I really think I write about everyday life. I don’t think I’m quite as odd as others say I am. Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring-
Why do we become bored with cycling – running, our yoga practice – anything? Typically we immerse ourselves in rewarding and stimulating environment(s) – We have plenty of training apps and social media to keep us motivated, although, tracking performance or sharing memorable accounts of a recent race with friends, succeeds only in dividing our attention further from the inspiring moment at hand, perpetuating our boredom even more. Let’s honestly ask ourselves and reflect on how often we simply stare at our gadgets, with no purpose at all?
Why is our boredom hardly ever recognized, let alone less addressed and talked about openly?
What boredom does for me personally, is to pull open the blinds on some rather uncomfortable thoughts and feelings – Thoughts and feelings, I normally try to escape and block out with a flurry of activity. Case in point: Long bike rides, lets say 75+ miles, I often find myself bored, which means I spend more time looking up Stats and KOM’s with Strava. Rather than savoring the beautiful countryside flowing beside me. If you are ever unfortunate enough to attend one of my yoga classes? When some new-age hippie Wanderlust music starts playing fifteen minutes into class and you have been in down dog for 5 minutes? I have become bored and uninspired as a teacher. Time to hop on the old Hedonic Treadmill …
I find being bored so unpleasant, that I expend considerable time and energy trying to reduce it. The technological gizmos lying at our twitchy fingertips have put an infinite amount of “information” and “stimulation” at our disposal. However, oddly enough, this only serves to make “things” worse! How? Instead of just being we become stale to the world, seeking more stimulation and information … The treadmill rolls on.
When we ease into the comfort of our boredom, we develop a deeper relationship with our true selves rather than our technology/phones/gadgets. There is a simple, brilliant wealth of creativity waiting for us …
For a Dear Friend
The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.
The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.
The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.
It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.
Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.
The aspen doing something in the wind.
Just imagine yourself seated on a shadowy terrace,
And beside you is a girl who stirs you more strangely than an
It is a summer evening at its most superb,
And the moonlight reminds you that To Love is an active verb.
And your hand clasps hers, which rests there without shrinking,
And after a silence fraught with romance you ask her what she is
And she starts and returns from the moon-washed distances to the
And says, Oh I was wondering how many bamboo shoots a day it
takes to feed a baby Giant Panda.
Or you stand with her on a hilltop and gaze on a winter sunset,
And everything is as starkly beautiful as a page from Sigrid Undset,
And your arm goes round her waist and you make an avowal
which for masterfully marshaled emotional content might have
been a page of Ouida’s or Thackeray’s,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I forgot to or-
der the limes for the Daiquiris.
Or in a twilight drawing room you have just asked the most mo-
mentous of questions,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I think this
little table would look better where that little table is, but
then where would that little table go, have you any sugges-
And that’s the way they go around hitting below our belts;
It isn’t that nothing is sacred to them, it’s just that at the Sacred
Moment they are always thinking of something else.
After so long an absence
At last we meet again:
Does the meeting give us pleasure,
Or does it give us pain?
The tree of life has been shaken,
And but few of us linger now,
Like the Prophet’s two or three berries
In the top of the uttermost bough.
We cordially greet each other
In the old, familiar tone;
And we think, though we do not say it,
How old and gray he is grown!
We speak of a Merry Christmas
And many a Happy New Year
But each in his heart is thinking
Of those that are not here.
We speak of friends and their fortunes,
And of what they did and said,
Till the dead alone seem living,
And the living alone seem dead.
And at last we hardly distinguish
Between the ghosts and the guests;
And a mist and shadow of sadness
Steals over our merriest jests.
Compassion is the basis of morality-
Here is the flat-out, honest truth you have been searching for your entire life: You are going to screw up eventually.
Everyone, You, me – the dude picking his nose in the car next to you … Make many mistakes, daily.
A few times in the not so distant past, I have lamented painfully about self-compassion. Self-compassion (loosely defined) is the extent to which you treat yourself with kindness. Self-compassion differs from the likes self-esteem (its critical to note this), which is how good you feel about yourself. Self-compassion determines how well you spring back from adversity during the course of the day. Like getting down on ourselves when “things” go sideways … Treating ourselves and others with kindness, makes it infinitely easier to recover from harmful experience(s).
When our sole focus is intent on protecting our self-esteem, we can’t afford to look at ourselves objectively, honestly and with a pure heart. We fail to acknowledge the need for improvement, because it means acknowledging weaknesses, shortcomings and maybe – That we screwed up somewhere in our past …
a vote for the gentle light
burned senseless by other people’s constant
I pull the curtains apart,
aching for the gentle light.
it’s there, it’s there
oh, the faces of depression, expressions
pulled down into the gluey dark.
the bitter small sour mouths,
the self-pity, the self-justification is
too much, all too much.
the faces in shadow,
deep creases of gloom.
there’s no courage there, just the desire to
possess something––admiration, fame, lovers,
money, any damn thing
so long as it comes easy.
so long as they don’t have to do
and when they don’t succeed they
they imagine that they have
been slighted, cheated,
then they concentrate upon their
unhappiness, their last
and they’re good at that,
they are very good at that.
they have so much unhappiness
they insist upon your sharing it
they bathe and splash in their
they splash it upon you.
it’s all they have.
it’s all they want.
it’s all they can be.
you must refuse to join them.
you must remain yourself.
you must open the curtains
or the blinds
or the windows
to the gentle light.
it’s there in life
and even in death
it can be
… of young man whose handsome face has brought him plenty of success in the past and is now ever-ready for a new encounter, a fresh-experience, always eager to set off into the unknown territory of a little adventure, never taken by surprise because he has worked out everything in advance and is waiting to see what happens, a man who will never overlook any erotic opportunity, whose first glance probes every woman’s sensuality, and explores it, without discriminating between his friend’s wife and the parlour-maid who opens the door to him. Such men are described with a certain facile contempt as lady-killers, but the term has a nugget of truthful observation in it, for in fact all the passionate instincts of the chase are present in their ceaseless vigilance: the stalking of the prey, the excitement and mental cruelty of the kill. They are constantly on the alert, always ready and willing to follow the trail of an adventure to the very edge of the abyss. They are full of passion all the time, but it is the passion of a gambler rather than a lover, cold, calculating and dangerous. Some are so persistent that their whole lives, long after their youth is spent, are made an eternal adventure by this expectation. Each of their days is resolved into hundreds of small sensual experiences – a look exchanged in passing, a fleeting smile, knees brushing together as a couple sit opposite each other – and the year, in its own turn, dissolves into hundreds of such days in which sensuous experience is the constantly flowing, nourishing, inspiring source of life.
- Stefan Zweig, The Burning Secret and other stories