Call it what you will–writer’s block, depression, despair…apathy, overwhelm–it always boils down to the same essential thing: FEAR.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
The essence is this: fear is an emotion. Emotions do indeed have outcomes very much like, or in physics terminology “have tendencies” interpret-able as energy. The fact is: we choose. In each and every moment we choose the direction these emotions will go, whether it be joy or horror, delight or anger, only we have the power to harness and direct the flow. Whether we choose to direct the flow inwards, creating distress, misery, self-pity...ennui, or outwards into road rage, micromanagement, therapy…artistic pursuits–the choice lies within each individual.
By the same token, we assign value judgments to even the emotions themselves–take a look at that last sentence, the terms used to describe inward and outward manifestations–what sort of emotional ‘charge’ do each of these bring up, for you? Road rage, for instance, may commonly be associated with violent actions against other drivers, and perhaps a warning sign that there may be some other underlying individual anger issues. What if, however, road rage is in fact a manifestation of something on a larger scale than one or two people? Like any other societal outcome, I believe that our streets are conduits for stress, anxiety, and indeed anger–and our personal behavior while on them is not always entirely within our individual control–except, of course, for the choice to simply not go there…often, which is my preference!
On the contrary, our interpretation of ‘artistic pursuits’ might, on the surface, be more ‘positive’–bringing to mind music, painting, and poetry or prose. As in everything, there is a balance, however–the Yang to the Yin, each containing a small bit of the other–it is what makes the wheel turn. Sometimes, it may even manifest on the opposite side of the spectrum–what if, for instance, someone’s idea of ‘art’ involved throwing live people off of a building? I knew an artist once who repeatedly threatened to throw himself from a tenth-story window onto a canvas, and writers often refer to their art as ‘opening a vein’ or ‘bleeding on the page’ (oh, wait–maybe it was me that said that–but I’m sure others have as well!). Here is my segue into ‘wee!’…it’s all about balance, baby–and therein lies the ‘oui‘.
One of the perhaps unforeseen aspects of modern society and our migration to urban areas–not to mention the advances in technology which have led, not to better communication or ‘social networking’, but often mis-communication and anti-social behavior or mindset–is separation. We have moved closer together in body, while space is created in mind and spirit. This, like road-rage, is a symptom of imbalance in the system on the whole. Our job is too remove ourselves from the energetic influence, if necessary, to find and restore balance, so as not to further offset the bigger picture. Ours is not a static system–it is ever-changing, evolving, constantly in motion. the only way to establish personal balance is to step off the train–exhilarating, and perhaps dangerous.
“Unplugging“ means to take a mental, emotional, and often physical step away from what we have come to view as the ‘norm’. To do so requires a conscious choice–just as we make a choice, whether unconsciously or not, to step or stay in fear, we also choose to step away again. Sometimes it is helpful to have a practice, or ritual, to remind us that we wish to step off the runaway train–call it damage control, if you will.
The video I chose to feature here is long-ish, and I will readily admit that exceeds my own personal limits of attention…ordinarily. The reason I have included this is because it does make an important statement about the impact of a ‘pause’. Sometimes the best next step…is no step.