Teetering on the brink of sanity

I did have a complete meltdown on Friday. I’m dealing with issues surrounding my adoption. I’m dealing with changes that have happened in my life over the past year. I’m dealing with all the problems of the world. I’m dealing with being sued. I’m dealing with not seeing my daughter. I’m dealing with the fact that I don’t function well alone and I’ve felt really alone lately. It all just caught up with me. Sometimes we crack. Sometimes we just can’t take it anymore.

That’s when the tears start flowing.

That’s when the booze starts flowing.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with either. LET IT FLOW!

Unless it’s bullets. I do have a problem with bullets.

It’s okay if every once in a while everything else in the world just stops. I get that I’m not the center of the universe but technically speaking, I am the center of my universe. Anybody who wants to be a part of my universe can either help or get out of the way. That’s how I felt Friday.

I called my band leader and said that I was in no condition to make it to rehearsal. I secretly wished that she would come take care of me and get me to rehearsal but she is the center of her universe and had other things on her mind. That’s fair. And you know what… that part turned out okay. It’s times like these that I’m glad I’m not an air traffic controller.

These are dangerous times however. Someone who was is in the state that I was in Friday night could cause harm. We can do things or say things that our better self might not do. I do have one regret from Friday night. I did tell Ben Folds that he has no right to cover The Cure. Granted, it was only on my Facebook page and he probably never saw it but still; it wasn’t fair of me to say that and I’m sorry.

I did have one friend who was willing to enter into my universe on that night and I will be eternally grateful to her. It was a very brave thing to do and what impressed me even more was that she did it sober. I realize that I use alcohol as a crutch but I’ve got to tell you how much respect I have for people who have found sobriety; not just because it is hard, but because it is good. I realize that the path I am on will lead to recovery or death but I’m doing my best to avoid either of those options because they both scare the shit out of me. That said, I want to give a plug for sobriety. From what I’ve seen, it ain’t perfect, but it is fucking better. It is a path of love.

So what is sanity?

I’ve spent much of the day googling this question. I didn’t get any answers. I also don’t know why my Google Chrome browser is telling me that googling is spelled wrong. From what I can tell, sanity is just a made up concept like everything else. I get that there is a legal definition for “sanity” but to think that laws are not just made up is insane. Law are some sort of common consensus of what is right. They are also a whole bunch of rules that we turn to because there is no common consensus and we still need to function as a society.

So what happens when society goes insane? I think that is where we are. Maybe that makes me insane. Actually, by definition, that does make me insane. I have a couple of major mental illness diagnosis so I don’t really have a problem with being called insane but my diagnosis are not typically the kind of things that are referred to as insanity. I have depression and anxiety. They are both pretty logical considering what I have been through but they do take on some strange attributes from time to time. I break into tears for no reason and I feel like someone is about to attack me when I am sitting at home alone. Still, I don’t think that it is nearly as insane as the way our society is acting.

For example, CEO now may 273 times as much as their average worker. To be honest, I don’t know if this is true, I don’t know if this is fair, I don’t know if this is good. But is seems to be a well agreed upon opinion… and I think it’s insane. Still, this is what is called sanity in our society. There are many other examples but the point of this blog has never been to give you the answers; only to get you to think.

I think that society is doing okay. I think that I am doing okay. But we both are are probably falling over the brink into insanity. It may take some crazy thinking to bring us back. That’s why I’m okay with being on the insane side of normal… for now.

Advertisements

Don’t panic

Last week in therapy I provided a response that I found rather interesting. When asked what was on my mind I responded that I’ve been focusing on the medium picture; not the big picture, not the little picture, just the medium picture. When asked to elaborate I explained that I had been busy trying to solve all the world’s problems.

“That sounds pretty big to me.” replied my therapist.

“Not when compared to the entire universe. When you do that, the world seems really, really small. It’s important to keep things in perspective.” I explained.

Of course from the perspective of the individual the world seems really, really big. The problems we are facing are gigantic and they are global. From all the research that I’ve been doing I’ve come the the conclusion that we are basically doing everything wrong and that the human race is on a headlong course for destruction.

I really do think that our entire economic system is on the verge of collapse. We really are running out of oil. We really are destroying the environment and the natural resources of the only planet we have. So many of our resources as well as our efforts are simply being wasted. The climate really is changing for the worse and it is our fault. All of our governmental systems are corrupted and broken. We are all addicted to something whether it be drugs, sex, money, power, possessions, fake food, work or even particular emotional states. It seems like all we do is point fingers and blame each other rather than look at ourselves. Everyone is spying on everyone else. We spend all this time and energy focusing on the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. In the process we are still fighting wars and killing each other. How stupid is that?

