Monday, October 8, 2012
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not dead.
When I was a senior in high school, I discovered existentialism via the writings of Friederich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett. Existentialism spoke to me. I loved the idea that life is just each moment as it is happening. There is no past. There is no future. It made sense to me in a way that no other philosophy ever had.
Now I think I need a revival in that school of thought.
Mostly because I think I spend so much time wanting to be everywhere and do everything and I forget to enjoy the place in which I currently am.
Here's what brought me here. Saturday I was at Coen's soccer game. I heard people leaving, talking about plans for later, plans for tomorrow and I thought That sounds fun! I want to go too! Like a child, I don't like missing anything. And what was I doing? I was leaving from the game by myself to go see a friend in Madison, something that was very exciting for me to do. But why did part of me want to be staying with my kids and taking them to join others at the Urban Ecology Center Fall Fest? And why, when I'm with my kids do I sometimes want to be alone, walking around and shopping or painting or anything. Why can't I just enjoy exactly what it is that I am doing? I know that the answer comes down to one word: Mindfulness.
It's not easy, in this world with phones beeping and radios blaring. The frenetic activity of my children's interest in my attention and my own whirlwind of get this done, get that done. I have worked very hard on putting housework and cleanliness after spending time with my children. And now I have to work very hard on putting right now before what's going to happen next and what happened earlier.
I have to be mindful of all the things that are happening in the moment in which I am because then I can truly enjoy that moment. Because that moment, for that moment, is my life.
“VLADIMIR: (after a moment of bewilderment). We'll see when the time comes. (Pause.) I was saying that things have changed here since yesterday.
ESTRAGON: Everything oozes.
VLADIMIR: Look at the tree.
ESTRAGON: It's never the same pus from one second to the next.
VLADIMIR: The tree, look at the tree. Estragon looks at the tree.
ESTRAGON: Was it not there yesterday?
VLADIMIR: Yes of course it was there. Do you not remember? We nearly hanged ourselves from it. But you wouldn't. Do you not remember?
ESTRAGON: You dreamt it.
VLADIMIR: Is it possible you've forgotten already?
ESTRAGON: That's the way I am. Either I forget immediately or I never forget.”
― Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot