more on pace and culture

20 05 2008

what’s funny about being a person who tries to be mindful is how difficult it is to break personal dogma, even when reason and intuition both safely and surely lead you to a conclusion contrary to your belief or habit. if that is too wordy, then how come when you know you’re doing something dumb, it’s still hard to stop doing it, just because you’ve been doing it for so long?

it’s not that simple, i guess. there is also a societal norm that the mindful person is up against. breaking habit is one thing, but making a change to something that flies in the face of conventional societal wisdom is quite another. you’re not fighting only your own dogma, but everyone else’s as well. simple conversations become inquisitions. someone might very well decide not to do something they feel is right just to avoid the annoyance to having to explain, unsatisfactorily, their actions to dozens of people. doing what’s right (to one) is often a lonely path, i suppose, and frustrating as such. we’re a social species. we don’t often want to go it alone.

i know i don’t. but it seems like the more i consider my society and my place in it, the less likely a “fit” seems. i don’t mean a “fit” like a sudden, acute attack or manifestation of a disease, especially one marked by convulsions or unconsciousness. that’s actually pretty likely. i mean as if adapted or suited; appropriate. i have a pretty hard time seeing myself fulfilled and satisfied. and when i mention this to people, everyone wants to know one thing: what kind of society would suit me, if this one doesn’t?

what an infuriating question! one where everyone thought and behaved as either i do or as i respect and admire. obviously!

if that’s not descriptive enough, i suppose i can be more specific.  i want to be somewhere where everyone is accountable for their actions, and happy to be so.  the community would need to be small enough and the pace of life more natural and stable enough so that there would be less opportunity to pull things off, i guess.  there need be no gestapo; just a smaller number of mindful people, interacting and at least a little personally knowledgeable of one another.  i guess that gives away my requirement of a certain quality of person.  a group who’s coming to or has come to the conclusion that all that glitters is probably sprayed with glitter comprised of new, unpredictable and under-understood chemicals and comes recommended by phonies who are told how to recommend by men and women in suits who have hired people to study psychology and report to scriptwriters what kinds of thing a naturally insecure human needs to hear that a product will do for them.  people who understand that the compartments that the current culture beckons us all into will eventually truly crush their creative flexibility and ability to function outside of that system.

mainly, people who can help me out of that system, as i am concerned that it may be getting too late for me.

a nice, non-frenetic pace where a goal considered is a goal that is relatively easily pursued and less likely to be forgotten in the face of any manner of junk that comes flying at your brain.  for though i love me some technology, it’s not being utilized for as much good as i’d prefer.



16 05 2008

i visited my friend vivek last weekend. he’s a dentist. he’s bought part of a practice, is getting married, is mired in preparations to secure loans to start a practice for his fiancee (also, yes, dentist), and is looking for a house to buy. mind you, none of these things is very simple. any of them would take up more of my time than i’d be happy to give. he tried to find a reasonably priced elephant for his wedding, for instance (unfortunately, the closest elephant is in myrtle beach, and he was the elephant they used in operation dumbo drop, so he’s double the cost of normal elephant rental, which isn’t quite ten grand. they’re going with the original plan of just a horse). anyway, while i was visiting, i also looked through his pictures of his trip to thailand with his fiancee a couple of years ago. it was much of the thailand you’ve come to expect tourists to see. neon lights, prostitutes, temples, monks, fishing boats. in that order. kind of repetitive over their couple of months there.

but then suddenly there was a lull in the photos. there was a small village. no big buildings. some mountains in the distance, waterways in the landscape immediate. i asked him about it, and he said that they wanted out of that place the moment they arrived, but they couldn’t get out for a few days. it was dead. BUT. after a couple of days, when they’d adjusted to the pace of the village, they actually found it to be very pleasant and decided to stay longer. it wasn’t that it was dead; it was that they were so accustomed to a more frenetic pace–get to temple one, appreciate, go to temple two, observe and enjoy, go to whore house, take clandestine photos of fascinating hare-lipped prostitutes–that the people in the village and they didn’t remotely understand each other. like speaking different languages in terms of expectations and constitutions, which was additional to the fact that they actually spoke different languages. he said that he and sonia, his betrothed, once acclimated to the place, didn’t want to leave. they loved the pace of the place and its people, and felt very relaxed and happy. they stretched out their stay there until they absolutely had to leave to keep their travel plans from unraveling.

so i had to wonder: if one could really appreciate and love this style of living, how could one (or two) be equally enticed by their current plans for life? massive debt for massive pay, expensive cars and houses, traffic, surrounded by a completely different kind of people–those constantly worried, self-conscious, perpetually empty shells (am i being too harsh?) that we’re all forced to live with, unable to alter their shoddy programming? this isn’t anything that needs to be answered. it’s just strange to me. same people, two radically different paths. about as different as can be, in fact. in vivek’s case, of course, and with all of us, there’s a great deal of this being surface living, and since he’s not a perpetually empty shell, it’s not as simple as one path being right and another being wrong. there is probably always more than one path.

i just opine that the slow, feet-touching-the-earth path is more real, more true and more honest that this that we find all about us here.  that’s just my woman’s intuition.

spontaneous vacation rambling

9 05 2008

I’ve taken this entire week off of work. I had hoped to take a little time in these next few weeks and do a little hiking, but an indomitable back injury has kept me unable to do much for the past three weeks. So I decided to lie on my back and do nothing until the sucker felt better. It took most of this week, but it’s feeling pretty decently now, and today I was even able to take care of a couple of annoying errands that had been hanging over my head for a few weeks. Huzzah!
why am i capitalizing again?
as the week began, i felt shiftless, like i wanted to get things done but couldn’t let myself break my convelescence… i felt wasteful. i just don’t let idle time go by without taking care of things that need it. my room got messier, my floor needed vacuuming, my tennis racquet needing using. but i stayed true to my aim, and accomplished next to nothing.
halfway through the week, i started getting confused about the whole thing. i began to genuinely care less about my tasks. i think i even stopped recognizing a few things that needed attention, but that’s anyone’s postulation. i worried that i was forgetting why it was important to me to stay on top of things. i started playing more video games and made a little ice cream. i went to REI and bought some camping stuff.
tonight, i was playing mario kart when i glanced at the clock and realized that it was 12:34. it’s been 12:34 a bunch for me this week, and each night i’ve been naturally going to bed later and waking up later in turn. at first i wondered if it was just my nature to have a schedule thusly shifted, but nothing else really felt normal or right about my dailies, so i figured i was just loosening up a bit and would get back to normal next week.
and i probably will. but normal? at 12:34, i used to always watch conan o’brien. he made me laugh all the dang time. i switched off mario kart and checked him out for the first time in at least 5 years. and i laughed outloud about 7 times in the first 15 minutes.
he was funny. it was my kind of humor again. i began to realize that my work schedule was the imposter. druthers had, i’d be a 10 am waker and a conan watcher. this was my natural manner. i honestly can’t remember laughing 7 times in a day for the past few years.
i still haven’t really processed this. will it convince me to rearrange myself? should it? it’s almost 2 am, and i’m actually tired. i’m going to sleep while listening to music–another thing i used to always do but haven’t in years.
gut reaction–growing up is bull shit. putting on someone else’s clothes can change you if you let it. growing up doesn’t have to be bull shit. you can change clothes, but the new outfit needs to be of your choosing. yes yes?