Over the past four months, I’ve:
- Dropped 40+ lbs¹
- Overcome my anxiety and depression¹
- Performed more in the past two months than in the previous four years COMBINED
- Made more money in the past two months than in the previous six months COMBINED
- Begun repairing the relationships that I’ve neglected over the past 12 years
So everything should be good, right? Not exactly…
The adrenaline dump of finally doing the comedy competition after months of preparation, the exhaustion of two-a-day’s in the gym, and the carb-deprivation caught up with me this week.
Cue the $20-sack, four pizzas, and a half chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet.
It’s scary, man: I don’t wanna go back to the way things were. I CANNOT GO BACK to the way things were.
Let me not go all old-Mike in this piece…this momentary relapse in my eating habits was inevitable, and once I overcome this round of cravings, I’ll be stronger than ever. As long as I’m sober, I can control how and what I eat. That means no more smoking during the week.
[That said, come cheat day? Yo, a smoke and a couple scoops of Roasted Marshmallow will serve as brunch! Judo know about Greg’s Ice Cream?? Dawg…DAWG.]
The hardest thing to overcome, however, hasn’t been my close proximity to Dominoes Pizza, ice cream, or divine inebriation. Rather, what’s been plaguing my heart has been the absurdity of life.
THE ABSURDITY OF LIFE
Since the comedy competition, I’ve been reminded how absurd life really is². Consider the following:
- If anything could have satisfied us, we would have been satisfied a long time ago³.
- Therefore, the fulfillment of desires is simply an elaborate treadmill. For example, there will always be a new goal, a new client, a new book, a new restaurant, a new destination⁴, etc.
So in spite of the money, the comedy, the health and well-being, my relapse was dominated by a single question: what’s the point? What’s the FUCKING POINT??
THE TRUSTED ADVISOR
I live close to the lake, and after my morning swim, I headed out for my morning meditation. There’s something about a large body of water that makes the human drama recede from the shores of my mind. I sat down, and immediately felt a sense of relief.
Then my hands began typing.
LECTURE FROM THE ETHER⁵
You are part human, part divine. In this life, we must embrace and attend to both sides of our nature⁶.
The divine side is inherently satisfied; it has no cravings to quench.
The human side, however, is inherently dissatisfied. Haven’t you noticed that – no matter how satiated you thought you were – your cravings return anew, much like Prometheus’ liver? How awfully quick the highs peak!
The key is to attend to the human side by following a path with a heart⁷, and by keeping the body and mind fit through mental, physical, and spiritual exercise.
Though life is absurd from a human perspective, it is possible to find joy in progressing through the path with a heart, milestone by milestone, day by day. There is an inherent satisfaction in getting better and better and closer and closer to your goals…all the while realizing that the better you get, the more you have to improve, and the closer you get to your goal, the farther (and more juicier) the next goal becomes.
BE HERE NOW⁵
Perhaps that’s why all of the books talk about being present. If you can be present during your walk on the path, you can fully appreciate and experience the highs and lows and attend to the needs that your meat body craves. If you can be present during your meditation, you can, quite literally, satisfy your soul.
I wrote about the absurdity of life a few months ago, but it took achieving goals and reflecting on how full/empty they were, to really begin to understand how things really are.
And let’s be real: I probably don’t know shit about shit. But this is as far as I’ve gotten, and that’s OK. I’m satisfied.
ADDENDUM – BEING GRATEFUL
Last night, one of my best friends pointed something out: I look at my life as a project, which means that I’m constantly in a state of non-attainment. Here’s what I say to myself:
- (I didn’t drop 40lbs) I skipped HIIT last week and my lower belly isn’t going away very easily.
- (I didn’t overcome my anxiety and depression) I didn’t work as hard as I should have today
- (I didn’t perform a ton of comedy) I don’t have any new jokes
- (I didn’t make good money this month) I have so much more work to do, and I really should be making a lot more.
- (I haven’t repaired relationships) I’m still avoiding one or two difficult conversations
As good as it is to always find room for improvement.. all this “work” you feel you have is going to have you constantly looking at what you’ve yet to accomplish…you will always find something to fix and I don’t want you to put yourself in a place where you don’t feel good enough or up to par with your own expectations…Check off the wins. Write down all the amazing shit you do everyday and it’ll inspire more of it.
She’s fucking right! OK, yeah, life is absurd, there’s always gonna be another mountain to climb, whatever…but just look at that goddamn mountain I just climbed!! Remember when I scaled the northern face free-handed? Remember how cold it was, and how I never gave up? Just look at the resilience, persistence, strength, and never-give-up attitude I showed!! Damn, man! Aiite cool, yeah, the next mountain is there, and man is it ever gonna be an adventure…but let’s enjoy the view for now.
Cherish your friends, homies. Really cherish them.
RESOURCES & INSPIRATION
¹I wouldn’t have gotten better without the immense help of Dr. Ted, Naturopath, Naturopath, Visionary Health Clinics
²The Myth of Sisyphus
³Letters from a Stoic, Letter 15, Section 9
⁵Ram Dass Episode 12, Jump to 20:21
⁶Don Juan on Following a Path with a Heart
⁷Poem on a Norman Crucifix, 1632, Jump to 39:48