There have been a spate of media flourishes recently on how we are living with the collective malaise of irony. What is irony? Says Christy Wampole in the New York Times it’s the hipster archetype. You’ve seen the hipsters, the ones haunting the cool but not slick coffee shop, dressed in the perfectly artsy tee, with that self mocking picture of justin beeber on the front, and a suitably fair trade scarf from a wool coop in Peru around their neck. There’s the understated nostalgia, the hearkening back to another age that we actually haven’t lived in and a sort of disembodied connection to the present. Wampole examines the “hipster” further and says that it’s easy to mock especially when you fall in that category yourself, it’s examining ourselves that’s the real work.
I read the article, listened to Jian Gomeshi’s recent interview with Wampole on the Q and was left first with a strange unease. The unease came from the fact that I recognised a part of myself in what she was describing. I don’t think or aspire in any way to being a “hipster” yet, I do feel that living in this age of technology allows us to become so (ironically) disconnected from what we experience in the present. I am nostalgic for the past, but can’t live (or so it seems) without my laptop, cell phone and all the conveniences of today, any given day. I aspire to change the world, but most days, the repeated cycles of wars, human suffering, human and corporate greed, and celebrity obsession, lulls me into despair that I have no container for. It seems easiest to live in a bubble of indifference.
I’m not sure if you feel such things. I have days that are better than others, and i realise that there are two things which get me right out of this land of “irony.”
1. Jumping with my son. He’s a toddler, he is fully in his body at every given moment of the day and night. When he wants something, he wants it and pursues it doggedly, with determination that emanates from every pore of his being, that is until he’s onto the next thing (he is 21 months after all)! He does not know how to posture, how to make something less of a big deal than it is. He is fully passionate, fully embodied, fully himself in this beautiful flow of being and when he is happy he wants to jump – he places his arms around me and whoever else is with us and smiles widely and commands “Jump.”
To date, we have jumped to say goodbye to his grandma in the midst of a crowded airport, at a random street corner and while greeting friends! 🙂 I am reminded continuously when i am with him, how much I need to keep this part of me alive. To be honest with my desires, my hopes, my offers, to not shy away from the things that i consider important, no matter what I think others may think, or where what i have to say or feel or do fits in with the current cultural landscape.
2. In the Yoga Practice: Satya or truth is one of the goals of practicing yoga. To me, getting out of the ironic mode implies getting rid of inauthenticity, of acknowledging that there are risks inherent when we express what we truly feel and who we truly are, which I feel is what we try to expand into in the yoga practice, ideally. It is about facing yourself and realizing that there is so much more to us than we know or think. It’s about slowing down enough so all we hear is the breath in our bodies filling ourselves from the inside out and outside in. It’s about learning that detachment creates the space to allow whole-ness to enter, vs. feeling separate and alone.
I left you all last, a month ago, when we were about to pack our car and drive down to Venice Beach. When people ask me how we’re doing, my first instinct is always to reply “Oh it’s great you know, how can things ever not be great in the land of eternal sunshine,” or something along similar lines.
But last week my son and i were at the playground. I was tired, it was dark and I kept thinking about the life we had left behind, about how I should be so happy that it wasn’t rainy and cold and he could play outside. But the truth was, I was ridiculously lonely. It has been hard being down here, not knowing many people and being constrained in different ways as a parent bound by the rhythms of my son’s days. There was another mom and her two sons at the park. We made small talk for a while, I mentioned i had moved here from Vancouver. She asked me how i liked it. I paused for a moment and said without a trace of irony. “I am lonely. It is hard being here and I miss my friends.”
She looked at me and confided. “I know exactly how you feel. We moved here three years ago and I found it so so hard.”
Our conversation all of a sudden turned into something real. There was an exhale, a sense of pretenses being lost, about not having to posture. We exchanged phone numbers feeling that we found a new friend.
To me it was a good reminder, about how our work is to stay open, to stay connected, to stay real. Good luck on the journey, do send me a note.
ps. We (i.e. our little family) is doing a fun juice at home program this month with an awesome Canadian expands into the US company called SPUD, which brings fresh, organic local farm to table produce to your home. I’ll post up lots of our fresh juice recipes and tell you how it’s all going. Thanks for reading!
NAMASTE! LOVE + LIGHT.