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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Wasting Time"




“Wasting Time”

In this fast paced culture of busy bodied incoherence, we try to fill
our days so full as if we are stuffing tomatoes into a glass jar while
trying to conceivably make a some type of perverted salsa. We (think)
we need to be productive. To occupy our minds with tasks, goals and
obligations in order to make us “feel” like we have had an adequately
arbitrary 24 hours. It makes sense on the surface and deep level
considering that we humans are so programmed to search for some sense
of purpose or meaning. A perverted navigation through the metaphysical
and rational if you will, towards the completion of some type of
nebulous goal.

With our productivity oriented and task compelling perceptions, we aim
to try to maximize a set of orderly functions in order to have some
sense of well being and/or completion at the end of the day, week or
month. We break these tasks into to smaller steps and dare to be so
brave and knock them out with effort and determination. With each
minute and sometimes important endeavor, we receive that little
dopamine boost that reinforces us to keep going. No matter what our
energy levels are at or how putrid our personal problems are, we feel
as if completing these tasks will give us some sense of meaning
throughout time. While this feels true, we sometimes tend to focus so
much on completing tasks and moving from point A to point B that we
forgot ourselves and how we are feeling at    each    moment. ( Caught
in a web of compulsory thought of our own making. )

“Notice thine gaps between every couplet of notes and clusters of
rhythmic drudgery!”

Thoughts arise and we can stuff them down or just carry it with us
while we are trying to be more efficient with “our time”. It’s a funny
thing. We get so picky about how we perceive time that we tend to make
it more personal then it actually is. Since our sense of self is a
product of time, we tend to identify with how we see time and how it
can serve our own individuations and illusory fragmentations. What
makes us think that we can posses such time and bend it to our own
will? It is easy to get sucked into the illusion of this time pull,
because sometimes the only thing we think we can control is how we can
use time. Block up those calendars. Set those timers.

A rebellious billboard that reads, “ Why don’t you let life happen
once in awhile there bud?”

The more we try to take this race of time so personally and seriously,
the more we get caught in the compulsory patterns of thought that can
lead to self doubt, criticism and conflict. A point to remember,
taking things personally cuts you off from being and turns you more
reactive and less proactive.

This vast compartmentalization of this tricky old time phenomenon, can
lead to more division conflict and stress in our daily lives. We want
to feel like we are useful. Rightfully so. ( If you can’t be happy,
then at least try to be useful. I forget who said this, but many
thumbs up to this for sure.) We tend to use our scheduling modalities
and lists to justify a sense of purpose and be our guides and
authoritative instructors for compensatory and compulsory tasks. Do we
really stop to smell the roses? Not to sound so terse and cliche, but
where does “presence” fit into this whole astute time continuum?
Exactly. We can get so wrapped up in the completion of tasks and so
feet forward in the Order Realm, that we lose sight of our own
presence and process.

Are we using our energy to make obstacle courses in our day that don’t
allow for spontaneity, relaxation, presence and appreciation?

The whole Westernized concept of “wasting time” seems to be rather
silly when you really take off your industrious oriented glasses. Do
we feel that we are wasting time when we are not doing what we (think)
we (should) be doing or we are not being on task with what we want to
accomplish? It’s an interesting questioning rabbit hole that one can
go down. It’s easy to fall of this whole balancing act of doing the
things we want to do, have to do and would eventually desire to do in
the future. Yes I know, it’s all annoyingly contextual. This is where
we can lose ourselves and become fleshy automatons going through the
motions while setting our cognitive programs to autopilot. You can see
the blank and almost lifeless people just floating through the day
doing things they would rather not be doing and simply “checking” out
of their own presence. Unconsciousness of the most pedestrian degree.

“It’s funny how we tend to take blocks of time so personally and so
individually. We tend to forget the beauty happening around us. The
lady dropping an apple in front of a store. A little kid sliding down
a slide with gleefulness in his eyes. A man casually gazing at a
squirrel fight. We almost fetishize the idea of compartmentalizing
time so much that we forget how to even manage or observe time in the
first place!”

No matter how you want to execute it, each scheduled day or timeframe
can be a type of dance and game with vast rewards and rejuvenation and
reflection. Of course there are many things that we have to do to make
a living or keep a roof over our heads, but there seems to be some
ways where you can integrate that with the Dance of the Day. With each
obligatory or compulsory task, we can reward ourselves with things or
actions that we want to be doing. This triggers space in between the
gaps of the tasks and allows for spontaneity and most importantly
presence to enter within your consciousness.

With the full attention and intention of your whole totality of being,
you can treat each of these tasks as part of the wonderful dance. You
don’t need to try to perk yourself for attempting to wash laundry, but
you can certainly turn it into a type of game or anticipatory function
for future reward. When you finish the laundry, you can allow yourself
to unwind your tension cords and so something that gets you going.
This could even simply be “doing nothing”. Isn’t doing nothing
something most of the time? Curious.

