Meditating – Somewhere Between Underpants Gnome and Artist
I’m at that point in life where I could not tell you if I am a lowly Underpants Gnome or an artist at the canvas of my life.
I have tried to meditate before, making it a practice daily or weekly, but never for more than a few minutes at a time. Now, I’m spending hours each day in my head, trying to create some space between myself and my own thoughts and what I find is that this is where my mind often goes.
When I left my job, I did so, knowing it was what I needed to do, but not being sure exactly how things would develop from that point. I would continue to work on my side business and my blog and figure the rest out later. Such as, what my day job would be, where to live, what to be when I grew up, and should I grow up?
But leaving all my security behind to pursue dreams or a meaningful life, sometimes makes me feel less like an intrepid entrepreneur and more like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park. Yes, in the meditation hall, my thoughts are crowded with images of South Park.
If you’ve seen this episode, the Underpants Gnomes are a notoriously thoughtless clan of entrepreneurs (based on making a mockery of small business owners) who steal underpants. That’s it. They just steal them and hope things will work out.
Their plan goes something like this:
Step 1 – Collect Underpants
Step 2 – ?
Step 3 – Profit.
My plan is something like this:
Step 1 – work on online businesses, work in the family business, travel, figure out life?
Step 2 – ?
Step 3 – Profit
The resemblance is uncanny.
I have a strong belief in my ability to figure things out as I go. However, the struggling moments where I don’t have it all figured out are hideously frightening.
Maybe South Park has finally burrowed deep enough into my psyche that it now is impacting my decision-making skills.
Then again, I had spent the last few years listening to many of the people in my social circle being totally miserable with their lives and yet refusing to make changes. Especially in 2017, that year did not seem to be kind to many people, including myself. When I left Portland, I was confused as to why so many people choose lives of silent desperation rather than pursuing a path they find meaningful. Maybe South Park should get into their psyche too (no offense).
But now I can tell you exactly why others are not doing what I’m doing. It’s because it’s freaking hard!. Even for me, who only has to worry about myself, it’s terrifying. It’s lonely. There is no routine and no certainty to my life.
Next month where will I be living and what will I be doing? No idea.
The void left after quitting your job takes away a lot of the structure out of daily life. I no longer need to get up at 5:00 to be at work by 6:30 and prepare for the first meeting at 7:00. Isn’t that great?
I get up at 6:00 and meditate. If I don’t show up, no one cares. I’m free.
Well, yeah, but now what do I do?
I wake up and do what I can in between the yoga and meditation classes. Some days it feels like progress and some days it doesn’t.
I wonder to myself, “Am I winning or losing this game today? What would winning look like? What would losing look like?!” Also, when there is no structure, and not necessarily a guide-book on what to do next, how do I know if I’m actually doing the work that matters?
Even if I had a solid plan of attack, unlike the Underpants Gnomes, this would not be easy because there’s no guarantee.
I told myself, I wouldn’t necessarily be making money the first few months. I told myself that was okay – I had some time to figure things out. But I can tell myself that all I want, I feel better when my bank account is increasing.
Yet again, life has reminded me, I am a person who feels lots of fear. I’m not brave enough to not be afraid.
I’m just brave enough to what I want while still being scared.
I feel like I jumped off a cliff and now I’m suspended in the air, wondering if I’m going to fall or fly. The easiest thing to do would be to find stable employment right back where I started. But I’m not going to do that. There is no clinging to the edge of this cliff, it’s time to learn to fly!
I guess that also means, it’s time to get over my fear of heights.
I think that’s called faith? Maybe I should look into that.
I think the Underpants Gnomes had it.
The nice thing is, no one else seems that concerned. People keep telling me I’ll figure it out and I will because I’m me and I won’t let myself starve. They seem to have faith in me. But in my head, the struggle to get to that point is not for the faint of heart.
Now I am the master of my own fate. Who let me take the reins on this?!
I’d compare this time in my life to a painting class I took three years ago. It was the first art class I had taken since high school. In the time between high school and that art class, my life had been filled with theories, scientific methods and procedures for each task at hand. So, when I sat in art class and the instructor painted a tree, I painted exactly what she did, automatically assuming that was the correct and accepted method for putting a tree on canvas.
Looking around, I realized the student next to me had a purple tree (wtf?!), another had painted an aspen when the instructor clearly had an evergreen on her canvas. I had gone into autopilot on creativity as well.
Who knew painting a purple tree was an option?!
I need to re-learn how to become a rogue artist.
So now I sit at the canvas of my life and realize that the trees can be Douglas firs and the sky can be violet but I keep wondering if there is an instruction manual? How do I do this? I need to re-learn creativity or at least learn to mix it with an order of operations? It’s up to me to make the structure and the discipline and decide on a color for the sky. What an exciting proposition!
And what a terrifying amount of responsibility over my own life!
Then I realize, this is exactly what I wanted. I may feel like an Underpants Gnome, but maybe I’m an artist too.
And you know what? If worse comes to worst and I am an Underpants Gnome, maybe that’s not the end of the world.
Despite the discomfort, I feel like I’m exactly where I want to be. I could trade all the fear and lack of security for another job, but I don’t want to. I want to see where this goes for a while. I’m learning every day. It’s an interesting endeavor to be a part of and for the first time in a very, very long time, my life feels like it reflects me. It feels like I’m driving and this is the road less traveled.
Win or lose, this is my chosen path, my blank canvas.
Someone pass the purple paint.
Then I remember I am supposed to be meditating and only something like five minutes has passed, fifty-five left to go.