All of them orbit around my head day and night, at their own paces, each one with their own sunsets, their individual low and high tides. I feel like the lamplighter in The Little Prince, who lights and puts out the street lamp on his planet some 1440 times every day.
There is not much time for anything else. As I tend to these overgrown thoughts, all else falls into a corner of neglect and I worry even more.
And that’s the problem isn’t it?
I am unable to dedicate myself wholly to one thing. Worry nags in the back of my mind, creating bumps in a moment that otherwise flows like river-water. I do not allow myself be taken by the moment. There’s just too much going on, too much to worry about. And I feel guilty if I don’t worry. I feel guilty for enjoying myself when I should be working to get things done.
It’s like kissing someone while thinking about someone else.
Evicted out of the present moment, I am neither here nor there. Instead, I watch on the situation, worrying, gnawing at my nails.
I have so much to catch up on that I act like every moment not spent working on my problems is a stolen one. I feel guilty for living in the moment, for not being busy.
And that, that is how I, how we lose inner peace.
By giving worries more rights and power than they deserve.
I mean, I cannot do everything now. There are too many stories, too many people, too many musings and anecdotes and each deserves their rightful share.
After all, how am I supposed to split one second into the many, endless fractions I need? How do I find infinity in what is hopelessly ephemeral?
Quote of the day :
“I would have you consider your judgement and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.”
—Kahlil Gibran, On Reason and Passion, The Prophet
What a beautiful Saturday it has been. All slow and liberating, the kind of simple thing that takes a huge weight off your chest, like going on a stroll for fresh air. I feel like I have turned into a cloud, that if I were a colour I would probably be peach, and if I were to be anyone I could be, I would really much rather be me.
It is the first time though that this kind of weightlessness has not felt like drifting. There is something so strong in me: the feeling of being grounded. It is not like before, when weightlessness made me feel like a kite that had broken its string. Now, I am more like a flag wound about a mast, enjoying the freshness of the breeze. Or like a boat, moored to the docks, rocking from side-to-side with the tide.
I am so grounded, so at peace with all that I am.
I am conscious of my issues and challenges, all the flaws I must work on, all the regrets and anxieties I have accumulated. But not now. Not as I cut my overgrown nails with care, not as I exfoliate my skin with some divine, peach-scented, pebbly scrub. Not as I scrape the toxic fumes of city life from my lungs, or as I apply some sea-coloured gel (All Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel) to the darkened bumps on my face.
My troubles will wait.
They will not be going away anytime soon, so what is the hurry to worry about them? Will that change anything?
I’ve decided to not worry about things I cannot change anymore.
What does worry even do anyway? It takes away time and peace of mind and gives nothing but anxiety in return.
I will not worry about things I cannot change.
So here I am, enjoying a casual Saturday with myself, rediscovering my own thoughts, remembering my own little life fondly. I haven’t done this in a long time:
I don’t like the word. I don’t like that I don’t like it.
But for a moment, that moment of…of self care feels like greeting an old friend again after a long time. There’s a lot to catch up on, but at the same time you talk about non-big-life-events-or-changes for much longer than necessary. You have a conversation for pleasure, because you can. There is no practical purpose to the talking. It is not a means to an end. It is an end in and of itself. I am talking to you not because I have something in particular to say, but because I want to talk to you. What we talk about is secondary, so long as I am talking to, with you.
And so I had conversations with myself, had my conscious brain meet my imagination again. Peacefully, Saturday went by.
Note: Hi, I hope all of you have been doing well ! That is all, that’s the note 😂 Sending you all good vibes! ^^
“At first, overthinking feels almost intelligent, like : “Oh, look at me, my thoughts have thoughts.””
In a number of ways, I’ve found myself already.
The constant flow of “Who am I”s that clashed with my bloodstream has quietened, softened to a dull roar. Like the sound of the ocean in your ear when you place a shell there — it is an echo of something it used to be, something from the past.
I could honestly not fill out a form about what I want to be, though. I couldn’t say where I want the next 5 years to take me. But I could write my name proudly on top of the paper. I don’t know where I’m going or how, but on this solo quest, I at least know who I’m travelling with.
So, I’ve finally discovered who I am, although how much of it is discovery and how much of it is memory is really hard to tell. I think, in a way, it is more of a rediscovery than anything else. Either way, I’m still not able to provide short-cut answers (“I want to be a writer.” or “I want to write a novel.”) or very clear answers at all. My…truths are not easy for me to casually explain. They are still a little muddled, like water that is only now settling after its surface has been disturbed by multiple ricochets. So these…truths come in unusual ways : in musical scores and vocal tremors in songs, very precise bits of writing, insignificant words, wispy feelings, moods and other such nameless things. It is nothing quite concrete, but is still so overwhelmingly potent just for existing. The few moments I can catch are such delights to have, so crisp they are, so startlingly clear.
