Before I dive into this entry, let me preface things by saying that I have been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks. I spent the first half of this year thinking about not much else than my Ironman. Getting that out of my life has created a lot of time and energy which fortunately has been filled with people who I really care about. Saying that I have been able to live a pretty blissed life is a gross understatement. But that doesn’t mean that I am always happy and fulfilled. And that’s what this blog entry is about and what most of my thoughts for the past week have been devoted to. If life is perfect, how in the world can unhappiness creep in? Through thoughts. Thoughts? Yes, thoughts about both the past and the present.
Anytime you are thinking about something, you aren’t living in the moment. That means you are experiencing feelings that aren’t real nor are they happening right now. And honestly, the only way unhappiness can develop is if you nurture whatever thought is hurting you – by thinking about it. While that makes a ton of sense, I can tell you that I unfortunately spend 90% of my time thinking and maybe 10% living. I have the rare (in)ability to get absolutely obsessed with things which on a positive note allows me to not only be creative but also to get things done very quickly. If I get excited about something, I am going to get it. I believe that 100%, with no exception. Sounds great, huh?
And cocky. But unfortunately, the flip side of such is that if I get upset about something, I have a very hard time letting go. As a matter of fact, my mind can nurture those negative thoughts and make them much much worse than when they first entered my mind. And they have nothing to do with reality as they either happened in the past, might occur in the future or more likely than not are completely fabricated. Obsessed about positive thoughts => get overly excited => many ideas => inspire others => make it happen. Obsessed about negative thoughts = depression. That’s how I lost my father. When I first started thinking about this concept and looked at the situation, the obvious solution was to just think about positive things. Duh? But unfortunately I don’t think that’s the way to go. Because if you train your brain how to nurture good thoughts, well, it will also be pretty good at nurturing the bad stuff.
Plus, one continues to spend a lot of time thinking rather than being. The key seems to be to learn how to stop thinking and work on being able to be in the moment. So how does one go about that? For me, I know there are certain things that absolutely put me in the moment. When I completely exhaust my body, I am in the moment. When I fly down a mountain on a bike, I am (forced to be) in the moment. When I schlepp a bunch of crap up to 10,000 feet, take off my backpack, sit down and gaze across a beautiful mountain lake, I am in the moment. When I get all jazzed about IdeaMensch and spend 14 hours, in an absurdly over-caffeinated state, cranking out some stupid new section on the site; I am in the moment. But unfortunately, I also don’t think that the key to living in the moment is to only do things that you’re either really passionate about or the require your full attention.
Learning how to be content without having to be excited about something is a challenge I need to conquer. I need to recognize when a thought has entered my mind, and recognize it as just such. Thoughts, not problems. Thoughts, not reality. Thoughts, not something I need to get all worked up about. Then take a deep breath and recognize the moment. The more you’re able to recognize the difference between thoughts and reality, the more you’ll understand what it means to be in the moment. The more you appreciate the now, the more you’re going to want to live in it. If I do that enough, I’ll probably like Yoga. People always talk about how joyful kids are, and how easy it is for them to get excited. Well, that’s because kids aren’t worrying about the past or the future. They are living in the moment. Otto isn’t laying around right now, pondering why he didn’t get any treats Thursday night. The squirrels in front my window aren’t all fucked up worrying about what happens if this is going to be a tough winter. They are devoting all of their energy to what is happening right now. They’re digging holes, hiding nuts and are driving Otto crazy.
Who, by the way, is sitting in my window, fascinated by his furry-tailed friends and thinking absolutely nothing else.
No thoughts, no problem. Carpe diem.