Losing Your Meaning

We attach to memories in any way that we can. Internally, we’re scared of forgetting. We always want to remember the good times we’ve had with friends and the moments that we think have made us who we are. This attachment is so strong that we obsess over objects that remind us of our memories.

When someone dies, it’s common for loved one’s to keep clothing or anything that still smells like the person. We keep birthday cards, old letters, mixtapes our friends made, anything. We attach because we don’t want the memory to fade; we don’t want to forget.

Last year I had a rough time for many months. Music was one of the ways that I got through each day. I’d put on world’s end girlfriend and just listen. There was something chaotic about it that seemed to calm my mind. It defined my day-to-day life because in every free moment I had, music was playing.

Those old songs have come back on shuffle occasionally and the memories flood back in. I remember how hurt I was, how long the days were. Even more, I can’t stop playing the songs. I want to remember it all, to feel it again but to experience it in a different way.

The thing about these objects we attach to is that they are just object. They physically mean nothing. It’s just old clothing, paper and ink, and songs. At a base level, these objects have no significance – they’re just placeholders for a greater emotion.

What’s interesting is the more time we spend experiencing these objects, the more that they just become meaningless objects. That’s why the the more you eat your favorite meal, the less significant it becomes. The more you smell the clothing of that person you love, the less that you can smell it. It fades. The more that I listen to this music, the more that the old memories disappear.

I don’t know our relationship with objects and memories. What I do know is that I don’t want these thoughts to go away. I want to remember these emotions, the smells, the happy and the sad. The greater that I desire them, the more elusive they become. You can’t experience one emotion forever and you cannot live completely in the past. You can only look backwards, never walk backwards.

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Where our Trails Meet

There’s a poem that talks about how we are all marching to our graves, leaving nothing behind us. Our life is like a dream that happens quickly, and is often neglected or forgotten. We spend so much of our lives in our heads that, in retrospect, it looks like years have gone by in minutes. Our sense of time is deluded and with so little of it, we wash most of it down the drain.

Some days I wonder what the purpose of anything is if we’re going to be gone in 100 years. Why live or have a job or work hard or change the world when life will carry on without us? In blogging this extends; why interview a person if they’re going to be interviewed by other people? Why make art if everyone else already is? Why smile at strangers if you’re never going to meet them again? Why help? Why do anything?

These questions have haunted me for years. With so little time it seems that there really isn’t purpose in life other than to live. But why do we live? Why do we carry on? Why do we do anything if we know that it will all end? Every house will crumble, every relationship will end, and every civilization will eventually cease.

I think the reason we do anything is because we crave experience – we crave life at a deep level. We crave the underlying feelings that can only be accomplished with time. There isn’t anything else to do in life other than to live. We want to experience and discover life, so we choose to carry on and take in as much as we can. Life is fleeting, there’s only so much of and there really isn’t anything to do.

However, falling in love creates feelings that extend beyond the relationship and our actions carry on much further than our lifespan. Sure a romance will end but isn’t it better that it happened? While it’s true that everything will end, it’s also true that everything once existed. Love, loss, happiness, grief… they will all end but their effects continue on.

How you treat someone today may dictate how that person treats someone tomorrow and so on so forth. Each person’s actions ripple forward. Martin Luther King Jr.’s actions changed the world – the effects are limitless. There is nothing to measure the impact of his life, there is no way to see what the world would have been like without him.

Similarly every experience that you go through shapes your actions and how you impact the world. Who was the person that inspire MLK Jr. to become an activist? What inspired them? The root is so deep that it is unimaginable.

If nothing else the purpose of life, in my eyes, is to experience. It is to carry on and feel everything that you possible can. Every high, every low, both the bliss and the depression. Life only flows through our veins for, if you’re lucky, 80 years. Maybe you aren’t the whole story, a century isn’t even a sliver of time, but you are part of something more.

You should experience as much as you can and in every way possible. Have a bad relationship then move onto another one. Take your time if you need. Feel heartbroken or happy or sad but don’t stop feeling. Please don’t stop.

After meeting some of the coolest people in my life in these past 18 months, I can say that life is brief. Some of my closest friends are with people I’ve only known in person for less than a month. Although I don’t see them regularly, their effects have rippled through me and changed me. Their impact is so much greater the amount of time that I spent with them.

I can’t promise anyone time, there isn’t anything I can really give. I don’t know how long we’ll know each other or if I’ll still be here in 3 months. Life swirls in odd directions. I can, however, promise that I’ll give you a unique experience, one-of-a-kind, and maybe it’ll carry on through your life. Maybe we’ll be close for a long time, maybe we’ll move in different directions. I don’t know. I guess I’m walking down a path in life and sometimes that means walking alongside someone else, other times, if the trails separates, that means we’ll walk different ways. I don’t know what lies ahead for either of us but as the saying goes, I think “it’s better to have had and lost than to never of had at all”. Who knows? Life is a bizarre thing.

