Aisha Sasha John: What to do about it

On how to proceed

How to proceed is about going. The the the first step of proceeding is beginning. How to proceed is to begin, and how to begin is to direct your attention to the object in question. My dance teacher says the first thing one does when doing improvised dance based on a “score”—which is what I do and what she teaches me—the first thing one does when beginning one’s score (the score being the intention directing the dancer’s movement; my score, for instance, is to respond to my body’s imperatives), the first thing one does when beginning one’s score is to turn one’s mind to the score. (What are my body’s imperatives? Oh my neck wants a stretch on the back left side. And then I move my head—I dance—to relieve that tension. And doing so I create another tension, or sensation, and my body demands/desires that I move to release or explore or make quiet that new sensation. And so on.) And so to proceed, in your score as elsewhere, the first thing to do is to direct your absolute total spirit and body towards the thing about which you must proceed. To proceed is to begin; to begin is to face.

So. Now. If you find yourself lost or upon change, both locations from which you would want to consider the work of proceeding, what you should do is lay your body down on your tall bed or on your clean floor and think.


On what to do about it

That is, what to do about it is to proceed with a solving. This is true, it is in fact so obvious as to seem redundant, but it is not redundant because what most often is the approach taken to what to do about it is complaint and lament. More on that later. But solution-seeking is not the only way to go about a proceeding. No. Yes – no. Because one can always of course as a means of proceeding, one can always do nothing which is what I should do because really, I’m always proceeding, and I was trying to think recently about how I could do differently, and I couldn’t think of how because I’ve tried everything except, of course, committing to not trying—to nothing. You need to—trust me—hear more about this business of nothing, but first let us discuss in greater detail something. First let’s discuss wanting because to proceed in a solving requires that you identify what you want. What do you want?


On identifying what you want

What you want or would want or what I want or would want is often misunderstood as being obvious. To this I say Nope, no no no nope: most people for instance have convinced themselves that what they want is what it is they believe they should have; this belief is based on their indoctrination by the common outlets known for distributing, maintaining and defending a brittle, toxic and persuasive geodome of lies. And so – what you should lie down and think about is this word should and what in your life is to be expressed as an imperative and what isn’t. Basically, there is a beginning which if you haven’t already come to, I hope, I hope hope hope you do shortly, and if you’ve already known this beginning you have equal reason to be glad, for reminders are blessings especially when put to the music of the line, and this beginning of which I speak is one I’m very fresh in which is why I am so excited about it as to proselytize—this is the beginning in which you understand that you are enough.


On you being enough

Some of you were born with this, or well, no—all of us were born with this, but some of us were reared in such a way that we managed to keep it. I was reared in such a way by my mother, and then when at age seven I moved with her from Montreal to Vancouver to meet my father, he supplanted my I-am-enough with garbage about improvement and excellence, and it took me let’s see – twenty-four years to get it back. Several things to note: my father is a thinker although not as fine a one as I, and as a result of the violence he was subject to, his thinking led him to the conclusion that excellence was not to be uncovered and nourished in a soul based upon the true and glorious want of that soul—i.e. that the soul was total, that the soul was enough—but instead that excellence resulted from “fixing” the soul of its “flaws.” Anyway, that was me and so be it, for I am here at this keyboard as a direct product, I believe, of this not-knowing of my enoughness, and I like this keyboard, and I am glad, I am truly glad to be at this keyboard, and every other keyboard I’ve made a music with—and I don’t think I would have suffered the discipline of the keyboard if it weren’t for necessity: the need to conduct a thinking so extended it had to be recorded, over years, and across books. So this joy which is the keyboard I would not have acquired had I not withstood the difficulty of developing a relationship with the keyboard, which I would not have done if I were not so uneasy in my soul and ignorant as to why exactly, and so basically—my self-hate gave me the gift of writing.

But enough about me. I mean, I can tell you right now, look—arrête: you are enough. Now – what do you want? Okay, proceed. Go lie down. And think. And then do. This enoughness business is a powerful one, it is power, in fact, and it is so simple, and could I give it to you merely through this telling I would, and I’m trying, but I know that really, really you have to arrive there from your own eye. You must lie down in a misery or a confusion and find tears of your own understanding of your own enoughness.

