James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

34: Be (t)here now.

Let’s use our imagination.

Ready? Okay, great!

Imagine that you are rushing out the house to head to work. You are halfway down the stairs and realize that you forgot your tablet in your house. In a moment of frustration and self-blame, you run back to your house, throw it in your bag and rush out the door forgetting it’s case. You probably could have survived a day without the dang thing but you feel it was absolutely necessary. Then imagine that same night, it begins to rain, and you willingly ride your bike in a soaking wet thunderstorm that floods the streets even though your conscious tells you to take a bus, but your ego will be too bruised by not completing your ride. You arrive home to realize that your tablet is water damaged and no longer turns on.

Okay, let’s try another one.

Imagine you’ve been sent to the hospital for a medical condition you know you should be taking care of, but you ignore it out of stubbornness until it’s too late. Even though your doctor, your partner, and your loved ones say you should rest in your hospital bed and relax, you pull out your laptop and begin to stress over client work, fearing to taking a break, being complacent, or “impostor syndrome” begins to creep into your mind. Then imagine the cup of water on your table spills all over your computer and renders the insides useless due to water damage.

Crummy situations right? By now you probably guessed that those were all things that happened over the last few weeks. I’ll admit a few curse words flew out and a lot of frustration filled my mind, but life moves on–they are just piles of metal and glass, all the data was backed up, and I can admit I’m privileged enough to say that. I don’t know exactly what to fully make of these incidents (aside from the fact that I should probably avoid water), but I can look back at them both and realize they originated from two things: moving too fast and not slowing down. Whether it was taking time to double check before moving out the door, or mentally slowing down during a time of healing, both situations bit me in the butt in some kind of way.

I might be reaching for straws here, but I firmly believe that everything happens for some kind of reason and nothing is coincidence. I’ve been really pushing through some moments of setting boundaries and making more time for myself, which kind of leads to being more mindful. It was a beautiful coincidence that as I was churning through these ideas, I happened to visit a really great exhibit over the weekend.

A friend of mine, Matt Austin had an exhibit that lived outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago on their back terrace. His publishing house, The Perch, had “office hours” where published authors under The Perch’s umbrella were able to either read their work or participate in an activity with guests. It was a very intimate and engaging experience, and aside from feeling very present, it was a moment that you could only experience if you canceled out all distractions, which could either be those impostor feelings or physical objects. The area was an all wood enclosure, but what I found really interesting was the collection of engravings that lived around the wooden enclosure. In this photo, I found one engraving that stuck with me.

“Be (t)here now.”

It made sense to me at that moment. Be (t)here now during your rainy bike ride instead of worrying about your tablet, be (t)here now while healing in the hospital and stop worrying about working, be (t)here now while spending time with your loved ones, be (t)here now while writing/art making/designing/creating. It at least made sense to me.

There’s a collection of reasons why it’s hard for me to be (t)here now, and I’m still trying to work on it. Is there a moment when you experienced yourself “being somewhere now”? How did it feel? What were you doing? I’d love to hear about it, and I’m sure everyone else would too. Just hit reply.

Have a great Monday and see you next week,

-James
 

What did I find interesting this week?

1) How to Cold Email A Complete Stranger: Some great advice (and solid email etiquette too.)

2) Love People, Not Pleasure: An amazing piece that shows the importance in putting people in front of things.

3) The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect: Ever wondered who invented autocorrect and where it was first implemented? Check this out.

4) “I don’t f*cking care if you like it” t-shirt: I happily pre-ordered this shirt by Lindsay Eyth that was inspired by this story of Amy Poehler in the SNL writing studio.

James T. Green