It seems absurd to me that people get excited about the idea of visiting a place where they used to live. Like flat out, down right absurd. Because, you see, just the very idea of a place that I used to live in existing without me, in the present, gives me the nerves. Not in a selfish way though. I guess I just hold the memories so fucking dear to me that any chance of their distortion make me nervous with fear. I can never understand how people do it - how they go back to old places and smile or get teary-eyed with nostalgia and talk about what and how much has changed. But I?…boy, if I were to visit even my high school (which by the way I hated so much I counted the weeks left for me to graduate) I swear I would lose my shit. No kidding. I don’t know why. Places just mean too much to me. An old street, a house I used to live in, the town I moved to after college, an apartment I called ‘home’, a tree I looked at on every single bus ride to school, a restaurant I used to go to. I can’t imagine what it would be like. To have it look all different would mean that my memory of it will forever be altered. But even to have it look the same would be far from a relief. Everything exactly like it used to be, except me, who was rooted out of that place. As if I was the only piece that didn’t fit. I know, I know. It’s just a place. I am attaching too much meaning to it. But I can’t help it. Nostalgia is not something I smile and get teary-eyed about. Nostalgia breaks my heart in a way that the ache never goes. Nostalgia makes it impossible for me to breathe. Nostalgia gives me some serious anxiety. Yes, people usually get anxiety about the future, the unknown. I get the reverse kind. The kind about the past. I remember this one time when I was in high school and my parents were visiting the town that we lived in for a few years when I was in kindergarten and I made up a fake english test that I had to read “1984” for. I stayed back and even read the book because I had this guilty habit of trying to turn a lie into a truth. Thinking back, I guess I barely have five or six memories of the time I lived in that town. I guess, all the more reason to be worried about losing them. Could it be that the reason I love the past so much is that I think that life will never be better? Do I somehow view the past as a series of vintage polaroids whose appreciation and worth grow with time? Perhaps. But the real reason why I would never revisit the last house that my brother and I were friends in or the garden I played in with my dogs whose faces I am starting to forget or the park where my mother took me for a walk in a stroller or the city that I thought was the capital of the world is because going back would mean taking away the part of me that still lives there in my memory. It would mean erasing the old with the new. You see, I think that all those hundreds of younger versions still live there in all those places and go about doing the things that I remember and even the ones I have forgotten. And I love all those past, younger versions of me in ways I can never love my present self. Somehow, they are so much more innocent, and fragile and vulnerable. It’s funny but I mourn the loss of my old selves. All of them. Like loved ones I should have spent more time with. So, while I can’t have them back I just try to protect them by keeping them how and where they are in me. Hopeless cause, Ill admit. But it keeps me from choking in my sadness.
All that you try to do to make it more perfect is futile, but it takes time to realise it. Now you are feeling stuck. You can do two things. You can change your style of life and then for a few days again you will be on a honeymoon - hopes and desires and ambitions… and the possibility of tomorrow again becomes alive. But after a few days that tomorrow never comes. Again you are stuck and the whole thing again becomes routine.
It is just like when you love a woman. The honeymoon over, the love is over. By the end of the honeymoon you are again seeking and searching for another woman. But you can go on in this way from one honeymoon to another but it is not going to help in any way. You have to realise that there is nothing to achieve in life. Life is not goal-oriented. Life is eternally herenow. It is already perfect. It cannot be improved upon.
Once you realise this, then there is no future, no hope, no desire, and no ambition. You live this moment; you enjoy and delight in it.
The feeling of stuckness is coming because you still have ambition left in the mind. That ambition is creating the frustration that nothing is improving - but there is nothing to be improved! The trees are happy because they don’t try to improve. They don’t listen to any foolish sermons of Vincent Peale or others. They don’t bother at all about the future.
Look at life. Everything is so delighted, right this moment. So be delighted. This time, don’t change and don’t create another illusion. If you are feeling stuck, feel stuck. But tell the mind, ‘Now I am not going to create another dream for you so that you are riding on the wind again for a few days. No more !’
Live with this stuckness and try to understand why you feel it. You are feeling it because you are always keeping a goal ahead. You have to reach somewhere, you have to go somewhere. Where? Life is here - where are you going? There is nowhere to go.
Once you understand that, the stuckness will melt away. It is created by you, by your idea that one should be always growing, always growing. Where will you reach by always growing? Now you are mature enough to understand that life has no meaning in the future. The meaning is intrinsic, herenow, in the present.
So enjoy your food, enjoy the woman you love, enjoy your work, enjoy your sleep, and forget all about the future. Then the stuckness will melt by itself. Nothing is to be done. It is not a problem. The problem is deeper than your stuckness. The problem is that you are still hankering; the mind is greedy.
One day everybody has to come to that point and to realise, ‘What nonsense am I doing with my life? - wasting it in improving it while it is already perfect.’
That’s what I mean when I say that you are gods - nothing is to be done.
Delight in the fact of your being. Enjoy the way you are and enjoy the world that’s available to you. Then each moment becomes a diamond in itself. Life is no more a means. Each moment is an end unto itself. That’s what Jesus means when he says ‘Think not of the morrow’.
For one month, live in the moment, and even if you feel that stuckness, let it remain there. Nothing is to be done. Tell it, ‘Okay, I accept you, but I am not going to do anything. I am going to live moment to moment.’ And enjoy yourself. For one month, without any goal, without the achieving mind constantly boiling within, without any desire, simply live. - Osho (via reverberrations)
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love. - Anne Sexton
And I just can’t keep living this way
So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage
I’m standing up, I’ma face my demons
I’m manning up, I’ma hold my ground
I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up
Tryin’ put my life back together right now
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
- Bob Dylan
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.