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17/31 Blogtober

Moods and Circumstance

You have to be in the right mood to take in certain parts of the world. If you’re having a rough day, you’ll understand only the rough side of life. When you’re having a good time, you may only know the highs in life. It’s important to note that there is no “perfect state”, the equilibrium is always moving.

To reach certain understandings in life, you have to be in the right mood at the right time. If you were feeling adventurous, and were to walk past a poster on skydiving, you’re more apt to doing it. In that situation, if you weren’t feeling adventurous, you may just keep walking.

While I know this is a rudimentary explanation of something we all know, I think we don’t pay enough attention to it. Our mood is what creates our life situation, because we see the world through our emotions. We act through our perception. If our emotions are limited, or restricted, we essentially blind ourselves to particular aspects of life. When we find a mood that makes us feel fully alive, we participate in life.

Finding that feeling is key in life because it’s an emotion we can all return to. If you realize that your life is dull, maybe you need to change your attitude. This shift will make you make your life less boring. Again, there’s no perfect states but there’s one that makes you more authentic. It makes you alive and participate in life and strive to meet your goals. That is what you should pay attention to; how you feel about the world. Does it line up with how you want to experience life?

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In a side note, yesterday a rule of mine was broken: I watched a movie before I read the book. Despite already owning the book, I desperately needed to watch Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”. There is some deep rooted desire to travel, and for the time being I can’t leave here. Kerouac quenches that desire, if only a little bit and for a little time. I highly recommend the the movie, I’m starting on the book next week! Here’s the trailer if you want to know what the movie is about!

Foreign Emotions like Foreign Languages

You know how they say that blind people dream don’t dream in images, they dream through their other senses? If a blind person dreamed of an image, would they know how to interpret it?  When you hear a foreign language, you can’t understand it because you haven’t learned how to interpret it. When a painter walks up to the canvas, they are translating from a blind man’s dream. The feeling they possess is intangible and they bring it from gibberish to something that is hopefully comprehensible. An artist simply wants to evoke or express that unintelligible thought.

The difficulty is that many artists don’t understand that they are trying to translate something that doesn’t have a set way of being expressed. There isn’t a correct way to express happiness or love or confusion. Essentially an artist tries to replicate a feeling but cannot perfectly match it. They leave their personality and interpretation instead. It’s like a child trying to forge their parent’s signature, perhaps it looks generally the same but it’s noticeably imperfect.

However, if you learn many languages, you can understand a new language faster and more efficiently. If a painter learns how to draw, play guitar, sculpt, and dance, he will be better able to translate his emotions. Sometimes a feeling can be best expressed with a certain type of art. If I know how to write, maybe my emotion would be best expressed through words. Only knowing how to write would severely limit my expression.

On the other side, inspiration comes in a myriad of ways. As I’ve branched away from photography I’ve realized that art is very fluid. Paintings express memories in a different way than a photograph does. A song from a particular time in my life can hold more emotion than a photograph.

Why is it that we, as artists, always crave inspiration? Is it because we aren’t able to express things we don’t understand? We have these emotions but we don’t know how to show them to other people. It’s as though someone is yelling at us in a foreign language and we’re desperately trying to understand what they’re saying. We want to reply or do what they’re asking but we simply don’t understand.

Lately I feel like I’ve started learning new languages. The emotions I go through can be understood better even if I don’t know that language. I can somewhat make out what I’m feeling inside and how to transcribe it into something to share with others.

The point of this post is to say that don’t try to force inspiration. It will come and go through your life and in different ways. I don’t paint or draw but I feel emotions that could only be felt through painting. There are days when words feel like the best way to express myself. Just learn to be receptive to the world and you’ll see the elephant in the middle of the room: everything in life is inspiration and everything is an emotion. You just have to be receptive enough to take that feeling in.

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P.S. The layout is changing again, so please be patient with me as everything settles down!

 

Feeling through Instruments

The reason that I love instrumental music is because there are emotions we feel that cannot be described with language. They need no labels and words cannot fit with them. There are joys that are higher than words and sorrows that have more depth than the human voice. The emotions instrumental music can make, transcend our ability to define them.

Kashiwa Daisuke uses sound clips to create these feelings while other groups progressively change your mood. The song “Storytelling” by world’s end girlfriend uses Shione Yukawa’s voice as the instrument to bring meaning to the melody.

