How do we know when it is right to tell our brains to shut up? 

WHen I get on a stationary bike, a treadmill, elliptical (an absolutely bazaar new invention to me), or any contraption of the like, a mutiny happens in my head.  A battle ensues over what my body is doing but also about whatever crap has been rattling around in my emotional mineshaft. 

What if our support system - our friends, therapists and family - tell us what they think we want to hear? Half of the time, I hope that is what they are doing. Or telling us what they want for us? Maybe that isn't so bad.  I suppose the professionals are the most neutral, but still, what if their guidance is misdirected? I mean, after all, don't we lead our own stories? Or at least slant the perception of it? Trust issues anyone? And what about societal and cultural standards? How well are they matched to shape the individual experience? It is a real trick to see and feel your life for yourself and be objective about it simultaneously. Psych 101 for the rest of our freaking lives.

The artist, Skip Schuckman, uses some of his own invented language to organize and diffuse the mutiny of the mind, as well as physical creative acts. At the moment, I am most into his words.

emotional velcro: the greed and laziness that makes us stick to our ideas about ourselves.

protocolic: the discomfort that ensues from excessive politeness.

bulldozer consistency: the holding pattern within which many people live, even if it does not provide gladness or satisfaction.

I have never met Skip. I have only read about his work. I've never seen a single piece of his work in person, that I can remember.  His work is mostly private landworks and not really on display like conventional painting and sculpture. 

I imagine that the experience his patrons have with him is the real magic, more than the objet d'art.

I want to talk to Skip. I wonder what kind of guidance he would give.  Would he just reinforce the mutiny? Make a new one for me? Even without talking directly to him, he has crept his way into my head.

The fitness center plays an excellent selection of motivating music and I put my discussion with Skip on hold. Eventually, I buy into the whole scene and I am hopping around yelling, "Hit me with your best shot!"  

The mutiny subsides and I think, "yeah, this is alright. I can do this. This is good, even." I feel a change. I am less sarcastic. I choose to make fewer jokes (even if I think of them) or point out ironies (of which I am completely surrounded and feel obligated to point out now). I am almost nice. When I do crunches, instead of resisting, I throw in a couple more than what the trainer commands. I am beyond rolling with it. I am into it. I start to believe that I fit in and I belong here. I start to forget Skip.

"I Love Rock & Roll" kicks on. I sing. I dance. I feel the groove. I declare, "I love Joan Jett! She rocks!"

And my perky little blond barely-twenty-something trainer asks me, 
"Who is Joan Jett?"

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