get to do it again soon. Sometime towards the end of the night, one of my friends decided that she was tired of me moping about life and saying things like, “I’m not Ready,” so she dragged me, kicking and screaming, across the bar to the dance floor, and convinced me to bounce with her.
I’m not talking about some kind of awesome dance move or anything like that. I’m talking about bouncing on the balls of our feet, and well, maybe I did the cabbage patch and the white-guy overbite a bit, too. We just stood there for most of the set, jumping around and acting foolish. It was refreshing, invigorating, and a little bit nerve wracking. One thing it wasn’t, stressful. For forty-five minutes or so, I jumped around like a big, goofy spazz, and never once thought about anything. I just did it.
It was fun.
2) When all else fails, dog pile on the couch and watch some Netflix
I have a golden retriever named Abbey, and my roommates have a chihuahua named Sir Tootsie Roll (I call him rat-dog).
The amazing thing about dogs, is that they have this supernatural ability to make human beings feel better. Its true, [amazon_link id=”0060858826″ target=”_blank” ]science documented it[/amazon_link]. The simple truth is: you can’t be sad when you’re cuddling a puppy. Its not possible for any creature with a soul.
I spent most of my Christmas weekend cuddled up with the dogs just chilling and watching some tv shows on Netflix instant watch. I relaxed, I napped, I took some time fiddling with my new [amazon_link id=”B002NEGTOC” target=”_blank” ]Archos 5 Tablet[/amazon_link]. It was peaceful and relaxing. I didn’t have to worry about being anywhere, and I didn’t have to worry about meeting anyone’s expectations.
The only thing that the dog’s wanted out of me was to be a nice warm pile of living furniture for them to lay on, and to occasionally pay a little attention to them in the form of ear scritches. I like to make jokes about how dogs have Stockholm’s Syndrome, because no matter what you do, they will love you unconditionally. That’s not a feeling we always get from people. Its peaceful.
3) Find what you love to do, and then just freaking do it for the sake of doing it.
When I first started blogging, beyond LiveJournal and the ranting on Facebook, I knew 2 things about myself. 1- I am very, very, very opinionated, and 2- I like to tell people about things I think they need to know. It seemed completely logical to me that I should start writing a blog. I settled into writing Screaming Voice of Reason back in September, and soon got swept up in the marketing of an idea instead of the simple joy of writing down what I think everyone should know and do.
Against the advice of my father, I even pulled myself back from the work, and left it shallow and empty. I did my intention and my passion a disservice, and I became a little burnt out pretty quickly. I forgot the most important part of art. Art must be done for art’s sake alone. I’m pretty sure that it applies to any hobby or craft. If you are doing it for any reason other than the fulfillment you get from it, then you’re doing it wrong.
When you do something you love, and do it only because you love doing it, you feel a sense of calm peace wash over you.