"Why?" Can Be a Cage of Epic Proportions

By Don Hall

"When hungry, eat your rice; when tired close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean." — Zen proverb

I'm not a zen guy. No—stop it with your assertions that somehow, with all of my bluster and over-working that I am actually zen. I read Jeff Bridges' book and I. AM. NOT. ZEN. I'd love to be a zen type but I have this die-hard battery up my ass that prevents the natural chill associated with being zen.

However...

(There's always a "however" or a "That said..." to these posts, isn't there?)

Not everything we do has to mean something. Not every meal has to be the most fabulous, Instagram-licious foodie paradigm. Not every argument you have with a partner indicates red flags. Not every job you are required to do reflects on your over-arching happiness. Sometimes (like the Freudian cigar) a fucking sandwich is just some fuel to get you from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. More often than not, that spreadsheet you've been asked to fill out for work is just a motherfucking spreadsheet rather than another brick in your Misery Wall. Often, when you get fatigued, it isn't an indication of your advancing age or that you have become a raging bore as you decide that a night in is preferable than a night out in a bar.

In the age of constant status updates and ceaseless self-reflection maybe we could all take a moment and CHILL. THE. FUCK. OUT.

If you're hungry, eat something. If you're tired, get a nap. If you have a task, just do the task. Tell your partner you love him/her just because you do. Give someone a smile because you feel like smiling. Have a good, solid ugly-faced cry because crying is a release and it feels good. Call your mom—not because she'll guilt you if you don't or because a call is long overdue but because you want to talk to your mom. Go to work and do your job without the pall of seeing your everyday as a sludge because you know what? Most of life is a sludge. Get up, do something productive, eat, shit, fuck, sleep. And that was just Monday.

The key is to be ready. Be ready for those extraordinary moments of profound opportunity that you'll definitely miss if you walk around with your head up your ass, staring at the inside of your naval. Those moments are rare. We miss more of those brief windows of serendipity while wailing "Why? Why me? Why am I in this job? Why did I get a parking ticket? Why am I so unhappy?" to a non-existent deity or karmic turtle or some sort of ancient mystical therapist.

In order to be ready for these spectacular game-changing moments that float by like giant leaves on a river is to eat, sleep, do your work and keep your eyes open to the world rather than yourself.