At this point, if someone asks me who I am, I will just point to a song that speaks to my soul and say : “That is what I am.”. I’m not ashamed of it : I have caught with quite slippery hands the bits and pieces that I am now holding onto. But really, it was easy. Once I let go of the overthinking, the truth rose from the silence and I followed it to the things that matter most.
But who am I kidding, overthinking is the hardest thing at first. Overthinking is a storm in your mind that leaves debris in its wake. It is a man-made disaster, the number one mind-polluter : it turns the place inside out, enshrouds any markers that could guide you back to the places you’ve been before. But not overthinking is also hard in a world that always leaves you guessing whether you are doing things right. Simplicity is not easy. When sophistication is dangled like a bait in front of you, you start asking yourself what is wrong with you for not wanting it. If everyone else is fighting for it, why am I not ?
I used to think simplicity was boring, like it was just the beginning stages of a painting. A bare canvas waiting to be doused in colour. Simplicity is monochrome in a world of splashing colours. It is empty, lacking substance. I only thought that because I never imagined simplicity could come from sophistication. I thought simplicity was plain, unadorned, that blank spaces didn’t belong on a canvas. But that’s not true. Simplicity is focused, calm where overthinking is excessive or scattered. If simplicity is monochrome, then overthinking is like mixing colours : you keep adding touches and dashes of this and that shade, and in the end all you’re left with is a pool of muddled black. Simplicity knows what it is and what is out there and still chooses to be itself.
I’ve learned to do the same. I’m still learning, still struggling to keep it simple and keep it real. At first, overthinking feels almost intelligent, like : “Oh, look at me, my thoughts have thoughts.”.
It feels right because you are weighing in all your options, learning as much as you can about them, double, triple-checking…At one point though, you just turn into a hoarder. You stockpile thoughts and hide behind them like a dragon sleeping under a mountain of gold coins.
Your thoughts have thoughts. Cool, but is any one of them doing anything for you? Or do they all just look pretty in your head ? Simplicity in thought is having a thousand choices and going through the effort of keeping only the right one. Or, at the very least, the one or two that feel the most right of them all.
With some of the debris cleaned up, my journey inward can now be resumed, its paths unclogged, unobstructed. I can begin again to uncover all the wonderful things that give meaning to life, for me.
And again, it’s the simple, not always quiet things. It’s music by people whose artistry I adore. Loud laughter. Fearing nothing but fear itself.
Note : This is an entry for NaNoWriMo Day 2. Also, I realise some parts of this may sound harsh, but I’m mostly talking to myself when I write down things like these, so…
I feel like I’ve sat on a chair and have been spinning around for light-years. And nothing I see is willing to settle. Everything still appears in duplicates and colours that don’t exist. The world now, is a juxtaposition of 10,000 others right before it. The lights of 10,000 dawns and dusks, all painted in one stroke. And I am constantly grabbing at old versions of what it means to be alive. My shaking hand comes back empty but for a mound of dust and dying light.
My head has been spinning on itself, too and has been orbiting the moon, pushed by the gusts of Saturn. I just have to close my eyes and my body floats, weightless, as though it has never known gravity, never wondered what it felt like to be grounded. My body does not feel like my own. My hands are too weak-willed, too loose, too free to be mine to command. My body is like a kite without a string—going wherever the wind wills. So it’s not mine anymore. Was it ever? Was there ever a moment when that kite was bound, when all these thoughts made sense, when they were arranged in order? Did they ever not orbit around my head like moons in utter chaos? And I am left now to pluck them, in disarray, attempting to string them into not-gibberish. But the sentences don’t make sense. Nothing does.
For a moment there, I feel like I am the sun. With all these thoughts-turned-planets and their moons circling me, each at their own rhythm, each at separate stages of their journey. Too much, too much.
But grabbing at other planets did not work. So I am now peeling back the layers of this world to reach a substantial core, something unmistakably material, but my hands are weak. They, too, are the juxtaposed reflections of 10,000 years of being. So holding onto some form of sanity, because that’s really what this is about, is proving to feel like trying to contain water in a fishing net. Or trying to catch smoke with the spaces between your fingers.
This night has turned into a search for grounding, for anchoring. But the Earth itself is dissolving into cotton balls and I am floating away with its remains.
