Answer the Question – The Art of It All

I will say that there’s an art to the way we live. And to each their own, or at least I think this is what people say.
We all have our ways. We all have our own little quirks and personal fashion. I can say that yes, although we’re perfectly unique and individual; there’s a branch of commonality that links us closer together.
There’s the way we think which may be different for reasons that number higher than our minds can count. At the same time, I offer a moment of truth here. I offer the hope to link us together with a certain special understanding that we can all relate to.
I offer this with hopes that we can find a common ground because even if people go on their own separate ways, at least we can come to an understanding about the internal voice (which everybody has) and at least we can come to a conclusion that our thought machine is not always operating to its best potential.

I know that some of these journals have been somewhat raw. In some cases, I have seen how this type of honesty pushes people away. There’s no judgment about this.
I can see why this happens.
I can understand why no one wants to deal with their personal truths. Or better yet, I can definitely understand why a person would rather stay in the dark than be exposed to the light of their truths.

It’s funny to me though . . .
It’s funny how people will come along and tell you “Don’t think that way,” when you tell them a thought or an idea you have about yourself.
They’ll look to hush you before letting you drain your thoughts. I get it. There’s a difference between helpful talking and emotional dumping which, in fairness, there are times when we need both (or either or).
There are times when we need to talk and scream and let it all out. But in the end, we need more.
Or, should I say that I need more.

There are times when we find ourselves talking and, at the same time, the internal voice is asking us, “What the hell are you even saying?”
“Do you even hear yourself?”
There are times that we talk to get ourselves out of a jam or away from sounding or “feeling” stupid.
By the way, I quoted the word “feeling” here because there’s an inaccuracy with this expression.
This is more of a thought or an opinion and judgement. (Not a feeling.)
However, for now, let’s keep this simple.

There is this thing that everybody lives with.
There’s this thing called doubt.
And doubt sucks.
There’s this thing they call insecurity
and insecurity sucks too. BIG TIME!!

There’s fear and anxiety. There’s the need to be heard and the need to be right.
There’s the need to be safe.
There’s the desire to be approved of and appreciated, wanted, invited, included and accepted. 
There’s also the worry that none of the above are possible.
So, therefore, there’s often a need to defend or justify ourselves. There’s certainly a need to protect ourselves from judgment or bouts of shame.
But where does this come from?
Why are these things a thought in our mind? 

Well, here’s a dose of realness for you . . .

There are times when we find ourselves in uncomfortable surroundings.
Maybe we’re around someone intimidating or there’s a social, economic or intellectual intimidation that exists in the room.
Maybe in fairness to the truth, there’s a battle with inferiority.
Perhaps there’s something that flips a switch. Our defense mechanisms are triggered and, at the moment, we look to dig our way out of the so-called hole or one of life’s deficits.
If we’re being honest, there are times when our reactive thinking steers us away from our best possible self.
Did you ever experience something like this?
Well, maybe yes or maybe no.
But if you’re alive and well and living with a heartbeat, most likely you’ve probably experienced this before.
I know that I have.

We might not have responded the same but either way, our reasoning for either responding or not responding comes from the same core.
There are times when we talk just to say something redeeming and in return, we find that we’re only digging the hole deeper.
We can try and argue. We can beg for the world to change because our situation is undesirable or unhappy.
We can spin our will over the fantastic nature of how uncontrollable life is sometimes.
But to what avail?

In my case, there were times when the quiet was too uncomfortable for me.

There were times when my fears of being unheard or not understood (or validated) stepped in. In my efforts to redeem the moment, I either misspoke or spoke too much. Or, I allowed my insecurities to have me run off at the mouth.
Then what happened?
Well, the mental challenge at the moment became more difficult. 

I’d say what I’d say and then later I’d look back at what I said and think to myself, “Why didn’t you just shut up!”
Here it is again . . . the famous question.
What the hell were you thinking?

Well, I was thinking that something about me wasn’t enough.
Or more accurately, I was projecting my sense of internal judgment. While supposing that my fears of inadequacy or insecurities were true, I was thinking at an emotional level.
More to the point, I was responding on an emotional level. 
Maybe I wasn’t about to get what I wanted.
Maybe this is more than a question of rejection.
Maybe this is the ego, ringing a bell, and shouting at the unchangeable natures of something we didn’t like.

As I write this, I was thinking of a quote that comes from a French philosopher named Blaise Pascal,
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
I think I might have mentioned this before.

Why do we talk ourselves into a corner?
Why do we react when deep down, we know we’d be better off if we stayed quiet?
To some people, they never speak up at all.
Perhaps they might wonder, “Why didn’t I say something when I had the chance?”

But where does this come from?
Why do we have this type of thinking in the first place?

The truth is this is all a branch of thinking that runs into a system of memories and ideas. These thoughts are linked to biases, opinions, internal judgments and old references which either may or may not be accurate. As well, this connects our thoughts and feelings to the after effect of our personal chemistry or AKA: our emotions. Therefore, we take on the chemical energy of what we’re thinking and feeling. Therefore, if it’s uncomfortable, we try so hard just to feel better again.

