An overwhelming swell of contentedness. A conviction that all is as it should be. They speak of blissful oblivion. This is peaceful self awareness – a much more satisfying state of joy.
A beautiful cup of coffee, a beautiful canal side view. This quaint little universe that holds my boundless elation. My soul is a self contained whole, buoyant, drifting on a river. Looking down into the water but not being submerged.
But with such wonder, there is also sadness, sadness that this feeling is mine alone and not for everyone.
A couple kissing on a wall, a pang of missing a certain someone. But happiness is resilient as I say, and sadness merely transitory. After all he’ll be back soon. And until then, my bubble remains afloat.
A post that might not make much sense in terms of a coherent message. It more reflects the pattern of my thoughts, how they stream through my mind like water – I wanted to capture this moment in my life. A happiness that I felt which was able to withstand little pangs of sadness, because happiness comes from the inside. Maybe not the work of the likes of James Joyce or Virginia Woolf, but all the same, there is something fun about stream of consciousness writing. There are less rules to be followed, more permissible senseless writing. Mapping thought patterns is so interesting – I challenge everyone to try it! Have a happy Saturday!
Have you ever obsessed over a phrase? It runs round and around in your mind like a child playing in a revolving door – round and round, to sleep, to sleep – per chance to dream, to dream. There is no more meaning to be found in the words, no depth of understanding which I gain from this repetition – but my mind is unable to let them go. Perhaps it hears what my simple ears do not. It feels like a mantra vibrating through me, a rhythmic movement dancing in my soul. Its consuming.
And then just as suddenly as the words captivated me, they fall away, and the silence is at once oppressive and a relief. I’m free to occupy myself with other thoughts. But I am left wandering whether there was something I should have gained from this manic repetition – or whether my mind was simple bored and off on a frolic of its own.
Over a week I’ve been away from blogging – I haven’t even been following any blogs! Shame on me. But here I am again, trying to get back on schedule. I scribbled these ideas on the first note pad I could find in the bar where I work, that’s generally how I do things. A simple post maybe, but this happens to me fairly often – almost like having a song stuck in your head but it is phrases instead. I was just intrigued about how the mind can be so consumed with only a few chosen words for no apparent reason. This time it was ‘To sleep per chance to dream” – a quote I haven’t heard since high school – funny how the mind remembers….
Every word is the wrong word. Every sentence built back to front. Every comma misplaced, every dash over the top dramatic. Each thought and idea incompletely explored, the message not properly set out. Why do sometimes our minds work seamlessly and at others it feels as if you are knocking at the door of an old friend who is refusing to come to the door – ‘Hello?’ – Nothing. Its feels as though my mind is not my own, my thoughts not mine to explore, rather they have ideas of their own about their willingness to be accessed. I hold my own writing hostage. But the ransom is not money, but time.
An accurate portrayal of writer’s block? I know they say that pushing through writer’s block is about discipline, but I have been sat behind my computer or with my notebook in hand for days now, and the words won’t come. Ideas I have, the power to convey them is what I am temporarily robbed of. And yet the setting for writing seems so perfect – the house is quiet, the weather is stormy, I am sat with a cup of fresh mint tea, inside in the warm – the pathetic fallacy is entirely in my favour. It seems though that today, my mind will not be commanded.
“Happiness is a choice we make”
The challenge of life is having the strength to make that choice everyday. Its easy to be happy when the world is conspiring in your favour, but things aren’t always so brightly coloured. When it feels as if you are seeing the world through grey tinted glasses, ill fitting so that the outlook is distorted, then the choice is hardest. Simply leaving on the spectacles and waiting for the world to brighten up on its own seems the easiest choice. But that is not the best choice – being happy is something we can chose, it is not something which happens to us. Putting your hands to your face and removing the distortions from your sight is something we all have the power to do. Happy people aren’t lucky people, they are determined people.
