There’s a point, a crossroad, a series of moments that lead to peace; when you feel nothing much is left to take. There’s nothing more to lose. You’re naked, so naked, it’s almost like you’re see through. It’s like nude-squared. X-ray naked?
Oh, you get the picture.
I’m staring into the reflection of pure humility and seeing the other side. The transition. Saggy gut, disappointing genitals. Hair growing out of places I didn’t realize could grow hair.. That’s something, right? I wince. It’s all for a reason: I’m beginning to understand.
As I lay flat on my back, “fed”, thread through the rotating disk of an MRI machine, wearing one of those flimsy hospital gowns, ass hanging out, unable to tie the thing to make me at least appear decent, I feel oddly, at peace. Deep.
I allow the calculated movement of the mechanism, the delicate whir of science, embrace me. Take over. A moment of raw acknowledgement. A revelation of sorts. An exposed butt meeting the road of human.
Whatever it was, whatever it is, whatever it was going to be, was what it was going to be. And there was not a damn thing I could do about it. So?
I smiled. Genuine. Best in years.
Closed my eyes. Allowed the present moment to swallow me like one of those strong undertows that lurk in the waters off Coney Island.
Humbled. Stripped down. Like the Winter Warlock (just call me Winter) of the vintage Rankin/Bass campy claymation Christmas pop-culture hit – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
There’s a point where “winter” loses his blustery, icy facade. Warmth releases. A simple gift triggers a positive reaction. Suddenly, the frozen image melts away, he’s transformed into a white-bearded, frail old man with a Dowager’s hump and pigeon toes. Actually, he’s sort of hideous physically once his menace dies off.
How will you look when your menace melts?
Not good. I’m fucking sure of it.
Some people will indeed experience enlightenment in a lifetime, others will eternally walk a path, their minds chained within a constant prison forged of intimidating bars of webbed, thick ego. They’re not as blessed, I guess. I can just feel bad for them now.
1). How will you re-define yourself? When all that held you together from the past is stripped away -how will you re-emerge? If done wisely, you’ll blossom – smarter and stronger than ever. Most important, you will have enhanced the present to the point where the world stops spinning, mental fog lifts and thoughts begin to make sense. Empower you. For the first time in a long time.
2). Find the right words to get you through. Kamal Ravikant in his new book “Live Your Truth” have provided the right word triggers for me. His wisdom allays the tensions of what I call “the transition” mind – a boundary between the present road and a path to inner peace.
Somewhere along the way, you do your best, and then, you surrender. Let go. Of attachments to outcomes. Attachments to what you desire. Like a paper lantern you light and then release into the night sky.
Create those triggers that return you to the present, the moment. Because when you think about it, that’s all you got. This moment. The right now. For me it’s 5:03pm. Sunday.
Letting go is not powerlessness. It is freedom. It’s not giving up, it’s accepting. And the light will enter. Always does.
Use music to form the rope that pulls you back to focus. To the present.
3). Understand how behavior affects your investment performance. Making investment decisions out of fear or greed can dramatically long-term portfolio returns. When in the present, before you seek to make a portfolio change,emotion is removed from the process. And that’s not easy. To be an astute investor, you must get a handle on your emotional makeup.
According to Michael Pompian in his book, “Behavioral Finance and Wealth Management,” you most likely fall into one of the following psychological camps. Each has its own pitfalls or “money traps” as I call them.
Are you the “Adventurer?” Impetuous, overconfident, volatile. A real gambler type. You drool to financial media porn. All over the board when it comes to investment ideas, and usually with no homework. It’s fire, ready, aim. You won’t face it – but your returns are probably downright embarrassing.
What about the “Celebrity?” Well, you’re afraid of being left out. Celebrities follow the herd; they do not possess an original idea. They’re prone to fall for “hot tips” which rarely work out.
Some are “Individualists.” These types forge their own paths. They’re typified by the small business pros or independent professionals. They’re careful, pragmatic and methodical. This is a level-headed bunch who most likely experience the greatest investment returns since they rarely make knee-jerk reactions based on short-term stock market movements or news.
“Guardians” are older and careful. They seek to preserve their investment assets and lack confidence when it comes to investing decisions. They’re also prone to be so conservative they have the potential to miss out on gains because to them, risk is narrowly defined to fluctuation of principal. The slightest price movement may be too much for a “Guardian”.
“Straight Arrows” are gifted at being well balanced. They fall nearer the center. A composite of the other investor types. If you’re a Straight Arrow” then you’re a rare breed – a truly rational investor.
4). Relish the accomplishments along the way. Don’t rush. Take your time. This shit is tough. A small step towards living in the present can wreak big havoc to the creator of illusion – your egotistical mind. It abhors your past, discounts your present, and fools you into believing that happiness exists somewhere in the future (good luck ever getting there).
Winter after – Stripped of his cold.
“You can get dressed now, Richard,” the MRI tech said. You’re done. With that she walked out, closing the thick wooden door behind her.
I was grateful to remain on my back a few more seconds. Looking up at the ceiling. I thought I heard something I never experienced before.
In the pain.
In the frailty.
I saw the paper lantern ignite.
Fly away in the wind of a whisper.
A deep breath.
I smiled again.
Twice in one day.
And I was thankful.
Just call me “Winter.”