I have $227 in my checking account. I have over $60,000 in debt. Student loans, credit cards. I’ve been trying to “make it big” for about three years now. When I left grad school, I decided I was going to Be An Entrepreneur.
My plan? Work on my website. Sell information products. Be wild and crazy and not give a fuck.
Somewhere along the way I forgot how to be wild and crazy. Sure, I can still drink and drug you under the table, but that’s not exactly the kind of wild and crazy to build a business on.
I stopped speaking up. I write my little self-help articles, but I never really give any details as to how I learned my assorted self-help tips. I just publish “Smile and let go!” and expect to be rewarded with thousand dollar donations.
I haven’t stirred anything up in a long time. I’m too attached to my safe little life in my safe little apartment with my safe little workout routine.
But sooner or later I’m either going to have to do something different or start asking for help paying my bills.
I tell myself, I’m awesome for doing what I’m doing! I’m winning! I’m following my bliss! But am I? What the fuck is my bliss?
My bliss would be to not care what my parents think. To not care if they knew how terribly off I am financially. To not care if they knew the real me. The one who smokes pot and makes rape jokes. The one who sleeps with a girl and sometimes a boy. At the same time.
My bliss would be to stop using my credit cards and spend money I felt good about making. My bliss would be to not worry about how I’m going to pay the rent. My bliss would be to air all my shit in the open so I don’t have to live another day in fear of what my friends will think of me when they find out I can’t afford a new pair of sneakers.
But I could buy a new pair and put them on my new Nordstrom card and keep smiling and pretending I have some imaginary trust fund.
Or I can decide to be honest. What’s the difference? We’re all going to die. We’re not going to remember this.
I told my friend at the gym this morning, “Just make a decision. Either quit doing what you’re doing or decide to enjoy it.” I know when I start giving advice it’s time to start taking it.
So here’s my decision. I’m not going to give a flying fuck what you think about me. Mom and Dad, I love you so much, but I can’t live my life in fear of what you think of me. My dear friends, I love you so much, but I can’t live my life in fear of what you think of me.
I don’t really know how to not live my life in fear of what you think of me, but writing this seems like as good a start as any.
There is an apartment building in my neighborhood that has the words “Enjoy being” painted across the front of it. I love the concept, but up until recently I really had no idea what it meant.
In another part of Austin, on a bridge that crosses Lady Bird Lake, I’ve discovered explicit instructions sent from above to answer the question of how to enjoy being: “Focus one point and breathe.”
Focus one point and breathe. Feel one point on your body or look at one single speck and breathe. It’s the simplest flow toy there is. You know you’re outside of the Now if you lose your focus, break your gaze, or get distracted. But if you can keep your attention steady on one single point, whether it’s something you’re looking at or a point you’re feeeing on your body (for example, the point where breath enters and leaves your nostrils), you’ll feel the joy of simply being. It feels like tripping—that blissful state where you know everything is perfect and magickal right now, and things like money and time truly don’t matter.
When you direct all your attention and focus to a single point, you can see how what seems stationary is constantly changing. You can begin to see and feel the unfolding of life. It’s always in motion and there is no action you can take to influence it. All you can do is play with it and accept the gifts it constantly brings you.
Practice that state of being—the state of enjoying being—and that is the only work you will ever have to do on this Earth. Everything you want will unfold perfectly, now that you’ve gotten out of the way.
In the School of Life Design group, Lynn asked “What are your mantras/tricks for staying in the moment and not freaking out (about uncertainty, especially)?” Halcyon responded with, “Byron Katie has a great phrase about not getting too caught up in an imagined story: Remind yourself of what is real by saying, “Woman sitting in chair.” Everything else is story (aka just thoughts).”
I was able to find reference to this idea in Katie’s book online, but my imagination took the idea and ran away with it, so I left it alone for a day or so.
Last night Kelly and I were lounging in bed, when she brought up something in the future that may or may not happen, but that we both want to happen. She said something to the effect of “We get to meet those people this week!” We’ve been practicing not speaking about things outside of the Now, so I replied with “Ok… here is my reply… I don’t care. I’m in the Now.” She didn’t get offended, because she knows it’s for the best to stay in the Now too.
We chilled for a minute, not saying anything, which turned into some quality cuddling. Being in the Now FTW! The next thing Kelly said to me was, “Girl lying in bed with her hand between another girl’s legs. Hey, that’s pretty awesome!” By choosing to stay in the Now and focus only on what was going on in the present moment, Kelly found herself receiving something that she had previously wanted and was trying to obtain by thinking about the future: human connection.
Being in the Now as an artform
I spent much of today directing my thoughts by describing to myself only what I was doing in the Now. “Girl driving a new car listening to Nicki Minaj on full blast. Girl peeing while looking at the sun filter through the trees. Girl taking photographs for UCllc.” On that last one, I actually heard my mind respond with, “Hey, I want to do that!”
