Thursday, May 24, 2012

A life of awesome sauce and free high fives

A few days ago, I read an interview with Deepak Chopra and Oprah and one part stuck in my head. Deepak was talking about his time at a monastery in Thailand where they walked barefoot and he said "My head monk asked how it was walking. I said it hurt without shoes. And he said, 'It hurts on the foot that's down, but the one that's up feels really good—so focus on that one.'"

Sometimes it's a lot easier to focus on the things that hurt, the things that aren't going the way I want them to, but what's the point of that when there are so many good things I could be noticing instead? It's probably impossible to notice every single thing that happens. I think my brain would explode from overstimulation. Or something like that. And if I get to choose which things I pay attention to, I'd prefer the awesome sauce over the bummers.

List of body parts that feel good today: eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, tongue, nose, brain, fingers, arms, elbows, toes, knees, stomach, lady parts, left ankle, butt, neck, hair (ok, that one is probably cheating since hair can't feel pain, but it makes this list slightly longer than that of the body parts that hurt today, so I'm considering it a sign of progress).

Other things that are good: Bug was in the shop with transmission problems (which I wouldn't have known had I not been away over the weekend, leaving Bug in my parents' garage, where they noticed he was leaking fluid). The repair bill was $429. At first glance, that seems like a negative event. Except that it led to me walking home from and to work, which reminded me how pleasant of a walk it is, almost meditative somehow. While walking I had two realizations. 1) If an unfamiliar dog or cat crossed my path, I'd think nothing of petting him/her, but if an unfamiliar person crossed my path, I'd think it extremely weird to pet him/her. Why is it more natural to touch a stranger of another species than a stranger of the same species? Why do I have such odd thoughts sometimes? 2) I remember when $429 would have seemed like a lot of money. If I've gotten to the point where such a car repair bill is no big deal and I don't have to worry about it at all, I must be very lucky indeed. And my boss practically chased me down the street, trying to give me a ride home and offering to let me borrow his other car. Like I said, lucky. Plus, on my way to pick up Bug, I walked past a dude on a bench who said "Hey, free high fives," gave me a high five, then said "Yeah that's right." So there's that.

I guess nothing that happens to me is inherently bad. It's my interpretation or judgment of the situation that assigns it a value of goodness/badness. So I can judge everything in a positive light, or maybe even get to the point where I won't judge it at all.

When Bug needs repair I don't get upset or discouraged like I do when I need repair. I just think, he's old, these things happen, it will get fixed and everything will be fine. And I suppose the same is true for me. Bug and I aren't going to break any land-speed records or win any beauty pageants, but most of the time we get where we want to go. And the rest of the time we get lost and end up somewhere even better.

Lyric of the moment: "And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones...And if you're still bleeding, you're the lucky ones...And if you're in love, then you are the lucky one..."

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