“If you knew that you would find a truth
That brings up pain that can’t be soothed
Would you change?
Would you change?”
-Tracy Chapman, “Change”
It’s just plain neat how the way we spend our time–our daily practices, as somatics folks like to talk about it–can totally affect our consciousness and our mood.
Like I said recently, I spent almost the entire weekend in bed, watching TV and playing video games. Essentially, I spent the weekend numbed out. When difficult ideas surfaced in my mind, or stresses began to appear, I would just dive further, surfing the web on my laptop while I watched TV. Playing cellphone games while listening to podcasts. Total sensory overload as a way to shut out feelings as well as the physical pain of my sprained foot and burned finger (small cooking accident).
Very well, but something interesting happened when I chose to turn off Friday Night Lights and try my hand at blogging again. That decision woke me up. It woke my feelings and intellect up! Not only was I reflecting on the US Social Forum, but my mind just started working through all sorts of discourses, project ideas, potential blog posts…including this one. I can’t really emphasize how different I felt. I almost felt like a different person entirely…myself. Exhilarating.
But you open up the flood, and it really comes flooding. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was turn on some music. Tracy Chapman, singing my soul. The tears came quickly. That when I let myself think and feel, I’ve gotta think about the choices I’ve made, the pressures I feel, a grown man dying in Guatemala and growing Guatemalan young people depressed at the structural walls overshadowing them. The father I may become soon enough, and how I don’t want to be the fathers I’ve seen. How lost I feel when I think about life post-SYPP. Things I’ve mostly written about here before. What mistakes have I made? How badly have I strayed from the path I wanted? How wrong was I about what this life would hold for me?
But also, the flood of the beautiful, the wonderful: how fascinating it is the level that babies’ brains have to work to learn language, and how dazzling it is all the new ideas and poetry that linguistic structures allow; how stunning it is to watch people in my life learn, grow, change…watching younger cousins and ex-students and my own family members…ooh what a privilege it is to participate in; and how utterly overwhelming, how dwarfed I feel by that long train of people before me who have chosen to keep believing in the struggle for the beautiful and fair. I was just so, so happy to feel bathed in this, to feel the wonder of this little world of ours.
You know, maybe this is Bipolar Disorder (if that’s even real)…biochemical cycles going from the numbness and depression to the frantic and awed. But I don’t think so. I think I did make a choice last night to think and feel and reflect…and I think this happiness is really just me connecting to myself again, like coming back to an old friend. And that connection had me dancing alone in my bedroom with a sprained ankle this morning, holding my laptop like a guitar and belting out Christian pop tunes…with feeling.
That was pretty great.