Let us now return to the question of shoulds and what is appropriate to be expressed as an imperative. Well, truly, there is a place for shoulds but not until you get to the lying down and thinking part. There is a place for shoulds once you’ve decided how to proceed—because you are intelligent and understand how to navigate the world, and so the places for shoulds are basically ethics and industry, keeping those in your pocket, as belts, upon your feet, as pants as you proceed. That’s where shoulds come in appropriately. Where shoulds do not belong is in relation to finger accessories and the age of your ovaries; where they don’t belong is in property and posterity and theorist names or car brands and and and – goshdammit – can you please let go of station so you can have fun and enjoy yourself? You are enough.


On location

Where are you? You are in a location you are in your location. Has location been a problem for you?  If you’ve spent extended periods of time in a shitty location, a spiritual emotional mental place that may or may not be connected to a physical one, you might think or you probably won’t think but you might behave as if a solution for an undesirable location is to pretend as if you’re elsewhere. Certainly your location will suck more if you deny it.  If you don’t acknowledge your location, how can you protect yourself from its harms? If you don’t acknowledge your location, how can you see its beauty (ya, it has some)? Our locations—um, reality—can be a real pain. In this beginning I’ve presented—the one in which we understand we are enough—to remedy an unwanted location is to remedy the circumstance that is permitting said location, and this circumstance may include some of our very own ideas and habits, but what remains understood is that our essential value is total, with or without correction of our circumstance, relocation to a better place, whatever. Our value is that of absolute totalness—and though to proceed it’s likely we’ll have to change, and we have the tools and the opportunities to do so, and if we haven’t, we will, and basically, we are not waiting for a new location in order to be total, but we are total now and always and have been always, and we can lie down and think about how to proceed because we are enough and this act of determining how to proceed doesn’t determine our enoughness, nothing does, and so if we never relocate, if we fail in the proceeding, it doesn’t matter—there’s no pressure to be right, to proceed successfully, because if we’re wrong, we remain total, precious and plenty, and it is this certainty, the certainty that how we proceed doesn’t affect our value, that even permits us to proceed. We are enough we are enough we are enough we are enough.


On nothing

Now – let’s return to the matter of the options we have when we find ourselves considering what to do about it, when we find ourselves with the work of proceeding. We can go about solving, considering cleanly what we want, animated by our enoughness or— we can do nothing.

When should one do nothing? When is nothing the precise and prudent, healthy good good right right course and not a gruesome cowardice as it often is ‘cause we all know nothing and how it is attractive when it takes the form of an easierness, when it takes the form of an avoidance. We all know those nothings. If it were not for those nothings would we not all stink with the wealth of actualized opportunity? Yes, so, no—not that nothing: that nothing is not what I am prescribing but another nothing. A nothing which is difficult if you are a doer, a try-hard, as I am as you might be; if you are a doer, what is natural and produces in you feelings of incredible power is a doing, is many doings, is more and more and more doings and rewarded doings and cunning doings and spontaneous doings and even dumbass poorly considered doings – as long as a thing is done and that includes the doing of the griping and the tight-bodied considering, the brunch–long telling to a long good friend or the late at night suckybaby telling to a lover, for these are doings too.

Or we can do nothing. You know when someone who doesn’t know you well enough to understand the full extent of your misery, responds to your doing, your story, with a Don’t Worry About It? And you’re like, Um No I Actually Will Worry About It, Thanks: I’m going to make a long and sexy worry of it, I’ll make art in the service of my worry, I’ll enlist friends siblings lovers in the service of my worry, I’ll refuse pleasure in the service of my worry, I will fucking worry about it and I will wear the headdress of my worry as the ornament it is and in this way I am pitiable? Well, how about you just don’t. How about you just shut the fuck up, do nothing, actually nothing, for a while—for as long as it takes for the nothing to work. I don’t know how you’ll know when to stop nothing and do something because to be perfectly honest, I just started nothing as I began to explain this whole thing to you. That is, I haven’t even started yet. But having thought with my full and whole self and also read an incredible blog post about as much yesterday, it is clear that nothing is exactly what I should and will now do.


from Dear Try-Hard, by Aisha Sasha John, a LemonHound contributor.