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More Pain Less Suffering
Just so you know, I’m Twitter famous.
Lol, not really.
I actually think this tweet just resonated. My goal with my writing is to make people feel a little less alone. And in today’s world, we’re just one newsletter away from feeling a little less intellectually lonely.
So here’s some intellectual dopamine…
Embrace Your Lazy
Lazy Questions for the Week
How can I rig the game so that the only way to win is to have my unique strengths?
How can I make the hard choices now, so I have easy choices later?
Every day in high school, I would walk home with dread in my heart. A little anchor that tugged it down almost imperceptibly. I wouldn’t know what it was, but I would feel the pain and I would do anything I could to escape the noose.
I would debate why I felt that way. I would bribe myself. I would promise myself my favorite show or my favorite snack if I forced myself to feel better. I just wanted the feeling to go away. And it worked. For a while. The little anchor would slip off and I would be fine.
That is... until the dread got ahold of me even stronger that night or the next day. The cycle would repeat. The dread would get stronger, but only slightly each time. So I didn’t notice how strong it had grown till much later.
Now when I think back, It’s a wonder that I actively tried to avoid a feeling I didn’t even understand. I didn’t even think about the dread because I was always trying to distract away from it.
During our coronavirus times, I’m reminded of that familiar little anchor. We all feel some version of it. There is this constant underlying anxiety or sadness during these times. For the first couple of quarantine months, I saw I didn’t have that anchor. Turns out I’ve gotten so good at distracting now that I forget about it altogether.
We think of pain as sharp. Harsh. Powerful. We think pain wants to makes itself known. But some of the most painful pain doesn’t make itself known. It beats on us softly, slowly tearing us apart.
It hides in the nooks and crannies of our hearts. In the shadows where we dare not look, it gains its strength.
It was only recently that I learned to turn the light on and look in the shadows.
I’ve had chronic stomach problems for a while now. It’s a long story that I hope to write fully about someday. It’s been a tough journey, but I am also very grateful for parts of it.
Because of my stomach pain, I did everything I could to get better, and it led to a simple habit that’s had a profound impact on my life.
I started meditating.
I know meditation comes with a lot of baggage. There is so much blah blah blah about it in the world that it took me a while to try it. I had taken other people’s skewed definitions of it as the real thing. But for me, it isn’t a way to get ahead in life. It isn’t a woo-woo status signal to hold over your less “spiritual” friends. It isn’t anything remotely religious.
To me, it feels pure, personal, and profound. Like art. And like the best art, it taught me many hard lessons about life, pain, and my little anchor.
Primarily, it taught me this: More pain means less suffering.
To grow wonderful things in your mind:
Shoutout to Charlie Bleecker’s Transparent Tuesdays Newsletter. It convinced me to watch The Last Dance on Netflix. I’m not even a basketball fan, but I really enjoyed hearing about the history of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Found this image from the Amor Fati Newsletter. Finding the perfect quarantine home is a weird and awesome way to fulfill your escapist fantasies.
I saw this quote from an article by the wonderful Austin Kleon.
This morning my son, Owen, who’s a budding music producer at the age of seven, asked if he could listen to a piano track he asked me to add to one of my songs.
“Yes, but I’m not sure if it’s any good,” I said.
“Oh, that’s okay,” he said. “If it’s not good, I’ll make it good.”
This is my 20th newsletter. I am one of those perpetually unsatisfied people, but even I have to admit that I’ve improved.
It wasn’t good. And now it’s a little good-er.
It’s only going to get gooder. There are many experiments in our future.
Here’s to making it good. Thanks for staying with me on this journey.
Talk to you soon,