Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Next Stop

Imagine standing still on a platform of a train station. Everything is in commotion – people rushing, trains arriving and departing, workers sweating. The atmosphere is tense and mindlessly exciting. But you are not part of this big movement, you stepped aside and let everything pass you by. You are observing the crowd, trying to wrap your mind around one question: what’s the rush? Where are you guys running? Can I run with you? There is a barely comprehensible need to be with these people, to follow the stream of heads and bodies, that movement full of purpose and determination.

So you focus hard in order to find your own focus and determination in your head, where you believe they should be stored. You manage to pull out a couple of lazy forced goals, which will do for the moment, and happily join the crowd. Now you are running along with everybody else, wearing a proper expression of preoccupation on your face. You’re nervously checking the time because you are running late. You get annoyed by someone stepping on your foot, or by an accidental elbow jolt. But you already caught on the rhythm of the race: your thinking process becomes more shallow, your goal a blur, but as long as you follow the crowd you’ll get there…

And then you see a person standing aside, pensively observing the crowd. And you feel slightly annoyed that someone is wasting time on idleness. You are proud to be a member of the purposefully running crowd. But you are also jealous because by now you are out of breath and there are still 2 days till you reach the next weekend, which is your scheduled stop. And that person, standing there on the platform, seems to be having a good time. Of course, he doesn’t have my responsibilities, you think angrily. I could enjoy that kind of leisure instead of the crazy run.

This is you, ever anxious to join the race of life, not to miss out, always to make it on time. And this is you, dying to get out of the crowd, to break free and enjoy a still moment, to see life for what it is in its entirety, not bits and pieces you spot when running. And even as you steal those moments of quiet, in no time you crave to be back in the race. This is the paradox, the idea of freedom that you’ll never reach, because you are living in two different dimensions, which can never merge, become one. And you will always want both.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something New

Occasionally I feel this acute longing for changes. Once you reach some kind of stability in life, it won’t be long before it starts burdening you with its sense of predictability and boredom. And you are surprised at your own thoughts of how much you want to escape this trouble-free life and go explore wilderness, or do something equally crazy. Then your favorite word becomes N-E-W, and you search for new anything to satisfy the craving of novelty that threatens to overturn your stable world. I guess it’s the impact of spring as well in a way it sharpens and fortifies your desires, and makes you look so far away and almost see something big there. Something is coming for you. New. Big.

These thoughts equally excite and scare me. Sometimes I fear that holding back too much will only result in a leap forward, some radical act to quiet the itching once and for all. I had my share of crazy acts in the past. But then I pulled back and did what they call settling down. And my life felt smaller. Comfortable and safe, but small, almost invisible.

So I decided to partner with the N-E-W in a different way and explore life from that perspective. I hear people saying all the time – if only I had a new job, a new house, a new spouse, a new (fill in the blank), my life would improve in an instant. I can’t be fooled by this utopic thinking. Because new becomes old pretty quickly, and how many Big New changes can you incur in a lifetime? It’s not like you can buy a new house every two months (and even that will become old pretty soon).
And I figured I should stick with a small N-E-W and hope to compensate its overall lack of bigness by quantity and diversity. I looked for small new things every day: a new book added to my to-read list, a new idea fished from someone’s blog that gave me food for thought, a new word that I stumbled upon and lookup up in thesaurus. I bought new curtains for my bedroom that fully block the sun and create this awesome, inexperienced before darkness every morning. I cut my hair. I wrote to people I didn’t write to before. I paired items of closing it didn’t occur to me to wear together before. I tried new kind of ice-cream.

And if I still long for some newness, I write a new blog post because it’s a sure way to create something new, something that never existed before. It guarantees enough satisfaction and sense of achievement, and it helps me get a healthy dose of novelty, without overdoing it, or getting overemotional. Every day can be a source of N-E-W, but rather than waiting for it to knock on your front door, go and get it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

When My Soul Flew Away

When we were on vacation we saw a terrific circus performance. In fact there were so many precious moments during our one week getaway that it’s almost terrifying how quickly the memories are fading away and how desperately I want to hold on to them because our next vacation is at least a year away. Yet that circus show was THE grand impression that out-shadowed everything else. There was this athlete on a flying trapeze who was doing crazy stunts, and we, the crowd, forgot to breathe, but would exhale with every safe landing, and applaud, and hold our breath again 20 seconds later. He was flying under the open starlit sky, following the rhythm of a soft melody of Enya’s song.

I still listen to the song and every time I see him flying, and remember the moment and what I felt. It’s not like I was flying with him, but I wasn’t on the ground either, I was in a different dimension altogether. I felt so free, so myself, so connected to life and detached from it completely at the same time. It’s the effect that various forms of art have upon us at times – they help us escape life by transferring us to a new place, which feels like home, so escape is more like a return to where we belong.

It was the brightness of the stars above us, the rustle of the palm trees, the warmth of the breeze after a long winter, a sense of novelty that you always get on your first day of vacation in a new place, new country – all of these clicked and made the moment that was absolute in its perfection, the kind of moment you never want to end because you know this is it. The rare highlight of life when you are on cloud number 9. There are happy moments in daily life if you pay attention,they persuade you that life is good and make you feel grateful. Yet there are also crazy happy moments that grab your attention, and captivate you, shake you up emotionally and transform you spiritually. Those are the moments you store away, like treasure, out of oblivion's reach. And now that I put this memory in words, I immortalized it into a private harbor, where my mind can rest on days it loses perspective.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy: Choco-love for Chocolove

I decided that my blog needs a shakeup. Even though initially I resolved not to stick to any strict standards/protocol when it comes to updating the blog – just follow my heart and do what feels right at the moment. Yet it should be fun to start a series of posts on things that make me happy and things that make me sad. And I got to begin with something sweet, as in literary sweet, hence I will declare my love for chocolate. I developed choc-obsession after having a baby – I was pretty much indifferent to chocolate before. Now I love how it smells, looks, tastes and never fails to lift my spirit. And when my coworker came in wearing a short in a vivid chocolaty color, I felt good just from staring at his back...

My favorite brand is Chocolove, it takes me to a new level of chocohappiness.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Rush

I’m getting tired of having issues with Time. For some reason it got worse the past couple of weeks: I constantly feel like time is slipping through my fingers, turns into smoke and evaporates before I made good use of it. I used to be able to squeeze so much into each day with proper planning, but somehow the tactic has been failing me. Or I would feel that my days get overstuffed and there isn’t a single minute left to hibernate, process and shelve my thoughts to vacate space for newcomers.

I hope it’s some sharp turn that the Universe is taking right now, which makes time contract. And maybe we will get back on track soon when time will feel like its old self again and grant us back our taken away pleasures. Maybe long summer days will bring relief too by adding an extra hour of day light, or maybe I will learn to get by on less sleep (oh, how I envy all those who can operate on 6 hours of it!)

For now I feel rushed; every day is a race to accomplish that bare minimum that will let me sleep peacefully knowing that I didn’t put it off till tomorrow, which would double my daily load, throw me behind. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today! Nothing turns me off more than seeing dirty dishes in the sink first thing in the morning – a rather unpleasant hello from yesterday. So I rush to avoid any half-forgotten surprises in the morning, I rush to finish, check things off the list, fulfill the plan and draw a new one. I rush to spend time with my son, because he is growing up so fast. I rush to read through each page of the book, because there are too many books I want to read. I rush to bed every night or next day will be lost to recovery from lack of sleep. And I rush to have some time to myself, to organize thoughts and recharge. I rush through cooking dinner because I can’t stand the process. And I rush through the walk on the beach because there’s a million things to do at home.

Maybe this weekend, just for one day, I will hide my watch, turn off my cell and computer, ignore the dust on the furniture, eat sandwiches for dinner and have all the time in the world to do …nothing.
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