As I write my morning pages and express my gratitude for trying things, and creating the new neural pathways of saying yes to stuff, it occurs to me how great that is. That the overarching idea here is that we are moving forward. Being lubed in the chute of life is great — as disgusting as it sounds.
For so long we were stuck. All I wanted to do was meet my husband after he finished work at the bar, drink however many glasses of wine I wanted to drink, get a burrito or a cheeseburger, eat it too late, and go to bed. Rinse, repeat. We did this a lot. Too much. And worse than just the physical aspects of this (I probably weigh fifteen pounds less now, just from lifestyle changes), were the effects on my life. Stuck is as stuck does, I guess Forrest Gump might say. (I still don’t quite understand what “Stupid is as stupid does” means. Oh well.)
It’s odd that it started with going to Seattle. I don’t even like going to weddings of people I know, so I’m not sure what possessed us to go to a wedding to which we were invited by mere acquaintances. It was the catalyst to get us dislodged from our routine, however, and planted a seed for a magic beanstalk that continues to grow to this day. A beanstalk that has taken us all the way to Boise. It’s taken me through writing an entire book (with ideas for more books). It’s taken me to getting quiet and listening to myself. It’s led away from too much wine and too many cheeseburgers.
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love and most recently Big Magic) cites the curiosity-driven life as a creatively lucrative one: “I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves,” Gilbert says on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett. “And it's a very gentle friend, and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one. Passion is not so constant, not so gentle, not so forgiving, and sometimes not so available. And so when we live in a world that has come to fetishize passion above all, there's a great deal of pressure around that.”
So I sit in our house we bought across the country, as the flooring guy confers with his supervisor on the phone because he’s just found some tiles potentially containing asbestos in our basement. So even though in this moment I feel like, “oh shit, what the fuck are we going to do now?” I also feel like I’d rather feel somewhat fucked than totally stuck. Like, I’d rather be here, having decided to try something different with our lives, than back on the couch watching some bullshit TV, or sitting with a glass of wine in my hand, getting progressively number.
Usually you don’t have to choose between asbestos and lazy drunkenness. And neither is great. The post-script is the asbestos is minimal. We’ll have it abated, and the black mold (there’s that, too) remediated. I continue to follow curiosity. I look at this move as a positive one, even though I’ve had up and down feelings. I think that’s a natural part of increasing one’s neuroplasticity, as my new Boise massage therapist suggests (she says she moved every two years or so to keep it fresh).
“Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.” (MedicineNet.com)
And speaking of neuroplasticity and fucked being better than stuck, here’s this article called “You’re Not Stuck With The Brain You Were Born With.” I was also recently looking at author / coach / plugged-in practical-magic woman Martha Beck’s materials for this integrity cleanse she’s holding and she talks about first reading books as a kid that said your brain is already formed by the time you’ve hit puberty. She thought she was fucked. But then new studies were done, and it turns out that first book was wrong. That changed her whole shit around.
Anyway — there is still so much more I want to do and explore. And even though we’ve been watching Narcos every night (and every day allowing "puta" to trip a little too readily off our lips), my life is way different than it was 10 years ago. And I’m pretty happy about that. Tiny changes can lead to big changes.
So I will keep following my curiosity, checking in at the synchronistic signposts that show me creating new neural pathways are the way, following the sound as I make music and the aural curiosity therein, writing writing writing to teach me new stuff, too, and synthesize what I’m learning. Oh, and moving my body. Important piece for peace. Lubed life-chute, here I come.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.