I just can’t relax

I was out on the balcony on a sunny day in Austin. It was a nice day. Everything was fine. Beautiful music playing. My day’s work was done. And that’s when it hit me:

I’m good at many things—but relaxing isn’t one of them. Even when you see me chilling, inside of me, there’s so much tension, so many things I try to fit into any given unit of relaxation.

I’m constantly reaching for more, forever striving for something else, incessantly trying to live up to some chimerical ideal, always attempting to climb an insurmountable peak. I turn everything into work, judge myself and others very harshly. It just never stops.

It’s just who I am today. Maybe one day I’ll change. But for now, that’s me.

So I’m up on the balcony and I’m relaxing in the sun and add like a really beautiful moment of deep realization. How utterly incapable I am of relaxing. Like I am amazing.
[00:00:17]At being tense or creating tension, everything through variety of mental models and programs that are running. But what I realized, just being out in the sun, just to give you the, the sun example is how the last couple of days it’s been sunny in Austin. And oftentimes I would look outside and I would go, this sun is out.
[00:00:41] I should go out for a little bit. I should get on my balcony. And then I would get on the balcony and within like three minutes. Like, this is almost comical. Like if you played the right music, it’d be funny. You’d see me. Like I would go out and put, like, bring my Kimball and then I would bring another book and then a rude ring, the music box that would be my phone then would go and, you know, make myself grab a coffee if I want a coffee or not, because I’m out in the park.
[00:01:10] I mean, the sun is shining and. Then I would take off my shirt to sunbathe that a little bit. Right. Might as well get 10 and I would read, and I would play music. And once in a while I would like write to people. And in the last couple of days, oftentimes very quickly, it was too hard for me. But then there was a something in my mind that was like, Oh, you’ve only been out for five minutes, stay for another, at least stay at least another 15 minutes.
[00:01:38] So you have 20 minutes. And I would read. And honestly, right now I don’t enjoy the sixth book of dune and I, and I have a couple of other books that I like reading, but it’s not the sort of like being sucked into it and like, can’t stop reading. So I don’t have that love for a book right now, but I’m out and I’m like, well, I can’t just, Oh, there’s almost a voice in me.
[00:02:02] That’s like, Try to do as many relaxing stack the relaxation, right. And make it and make it productive, make it productive. So while you’re relaxing, you’re getting a tan and reading a book and you’re listening to music and you’re drinking a coffee. You look at all the things you’ve accomplished in those 20 minutes of relaxing and.
[00:02:27]It was, I could sense it, but not to the degree where he were penetrated my full awareness. I could sense that I was not relaxing. Like I would come out of the balcony and think, well, this didn’t help. This did not feel like a break. Maybe I was a bit stressed and I’m on my laptop and I’m doing some work stuff.
[00:02:47] And then I see sunlight. I’m like, ah, let’s take a quick break. And then I come back from my break, say it again. You didn’t bring presence. You weren’t present. I wasn’t present. Right. I wasn’t fully present. Also. The problem was probably also. Ahead of that moment where my exhaustion or my tiredness, or my tenseness led me to ask, how can I disconnect from this?
[00:03:14] Right. But, but I wasn’t staying with the feeling of why do I feel this right now? Right. Feel my tiredness maybe fully, or my tenseness fully before finding a solution. And I re like, I realize more and more, this is coming in waves. It comes and goes in all these different little
[00:03:35]and crannies and all these different, like facets of my life, how I turn almost everything into tension. Almost everything. Like I I’ve told you, I, I train a lot less, right. I have a new framework two to five times a week, right? Yeah. Is that framework is creating less tension than what I had before, which was no framework, but still, almost every day, because I don’t have enough presence in this, in this area almost every day.
[00:04:07]I put in my calendar, this would be a good time to go to Mateo. This would be a good time, or let’s go to the gym here. And then during the day, every other day, I have to decide to cancel that or to delete it again. That is, it’s much more stressful to throw some, to throw a decision out, like I’m going to go to tomorrow.