Hello wonderful readers, and thanks to everyone who has been commenting – I love reading other people’s thoughts on things. As with most of my posts, this reflects a little of my thinking at the moment. When I feel my spirits drooping I chant this like I motto: “Happiness is a choice we make”. It brightens my day somewhat – isn’t that what we all want?
Compliments – unacknowledged beautiful things. The cheapest of gifts. A moment’s care and attention which can brighten someone’s day, broaden someone’s smile, make a person look up from the ground and see the world.
Yet, so often, compliments are brushed aside by the overbearing hand of humility. For some reason, we have been taught to blush and feel embarrassed when paid a compliment, rather than allowing ourselves to be warmed by it. Why is this I wonder? Is humility such a shining virtue? A lack of absolute humility is not equal to arrogance. Perhaps we are seeking to be complimented on our humble nature…so then why is a compliment for something else a cause for blushing? To appreciate beauty in others and the world around us we must first appreciate it in ourselves.
So I say pay that compliment and brighten someone’s day. Take compliments are they are given – do not shy away from them. Acknowledge and appreciate what is beautiful in yourself, and what others find beautiful in you.
This piece may feel corny, and to be honest I felt a little corny writing it. But it struck me the other day how many people do this, and think badly of people who merely thank the giver for the compliment and smile unabashed. We can indeed “change the world one smile at a time” and I think telling someone they look nice today is a good place to start. Positive feelings are infectious.
It takes a full cycle of seasons to feel like somewhere is truly your home. Its being able to dig in your sock drawer to find a warmer pair of socks. Going through your scarves to find the thickest. The transition from living on youruppermost layer of clothing, which you would do when living out of a suitcase – never quite having everything you might need. Its understanding that all your socks are now in the same drawer, and you don’t have to go to a different place, even country, to get them. It may sound strange, but such small things can be little blessings after so long of a nomadic existence. I’ll go through this as each season changes, as winter rolls in and I rifle for my thick coat and hats, finding them neatly stored under my bed. And so after a full cycle of seasons I may finally realise that I don’t have to pack it all up, leave behind the things I won’t need for the spring months or winter months. It’s all here. All my things are here now. A wonderful, simple thought.
It’s been a little while since my last post – I’ve been a little busy! I was looking for thicker socks in my sock drawer the other day when these thoughts struck me and I thought I’d share them. After 4 years of living out of boxes and suitcases, of packing up all my things every couple of months, it was a beautiful thing to me to know that all I had to do was dig a little deeper in my drawer to find my socks. Such a simple thing to most people, but after all it is the small things in life that make us the happiest.
It also seems a little strange to have this kind of post in August, but The Netherlands is having an uncharacteristically bad summer (which considering that it is northern Europe, think how bad it must be!) and it was so cold that I had to get out some warmer stuff, including my winter boots! But oh well, I suppose there has to be a down side to a good situation – after all I am finally where I have wanted to be with the person I want to be with. So I can take the rain.
Writing for me is like swimming in the ocean. Drifting beneath the surface with my eyes closed, feeling the current beat against my body like the heart beat of the earth. Overwhelming peace, overwhelming complexity. A swell of colour and ideas forming into life and shape around me like a shining coral reef – the more I think the more I see. But then the sheer expanse of the picture grips me like a brutal rip tide: I can see everything surrounding me but nothing in detail, nothing sufficiently in focus. Then that terrible feeling as the words swimming around refuse to form fully enough to be written down. And so my dip beneath peaceful waves becomes a struggle against their power. I kick down one the ocean floor to propel myself upwards to the surface. Oxygen burns my lungs as I emerge and I put down my pen, resigned. Today will not be my day for writing then.
This piece is really about how sometimes I start writing and am overcome by the sheer detail of what I want to get down but don’t seem able to, and the corresponding confusion and dejection as I find myself giving up. I know it is a matter of discipline and concentration, but it is not a skill I have yet mastered.
I spent the day in Leiden today where I will be starting my masters degree in September. My best friend and I sheltered from the frequent rain in local cafes and shops, discovering the wonderful corners of the city. I wrote this while I waited for her in what I hope will become my new regular coffee house!