Eminem, in Lose Yourself, raps:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go.
I love the beat, I love the message.
It works for me on so many levels. And here’s how.
When you’ve got something BIG going on in your life, something difficult, a struggle, a life change, it’s very difficult to ever push it completely out of your head. To get that breathing room, that sense of release and freedom from whatever’s weighing you down. Sure, you might be momentarily distracted — enough so that whatever you’re going through isn’t the first thought in your head. But it’s still there, in the back of your mind, draining your energy.
Enter my interpretation of those particular lines in Eminem’s Lose Yourself.
What does it really mean to Lose Yourself?
For me, it’s another way of saying, Live in the Moment, the Here and Now. The way young kids are able to do. Nothing else exists in the moment, nothing else invades their thoughts except what’s going on right in front of them in the here and now, be it a game of Whiffle Ball, a sidewalk chalk drawing, a curious bug on a leaf.
When you’re a grown up, it’s harder to do that. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s quite possible. You just have to work at it a little bit, find your sweet spots — those places, people, things that so engross you that before you even realize it, you’ve pushed every last bit of the struggle you’re working through out of your mind. And you’ve given that hat rack of yours something it really needs. A break.
Maybe it’s for five minutes. Or two hours. Or even a whole day.
For me, it can be — and has been — every one of those at one time or another.
In recent weeks, it’s happened to me at the pet store, the bowling alley, a kid’s birthday party.
The day we got the good news from my oncologist that the tumor in my breast, upon physical examination, seems to have shrunk quite significantly, is the day that Don, Theo and I went to the pet store. We walked in to get some crickets and a few pointers on amphibian care. Two hours later, we walked out with two new frogs — our red-eyed tree frogs, Goliath and Red.
But it was what happened in those two hours that was really important. I was so engrossed in walking up and down the aisles with Don and Theo, looking at the various kinds of frogs and toads, fish, birds, asking questions, observing, staring at them in fascination and wonder, that I completely forgot I had cancer.
My current struggle wasn’t even in the back of my mind. It was nowhere to be found. Gone. Lonnnggg gone, as Ernie Harwell used to say. When I realized that, somewhere on the way home between the Mickey D’s and Burger King drive-thrus (yes, it took both to make the whole family happy), I recognized how relaxed and restored my body felt from just that short break.
Same was true at the Bowling Benefit last Friday night. You wouldn’t think I’d be able to forget my diagnosis when that was the reason why we were all gathered. But in the excitement and pure joy of seeing people I hadn’t seen in years, making new friends, hanging out with those familiar to me, those thoughts fell by the wayside.
The next day, at my friend Tabitha’s daughter Lauren’s 10th birthday party, I found myself in a pink sack that barely reached to my knees, a picture of a pig on the front, hopping across the front yard and giving it my all in the sack race before collapsing in a heap at the finish line. My only focus in those sixty-odd seconds was how I could most strategically plot out my course. (And perhaps how to push a couple of kids out of the way. Yes, I am ohhh so competitive!)
Whether it’s a couple of minutes or a few hours, it’s good for the soul. It’s restorative. It’s healing.
So go ahead. Lose Yourself in the Moment. You Own It.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson