I came across a couple of items recently about Jay Leno, which I particularly noted because (a) he’s a person who doesn’t typically blip across my news radar field, so twice in one week was a sit-up-and-take-notice red flag for this pattern-seeking monkey; and (b), one resonated with me rather deeply.
The first item was embedded in a conversation on the excellent Adam Carolla podcast, and confirmed what many before have said: like him or not, comedically-speaking, Jay Leno is a nice guy with his (gigantic) head screwed on right.
The second (whose source I cannot recall, but may also have been the Adam Carolla podcast, as I’m seriously obsessed with it these days) was something I’d not heard before but was not particularly surprising, either: that Jay Leno views his body primarily as a vehicle for carting around his brain. Which is to say he does not take exquisite care of of his body beyond the bare minimum of caloric intake and sleep, ergo (and this is my extrapolation/dialectic):
- Having been hit with the psychic whammy of being kinda-sorta shoved to the sidelines of the only game he’s ever wanted to play…
- at a stage in his chronological life when the physical plant under the best of circumstances is already breaking down…
- he experienced some health issues which landed him in the hospital
It should be noted here that Leno himself has shrugged off the health issues as mere exhaustion, but the timing is interesting and frankly, there’s nothing mere about exhaustion, especially when it causes you to cancel stuff and head to the hospital in a highly uncharacteristic fashion.
Here’s the thing: I get it.
I mean, I’m nowhere near the level of a Jay Leno in terms of weight of the world on my back, or of work schedule, or of anything else (although my chin comes damned close). But I get the exhaustion thing and I get the body-being-a-brain-hod thing and I get the bifurcation of thinking and feeling. I am the person who cried for two years when she started doing the Relaxation Exercise in Method class, because, hello, you cannot start really moving a body you’ve been bottling stuff up in for 40 years without having some of the stuff leak out. Leaking happens under extraordinary circumstances, and for body-is-a-brain-hod types, moving the physical plant in certain specific ways is extraordinary. I also cried regularly and copiously during my initial six months of shiatsu bodywork therapy, and that wasn’t even me doing the actual moving.
I am the person who got by because she learned to tune things out, which probably had a lot to do with being raised by two people who also got by because they learned to tune things out. The longer I live, the more I think most of us get by most of the time by tuning things out, which is not always a bad thing, I don’t want pilots and firefighters and cops doing a lot of feeling at critical moments, and I think (haha) that they probably feel (haha) the same way. And that’s fine.
What’s not is me letting thinking become my default mode for dealing with everything. Just like FAST is not the only speed to do things at, THINK IT OUT, BITCH is not the only way to slog through a problem.
At a recent workshop I attended, I met many wonderful people and heard many inspiring stories and was treated to a few big surprises, but the greatest tool/takeaway/net-net I got was that maybe, just maybe, there was another way to get at that meaty nugget of Who I Am and What I’m Here For than making and executing another goddamn list. Maybe I could feel my way through it. Maybe I could look around at my environment and me moving through other environments and start taking note of what I was feeling when I felt the best. Danielle, the woman who led the workshop, shared the four feelings she’d identified for herself as ones that felt like True North, affluent (in all its various meanings), sexy, communion, playful, and suggested that we just start taking note of how we felt when we felt good: in various rooms of our homes, at various times of the day, with various people.
I’m sure there are a slew of exercises like this in all kinds of books that sit on my shelves right now, some of which I’ve likely read. Somehow, though, that was the evening when the message got through my thick skull: because I was ready, because the language she used was one I understood, because I’d paid to hear it.
But also, o, Irony Syrup on Obvious Pancakes, because I was exhausted. Sometimes, those of us prone to overthink need to be tuckered out enough to let things in.
I’ve started my list. I started it that night, in fact. There are feelings on it like “joy” and “safe” and “free”. It’s just a beginning, but I’m okay with that, too.
I will feel my way through this, I think…