Note: How to become high: be in that stage between sleep-deprivation and developing an actual sleep pattern.
‘ “I understand that you want your time here to matter in a hundred years …but it is only enough to have existed at all, kid. To have stood face-to-face with Time, and looked that bastard Oblivion in the eye.
Your mark, is that you will have walked this Earth, will have sought its mysteries and found yourself along the way. Your mark is that you will have had time. It is enough, to truly have lived and that—” he smiled wryly, eyes twinkling ever so bright, “is the real challenge.”‘
“I am afraid of a great many things,” he began “but not of Death. Not of Oblivion. See, I think…that this is the cycle of life: we are all born, we live, we die, then we are forgotten, eventually.
“Of these 4 stages, we only exercise control on one. So shouldn’t it be the only one to matter? Truly, who’s to say that even if you changed the world, you would not be forgotten? I imagine there are many kings —and queens—” he added with a nod and smile to her, “that we do not know the names and lives of today. And yet conversely, look at Kafka. Look at Van Gogh. Dude lived his whole life underappreciated and miserable. He died and he didn’t know the world would love him. He died, probably, thinking very little of himself. See, thing about Oblivion is, you wanna know people will remember you after you die. That’s how you win, right? So, if you don’t know, then it doesn’t matter. You don’t win at all. What’s the point of people loving you or remembering you when you’re dead? What’s that to you? You’re dead.
“I understand that you want your time here to matter in a hundred years—people might remember, they might not,” he shrugged “but it is only enough to have existed at all, kid. To have stood face-to-face with Time, and looked that bastard Oblivion in the eye.
Your mark, is that you will have walked this Earth, will have sought its mysteries and found yourself along the way. Your mark is that you will have had time. It is enough, to truly have lived and that—” he smiled wryly, eyes twinkling ever so bright, “is the real challenge.”
“To worry about people remembering who you were is all good and well, but how about living so fully that you can’t think of anything else? The distant future, the looming end… How about living so hard you could burst? I’m not afraid of being forgotten. I’m a simple man, I only fear not seizing the moment. Not taking a stroll because I’m worrying. Not going for a drive at 2 a.m. because I’m worrying and that’s not what I should be doing at 2 a.m.. I deal in hypotheticals, but not when they stop me from leaving the house.” he laughed.
Note: Day 2 of the (sortof) NaNoWriMo writing challenge
“See, not all thoughts are flowers, not all thoughts bloom. Some thoughts grow tough and gnarly— they are bad ideas, self-destructive seeds that some other voice planted in your brain. “
Not all thoughts are good, I’ve been thinking.
Thoughts may just be like a horse’s hooves, if you don’t trim them, they hurt. If you leave them be, they grow so much that every step is pain until, eventually, all movement stops.
It’s important to look after your thoughts, to groom them as they grow. Some people may say that you are cutting off a part of yourself, but that’s not true. Sometimes, being yourself requires upkeep. See, not all thoughts are flowers, not all thoughts bloom. Some thoughts grow tough and gnarly— they are bad ideas, self-destructive seeds that some other voice planted in your brain. These kinds of thoughts are toxic and demand constant attention. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but if there are many saplings in a single patch of land, then they will all fight to reach the sun. The tougher ones will close in on the tenderer sprouts, suffocating them and burying them alive while they drink up the sun and thrive and thrive and thrive. The same happens to thoughts. So they must be pruned and sheared so that the softer, vulnerable thoughts have a chance to grow.
Weeds will always grow in any garden, whether that be in the one behind your house or the one you keep in your head. But you need only pluck them out and let these tender thoughts breathe again.
“The memories one day will flare, bright and summery, whirling through this body, all the way to my fingertips, to the strands of hair your fingers pushed back one stolen afternoon — and my whole being will remember what it means to be.”
Ungrounded. Not floating—not flying and yet not rooted, I am caught in in-betweens, enmeshed in threads of Fate or Entropy I do not control. This heart, gushing hot, red blood is stoical. Everything tastes grey and I’m lying because I don’t even remember what life has been like these past 24 hours. This body is not mine, these memories— these small, distant touches of warmth— do they really belong to me? Or are they just electrical signals that buzz through ‘my’ brain? Mere pieces of data that can be forgotten, erased out of existence? How important can my existence be if it can all be reduced to such fragility?
All I am, all I know is this voice. It echoes thoughts in a dark room, raises questions, throws around truths that cannot be faced or acknowledged. I, I think I’ve gone and done it— I’ve overthought myself out of existence.
It’s not good.
It’s not bad.
