So I had to bike to catch a greyhound to Toronto today. It’s something I’ve done before – and remember with chagrin. The last time I had done it, it felt like every inch was uphill, and I was sickeningly tired. Oh, and also missed my bus – which, as one might expect, was even more stressful. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t give myself enough time for stuff.
Other times I wonder – why does it take so much longer when I am waiting for something? Why does a watched pot never boil? Why does it feel so painful to bike towards a bus when I haven’t given myself time? (And while we are here – why do I so often not give myself enough time?? I mean, seriously.)
Initially I blamed the garment bag I usually strap to my backpack, so that I can bike and bus in my “travel sweats” (which are, by the way, absolutely awful, but more comfortable then a mother’s love or farting in front of your long time significant other) and then transform into a well-dressed professional before my whatever-appointment. I figure the damn thing acts like a parachute to slow me down. But its not that – because the last-last time I biked to make a bus, it felt the same, and – though I made it on time – I had forgotten to bring the garment bag.
(Fortunately I had given myself extra time, and was able to buy some nice-fitting threads from a second hand store on the way to the audition.
Unfortunately, I spent too much time focusing on that, and did not memorize my lines, thus failing the audition I was there for. Sigh…. )
Today I had an enlightening experience though: I gave myself Just enough time, then went through the horrifying bike-ride – feeling every minute stretch on, and my speed crawl like a turtle – only to arrive, somehow, miraculously, on time. Meaning that it did not take any longer after all – it just felt longer.
Obviously we’ve all had that – waiting for something and feeling it take longer. But the adrenaline involved made it so much more intense. The adrenaline of possible lateness was pumping through me. Adrenaline, as many of us know from playing sports or watching the horror that is a Donald Trump speech, speeds up the amount of energy you are putting into processing stimulus – such that time sort of ‘slows down’ around you. And this brought me to today’s realization:
stress – aka Adrenaline – slows time down. But this is a natural reaction to help you use every mili-second more effectively. If you allow yourself to take it in a negative mindset, it will make you feel like you will never arrive, and every second will drag on. But if you force yourself into a positive mindset, you can use the adrenaline – the stress – to become much more effective.
This put me in mind of times gone by, when I would be biking to an exam or midterm in University. Yeah, I’d be late – but I would see myself as literally a warrior riding into battle. Every drop of that adrenaline/nervousness, including the part where I was (obviously, being me) running late added to the charge of positivity I felt. I would walk into the exam room feeling like a level 17 Paladin – untouchable and god-like.
I also got to experience the positive side of adrenaline a couple hour later, in the audition that I was on my way to.
I was given two minutes to summarize “ Orgone Energy “ – which is hilarious btw, as well as kind of cool, check out some links at the bottom for further reading.
Anyway, those two minutes took – I swear – half an hour, and I felt aware of every millisecond. But I had taken the time to pump myself up first, and when the nerves came – I was ready. The fear, the anxiety of performance – I used them to my advantage, like a G.D. Viking. I was on – and every word, turn of phrase, hand movement, that I made, I was fully aware of. Im not saying I killed it (although I did allright) but the experience was wild.
This was a positive use of stress. The bike ride – which felt like an eternity of torture – was a negative use. Chalk up another point for “cognitive behavioural therapy,” a.k.a. “Your Brain’s Immense Power over its Own Emotions, and your Emotional State’s Immense Influence over How you Feel, Perform and Process your Surroundings and Situations.”
Thank you stress – in spite of the emotional roller coaster, its been an excellent day.
Keep chasing adrenaline, my friends.
Further Reading and Sources:
THE MYSTICAL POWERS OF ORGONE ENERGY
Biking Uphill: https://patchnride.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/dealing-with-uphill-climbs/
Viking on Bicycles: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/save-the-date-viking-bike-ride-potluck-2013-edition-323/