Poor wee existential Calvin. Asking the same question that ended my last post: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Have we made the most of these precious few footsteps? Iterations of this big question has been running rings in my mind lately. Far more from curiosity than despair. It is, after all, the nature of yoga & yogis to seek, to be the eternal seeker (Siddharta is fresh in my mind still). Searching for meaning and offering advice on how to live life well are hella popular in this new century and amongst the minds of Gen X, Y and Z. Life advice blogs from the likes of Mark Manson, philosophical articles from Brain Pickings, endless peppy "live your dream" pop-blog posts from Elite Daily fill our feeds. Subliminal messaging gets through and I'm sure I'm not the only one left pondering the big questions, the millions of small questions, and wondering if I am leading life in the best, most creative, fulfilling, kind, loving, spontaneous, productive, carefree, organised way. It's not so much finding any purpose, but making sure the purpose I settle on and commit my creative energy to is a good one.
I already twigged on something last month. Take away my job, my home, my homeland, and familiar faces of friends, and it becomes a lot harder to pin yourself down to something, to grasp and grapple with something that could define who you are and, as a result of knowing these, why you are. It's tricky. It's hard work. It's perplexing. Sometimes I want to give up. On those days I just read a good book. But on the other days, I read articles and gather up as much advice as I can from different sources: philosophers, psychologists, friends, strangers in cafés. Piecing it all together is the fun part. And I hope not self-indulgent. But writing tends to help make sense of it all. Right now, I am mainly re-write the words of others.
"You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of “just getting by” absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your politics and religion become matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people’s expectations rather than issues. I tell you all this because it’s worth recognising that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It’s a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you’ll probably take a few."
Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes Creator
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I love it when great minds somehow meet and overlap with their words.
There's comfort in the words of others, that suggest the author too experienced the same thoughts as you. And that others read them and may find mutual comfort and increase the circle of those who know how you feel. So I write openly about my musings knowing some friends have the same perplexities on autorepeat, and to bring the comfort of "me too" to anyone that might read this with the dizzy confusion of figuring out those next steps. I doubt anyone goes from Here to There without that internal spaghetti junction rush hour traffic jam where you took a wrong turn and your GPS lost signal, twice. Just not many people explore or express the messy bit in the middle.
So where am I at right now? I'm being curious about almost everything. I'm engaging in conversations I have not often had due to ignorance or feeling out of my depth: politics, shaping the world from where it's really at not where we're told it's at. I'm studying again: new skills, like graphic design, and new knowledge; anthropology, post-colonial issues. I'm stoking fires I've already had burning: women's rights, being honest about mental health issues and figuring out how I can help, human trafficking, human rights. I'm waking up my long-time dormant writer's brain. I'm creating new habits. I'm exploring a new city. And I'm in Bangalore again. It's a good vantage point for all these things.