A few weeks ago I told you about a video I saw that brought me to a profound realization about myself and who I am, with or without ED. I think the universe served me that video, along with a few hints, and the capacity to understand what I needed to learn.
I think the same thing happened again last week. I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me and it was already 7pm, so I pulled up my “throwback” playlist. I like to listen to songs I memorized a decade or two ago, because remembering the words (and singing along) helps keep my brain awake when I am tired.
An old favorite, Janis Joplin, popped up. I went through what you might call a “Woodstock phase” in my early teens. I don’t even remember what started it, but I was basically obsessed with Janis Joplin, Joan Baez and Jimi Hendrix. Anyway, Ball and Chain starts playing and I’m jamming out in my car until around the 5 minute mark when she starts “rambling.”
I never really understood exactly what she was talking about before, after, or in the middle of songs and I never really tried, because I always assumed it was just drug induced rambling that wasn’t even supposed to make any sense. But this day I was driving and didn’t have anything else to do with my brain, to distract me from these words (they start around the 5:30 mark, if you want to watch the video):
“If you gotta care for one day, man, I mean, say maybe you wanna care for 365 days, right? You ain’t got it for 365 days, you got it for ONE DAY, man. Well I tell you, that one day, man, better be your life. Because, you know, you can say ‘aw man’ and you can cry about the other 364, man, but you’re gonna lose that ONE DAY. And that’s all you got, you gotta call that love, man. That’s what it is, man.
If you got it today, you don’t wear it tomorrow, man, ’cause you don’t need it. ‘Cause as a matter of fact, as we discovered on the terrain, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same fucking day, man. (Note: there’s a possibility she is saying got a ‘cat’ and you don’t have ‘him’ for 365, but my takeaway is still the same.)
I’ve been working on being “present” in the moment for a few years now. The closest I ever got was when I was practicing Tai Chi regularly, but I had never been able to explain it/understand it quite so simply and bluntly. If I spend the ONE DAY I have worrying about what I won’t have the remaining days of my life, then I also lose the one day I DO have. It’s not that I didn’t have the information before, but somehow, hearing it from this person, in this way, at this time, shifted something inside of me.
Since this revelation, I’ve been able to be more productive at work, because I’m not allowing fear of the future (what people will say, how they will react, whether it will be good enough, etc) to paralyze me from taking action in the present. I’ve been able to love and appreciate my self in individual moments, without thinking about being perfect in the next moment, or the next day, or forever. Just for today. I’ve been able to make some big decisions and feel completely at peace about them, because they are the best decision I can make right now, with the information I already have, instead of fooling myself into believing that I can somehow predict or figure out what the future will hold and make a better decision that way.
These few sentences didn’t magically change me, but they took knowledge I already had in my brain and carried it to my heart/soul, where it turned into wisdom. And somehow that has made all the difference.