SLOW TRAFFIC | Finding patience in (real) life
It’s interesting how writing a book demands me to do what I’m really really not good at:
Sitting down for long periods, practicing patience, and...the most annoying, infuriating piece - learning to be okay with
During my first year in the States, back when I was living in Los Angeles, I took a six month course to become certified as a Sports Rehab/PT at a school in Pasadena. On every day of my drive from West Hollywood I would race - German-style autobahn driving, obv - going 90 miles/hour until, inevitably, got slowed down by....L.A. traffic. ‘You know, L.A. traffic, how the city slow’ (Drake knows…mind you, not a single speeding ticket, but a total of 63 parking tickets...L.A. logic)
I have a knee-jerk reaction to being in slo-mo:
I want things to happen right here, right now, in THIS very second. (Simultaneously, cringing at my own childish outcries...grow up, J!)
When things don’t flow, I try to muscle my way through. Which, of course, is the opposite of flow,
and ain’t no good thing (or word) is coming out of that.
I try to push, nudge... make it work, but end up not getting any of it to work, really.
I bring the same unhelpful tactic to dealing with my emotional hiccups:
Finding myself in a state I do not fancy, i.e. the funky place where I’m not quite rock-bottom, not quite high on life...I start toggling from one idea to another, back and forth, going from fight-mode: “throw proverbial bombs at xyz” to flee-mode: distract, distract and distract some more. In times of high “get the funk outta here”, I exercise twice daily. Sounds healthy, but, in reality, is yet another way of
trying to solve the unsolvable.
Luckily, with one default thumb reflex, the world is at my disposal, and I can pick my poison: messaging, social media, buying stuff (not on a dating app, but if that’s you - add +1/2/3 ) ....plus, now, I live in NYC. Welcome to the city of infinite distractions.
Back to Cali and my then daily Weho-Pasadena commute:
No matter how fast I went on the first few miles of my drive,
I could not accelerate the journey.
The US 101 was always there, in my way, preventing me from arriving any sooner, or going any faster. (read in exasperated voice)
So I had to sit,
Till traffic picked up again.
And this is what I do now. I sit my derrière down, as patiently impatient it may be (little swivels left and right, including). And wait. For traffic to pick up again. For emotions doing their motion thing, and for creativity/words/good things to flow,
Because I know my pushing ain’t gonna speed up any of it, and because insisting on banging one’s skull against a wall...uhm, ain’t graceful, imo.
Forget all the fabulous L.A. kundalini-yoga classes I’ve taken: Practicing this, sitting in the grim discomfort of it all, opened my eyes to one of life’s many paradoxes:
In stillness, we (can) instigate movement, that slowly (ya, I know) dissolves the uncomfortable feels. We become raw, and open, and connected. And in that, there is grace. The only prerequisite: OFF-device, and ON-longmindedness.
Save the pushing for when it matters (sorry, had to). No cheating.
A few generous thoughts for the equally eager/anxious/ambitious ones:
Approach life as if you’re seducing it. Slow-Jamz. Bring a quality of intimacy to your work, yourself, and the other person. (the latter may prevent heartache…just sayin’)
Embrace low to go high. Any experience you have that gives you a new point in your scale of emotions makes any other experience richer because you’ll have a new point of reference. (in other words, a full emotional range will give you access to touch-the-sky feels sans the substances)
Find Solace. Preferably sit with someone who is, well, real. (in every meaning of the word) And/Or: Watch Martin and read Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialism & humanism - an incongruous combination for sure, but one that seems to work for various woes and reactivity to slo-mo. (for me, at least)
Good to know: Incubation is a process of unconscious recombination of thought elements that were stimulated through conscious work at one point in time, resulting in novel ideas at some later point in time. Incubation substantially increases the odds of solving a problem, and benefits from long incubation periods (!) with low cognitive workloads. (more geek-reads here)
“What is happening to me happens to all fruits that grow ripe. It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker, and my soul quieter.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche