i love this bit of wisdom. have it written right there in a cheesy font on a plastic card that was gifted to me by a beloved mentor. and i need to meditate on it from time to time when i get focused on the things i LACK.
it’s human nature to believe that which is beyond our current reach is actually the panacea for what ails us. “if i just had a better job (/apartment/spouse/hairdo)…” “if i were married (/single/younger/thinner)…” “if we had another child (/a larger home/a bigger bonus/a better car)…” then i’d finally be complete. then i’d be at peace with myself and happy in the now.
anything we think will solve our problems brings with it a new set of issues. once we get what we want, we want more. that’s life … that’s the deal. the challenge is to learn how to be happy in the present moment. to appreciate it, embrace it, and not try at every second to escape and move beyond it. that doesn’t mean giving up all ambition and desire to change or improve one’s circumstances. it means enjoying the ride — and wherever you are at this particular moment in time.
it’s a lifelong challenge. the essence of self mastery.
Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man.Jimmy Lyons
I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies, for the hardest victory is victory over self.— Aristotle
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” — Tao Te Ching
A man is what he thinks all day long.— Ralph Waldo Emerson
A man who governs his passions is a master of the world. We must either command them, or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.— St. Dominic
We are really stuck with ourselves, and our attempts to reject or to accept are equally fruitless, for they fail to reach that inaccessible center of our selfhood which is trying to do the accepting or rejecting. The part of our self that wants to change our self is the very one that needs to be changed; but it is as inaccessible as a needle to the prick of its own point. – Become What You Are by Alan Watts
- To a large extent, the way we think determines who we are and what happens to us.
- Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.
- Go with the flow.
Luke: “Is the dark side stronger?”
Yoda: “No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.”
Luke: “But how am I to know the good side from the bad?”
Yoda: “You will know… when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”
notwithstanding a recent episode that put me out of commission for 1.5 days (oh the joys of womanhood), i am feeling good of late. spring has arrived, sort of. i am getting back into a physical routine which is so important for my mental state. i started by going back to my trainer once a week. then i began adding in more yoga. and now i’m back out on the road, running. slowly, for certain. regardless, it feels good.
for the most part, americans are raised to think of the brain, the mind as being of foremost value and the body as a coincidental framework we are obligated to experience the world within. we conceive of ourselves as a house divided — forced to choose between what’s natural and what’s pragmatic. we don’t sleep enough. we consumer food that is devoid of nutritional value. we spend way too much time indoors, hunched over computers. we let our racing-churning-never satisfied minds rule us. we are rarely satisfied or happy.
so says the central thesis of buddhism (i think?). i recently picked up a book i started years ago but couldn’t stick with then … am enjoying it the second time around. coming to our senses: healing ourselves and the world with mindfulness. it’s tying together a lot of other concepts i’ve been dwelling in the past few years. i read another book by the author, jon kabat-zinn, and really enjoyed it.
check out this lecture he gave at google to get a taste for what it’s all about. fascinating stuff … going beyond thinking.
When you grow up with a domineering, moody man dictating the tenor of your existence, you learn to put other people’s desires and impulses ahead of your own. You don’t act – you re-act. You don’t love – you try to be loveable. It took me many years of work – in therapy and on my own – to realize that I don’t have to internalize or react to other people’s moods. I am free to set my own course. If someone is showing erratic, inconsistent or moody behavior towards me, I don’t have to get caught up in it. I can let it roll past. When something (such as love, approval, affection, respect) is scarce or rare, it’s human nature to value it more highly. In a toxic environment or relationship, you’ll find yourself being pathetically grateful for rare scraps of good mood, kind behavior and proper professionalism that come your way. Once you step back at look at the situation, you can see that you deserve more — a lot more. No matter what, real approval/validation has to come from within, not from the outside. Once you get the hang of that, it becomes easier to go towards the things you really desire.
Here’s a good writeup on dealing with the moody type …
We are all familiar with the vicious cycle of worry. We know that worrying is futile, but we go on doing it because calling it futile does not stop it. We worry because we feel unsafe, and want to be safe. Yet it is perfectly useless to say that we should not want to be safe. Calling a desire a bad name does not get rid of it. What we have to discover is that there’s no safety, that seeking it is painful, and that when we imagine we have found it, we don’t like it. In other words, if we can really understand what we are looking for – that safety is isolation, and what we do to ourselves when we look for it – we shall see that we do not want it at all. No one has to tell you that you should hold your breath for ten minutes. You know you can’t do it, and the attempt is most uncomfortable.
