I have a theory that I’ve been seeing my life from the wrong perspective.
I’ve often had some stay-at-home tendencies to my personality. I realized this about myself a few years back, and once I did, when new experiences and new challenges would arise, I would take it upon myself to push through and experience everything life has to offer. However, often I forget that I can be that guy. That guy who thrives rather than merely survives. He who experiences/lessons head-on because he’s looking to grow as a human being. Though often I forget these lessons and disciplines. Often I conveniently forget that I learned how to push through those tendencies years ago – most specifically when I moved alone from Oregon to Nashville at age 22 to pursue a music career. Now, at the age of 24, I try to think of the movie, “Yes Man” – for those fans of the underrated Jim Carrey masterpiece (masterpiece?) – and take on the challenge when asked.
I grew up as a fat kid. No way around that. I, in turn, essentially learned to think of myself as lesser than the other kids on the playground. I let that outward appearance quality – or lack thereof – define me for much of my life and there are still many trailing thoughts wherein I still associate in the same way with myself. It made me resist the outside world. I used to believe that outside is where you go to get hurt, because you’re lesser than everyone else and they know it. But fuck that.
Yes begets experience. Experience begets confidence. Confidence begets happiness.
But when you consider yourself a bit of a homebody, heading out into the outside world is a considerable task because you know – or at least think you know – that you’ll be so much more comfortable at home with a family-sized meat-lovers pizza and Netflix. This is of course not true the more you truly consider it. Sitting on the couch with a metric fuckton of pizza, Netflix, and at least a half-gram J is only ever truly satisfying when it’s been earned. As they say, you can only truly appreciate the sunshine after a day of rain.
So how do we go about taking on these outside-world tasks when our home is so inviting, safe, but – honestly – a little boring? I remind you that this article is only a theory… but I believe it starts with learning to disassociate from your physical structures and begin to craft your ideal (or dream?) home inside of yourself – in your psyche. Wherever you are, that’s home.
Give that last sentence a second read.
When you really sit down and think about it, is there a more true statement? In your physical house, you can move upstairs. You can move to the basement. You can move into the attic. You can switch bedrooms. You can move into the yard. Periodically you move into the doghouse (am I right fellas?). You can move into a new house, but wherever you end up, you still take yourself along for the ride. Therefore, your home has no physical dimensions. Your home has no boundaries. Your home is expansive and limitless. Your home has no roof. Your home is filled with things that can’t be stolen. And, possibly most importantly, your home doesn’t have a landlord. You own it in its complete and infinite entirety. And not only that…
It’s mobile. It goes where you go.
What a great concept! Makes your current house look a little weak by comparison right? Realizing this is the first step towards becoming more flexible, happy, comfortable, and confident wherever you go. Life is unpredictable and it favors the prepared. But how can I prepare for the unpredictable, Mr. Sweeney? I’m glad you asked. I believe it takes more than concentrating really hard (hey…good effort) everywhere you go on being home in that space. I believe some mental disciplines begin with physical disciplines that can then translate to a mindset. The mind controls the body, therefore using that body to perform certain actions will translate into greater mental control. It’s like self-reverse psychology or something.
So let’s jump into a few.
TAKE COLD SHOWERS
Take thirty seconds and google cold showers. I’m talking to you. Yeah you. Go on Google and check out the lengthy list of articles espousing the many – and I mean many – positive benefits of cold showers. I’ll list just a few here real quick off the top of my head. Not going to site these, seriously just google it.
Great for hair and skin
Supports and grows mental toughness
Builds will power
Increased Brown Fat (the good fat that burns calories)
Increased weight loss
I take a cold shower every morning. And I can speak from consistent personal experience that it is one of the greatest discoveries that I’ve made in my 24 years. Tired? Cold shower. Feeling ineffectual? Cold shower. Got the blues? Cold shower. And, most importantly, it can kick a hangovers ass. I consider it to be meditative in nature as well. Once that icy water hits your skin, there’s very little else you’ll be thinking of beyond the coldness of the water. It brings you into the NOW, hippies. As in, welcome home. You begin to focus only on combatting the feelings you’re currently feeling. Breathing gets very rapid and you teach yourself to slow that breathing down. You focus on your breath and few thoughts enter your head beyond the current moment. We’re all supposed to live in the moment, right people? Therefore I see it as a meditation of sorts, and you can just as well use music in the practice as well. Often, I do.
MY PERSONAL METHOD FOR COLD SHOWERS:
There are many sites with their own versions of a cold shower. It’s a flexible practice and can be done in many variations, and there’s nothing wrong with switching it up now and then. But if you’re looking for a shortcut, here’s what I do.
Turn shower on in the hot position
Take normal shower – soap/body wash, shampoo, brush teeth, whatever.
Turn shower as cold as it goes
Wash conditioner out and withstand the cold for 2-3 minutes
Turn shower off
Feel like a fuckin’ champion
Often I’ll set up a quick shower playlist before getting in. One song for the hot section, 2-3 minute song for the cold section, and a kickass tune to accomplish finishing your cold shower. That cold blast of air that usually accompanies getting out of the shower becomes a thing of the past.
Recommended songs for cold shower portion:
99 Problems – Hugo
We Will Rock You – Queen
I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
Good Times, Bad Times – Led Zeppelin
First Date – Blink 182
Shakedown on 9th Street – Ryan Adams
Take the Money and Run – The Steve Miller Band (…Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas *clap clap clap clap clap* [Just because it’s a cold shower doesn’t mean it can’t be a good time.])
Or woman up.
Just go take a cold shower.
BECOME A YES MAN
Simple-ish. Much like the cinematic tour-de-force that is “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey you need to begin to embrace the word Yes. Home alone settling in for a nice evening to yourself? If (insert name) calls you up for a night on the town, you’re damn right; that town’s about to be painted red. Your dad invites you hunting on Thursday morning around 4am? Start packing the liquor for all the victory drinks you’ll be sharing in the morning. Find yourself at a Sturgill Simpson concert and someone passes you the J? Hit it. Realize that being open to an experience opens up the whole world. Realize that in that moment, no matter how far you are from your four walls, you’re still home. This is where you are right now and it’s yours to explore this new section of your home. See what’s in each room and know with each new door you open, a new set of riches awaits. A new set of skills will be acquired. Now, of course don’t go off the deep end, but you’re an adult, I think you can handle the subtleties of the parameters of this rule.
EAT RIGHT & EXERCISE
Simple. Find what works for you and make it into a sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle. The only thing in your way is you. And have a cheat meal once in a while. Why fuck around.
BE AWAKE FOR THE SUNRISE
Early risers are successful. As a general rule, I think we’d agree, right? Become one. Find the alarm clock – whether a radio alarm clock or an app or whatever you fancy – that wakes you up and doesn’t let you go back to sleep. And when it goes off, all you need to do is get those feet on the floor and one of the hardest tasks of the day is already accomplished. Stand up. Stretch. And get your day going. I personally prefer to exercise in the mornings (and sure, I’ll accidentally miss a day or three on occasion, but consistently getting right back on your program is part of the discipline that will strengthen) because it knocks an obstacle out of your way in the morning and will get you in the zone for going out and getting what you want. Follow this up with a cold shower and you’ve got a true recipe for success. Step outside and breathe in the morning air. Drink fresh brewed coffee and watch the sunrise. Hell, it’s Saturday, make that coffee a Double Bloody Mary.
Do these things. You have to. You agreed to be a yes man right? Well then, welcome home.