11 Jun 2009


I'm moving from one apartment to another in Lisbon and it occurred to me that, besides being a very stressful ordeal (talking about stress again...) it's also an opportunity to rid ourselves of enormous quantities of ...things that we insist on carrying for years and years. Incredibly, I even found papers, etc that remained exactly in the same unopened bags since my previous moving. Like mummies in layers.
A friend of mine, who is emptying his old family house in the Azores, from where he comes, in order to sell it, used the following words to describe that painful process: "I must make thrash out of those memories and then get rid of it".
Perhaps we acquire and then keep too many things. We should make ourselves lighter. Old age may be that too: carrying an awfully heavy ballast to give the illusion of stability. It works in scuba diving - I'm not sure carrying all this weight around works in life.

5 comments:

  1. I think the phrase, 'like mummies in layers' is quite interesting. The layers on mummies were intended to preserve. Preserve and maintain the physical body of the mummy intact. I find that when I go through my things, things that I have saved in boxes and stored somewhere or perhaps even in a drawer etc, that when I go back to it, its like rediscovering me, or a part of me.

    'Stuff', our stuff, the things that we fill our home with are representative of us, of who we are, in some form, fashion, or manner. When we move from one place to another, we are confronted with the rare opportunity to discard or keep our 'stuff'; like a snake shedding its skin. To discard or to keep is based on whether we continue to identify with the object...of course identifying with what we think contributed to our essence in the way we want to selfguide. Therefore, its a self transformative process in a sense.

    Going back to the idea of mummies, how many times have we stumbled upon a highlighted book, or a text we have read or written ourselves, only to find ourselves studying it as if it had been created by a close dear friend because our mental maturity has developed leaps and bounds since then that it is almost unrecognizeable at just glance. It may even seem that, although it strikingly resembles the same hand, that a different hand wrote the work. What a strange sensation. However, upon closer observation we reconnect with a peice of ourselves that had been shed, that, not only brings with it remininents of a former state of mind, but also of a physical body that encapsulated it. Stuff, our stuff is like a form of «*self*» preservation. Do you think that perhaps this may be an unconcious mechanism that we leave for ourselves to help us guid our *selves*, like Hansel and Gretel who leave themselves a trail of breadcrumbs as they climb deeper into the lovely, dark and mysterious forest? What would happen if one never self preserved? This makes me think of buddhism, drying all thirst.
    thoughts/comments?

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  2. Thats a very interesting point Helaine. What would happen if one no longer had the need to self preserve. Buddhism is based on the theory of enlightenment, or self realization to the point of not needing or desiring anything, be it physical or emotional, but being in a constant state of complacency.

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  3. I believe that perspective may be another form of blocking out the potentiality of human suffering disguised by the term self realization. Perhaps a medium would be more desireable. For instance an objective dialectic between rationality and emotionality. In order to achieve such a dialectic/self realization, insight and self knowledge are key. In other words, thirst for experiences remains, however it is guided by ones' self. Meaning, choices. Choosing our experiences according to an objective understanding of ourselves. Would you agree or disagree?

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  4. I believe that perspective may be another form of blocking out the potentiality of human suffering disguised by the term self realization. Perhaps a medium would be more desireable. For instance an objective dialectic between rationality and emotionality. In order to achieve such a dialectic/self realization, insight and self knowledge are key. In other words, thirst for experiences remains, however it is guided by ones' self. Meaning, choices. Choosing our experiences according to an objective understanding of ourselves. Would you agree or disagree?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello

    This is interesting. I was googling for psychotherapy and I found your site and blog. I don't live in Lisbon and I can't speak Portuguese but I'm glad that lack of the language is not an obstacle to the exchange of ideas.

    On the subject of the physical baggage we accumulate over time and never seem to be able to throw away, I read recently that if one wouldn't go into a burning building to rescue it, it probably isn't worth bothering to keep in the first place. That seems a rational rule of thumb to use to determine what to retain and what to dispose of.

    As for the propensity for those living abroad to have greater creativity than those who remain in their homeland, I'd suspect that having to communicate in a foreign language keeps the brain active and developed. This activity then boosts the brain in other areas as well.

    I can't comment with any authority on the differences between those who follow physical education and those who choose mental education.

    As a human being, and without getting into Plato and the like, I'd say we are all the products of our upbringing and our exposure to external influences. These are our training in life. The rational mind (or even the not so rational one) can decide to follow specific areas of interest.

    A certain amount of both physical and mental development is necessary on both counts to reach the level that society sees as desirable. Once that is achieved the individual should be free to express himself/herself as he/she chooses.

    If the level is not reached in one or other area of development then there is scope for conflict

    londoner

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