“What can I do if I do till it’s gone?”
Yep, starting off a blog with a quote from Yelawolf.
Insight can come from strange places.
I don’t listen to a lot of rap, and I don’t remember why I watched this video, but it had a tremendous impact on me. It’s essentially a guy talking about how much people expect from him now that he’s wealthy, but that if he uses everything he has he will not have anything left to help anyone, and how just because he is dependable people should not take him for granted. He also hints at shooting people, but that is neither here nor there.
I had people caution me about doing too much and running myself out, but I did not start listening to them for quite a while.
I even had someone call me out about a Superman poster I had on the wall of my office, directly above my head. If it had any meaning, it was subconscious – I don’t even really like Superman, Dr. Doom is where it’s at – but I got their point. I did, for a very long time, have this idea that I was not allowed to take time for myself or step back from the things I was doing if they were helping others. I felt like slowing down was a sign of weakness or laziness or just plain selfishness. This led me to times of being completely useless to anyone because I was so burned out that even looking at another human made me angry.
This isn’t even addressing the arrogance/delusion of thinking it was my job to help everyone, but that’s another story.
Here’s another example, in case 1980’s arcade game references are easier for you than not-quite-famous white rappers. I used to hang out at this arcade that had Excitebike, just a simple little motorcycle racing game that ruled. You had this turbo button you could use for a burst of speed that would recharge slowly after you let your finger off the button. The problem was, if you ran the turbo all the way out your bike would sputter and stall and you were parked on the side of the track until the turbo refilled, which it did very slowly. The race was pretty much over for you once this happened. I’ve learned I can take care of myself and let off the turbo button, or I can crash for a few days, holing up and playing video games and binge watching The Office for the 7th time and hating the world.
This life is short, and we do need to take care of ourselves and to experience the world around us.
We aren’t much good at our jobs, being in a family, or just being alive when we are exhausted and burned out and slightly homicidal. Working to help other people doesn’t exclude you from this either, even though those same people will tell you it does. No matter what you do for a living, whether you are feeding orphans so they can pay attention in school or kidnapping them so they can build iPhones, you have to take a break sometimes and it is easier to do this intentionally rather than waiting for the bottom to drop out on you. Kidnapping orphans is tough work, take a day or two for yourself.
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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