The Beautiful Absurdity of Life

If you haven’t watched Bo Burnham’s new Netflix special, Inside, you need to go watch it. It is truly a work of art. I haven’t been able to stop singing/listening to his songs for days now. It is surprisingly profound and meaningful while also highlighting the hilarious absurdity of it all. It’s beautifully put together visually and musically. It is the perfect representation of the collective experience of humanity throughout the pandemic. It touches on so many important aspects from mental health to the unsettling advancements of technology to climate change to awareness of social issues.

The best part of the special in my opinion is that just when you start to feel weighed down by some of the heavier topics, he bursts into these little Jeff Bezos songs that absolutely kill me. It’s like, yes, the world is falling apart, your mental health is crumbling, life is full of stress and uncertainty and injustice and death, but hey, Jeffrey Bezos! He’s killing it. He’s doing great. Good for him. It’s too perfect. It’s a reminder that no matter how bad things get, we can still find so much to laugh about. We can still find amusement in the strangest places. We can step back and enjoy the delicious ridiculousness of it all.

Never lose sight of that sense of humor. I’m the first to admit that I have the tendency to take life far too seriously. I struggle to make even the most benign decisions because I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. I’ve spent years stewing in anger and anxiety about things that I, ultimately, have no control over. While political and social issues are, of course, important, it’s not worth agonizing over every second. Planning and doing the work to improve your life and take good care of yourself matters, but not if you never actually take a moment to find joy in the simple things.

Above all, most of us want to be happy. We have a lot of ideas about what we need to do to ensure that we are and that we don’t “waste” this gift of life. But unfortunately at some point, we all lose sight of the reason we are doing all the things we do. We forget that while we may start with the best intentions, in the end, we don’t have to do anything to be happy, besides allow ourselves to be. We end up making ourselves miserable with the very things we began with the intention of making ourselves happy.

Despite all the pain and suffering in the world and all of my own personal issues, I still truly believe that joy and happiness are the true essence of life. We are all here to explore, learn, and enjoy. Laughter is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve been given. It would be a shame if we didn’t let ourselves have some every day. So make sure that you find time to laugh today! There are so many reasons to be depressed and anxious and angry, but despite it all, there are just as many reasons to be happy and grateful. It’s up to us where to place our focus. I, for one, want to make an effort to enjoy as many moments here as I can.

Inside,” Reviewed: Bo Burnham's Virtuosic Portrait of a Mediated Mind | The  New Yorker

The Duality of Self

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I am large. I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whitman

I am a yoga teacher, a devoted student as well. I am an ancient, quiet, thoughtful, loving soul. I am full of fire and passion and purpose. I am compassionate. I am capable. I am powerful. I am brilliant. This is me at my best. This is me embracing my full potential. My soul, untarnished and gleaming out from within. This is me present and pulsating with the joy of existence. However…

There is another side of me. A self steeped in shame and secrecy. The parts of me that are fearful, hateful, apathetic, envious, greedy, grotesque. This self-hating side of me that holds me prisoner. That ties up my spirit in doubt, in bitterness, in hopelessness. That whispers hateful ideas directly into my head. The part of me that says: This is the real you. The rest is just pathetic pretending. And I believe it.

This is a war wagged within me each and every day. As I lie down on my mat to meditate, I am boundless. I am free. I am happy. But when I stand up that feeling falls away. I leave that version of myself on the mat. I can never take it with me fully. As I go about my self-destructive, mindless daily rituals, it is painful to even remember that other part of myself. It feels like a dream. Or a fanciful character I sometimes play. I feel like an imposter, a fraud. I feel ashamed.

I don’t know why I identify so much more with the negative side of myself. Technically both expressions are me. I just don’t feel worthy enough to claim my higher aspects. Yet I desperately want to believe in the truth of those moments. The time I spend on my yoga mat, in the studio teaching every Saturday, that is not an act. The lovely qualities I am capable of are just as much a part of me as the disturbing ones. No one is perfectly splendid or perfectly awful. I should not feel ashamed of my dual nature. It is only natural.

I want to learn to embrace the side of myself that I admire and allow it to bleed out into my life off the mat more and more. Yet learn to accept that the darker aspects of myself will always be a part of me as well. I want to create harmony between the two and love myself for everything that I am, the good and the bad. I am hopeful that in this coming year I can start to find that healthy blend.