Posted in Of Life

Of Spirituality

I’m going against everything I believed, for I believed what I said about myself to others:

My spirituality is my business.

About a fortnight ago there was a crisis at work. Yours truly was being her usual expressive self when someone suggested to her, as in to me, to go on a meditation retreat. Without thinking, for how much do you think I think when I’m blurting out at sixty words per second with little punctuation when I said, “I’m not a spiritual person.” I had neither said it out loud to others before, nor said to it myself in any form. I don’t even know how true it is.

Which is rich coming from someone who has been obsessed with the ‘Hot Priest’ storyline in the show Fleabag. If you haven’t watched it, well you simply must. For now, here’s a taster of the priest in question, played by Andrew Scott:

 

If it were simply a matter of lust, a celebrity crush, we would hardly be trying to have a conversation today. The difference lies in how he treats the main character Fleabag (yes, the show hardly has proper proper names for people) as though she were a person and not just another animate entity of the homo sapien kind who betrays possession of female anatomy and all the stereotypes that come with it. I repeat, she is treated as a person by him, he is treated as a person by her and though there’s sex hanging in the air as if it can drop with all its 500 tonne mass at any moment, matters of spirituality, of life, universe and everything down to every excruciating, embarrassing detail are explored. All in a matter of six episodes of about twenty minutes each.

I say all this because, like most great art, I learnt about myself through Fleabag. Perhaps, it enabled me to say it out loud in the first place. Only, the statement needed to be made more specific: I cannot be a publicly spiritual person. The realization of my soul is not to be witnessed by others in the vision of my being at prayer or in ritual.

I agree with Blaise Pascal and William James. It is a useful thing to have: a belief in a greater being or something of a similar nature. Just to make conversation when in communion with yourself. That communion is important to me – maybe it is the extent of my spirituality. It can help outsource your pain, contextualise it, and if it works really well, help find meaning and purpose in life. Socrates said, (I’m really namedropping the philosophers today, eh?) that a life unexamined is not worth living. When in communion with yourself, you have nowhere to hide. You cannot temper the truth, whatever your version of the truth is at that moment, and you cannot be oblivious to it. It might be the hardest thing to do – for you cannot do it lightly or dishonestly. I’ve been in search of that honesty for a long time, and I can admit I’m not strong enough for that encounter yet.

Faith is a beautiful thing in those who truly have it. Who sincerely work at it. By my need to emphasize, you can clearly see my skepticism of it. I am envious, because I cannot buy into it, but I can see how it can ease the flow of life. My inner sanctity is perhaps reserved for things like music – that is why I still put on my somewhat showoffy as well as cheesy stuff and walk about in a room doing nothing but listening to it. Perhaps thinking itself is spiritual, in terms of trying to work out what living is.

And yesterday, I had another personal revelation. I was taking a class where we were asked to listen to a piece of music, preferably with eyes closed. It was Andean music, and I did as I was told, paying attention to the flute motif, the percussion and other parts of the music. It was a sort of meditation I suppose, though as you can tell by now, I don’t know much about it on a first-hand basis. Afterwards when we were asked what we thought about it, I was the only person who had had no visual image in her head as she had listened to it. Music had been a singular and concentrated experience. I wasn’t necessarily proud of it, I’m still surprised because my head is ordinarily full of shapes and colours – it is by far the sense that gets used the most.

Also, when we were asked to share the music we like to listen to I found myself comfortably quiet for once. It may have been laziness or vulnerability but I could not see myself starting the list: The Beatles, The Kinks, David Bowie, Kate Bush…. I’m not even sure what order they should be in, for chronology doesn’t necessarily betray personal love.

It is important to love at all, I suppose. Something, if not someone. It could be the beginning of faith, as well as the goal of it.

Advertisements
Posted in Of Life

What the Actual Hell!

I’m sorry for all those who read and received several blog posts from me on their Reader in the past hour or so. They were all drafts from the past several years that got accidentally published. I’ve NO CLUE why. Bex, if you’re reading this, thank you for commenting (which brought my attention to it in the first place!) and in case you didn’t get my reply, I got surgery 3 years ago and recovered in three weeks. Thank you for your kindness though, it is much appreciated.

