Won’t you take me to Funkytown?*
A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from a long time friend. I hadn’t talked to her in awhile and was so happy to hear her voice. She said she was calling for selfish reasons. She needed my advice. Uh oh!
She said, I’m really feeling like I’m in a funk. I called to talk to you because you seem to have it all together. How do you do that?
This was surprising and really funny to hear because I rarely feel like I have it all together. I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing that I appear to “have it all together”.
I’ve heard that people operate on two emotions – fear and love.
I struggle with feelings of fear and inadequacy on a daily basis. Especially now. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m supposed “to do” with the rest of my life. I struggle with what my identity is even though I know I am more than what I do. I still struggle. I don’t have any of it figured out and it scares me. So much so that I have to work hard every day to surround myself with positive thoughts and activities. Otherwise it would be too easy to go down that rabbit hole to a place of despair. I could easily become depressed. I have to force myself not to go there. Whatever works.
I play the “what if” game a lot. I remember many years ago hearing Dr. Phil say if you’re going to play the “what if” game then you need to answer the “what if” question. What if I never work again? What if I can’t figure out what to do with the rest of my life? What if something happens to my safety net? What if I have no way to support myself? What if I become homeless? What if I get sick? And it gets progressively worse… What if someone I love dies? I can keep going and going with the worst case scenarios. If I let myself do that for too long it becomes crippling. To be in a “funk” means to be cowering in fear. And once you’re funked you are really f_cked! It’s difficult to answer the question once you’ve gone this far beyond reason.
I don’t want my days to be spent in a fearful funk. I want to operate from a place of love. I know I need to be kind to myself in order to love myself. It takes a daily reminder not to beat myself up for what I shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’ done. In order to be kind to myself I consciously spend my days engaged in positive thoughts and exercises. Otherwise I’m sunk in a funk! Elizabeth Gilbert has said that when she was in her darkest time (her funk) she forced herself to search for something “beautiful” in the world. Damn it! I’m not going home and cry until I see something beautiful. She saw circus elephants and it was amazing! I have to force myself to look for the beautiful in everyday too. I walk outside, take in the beautiful scenery and get fresh air. I eat a good breakfast. I read enlightening books and articles. I watch “Super Soul Sunday” and “Master Class” on the OWN channel. I watch inspiring TED talks. I surround myself with positive people. I find opportunities to laugh. I write this blog. I try to be inspired and inspiring.
I commented to my friend that I do all of this everyday to help me sort out my STUFF. ALL just to sort out my STUFF. I work through my stuff in an attempt to get to a place of peace. Sometimes I pray. I should probably pray more often. Most of the time my best prayer is taken from one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs “Your Bright Baby Blues”. It goes like this – “Pray to God for me babe, he can let me slide”. (Working out his stuff through music). More often than not I’m just praying that God will let me slide. This time and the next time and the next one hundred times.
I realized that a lot of people do what they do to work out their STUFF. All that Oprah has ever done revolves around working out her stuff. For the last thirty years! Looking at my bookshelf I note that Pema Chodron, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Gilbert, Paolo Coehlo and others have all written books about working out their own STUFF. The book store shelves are filled with stories of people working out their STUFF. AHA! I’m not the only one. We ALL do what we do to sort out our stuff. Simple as that.
I work hard everyday to be grateful and choose positive thoughts and activities to avoid the “f_cked up, funked up life. I don’t have it all together. I just appear to.
Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me
Town to keep me movin’, keep me groovin’ with some energy*
Just replace the word “town” with the word “thought”.
* Lyrics to “Funkytown” by the Lipps, Inc.