WTF? By describing my Now reality to myself, I succeeded in making my mind want to be in the Now. After working at UCllc for over 6 months, I’ve become something of a staff photographer. I’m pretty used to it, definitely good at it, and you could say I nearly take it for granted now. But if you would have told me about someone else being their staff photographer a year ago, I definitely would have felt jealous of that person, and coveted the position.
Not only did this little trick make my mind want to join the Now, but the description “Girl peeing while looking at the sun filter through the trees” made me feel like I was living in a painting. Suddenly, I understood how painters could paint such mundane scenes. In the Now, nothing is mundane. Everything is magickal.
Being in the Now is power
When we meditated today, I began by thinking “Girl meditating.” I immediately started enjoying myself, thinking about how great it was that I meditate every day. As the meditation continued, I remembered the reason why I started meditating in the first place.
When I was 15 or so, I attended Catholic high school. You could say my parents “made me” go there. I sure as hell wasn’t about to buy into all the garbage that came with Catholicism, so I very actively sought out other belief systems that might make more sense. Fortunately, all the heavy metal, goth music and horror movies I was into lead me to the occult.
I dabbled in Satanism, Wicca, and plain ol’ magick. In one of my readings, I came across a spell that, when combined with meditation, would get me anything I wanted. As you might imagine, my 15-year-old self had a lot of burning desires and the idea that I could just sit still and get what I wanted was rather compelling.
So I started meditating every night, focusing on making my desires reality. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about my practice, I just sort of trusted it. And it always, always worked.
As I meditated today, I remembered again my teenage self gathering so much power from meditation. Deciding to bring that bitch back, I looked for a specific desire to focus on to make it come true. But now that I know what I know, my only real desires are to feel good and live in flow.
I realized that this “describing what I’m doing in the Now” practice is a way to live in flow, and that the more I do it, the more power I draw to myself. Every single time I stop to observe “girl typing article on keyboard” I get a surge of well being and knowing, and I feel like I’m charging up.
I look at this method of being in the Now like casting a spell on my life. The more time I spend in the present moment, appreciating the beauty and perfection of what I’m doing right now, the more power I draw to myself. The more magickal the events in my life become. The more I feel like smiling. The more things go my way. The more confident I feel. I am a girl typing an article on a computer. I wanted this.
If I were to stop and care about what you think
I would shrivel up and combust
If I were to pause and consider the outcome of my actions
I would be paralyzed
If I were to judge my own actions,
I would start a 30 day trial
If I were to overthink my behavior
I would lose the fun that comes so naturally to me
I say yes. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it.
If it causes me consequences,
see, there I go thinking outside of the Now
I have no problems, only thoughts
I will not question whether I turned off the stove
blew out the candle
let Pwny out of the bathroom.
I will be who I want to be and the past will adjust accordingly.
I will not wonder what you thought of me
What you’d think of me
Whether you think of me
I will be who I want to be and people will adjust accordingly.
I am the present to you. My present self,
my Now Self,
determines who I am.
Past. Present. Future.
Every possibility exists Now.
I change the future, I write the past
Just like everyone else
did before me.
I am the girl who has always been perfect.
I’ve always been a terminal.
And I always say yes.
Want to take some pictures together?
Ask your Self, “What’s the most fun thing I can do right now?” Even if it seems silly, even if it sounds weird, even if it scares you, DO IT! Everything you want is waiting for you!
“Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing?” According to Eckhart Tolle, if there isn’t, you’re not in the Now. This sticker is a simpler way to ask the same question. Isn’t this fun?! Isn’t it fun to be alive? Isn’t it so awesome to be part of the miracle of life?
I made these for myself to adorn my home and belongings, to serve as a cute reminder to be in the present. I just ordered a sheet of 20 from Zazzle.com, which ended up being around $9 with shipping. Luxury stickers for a luxurious life!
To snap yourself back to the present moment (away from thoughts of past or future), ask yourself, “Doesn’t this feel good?” The question asks you to ponder where you are right now and whether it feels good or not. It forces you to assess your current now and it also asks you to feel for the answer, not think about it. The question bypasses thought and goes straight to the body.
Even when feeling mildly uncomfortable, like when hungry or tired, this question works quite well at reminding me to be present. It gives me a larger perspective. Imagine you are god (which you are) and you are just now realizing you have a human body (which you do). No matter what you are feeling or experiencing, the moment is a miracle. And if you can hold that greater perspective, every now feels good.
Doesn’t this feel good? Doesn’t it feel good to have arms and legs and fingers and eyes? Doesn’t it feel good to breathe? Doesn’t it feel good to wear warm clothes? Doesn’t it feel good to hear birds sing? Doesn’t it feel good to listen to music? Doesn’t it feel good to be in this physical body? Doesn’t it feel good to be in the now? Doesn’t it feel good to explore the mystery of life?