Saturday, January 22, 2005

Restlessness: Alex

"In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay a colder winter."

The winter has a way of making life feel that much harder, making the world seem that much bigger, and smaller, all at once. That general feeling of anxiety and unhappiness that you can't quite put you finger on arises with more vigor than you may be accustomed to and you find yourself longing for something bigger... or maybe just anything at all. This restless feeling is common in all people, but perhaps most prominent in college students, as we're bound not only by social obligations and economics, but also by our very status as students. We're left with few options but to stew. Or drink. Or stew and drink.
Restlessness is the word we use to describe the combination of anger, depression and anxiety that we experience when we feel as if our creative potential is being hindered by our surroundings: cabin fever for the soul. Like all emotions, everyone has his or her own method of ignoring, overlooking, or learning to tolerate restlessness, despite how frustrating and futile it can seem. I know that the overcast Vermont sky combined with my constantly underlying, general dissatisfaction with my life often can overwhelm my better judgment and leave me depressed, angry, or acting in a self destructive manner. We all deal in our own ways, maybe it's a few beers, some weed, Madden, or a pint of Ben & Jerry's. These methods of distraction have excellent, short term perks; however, the underlying unhappiness remains.
This unhappiness, like all emotions, isn't to be ignored. Hawaiian healers who practice the ways of Huna recognize emotions as a component of a human's basic self, your inner child, or animal, if you will. These healers believe that all humans are comprised of three parts: your basic self, your conscious self, and your higher self. You basic self is attuned to all that is around you, but is often ignored by the reasoning and logic of your conscious mind. As a result, your basic self-expresses itself through emotional and physical pain. Pain is an alert from your basic self, telling you that what you're doing is wrong. Our internal monologue and reasoning, our conscious selves, should not simply overlook emotions like anger, sadness, happiness or restlessness, nor should we cling to such states. Instead, we should recognize each emotion, or combination thereof, as a storm with a purpose.
Like thunder storms, our emotions will come and go. We will be angry, we will be sad, we will be restless. These emotions aren't to be ignored, but rather heeded in the interest of becoming a better person in the only eyes that matter, our own. Emotion can be the greatest of all tools available to man, as passionate emotion, particularly variations of anger, can be the best way to create change.
That restless feeling, that angry, depressed, anxiety can create the strength within you to take the next, of many, steps on the path of life. In order to do so, however, one must first be able to step back and look at their lives with a clear perspective. Recognize your restless state, but don't pander to it. Instead, use the energy created by your passion to give you the ambition to take pause, and honestly reflect on where you are. Don't look at your life through the biased vision of your emotion, but rather embrace your emotion as a passing storm, and recognize that it arose for a reason. Look at who you are, and allow yourself to change. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are why we’re all here. Don’t spend your restless nights wishing for something bigger to come along – such ideals often are met only with disappointment. Instead, harness that restless energy and use to create something bigger within yourself.


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