Thursday, June 4, 2009

On Many Things

I seem drawn to films which explore the 'meaning' of life. I use that term lightly, as I've long avoided refering to life as having any meaning at all, really. Perhaps I should say - ..."films which explore the different paths which lay before us, every day we are alive."

What will we do today? How will we do it?
What will we see today? And how will we see it?
Who will we meet today? And how will we meet them?

So many choices, and so many paths.

It seems many of us share a dream, a burning desire to do 'the right thing' with our lives.It seems many of us look around and see exactly what we don't want in life. We don't want to waste our lives, we don't want to not feel and love and experience. We want to make the most of life. We want to feel... special.

But what is the most in life? How can we be special? It's a question I've spent many moments thinking over. Maybe buddhists are onto something when they talk about releasing desires, releasing ego and accepting life. Letting life in, without clinging to it. They say -  "if you love something, let it go". Yet we all seem to cling. We hold onto things and try to master them, make them our own - to have control. We cling to our partners, we cling to our friends, we cling to our clothes and to our roles. Somtimes we even cling to the idea of being different. All this to be important... or special. We want more and more, we want that elusive 'something' that will make us better.

"Why not just be happy now?". What a marvelous thing to say. I heard it for the first time about a year ago, from a friend. And I've heard and read it many times since.  It's very much like the saying - "It's not what you do, but how you go about doing it".

Revolutionary Road

Frank doesn't know what he wants to do. He works a job he hates, to fill a role passed down to him by the world. Perhaps he thinks it will make him fit in, and be acceptable. Imagine - wanting to be 'acceptable', which is even a notch below being 'special'.

April has a dream to be an actress, and it doesn't become reality. She is 'robbed' of her happiness, through the lack of this thing in her life. Perhaps she transfers her need for a dream into Frank, and comes to believe that if he gets a dream, and lives it - then they'll both be happy. 

But can happiness really be a destination? Or is it an attitude you live, during your journey? Though we have many milestones in our lives, I don't think there really is a destination. We are born, we live, love and experience, then we die and we leave behind whatever affect we had on this world. Beyond that who knows what there is? "Why not be happy now?".

One of my favorite quotes is by Modest Mouse - "It's hard to remember, it's hard to remember, that we're alive for such a short time. It's hard to remember we're alive for the last time. It's hard to remember, it's hard to remember, to live before you die". And sometimes it is hard to remember. We live day in and day out, and we forget that we're living. Smile a little, enjoy a little.

Frank and April didn't really seem to communicate a great deal towards the end. Either with themselves, internally, or with one another. Neither had a good understanding of who they were or what they wanted, or who their partner was, and what they wanted. Did he just want to feel like a man? Did he just want to feel appreciated? Did she just want to feel special and important? Did she just want to feel appreciated? Did they need to feel these things from others, because they couldn't feel it for themselves?

I've read that to be a good man, you should have a purpose, presence and freedom. You should know where you are going, and that will give you presence, and in having this path, you are free to live and feel life. I don't know if that's true of not, but the idea feels very appealing to me. I wish I had a purpose, rather than floating as I am now. 

How then does the idea of "being happy now", mesh with the idea of having a purpose? Perhaps there's truth in how they say "to be happy you need something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to". The something to do and something to look forward to parts might constitute for a 'purpose'. Does that then mean that's it's impossible to "just be happy now"? Must I find a purpose before I can be happy? I feel happy often now, but is that because I distract myself from reality? Or do I perhaps have a purpose that I live by but have not fixed upon yet?

There's a thought. A thought indeed. For a long while now I've been steadily commited to daily becoming a better person. To becoming a better listener and communicater - so that I may be a better friend and lover to Jessie. So I may be fairer and more open to new ideas and the desires of others. So that I may in turn be a better friend generally. So that I may be a better man.

"So that I may be a better man". There's a big idea... to be "a man". "A Man". What does it mean to be a Man? To be strong, and to have direction. To be open to ideas and to be at peace with the world. To take comfort and to draw strength from the vastness of the world - both tangible and ethereal. It seems odd to say - but to even to take comfort in the insignificance of our own existence and actions. But at the same time to heavily appreciate our existence and free will to do action. To appreciate the effect of our every breath, our every word, and our every motion. To give thought and consideration to all that we think, say and do. But in the light of similtaneous appreciation for our insignificance in this vast world - to be light, to be free and to be easy.

This is a great duality, and a great balancing act - a continual work. But one, that in my short experience of which, can bear wonderful fruit. More learning, more acceptance, healthier relations and a vaster horizon of experience.

I am alive, I am young, I am open to the world and it's limitless possibilities.
I am steadfast in my dedication to my purpose - to live and to love fully - strongly, and tenderly - to grow and to help grow.

We are all on our own paths, with no right and wrong way but what we make.

I think I'd like to take a stroll.
Fare well =o)

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