Ending and Starting Things

I thought it was a well-known aphorism that what you did on New Year’s Eve was what you would be doing the rest of the year. But when I relayed that piece of wisdom to someone else, out loud, in words, I realized it made no sense. What could that mean? Everyone will be getting drunk all year, every year?

People are obsessed with the ends and the beginnings of things, and with end and beginning-like things. It’s like the middle is second only to how the middle began and how it will end. We’re so in love with markers, dividing lines between then and now, that we forget about the now.

Ram Dass says to put up signs around your house: What time is it? Now. Where am I? Here. I like to think I don’t need to be here now, because I’m somewhere smarter, planning my future (in french: avenir, or literally, “to come”), or analyzing my past. Then I realize that of course that’s wrong. Of course this moment is all that counts. Of course New Year’s Eve is one night and not one whole year.


(from Ram Dass’s book Be Here Now,

image borrowed from iloveborntobewild.wordpress.com)

People wanted something to happen on December 21st so they would have a point in time to work away from. Before December 21st 2012. After December 21st 2012. As if the world has to end to have a new beginning. Because the world isn’t enough: we need the end of the world.

Then again, it’s true I keep rewriting the beginning chapter of my book. It’s true I reflect on last year’s new year’s resolutions and write new ones on December 31st. It’s true I think first dates and last kisses and closing pages of books are significant. It’s true that falling asleep and waking up are far more lived experiences than sleep.

But we can’t forsake our lives for the sake of starts and ends. A first chapter of a book would not be a book. Resolutions would do nothing if there wasn’t a year in which to not fulfill them. First dates and last kisses would be empty without the relationship, closing pages of books hasty and corny without the context. And then what about our dreams. I sleep for my dreams, and also to stay awake the next day. So I can be present in my life. So I can work at being present in my life and stop dividing my life into moments before I was present and moments in the future when certainly I will be present.


(No) Creativity

I come to these blog posts with zero inspiration but a nagging need to write one. What did I do before I had a blog? There was a moment in my life where I kept a journal. It always started with the first thing I did that day (invariably, waking up). Then there was a moment in my life where I wrote a novel. I guess there was a moment in my life where I told people about how I was feeling, but now I just write a blog post.

I often hear from people who sit down with an intention of what they wish write but simply can’t get it on paper. I nod, I sympathise, but I can’t imagine what that would be like. If I have something to say, I write it. If I don’t have something to say, I still write it. Imagine if I actually had something important to say and I couldn’t get it down. That, to me, is an unthinkable nightmare.

I often have something to say but can’t speak it. That is a common situation I find myself in. I blame it on my writing talent, like I’m such a genius in one that I must have a handicap in the other. I also blame it on French Immersion.

In French Immersion, emphasis was placed on expressing yourself to the best of your ability. You were speaking a language you didn’t know, after all. You were making the best of a bad situation. And you were like, five years old. Some five year olds were saying nonsense and you were saying nonsense in a different language. Teachers and parents must have been proud. They didn’t care that my saying nonsense in a new language didn’t mean I was de facto making sense in my own.

I have lately gotten better at expressing myself. I think it started happening something like a year ago. I got out of school and began real life, where communication is necessary and you don’t raise your hand to speak. I worked at a job where I helped students preparing for university. Like in any job, there were moments where I had to make things up on the spot. There were moments where I had to deliver tough information. There were moments where I had to waste time with my speech and moments where I had to speed it up. I worked at connecting with people through my words; I worked at sharing my brain.

I’ve only recently started to realize that creativity isn’t just a writing thing. Creativity is key for every time I open my mouth. Like my ill-formed blog posts, I’m someone who opens my mouth without knowing what I’m going to say. How much time, I ask you other people who say you think before you speak, do you allott to thinking? Couldn’t I be speaking in that time?

I am reading “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass, which isn’t really letting me be here now but instead encouraging me to keep reading a book, which is often my reason for not being here now. (Actually, it’s really helping me). Ram Dass says the following:

“Stop talking, stop thinking and there is nothing you will not understand.”

So I propose that to myself and to all others who feel they are not creative in their art (writing, speaking, maybe you don’t have ideas for dancing). I propose that you stop planning and you be in the moment, though it was obviously Ram Dass who said that, not me. I am the opposite of the person who lives in the moment. I live in five minutes ago and I live in days ahead but I spend little time right here now. I think that’s what helps with my blog post, or at least the generation of my blog posts. I wonder how my last blog post went over and I wonder about something unrelated that’s going to happen two days from now and somewhere in there I just start writing a title to a blog post and then it gets written. It gets written because writing is my thing.

Writing is my opportunity to live in the moment. Speaking takes work. What I think I’ve realized is that I’ve found my thing, and now I have to try to make my other things work. I have to do it by thinking about how I do my thing. The answer is creativity.