[00:04:26] And then tomorrow I have to decide against that. And to have to go back and forth almost every day, three or four times. Should I go today to training? Uh, I don’t know how it’s a site leader. Should I go today? Yeah, nah, no, maybe today. Not that’s all wasted energy. Yep. Yep. Yep. And that’s also tension around it, right?
[00:04:46] Not as much tension as it used to. Cause I used to not even ask myself if I want to or not. I would just go. Right or force myself to go. If I didn’t go, I would feel really bad about it. So I’ve gotten better, but I’m still, I’m still not relaxed, fully relaxed about it. And there’s so many other areas of my life, where I like, technically, if you looked at me, you would say, here is Steli engaging in relaxation.
[00:05:15] He seems pretty relaxed here, but I’m not. I really am not I’m barely, ever relaxed ever. I might be like laying on the couch, reading a book, but it doesn’t mean I’m relaxed because I’m reading, Oh, I don’t want to read. Right. I’m forcing myself to finish the chapter for something, you know, there’s all these things anyways, today.
[00:05:39]After a long time of not doing this, I was out in the sun and I was just, I was present enough to just enjoy the warmth of the sun. I didn’t take off my shirt to 10. I didn’t drink my car. Like I just, and I didn’t listen to music. I didn’t read. I just sat there. Closed eyes, just chilled. It felt amazing, obviously that was a nice moment, but it was also like, um,
[00:06:07]just another, another reminder of, I really don’t know how to relax well, and I need to be, or without presence, tension is the. The most natural destination for me, even with our podcasts, right. W with this project, when I, when I just, when I don’t pay attention for a second, like old habits build up or pop up again, right.
[00:06:35] Where I, you know, create a YouTube video because we said let’s do YouTube videos. I didn’t feel like doing YouTube video, but then I create one, but then that’s work like that video that I created yesterday, it was work was not fun and same with like the other day, the other night where it was saying, like, I felt guilty that the last couple of days we didn’t get any recording out of our sessions.
[00:06:59] And then I like forced it that after that call, I was not more energized than before. And I was exhausted. Um, even like the, you know, when I said let’s do the lights, but book a hotel and we’ll record the album that we’ve talked about. Let’s bring some like in the moment where I said that that’s the, that’s the moment to walk over to the hotel and do it right.
[00:07:21] Because in that moment I was inspired to rock and roll. Then, you know, when I tried to book the, the other day, I dunno, I was like busy. I didn’t do it the day after I tried to book and they didn’t have it, then it, now it became, now it became something I felt stressed about pressure. Why am I like, Oh, now am I not doing it?
[00:07:44] We should do it. I should. And then I’m like, well, but I don’t feel it right now. And then there’s such a big voice in me. That’s like, but who the fuck cares if you’re feeling it or not? Nobody gives a shit, just do it. You set, you’re going to do it, do it. And like even sometimes, sometimes I listened to, um,
[00:08:01]I listened to the, the podcast and. I’m inspired by it. Like, it’s not that I say something brilliant even, or that I think, wow, this is the best piece of content that I’ve ever done or something like that. But I’m just inspired then I’m doing the, it just sounds and feels right. And I’m like, I’m listening to myself and I’m just motivated to do shit.
[00:08:23] Right. I’m like, I want to do things I’m charged up. And then sometimes I listen to it and I’m almost embarrassed. And I’m like, this is the worst content I’ve ever created and it’s not getting better anytime soon. Right? Not, it’s not getting better. It’s not because it is the scribbles in a notebook three years prior to eventually somebody writing the book, like this is just not going to be.
[00:08:53]Bam, bam, bam, super sharp storytelling, unique perspectives, every piece like the golden nugget, it’s just not. And, and I also don’t know how long this is going to be the case. Like I have to, I constantly have to relax after I noticed the tension that what if this two years from now, this is still like this.
[00:09:15]Right. There’s this kind of creeping doubt once in a while. Although that’s honestly, from all the things that I do, the podcast is the least source of stress intention. I’m just bringing it up because even this is one to me, this is like such a fun thing. But even in this, I can find if I don’t, if I’m not present my.