We have these messages and old tapes that hide within the indentations of our mind. I swear, if we could erase these things; if we could erase the memories of times when shame came into the picture, or if we can erase all of our old hardships and old traumas that linger in our minds – and they stay there like schoolyard bullies who look to take your lunch money; or what about this – if we could evaporate the remnants of old regrets or somehow, if we could push a button and just like that all of our past inhumanities would become unobjectionable and simply vanish, imagine how limitless our life would become.

There are times when we speak out of inadequacy.
There are also times when we speak just to be heard.
We talk just to keep from being left-out or to keep from being invalid.
This is why we keep talking when the voice in our head is screaming at us:
Just shut your mouth!

I go back to my favorite analogy of losing to something so uncontrollable. You lose to this the way water loses to a drain.
You find yourself sucked in the spiraling whirlpool. No control.
All you can do now is wait to be expelled somewhere with the rest of the unwanted pieces of life and garbage.

This is all a prison of the mind.
This is all a matter of our internal concepts which, again, is operating on the informative data that we have been fed throughout our lives.

So, since I keep this with me and since this is my journal to you, I will explain more about the answer to the question:
What they hell was I thinking?

With regards to the times when I was trying to prove myself or defend myself; and with regards to the times when I compromised my position out of fear that I might “lose my place in line” and in the case against “I vs. I” or “Me vs. Me,” I lost to my thinking like the dirty bathwater in the tub will lose to the drain.

There are times where:
I have spoken in my defense because the silence was deafening.
I have spoken to prove my point and in return I lost my case.
I have spoken to redeem my discomfort.
I have spoken to make people like me or in the effort to shine brighter, I never realized that polishing my performance seemed to dull me true and authentic self.

What was I thinking?
I was thinking that I’m not enough.
I was thinking that someone better, brighter, cooler or more likable would come along. 
Then what?
Where would I be, besides alone?

I was thinking frantically and out of the worries of loss or rejection, I talked myself deeper into the hole of emotional thinking.
In turn, this led me to the unwinnable battles that come with the unbeatable suction of emotional quicksand.
Ever experience this?
I have. I’ve drowned more than once.
And that’s the truth.

I have seen my reflection when I was emotionally compromised. I have seen myself at my worst and I have seen myself at my best.
In comparison, I have seen the difference in my emotional responses.

I go back to that idea of what would happen if we could simply push a button and, just like that, every fear or worry and every thread of insecurity would be erased as if it were never so.
I go back to the ideas of wishing I could get away from myself or jump out of my skin when shame comes along.

Did you ever wonder why people drink themselves to death or why drugs are so prominent?
The answer is because, for some people, this is the only button they have.

For some people the button they have is food and they can eat themselves into a narcotized state of unfeeling. Or some could look for sex to keep them from thinking or feeling. While only temporary, it’s the micro-orgasmic moment in the grand scheme of the countless hours of our ongoing lives. For that moment, the entire world is put into a pause and for that specific second or in the fleeting moment of time; all of humanity’s problems are non-existent.
It’s not such a big deal.
It’s okay to sit in a room quietly.
This isn’t such a hassle because, for the moment, we found something even if it’s devious or degrading or life-threatening. At least for a few moments, we found something to counteract the thoughts in our head.

My goal in this life is to sit in a room quietly or to be anywhere and be comfortable in my surroundings.
That’s what I’m thinking . . .
Whether I am alone or with company, and this can be either good company or bad; no matter what, my goal is to learn a method of thinking that promotes me rather than degrades my best possible worth.
This way, I don’t have to talk out of turn or find the need to defend, prove or redeem myself
I want to be unmoved by the internal worries. Rather than be my own worst critic, I want to find that magic internal button.
This way, my thoughts of insecurity, my doubts and my irrational fears will no longer betray me.
I can understand them better and rather than focus on them, I can see that these are just the fears of a child who remembers what it meant to stand up and stutter in class or be picked on.

I was thinking about a recent interaction with a corporate president before a business meeting of mine.
I was thinking about the way I approached this conversation. At first, I was hard on myself. I was insecure and trying to sell myself as the best possible option. However, I can see where my insecurity took hold.
But then I decided to change my tactic.
I recognized what happened. Next, I can improve upon this to keep from running the same programs or responding the same way.

The idea is to bloom on my own.
The idea is to create attraction, rather than promotion. 

I saw this quote the other day which I thought was brilliant enough to share with you.
When you change, don’t announce it.
Just bloom!

I love this.

I love the fact that this acknowledges that our best changes and best victories come from within.
You don’t have to brag or boast. 
This is the kind of artist I want to be when I grow up!

In closing for today –
Jim Carroll once wrote in his diaries about having a presence on the basketball court. In fact, there’s a line from the movie The Basketball Diaries about his journey. The scene is of a young Jim as he struts down the basketball court.
The line is this:
“You gotta have presence on the court. Presence like a cheetah rather than a chimp.
Sure, they both got it, but Chimpy gotta jump his nuts around to get it.
The shy cheetah moves with total nonchalance, stickin’ it to them in his sexy, slow strut.
Me? I play like a cheetah.”

I get that, Jim . . .


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