As Millay once said,
“Carpe diem and noctem.”
We all get overwhelmed. Life can be a whole pile of overwhelming. Next time you’re on the verge of imploding/exploding/ode-to-joying, remember that there are a number of situations in which it is perfectly acceptable to have a meltdown.
A handy guide:
- When you’ve tried to spell “receive” incorrectly 5 times in a row
- When the saran wrap tears leaving you with an endless strand of plastic 1mm in width
- When Blockbuster is out of the next season of Breaking Bad
- When traffic stops you from going more than 10 city blocks over the course of two hours
- When things end
- When new beginnings arise
- When you can’t decide which way you should part your hair
- When someone asks you what your favorite book/movie/restaurant is and there is no possible way to pick just one
- When you have too much
- When jealous folks get rude and catty
- When that new song you love becomes that overplayed song you love within the course of a week
- When you think you feel a spider on you but there’s none there
- When nothing is happening
- When everything is happening
All good problems to have.
Allow yourself all the feelings. Each and every one of ‘em. You’ll be glad for it at the end of the day.
How many of us can say that they’ve actually got around to reading Melville’s novel, easily considered a treasure of world literature?
Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University have made the daunting task a little easier with their 21st century-friendly project, the Big Read. Readers such as Tilda Swinton and Stephen Fry embellish a chapter of Moby Dick each with their voice and skill. The project also curated 136 artists to create an accompanying illustration for each of the chapters of the book.
No better way to revisit a classic than by bringing it to the arts-hungry culture in such a digestible format.
Should you need me these next few days, I’ll be diving into these deeper waters.
Stuck mulling over the same ol’ field of thinking? Getting restless is a good sign.
It means your brain is craving for something more.
Get that Ivy League education you always wanted. For free. Online. (Welcome to the future y’all)
Devour books old and new like they were going out of style. Kindle, you ain’t got nothing on nostalgia.
Remind yourself of Jefferson’s Democracy in less than 15 minutes with amazingly accessible YouTube crash courses.
The world is only getting larger and more easy to tap into every day.
What seeds of ideas have you planted lately?
James Rhodes gave up the piano for 10 years, trading it in for the promise of the City and searching for some sort of security. Then decided his dream of becoming a concert pianist trumped all.
From the Guardian’s recent article:
“What if rather than a book club you joined a writer’s club? Where every week you had to (really had to) bring three pages of your novel, novella, screenplay and read them aloud?
What if, rather than paying £70 a month for a gym membership that delights in making you feel fat, guilty and a world away from the man your wife married you bought a few blank canvases and some paints and spent time each day painting your version of “I love you” until you realised that any woman worth keeping would jump you then and there just for that, despite your lack of a six-pack?”
Image before editing: Alan Cleaver
“Yes, there are times when the gold medal only goes to the winner. But not in the race of life, where the winners are those who are superior not to others but to their former selves.”
- Robert Cooper
How have you bested your former self lately? How have you strived to learn more and crave less?
Have you checked in with yourself when you heard yourself complaining? Have you pouted at the thought of working harder? Had a First World Problem whinesesh (not the good kind with a cheese plate in tow)? At every moment you have the option to remain static, give up, or move forward. And your path will only be your own.
Empower yourself by winning at your own game everyday. You are your own best competitor.
- Get up early, go sit down and write
- Journal without editing yourself
- Find seeds of great ideas in the piles of subconscious ones you’ve just laid out for yourself
- Repeat until it no longer feels like a chore, but a part of your day you anticipate with excitement
- Continue ad infinitum
- Make time for people that matter to you
- Send a note to let them know you’re thinking about them what big or little life events pop up (“Good luck on that interview!”, “Hope you fly safe!”, “That recipe you gave me is le bomb.”, etc.)
- Show support when good things happen to them, and even more support when the bad sneaks in
- Refuse to let distance be an obstacle. There are a million ways to stay connected nowadays. If Facebook isn’t cutting it for you, agree to start writing each other postcards. No one gets real mail anymore – just think of what a treat it would be to get something worthwhile in the mailbox.
