I’ve been noticing it more and more and catching myself. It’s literal but more importantly, it’s figurative. I’m holding my breath until the election. I’m holding my breath until the pandemic is over. I’m holding my breath until my kid gets into college. I’m holding my breath until my kid leaves home.
And there’s so many other things that I am worried about in the future.
Will theaters reopen? Well my remaining parents stay healthy for years to come? Will our country come back from the brink of insanity? Will my friends stay healthy and not get COVID? Will black lives really start to matter to everyone someday? Will women catch up in leadership roles? Will climate change destroy everything or will we find solutions through all getting onboard and implementing new technology? What does the future hold for our kids and the younger generations?
The uncertainty is staggering.
But right this minute I am sitting under the most gorgeous autumn orange-leafed tree. The sky is a staggering blue and I can hear the giggles of my husband and his father social-distance visiting behind me on the outdoor deck. And my big grown-up 17-year-old is home by himself totally taking care of himself with no problems whatsoever while we are away. Even though we’ve had tremendous tragedies this year, right this second, this one moment, everything is pretty damn gorgeous.
So I’m letting out my breath. Just for a minute.
And shit man, I TEACH this stuff all year long: be present, be creative, be in the flow, connect with what is right in front of you, give up the specific goal and give up knowing what your creativity or work or life is going to turn out like. And that’s the road to sanity and innovation and happiness. And yeah, I teach it because I know it and believe it and also because I want to be reminded of it every day.
So I’m letting out my breath. And looking around. If just for this moment. And then maybe if I can, for the moment after that.
After spending a week engaged in creative play, check back and see how this worked for you after your mindfulness training from the previous weeks. I found a great question this week: Which choice will bring more love into the world?
I changed it to ask which choice will bring more creativity into the world because I see them as intrinsically linked. More joy almost always follows from creativity as well. You probably have seen the potholder quote you see in stores like at Cracker Barrel: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well, there’s something to that (more for some of us than others…) and I know when I’m being creative, then this mama’s happy. And those around me are too.
Having a sense of humor about what’s hard in your life or what’s wrong in the world, and expressing it creatively (and by that I mean even just joking about it with friends and family) is a deeply important practice. When you are laughing about something, you are by the very nature of it stepping back from it. Humor requires perspective and un-attachment, in the Buddhist sense. If it’s not already, humor needs to become an important part of your spiritual daily practice. And I don’t mean you gotta tell knock knock jokes at the office (although my 8-year-old has some killer original ones…I’m so proud). What I mean is you need to cultivate the ability to see what’s funny.
Okay, quick comedy lesson. There are only 3 things that are funny: the familiar (like celebrity impressions or when a friend tells you about her 4-year-old putting underwear on over his pants – cuz we’ve all been there…), irony – which is also called incongruity or the unexpected (like if Sarah Palin showed up at a peace rally), and finally, misfortune (Dick Cheney shooting his pal in the face). Or some combination of these, like Dick Cheney showing up at a peace rally with his underwear on over his pants. Okay, got it? So, no need to be mystified or intimidated by comedy. It’s pretty simple.