Thursday, March 29, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I have known my first love since I was only but a couple months old. He arrived via airmail, in a box addressed to the c/o my mother, but he was all mine. Made of nylon stuffing and brown furry fabric, two bulbous, glass eyes and a rough plastic snout, his namesake came out of my early, underdeveloped speech trying to describe the most important things I associated with. “Brown Bear” just stuck.
With the shabby appearance of a Mr. Bojangles character, matted and patched, he has been my companion for 29 years and one of the few belongings that has survived my many travels, and the complete spectrum of perilous storage spaces. He can often be found wedged somewhere among my furnishings, or amongst a pile of clothes, looking rather squished or playful, but always with that permanent and mischievous smirk of having seen it all. Every time he resurfaces, he makes me smile with the purest kind of joy I know, and reminisce about the early days.
But this is not an Ode to Brown Bear, it is but a simple thought about protecting those which mean the most, and keeping them out of harm’s way. I’m not the type of person to care about “stuff”, material possessions or the sort. Brown Bear has never in my mind been a “thing”, nor has he been as real as a living breathing human being, yet there has been inside of me this impression that a spirit was kindled between us many years ago, and it would be wrong of me to ever discount or toss aside my childhood friend, even if I had outgrown him long before I discovered what true love really was.
This lesson holds tight, even now. When you take the time to bandage what is broken, to not misplace or forget the reasons why they mean most to you, and when you can truly look back and say, “Yes, we have made it here together,” then there shouldn’t be a question in mind as to what you should do. Love and protect, plain and simple. I understood this as a child, I believe this even more as a woman today.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Just as in books, there are themes in life we gravitate toward, answers we look for or that sneak up on us unexpectedly, when we are questioning our “purpose”. Both arguments can be made that we are born to serve, or that we spend a lifetime wandering, wishing forever, and to understand. And sometimes it takes but one crucial moment, one lapse in judgment, or some small epiphany to alter one’s entire course completely.
A couple weeks ago, I was introduced to the concept of Śūnyatā, which in Buddhist doctrines and Sanskrit translates to, “zero, nothing,” or “no-thingness”. The non-existence of self is an age-long concept which the likes of Descartes, Berkeley, and Kant spent their entire philosophical careers theorizing and debating. But for me, my interest came from the realization that sometimes what we perceive to be truth and understanding, the things we take most for granted, the people we surround ourselves with, is nothing more than our way of comforting ourselves from fear- the fear of recognizing we are and will until we die, feel alone.
In the movie Pierrot le Fou by Jean-Luc Godard (1965), two lovers and loners cling to one another like life rafts, thinking that by running away from society and their creature comforts and past lives, they can rediscover their purpose, and what truly makes them “happy”. Instead, what they find is chaos and hate, and a false sense of “love”, and as put by Ferdinand (Pierrot) to Marianne, “That is the basic problem... you're waiting for me... I'm not there... I arrive... I enter the room... that's when I really start to exist for you... But I existed before that... I had thoughts... I may have been suffering... So the problem is to show you alive, thinking of me, and at the same time, to see me alive by virtue of that very fact."
And that is the basic problem you see, to know that I am alive, and that all of this is a matter of my perception. After all, “…we are all made again of dust,” so what’s this really mean?