[00:09:37]Habits, my personality, my whatever is turning it into stress pressure, perform the exact opposite of wherever you go. There you are, right? Yeah. Wait, what do you mean? Like wherever you go there for me is like, it’s like you, you bring. You’re present. Right? And, and then you can be in a busy subway with a smelly person next to you, but, you can be in a good state, but then the opposite also, you can do some amazing thing, being an amazing place with amazing people.
[00:10:12] But, when you’re like caught up in your own head, you can still have a bad time, right? Yeah. I think there’s like, there is a surrendering to, you know, the, the little comic strip of two monks, Buddhist monks, like one older one and one clearly like a younger one and they’re sitting there and they’re looking at like, You know, nothing.
[00:10:34] They’re sitting on some, you know, on the ground, they look at nothing. And the younger monk looks over to the older monk with a good questioning, look in his eyes and the older monk and below the whole thing is like, this is it like, it’s the quotation of the old, among saying to the young among this is it.
[00:10:52]It’s like, there’s not much, there’s not more enlightening or something more amazing. It’s this right. I think that today I had an interesting thought where I was asking myself why and when, but more why I am so harsh to myself, I’m so judgmental with myself and I’m, I’m very ruthless with it. Even when I pretend I’m giving myself Slack, I never do.
[00:11:23] And this is also true with other people. Most of the time, when I look at a friend like you and you do something that I judge, and I don’t say anything, I have not. I’m not accepting of you in that moment. Right. I’m not loving you. I’m not, I am just suppressing my truth or I’m telling myself this is not important.
[00:11:45] I’m telling myself that don’t say it, but not seeing it and not feeling it is not the same thing. I even, I also suppress my feeling, right. I might have like a judgmental feeling towards the front and then I’ll push the feeling of the thought away is either. It doesn’t matter what you think, or everybody’s fine.
[00:12:02] And they’re going to figure it out, or this is not the right time to say it or whatever, but I, I don’t accept my, like the judgemental feeling that I have. I judged the judgmental feeling and I’m like, look at you being judgemental, right. Even that I have to judge and I pushed that away, but just by pushing it away and not seeing it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist within me.
[00:12:21]I am very, very, very, very harsh with people. People don’t know because I edit myself so much because I hold so much back, but it’s still there. And with myself it’s even worse because I cannot not even know. Right. I know exactly how I feel about myself and.
[00:12:41]Sometimes I try, I have come to a place where trick myself and not treat myself by the way, I’ll say, Oh, why didn’t you do X, Y, and Z, or you need to do more, blah, blah, blah.
[00:12:51] And then I’ll say to myself, well, shut the fuck up. Just relax and let it go. And then I don’t see anything anymore, but I have not let it go. It’s the same model. It’s the same pattern I just suppress and push it away. I don’t fully love it in that moment. The way I answer. Is it never, never, or is it like, I have moments where, but the majority of the time I’m kind of sure.
[00:13:15] Oh, I have moments. I’m sure I have moments, but the,
[00:13:19]the truth is that I do not accept. I don’t accept anything. Not really because I know it’s all bullshit, but then that’s bullshit because I could not possibly,
[00:13:31] I was thinking today, who would I have to be to be a thought that a hundred percent proud of myself and at peace with myself. What kind of a life do I live?
[00:13:40]And the kind of life that I imagined is movie shit. Like you can I, so there might be people that could live that kind of a life, but I don’t think I can, like, it’s just. It’d be the most interesting person on earth, right? Just like, just like super action hero. Like just the most, like every day, every Mo just doing insane things at all times.
[00:14:05]It’s too much. It’s like, it’s a child’s version of a superhero. Like this is the way I, if I did all these things, maybe then I would be like, yeah, you’re pretty dope. And then I thought, Well, what if, you know, you know, the most terrifying thing for me, I’ve been seeing this in a different way for many, many years is if you told me this is it.
