- Mental detox
Anyone who has read this blog before will know of my preponderance with being here. It’s obvious really, given the completely different environments we have lived in. Plus, there are few distractions, nature all around us and very little impact from anything else. However the experience of pondering does change. We’ve been here for four years now and our connection to the place is deepening, becoming richer. We are more aware of the feelings we get from being here and how the smallest changes attract our attention. I wonder if it is just familiarity with the place or something to do with what I starting to call brain detox. I was thinking about it the other day and marvelling at all the incredible experiences people have in their lives; the travelling, holidays, seeing new things, being able to buy strange and exotic foods, visiting art galleries full of amazing pictures, music, theatre, dance performances. It seems that nothing is impossible. But the weird thing is that whenever we meet people who have been and seen and experienced, they don’t have anything to say about it all. Like the experience was something to get through and a box ticked.
So my theory is that too many dazzling twinkling new things is like eating too much lovely creamy cake. Maybe it’s like gluttony, the more we have the more we want and unlike the first taste or experience it isn’t so wonderful. Things get taken for granted like someone visiting us was preparing to take a photo of the incredible orange sunsets we have here after sunny days. But having been distracted said it didn’t matter, it was just another photo of a sunset to add to the collection. Things aren’t so significant when a new shiny thing comes along every week. But something that gave me heart happened when I was in our little stationers a few weeks back. It’s run by a local man who is always in the shop and certainly not given to foreign travel. However on this occasion he had made his first foreign journey to Amsterdam at the invitation of his nephew who is working there. Telling me about his trip the man was lit up. He couldn’t believe what he had seen, how different it was, how beautiful, how life was so different. He seemed rocked to his foundations. We talked of how much more expensive life was there and I commented that it sounded as if the trip had been worthwhile and he looked at me, something shining from within, and said it had been much, much more valuable than he had ever imagined. I could see him looking around at all that was familiar with different eyes. That’s the kind of feeling I’ve had from visiting new places probably because we have been to that many and mostly we got to stay for a time. So what is this phenomenon that affects people? Too much too often? It reminds me of how things changed from when football matches used to be the special things about Saturdays. I’m no fan but I could appreciate people looking forward to the “match” their week focussed on that day. Now, football seems to take place every night. How can it have the same magic? The seeming appetite for stimulation every day must clog our senses or cause the deadening of our ability to experience new things and really enjoy them. Our minds are so full of images, like our stomachs full of too much sweet sticky junk food we just crave more but without being able to really understand why we want it or think we’ll enjoy it. What is the answer? No more holidays, no more chocolate cake? Well maybe yes that is the answer but perhaps more important is the question why these things appeal to us, why do we want an endless flicker of images or events, what does it mean for a society of people seemingly mindlessly booking holiday after holiday, to plod around looking at all the things they are supposed to look at and then miserably go home. It’s depressing. I’m half sure people only do it because it is expected. Everyone thinks holidays are what they are supposed to have, it’s normal. Less is more is what I think. There can be wonderful, memorable moments just looking at what is around us. Looking at what nature has made in just one spot is awesome and definitely more fulfilling than hours spent in airports shuffling around the world. Find a tree and give it a hug. Be happy live simple.
photograph by Nacho Suárez Obel – http://nachosfantasticphotographs.wordpress.com