“Peaks and Valleys. Pushing and pulling. Lulls and Bursts of
excitement. All part of the balance and dance of life. How can one
have happiness without sadness? How can we juggle this space between
order and chaos without losing our minds or getting lost in our minds
in the process?

Do you see how these gaps in your day can serve such importance in
your practice of presence and acting a sense of balance within both
inner and outer worlds? This creates a delightful positive feedback
loop that can make you feel less beaten and exhausted at the end of
the day.

How are you doing the things you HAVE to do with the things you WANT
to do? That seems to be a very pertinent question in looking how to
make best of use of “your” time. With each obligatory task there can
exist a congruent passionate task or block of time that can allow that
balance to emerge and work efficiently and effectively. Like a dance,
we might slip up our moves and footing, but we can turn those into
lessons and flavorful spontaneities that can carry to the next thing.
Like cause and effect and the infinite continuum of cause and effect.
A resounding wave or interplay between pushing, pulling, hearing and
observing. (Dance)

Set the task. Visualize the task. Act out the task. Be with the
process of the task. Complete the task without focusing so hard on
trying to “complete” the task. Sounds so counterintuitive and awkward
because we have been driven to believe that our personal use of time
is so precious and based around so much self interest and task
completing drudgeries. Activate that Dopaminergic System!

What happens when you take the back seat in observation? What arises
when you don’t quite accomplish that menial task you felt you needed
to get done? Do you get upset? Understandable. How can you use that
energy? How can you harness the value of that feeling or emotion
without sulking in it or trying to cover it up like a dog trying to
bury a bone? Surely, observing time without the compulsory need to try
to form it in to something will allow us to see things we would miss
if we were so dead set on trying to get things done most of the time.
The completion of a means to an end will inevitably lead to a stronger
will or desire for the next means to an end.

To simplify, the mere act of trying to complete goals will only lead
to the completion of that goal and a void for a new goal to be
pursued.

Wasting time implies that any other use of time is “better” than
another time. The term divorces itself from one’s presence and
constantly places a cortisol laden anxiety upon the individual. Your
specific use of time has no correlation to your presence, silence and
uniqueness of existence. Do you see how our minds try to get us to
occupy us at all times with thoughts, worries and chores of living?

Is presence more preferential than productivity? Must we place such
illusory hierarchies on how we think we should see the world?

Wasting time would imply a dichotomous field of context where the
opposite would be an arbitrary categorization of not wasting time or
the “appropriate use of time”.  So in order for one to (think) they
are wasting their time, they would have to have some type of ideal or
worldview on the best use of their own time( non-wasted time ).So this
can all be subjective and sometimes painfully self serving. If the ego
driven brain can see time as completely about the pursuit of pleasure
and/or productivity, it misses the importance and joyous splendor of
presence. Never at rest. Never at a point of contentment with
discontent. This concept of “My time” is structurally and conceptually
possessive. If the mind is of the past and only in pursuit of pleasure
or certainty, time will get perverted and caught up in that cyclical
and neurotic nature of Thought-Time.

Notice the thinking.
Notice the feeling from that thinking.
Now notice the surroundings around you.
Notice the act of being with that feeling and noticing.
Notice what you are doing.
Notice what you were doing.
Notice the Noticing of Time.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hi, How Aren't YoU?




Hi, How Aren’t you?


Across the landscape of poorly erected cranes across newly
aesthetically modern over priced condos and confusing office
buildings, lies a grumbling of lost potential and miscellaneous
semi-creative endeavors. Droves of ambitious people flock towards this
new epicenter of opportunity and pursuits of metropolitan pleasure and
moderately hip sense of cosmopolitan complacency. The heart of the
city has had so many replaced vessels and ventricles that the original
bloody organ from which it was built upon seems very perverted and
discombobulated. A lucid sense of sensuality is stifled by the copious
amounts of franchised stores and new trend mongering eateries and bars
to attract young hormonally driven singles and “singlettes” and
technocratic intellectuals.

What was once left over from the original Live Music Capital of the
World has been carefully commodified to a new amalgamation of rising
property taxes, blue state propagandized values, trendy health
directives, contrived subculture pockets and magnets for debaucherous
young folk who plan on making as many “networking” connections as
humanly possible. Go ahead. Swipe left across the infinite amount of
shows and events that are plastered across the over-priced coffee
shops and social media feeds on those tiny distracting rectangular
time suck devices. So many options. What more could you ask for?

