The art of Zen (and misdirection)

So, anyone that knows me, also knows that calm is not a word that has in the past, frequented my vocabulary, or anyone else’s in application to me. I have a tendency to worry, over-think things-sometimes to a bitter fault, be a touch emotional, on the bordering-on-crazy side and get passionately worked up about the things I feel are important in the world, or even just my world. I think and think, then think some more. The deeper the thoughts,the more everything seems complicated and unfixable. The more I think, the more it upsets me and usually it comes to this…
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Well, you might be surprised to know a few things. With all the thought (some positive stuff) I have put into my circumstance lately, things have changed a little. I decided to make them change. One word came to mind (applied by someone else)-Zen

zen:definition
A total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.
Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind.
Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.
While the first two parts may be moderately applicable, the third definitely gave me pause. It is true to a painful realisation, that while putting thought into something can be a good thing, when your brain starts to manipulate those thoughts, situations and outcomes…it is not. Not good. No. Bad brain!
Simplified, I guess it means this…
keep_calm_because_there_is_nothing_you_can_do_by_afiqi-d5cdmy7
If you are in a situation where there is ‘nothing you can do about it’, and you choose to stay there (for whatever reason), then you should learn to accept your choice.
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Now I’m not saying there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome ultimately or being the crusher of dreams here, but to make existing a viable option until things change, there are certain things you need to do. Everyone will have their own.
These are a few of mine…
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Music is a touchy one in the list. Someone wrote to me this week ‘When you’re happy you hear the music and when you’re not you hear the lyrics’. This is true, but even the sad, nostalgic, makes-me-want-to-curl-up-in-a-foetal-ball kinda stuff makes me feel better at the heart of it. Music is my go-to.
Along with these things, I have also consciously had to stop myself setting uncertain or unrealistic expectations, and including others and their actions in those.
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I have had to focus more on the things I am doing, want to do or need to achieve, in order to retain the balance and slow forward momentum. I have had to set myself tasks, write lists, stay busy. It goes a little like this to start with…
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But it gets easier to just do after a while. You just get on with things. You dwell less on the things you don’t have and appreciate more the things you do. Not as corny as it sounds by the way, but also not a long term thing. Basically it means you forego bigger dreams for a while, in order to reach them.
ALSO…I managed to stay away from the cigarettes for three straight weeks, and in a moment of unfortunate weakness, started again(yeah yeah-read on). After a week of being reacquainted with why I stopped in the first place, I am back to cig-sober. It still sucks as much as I remember, but I am once again no longer ‘killing myself slowly’. Hell, I don’t want to do anything much slowly…life is too short 😉
The misdirection part is something I debated whether or not to share with you, and finally just figured ‘what the hell’.
A friend told me yesterday that I was “the calmest person she knows”. While most of you are at this point quietly saying to yourselves “she’s kidding right?” (see everything above)…It’s certainly not the first time anyone has said that to me. Amongst other occasions, I can clearly recall telling a work colleague a few years back that I had been panicking a little about something, and she looked at me disbelievingly and said “I thought you handled it without breaking a sweat?”. Nope, more like a duck…calm on surface, paddling like seven hells underneath.
So…to illustrate, this is from a very cool flick I recently revisited-
Gabriel: Houdini. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
Social media is the perfect tool for this. You see, people see what you show them, hear what you tell them and choose to believe. Sometimes it’s because they don’t care to know the truth, sometimes because they wouldn’t know it if they tripped over it.
You can be anyone, anywhere at any time and nobody would be wiser to it unless they know you. A media whore if you will, can present herself to the world as anyone she chooses to be…even happy.
misdirection-quotes
Zen or not…I still have my days. Days when the outside gets a little too far in. Times when the sea of  inner calm is at rough high tide, and threatens to manifest itself in another form of flowing salt water. But if you have spent enough time in your life hiding who you are, how you really feel and what has happened to you, misdirection becomes second nature.
There’s only ever two categories of people that will ever see who you truly are, who I am, bare bones and all…Yourself and your true friends. I am lucky enough to have a few…they know who they are. They know why they are in my life. They have saved me (some literally), loved me, laughed with me, listened to me and put up with endless shit. We have cried for each other and with each other, shared secrets too many to number (yes, I can keep them when I need to), got blind drunk and done stupid things. We have endured losses, loves and hardships. We have built bonds that have never torn at the seams, however frayed they might have become along the way. I am who I am, in part because of them and their part in my life. I owe them a lot.
Our friendships are built on understanding, forgiveness, humour, empathy and acceptance of our differences.
These are the people who get the real me. Everyone else gets mostly Zen.
The trap with this concept of Zen however, is that you need to be aware of your thoughts and emotions, both the ones you allow and the ones you push aside. If you aren’t, you risk losing the spark that makes you who you are, the nasty side of you that you let off the chain at appropriate times (and weekends), the nice side of you that surfaces unexpectedly, but  mostly the spontaneous side that you can never predict. Misdirection can also result in denial of your own emotions and experiences. Don’t lose any of yourself,  just gain another mindset to help you deal with life.
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Well…That was all very deep and meaningful. Time to go and get some of that elusive stuff normal people like to call ‘sleep’ soon. I’m not sure if most of my rambling has been fluid or made a lot of sense tonight. It was something I just needed to say. I guess that’s what the interwebs are for these days right? (spoken like a true media whore 😉 ).
Keep calm Vamps, or not… “As you wish”
XX-V
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