For the past few months I’ve been reading a book called “The art of doing nothing” by Theo Fischer. It’s a book about the Tao and I can recommend it for two reasons. 1. It’s interesting. 2. It’s difficult to read (or badly translated, or both), so it only takes two pages to fall asleep. Easier than counting sheep.
This Tao thing is complicated, but also the easiest thing ever. I am not going to try to explain it, because I am not sure I understand and anyway there are other websites and books that you can check. In short though, I think it is about living in the moment, not resisting what is, not clinging to the past or future, letting go of your ego, and feeling connected to everything on earth. It’s also apparently something that you can’t understand by trying to understand it, so I guess we’ve all just failed. Now let go of that failure and move on.
At the end of the book are some suggestions for exercises. One of them talks about how we have so many people, objects, habits that we are attached or even addicted to, and it suggests we pick one and try to let go of it and experience what happens. I decided to give it a go and *shock and horror* delete Whatsapp from my phone. To some people this might not sound like a big thing, but I was definitely addicted to it. It was my lifeline to my friends at home. I am in a different timezone, but always aware of what time it is back home (also because I am just very good at math and adding six hours comes easily to me). I was clinging to Whatsapp and getting RSI in the meantime. And yet it was never enough, never really comforting. You can spend an hour typing like crazy and still nothing much has been said. In short, it was preventing me from dealing with being here and settling in.
I was also inspired by friends who don’t have smartphones or whatsapp. They seemed to be functioning perfectly fine. And yesterday I went to see a play and one of the props was an old fashioned airmail envelope, one of those with diagonal red and blue stripes around the edges. I might have to go look for the thin sheets of paper that go with it and start writing some letters. After all, news is kind of like fashion: if you just wait there will always be a time when it’s ‘hot’ again.
So I hit delete, and felt…fine. Relieved. I guess the point of the exercise is to notice that you won’t have serious detox symptoms, that you don’t need the attachment to still be and feel connected to people. I am drawing the line here though. The Facebook app stays, and Gmail too. But I promise to be more dedicated to enjoying my life here, even if it means having to go to the beach allllll day today. I’ll do what it takes.
On another missing-home related note, someone just sent me this link, and it reminded me so much of Sundays at home when I still lived with my parents. I think I miss those times because (luckily) I was free of responsibilities and life seemed so much more simple. I decided to try to recreate that Sunday morning feeling so I am now listening to classical music. It’s almost the same, except instead of fresh baguette and boiled eggs for breakfast I just had a huge bowl of pasta, because I forgot to have dinner last night.
Hey, nobody’s perfect. Let’s just accept it.