“There’s no hate in this,” I bumbled.
Kraut hugged me, “Only liebe! Now you’ll make me cry.”
You’re in Bali, you’ve got nothing “to do” all day, it’s paradise, but you can’t shake a feeling. You can’t sleep at night, you stare aimlessly at all four corners of the ceiling; you sink in the pool to escape the noise. Every other sentence of your book is a loaded question. What is process? What is truth? Quality?
You sit in the lineup at Canggu, not really surfing and not really watching, just kind of floating and thinking, detached totally from the moment. What are you thinking about? You don’t know because you can’t define it. You can’t share it because you can’t define it. It’s an angst but one of your own making, it feels. It’s weird.
You tell yourself,
“Jesus mate, what the fuck is this about?”
And for a moment the smile returns, content that it’s minor. But the to-and-fro starts back up and there you are, waves going by, too far out to catch them, just mulling. Is it money? Probably. Is it time? Probably. Is it purpose? Probably.
What is it that brings the clouds? Why can’t you hang easily, loosely with your girlfriend? She’s on holiday, happy and bubbly, doing her best to cheer you up. Why spread this frown?
It was only a few days but in hindsight it feels like it had been coming for months. There was christmas in Amsterdam, with so much talk of love and life. There was India before that, a kind of emotional awakening. Night shift shook me up. And throw ‘The Wedding’ in the middle of that, with all of its love and happiness and intensity.
The reservoir was full.
I recall driving into town some weeks before leaving Australia and reflecting on The Wedding. How to give our gift; what I could say to capture wholly our love for them? I nearly cried just thinking about it. I needed to cry then.
The reservoir was full.
It came out on the third evening of the blues. Something I said, a shitty look in my eye turned a bubbly Kraut into a quiet one. Quiet Kraut is not happy Kraut. I said we haven’t been very good friends the last few days. And she said,
“You haven’t. You haven’t been a very good friend. I’ve tried.”
It was true, I hadn’t. And she had.
Then it began. It started slow; “I don’t know”, “I feel…I don’t know…” But it didn’t take long. The tears, the release I’d needed for months, were here. I’d been so disappointed in myself for not being able to process it. I’d been so sad that I could not see out of it. I didn’t know straight away but this was the answer. And as they flowed, as I bubbled over, it became so clear: the reservoir had been too full.
No spent tear was of hate or anger, just of combined emotion. A combination of family and friends and love and having my girl back and what’s next and night shift and the intensity of a well written book and thoughts and life in paradise. As the reservoir emptied it was clear to see: all inputs had been over amplified. There was too much emotion in me. It was all pent up, I could feel it physically in my chest, a bubble of space confined. Everything new wasn’t just recognized, it was recognized and amplified by an already overbearing state. Instantly the intention magnified. If it’s good, it’s really good. If it’s bad, it’s really bad. If it’s agreeable, it’s fact. And if it’s provoking…. Well, it churned away for days, like swimming in heavy water.
Take a thought from ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’,
“This is the ghost of normal everyday assumptions which declares that the ultimate purpose of life, which is to keep alive, is impossible, but that this is the ultimate purpose of life anyway so that great minds struggle to cure diseases so that people may live longer, but only madmen ask why.”
And instead of that being an interesting point, an idea, it becomes gospel. Am I mad for asking why?
You shouldn’t read Prisig with a full emotional reservoir. His connection is probing, somewhat grim, and often head-noddingly mind-boggling.
My purpose this year, our financial position, thoughts of an author, yogic commitments: all thought was overthought, overcharged.
It passed in less than 20 minutes. We talked, even laughed afterwards about what had just happened. And I felt like a different person. That blockage, the heart, the chakra, whatever you wish to call it, it was free. I slept better than I had in months.
When the music is too loud, or you walk a noisy street, it’s hard to think straight, to process. Every feeling is more heavily loaded, more directed, by the noise. If you’re too full of emotion it’s hard to think straight, it needs to be turned down.
There is no shame in crying; sometimes your mouth just isn’t big enough to get it out in words and it comes out of your eyes. Sometimes words don’t capture it and it comes out as fluid, a complete and moving part of you. Even dam walls burst.
It is cathartic.
I know not to bottle it up but we all do. Find something, someone and talk. Cry, then laugh, then cry more and laugh again. But get it out and into space and feel it disperse. Space is absorbing and forgiving.
Because even seemingly innocuous thoughts, overawed by a full emotional reservoir, can build into something unpleasant.