[00:14:28]If you told me Steli everything, you know, your wisdom, you’ve accumulated the skills. You’ll know how this is it. Now you can. Keep going in circles and pretend you’re learning new things, or you could just accept it, but this is it. There’s not much more to it in who you are. This is it. You have some strengths, you have some weaknesses, you do some things.
[00:14:51] Well, some not so well, this is it. There’s not more, you cannot, there’s not another, like if I, if I had to like no, like. Pretend I could sense the percentage of self realization that I’ve gone through. Like in my hope, and in my mind, I’m like the bullshit answer would be to say something like 20%. I don’t think that’s true, but my hope, my hope would be that it’s like 40%, right.
[00:15:18] If I have like another 60%.
[00:15:20]No, maybe the percentage thing is like flawed as I think about this for the first time. But like, when I think of myself, I think of myself, I know that I’m already,
[00:15:31]I’m already like, I’ve come a long way already and it’s, I’m not going to change. So fundamentally that like. I’m a totally different human in a couple of years, but in many areas of my life, I expect myself to make massive leaps forward in actually almost all areas of my life. Not all almost in all areas of my life, from my friendships to my relationships, to, to The impact I have in the world to my ability to tell stories to the content I create to the project I’m involved with, to the, my spirituality, to my just in every area I expect massive leaps forward.
[00:16:09]And then I thought, well, what if those are not, what if that’s not realistic? Like what if I had to accept somebody would present me with the fact that no, I mean, you sure are going to still learn some things and experience things, but this is it. And it’s good enough that you can work with us. To me, this is like a silent panic that is building up inside of me.
[00:16:30] When I think that thought. And then I, I wonder maybe it’s that Thailand panic, that collaborates with the harsh Punisher, because if you have that much of a panic to not change, then having a very harsh Punisher, if you’re not perfect, this is kind of a good team. You know, this is, this is the, to work required to push you forward.
[00:16:49] Right? No matter how much you don’t want it
[00:16:52] it’s, uh, it’s a, you know, what’s interesting. I almost didn’t pay attention to it, but now it pops up again at my conversation with Kevin today. Yep. And in, in one kind of little side note, I told him that he was saying that’s like Sylvie, who’s the fighter that she’s incredibly hard on herself. And very, very, very harsh.
[00:17:15] Too harsh. And I totally, I totally buy that. I’ve consumed a ton of content around them. You can see it. And then I, and he’s kind of there, she’s like the, the pessimist, the harsh, the critic, and then he’s kind of the cheerleader, the optimist, the, you know, he’s kind of balancing her, but when he said that about her, I said, you know what?
[00:17:36] That’s, that’s a thing I connect with with Sylvie. Like. I’m very similar and that’s something I recognize in her that reflects back on me and why, part of why I admire her so much. And he stopped and he said, Oh yeah, well, I’m really sorry for you because yeah, but he said, he didn’t say, you know, in a, like in a, in a joking way, he said it, you could actually almost feel like the love and pain in his heart for it, like the empathy for it.
[00:18:04]And he was like, Because this is, it’s very harsh to be this way. It’s very, very difficult on you to be this way. I’d be so relentless with yourself and carry such a burden and such a pressure. And today, like I haven’t, I’ve always been saying I’m very self-critical, but again, I’ve been seeing it, like I like to wear black t-shirts.
[00:18:30]No, I don’t know. It’s just a thing. It’s like my name or birth date. It’s a fact about me. I’ve said it many times. It’s a believer I have, but I don’t say it with any particular feeling towards it. Today, today I had a moment where I was wondering. Where I’d felt how harsh I’d been with myself. And I was wondering, why the fuck am I this heart still still like, can I just chill a little bit?
[00:19:01]And then even as I was thinking that I knew instantly it was no, the funny thing is now I can’t. I was like, you can’t that just give myself, like I was talking to that side of me that was critical and harsh. And I was like, well, kitsch, psych, can I get, just get a break? And it was like, no. No you can’t, but can’t not just sometimes it was like, no, no, we chose.
[00:19:22] No. And so that’s the answer now. It’s like, fuck c’mon too hard. It was so fucking hard. This is too much.

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