Dreaming from above

dreaming from above.jpg

You can’t dream about the world from below. It takes climbing a hill, mountain, or riding up to the Eiffel Tower to look out and see an entire world below in your grasp.

Writes Tomas Tranströmer in “Schubertiana”:

“Outside New York, a high place where with one glance you take in the houses where eight million human beings live.”

Where your attention goes, your energy flows. From above, the mind bleeds into the world below, overturning everything you believe in.

Feeling inspired, perhaps larger than life, the elevator takes us back down to normal intensity where such closeupness suppresses exploration.

You can still collect the world from the street, but up and above is really where you understand it.

A coherent me

The story we tell ourselves works to combat the harsh reality of Monday mornings.

We buck the reassurance of controlled variables for the sake of a cloudy destiny.

Stuck and predictable. We stop beating the heart to our own drum.

Instead of chasing our dreams, we ride the coattails of others.

We become a cog that seeks to please rather than to push.

How we align our attention, to the duty or to the clusters of individual freedom, is what determines our self-worth.

The story we tell ourselves works to combat the harsh reality of Monday mornings.

We buck the reassurance of controlled variables for the sake of a cloudy destiny.

Fifteen minutes for eternity

We all want to be fifteen minutes ahead of everybody, fifteen minutes of fame, and fifteen minutes of bliss.

Not ten, not five, but fifteen.

Fifteen is just enough time to bake in an experience, to create something memorable even if we don’t deem it worthwhile.

We feel the freest when we’re most in danger, the paradox of escaping everydayness.

In search of a stimulus, the rush of blood to the head turns a moment into a milestone of excitement.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” John Milton

Once we scratch the itch, life can go on.

A fleeting fifteen minutes is sometimes all we need to keep going. It’s the clock that stops.

Looking sideways

An inner radicalism tugs away at the illusion of coherence. What we strive for often makes zero sense to others, if at all to ourselves. But we feel it.

The contrarian begs to differ if only to avoid the stuckness of traditional thought.

In all likeliness, it’s the things misheard, misquoted, misunderstood — mere accidents — that provoke innovation.

“I like hearing things incorrectly. I think that’s how I get a lot of ideas is by mishearing something.” 

Tom Waits

When we remove the obsession with absolutes, we roll the dice on what could be. Never certain in any outcome, confidently looking sideways at the cracks. Think different.

Facing opposites

face to face

We want to reduce the stress in our lives, yet we keep piling on the number of things we need to do. We travel arms wide open into a tidal wave of responsibilities.

We want to restrict the data tech companies collect from us, yet we swipe right at consent. All terms, all conditions, in favor of the Leviathan.

We want to think we’re a curious bunch, open to a world unknown, yet act like novices at the ways of seeing. What is new leads somewhere new, absent the spot.

We meditate to detach the mind from surfeit consciousness when simply going for a walk, doing the dishes, or shooting hoops produces the same relaxing effect. With little effort, the neuronal spike trains intensify in voltage.

Opposite to everything, without opposition to anything. Whatever one says is true, the opposite is equally true.

Inside the head

gif by Jason Clarke
  • Mute/unmute
  • Blind to our blindness
  • Freedom within the cube

Our sensory perception tells us how we should interpret the world, which is often a series of paradoxes. It’s the bits in the brain that make the world a reality, not the external stimuli itself.

“If you could perceive reality as it really is, you would be shocked by its colorless, odorless, tasteless silence.”

David Eagleman, neuroscientist

Like breathing in air, we take the information we need and spit it back out. A cycle of gases, presence is a gif loop stuck on belief.

Open to detours

Open to detours, fixated on the wrath of curiosity. The single-minded goal-setter scrounges for practice.

In theory, doggedness is the least path of resistance. Like a magnet, we’re drawn to specialized learning.

But we can’t afford to put the right brain to sleep. Quiescent, it too begs to act.

The creative compulsion knows no boundaries. It explodes in those non-cash working hours, when you’re raging with inspiration.

Like making music, the notion of work and play intertwine.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts

We’re programmed to be ourselves, following the siren song of our vocation. Fight our calling, and we’ll lose. There will be no such luck.

When sharing is not so self-caring

Social media is a world where everyone tries to out self-promote each other and in doing so, stretch their lives further from reality.

