Slap! Slap! The veins on my left hand have started to pop out. I need to be careful. The last time I did this, I bled.
Slap! Slap! Slap!
Ever since Thanksgiving weekend, my noodle has been going around and around and around about things that it can do nothing about. Trying so hard to solve the problems. Problems that have no solutions, or at least, no solutions that I can implement.
I’ve tried everything. Reframing the problem. Questioning my assumptions. Finding compassion. Gratitude. Mediation. EFT. Energy Medicine. Self-talk. Talking to the Bear. Still, the cycle goes on and on and on.
Apparently, my fight or flight impulse only understands violence. So, violence is what it’s going to get.
I’m that desperate.
So, starting yesterday, when my noodle would bring up the stressful thing, whatever that stressful thing is, I give myself a slap on the back of the hand. My noodle figures out that obsessing over things hurts, physically. It’s been hurting mentally but my noodle is too mired in that to give a shit.
Despite all the slapping, yesterday was the most peaceful day I’ve had in a long time.
I’ve started working with some “creative-thinking techniques” laid out in Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko.
I was working with a technique called Stone Soup. In it, you lay out your challenge and then ask a bunch of “what if” questions, the crazier the better.
Challenge: I need to focus more on my creative life and less on my negativity.
- What if I received an electric shock whenever I had a negative idea?
- What if I could take a pill to cure negativity?
- What if I gave into the negativity and became a serial killer?
- What if I scheduled every minute of my day with creative tasks?
- What if I hired someone to supervise me and remind me to be creative?
- What if I joined a creative community? (once Covid is contained)
- What if I had a reminder system to help me stop being negative?
- What if I could change my personality?
- What if changing my diet could affect me?
- What if I could become a dog?
- What if I could become a cat?
- What if I had a rubber band on my wrist and snapped it when I was negative?
- What if I buried myself in books?
- What if I learned more?
- What if I experienced more?
- What if I withdrew into myself?
- What if I could get over my PTSD?
- What if I could just not care anymore?
- What if I wrote more?
- What if I gained more skills?
- What if I could spend more time contemplating different subjects?
From here you take each of these and write down the different ideas you have about them, without regard to the question. Then you look at your challenge in terms of that answer.
Rubber Band Man
Since I already know that violence is an effective way to get me to stop thinking about negative things, I didn’t even bother with making a list and mulling it all over. I just implemented it.
I don’t have any rubber bands, and in reality, they are a bit too violent, my poor wrist. I end up looking like I just escaped from terrorists or something. So, I decided to give myself a sharp slap instead.
I have to change places on my hands and arms because I’m getting older and my skin is not a tough as it used to be.
Yes, I know this sounds terrible, but I’ve tried everything else. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And it helps with the one “What If” I’m talking about here, “What if I just didn’t care?”.
What If I Just Didn’t Care?
Like everyone else in the world, I only have so many Fucks to give. Having my noodle swirl and dance with things I can do nothing about is not efficient or effective. It’s also affecting my physically. If I can’t do anything about it, it doesn’t deserve one of my Fucks. No matter how much it truly desires it. No matter how much it tries to force the Fuck out of me. No matter that it might actually be a good cause. A mercy Fuck.
There are some things I can never change. People are the big ones. People will always do what they want to do. You can’t shame and blame them, although many continue to try. You can’t force them to do something. The moment your back is turned, they’re doing it again anyway. And really, who are any of us to sit in judgment of others? It’s a sign of humility to say, “Even though it seems self-evident and true to me, what if I’m wrong?”
For years I’ve been telling people that I wish I was some sort of sociopath or psychopath. I just didn’t want to care anymore. Caring is hard. It’s stressful. It can tie a person into knots. And so much of it is just not in our control. Now that we’re more global, we see news from all over the world. 99.9% of it we can do nothing about. They all beg for our Fucks.
So, I asked myself the question, “What if I just didn’t care?” Here are some of the answers.
- I could do what I want to do
- I could follow my own moral code
- I could hear other people’s points of view without losing my mind
- I could be detached and think logically
- Reduce empathic pain
- Reduce psychological noise
- Not take everything personally
- Be able to just BE MYSELF
- I get to decide what’s important to care about
- I can be more deliberate
- I can be more selective and discerning
- I can feel less responsible for things I’m not responsible for
- My chosen friends will be good friends
- I can follow my own path
- “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
- I am responsible for ONLY my own guilt
- I feel shame for ONLY the shame that I’ve earned
- Know my happiness depends ONLY on me
That all sounds really good to me. And it’s not as heartless as it might seem from the original question. Dare I say, maybe even a bit enlightened? But then, I could be wrong. I often am.
Caught myself thinking of…
Yeah, that thought is not useful.
Thinkertoys is good. But I think I need to focus first on idea generation. Sitting around doing exercises on reducing negativity is helpful for me as a person, but my goal is to be more creative.
Maybe a mixture of creative prompts and exercises with Thinkertoys will help make sure the ideas get fleshed out. That sounds like the ticket.
It’s time to move forward. And since I’ve fucked up and wasted too many years, that forward movement needs to be efficient. No more dwelling in the past.
If only she had…
She, and what she did, doesn’t matter anymore.
I need to forget about her and…
Slap! Slap! Slap!
That joke writing class starts in a month and I need to get ahead of it. Let’s get to it…