Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Art of Claustrophobia
I mentioned the other day that I would be going off on a solitude trip by myself, to craft out my book on the advice of my mentor and coach, Dr. Tom Hill. He has written two books, one being "Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurs Soul". Yes, it is the real deal and Tom says he nailed it after taking a 3 day solitude trip himself. He also wrote "Living at the Summit" during another three day ordeal. Living at the Summit has gotten a wide response and it is a very good book, btw. Buy it today at the link provided.
Now Tom knows that I ain't necessarily your stereotypical "do what your told" kind of guy. Hell, none of us are in his group of like minded folks. None of us "serial entrepreneurial capitalistic types" who seek always to find the paradigm shifts--the acquiring of the upper hand. We, the fringe seekers?--we have to be focused on our own gifts, our own style. For when something cool dances within our reach, we need to be ready to pounce on it, own it, incorporate it in to our model. We seek out the connectors and create the dots--to further our journey, our endeavor--that which we consume ourselves with. Without this type of free spirit and the ability to navigate with autonomy and without conventional structure, well, I don't learn much. And honestly?--the learning comes from the litany of mistakes made along the way. Just sayin.
So if you live in my world, taking direction and/or taking the lead from somebody else is a bit of a challenge, and while it is necessary for folks like me to take direction from time to time, I/we still fight it. This complex (if you will) is not a good one.
In my world, I have to be ready to jump and go at any time when faced with a remarkable situation. This is not limited to business, by the way. It encompasses just about everything. Because I am a solution guy, a perspective guy, a "follow me and we will get to the other side" guy. I am a survivor and somewhat of a tough shit if need be. But it is not like I don't listen to others, rather, I prefer to have things processed in my brain in relationship to the way I think and on my accountable agenda. If I am taking direction on cue from somebody else, then I am meeting their agenda and their ideology and that to me is confining. I don't like confinement/conformity. It is somebody else's art. If we make our lives about our own art...well, that is where its at folks.
So I am convinced that confinement and conformity is not a good thing for me. In my thirties I developed somewhat of a severe case of claustrophobia. I think it has a direct relationship and/or something to do with me not wanting to be held back, me not understanding and/or wanting to take direction, me not wanting to be controlled. It seems I have had a hard time on elevators as of late, or hanging out in the lower level of other peoples homes. I hate anything with concrete overhead. I don't like close talkers, people who touch too much. I sleep with the window open 11 months out of the year. Airplanes almost require sedation. If I have just the right triggers in any situation, a flag goes up and I start to get that feeling of "get the hell out quick". While I can keep it in control most of the time, there have been episodes of extreme discomfort.
Once while on a plane to waiting to depart for Oklahoma City my heart rate suddenly spiked and I could feel little beads of sweat forming on my glorious forehead. It was the familiar "oh friggin no!" feeling recognized from when I got stuck in one of those Gawd awful "floor caves" at the St. Louis City Museum--kids filing in, no where to go, too tight to squeeze through.... (the plane)
I immediately looked out the window but strangely couldn't see through the thick reinforced glass, couldn't see anything on the other side, no wide pastures, no open runways, just a closed in tube of a room with people huffing and puffing, wobbling in and breathing their carbon dioxide all up in my face. I looked up the isle and calculated precisely how much of an issue it would be if that bitch of a flight attendant wouldn't let me storm out, against the grain of the passengers boarding, to step off and gather my senses. I wanted to flee and was at extreme risk of having a full blown anxiety attack. My fear?.....and this is important...
...making a total ass out of myself.
Just when I reached to pull myself out of my chair, I felt a re-assuring calmness returning, my heart rate coming back down. I was able to keep from bolting to the door. I breathed in to the confinement.
So maybe I don't feel comfortable taking the lead from somebody else for the right reasons. I don't like the conforming/confining nature of things. And if I were to dissect the issue that I have with going on a 3-4 day solitude retreat, I would probably say that my discomfort has something to do with fear. I mean, I can't remember last time I spent 4 days without seeing another human being, without having a conversation with anyone, without a phone, internet, cooking for myself, making coffee, cleaning up after myself, the very basic things that I "basically" don't do at all? This and the fact that I am being told to do something that I know very little about; this type of soul searching, will the story telling come?. I fear being lonely, being depressed, sleeping all by myself. I suppose I am not all that tough after all.
The bottom line is that nobody is a complete maverick and can live without influence. Nobody can improve themselves without insight and perspective from the experience of others, those who have been there and experienced breakthrough process. Yes, I am deeply affected from my past, from my lack of academics and my self image resulting, from working for the man, from having to conform for so many years in a body with a mind that needed a intellectual stimulation-- that once I realized this and broke free, life began. Yes, confinement means that we can lose control of our art, our free flow of expression, our world and the cool things in it and the people that we love and seek to come in contact. We don't want to lose that which makes us express--that which provides fulfillment.
So I am going, Tom! Soon, and I will soon sit at my computer and let it spill; spew and spit out fodder in a rustic cabin someplace in the Ozarks. But I just have to tell you, it is like jumping out of that damn plane for me, hoping the parachute opens in relationship to the art flowing out. I just hope it comes. ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.