In the realm of decorating, few things can change a room more easily or more dramatically than painting the walls. I had a great friend who was enamored with color changes. She was bold with color and in a whimsical moment on a weekday morning, she would go to the Home Depot and buy a gallon of paint. Her husband would return home to a new room. It was exciting and thrilling to watch her courage. It is a small speed bump but one many people will not roll over: bold statements and brash decisions.
I want nothing more than to paint the walls in this room in which I sleep but do not own. But I have to submit in writing, with paint chips, samples of the color I wish to use and wait for written approval. I am still in debate. Is it worth the effort?
This is a worth debate. What is worth the effort? What is worth our time? Time can often be the rarest commodity. If traded on the S&P 500 it would be a more exclusive stock than any of the blue chips. Time is that which so many of us have so little. Time is what chases us, nipping at our heels, telling us we are running out. Time is what we are up against, embattled to beat. Time is our desire and it is the most elusive drug….and we chase after it like a 2-bit junkie crack whore. We want more. More time to sleep. More time to love. More time to make love. More time to finish a project. More time to exercise in a day filled to the brim. More time to eat healthy. More time to drive slower and safer. More time to think deeply and feel deeply. But, we rush through living always chasing time but not really living. Like an addict, we are our own shadows.
We live like a speedboat on a smooth bay, full throttle and up on a plane. Any south Florida boatsman knows those early mornings when Biscayne Bay is like glass, barely a ripple, the morning sun just coming up and streaking across the water like a flashlight beam. There are few things more exhilarating than clearing the No Wake zone and shoving the gear forward. The engines engage and the propellers dig in; the nose of the boat rises and the boat moves forward, gaining speed. In a matter of minutes, you’re flying. BUt we are not meant to live in a constant state of full throttle.
Speed is amazing, thrilling, joyous. Most people that ride roller coasters spend the 60-90seconds screaming and laughing. And it is not a nervous laugh born of terror. It is the conjoined twin of terror. The roller coaster, albeit a fabrication or illusion, lets modern man beat death. And when we realize we have won the battle, we laugh our asses off. It is a celebration of life and living.
The average daily life has chronic stress, a low grade background noise. The stress of modern life is rarely at a pace or threat level to equate with the roller coaster or a speed boat. In this dynamic, there is no rush of adrenaline, no affirmation that we have beaten death. The modern life is not a warrior’s life. And in many ways this is good….because ultimately, our life expectancy has doubled in the last 100-150 years. But, the chronic trickle of stress gives us all that jangling sensation of an impending battle but there is no foe, no enemy, no battle. Just the drudgery and the grind and the rushing. We are in a constant state of preparing for a battle that never comes. Eventually, like any chemical process, we “down regulate” and our ability to produce adrenaline is lessened,; we become desensitized. We can no longer manifest the response needed when really faced with a foe. We “manage” chronic stress and the constant pressure of the modern life…some far better than others….but it is not how the human body was designed. The human, as a biological specimen, has a tremendous anatomical design perfectly and absolutely geared at addressing survival from an adrenaline response. If you believe in intelligent design: study the anatomy of the sympathetic nervous system. If you believe in evolution, then ask this question: why hasn’t the autonomic nervous system evolved away over the millennium of man as a species? And why isn’t the adrenal gland the size of our livers and the pituitary gland the size of a tangerine ?
I think it is because we are supposed to live like warriors and hunters. Still. You hunt. You kill. You eat. You rest. You REST. You are ON and then you are OFF. And there is meant to be a joy and celebration in the successfulness of the hunt. Hunting can be done alone, but is more effective and more beneficial when done cooperatively. I am certain, we are not designed (or evolved) to sit around wringing our hands and fretting over shit. So attack each day like a force. Gather strength and share the effort. Combine energy with others and take down the day. And then REST. The energy is within us, we are designed to be the greatest warriors. We need to stop denying our truth and our innate abilities….we have the power IN OUR ANATOMY…to seize this day.