It really is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

So why not panic?!? Isn’t it time to totally freak out?!?

I guess the best answer I have is because it doesn’t work. People are going to freak out if they are going to freak out and there is plenty of reason to do so. I’m pretty prone to freaking out myself. It just doesn’t help; at least not in the long run. The other reason is that even as bad things are, they could be worse. Even though I believe that we are doing everything wrong, it is also true that we are doing a lot of things right. Furthermore, some of the things we do wrong turn out good and some of the things we do right turn out bad. The fact is that most of us are surviving and our population is actually growing.

Some point to population growth as being the root of all our problems. That may be true but it is also proof of all our solutions. Even if you believe that overpopulation is what will inevitably do us all in, I’ve got some good new for you there too. Population growth among the countries that are causing most of the problems is actually decreasing. The sad news is that greatest population expansion is among the countries that are doing most of the suffering.

I’ve been delving into some other number as well and what I have found is that things are not quite as bad as the doomsday scenario I painted earlier. I found this empirical data mildly comforting. As a result, I’m pretty sure that the world won’t end tomorrow. We still have a chance to survive this but we need to wake up and take responsibility. If we keep on down the road that we are going, we are doomed. That is undeniable. What is also undeniable is that some things are changing for the better. It’s just very complicated and there are a lot of moving parts. I feel like we are in a situation of taking one hundred steps forward and ninety-nine steps back; but that may just be the optimist in me.

What really concerns me is that it seems like institutions, ideology, technology, philosophy, medicine, psychology and science have all evolved faster than our humanity. In essence we have abandoned our biology to built a society devoid of what makes us human. It does not serve our primitive needs but rather uses us to perpetuate itself. We now find ourselves in a society that requires us to act in inhuman ways for the sake of society.

I want to leave you with this meme that I saw the other day. It has been floating around the internet for about a year but I’m kind of slow when it comes to those kind of things.

this-is-our-society

As with most memes our tendency is to see this and chuckle, “yup, that’s about right” and move on. That’s my typical response but this one got me thinking. It’s easy to think that nothing we do is right. It’s easy to find fault in whatever someone else does. It’s easy to say that anyone who sits around making memes clearly has too much time on their hands.

But I wanted to dig deeper, to think outside the box. I wanted to find the best solution. With a guiding principle of love and kindness I easily concluded that judging others was not the answer. but how about for the couple trying to get where they are going? I guess the real question is, “Where are we going… and why?” Society can’t tell us that. We have to figure it out on our own.

Pay it forward

Since I started driving pedicab back in March I’ve been trying to figure out an economic model that works for me. I do the job because I love it, it’s good for my body and good for my soul. I need to make money doing it but if money was my sole motivation I would never do it.

My favorite rides are the ones I give for free, or at least not expecting any money. My second favorite are the ones where people totally over tip. That makes me feel good too. I usually I get a good balance of the two but one day a couple weeks ago I had a day where no one over tipped, but no one got a free ride or under paid either. Everyone paid their fair share and I made as much as I usually do. For some, that would be the perfect system and something to replicate but it didn’t sit right with me. It didn’t seem real. I want greater diversity. I want people to get rides even if they can’t afford it and I want people to feel good about paying more if they can.

What I really want is to be able to do my job without thinking about the money. What I really want is to be able to make a living by just being me and doing what I do naturally. I don’t feel comfortable accepting payment for services rendered because I consider the service to be priceless. The idea that you can get someone to haul you around on a bicycle if you give them enough money feels like bribery to me.

So I decided that no one would get to pay for their ride. I’ve saved enough money that I can do this, at least for a little while. In essence, that ride has already been paid for through the generosity of riders before them. My hope was that even though nobody had to pay me anything they would still want to. Since they couldn’t pay for their own ride I would let them pay for somebody elses. The belief being that we are all in this together and everyone does their part to support the community. It’s like I could never charge one of my friends for a ride but at the same time they have been some of the best tippers. I would just treat everyone like my friend. I thought it was a brilliant and original idea, but would it work?

Actually it’s not that original and it has worked. It’s basically the principle of “pay it forward”. Karma Kitchen and Seva Cafe work that way. There are numerous other examples of people paying it forward in real life.

Since I’ve been doing this for the past week and a half I’ve found it to be a pretty sound business model – at least for me. I’m getting the diversity of riders that I want and my income has stayed pretty much the same. Everyone who wants a ride can get a ride and everyone feels good paying what they can pay, even if that is nothing. Those that can’t pay it forward with money I ask to pay it forward with an act of kindness. Everyone has something to give and if we all do our part we can make the world a better place.

%d bloggers like this: