Something New (or How to get over your Ex, let your mind & body harmonize, center yourself, and pay attention to what you need)
(Excerpt from the Winter on Cape Ann and Other Stories / Go West.)
I respect my body & mind and for this reason I will make its well being my top priority. I hope to train both to exist in an optimal harmony together such that they exist for and as a result of one another. I will make good habits and train my responses. I will focus on positive mental / psychological reinforcement. I recognize how encompassing one’s perceptions are necessarily and my journey will be about optimizing my own perceptions to handle the turbulence and responsibilities of life with equanimity and grace. Much of my previous work in this realm has been limited to psychological systems; having reached the point where I am convinced of the positive effects of my perception modifications and having observed several limitations and outright failures of these modifications along with several insightful discussions of the ability to use the mind to trigger positive and inhibit negative physical responses and vice versa with using a physical sensation to relive a positive or negative mental state — these discussions happening with Annie first and then via a serendipitously found TEDTalk, by Shawn Achor — I was convinced of the necessity of including physical states in my quest for peace and content in all of my moments.
Food and drink moved much closer to the top of the pile of importance, where they had been sporadically in several-week periods a half dozen times or so throughout my life. Recently, over the past year, I convinced myself of the huge negativity surrounding processed foods, which had been integrated into my life in ways quite tenacious and truly sprawling. It seemed now the thing to do was systematically begin integrating the things I loved back into my life, making use of my immensely useful science and cooking skills, learned at Harvard and honed at home and abroad over the past year, it would help, and much more would be required. Still the biggest mental burden was figuring out the optimal means and activities to lead a fulfilled life of content.
I was already satisfied with much I knew how to do and did do at times I was so inspired. The question was of activities producing resources to sustain life content. I was hesitating on a number of fronts, the source of my unrest and I wanted so badly to follow my heart. I feared forcing or even persuading something to feel right. What was I trusting? I have to assume it was my self. What or who else was there to trust to put my own life at the top? It could only ever be me. This didn’t feel wonderful to know, and I think it was helpful. At least for a while. I’m not certain, it felt like it would help me handle distractions of which those days I had been succumbing to, at least it felt that way when the days ended and began, most days. What wasn’t a distraction? It was hard to know what was worth giving attention: Attention necessarily required time and time was my most valued resource. Time was played out in moments and recorded in memories, and I had to remind myself of this at times otherwise I would get to far ahead or behind and I would experience sadness for no immediate reason. I hadn’t experienced such sadness before, at least not that which I put into such words at the time. I do feel that my first trip abroad to London put me involved with such a sadness as did I imagine a few other things at a few other times in my life I cannot currently recall, though I guess there is no real reason for me to have these kinds of thoughts. For everything that seemed to matter, this was a new sadness, or at very least it was an old sadness experienced in a new way, which made it new all the same. In this regard many experiences were new to me, and I was uncertain how important this was to keep in mind. It was more important to keep in mind my feelings and the correlated activities. With this in mind I could best sync the body and mind with the environment to produce pleasant times, and minimize time spent unpleasantly.
Suffering had its place and I do not feel it necessary to give it equal time; living in the center didn’t seem to require any temporal allocation to where your eyes gazed. It was more important to be seeing from the center than it was the specific spaces you placed your eye’s focus; it was the lens, not the photograph which was important to the self. Easy was it to focus on the photograph, this was most all the world chose to see, and it was only other artists who inquired about your lens. I was concerned about mine. I had a goal for a short time of recording at the close of each day the things I was most grateful for — I always assumed I’d enumerate the top three and when I thought what I would write about it there were always so many more and I always only ever thought hard about one or two of them, and I hadn’t written any of them down, yet. I think maybe it was because they were often about sex and I really didn’t feel much like writing about sex or even letting it occupy my mind more than it already did. It didn’t change the fact that I was grateful to be having great sex with a great person as much and as often as I was grateful to be writing and making music. It felt good to put my self into the world, no longer just observing.
To harken back, I think I was trying to do more than simply record as well. I felt I was trying to craft a lens for which to view the world. A lens to see beauty in everything and with which the observer wouldn’t need to leave the center to get the perfect shot. I was grateful to be testing the prototype lenses, to be engineering something so special, to be creating some thing of value, and I was also grateful to simply have crafted the lens in the first place, even if I was the only one to use it. I honestly believed I could bring it to others — this was my writing — and they would have to decide to keep the lens in place. I could only ever control creation; consumption could only ever be influenced by suggestion, of which there were many sly methods, none of which felt appropriate to me. It felt better to put my expressions honestly into the world without explanations outside of them themselves, simply and accessibly with no suggestions, no affectations. Just me. Only me. In actuality, this was all there ever was — even someone shouting someone else’s message in someone else’s way was still utterly themselves. I think the difference lay in the comfort of listening only to yourself and expressing that intimate and unique voice, unfiltered, in whichever way it comes out in the moment. Not striving to do it the way you did it before, even; always new, always now, always honest. It didn’t matter where and when you were, whether someone was around or not, if the tape was rolling or it was just the rolling waves, every moment was a chance to express, to send a message to yourself or the world, and every single one of them was so important. It was somewhat difficult, living in this manner, and I didn’t have a firm grasp on why precisely, save for hackneyed ideas of love lost and fallen stars, and I knew these were silly reasons. The general for once was undesirable. I was and needed to be, I felt, concerned with my own trivia. It was all I had, the details of my moments. I felt the overwhelming desire to be utterly honest, again, for a while. Somewhere along the way I lost this, I think through the things I lost from my early experiments with honesty.
I didn’t feel in the mood to write and I wasn’t in the mood to drink beer and it so happens I was doing both, forcing something out. I didn’t want it at the gates. I never asked for any of it. I never wanted it to be that way. For it to feel that way. It hurt so much. I felt so alone. So full of dark and weight. I craved something: Attention, no, connection. I wanted to connect to individuals. I wanted to speak with those who understood and whom with no words were necessary and many were spoken. I did want to be left alone too most times and I think this had more to do with my critical view of time — if I could find people for whom my time would be valued and valuable for me, I think I could spend many hours with them. There was a lot to ask now, of a person and I didn’t know anyone well enough anymore to ask it of them. Fuck. What a position to be in, to have nothing to turn to help for. To have problems wholly your own and wholly related to every single thing. Life was fucked, for certain. Nothing felt ok for very long those days.
I wanted to call you, so badly to speak to you for just a second or two. So badly I still did. I was still doing anything to not call you. I thought before about the conversation we would have and I remembered I didn’t want to have it. We had nothing to talk about. There was nothing left. It surprised me how quickly it all dissolved. There was still a hole where you were, and it seemed more about what you were inside me and less about you, and I think maybe it had to be that way, and you moved on quickly, so quickly for what we were supposed to have. How dare you treat me with the disregard you did and how dare I treat you with the disregard I did. I should have paid better attention. I should have showed you differently — you know what? Fuck this. I was good to you. I was as honest as I could be. I was trying and was becoming most honest. I loved you most. I was everything for you. It wasn’t enough for you. I wasn’t enough for you. I wasn’t for you. I was a lesson for you. It’s all you’d let me be. All you want me to be. I hope you learned something from me.