It is what it is.
And it too, will come to pass as all things must.
The memories one day will flare, bright and summery, whirling through this body, all the way to my fingertips, to the strands of hair your fingers pushed back one stolen afternoon — and my whole being will remember what it means to be.
But that is not now, so when you ask, kind and unsuspecting, if I am fine, what other answer can I give but yes?
We always see more, feel more, think more than there is. We attach concepts to ideas, weave symbolism into art and inject meaning into everything we do. Our minds are elaborate castles with hidden traps, dungeons and secret passageways. Our thoughts are labyrinths, our dreams oceans of unexplored depths.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, as if our minds were not already uncharted territories, we find ways to link them to others’. We connect our worlds with theirs. And so, if our minds are worlds, then our relationships are galaxies that contain all of us, from the deserts of depression to the mountains of glory, through the fields of love and the black holes of mourning.
We are charged with meaning, alimented by purpose.
It is phenomenal that we can create all this from bodies that are essentially clay, that we can build worlds with something as mortal and fragile as the human body.
It is awe-inspiring that our ideas can transcend Death, that our existences are not limited to our lifespans.
But even so, it is both a blessing and a curse to exist so complexly.
Because you can see the beauty of a flower, but in the same breath, you also realise that it will soon wilt. You cannot be truly happy because the voice nags. There are whispers of ends that reach your ears, ideas of loss that poison your bliss.
No wonder so many intelligent people are sad; they see untold outcomes. And not many of them end well.
You have castles of thoughts that await, but inner peace evades you.
What is the point of owning such a big estate, such expansive worlds, when you do not even have one broom closet where there is quiet?
The mind is loud, noisy.
It bustles, it always works.
It overheats but it never stops.
It overthinks but it never stops.
So sometimes, I wonder.
I escape the mind by going further into it, by seeking its hidden cracks.
Sometimes, I want to be something simple. Like a cloud. Float gently around the world and distribute rain, sometimes thunder? I can do that. There would be no need to have inner peace then, because I would just be.
Cogito Ergo Sum? More like Cogito Ergo Sum.
The mind is too loud,
the thoughts require too much.
I just want to close my eyes and be.
I just want to close my eyes and breathe,
feel my heart beat and look at a flower
and only think that
it is indeed very beautiful.
Sometimes, I think that all you need in life is Adventure, and people to share it with.
Because there are some days when you don’t need to have much. Some good food, some music, some smiles. The view that unrolls like a film reel as you stare out of the car window, nodding your head at the music filling the space around, relishing in the thought of : “This is my youth. This is how I am spending my most beautiful years.”
And already, the moment seems like a perfect memory, like a photograph that’s already yellowing, already worn at the edges from pulling it out of the album so much. It is one of those moments that are so beautiful that you already feel nostalgic about them and they aren’t even over yet.
So you try to hold back all the sands of Time that sift through your hand, because you’re so scared. Because good times don’t happen often. Because happiness never lasts too long, never long enough. Because you don’t know any better than to overthink anything good that happens to you. Because there has to be something. It can’t be that easy. It can’t be that good.
But you cannot stop Time…
You cannot stop Time, but you can enjoy it.
You try to grip onto the sands of Time so firmly that you do not know how pleasant it can be to just stop and feel it run through your fingers.
It is, as you may have guessed, easy to say but much more complicated to put in practice. Living in the moment, before being the simplest thing, requires so much effort.
So, like me, you try to anchor the memory, not for always, no, you know better now, but for one moment, just one fleeting instant, one ephemeral stretch of time. So you take out a camera, snap a photo. You immortalise a moment, a mood, an age, a version of you, a picture of happiness. And then you go back to enjoying the feel of Time as it slips through your fingers, as the evening sun on your face plays out into the colours of the setting sun.
“I have created many worlds inside my head,” she said. “and retreating into them has at times been simply pleasant and at others necessary—vital. But none have ever been this bridge between dreams and reality. I was always either rooted to the ground, or flying away with nothing to hold me back. It was never a smooth transition, and it was always one world or the other. And all my life, I have been looking for that world, and then you spring out of nowhere and just…pull out the thing I have most been yearning for out of your pocket.”
She bit her lip then, frowning a little.
“Life is strange. It seems almost too easy now.”
“You are happy,” he smiled. “And by the time you’re done worrying about happiness, it will have gone away already. So enjoy it.” he said, and kissed the top of her head.
He wanted to tell her that some kinds of happiness stay with you for a long time, for always sometimes, but he held the comment back, content in letting her ease into the world he had so readily opened to her for now.