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts.
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”- Auguste Rodin
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein
A few weeks ago I was trying to explain the concept of timeless TV to my Mom … how it will revolutionize society as we know it. We got into a very tripped out metaphysical conversation that took me back to my Aristotle class back grad school. I was unsuccessful in explaining myself then and don’t have the time (pun intended) to explore it at length right now but this is what’s taking up my mental bandwith. Am obsessing on the “ends” of various institutions that once shaped our conceptions of reality. And looking at how they are all morphing across horizontal planes. No more forward and backward. Everything out all around.
Oh boy, time for a nap.
This day has run the gamut. Smiles and tears. Funny stuff, sad stuff. Lots of memorable stuff. Started my day watching as Falcon, the balloon boy, barfed on the Today Show. Thank you Meredith Viera for suggesting the family take a minute to help the kid and get composed. I only wish I saw the Dad fart on Good Morning America. Later on at the office we all shared our opinions and laughed our asses off.
Also at work, I turned a corner on a story I’ve been working on. An aha moment. Don’t get those every day and when you do it’s satisfying. Nothing else feels as major as that aha. All the drivel and tireless processing pales in comparison.
And beyond the office, I heard stories of tragedy. Things happening to friends. Beginning of life, mid life, later in life: the unexpected can happen at all stages. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to suffer. But I wonder if we’d know delight without suffering. Life is a gift, and it’s fleeting. All the dumb stuff we obsess over. Silly.
Folks, I’m telling you,
Birthing is hard
And Dying is mean
So get yourself
Some loving in between.
– Langston Hughes
Ended the day up in Monroe. My Mom gave me her diamond earrings — amazing.I tend to lose jewelry, but will guard these babies with vigilance. I also received a necklace from my Dad. Well, sort of. My Mom had found a gift certificate to Tiffany in one of his drawers. He won it as a sales incentive and the expiration date was coming up. I picked out this piece — the shamrock — for him.
We talked about missing him. We talked about parting ways with his shoes, his coats. How weird it is to have a football season without him. It will be two months on Sunday. We miss him miss him miss him. But onward we march.
I am moving to a new apartment. Trading the West Village and all its celebrities and rich people and trust fund kids for a much more modest nabe in the East Village. I will miss the beauty, I will miss the Hudson, I will miss the charm. But it’s time to move on. New places, new people, new routines. New York. Change is good. All the fun stuff I sacrificed and put off, all the freedom and creativity that I denied myself. Now, it’s coming.
It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived–forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward-looking position. — Søren Kierkegaard
They are all building up. Perhaps this coming personal phase will be an explosion of expression. When I blow this mofo out, well … head for the hills.
I was thinking about the film “Paper Heart.” I have not seen it yet … just saw the web site and clips* and I am intrigued. It is a faux documentary that pretends to be real. Understood … faux is faux but the marketing implies that it plays directly off reality. I’m getting all jumbled but if you know what I mean, you know what I mean. Sorta montage collage.
It might be fun, but then it might just be 1.5 hours of hipster bratties in their glasses and hoodies being too cool for school. I’ll reserve judgment. Any which way, I dig the concept and think the creators are badass for getting it done and putting it out there.
I have this theory, unoriginal for sure, that the next phase of entertainment will be organic stories where there is no casting, no fundraising or formal scriptwriting & showrunning. We’ll all be out there blogging, vlogging, tweet-upping and whatnot and the best part of creativity will occur where our experiences just collide. For some of us it will simply be life – not “work” per se. For others it will be the show. The ultimate manifestation of Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage.”
Now, this is already happening for sure. It’s called culture. But entertainment itself shall become less and less institutionalized. The formal, giant artificial machinery will keep giving way until the line is totally blurred. (This will be the progression with all large institutions, BTW). Like the JL quote I trip out, that anchors this here blog: “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
* I am irritated that Charlyne Yi did not interview any women comics or actors in the video clips on the official movie web site. What the frack?