An Essay on Figuring it Out

This essay is a stream of consciousness. It is my soul spilling out words that represent feelings. There were no pictures involved during the soul excavation of this rant below.

More often than not, I don’t do all that I’m “supposed to.” I don’t go to yoga. I don’t finish an assignment. I feel like I don’t have time to do it all. I feel the pressure of emphasis on getting my life together, on knowing what I’m doing, on being more efficient, which only diminishes my capacity to operate. If I don’t think about what I’m doing and just let it happen, I feel more accomplished. Yet, then, it’s not organized. It’s not easily understandable. It’s just me doing what I feel, which I think is what creativity is. It is acting upon feeling; it’s not methodical, rational, organized, or defined. Creativity is a reflection of one’s inclination to move forward in the direction that speaks to them.

I am guilty of asking people about their opinions; I know in one of my last articles I suggested moving away from doing this as much as one can, as if I were an expert and never fell victim to the seduction of someone else making a decision upon my behalf. But, is it all that dramatic? Is someone offering their opinion because they can see something we can’t? Or is it a hindrance because we aren’t thinking for ourselves? I don’t think it has to be either or; rather, it’s a balance. It’s a practice.

There is this term that I’ve recently become immersed in called, “workflow.” It’s something those in video production use — specifically editing — and it’s curious to me. It’s curious to me because how have I spent the last six years of my life in love with video content yet never knew this other realm that the video was dependent upon? Video content does not exist without editors. It is referred to as a workflow because, from what I’ve learned so far, it takes patience. You have to encode video files; you have to wait. You have to construct them into a sequence, trim them, manipulate the effects, enhance the color, adjust the audio; meanwhile the length of the end proudct is derived from footage that can take hours upon hours of sifting, comparing, deducing, and, finally, selecting.

It is curious to me because I always considered creating content to be the creative part; that the writers or the actors were more in control than the other members of the production team. Yet, they are just the ones that get the most credit. That is why we know more of them and fantasize over their titles because they are the ones attributed with this idea of creative control. But, in all honesty, everyone plays an important role. The editors are the ones who carefully bring the rawness of the hours of taping to life. They are the ones that construct the narrative. They are the ones who sift through the takes to find that moment that changes your life upon the big screen.

I am not sure how many people realize how long a day is on set. I am not sure if you can convey that feeling of doing an emotional scene over and over again in order to get the angles necessary for it to look cinematic. I am not sure anyone will understand unless they do it. And that is my favorite aspect about being alive; experiential learning. I figured it out when I went to Spain; that learning by doing is the only way we really learn at all. All that time I spent memorizing facts is not a memory I can recall because the information quickly dissipated when it no longer applied to me. Our memories are some of our fondest pieces of ourselves because they retain lessons or experiences that have shaped us into who we are today. And I’ve realized across the last year of my life how much material things no longer hold the same idealized importance that they once did. I have been holding onto this idea of “what I’m supposed to value” or “what life is supposed to look like.” But, there is no such thing.

There is no way I can predict the outcome of my life. And, moreover, there is no reason why I should be doing that. You can counter this argument with various rebuttals about planning and success, but, at the end of the day, it comes down to what you value versus what I value. I value being alive. I value exploring myself under new circumstances. I value change. I value growth. I value novelty. It does not align with the common view of “what I’m supposed to do,” and I feel it is time to abandon this tension once and for all. This tension of how life is supposed to look and how my life doesn’t look that way… That my life isn’t even understandable to myself… That more and more of my answers to questions are, “I don’t know,” rather than some bullshit speculation about how it might be, or how I hope it will be, or how I want it to be. The universe always brings me exactly what I need at the right time in the precise place. I am never late. I am never stuck, despite the moments when my rational mind is attempting to convince me that slow progress is no progress.

No.

I am leaving these conventions behind. This idea that creativity is one way and not another. This idea that I need to organize my life so that it’s neat and tidy. This idea that I need to project goals into the future because, then, all this time spent on that is time taken away from the now. Taken away from what I am experiencing now, who I am now. I know “the present” is spoken of with much simplistic wisdom, but that’s the caveat; wisdom is gained and, though presented as simple, it takes a complicated road to arrive at that humble destination. Because we value all these processes that we have never questioned; we value all these processes that do not get us to the present. They constantly want us to be in the future. The future will come whether I’m thinking about it or not. But, my heartbeat is happening now, my body is here, right now, my consciousness is a part of this time.

No more disassociation. No more making things into something they aren’t. I will leave you with this example. I was scrolling through Instagram yesterday when I saw an Instagram yoga girl; she looks perfect, right? She writes inspiring quotes about being free and living in peace and bliss. Her abs are contoured, her smile is bright, her ass looks like she sleeps in chair pose. But, then I scroll further, and all the pictures are of her… I click on her “best yoga friend,” who has 90K followers. I scroll through this new yoga girl’s pictures; she is posing nude in about ten percent of the pictures of herself across the account. Either she is posing in some acrobatic stance (that the majority of us will never perfect) or she’s just modeling in the desert or showing off her shapely boobs, and making it about something else in the caption.

It confused me.

I go to yoga and the philosophy of yoga is to turn inward. But, these girls who self-proclaim their yoga righteousness, seem more concerned with the external part of yoga. The aspect of how their bodies look while doing it rather than the transformation that their consciousness undergoes when they do yoga to turn within.

These are the dualities we live within; the dualities we do not challenge because someone is “hot,” or someone is “popular.” The majority values what the majority values and it is perpetuated because it has been portrayed as the pinnacle of achievement. But, what if it is all an illusion? What if organizing your life is just to distract you from all these thoughts that arise about existence and the way the world works just to keep you complacent? What if there is diversion going on every second of the day, so the source of the problem can never be seen and, therefore, addressed and remedied? The act of diversion has been perfected to subliminally control the way our minds perform, engage, and choose.

We choose what has been accepted by the majority and we reject what is not. But, to what extent will we continue to act this way? To what extent do I decide how to live my own life? When do I value what I value because it is truly what I want versus what I am “supposed to do?”

I assume we all arrive at these questions and reflective and transformational points at different times in life. I invite you to think about it. To feel the words inside of you right now. We all have feelings and thoughts that are uniquely our own; that are uniquely tied to the present; that are opportunities for growth, change, and transformation. But, if we keep on distracting ourselves away from ourselves, then we will never fully be ourselves.

Author of “Loose Ends: The Evolution of Consciousness Part I,” and resident of San Diego, CA.