Instructions for a Crappy Day: From Victim to Creator.

woman-and-cat-rain

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards. 

— Vladimir Nabokov

I’ve been so angry with it though…The way it falls and falls and falls without any kind of consideration. It doesn’t mind your business, or if you’re rich or poor, pretty or dull, your travel plans, how much you recycle, what you eat, your dreams, nightmares and constellations. Nobody gets a free pass.

It just happens. And I sit and watch, doglike wet at the soul, my bones talking back to me in a foreign language, yet so mine — trying to understand what weathermen are for, if they can’t even teach you how to open an umbrella.

Blaise Pascal told me once over candlelit dinner,

The heart has its reasons, which reason knows nothing of.

But I’m a rational-emotional creature and all I need is everything. I need the meaning of life in a sandwich, and then I want to laugh or cry about it, accept or destroy it, apply or deny it, or find another labyrinth worth getting lost in.

Yet, I’ve learned the rainy way that heart weather is capricious. There is only so much explanation that reason can yield and so much emotion the heart can produce, before you’re left in a puddle of your own human sap. How do you sing instead of crying? When reason fails and emotions flood your lungs with cosmic fluid, you realize that rain — physical, metaphysical, acid rain — doesn’t care about either, heart or reason. It reminds me of babies or animals. They are who they are and they can’t help but loving what is.

la vie

The thing that’s taken me a while to understand is that…so are we. If we realign our life’s movie to be watched and lived from the director’s perspective, rather than just from a tired supporting actor’s missed takes, then every storm we have to walk through — whether a hurricane or just a sweet and timid rain — will be the “perfect” storm.

Because when seen through the eyes of a creator (instead of those of a victim), life is not just something that happens to you, but an adventure. We got the sentence backwards, I believe. Life doesn’t happen to us. We happen to life — we happen in it and through it and because of it. We’re the adventure here.

And in an adventure of such epic proportions — namely, the greatest fucking thing you’ll ever do, have, be or say — you don’t get depressed because you have to fight the dragons. Fighting dragons is part of what warriors do. Instead, you get armed. You strategize your move. You warm up, eat a good meal, do a few more push-ups, get a good night’s sleep, kiss your lover (pets count too). And then you face the bastards with your fear shaking from the depths of your throat.

This modus operandi applies to any dragons, really.

From a stinking shadow reptile that crawls in your bed and keeps you awake at night over shoulds, woulds, coulds or undigested heartbreak, to the massive flesh-eating dinosaurs your very next breath is threatened by. They’ll never go away. But you will learn to walk through them.

let everything happen

 

Our 3 Minds.

There are three major mentalities or paradigms or mindsets through which we face our life — both, on a larger scale as well as any given moment, from the smallest to the greatest adventures we must walk through. These mentalities can also be regarded as Intertwined Levels of Awareness, or Stages of Becoming — give me a better analogy.

Going through these stages is natural and since we don’t grow chronologically or absolutely, but by bits and pieces, here and there, you can be simultaneously going through one or all of them at once. You can be a baby in one thing and an old man in another.

But what is not natural and what makes us fight life instead of flowing through it, is attempting to cling to these evolutionary stages. Getting attached to either of these states of being, and stuck to operating from only one of them will quickly spread like a virus through all the others. The body knows this much: the way you do one thing is the way you do anything.

Can you recognize yourself and your voices in any of these stages on any given path? If you were to take a step back and look at your life from a satellite in outer space, which one would you say it predominates in your life? 

