[miscellaneous] On Excitement
[miscellaneous] On Excitement
The sun was slowly going down. We rumbled along on the long straight highway that stretched far into the horizon. We were on our way home back from Las Vegas.
My father and I began to talk about the company and how there was an opportunity to grow into the e-commerce business. We talked for awhile, throwing out ideas and stories we had heard. We imagined together. He told me I could rent an office in downtown Berkeley and work from there. He imagined building the infrastructure and then spinning it off for other products.
He then stopped talking. We sat in silence looking forward at nothing in particular, just enjoying the presence and calm that liminal spaces bring.
He then laughed and smiled and said something very interesting.
“Tim this is what excitement is. This is what it feels like. When you get old, you don’t get this feeling very much.”
Ever since this trip, it’s been about four weeks now, I haven’t been able to forget this moment.
I was thinking about it in the shower, and trying to find the words to explain the significance of my father’s remark and how it has lasting effects that I’ve been feeling day to day.
I’ve always felt excitement, but I’ve never explicitly, consciously, and intentionally thought to myself, “I am feeling excitement.” After my father labeled it, I suddenly found myself thinking about all the other moments when that feeling flooded through me and I realized that in all those moments, my heart was leaping with joy and imagined possibility.
It is a strange thing when you sit still in the morning and let yourself run through different things that are coming up in the day. As you think about the day, you get to a certain task/project/or event that triggers a wave of feeling- and I love it when that feeling is excitement. Or alternatively, it could trigger a wave of anxiety.
I’m thinking about Tony Robinson and how he always stresses, “You have to see if happening for you. You have to see it.” I’m realizing with a bit more clarity now that he emphasizes this habit of imagination because he knows that when one imagines, it triggers excitement and anticipation. And this emotions are what fuels you to act and make progress toward the vision.
A final thought that I want to write down is how it is interesting to see how different things excite different people. My father gets excited as he thinks about different business ventures, different deals, different places to travel, and new innovative products.
I realized that while If feel the same way towards those things, I also get uniquely excited by that moment when you a wonderful idea for a new essay or article pops up. I feel a wave of excitement surge through me. And until I finally write it down, it stays in my mind, occasional flairing up again. I really do like writing. It gives me so much excitement.
Consciousness is a strange thing. Yes, we experience emotions. This is an experience we all share effortlessly.
But I think when we learn to really observe ourselves and recognize the emotion, the experience of that emotion also changes. Attention and conscious recognition as a phenomenon interests me. It reminds me of that article written by a famous sociology professor in which he attempts to explain how to do weed. He recognizes that there is this mechanism in our brain that we control. We must learn to focus it, shift it, and move it around. In this way the experience changes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we tend to not recognize how Experience is two parts. It is not just external inputs. It is also how we configure the receiving equipment. We have a lot of control over this.
*This post is so disjointed. But I guess the basic theme is “emotions, consciousness, and experience.”
Also, a great quote I’m stealing from a friends blog:
“Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown. Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a fear of it. Desire takes one out of oneself, into the possibility or relationship, but it also takes one deeper into oneself. Anxiety turns one back on oneself, but only onto the self that is already known.” -Mark Epstein
*Note: I'm rereading this six months later ( it is May 2017 now) and the section that stands out to me the most is, "It is a strange thing when you sit still in the morning and let yourself run through different things that are coming up in the day. As you think about the day, you get to a certain task/project/or event that triggers a wave of feeling- and I love it when that feeling is excitement. Or alternatively, it could trigger a wave of anxiety. "
I'm fascinated by those first waking minutes of every morning. Eyes still closed but not sleeping, the mind whirs and moves from place to place. I sometimes have mornings when I think about pleasurable tasks and books to read, and I feel a surge of excitement. Other mornings I have some tasks which I've been putting off out of anxiety, and just thinking about them makes me close me eyes tighter and breath shallower. Or a third type of morning is when you don't really feel any which way. The usual routine tasks await, nothing exciting or anxiety inducting.
I think maybe you can understand someones mental state that day by querying them about the thoughts that floated through their head that morning. You can understand the season of Life someone has been by querying the thoughts that have been running through their head in the past month. Observe whether these thoughts have been provoking excitement, anxiety, or perhaps nothing at all.