Posts from — August 2010
My brother suggested I rent and watch “Whatever Works”, a film directed by Woody Allen and starring Larry David. After going out for an enjoyable dinner with my husband we came home and sat down to watch the film. You really must watch it, it sums up so much about what I think is true in life.
Basically the main character, Boris (played by Larry David), takes us along with him as he lives out his life in his 60s. We see snap shots of some of his past, but mainly we are going along on his daily routine as he teaches us about life. Boris sees life as inherently meaningless and cannot stand the many “fools” (everyday people) he sees around him, striving after and concerning themselves with frivolous tasks and goals that are completely pointless. He has a low tolerance for stupidity and for those that aren’t awake to the truth about reality. His friends tolerate him and find his point of view entertaining and at times thought provoking. Boris unintentionally educates a young runaway and she becomes quite infatuated with his way of seeing the world. Her family also begin to experience life after abandoning their self-imposed strictures on how life should be lived. Despite all his negativity and his few failed attempts at suicide, his main tenet for life is to do “whatever works” to make life worth living.
This film is funny, entertaining and thought provoking. It certainly left me wondering what beliefs I might need to abandon and what sorts of restrictions I might need to dismantle to make my life more livable.
What do you think might work for you?
August 23, 2010 No Comments
It’s a huge step to acknowledge that life is not inherently meaningful. In fact, this is such a significant milestone to reach, that once you’ve arrived the sheer exhaustion of this realisation really makes you want to soak up some mindless entertainment.
Yet succumbing to hours of sitcoms, mini-series or Facebook will only reverse your efforts on the meaning journey. Somehow you need to find the energy to start creating a meaningful existence for yourself. This can be overwhelming when you’ve only just made the transition from finding meaning to making meaning.
So here are a few steps you can take, starting small, to boost the quotient of meaning in your life.
1. Commit to reading fiction for half an hour a day.
This will help you shift your focus from television entertainment and interactive internet entertainment to entertainment that requires input from your imagination.
2. Commit to reading something “serious” for half an hour a day
By “serious” I don’t mean read the news. In fact it might be beneficial to ignore the news altogether as this may only encourage your possibly fragile grasp on reality. Instead read something historical, scientific, political or anything that allows you to actively educate yourself further. This may be an online journal, a biography or a something you pick up from the non-fiction section of the library on your way home.
I don’t recommend daydreaming before sleep, as often you can become so involved with what you’re fantasising about that it becomes difficult to relax. Take some time on a lazy Sunday or Saturday afternoon, or if you’re very talented on the drive home from work, to daydream. It should be about something that isn’t currently a part of your reality. You may want to daydream about living in Tuscany, building the house of your dreams or about being a stage actress. Once again, this is an activity involving your imagination. We need to reactivate your imagination to the level you were used to as a child.
4. Engage in one task each day mindfully
Choose one task each day, it can be the same task each day or you can mix it up, and become fully present in what you are doing. Washing the dishes with 100% presence, cleaning your teeth with complete presence or petting your cat without distraction allows you to really feel all the sensations of the moment and the simple task with which you are engaged. Allowing yourself time to be here instead of in the past or future will go a long way towards you connecting with what you find personally meaningful.
5. Entertain yourself with comedy
I know I said that you should try to wean yourself off relying on television for your entertainment. If you are going to watch tv, make sure whatever you’re watching is really funny and makes fun of the absurdity of life. I regularly watch episodes of Seinfeld, The IT Crowd or The Office. Each of these shows have characters who accept the absurdity of life and embrace it in anyway. For me it is a great source of stress relief and a real way to ground myself when I feel myself drifting away from what I know about life.
I’d love you to try some or all of these techniques and leave a comment on your experiences.
August 18, 2010 4 Comments