She introduced me to this Brain Pickings article as the hectic week came to a close. It came in at the right time, much like the best things in life. Her acquaintance has been a welcome change, offering me an insight into how a young artist perceives the time being spent. On analyzing my schedule and where my focus lies throughout the day, her mind reminded me of a bright palette – a responsible freedom – a poignant liberation – a lingering expression. No regrets, but my schedule is a focused black dot on a blank canvas.
My life took a pleasant turn recently, as it apparently does every four years, and that resulted in multiple conversations with people I have known, folks I love and care about. Laying bare the past statements and comparing them with the present decisions is a good topic of conversation – for it results in debate. But we have grown up thinking about life as a journey – from point A to point B – from past to present and through into the future. This expects you to carry a baggage of past promises, expects you to live up to them irrespective of the present context and loads it up more for the future, just in case.
A battlefield commander takes spot decisions.
Quite like a poet who changes words if the wind turns colder.
Your life changing decisions, presuming they haven’t been taken under a past obligation, are based in the light of present developments. You (though subconsciously) live in the moment. If a pre-planned strategy fails, you come up with an alternative. Military commanders, politicians, writers, performers, cooks take decisions and switch paths based on what is happening now – irrespective of what has been said and done in the past. While the belief of a life as a journey keeps being endorsed, we have always been living it right here and now.
Life is a Present Experience, Not a Journey
What of the goals, then? What of the desire to ‘travel’ from one state in life to another? Don’t we visualize a goal in life, the mountain peak, and trudge on towards making it a ‘reality’? Our long term goals might be materialistic at times, but they often revolve around prosperity and happiness. These aspects attach themselves to multiple situations – whether you might be in your current job or not – whether you continue practicing your art or not – whether you are with your family or not.
As you work hard towards your desires and goals of a certain imagined well being, you introduce those ‘additions’ into your surroundings – thus leading to a magnificent change over a period of time. While we may always call life a journey, since that is how we best understand it, it’s more like your evolving imagination taking shape before your eyes – and your evolving perception of the same. Baggage exists for learning lessons, not to add weight. Sharp turns are cool.
How We Spend Our Days
Quoting Annie Dillard – “There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.”
It’s clear that how we perceive our days and how we allow ourselves to experience the ample joy around decides our well being. It might be her journey across the high seas inside, or my toiling at a smithy – it is the spirit behind the hard work that counts. And the vision, which takes us beyond.