Monday, May 18, 2009

Choosing to Stay

Perhaps it's because I'm living rent-free with my dad and stepmom so I have the luxury of more free time on my hands than usual. Perhaps it's because I'm in a new city with only a few friends and I miss my people at home in NYC. Perhaps it's because I'm 28 and having a quarter-life crisis. Perhaps it's because I'm almost at my Saturn Return, the time when many rockstars overdose, the time when, apparently, your soul decides to stay or go.

Whatever it is - maybe a combination of all these things - I'm experiencing some existential angst. Feeling that I really don't know what I'm doing here as a human being in this physical life on this planet, and sometimes I'm not sure I really want to be here at all. Don't worry, I'm not about to do anything dangerous or destructive. But my ambivalence about life does seem to be hitting me right between the eyes at the moment.

I remember that after watching the movie The Hours, my mom said she thinks depression is self-absorbed and narcissistic. I see her point. And I'm loathe to be some poor little rich girl, absorbed in so much mental masturbation about life that I'm completely useless to anyone and I miss the beauty of life that's right in front of me. However, since this existential ambivalence seems to have been with me to some degree, on and off, since birth, and I'm sick of it, I've decided to try a new strategy. The strategy is to allow myself to be in it a little bit while I have the space and time to do so. I'm thinking maybe I'll discover something there - something that will help me heal it more effectively than pushing it away. And it seems a good time to do so, since apparently my soul will be deciding whether to stay or go sometime in the next year, and even though I find life rather challenging at times, I'm pretty sure I'd like to stay.

So yesterday I decided to embark upon an experiment, or a piece of research. That is that I will be investigating what makes me feel glad to be here as a human being on the planet. Alive. I'm going to be on the lookout for moments, for sensations, for feelings, for experiences. And then I'm going to see if this effects what I create in my life, what I express and how I express it.

I have experimented with various principles and teachings: Abraham-Hicks, the laws of attraction, Louise Hay, Mama Gena, A Course in Miracles, 12-step programs, Christianity, paganism, Catherine Ponder. And some work for me to some degree and some don't. Most are partly working and partly not. But often they feel like some sort of construct to help me cope with life, or manipulate it (or my Higher Power - God, Goddess, the Universe) into giving me what I want. And that's not how I want to live my life, using something to make the most of something that I'm not actually really enjoying as a whole in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time I am a very faithful and positive person. And I have experienced many miracles and blessings that have validated my positive beliefs. But occasionally it's a front. And what I'm looking at right now is those times, and seeing if I can find something underneath that that will actually bring me to more faith and more joy than I already have. And I think that, as a person who is often escaping "regular life" by pretending to be someone else (acting), performing onstage (singing or acting), or reading, maybe I'm due for a little immersion in what's worthwhile about regular life, regardless of my relationship with my Higher Power.

Obviously I'm making this up as I go along, as we generally do in life. But I think it's going to be a worthwhile investigation. Perhaps you'd like to join me! Just to clarify, the experiment is to pay attention to things that make you feel glad you're alive as a human being in this physical life on this planet right now. And if paying attention to that somehow effects or informs your choices, that'll be interesting to note, as well.