realitybites (13041)

(email not shown publicly)

Journal of realitybites (13041)

Saturday March 13, 10

The Bearableness of Being Light

10:57 AM

The Bearableness of Being Light


Not Heavy.

Backpacks are heavy... especially when they are overloaded with stuff--most of it worthless junk.

Our lives are burdened... especially when they are bogged down with unrewarding obligations and toxic relationships.

For years I have been complaining about the suffocating effects of having too much stuff and too many soul draining parasitic people in our lives. I couldn't really sell the idea to others. Most people feel safe being grounded by things and people. It makes them feel secure. It makes them feel alive. They reason, "If those things are real than I must be real." e.g. empirical evidence... sort of a twist on the looking glass self concept... "My things tell me who I am, what I am worth." The more one has the more valuable one is. Self concept is dependent on accumulation and possession. You are what you have. You are worthless without commitments, obligations, and objects. Isn't this largely the reason we despise the homeless and label drifters as suffering from arrested development? They are stigmatized for refusing to play the game. It is a western ideology... with capitalism at its core--its driving force. It is almost the exact opposite of Buddhist philosophy which claims that the cause of human suffering is due to our attachments to things and people. Permanence, ownership, even the notion of self are illusions. Only by freeing ourselves from these things can we be enlightened e.g. light.

Air is light. To be up in the air is to be above the burden... free from tethering.

I just saw the film Up in the Air. Although George Clooney doesn't do much for me in photo stills, his striking charisma captured on film is infectious. He nailed the character Ryan Bingham. This movie should have won best picture. The Hurt Locker was a great movie. I loved getting an inside look at how a bomb squad operates in wartime. And I am happy that a female took the Oscars for best picture and best director. But The Hurt Locker just didn't move me or stay with me like Up in the Air has.

The backpack speech alone makes Up in the Air a winner. Maybe it appeals to me because I for the most part agree with it's driving philosophy. It is my truth--just stated much more eloquently than I could ever articulate.

What's in your Backpack?(From Up in the Air) Source

How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack.
I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel them?

I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life.
You start with the little things.
Things on shelves, in the drawers, the knickknacks, collectibles.
Feel the weight it all adds up.

Then you start adding larger stuff.
Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.
The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now.

You go bigger.
Your couch, your bed, your kitchen table, stuff it all in there.
Your car, get it in there.
Your home, whether it's a studio apartment or a two-bedroom house.
I want you to stuff it all into that backpack.

Now try to walk. It's kinda hard, isn't it?
This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis:
we weigh ourselves down til we can't even move
and make no mistake; moving is living.

Now, I'm gonna set that backpack on fire.
What do you wanna take out of it?
Photos? Photos are for people who can't remember.
Drink some ginkgo and let the photos burn.

In fact let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing.
It's kinda exhilarating, isn't it?


This is how I start everyday of my life.
Now this is gonna be a little difficult, so stay with me.

You have a new backpack.
Now this time, I want you to fill it with people
Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office.

And then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets.
Your cousins, your aunts, your uncles. Your brothers, your sisters, your parents.
And finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend.

Get them into that backpack.
Don't worry I'm not gonna ask you to light it on fire.
Feel the weight of that bag.
Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life.

Feel the straps cutting into your shoulders.
All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises.
You need to carry all that weight.
Then you set that bag down.

Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically for a lifetime.
Star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans.
We are not those animals.

The slower we move, the faster we die.
We are not swans, We're sharks.

Today my backpack is much lighter than it was just two months ago. My nest has been emptied--except for a cat that still needs me and wants to share my company. All others have moved on. David, my son, has been launched--left the rocket pad. He's embarked on a new journey... a new life as an independent young man. My job to prepare him for this time is finished. It is a success. And my marriage has dissolved. It has run its course. It has nothing left to offer... no new growth, rewards, or moments of joy. It died and was close to pulling me into the grave with it. Am I sad? Lonely? Maybe a little. But it was time for them to go. I had to let them leave. I had to let go.

With my lighter backpack I am now better suited to travel to new places. My borders are wider; my step is lighter. It is now my time.

My future is up in the air. But that is okay. That is how I want it.

This discussion was created by realitybites (13041) for Friends only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough:
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • I thought Up In The Air was pretty good (though check the deleted scenes on the DVD -- why did they delete that scene with Clooney in the space suit?? That was good! But, it wasn't in the final cut, so it doesn't count...). What wrecked the movie for me was the horrible acting of that young female character. For example, her fake crying in the airport. I didn't buy her character at all and found her totally annoying.

    But other than that, it was pretty good. And I'm an easy sell for any movie with Vera Farmiga, seeing as how I have a massive crush on her.

    But I'm not sure that Up In The Air was even the best Vera Farmiga movie of 2009. Did you happen to catch the horror movie Orphan? I probably shouldn't argue that Orphan deserved to win awards, since it is just a well-cast and well-executed B movie. Also, I think a lot of people would find it offensive. But hey, that's my kind of movie I guess, so I have to be true and say I like a movie like that more than a movie like Up In The Air. Plus it played into my prejudices against shrinks (the shrink in Orphan is a real dope!).

    Anyway, I'm still catching up with a lot of the 2009 movies, but for now I maintain that A Serious Man was the tops of the movies I saw. I wanted to like The Hurt Locker a lot, and it has some good scenes, and it's really interesting to see what that unit of the military goes through, and I certainly wanna support a movie about the Iraq War that isn't some leftist propadanda bullshit. But I don't think it was all that great as a whole movie. It was just an "okay" war movie.
    LoafingOaf <reversethis-{moc ... otstnilfcitnarf}> -- Sunday March 28 2010, @08:27PM (#350511)
    (User #778 Info)
    Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling.
    • Re:re by realitybites (Score:1) Thursday April 15 2010, @04:11AM

[ home | terms of service ]