This morning, I woke up in a funk.
It was one of those days when they very act of getting out of bed is an epic endeavor. Not sure why, I think it’s a combination of several little reasons.
Today is Wednesday—hump day—I still feel it, even here in the paradise of Costa Rica. Plus I think I’m fighting off a cold, lots of people around me are sick. The universe gave me another little gift as I stepped outside first thing in the morning: I saw was this woman walking past on her way to the beach—an attractive surfer lady I’ve seen around who might actually be close to my age—and I felt this pang of desire. Then in the kitchen, making green tea for my morning meditation, I spied my housemate’s cigarettes sitting on a shelf and the sudden the urge to smoke reminded me of my losing battle with nicotine addiction (f*cking cigarettes).
It’s like one big conspiracy to slap me in face with all the things that make me question myself.
And now, I’m sitting down to rewrite this piece for the 23rd time, because the editor thinks “it still needs a bit of work,” and I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. Writer’s block—first time I’ve really felt it since starting this Elephant Academy a month ago.
What’s going on? Everything feels like a struggle. Raw, I feel raw, and tired, so tired. Tired of convincing myself my life is on track, that following my heart isn’t leading me to total catastrophe.
This is why I write. When I bring these words out of my head and onto the screen, I can examine them and try to figure what is happening inside my kooky mind. Well, even if I don’t figure anything out, just writing these words makes me feel better, helps me pull back from the swirl of my thoughts and realize that, fundamentally, everything really is okay.
Capturing our thoughts in writing is like growing crystals from our minds, giving physical form to the ethereal nebulae of our subconscious. Our written words can be an essential tool for self-discovery.
When we write down and investigate our thoughts, we’re not so easily sucked into the funktastic black hole. We’re able to step back and observe the factors that cause us to feel sad or happy, angry or peaceful, rather than blindly reacting to these emotions and propagating them on others.
When we make a habit of examining ourselves, we start to recognize the patterns we keep repeating in life, in jobs, in relationships, in all our personal interactions. When we recognize these recurring, unhelpful patterns, we can start to change them; we can establish new, beneficial patterns.
This is just a funk, it will pass. This happens from time to time, even when things are going well in life. We can’t feel good all the time; we need to feel bad sometimes in order to know what good feels like. The simple act of acknowledging to myself what I’m going through, instead of trying to carry on with my life like nothing is wrong, helps to ground me and smooth out this experience of existence.
If we all spent more time examining ourselves, the world would be a vastly different place. If we can all learn to recognize the repeating patterns that make us miserable instead of blindly acting them out, again and again, we can bring more peace into the world.
We can save the planet if we’re willing to investigate the widespread consumerism that convinces us we need to buy more stuff to fill the emptiness in our lives. We can mend the rifts dividing the world if we explore the fear that drives us to demonize the Other. We can heal our personal relationships if we probe the subconscious urges that lead us to lash out at or snub those we love.
Now that I’m starting to publish my words, I’m discovering the catharsis of exposing my shameful, hidden thoughts to the world. One roadblock to self-examination is the difficulty of looking at the petty, spiteful, vicious parts of ourselves. But the thing is, we all have these ugly parts of ourselves, this darkness, this shadow, hidden deep inside. If we can flick on the spotlight of self-investigation and start openly discussing these aspects of ourselves, we can all work through our darkness together.
When strife arises around us or between us, we can talk through it in order to understand each other and the cause of the misunderstanding. That’s how we make the world a better place, by understanding ourselves and those around us, and talking through our differences.
Next time you find yourself wondering, “What is going on with me?” consider crystalizing your thoughts, sitting down, and writing about your life. You might be surprised how helpful it is to examine your mind. Together we can bring more harmony to the world, together we can create peace.
It just takes a little (okay, a sh*t-ton) of effort to know ourselves.