Is my cell phone the new love of my life? All right, I can’t take credit for this question. I heard it on the radio.
But I can definitely say it’s worth asking, and finding out my own answers. When I asked myself this question I immediately came up with another question that I have a hunch is connected to the cell phone and that’s, “Why all the rushing around?” And, does my cell phone have anything to do with said rushing? Or am I just crazy for coco puffs? Maybe I’ve got some mental illness not yet defined in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. I say this half-jokingly, and half not.
If rushing is a disease, then what’s the cure, the Rx, or treatment? Maybe exercise for the calming endorphins, a good night’s sleep, or perhaps a few therapy sessions to explore the early childhood experiences that programmed in me a need for speed. Maybe there’s some kind of neck brace I can wear that would slow me down. My mother used to put me in a harness when I was a toddler. She walked me like a dog. She said it was because if she let go of my hand for one second I would vanish. Albeit to inside the nearest dress rack, but that’s another story. I could hire a dog walker, or lion tamer, but frankly this is all starting to sound a little bit more S&M than I’m comfortable with. I’ve never moved beyond feathers.
Now as fun as all these potential treatments sound, I have the feeling I may need an inner-vention. That’s right, an inside intervention. I need to Feng Shui my mind. My prescription involves letting go, easier said than done, releasing attachment, also hard to do when I have glue like emotional connections, and forgoing perfectionism, a land I hope none of you have the misfortune to visit at any point in your lifetime, all of this in exchange for sanity, sex, and slowing down. Trust me, you can’t have sex if you don’t slow it down. As my favorite real life character Paula Pantalayo used to say to me, “Slow down, Gunsmoke!” I’m trying.
It’s the thoughts that keep everything flowing so fast, I think. Are all these thoughts of mine real? Or are they just a figment of my imagination? I’ve been listening to them for years, and sometimes they’ve gotten me into real trouble. There was the one time in 7th grade Woodshop, or was it electric, when I took a wood plane, you know the thing that takes a slice of wood off like a cheese cutter? And proceeded to plane several of the worktable stations. What a little dick I was in that moment. Luckily I got caught, and sent to the Principles office where I pleaded guilty, with the intent to redecorate the electric shop. I believe I was sentenced to banging dirty erasers on the blacktop for an afternoon. Needless to say, any shred of a handyman I had in my ballet body was put to rest. I would grow up to pay for these handyman services in perpetuity.
So back to questioning my thoughts. Are they real? Are they right? Or should I listen to them, sort them out like a sock drawer, or completely ignore them? Sometimes my own thinking overwhelms me to the point of a full on anxiety attack. It seems like my thoughts have so much to say they keep on talking. But what’s really important? How do I weed out the thoughts in such a way as to mine the gold I imagine is buried somewhere in that ocean of words gushing through my brain at any given time of day or night.
Do the laundry, clean the bathroom, workout, go through the mail, pay bills, call your mother, finish the edit, prep the show, go on a date, buy new shoes, get blood work – these and a myriad of other thoughts stream through my mind constantly. But wait, I need to write. Then begins a process of negotiation between two parts of myself, the do it and get it done part that loves crossing off the To Do List, and the creative part that needs space to operate effectively. Add to this all the external voices from parents, friends, lovers, co-workers, and there’s a lot to sift through in order to prioritize my most aligned next action step.
These days I have a daily talking to my thoughts. More words, I know, but it seems to help me. It’s as if my brain has two distinctly different parts with their own unique function. One function is, I believe, to drive me crazy, while the other is to safely guide me along my way. After years of battling these two parts I’ve learned to co-exist peacefully, for the most part, often resembling a three ring circus where I now charge an admissions fee. I think, opportune word here, I made it work for me.
I let these thoughts flow, identify which part is working, the get it done part or the creative part, and then make choices based on what is most important needs wise at that moment. Sometimes it is to do the laundry, while other times it’s to sit down and meditate. Figuring this out has taken me a great deal of practice over many years. I’m getting the hang of it, and I’m still a work in progress. One thing I know for sure with this whole process is that if I’m not paying attention to both parts of myself I will begin to burn my energy out. I will feel off, out of balance, and I become resentful. It’s a sure fire way for me to know when I have to course correct, and then I do. Sometimes the course correction is me getting sick with a cold. That usually shuts the whole operation down and I get to regroup. I’m working on refining that methodology; and it’s not my cell phone’s fault. In the meantime I’m gonna send one more text, wish two happy birthdays on Facebook, and then place my cell phone in the off position inside my gym locker and go for a swim. I don’t think Apples made a waterproof iPhone yet, have they?