Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the joy of living

hi peter,

listen, we don't know each other well, so I hope you'll take this well enough. but I have to fight you a bit. I know Mike. I know Sonal. I know myself. and I know that we've all tried the "do the things that genuinely make you happy on a large scale" thing and you know what? it only works for a little while. eventually we get bored of happiness. eventually we sit at our desk staring at the water fountain, desperately thirsty and yet refusing to stand up and take a drink of water.

Khalil Gibran says "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." the trouble is that we are poets, and for us sorrow's point is sharp, and we tend to over-empathize.

take my mother for example. she is a poet, though she hardly writes. her instincts are impeccable, but she is bombarded by intangible stimuli at almost every turn - your mood affects her physiologically. it hits her from across the room, and it intoxicates her. she is constantly and simultaneously allowing you to energetically possess her, and waging war on that energy once it is inhabiting her. she is always feeling and always fighting. sorrow has forged canyons in her heart, which can be alternately flooded with joy, swelling with compassion, or draughted and harsh. she can't "avoid the poisonous stimuli." she cannot, nor does she suspect that she has a right to control their ebb and flow.

I saw a book today, in the window of a Shambhala bookstore. it said "The Joy of Living," and I realized that the joy of living is that we don't have to do it forever. this is our solace, and our impetus for testing and retesting the infinite capacities of the human heart. if we do it right, it's like the love affair with an end-date. you can ignore certain things and delve into despairing passion with others, because you know it will end, and you will be able to breathe again.

for all intents and purposes, it already is over. like the journal's blank page, waiting to be uncovered.

god I have horrible cramps today. wouldn't mind using my own advice to realize that these were already over. ok see you later.



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