doing the unstuck, or, wild mood swings

i got out a recent edition of ‘parachute’ again.

this may not seem significant, unless you know me as i do. whenever i finally resort to ‘what color is your parachute’, it indicates that i’ve reached that desperate stage in my stagnation in which something has to give, or i’m doomed to be sucked down once and for all into the Abyss Of Despair. the Slough Of Despondency. the Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, or what-have-you. just at the brink of Descent Into The Maelstrom, one last gasp of my survival mechanism kicks in. you think i’m being melodramatic? believe me, if you know me, this is no hyperbole! this is A Serious Situation. all the capitalization gives it away.

so, as part of my self-rescue operation, i’m trying an experiment. ‘parachute’ asserts that part of the problem is that my ‘safekeeping self’, the left brain, is dominating and subduing the ‘experimental self’, the right brain. that is, the side of me that clings to safe, familiar, non-risky status-quo behavior is trumping and immobilizing the side that needs to break out of apathy and inaction and try something new, or just get back to living. there’s a lot more to it than that, but just to simplify: if i expose the left brain for what it is, be conscious of its nefarious schemes, and practice balancing its suffocating habits by reactivating the right brain and experimenting with altered behavior, i can restore the function of my experimental self, i.e., re-mobilize myself.

when you’re young, this isn’t as much of an issue. your experimental, risk-taking side is much more in play. you think you can do anything, or die trying. as you age, and gain experience of reality, you start to favor the side that retreats into safe, familiar territory. if a crisis intervenes, shattering your ordered life altogether, you may barricade yourself from further disruption. if you retreat too far, for too long, you develop all sorts of mechanisms and routines to safeguard your false sense of security, and throw up a smoke screen to confuse/immobilize the perceived enemy, which is change, risk, reinvention, whatever it is for you.

the first step to reversing this tendency is to become conscious of this fact, and aware of all the words, confusion, OCD behaviors, and diversionary tactics you use to keep ‘safe’. this post in itself is a case in point: i’m using a lot of words to distract you and myself from the lethargy and inaction that i’m perpetuating! at the same time, i’m exposing the left brain tactics and exercising the right brain response. the mental act of refusing to reinforce your fears or doubts about your ability to change pulls the experimental self back into play. then slowly reintroducing new, positive actions each day reasserts the confidence to face risk. or so goes the theory.

the next step allegedly is to devour information about the uncharted waters you are contemplating . you familiarize yourself with the territory so well, that you feel ‘safe’ going there. it’s a way of harnessing the self that feels compelled to play it safe and be prepared, and using it to venture farther out. if you’re considering a new direction or career, you soak up everything you can about it first, until it doesn’t feel so intimidating.

the most intriguing step of ‘doing the unstuck’ is the idea that immersion in music, especially while engaged in the process of attaining your new goal, activates and feeds the right brain, the experimental self. it sounds a little mystical, but my intuitive side (the right side) tells me it makes scientific sense. i suppose you could insert any creative activity to stimulate the right brain back into taking more of a role. but music works in such a subliminal way, taking no effort on your part to apply it to the nerve center of the matter.

i hesitated to even post this, as i’m notorious for fluctuating between promoting my latest ‘solution’, or ‘the cure’ if you will, and collapsing back into apathy, exhausted by all the effort of talking. but in the interests of transparency and experimentation, i’m taking the risk of looking foolish again. we’ll see how long this fit lasts.