Immediately after I clicked “publish” on my post yesterday, I knew I had made a mistake. Attempting to live a wholly inspired life? (and letting other people know my intention to do so)…who was I kidding? It’s a preposterous and, quite frankly, arrogant sentiment. Who gets to live like that?
The truth is, I stopped feeling inspired years ago. Or, perhaps, I’ve never really felt inspired. Often the act of life becomes what it is. Predictable. Mindless. Automatic. At any rate, this old dog can’t learn a new trick in one week.
This contemplative living thing makes for a complicated existence. What I realized (after I clicked that ‘publish’ button and the adrenaline of significance dissipated into terror) is that there isn’t a binary system of living: inspired *or* insipid; remarkable *or* inconsequential.
Life is a massive, intricate, unsolvable algorithm.
So here’s what I did learn today:
- There are things that I do each day, not because I’m answering some deep, motivational call to do them, but because I need to do them: taking the dog on a 40 minute walk even though it’s 22 degrees outside (so he doesn’t poop on the carpet); planning & purchasing & cooking & cleaning up after a tasty & healthy dinner (so my kid stays healthy); paying bills; picking up the dog’s poop on said walk (so I don’t get a ticket, also, poopy sidewalks…ew.); and laundry (…laundry sucks, but so does an empty underwear drawer and an 11 year old with dirty drawers). My motivation to do these things is responsibility, obligation and untethered love for my family.
- There are things that I do not do each day, even though I could root out a deep motivational call for me to do them: stay in bed until noon; eat a (medium size) bag of Cool Ranch Doritos; smoke a few cigarettes; buy shoes; the guy from my writing class who smells like rain. My motivation to NOT do these things is (also) responsibility, obligation and untethered love for my family.
- I don’t like to read as much as I like to say that I like to read. I wish I could download stories and the contents of textbooks to my brain. Reading takes too long.
- Watercolor painting is hard.
- It’s nearly impossible to silence the ratty, chatty, judgmental, clamorous and nervous voice in my head, so when I need some auditory peace it’s best if I read poems out loud, hum, or try to identify a birdsong. (At the moment I can barely discern the song of the dove from the caw of a crow but we’ll get there.) No matter, the contrasting noise helps.
- Sometimes it’s best to not come to conclusions too soon.