Once upon a time I had a Transformer face tattooed on my leg. It has since been covered up by something much larger, ironically transforming into something else. But the root idea still holds, that a key to life is transformation, being able to change oneself into something else – better, hopefully – throughout one’s life. I had swim/run/coffee this morning with someone I feel is a kindred spirit, someone who takes transformation as a life philosophy.I can read people pretty well. I could get all Freudian and say being empathic is from a defense mechanism learned in an abusive household. Whatever. I’m emotionally intuitive like a sonofabitch and my gut feelings about emotional causality are rarely wrong. This means when I find someone I like I open up to them completely, unreservedly, because my gut tells me I can connect with them by being totally honest. I’m also emotionally indestructible by others because even when I share an emotionally raw piece of myself I’ve already put it through my internal mechanisms a few times to poke at it and understand what it could be. How else do we find emotional truth unless we test our responses to see what feels right? We’re all our own guinea pigs, and the way to growth is to turn over every piece of ourselves and examine it for value and use. If it doesn’t work, find something else that does or learn a new skill.
That is part of unlocking your transformative potential. Being stagnant is creative death. Not changing is how species die off. When someone tells me that they are changing themselves it excites me because self change is very difficult and ultimately very rewarding. Many people fear change, but don’t let that fear stop them from going through the process. I love change. I’d rearrange my furniture every month if I had the time. Breaking up patterns reveals new things. Changing myself reveals new challenges and new avenues to pursue.
I had a wonderful morning today connecting with D., a friend met at the ocean swims. D. is a smart, intuitive, emotionally aware and responsive guy who is in the process of transforming himself. He’s a triathlete, and the more triathletes I meet the more I’m finding people who are varying kinds of people who have the ability to effect change in their lives. Triathlon is just one aspect of living a life of growth. Athleticism challenges them in new ways, but it does not define them. They are defined by their creative pursuits, their emotional quests, and their desire to effect change in their world. For some this might come from a dissatisfaction with themselves or their environment. But if this can be used to trigger positive change, then a little dissatisfaction isn’t so bad.
Many years ago a friend gave me an insight while we were both high on acid. This friend was overall kind of a prick, and I haven’t heard from him in over a decade. (Mostly because he wasn’t interested in change, he wanted to do a lot of drugs and slack off.) We were soaring, laying over the guardrail overlooking Ventura Blvd and he said, “Max, you’ll never be happy because you’re constantly dissatisfied. It doesn’t matter if you sell a script, or a hundred scripts, or fuck a thousand beautiful women. You’re miserable no matter where you are.” Maybe it was the acid that made him prone to hyperbole, in that I’d maybe slept with 3 women by that point, and in re-reading the stuff I was writing then I was about as far from a script sale as Odysseus from home, but the larger truth of what he was saying was right. I wasn’t happy. Since then I’ve tried to be more happy with where I am, while constantly striving to change my life for the better.
It’s why I can be passed by someone on the bike and feel happy I’m in the race doing my pace, and then tell myself, “pedal harder” to get faster.
Finding people in this world who love their lives, are happy with what they’re doing, and are still looking for positive change is a magical combination. I was delighted to spend time with D. this morning, honored that he shared so much of himself with me. These kinds of relationships are the ones worthwhile because they foster a life gestalt. Spend time with people who challenge your assumptions, do things a different way. Learn from them, their experience counts – and then figure out how to synthesize what you learn in order to achieve your own goals.
Forget prepare for training. Prepare for life.
Notes: ocean swim, 3 laps, 40 minutes. 4 mile run with D., 9 minute/mile pace.