Saturday, August 20, 2011

How I Want To Live: With Passion & Compassion

Every new day brings so many new experiences since I've moved. I swear I haven't felt this kind of unbridled newness and adventurousness to life in years, maybe since I was a teenager. It's like, after a certain amount of time as you get older, you just stop expecting things to change. You settle into a routine. Even decorating my new apartment feels liberating--not just decorating with the old things you've always had, maybe they didn't match or weren't quite YOU, but they were there, so you just keep moving them around.

But we sold or gave away all our old ugly furniture when we moved. I've been buying little bits here and there everyday. A nightstand, a table, a bookshelf. I bought a rug today that is the kind of rug I always wanted to have--lime green and a little funky. I'm obviously invested in making the outside of my body reflect my inner personality :) but this is new to me--having my living space as a conscious form of expression as well.

And I've been reading, reading, reading. A mixture of awesome YA books and then other books that help me, well, learn about the world and how to live in it. Mainly Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, and Natalie Goldberg. Today I bought Camus' Myth of Sisyphus and started reading through some of it. I find a lot of overlap and interconnection with these writers. Watts talking about the problem of alienation and personal identity, Campbell discussing the "art of living," Goldberg with her delicious view of the world and our fabulously chaotic 'wild minds', and now Camus talking about the question of whether life is meaningless or not, and what the role of artists might be in this world. Certainly part of me seeing all the interconnectedness and relationship of ideas between these authors is my intuitive self making meaningful connections. But still, so many people and writers and authors are all asking the same questions: does our existence have meaning? how do we create meaning? what is life about? how do we live in a dynamic and fully participatory way in this world?

On the road trip with my brother, we spent a lot of time talking about stuff like this. I was able to distill my hopes for my life in a way that I think encapsulates it clearly: I want to live passionately and compassionately. I want to be passionately excited about what I do each day, and I want to love and care for others.

Here's a little of Campbell to whet and delight your appetite:

You really don't have a sacred space, a rescue land, until you find somewhere to be that's not a wasteland, some of field of action where there is a spring of ambrosia--a joy that comes from inside, not something external that puts joy into you--a place that lets you experience your own will and your own intention and your own wish [...] Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy.

What you have to do,
you do with play.

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