- Continue ad infinitum
- Stop comparing, stop complaining, stop selling yourself short
-Continue ad infinitum
“Instead of weeping when a tragedy occurs in a songbird’s life, it sings away its grief. I believe we could well follow the pattern of our feathered friends.”
Thoughts and hearts are with Boston after yesterday’s senseless attack. Let music be a balm today:
For even the smallest hole may feel bottomless
if carved out by another’s less than gentle hand.
Every fluttering page, brick, case, or feast
that you’ve used to mend the hollow
only makes weary walls creak
beneath a pressure never invited,
now a (not so welcome) guest.
You’ve even learned to ration your love
into morsels no larger than pencil shavings,
feeding your ravenous craving with meager meals
not fit for any budding soul.
Were you to just abandon the dread
that you think keeps you from a famine,
you would find that full banquets of love
never diminish from returning visits,
but only surge and grow
as you help yourself to more.
Next time you’re worried about doing the “right” thing, realize there are countless definitions of the word.
Right may mean safe, supportive, consistent, tiresome, expected, unwarranted, quiet, boisterous, vigorous, brave, subservient, vocal, judgmental, caring, the list goes on.
Remember the Salem witch trials? Judges thought they were doing right by the community. Hurt a whole lot of people out of fear.
Instead of trying to find the “right” answer, find the kind answer. The one that saves you a headache, reinforces love and adds a dose of respect for yourself and those with which you’re dealing.
“I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself—as if nothing is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap—in fact, almost without any value. People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labor or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But if death threatens these same people, you will see them praying to their doctors; if they are in fear of capital punishment, you will see them prepared to spend their all to stay alive. So inconsistent are they in their feelings. But if each of us could have the tally of his future years set before him, as we can of our past years, how alarmed would be those who saw only a few years ahead, and how carefully would they use them! And yet it is easy to organize an amount, however small, which is assured; we have to be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point.
No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.
Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. Listen to the cry of our greatest poet, who as though inspired with divine utterance sings salutary verses: “Life’s finest day for wretched mortals here/Is always first to flee.” “Why do you linger?” he means. “Why are you idle? If you don’t grasp it first, it flees.” And even if you do grasp it, it will still flee. So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.”
Known for being a titular Roman figure around 55AD, these thoughts come from his essay “On the Shortness of Life.” Ready, set, grasp the present – for all it’s worth.
We often take things at face value. It’s easy to, we’re human. But about what happens under the surface?
Life is 90% about process, 10% about that surface result.
Those people who have that “perfect life” – fulfilling relationships, work, creative endeavors – didn’t happen upon success by luck alone. They had to live through the process. The ups and downs, struggles and heartbreaks that the world wasn’t privy to at the time. They put in the time and held themselves to high standards. Nothing less would suffice.
Just take a look at the architecture of these natural curiosities – the beauty of the underwater base alone is enough to give pause.
So next time you’re wondering how to change what the surface of your life looks like, realize it may be time to take a plunge and explore what it looks like beneath the edge. Build upon whatever small strength you find until you have a foundation that will allow for those once-lofty dreams of success to come with ease.
And like nature itself, there will be things that challenge your personal ‘berg – forces that threaten what you worked hard to build. Hungry warm waters crave the coolness of ice. Seek out smoother currents.
I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around a new city. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy a little ode to March from master wordsmith Mr. Neruda.
‘March days return with their covert light’
March days return with their covert light,
and huge fish swim through the sky,
vague earthly vapours progress in secret,
things slip to silence one by one.
Through fortuity, at this crisis of errant skies,
you reunite the lives of the sea to that of fire,
grey lurchings of the ship of winter
to the form that love carved in the guitar.
O love, O rose soaked by mermaids and spume,
dancing flame that climbs the invisible stairway,
to waken the blood in insomnia’s labyrinth,
so that the waves can complete themselves in the sky,
the sea forget its cargoes and rages,
and the world fall into darkness’s nets.
- Pablo Neruda
I’m out and about this week guys, exploring and wandering around a new city. Until I’m back and can tell you all about it, enjoy the petit posts.
“Is there anything, apart from receiving a large unexpected cheque in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homy restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.”
— Bill Bryson