Kris O'Connell
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10 Things...

10 Things...

Jul 26, 2022

It's so entirely easy to fall into the trap of seeing how the problems of our lives can overcome our mental state. Money issues, time constraints, work events that pull us from the activities we'd rather be doing.

This is where I'd love to tell you that I never fall trap to this kind of mentality because I'm superhuman and you need to take my "Become Superhuman in 5 Easy Steps!"© course for 5 small payments of $499. Nope. Those scam artists make that shit up as they go. As I shook the sleepies from my eyes, my life came back into vision and I was left with some of these anxious thoughts when I really woke up.

  • "Where is my next paycheck coming from?"

  • "How am I going to get everything done today?"

  • "Who the hell came up with the idea of a unicorn? A rhinoceros with a horse body and wings? Fuck off. Let's get a rhinoceros with some wings and a dinosaur tail. THAT'S metal."

Perhaps the last one is annoyingly irrelevant, but I'm still curious enough to think about it, but not enough to google it.

These thoughts can be traps into a downward cycle that can paralyze your actions and have locked me in my apartment for hours holding me hostage with a gun to my temple... forcing feeding me a never ending buffet thoughts of self-loathing and depression. It can be really fucking dark... think how like a blackhole doesn't even let light escape. These falsities can become sentient and when fed, they grow. They get more creative in their web-weaving stories and give life to some narrative that is only true in a Stephen King novel. They turn you into a vampire that prefers darkness and would be obliterated in an instant by sunshine. Happiness becomes something you feel unworthy of and therefor feeling like shit is all you're willing to accept. Like a mad scientist growing an evil creation in his basement, this mindset grows and consumes everything in its' sight until it finally consumes you. Really, the best metaphor out there is Jordan Peele's Get Out where the smiling version of yourself is looking out from the inside, screaming for help at the top of your lungs, but no one can save you. Only you can crawl your way out.

In a nutshell, it's frightening and my heart goes out to anyone ever dealing with it. Just know, it really is possible to accept some happiness. Being grateful for anything and everything can help you crawl out of the internal grave that's been dug. You can get out and shake that attitude like a dog coming out of a bath. Hopefully, less messy.

BUT... these same thoughts can be pressure that turns your action into diamonds. It's truly up to you. I've personally been on both ends and to reference back to the words of a parent that wasn't mine... "Are you going to cry about it or do something about it?" Even taking the smaaaaaaallest bit of action will start to steer the ship around.

For me, it was about a solid morning routine to put me on the right mental track. When I wake, it starts the same; grasping at the dreams of fantasy and adventure that reeled across the back of my eyelids like a epic movie and watching them fade away as I enter my body again. Then, feeling all the aches and pains of existence my feet move towards the floor. As my toes hit the ground I stare at each individual twisted, bent, and broken appendage and count them. Yup, still 10. Phew. Then it becomes 10 things I'm grateful for. It could be something as dumb as water next to my bed or something as meaningful of having the love of friends and family to support me when things get tough. The bed gets made and the bedroom is a place that is left uninhabited until 15ish hours later.

Next is a 15 minute breathing and stretching routine that helps realign the body. Each breath is inhaled up through the toes, over the front of my misaligned construct of a meat vehicle, and exhaled down my back into my heels. Deep through the diaphragm and into the chest, then out the same way. Thoughts come and they go. They get acknowledged and the focus is brought back to my body and breath. The last 5 minutes are spent sitting in a 3rd world squat. I'll go deeper into the benefits of that another time.

That 15 minute routine does a great job at getting last night's dinner to find its' exit, followed by a cold shower (or finding small tasks to do in avoidance of ripping your own comfort away like a warm comforter on a frigid winter evening) and journaling at least 1,000 words of pure word vomit, a stream of nonsensical consciousness that I save and never reread. Maybe one day, but not today.

All this nonsense can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour of my morning, but what it does is shifts my perspective for the day. Any lingering guilt from the night before about not being productive enough dissipates in the stream of action I've set forth. You get lost in the meditation of it all. The routine sets you up to be active, to stay on task, to listen to your soul, and to keep the masturbation of idling or "scrolling" out of your hands. Occasionally, some creative idea will slap you in the face like a hook from Mike Tyson... or not, but that's not up to you. A lot of it just allows you to do a "systems check" on your mind and body. You'll realize how anxious you are, if there's any reason for it, how your random thoughts are affecting the rest of your body, etc. Hopping in a cold shower will force you to chill out (pun somewhat intended) and keep your stress to a minimum while taking on the most difficult task first thing. Journaling allows you to set yourself up for the rest of the day and ridding yourself of the monkey-mind. It all serves its' purpose.

Because at the end of the day, a lot of it is bullshit. You can always make more money. Not everything needs to get done today. Deadlines aren't always absolute and in most times, they're not. Most things can be relative. Think of what a $20 can do for someone that just needs a bottle of water and a sandwich. Now, let's think of some of the dumbest and most useless ways you've spent $20. You're not alone, that cereal box of Poop Like a Champion I bought as a joke is going to be a stocking stuffer because I'm tired of looking at it.

What's important? The loved ones beside you. Your health - physical, mental, spiritual. Being a good person to your fellow humans, including yourself. Smiling. Your time, because that's all we have.

"What's the meaning to this incessant rambling?" you ask? Good fucking question. In actuality, it's just to serve as a reminder to both of us, you and me, that we should be goddamned grateful for all that we have - material possessions, the love of the people around us, the roof over our heads, the ability to walk, the ability to breathe, the ability to read, access to clean drinking water... the list goes on. I'm unsure if the access to thoughts as dumb as the "unicorn-rhinoceros paradox" is a blessing or a curse, but it's there and I'm grateful that the muse drops me some nonsense from time to time. Bullshit aside, it really is easy to find 10 things to be grateful for, especially if someone like myself can do it first thing in the morning. Take 30 seconds before going about your day to try it and see if your perspective starts to shift or if you're a happier person throughout the day. If not, try not being an asshole. That helps too.

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