I’ve been meaning to write proper blog posts my dear blogging friends. I often mean to. I’m not sure why I don’t anymore. It can’t be that hard to sit at a computer for less than an hour per week and churn out the sort of posts that I do at least once. It isn’t the most time consuming thing in the world to manufacture. And I should do it, just to keep up with whatever features are there on the WordPress app that might be responsible for today’s mishap. All I did was take the weekly pop quiz on my friend Geoff’s blog and here we are – my readers thinking I got surgery. Nope, I’m just your regular sleep-deprived, cursing the traffic sort taking weekend classes on top of her job. Nothing else is new or special, except I’ve been obsessed with the ‘hot priest’ storyline on Fleabag for a month now. Blog post coming soon of themes connected to it.

Again, I apologize for all the weird activity here and your being puzzled or disturbed by it. Continue having a fabulous Sunday with the thought that your favourite blogger at Of Opinions (okay, one of your favourite bloggers. Okay, a blogger you consider reading sometimes) hasn’t gone completely mad. She remains firmly within the slight to almost certain range.

With love,

Amrita.

Posted in Of Life

Of Work

flat lay photography of calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Work is more fun than fun. – Noel Coward

There’s this thing on the internet, perhaps you can call it a trend, called the ‘morning routine.’ If you’ve never come across it, good for you. If you have, heaven help you.

It’s one where you inevitably wake up at 5 a.m. sans puffy face or frizzy hair in your perfect IKEA apartment. You go for a run and watch the sunrise in shorts that expose half of your cellulite-free derriere. You come home and make your smoothie bowl or your avocado on toast. You also have your coffee, just to add a touch of sin to your certifiably perfect life. You give a kiss to your partner whom the audience distinguishes not by their looks but by their support of your lifestyle. The audience does distinguish your pet cat/dog by their looks though, and they are uncritical in the extreme.

What does this have to do with work, you say? Well, all this occurs before it is 7 a.m. It sets you up for the working day, and you know you are winning in life the moment you have your smoothie bowl. You might be detecting sarcasm in that last sentence but, sadly, my case is worse. My case is that of envy.

I stopped ironing my clothes less than a month ago. That is an achievement for me. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, because that would mean I am able to achieve perfection in every area of my life. No, I aspire to, and there lies the difference. It’s like when you’re late for something. Most people are only worried insofar as they might get penalized if they are late. I don’t need any external punishment. Even when I don’t receive any, I go over everything I could have done to prevent it, or give up and blame myself for essentially being a hopeless slob.

I like to work. I can’t think of anything in life that I don’t take seriously. I do joke a lot, because I also take humour seriously, but I can’t think of a single element in my life that hasn’t been subject to serious thought. When it is good, when I am checking all the boxes on the list – for I make lists/plans for every task – then there isn’t a happier creature around. I have been on this planet a while, but my inner perkiness has managed to remain shielded from the meaninglessness of existence. Sure, I doubt the point of it all everyday, but there’s always the next thing to find out, mull over or do. I am also one of those workers who not only loves the feeling of getting it done, but also that of doing it.

You may think that would mean employers are causing a stampede in a bid to hire me. Falling all over themselves because here is someone who wants to work, likes to work, doesn’t mind working, will do it as well as it can be done and is often oblivious to how much she gets paid for it. But, that is not the reality, and it would make me a very obnoxious person talking to you if it were. You don’t drop by Of Opinions to feel bad about yourself watching my morning routine. You drop by to be confronted by fallibility, vulnerability. Basic ineptitude at life. I’m just a no-longer-teenage dirtbag baby, like you.

I genuinely believe if I learnt to relax more, I’d get better job opportunities. I’m always a nervous mess in interviews, but that just makes me turn ultra-posh. I can’t make people relax around me, and that is most likely why they’re put off. Enthusiasm doesn’t always sell. I would be the richest person in the world if it did. It isn’t only a willingness/ability to work that makes you a desirable person for the job. It is also making it look good. It is being able to show the perfectly lit finished product – the smoothie bowl – without sharing all the steps that went into making it, of which there are many.

