I received almost no flack for my political rant last MM. Fascinating, there I was, all ready and willing, holding a stance to defend my self with toned down science and statistical analysis. I just knew so many would openly oppose. Wrong again. Nobody criticized the blog post and those I engaged socially, even those that disagreed somewhat, understood my position and choice to vote Blue. I love being wrong. When I am wrong, wonderful things seem to happen. Indeed, while yesterday didn’t fit the description of “stupendous” or “mind-blowing” exactly, either of those words could, and in all likelihood should, be used to describe yesterday. It isn’t often I get nostalgic, but when I do, I value the state of mind. Rarity is something I commonly respect at a high level, statistics are one of my teachers after all, but I still tend to not make a big deal out of nostalgia for some reasons I mention later. Someone I met recently claimed to be hyper nostalgic, and they seemed to be genuinely so, showing me picture after picture and quickly captioning each pic with a two sentence story. I didn’t have an episode quite like that, rather something subtle led to the feeling. “Subtle” may be the best description of yesterday.
Relatively early in the day, I finished a large body of notes and research around Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his work on Behavioral Economics, a branch of psychology, and the book focuses on the way humans behave “under the hood,” and because we all act so similar, we can use algorithms to do a much better job of seeing a larger picture behavior. Fascinated by the range of what humans do well cognitively, while also taking in the nauseating truths of what we do very, very poorly, I have been working on this body of notes for a week, so as far as accomplishments go, I felt pleased. The day moved forward.
Eventually, I had reason to venture out into the world. One of the stops was a smoke shop for Ivy’s Nana, and on my way out, I noticed the very well stocked incense display. I had been waiting to happen upon one of the these, you know, glass jars all in stadium seating. I let my eyes wander downward hoping to find the blue boxes for which I had been waiting to find. There they were. Boxes of Nag Champa, large and small. I hadn’t gone searching for any since failing to find any at the last writing and meditation retreat. I didn’t have a lot of money on me, but I went ahead and splurged on the $1.99 box. I still had one more stop, but by the time I had pulled out, heading north on 71 Business, the entire car smelled of Nag. Nostalgia wouldn’t take me yet. Once I got home, I put the pizza on the counter and headed straight for my room.
I had located my incense burner a couple of weeks ago, putting on the standing desk in my room/office just in case. Lost in the clutter of a garage shelf (my office space used to be out there), the burner hadn’t been used in ages, a year at least, years most likely. Yesterday would change that.
Not much Nag is needed to change the dynamic of a room; I lit the stick. The little flame rolled around the tip in its little dance of orange, yellow, and blue. With a puff of breath, the flame exploded into smoke. I left the room to go eat some cheap pepperoni and wait. My pacing led me by the bedroom door a few times to make sure the little stream of white smoke was trailing upward. Satisfied, I finished up with the “meal,” and headed straight for my room. There would be no disappointment in how pleased I am with my decision to purchase—buyers remorse be damned.
I truly felt as though I were coming home for the first time even though we’ve lived here only a few weeks shy of seven years. Feelings and emotions from my teens and twenties roiled under the surface of my tingling awareness. I wondered if this was a new step in healing. A new step for the new me.
When starting mindfulness meditation, the sentiment you hear from many masters is that it’s like coming home for the first time. The healing properties of accepting yourself as whole, with our personal failures, shortcomings, and problems have left a profound effect on me, but there was still the uncharted territory of my extremely low formative self-esteem. Nostalgia held no prize for me, as much of my early adulthood and youth had been spent feeling like I was never enough: never pious enough, never healthy enough, I couldn’t run fast enough, not good-looking enough, didn’t make enough money, didn’t buy her flowers enough, didn’t understand her enough. These were my childhood and twenties.
The mirror of the mind sat ready to show me something ugly, were I not ready to heal from this past.
I walked into my room for the first time. Never had I had a brain so primed to face the demons of my past in such a healthy form. I felt relief wash over me. Comfort in my own skin poured out of me. Creativity, my old creativity, began singing. A wholeness that I have never known in my adult life came into harmony. The old me and the new me sat an octave apart for the Cartesian performance, arms locked. The performance of a lifetime standing alone in my room, silent, wearing a beat-up white T-shirt and black Adidas shorts, a stick of incense filled the room with the trigger aroma. Something changed in me a few weeks ago and is obviously still changing. I don’t know if we should call this healing, maybe strengthening does more justice. I am not going to spend too much time analyzing the difference. I suppose they’re interchangeable when speaking on the mind.
Never did really crossed over into happy yesterday. By the nights end, I felt accomplished and excited to push forward with eyes wide open. No joy would embrace me. Those emotions seem to come most often for and with others. I feel grateful for all the people who have led me to this point—the gift of seeing some behavior with clarity, to see myself through the lens of others, and to accept my own bias as a part of my wholeness. The friends, writers, teachers, entertainers, and family that have built me through their own trials and hardships coming together daily adding to the wholeness of my self deserve all of the credit, thus will I continue to make honor them by seeing and being, but most of all, and what they expect from me, doing.