I was sitting in Pan Pacific Park yesterday when a priest approached me, despite the fact that I was clearly talking into my cellphone, and began discussing his recent move to LA.
I cut my voicemail to Kyle short, to give my full attention as the priest began confessing to me the confessions of people in this city that “were like none he’d ever heard before”.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the attractive men I’d checked out earlier walking their baby strollers had begun to surround the tree I was sitting at.
It’s not in this above clip, but maybe you’ll see what happened for yourself one day on “Betty White’s: Off Their Rockers”.
Those strollers= hidden cameras.
Oh Los Angeles.
It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return…
Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone or something that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.
Doing nothing is the wrong concept. You never do nothing, because even when your body is still your mind is churning and processing information.
I have a strong dislike against “wasting time.” I don’t like myself when I spend time on nonsense. And so I fill all of my day with “constructive things.” My walk to work is filled with podcasts, the time waiting for the food to bake filled with news articles. While eating I entertain myself with shows or Ted talks or whatnot.
The best decision I made in the last weeks was to stop most of that.
Aristotle recommended to take walks - especially while discussing with another person. And now, walking to work with just my mind and the scenery and passing people as company I feel more relaxed. I feel serene. I learn to understand myself better, just the way a meditation clears my mind.
I mentally plan my evening or reflect on the day - conflicts with the boss, troubles, things I achieved, things I learned. I finally notice the food I’m eating.
The list goes on. I’m not going to stop consuming information and I’m not going to stop using podcasts on some long walks - but I live more consciously, more aware, more relaxed. It’s small changes and suddenly I’m happier and can handle stress better.
I think we all tend to drown our minds - emotions, thoughts, worries, little wins, conversations we had or want to have and much more - we drown all of it in manufactured emotions (reddit, games, tv, …) and interesting, and valuable, but ultimately unnecessary information.
When you say “doing nothing” you confuse something. You are doing things all the time, your brain never takes a break. But when you “do nothing” you finally allow your brain to breathe and process all the things it needs and wants to process. I think all these modern diseases - sleeping problems, stress, depression, distractability, even obesity,… - they have a lot to do with the fact that we don’t allow our brains anymore to breathe. We bombard them with stuff - either information or, worse, emotion - and in order to handle this stuff other important tasks - housekeeping tasks such as consolidating memories, reflecting about one’s feelings and health and happiness, planning healthy food, considering how to bring up that issue with the boss - are drowned in a sea of emotion and information. They are drowned in a wonderful wealth of “stuff to process” that ultimately prevents our brains from ensuring their own - our - mental and physical health.
We are indoctrinated with an idea that time needs to be “spent”. That’s why you wonder what people do when they don’t do all the things you do. I tell you what: they engage with others and, more importantly, with themselves. They learn who they are and what they value. Without any effort their minds plan the future and consolidate memories of the past.
That, I think, means to be truly alive. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” said Socrates. The modern version is maybe this:
The person that lives solely in emotions and information from the outside, the person that never pulls itself out of this messy reality and gives itself over to a mental spa, a time of healing and processing, a time of reflecting, feeling, thinking, seeing, worrying, planning, smiling, that person doesn’t live.
Take a walk. Leave the iPod and your phone at home. Find some trees or a place with a nice view. It’s even okay if you just lie down on the couch or stand in the shower or sit at your desk, with your eyes looking past the screen. Just be you, for a moment. And then watch, carefully, without judgement, all those things that happen in your mind while you “do nothing.”
Canadians have a somewhat superstitious aversion to microwaving water to boil it. Nearly all Canadians have electric kettles for boiling water, and will heat up soup on the stove instead of the microwave.
It’s funny, being from Canada I just didn’t know that Americans didn’t have the same habits as us. My friend Alex came over the other day and was fascinated with my electric kettle. “What does that do?” she asked. When I explained she couldn’t believe it and wanted one for herself. To have an electric kettle is second nature. Now I understand why my roommate heats her water for tea in the microwave. That seems weird to me, my electric kettle must have seemed weird to her!
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game.
To play it is purest delight;
To honor its form—true devotion.
- Jennifer Welwood
She threw away
All the energy of ideas
to have someone else catch
She stood on the sidelines
with a proud grin
until he stopped waving
from the field.
She’d tricked herself;
like a sip of water
thought to be juice
it took a few seconds
for her taste buds to tell her
there’s no flavour
to being an artist’s muse.