Monday, September 26, 2016

Memory, etc.

I'm still a couple years shy of 40 and I feel even younger than that, but my memory or lack thereof seems to be that of a much older man.  So old that I can't remember shit.  I was recently pre-partying the Garth Brooks concert with two friends from college and they were bringing up specific memories I was apparently involved in and I didn't have the faintest recollection of any of it.  I've been guilty many times of being overly sentimental or sensitive.  It's one of my greatest faults.  I kind of need my memories for that.  It's such a pure and innocent joy when a memory is unlocked, something you hadn't realized you'd lost and are so thrilled to find again.  I suppose that's why old friends enjoy getting together to reminisce, so that they can give each other back their own lost memories.  They can kick open doors warped shut to rooms you hadn't stepped in for years.  They can add color and texture to those rooms you did already occasionally wander into.  Art, nature, drugs, and psychotherapy are the other catalysts to unearthing memories buried within your mind, but only old friends can return something to you that was truly lost.  The best is perhaps when they share new information you never even knew about at the time.

Even though it's hot as balls outside, the calendar tells me it's fall.  I suspect it's right because it's always at this time of year, even more so than at Christmas, that I get nostalgic, about the times I can remember and about the memories I can only feel the tracks of without knowing which way they've gone or where to look for them.

One of my favorite singer/songwriters is named Tyler Lyle.  He does this incredible thing with his fans, which he calls "The Secret Lair."  Every month he writes and records at least three new songs and researches, writes, and records a podcast on that month's theme.  We the fans can enjoy it all for a minimum of $3 per month.  He's a damn smart man, citing some pretty dense texts in his research, and I often have to listen to the podcast in installments if my commute doesn't afford me the focus needed to comprehend everything he's discussing.  The podcasts are never anything short of thought provoking and interesting and at their best they are enlightening and life affirming.  This month's theme is "Home" and I found it to be one of the latter varieties.  One morning last week, I listened to this podcast on my way into work and it really brought me a sense of peace and connectivity to the present world, as opposed to the inherent true unattainability* of memories (see, this WAS relevant).  Anyway, I'm babbling--I just wanted to share this passage that came from the last few minutes of the podcast.  Hopefully it still makes sense plucked out of the context of the full piece.  If you like it, I recommend his song "One Beating Heart" as a complement.

"The paradox of happiness is that it's the simplest things, the ones that we imagine to be banal and boring that are actually enriching, actually the most good.  Happiness depends more on the possession of a congenial companion than a well decorated villa.  Joy is different from bliss in the same way that street magic is different from the magic of connection--intimacy, empathy, creativity.  Saying that joy is a higher aim than bliss even though it requires a lowering of one's 'attainable felicity' is really another way to affirm that life itself is its own sacrament, that all life is holy.  There is no distinction between the spirit and the flesh, no need to escape from it.  If as Dr. Quantum says, space is the illusion that gives us the illusion that we are separate from one another, than joy is the shedding of that illusion.  We forget and we remember.  Life is unified.  Joy is the moment of realization that this is indeed true."

*Spell check doesn't think this is a word, but it's totally a word.  Or it is now anyway.  I have all the words.  I have the best words.

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