Even the destinations — whether it be a restaurant, hotel resort, or kayaking trip — want to make their experiences more Instagrammable.

Sharing has commoditized life, turning us into an avalanche of rotating ads, blurring the lines between paid and organic. Every post is an ad in some way, shape, or form. Like TV, we start to develop an imaginary relationship with those on screen, doubtful we’d ever met in real life.

The blizzard of images droughts perception with seeing. We feel envious of those in our feed before we know why we may feel so. The contagion of jealousy spreads like a virus. The upshot is a homogenization of lives and content.

We all want what we don’t have. Social media generates a false narrative of unnecessary desire. Instagrams are just pictures on a wall, temporarily surfing over the hopes and fears in our genes. It feels good lying stuck in the ludic loop.

But irreality is ephemeral. The long-term narrative eventually wakes us up to the fact that we’re barking up the wrong tree. Life is here and now, attracting itself and trying to love you back.

The nothing special

Look for a way of life, unmoored from staring at the donut hole.

Conversely, the hybrid of work and life is what makes the donut whole.

The game of goal-setting is paradoxically non-interventionist.

You don’t attack the carrot, you chew on it slowly.

The policy of non-engagement holds into force the inertia of nature’s progress.

Overworked and lost in the myriad force of competition and conformity, you inevitably emerge with fewer exuberant efforts and more residual impact.

What remains is essential, remarkably slow, vanished is the hurry.

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” — Virginia Woolf

Alone in the mess


You can never feel alone when you’re enjoying yourself.

Like a magnet, you’re drawn to do what we’re born to do. The vocation calls you like an ambient siren song dangling emotional clarity.

The goals that forced upon you are often dreary. They produce zero enjoyment, so fraught with ‘ought,’ threatening to stain the attentiveness to the present.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

The intuitive self, while sometimes feeling detached, invites you to travel down the road of discomfort for a long time.

Pursue the strength you think you have and embrace the pain.

The middle of the road is already too full of indecisive fence-sitters suffering at the glitch of mental software called FEAR.

Crossing to safety

gif by Wells Baum

Home is where the heart is, but it is not where we discover what the world is about.

All reality exists in the streets, behind the shadows of a passerby.

What is artificial is the parochial nature of home.

We are blind to what we can’t see, organizing our periphery to notice and absorb what is under our control.

What remains ensconced remains enclosed, behind a wall of shallowness. People often make the mistake of accepting the reality of the world presented.

We flinch at what we don’t know. Little do we know, that discomfort leads us to the other side.

When we strive to get outside the bubble, we may come out changed.

It’s the hope that kills

Holding hands in air in hope

It’s the hope that kills you.

Hope is that tease of an emotional tug that keeps you on edge, craving for fruition.

But no matter how much you pray and imagine, it mostly yields nothing.

Hope is hopeless.

Luck is an idea that guarantees to hover over circumstance. Who doesn’t want the calm-inducing pacifier of a million dollars in one’s bank account?

Hope hunts down luck in the search of editing your own future. Good fortune almost always, never happens. You can only hope to feel it’s possibility.

Stuck in our own heads

Inattentive, we let the details slip right through our heads.

We are in a state of continuous partial attention, whipped around by facts, fake news, hyperbole, and reality.

The foreign invaders monopolize our “private” profiles and manipulate the entire public sphere into tribes that all think and see alike.

We turn a blind eye to the pleasant rhythm of dissent while also marching to the beat of our own drum.

To stop admiring our own words and lookalikes, and to start interrogating our own ideas.

A retrospective report

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gif via sambmotion

We take a retrospective report, this time with the prospect old various viewpoints.

When we look back at our own history, it only makes sense now and never then. We can only see as the neurons emit.

The future prohibits knowledge

Gathering experience increases one’s attentiveness toward ambient hints. Age is hypnotic, it compels us to notice and thereby prevent the patterns and vices we originally pursued.

“The creative part of us gets tired of waiting. Or just gets tired.” — Mary Oliver

We may have to live things twice in order to figure out what to do next. The coexistence of both hope and despair push us through the messy middle.

From the cave to smartphones and onto the next magic wand, the fun is in the hunt to figure out what’s on the other side of the rainbow.