Tonight, I feel extremely grateful to and proud of myself. I've just hung up with an old friend and our conversation brought me so much clarity. The conversation lasted an hour or so and I processed things that have been swirling around in my head for some time now. I tend to chew on ideas for a very long time and it takes forever to make out what it is specifically I feel drawn to about those ideas. But something clicked for me and I would like to explore it further here.
The gratitude and the pride I feel is tied to my curiosity and the willingness to engage with thought. It also stems from having been through quite a lot the last few years and staying sober no matter what. I haven't really discussed the mechanics of my alcoholism here, but just as a quick aside, once I take a drink, it is either impossible or extremely difficult to control what happens next. It wasn't always that way, but overtime, the addiction has matured, and I am fairly certain today that one beer could threaten everything I have and even my life.
The nature of my relationship with this friend I spoke with over the phone matters here. I believe many variables must come into play at once in order to produce something special. I think it's telling that I feel the way I do right now (like some big realization has just plopped into my lap) when I consider two specific qualities of the relationship I have with this friend. a) We are not terribly close or we don't know each other very intimately and b) despite quality A, there is a lot of trust between us and some major common ground. I mention all of this because I think sometimes, for me anyways, I can learn a lot about myself by simply dialoguing with someone who doesn't have to hear me talk everyday. There is a strange freedom there to express myself, characterize my life, and explore my thoughts free of judgement and perceived judgement.
Anyways. There are things I discovered while on the phone with this fellow that I would like to put in writing. Because as I shared my thoughts with him (about a number of different subjects), it became fairly obvious that I am beginning to transform some feelings and loosely connected ideas into a more concrete understanding.
So here goes.
#1, multiple things which feel at first contradictory can be true at once in regards to any subject and it is possible to parse separate truths surrounding a subject instead of assuming the truths are mutually exclusive or incompatible. This concept is not altogether extremely nuanced or totally misunderstood by many, but there is something about adopting a mindset of non-duality which strikes me as revelatory. The concept has been bouncing around in my brain my whole adult life, and somehow I feel like I've finally grasped it with my heart. I believe this will prove most helpful in my relationships.
#2, and this is the umbrella which covers #1, but I have a real interest in philosophy. Another thing I've sort of wondered about, but which now seems real. I remember the first time I smoked pot. I lied on my best friend's couch and after a while, I began to talk to him endlessly. At some point, I exclaimed, "Dude, I love to sing. Like I love it. I do it all the time and it brings me so much joy, but I've never really admitted that to myself!". I didn't know it then, but what I was dancing around during my stoned rant was shame. Shame has held me back from accepting, acknowledging, and crediting myself for the things that make me me. Tonight birthed a similar realization, although I did not have to get high this time. I have felt insecure about my fascination with philosophy for a very long time. I am not well-read, I don't have credentials or any groundbreaking hypotheses, and I often wonder if I am a stupid person trying to pretend I'm interested in "smart people things". Again, shame. "I am not good enough". "I can't learn and it's a waste of time to try". "Everybody understands these concepts that I am just now learning about". These are some of the things I tell myself. But as a matter of fact, I have had a philosophical mind my whole life. I have always been fascinated by the nature of knowledge, awareness, reason, god (or lack thereof), reality, thought experiments, etc. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to pick things apart. I love talking about and exploring morality, art, the natural world, how people work, etc, for as long as you will let me!
And #3, I am feeling less confused and more clear about who I am/what I value, and what kinds of people/communities I want to surround myself with. Here are a couple things I can think of off the top of my head.
I really value my space and autonomy.
I never want to subscribe to a set of values or ideas which attach themselves too tightly to my identity. In the same vain, I never want to be a part of a community which asks that I not change my mind about my beliefs or requires something more of me than just being myself.
I care about Grace and I want others to experience it.
I think the idea of being an "arrived" or "whole" person is bullshit, and striving in general to achieve some kind of balance or equilibrium in life is a waste of time.
I want people in my life who can have difficult, uncomfortable conversations in good faith with love.
I want the folks I'm closest with to respect me as an artist and to understand what it takes to put one's whole heart into their work. It can be messy, strange, and dark. I am unwilling to sacrifice my creative life for any relationship, job, circumstance, etc.
I am a very thoughtful and loving human being and I have a lot to give.
I am wary of dogma, lazy thinkers, and anyone who says they know who God is and what happens after we die. Because that's just downright impossible.
This relates to point #2, but I wouldn't mind continuing to forge relationships with folks who share my interests. I think sometimes I feel intellectually lonely. Not that I am smarter than others, but that I lack enough like-minded individuals who can challenge me, teach me, and learn from me. Not everyone cares about the things I do. Not everyone likes the kind of music I make. But they are out there. I shall find them.
I tried to organize these thoughts to the best of my ability, although I can recognize how disturbingly discombobulated #3 was.
I feel like I misrepresented or lost track of some of the epiphany I felt when I first sat down to write this, but I am still glad I tried to organize and communicate my thoughts. There is always more internet to inject my life and thoughts into (I can write as many blogs as I'd like).
As always, I am wishing you well and grateful for your support and readership.
Go stream my new song, "April"!