If you knew you had 2 hours left to live, what you would do with those 2 hours? I know what I’d do with mine. I’d hot foot it to the piano, where everything about who I am and what I am makes sense right at the core of me; my body feels comfortable, my mind is at peace and I’m at one with myself and God. It’s physically wildly pleasurable, and the energy that’s generated in my body feels atomic. Life has prospect and meaning, and I have vision of it. I’m working hard all the time while I’m playing, but it doesn’t feel like work.
I got up today, switched on my computer, had breakfast, read some of the script of Chinatown. Planned my day. It didn’t include piano. I thought about what I have to do. My heart sank. I looked at the piano. My heart sang. Piano and heart singing won the day. Three hours later I sat looking at the place I’d gone to while playing and thought about what the ideal life for me would be, how I can achieve it, and whether what I’m doing now is getting in the way or moving me towards it.
People always say you have to know what you want before you can have it. I think it’s true but what gets in the way? All the crap in your head that tells you you should be this you should be that, this will make you important, that will make you lovable and a valuable member of society. While those messages are playing out, it can seem as if you really want what they’re promising.
A lot of it is about what other people believe you should want, or what they believe you have to do. Often they haven’t thought it through at all, or they might have lived it out and actually it hasn’t worked for them. Don’t pay attention to yourself, you have to be practical, not everybody can have what they want, everybody has to do things they don’t like doing, if you don’t have money you haven’t got any options, beggars can’t be choosers.
Mind your own business? It’s a dirty phrase when it means be real and true to yourself and don’t meddle in other people’s reactions to you, don’t rescue them. You need something? Don’t ask because it’s good to give, but it’s shameful to have to receive. The messages all seem to have one core element: don’t put your boundaries down, you’re not allowed to, for one reason or another. It’s harmful to society, or to your community or your relationships, or your honor, whatever.
It isn’t though. What it’s harmful to is your capacity to identify what you want out of your life. And it’s true that if you can’t identify it, you can’t claim it, so you can’t work towards it. If you won’t claim it because it’s too hard to put boundaries down, life won’t rescue you. Lately I’ve experienced myself putting them down without apology, leaving no room for debate. This is what freedom is. I’m in charge. I get to say “this is okay” and “this isn’t”. I have absolutely nothing to lose.
And everything to gain. The more I do it, the clearer my vision becomes for my life. I know what I want. I want a life where I have time and energy to play as much piano as I want. Where I have one writing project at a time, and an income from my writing that allows me to have choice of where I live in the world and mobility. That much I’m real clear about. I’m even clear about how to achieve it. For the first time ever. What’s the title of this blog? That’s right, Stepping out of History.