If you cannot find instrumental music that does this for you, then you haven’t looked far enough. Instrumental music is as broad a genre as “rock” has become. Below I’ve compiled some of my favorite instrumental songs. I hope that you find something that brings out an emotion you’ve never felt before. If you have Spotify, you can just use the players, otherwise use the good ol’ YouTube.

 

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Holding it in

It’s taken many years and countless purposeless arguments to realize how important forgiveness is. We hold onto so much in this world and our emotions are no exception. I’m guilty of clinging to emotions: I’ve held onto my own sadness for weeks and I’ve went to bed angry.

When we hold onto our emotions, we bring them everywhere with us. If you hold onto anger, you’ll lash out or bring that negativity to everyone around you. For example, if you just lost your business a lot of money, you may be angry/upset. Then when you go out to eat with your family, you may almost sweat your emotion.

When we sweat, we don’t always notice it. The smell can become apparent to others and you could taint an entire room. It’s obvious to us when we’re sweating a lot but we don’t always notice when we’re sweating. We don’t even notice the smell until it’s awful and all around us.

We hold our emotions in the same way and we let them out subconsciously. If the waiter shows up late or makes the wrong remark, that emotion you’re harboring could come out. Even if it doesn’t come out completely, everyone around you can sense that emotion.

When you cling to your sadness or loneliness, you bring others down. You sweat out gloom and cancel the happiness around you. This time it is thicker and drains you out, rather than anger which motivates you.

The reason to let go of your emotions is obvious: it taints your life and the lives of those around you.

The next time somebody is angry or upset around you, notice what it feels like. Feel the emotion that they bring and how it effects the environment. Don’t try to change it, just notice it. Then when you’re angry, maybe you will notice it. Once you realize that you’re holding onto an emotion, let it go.

It doesn’t matter how you justify the emotion, you just need to let it go. Clinging to happiness even will taint it. Your emotions have to be free flowing like a faucet. You don’t want it to get clogged or for the water to change colors.

The emotions that you’re harboring, guilt, blame, or whatever else, need to go. It’s your job as a human being to feel what it is like to be alive. If you feel angry, then acknowledge it and feel what it feels like to have that anger. Do not try to hold onto it or to push it away. Just notice it and it will eventually pass.

If you notice these emotions, realize that you don’t have to express them. That sadness doesn’t have to be brought to the group. The anger you have from work doesn’t need to be pushed into your family time. Acknowledge them and move on to the next emotion.

Yesterday a guy I was with got a phone call that angered him. He wasn’t angry at the group I was with or me but everyone could tell he was angry. When we walked close to us, nobody talked. Everyone was silent and waiting for him to blow up. It didn’t matter what happened, he brought anger to us. He wasn’t angry at us but yet we still felt his pent up anger.

I don’t blame him or say that he’s wrong but I want to point out what holding an emotion is like. You can feel it around you. The angry person doesn’t make you angry but it becomes more acceptable to be angry. If a man blames the weather for ruining his day, then maybe you’ll join in and start blaming other things as well.

You don’t need that. You are so much more than just one emotion. Feel it and do whatever you need to do but let it go in the end. For your sake and for everybody else’s.

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What it feels like to have lips

You know the feeling when you kiss someone for the first time? When their lips feel foreign and their skin feels light because you’re afraid to press hard against it. Everything feels so new and unusual. You don’t know what the other person is thinking and you know that you’re thinking a lot. At this time you’re really in tune with the other person and you’re receptive to whatever they do.

There’s a certain delight in that strangeness and how foreign everything feels. Someone’s lips are weird but they’re not weird at the same time. Their skin has a particular feeling and you like that tang.

The other I was thinking about all of this and it hit me. Why does it feel so unusual? We should be used to feeling of our own skin. Every time we touch something or brush our hands against ourselves we feel ourselves. So why is there a delight in feeling someone else’s skin?

I think it’s because when we’re with someone we have that receptivity. We’re completely present and ready to feel whatever is going on. We pay attention to all of our feeling and all of our emotions. The joy that we get may not be just because we’re with another person but because we’re totally here. We’re fully alive in those moments.

Most of our life we don’t pay attention to the normal sensations of living. The feeling of gravity or our feet as they step on the ground. We only notice our back when it hurts us but we don’t pay attention to it otherwise.

We seek solace in other people because we crave the feeling of being alive. We crave the sensation of what skin feels like even though we’re already wearing a full suit. We don’t notice what our lips feel like when we’re eating or breathing.

What we should be doing is finding that presence within ourselves and sharing that with somebody else. Find where you feel most alive and bring that our in somebody else. Not only when you are intimate but when you’re just walking around. Remember the physical sensations of life like walking into the hot sun or the feeling of grass. Truly feel it and breath it all in! That is the way to happiness, not through somebody else.

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