Updated: Jul 14, 2020
on the road to Damascus
There was an interesting 2009 movie with George Clooney directed by J. Reitman titled Up in the Air where he delivers a poignant monologue which begins with: “How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life… you start with the little things.” (you can check it out here).
After the post about clocks, time and Kairos (here) things shifted pretty fast so much that my journaling could not catch up with what was happening around me and it turned out to be a series of frantic bullet points because I did not want to miss what was unfolding and all the coincidences I was experiencing.
One of the things I realised from the very first TAW is that what you write normally happens. On Monday, I wrote I had these issues with time and that I could not understand their meaning (and to be totally honest with you, I wondered if it all really meant that I didn’t have much time left which freaked me out for about 10 minutes). But I also asked to understand, as you would. You have your pencil and you write “I really would like to understand this because I just don’t get it…” and mostly sooner than later the Universe is providing you with the answer you needed all along.
I don’t think it is fair to disclose all the details, but one thing that happened is that I had an epiphany as if I were walking to Damascus. It happened (almost) like this: I saw something that stopped me in my tracks, hard. It caught my breath away, I gasped and sat back down, and with my heart and soul flew back home and back to 1999 - forgive me if it goes astray / but when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was judgment day, sang Prince.
Of course, my go-to is writing, so I sat and wrote melodramatic words, full of passion, and memories, feeling silly and compelled, at the same time. Then I went to bed, and tossed and turned and could not for the love of God calm myself down. And then it dawned on me: I was reliving 1999. It was 20 years ago. I have been carrying memories, options, hopes, dreams, unrequested and unrequited love, for 20 years. I sat on my bed around 3 am in full awareness of how my life has been revolving around events of which I was the only witness and the only one to remember, probably.
The realisation wasn’t sad at all, it just felt like a thick blanket had been lifted.
I dropped the backpack.
I felt lighter, and I felt myself for the first time in 20 years. I realised I don’t have to mediate anymore, and that I am free. No more concoctions, planning, devising, sneaking, hoping, praying. I am free.
And there it dawned on me: all those clocks had no batteries, they were all stuck in the past; a past that kept repeating itself regularly, that I kept on revisiting every so often, which kept me safe and at arm's length at the same time, without having to fully commit to the present because of some strings that kept me tied to the past. Fear of letting go. No no no, it wasn’t even fear: I wasn’t even aware of the amount of knots, roots, intertwinings, links, cuffs I had. All these hidden connections, all there.
“Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks”, tells us dear George.
I have also realised by writing today that I am moving, I am in a constant state of moving: a traveller, a wanderer, a bit of a gipsy, a bag always ready. I have confronted myself with a past, last night, connected to places, situations and people whom I left in a small village, with their dog and that after 20 years are still there, in their small village, with a dog. I am happy for them, especially if they found their happiness already two decades ago; but that’s not me. That could have never been me. Together with the hopes and the dreams, there was also a hidden wish that they would change. For me. And this is another expectation I was happy to drop.
In conclusion, every time I start TAW I am thinking that there is potentially nothing to write about; instead… Let me know how you are doing!
nb: I am adding the full monologue for your reference at the bottom of this post.
Sending you all good vibes!
onwards + upwards ♡
Up in the Air : Ryan Bingham / George Clooney monologue
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 ’em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers, the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.
The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, 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 kind of hard, isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake, moving is living.
Now, I’m gonna set that backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it? What do you want to 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 kind of exhilarating, isn’t it?
Now, this is gonna be a little difficult, so stay with me. You have a new backpack. Only 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 that 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 or your girlfriend.
You get them into that backpack. And 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. Do you feel the straps cutting into your shoulders?
All those negotiations and arguments, and secrets and compromises. You don’t need to carry all that weight. Why don’t 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.