I. VICTIM MENTALITY: “Poor me. Why is this happening to me (of all people)? Again! I can’t believe this. I’m sick. I’m tired. I’m alone. No one gives a fuck. They’re all trying to hurt me. I can’t take this shit anymore. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to work here. I can’t stand this person. Or this one. Or the other. I hate this city. Things never get better here. What a shitty day. My life sucks. I don’t like myself. I’m ugly. I’m not good enough. I don’t like anyone around me. People are damaged. The system is against us. People owe me respect, money, love, trust. I hate them when they don’t give it to me. If only I had the money, the love, the things… I need more freedom, money, power, love. Fuck this shit. What’s it all for anyway? Nothing changes. We’re all fucked from the start. Nothing will ever be right, no matter how hard we try. I’m just one person. Nobody gets it. I can’t fight alone. ”

II. SURVIVOR MENTALITY: “Fuck my victimhood. So what if I / they /  life / did this to me? I can beat it. I’m stronger than this. What doesn’t kill me makes me beautiful. I’ll be okay. Nobody tells me what to do or be or think or feel. Don’t tell me it’s impossible. I am possible! I still have something to give. I need to keep on living. I’ll do whatever it takes. This life is all I got. I’m limited but I’m alive. I’m unique and maybe not everyone likes me but some people love me, in their own way. And I’m okay with that. I only care about a few. I’m taking care of myself now. Watch me. I’m done weeping and wailing. Oh look, a flower. I had forgotten I’m on Earth. And what a lovely day. And food is tasty! Even my pain is quiet for a second. Regain my sense of smell, my taste, my sight, the music. Life is short. And don’t you mess with me. I’ll bite your head right off. You don’t know what I’ve been through. I can do this. I will do this. I’m doing this.”

III. CREATOR MENTALITY, or c’est la fucking vie and so are we:  “‘I am the Captain of my soul, the Master of my Fate.‘ I am the CEO of my life, the director of my own epic movie, the author of my book. I don’t need anything, because I already am everything in potential. I’m not separate from other people, but a part of them. I acknowledge them as equally powerful manifestations of the cosmos. I don’t envy them, hate them, get obsessed with them or cling to them, because I am them, in part. Nothing can separate me from them. I design my reality in the office of my mind. Since life is a co-written novel, there are consequences to every act — mine and others’ — and I must face them whether I like it or not. But I have a choice about every single adventure that I create or that others throw my way. I choose how I will operate in any situation. I choose the vantage point, I choose my weapons and defense, I decide the course of action in every battle. I’m not trying to be free or different or unique. I just can’t help but be a revolution.”

It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever thought any of this out loud or reasoned it out.

The way we feel about our reality is often unreasonable and it comes in the form of repetitive, simple statements  — mantras we’ve been repeating to ourselves our whole life, on a subconscious level. You may not be aware that you think any of the above. But if you get to the bottom of your current state of being, you will arrive at the original statement, which activates your state of being. Dig deeper. You may be surprised at what you find. 

I can tell you that overall in the big picture, I’ve been stuck at the victim stage for a long time — and I believe that this is true for most people as well as our society as a whole, in ways we aren’t fully aware of, through layer upon layer of individual, social and global victimization, inherited all the way from the Middle Ages.

Note that evolving to the stage of creator in one realm, doesn’t mean that you can’t be pushed off track by any new adventure or distraction, or set back into victim or survival mode. The point is to let all these stages happen to you, naturally, instead of clinging to either.

I believe the essence of our human nature is that of creators, adventurers, travelers of life. So our predominant modus operandi is creativity – but it is often pushed and pulled by the opposing force, decay. And it goes back and forth like that. A lifetime.

Photo: Andrea Balt

Following grandpa Einstein’s advice that “you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it,” here is what I (try to) do when the birds of life shit on me and the drops of existence open holes in my skull, killing me softly or suddenly, either way sucks.

Based on the three levels of awareness listed above, I’ll give you 3 steps to singing (opera) in the rain:

1. When going through Victim Mentality: EMBRACE IT (BUT MOVE ON).

What you resist, persists. What you control ends up controlling you. So don’t resist it. Let it pour on you and through you, let it break you open. Deep down, you’re naked anyway. Cry, kick and scream, and turn into a river. Start flowing through the mud, even if no one wants to swim in you, not even fish. This is what drowns the demons. It’s a mess.

You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation, and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.

