I’ve been really into this show lately, it's called Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, where Jerry Seinfeld rides around in a fancy classic car with some famous hilarious person to go and get a cup a joe. Each episode is just like that, except a different car, different comedian, different coffee joint. I like it because it’s unscripted and natural, just two funny people being people, without any prefabricated agenda beyond coffee and conversation. It's light. It gives me good dreams.
Last night, I watched an episode with Howard Stern. I haven't had too much exposure to good ol' Howard, I just remember my mom was really into him, (she also thought Cosmo Kramer was the sexiest man alive… so yeah, quirky taste in men). But what I thought was so compelling about Stern in the 20 min. or so I got to witness of him on the show, is that he is as utterly arrogant as he is painfully insecure. Like squirm-worthy insecurity. Though unabashedly totally and completely out about all of it. This guy is not hiding any of himself. Even in my squirming, I felt refreshed. He made Seinfeld uncomfortable. I hadn't seen that yet. It was a lot to hold at once.
And so Howard Stern got me thinking about my own polarizing experiences of myself. Are you someone who fluctuates between extreme self-confidence and extreme self-consciousness?
Like one minute, you’re all, “DAMN. I OWN this life! Everything is happening! All of my dreams and desires are coming true! I am a magnet for GREATNESS. I am SO freaking motivated. Yessssss!!!”
And then maybe later that day, you’re like, “Shiiiiit. I don’t know what to do with my life. I can’t make any decisions. Who am I even? What do I even want? Does any of this matter? What’s the deal with life anyways… is it some kinda sick joke that I just have to endure until I die?”
Eh hem. Yeah. I could probably use some hormonal balancing. But here’s the thing, it’s not just me! Many of my clients and closest friends swing back and forth, up and down, happy not happy. Men and women, old and young. And so it’s got me wondering if it’s the nature of humanness, or just some humans, to fluctuate between radical self-belief and self-defeat.
It also would be really nice to not do that so much. To just believe in ourselves the whole time. To feel possibility and inspiration with each breath, to be motivated in a clear and decisive direction with each action. And to fully trust that we are right where we need to be, totally on par with our most scrumptious and fulfilling existence.
That’s where the self-help industry gets us. That’s where religion gets us. That’s where consumerism gets us.
This isn’t so much of a solution-oriented message. I’m not trying to solve the fluctuation conundrum, or even to promote the “middle path” as the Buddhists have so gracefully figured out. I’m more just acknowledging that when our pendulums swing, we’re not alone in that experience. Howard Stern is WITH US.
It’s important for me to remember that left to the sheer reality of having a body, in this culture, at this time, given my personal history, I’m going to feel shitty more often than I’d like to. I’m going to feel tired more often than I’d like to. I’m going to feel scared, and confused, and over-stimulated, and cold, and frustrated that there’s nothing I want to eat in the fridge, way more often than I’d like to.
And that’s just part of being alive. And so is feeling enchanted, and deeply moved, and profoundly connected, and well-rested, and awe-struck, and giggly, and warm and satiated.
Because Life is a FULL Package.
We get to fall in love.
We get to lose that which is the most precious to us.
We get to push ourselves to face our fears and feel the elation of freedom on the other side.
We get to discover that on the other side is a brand new fear that is going to take a bunch more courage.
We get to struggle with our bodies and how we feel in them.
We get to have “chance” encounters with beings we feel instantly kindred to.
We get to fall out with close friends we’ve cherished for decades.
We get to feel completely at peace.
We get to cry in the night when we feel so terribly alone.
WE GET ALL OF IT. Life is all of it.
If we can hold, allow, honor, and witness all of it, then at the very least, we don’t have to fight ourselves when we’re on the less savory end of the spectrum.
And when we’re not fighting ourselves, we can get back to the other side way more efficiently.
One thing I love to do with my clients is to hold space while they identify the ways they feel like doodoo.
And then guide them in a process to LOVE UP on all the poopy feels.
To locate it in their body, send it some breath. Fake it til they make it, love that shit anyway.
“I love the one who is terrified to open my heart.”
“I love the one who has an overdrawn bank account.”
“I love the one who gambles and eats and sleeps away the pain.”
The more we love up our shit, the less control it has over us.
May we all be blessed in all of our states.