(This post is about track 8 from the album Goodbye Party, titled “Melting Clocks (ft. eLoda)”. Click here to stream or download it free.)
Of the wide range of mindfulness-related topics that show up in my teaching, music, conversation and life, the one that I’m probably most interested in is the question of how to most skillfully navigate through the inherent peaks and valleys of being human.
I’ve heard it said so many times (on top of having learned for myself) that although we don’t have any control over what happens to us in life, we have complete control in how we choose to respond to what happens.
Time after time, I’ve learned that the key to surviving (let alone thriving) through this constant progression of emotions is not to try to manipulate them myself, but to allow for whatever comes up to run its course naturally.
Emotions don’t just appear out of nowhere, you see. Even when it seems like they might be coming up for no reason, all of the feels have some sort of root. It might be pretty deep down in there, or right on the surface, but some button is getting pushed, otherwise there wouldn’t be this evidence of it reverberating through the mind. When we try to cover those emotions up, or knock them out of the way, they don’t just go away. No, the proper way to deal with the feels is to let them run their course. Otherwise they get stored somewhere else… whether it be in the back of the mind; in a complex; a grudge; an insecurity… whether it manifest as a physical ailment, or settle itself a plot of tension in some muscle tissue… it always goes somewhere.
I’m sure you can imagine that this creates problems.
I would argue that this is not living skillfully..
The key is to learn to be in healthy relationship with those emotions when they present themselves. In Kripalu Yoga, we often call this riding the wave.
Any surfers out there?
Change lanes with me for a moment.
If you’ve never experienced profound heartbreak before, I apologize, but there’s no way I’ll ever be able to explain in words how potent the agony of it is. Somehow simultaneously the loneliest and most universal human experience to be had, it is obviously what spurred a lot of the writing on Goodbye Party.
This song, in particular (Melting Clocks), chronicles first-hand my realization that the only skillful way for me to cope with the immensity of my heartbreak would be to allow myself to feel every last excrutiating inch of it.
Here’s the real secret to it all though… by allowing myself to feel the pain completely, I finally found myself sitting in the pilot seat. Once the feels rocked my world enough to reach the lovely phase in the rollercoaster of emotion called ‘integration‘, I was suddenly graced with the ability to COMPOST all that hurt into whatever I like (something creative, perhaps? A song, maybe!?).
Hmmmm… Emotional composting… Heartbreak… Integration… Are you following along with me here?
Perhaps I can break it down a little more simply.
I’ve discovered how to manipulate time.
All you have to do is let the clock tick away until all that rides on it has integrated.
Then you just melt it, dip your paintbrush in it, and go to town.
Figuratively speaking, of course.