Those who know me know I’m a thinker. I have this thought that by thinking I will be able to solve the mysteries of life and overcome any challenges or hardships I encounter. Make progress, move forward, be successful. Become something great. Lately, I’ve found myself saying that I have no time to think, no time to process things. I’m running around from place to place, from home to the bus stop to the Junction to the train, to work, to yoga, to Coles and another bus. Wherever I’m going, I’m running, running, running. Every day is like a race against the clock; an endless pursuit to catch up on time that’s been lost.
Get up at 4.30am to write my morning pages (which, for your information, is the last thing I’d need at that time of day) in the beam of the flashlight of my phone as Laure is still asleep. Her bed is located not even a meter away from mine, so I do my best to angle the phone to have just enough light to see what I’m writing without waking her up. One morning my pen was nowhere to be found so I had to use a pencil so I could barely see what I was writing. I found myself thinking this is crazy. What kind of life is this?!
Get up, get dressed and pack my bag. Will I need my laptop today? How about my yoga mat? And should I bring my book just in case I feel like reading? Do I want to read for ‘fun’, fun being personal development stuff (no chick lits here, no!), or study for my course? How about my chargers…? And so my backpack gets heavier and heavier.
Wash my face, brush my teeth and get something to eat. Hurry to get out through the door no later than at 5.30am to have a 15-minute margin in case I miss the bus, which is more than likely to happen as the buses here are never on time, ever. Climb uphill for a full ten minutes to get to the bus stop all the while checking Google Maps no matter how inaccurate it may be, it always is, that familiar feeling of exhaustion making itself reminded of along the way. I should sleep more, I really should, and rest. Oh my I should so much!
Should. I thought I’d decided to delete that word from my vocabulary but clearly it’s still there, implying that there’s something that needs to be done, something that I’m failing to do, making me feel miserable about myself and the fact that I can’t get things done (although I’m doing something all the time).
It is almost as if I’ve gone back to where I was before I left home: thinking, thinking, thinking, trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, one plus one, only to arrive at three. I push myself a little harder, tell myself to think a little more and maybe, maybe then, but no. As if my brain was a machine that I’m in charge of, one that I can turn on whenever, wherever; the efficiency of which I can adjust according to my mood… no. Something’s missing.
I started reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now the other day and it made me realize that I can’t think through life. I cannot go through life thinking, thinking, thinking. It is not logical; life is not logical.
Tolle, on the verge of suicide at the age of 29, found himself thinking that he can’t live with himself any longer. “I cannot live with myself any longer”, he thought, and out of nowhere came the question whether he’s one or two. If he cannot live with himself any longer, there must be two of him: ”’I’ and the ’self’ that I cannot live with.” What if only one of them is real?
It hit me straight to the bone. Obviously I know that I’m not my mind, I’ve read it in so many books, but yesterday, for the first time ever, I think I got it. I understood. All of a sudden it was evident to me that I cannot go through life thinking. I need to live; life is here to be lived, enjoyed. (Hello?!)
I realized that at the time being I am completely lacking fun in my life. What happened to that careless Anna who arrived at Billabong Gardens on Friday, January 13, after her host family had left? She’s long gone, and what’s left is the ’old’ Anna whose life resembles one humongous to do-list. I want to make progress and grow so badly that I forget to live in the moment, constantly pushing myself to the very maximum. Working and commuting (I have to stop giving it so much of my energy!) takes about ten hours of my day, an additional eight hours being assigned to sleeping (ideally), which leaves me about six hours to do everything that I previously had all day for: workout, do yoga, write, read, cook, shop, see friends, explore Sydney, have fun, rest… rest, ha!
When did I last do absolutely nothing? When was the last time I gave myself a break? I don’t even know!
The creativity course that I’m taking is called the Artist Way, and its goal is to help you unblock and tap into your creativity. No matter what we’ve come to think of ourselves over the years we are all creative beings, every single one of us. When growing up, however, most of us learn to suppress that side of ourselves as life is no bed of roses. We’re told to stop daydreaming, because art – be it writing, acting, singing, playing the guitar – is never going to bring us any money. No, we need a good degree to get a good job (thinking 9 to 5 here, which, I have a feeling, barely exists these days) to get a good life. The more prestigious the degree, the better, as it’s more likely to land us a job that we can proud of, one that will give as a generous income so that we can live life according to the (unwritten) rulebook… study, work, find The One; get married, have kids and buy a house, why not a dog too while we’re at it, and live happily ever after…
… no. That might be how things used to work, but no more. It took me several months to make up my mind about the course as I had no idea what I was paying for. It all sounded so abstract, too abstract, whereas I wanted to know exactly what I’ll get out of it and where I’ll be by the end of the twelve weeks. What am I paying for, tapping into my creativity…? Wth!
Have you ever been asked whether you’d describe yourself as analytical or creative in a job interview? I have, and I’ve always struggled with answering it because I think I’m both. We all are; there is no either or. It just takes a little bit of exploration.
It is time to stop thinking and start doing; to stop doing and start being.
Creative, happy, at peace.
I am enough.
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”