— Herman Hesse

You can’t fight the rain. It’s ridiculous even to get angry about it. So then, become the rain. Don’t stand against it, stand through it. This will hurt less and the detox process will be easier. There is always a cause to your symptoms, even if it’s hidden from your view. Pain is a pointer. Something is not right.

Don’t take pain killers that numb your mind and bleach your heart. Don’t entertain your body and your soul. You’re only here for a little while. Go beyond what hurts and into why it hurts. Stay there dark and naked with yourself. And breathe.

2. When going through Survivor Mentality: GET FILLED.

After your acceptance catharsis, you’ll be left with a soft rain, washing away the remaining toxins off your weathered soul. But you can’t run on an empty tank. The truth and paradox of us is that, scientifically speaking, we’re as empty as a galaxy. That is, the “material” in us is infinitely smaller than the energy that runs through us and arranges our atoms.

So more than a tank to fill up, think of yourself as a channel of universal expression. You need to receive in order to give. This is the part of the movie where you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and iron your superhero cape. It’s the quiet that comes after the storm, during which you strategize how you will face the rest of your dragons.

It’s the selfish-with-a-cause part. It’s where the fierce self-love takes over. Survival needs this breakthrough. So serve your highest self the best and healthiest meals. Do, eat, think, be only what makes you come alive. Come up with a list of life-giving activities that both nurture you and re-ignite your passion.

The self-destructive, worried, stressed out part of you might interfere, telling you that “you can’t leave this undone, take a day/days/week off, afford this trip or this time alone with yourself in the mornings, or this new hobby, activity, rest, person…” — but this is exactly what you need in order to keep on giving. So don’t listen to your worry, listen to your life.

 

3. When upgrading to Creator Mentality: RECYCLE YOUR PAIN.

And this is when you welcome your indie Renaissance. It’s when you understand that your pain and your shadows will never go away completely, but now this thought doesn’t destroy you anymore. You’ve learned to dance with your shadows, through any kind of (acid) rain, as you are fueled by life.

Because you realize that you (and only you) have make the map to your best-kept treasures and you alone have the power to recycle your bad days, bad life, bad luck, bad romance, your whole amazing fucked-up destiny, into another wave to get you where you want to go.

There are two major forces in life: creativity and decay. They are both natural laws of existence. You can’t fight decay. People die, plants die, animals die, feelings die, ways of life die, things die (okay, maybe not plastic). And death is nothing but a falling leaf. We’re time and we’re life and we’re change. And that’s that.

So when one thing passes, what does a creator do? It doesn’t hold on to the caterpillar’s corpse; instead it turns itself into a whole new creature — powerful enough so that the flapping of its wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.

That butterfly…that’s you.

 

 

I don’t smoke inspirational videos. But the poetry in this one crawled under my skin. I hope it makes you sing a little and stretch a wing or two.

{Video: Jon Goodgion. Audio: Spoken word poem “Instructions For a Bad Day” by Shane Koyczan}

 

{LET EVERYTHING HAPPEN TO YOU}

 

{Top photo: Bigstock}



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Comments

  1. Rajat Mishra says:

    I am instructed to follow. Mine is just to do and die in the thunderous rainy day.

  2. Just what I needed on my crappy day. Way to break the process down. And inspiring. Thank you!

  3. Brilliantly said, Andrea. Thank you, for figuring it out for yourself and wanting to share it, in such a perfect package of words.

    Don’t stop! Soon, all of our fellow creators will get it.
    Love you
    Diana

  4. I am through only half of this … and I am feeling full and satisfied. I think I will savor the rest as a delicious midnight treat. Something to spice my dreams : )

  5. Barb Danielisz says:

    Andrea, you are amazing! Thank You for this 🙂 Wow….just WOW!! I could relate to each and every word.

  6. k a r a h ~ says:

    Andrea ~My beautiful muse. You lifted me up , once again. Thank you for this and Inspiring
    my day !!! The new profile picture of you “stunningly beautiful”. The thing about your writing
    is I always read it over again and again. I know the feelings will still be there.

  7. Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.

    — Vladimir Nabokov

    What a cunt ,,, 🙂

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