Lately things have been going well. Really well actually. I have settled in nicely in Brooklyn, the people I care for are doing well and there is a positivity in the city. Maybe it’s the weather. What is somewhat new to me and something that I find fascinating is that this is the time when I cannot slow down or let my progress stall. Often times when things seemed to be heading in the right direction I figured I must have done something well and it was then time to sit back and enjoy the rewards. For me this is the absolute opposite approach to what I should do: Which is Get into action!
There is a reason things start heading in the right direction. I believe that there isn’t a particular goal that I am trying to reach at the end of the path. Rather there is a goal in each step I take on the path. My goal is to be positive, useful, honest, compassionate, understanding, humble etcetera.
So, when things start going well it is not time for me to pause and take a look around at what is now a path behind me but is instead time for me to keep focus on my next step and in this way I believe I ensure that the path stays smooth. My reason for being in a good place mentally, emotionally etcetera is because of the things I have done and because of the help I have received from others. When I slow down, stop taking the next right action, stop moving and fail to be teachable I have no idea what is going to happen, although I put good money on the path becoming rocky and the outcomes becoming less and less desirable.
And what is fascinating to me is that everything around me can be going well but I can feel an emptiness inside, a sort of uncomfortable anxiety. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there. I have stopped doing the things that brought me to a point of clarity. I can believe that I have put in just enough work and it’s time to relax but it doesn’t work that way. The work is a daily effort. The movement is constant. And what is interesting is that it is enjoyable – yet there are times when I stop doing what I know puts me at ease. I take the more difficult road. I start to encounter pain and guilt and I begin to lie to cover up my shame. I create a monster out of nothing.
There was a time when I thought this was the only way to live. Good things would happen to me based on merits from my past but I no longer want to be judged on my past. I don’t want to rest on the success of yesterday, I want to create this image every day. And it takes work. The work that I have to put in is minimal and it can’t be measured. There are times I ask someone for advice even when I feel embarrassed to. My mind will urge me to go it alone and at least keep up this disingenuous pride. But I don’t ever have pride or joy when I live on my own terms. I am alone when I go it alone. When I choose myself above all I am left with myself only. And that is the sickness in me. The only way I can be the smartest guy in the room is when I’m alone. I’m the best looking guy when I’m alone. I am everything and nothing at the same time. I am the ruler of a pathetic nation. And it’s easy for me to live like that. I want you to feel sorry for me. To think I am tortured. That is what my sickness wants me to do.
This is not a question of toughness. It’s not about smarts or looks. For me it all comes down to willingness. Am I willing to take advice, to listen? To believe that there is always something to be gained from opening myself up to new experiences? Is there a way out other than my own? There is a way out that is a collective effort. I choose to surround myself with positive people. Those that want to learn. Those that can admit that we can all improve. It motivates me to keep this path smooth. And each day it’s back to work. It’s second nature. My feet become smart and they take me in the direction I need to go. What can I do today to make myself more useful? Not what have I done? If I want to relax and look at what I have done it is not an easy rest. I am not gaining anything by lauding any past accomplishments. I can certainly learn from my past but I learn from my mistakes far more often than I do my successes.
So, what have I done? I’ve made myself useful for today and given myself the ability to ask what can I do?