But, I can’t do that. That beauty, that sense of balance, is alien to me. I’m all scattered in the rubble, trying to put the pieces together into some semblance of an understandable object. I try to focus more on progress than perfection (only motivational quote I allow in my flat, that too written imperfectly on a post-it), but I’m yet to find value myself in the work I do or am capable of doing, let alone convincing the world of it. Once I do, I wouldn’t need to google “how to find motivation” and watch morning routines.

What I need is a calling. Jobbing simply won’t do. Jobbing requires other motivations, mostly noble ones like family or happiness or both. For me, happiness lies in purpose. In not having to think why I’m doing something, but simply doing it as much and as best as I can. They just don’t seem to advertise for those in the classifieds as much.

What is your work philosophy? What is your ideal job, if you don’t mind sharing? And dare I ask, what is your morning routine?

Posted in Of Life

Of Dancing By Yourself

adolescent adult black and white casual
Elvis. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve been watching this YouTube channel called Grackle, which is a channel by a 21-year-old bakery student called Grace Booth. She mainly makes food-related videos and has an enthusiastic and hilarious personality which is completely authentic. She also seems to have incredible metabolism, given by the amount and type of food she eats and managing to still look like a runway model, which she actually used to be. To be fair, she is young and 5’10”, so she has the energy and tendency to stay slim. But, I think the secret to her success in this respect also boils down to a particular activity she indulges in from time to time – what she likes to call, “A Boogie Sesh.”

That is, a boogie session. Or what can be more plainly put, dancing by yourself, maybe in your bedroom, to songs you enjoy. Continue reading “Of Dancing By Yourself”

Posted in Of Culturel

Of Privilege

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On my very first day of college where I had enrolled for an honours degree in English literature, the teachers of my department assembled all the first-year students in a classroom to get to know them. Because I had a five-hour round commute to my college that consisted of multiple transportation – local train, buses and autorickshaws – I had arrived just in time to manage to get myself a seat at the back of the room. Being excited was, of course, an obvious emotion to experience Continue reading “Of Privilege”

Posted in Of Writingly

Of Enjoying Writing (Part Two)

IMG_20190321_220628
Yellow Pad and Parker IM rollerball pen (Amrita Sarkar)

I broke into a new legal pad in A4 size yesterday. I bought it last year after being inspired by the law show The Good Wife, where the stationery would often distract me from the proceedings of the storyline. American legal pads, usually yellow in colour with, as I’ve been led to believe, a wide margin on the left as prescribed by a judge is a popular choice among many writers. You can find out more about its history here, but why I’ve shared my interest in the modest object with a nevertheless formidable association with the legal system is this – I busted it out in order to enjoy writing. Continue reading “Of Enjoying Writing (Part Two)”

Posted in Of Bloggingly

To Change Or Not To Change…

iStock_BlogTypeWriter-e1355120416611
Blog

I guess ‘re-brand’ would be a better word for it, but here’s the situation:

As soon as my WordPress Personal Plan ran out this time last year, some news website bought the same domain name. As in, there are two Of Opinions in town now, my old curiosity shop which hasn’t seen much business lately and the flashy new superstore, which seems unlikely to ever be unable to pay for the domain name, unlike the previous owner who has yet to make a dime, though she has been in business for over five years.

Continue reading “To Change Or Not To Change…”

Posted in Of Life

Of Tidying Up

photo of plants on the table
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Now that everyone with a Netflix account (or not), or with a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (or not) has considered the possibility of tidying up their spaces and lives, if not followed up on it, I thought I’d come on here and give you the lazy girl’s (and guy’s) short guide to Kondo’s method of giving yourself a functional yet warm space to explore your future in. My list below is by no means an exhaustive (or even necessarily useful) yet concise treatment of Kondo’s method, but I believe there’s some useful wisdom in what she does, a great deal of heart in all the methodical organizing. Continue reading “Of Tidying Up”