( Careful what you ask for? )

You get the tension as the new developments from outside the city try
to mold it into a new landscape of gratification, seduction and
unrestrained tastes of post modernist design. The coffee shops are
full of distracted college students and pretentious townies. What a
travesty to be inconvenienced by your incessant caffeine addiction. No
need to fret, go down the block to the new trailer where you can get
that low carb, highly frothy, caffeinated energy boost you have been
urgently desiring. There lies a plethora of options riffing on the
same bitter theme of local, fair trade and guaranteed to be poured by
a dispassionate millennial who is only doing the whole barista thing
until their graphic design and/or music career takes off. Onward and
upward through the fog of the facade that everything is happening all
at once as your “Fear Of Missing Out” compensatory mechanism kicks in
that swerves you into a new mental state of confusion, doubt and
post-espresso crash dysphoria.

What better way to reward the end of a long work day then to frequent
one of many happy hours scattered across the city like dirty socks in
a teenagers room. Variations on Texas Flavored Beer Water seem to be a
trendy commodity to the young, restless and broke that want to take
the edge off, but don’t want to worry about not being able to their
quirky Banh Mi’ sandwiches, veggie loaded queso, truffle butter fries,
specialty ice cream and vegan inspired pho-meat dishes. A stench of
poorly kept hygiene radiates across the humid bars and drinking holes
inviting all types of people just casually living a slacker like
lifestyle while simultaneously and most likely sarcastically
criticizing how expensive and crappy ATX is becoming. But hey, at
least there are a few treasures left with moderately decent deals on
mass produced texas centric beer waters.

A special type of homogenization lays its groundwork in this new
capitalist driven center of creative potential, while at the same time
allowing for any sense of “weirdness” from the past to slip through
the cracks like spilled bloody mary on a rotting patio of a trendy and
overpriced brunch place on what some people might refer to as the
“east side”. Spooky to say the least. Fashionable cloths adorn the
shoulders and waists of the young and old “well to do” city dwellers
as their sense of societal importance and liberal superiority
resonates and interlocks with their hormonally driven consumerism
thwarted and calmed by the fact that the clothes came either from a
vintage store or a free trade locally owned business that focuses on
limiting the collective carbon footprint while providing micro loans
to random African villages. Touche’. Ride a bike and go to the show
while grabbing a beer and shot in between the perky traffic afterglow.

The Revolting Corpse of Nostalgia seems like it is trying to be
erected, while simultaneously being all dressed and dolled up to look
like a new slightly off putting type of pleasure doll. This newly
re-imagined “Brooklyn of the South” seems to be trying so hard to keep
the original hippie like, free willed, weird and creative backbone it
once had before the Technocratic Fat Cats arrived. The thing is,
things will never be the same.( An “Ain’t That the Truth” truth ) Like
one of my favorite platitudes, “ It is what it is!” Deeper down the
hole we dig ourselves while trying to keep some type of conceptual
integrity and continuity intact that will not collapse into or form
into a revolting metroplex of scattered economic based territories,
claustrophobic serpent like roads, homogenized buildings, and portals
of complacency and convenience that would please any traveling
American. An introduction to becoming Any City USA!  with a hard
franchised suburban cookie cutter aesthetic on the surface. Small
shopping malls and centers that will delight every whim in a
convenient epicenter of complacency and compliance. A plague of
opportunists can sometimes only see dollar signs when seeing and
confusing potential with the mindless and endless expansion of trendy
facades that are good at selling “things”.

You can get a fancy hat. You can get an artisan candle. You can get a
rustic decoration to match your wood grain and metal coffee table.

“Can one see the forest through the trees, when the smaller and older
trees have been forgotten, trimmed and broke to make room for the new
budding giants?”

Composted Integrity.

The packing of humans into close quartered and stacked boxes into a
place that was never meant to be so “big”, has lead to strip out the
cheaper existence that involved people mainly wanting to mind their
own businesses while appreciating the inherent uniqueness of this
Island in the Sun in Texas. New, clean cut young’ns and
semi-established “rugged” professionals see the brightly painted
minimalist concrete condos and lofts with ugly faces and think of how
awesome it will be to be within walking distance to that cocktail
lounge and the donation based yoga studios. What an age to live in
where you can have everything at your fingertips and get spoon fed
from Apps that are made to think your life can be easier while driving
up your cost of living with each swipe, drift and poke. Bouncing from
one trend to another. The attention spans of squirrels seem to be way
longer when seeing how Meerkat like these new city dwellers seem to
interact with the sense data all around them. ( When they lift their
heads from their tiny screens, that is. )

Like frogs hopping from lily pads, these trend jumpers love to pounce
upon the newest crazes and trends. Anything to fill that void.
Anything to escape the dreaded feeling of missing out! FOMO.

The ATX haircut seems to be forming into a nice and tight and
(overpriced) from it’s original messy hair don’t care hair spike dirty
sense of character. At least you can have a beer while you wait. Like
forming a Rodin sculpture into a Brancussi, the edges of the city seem
to get more and more formed into a substance with more market and
potent sexual value. Dress it up. Make it look appealing and
attractive. Maybe throw some young, attractive and fit (diverse)
groups of people to show how accepting the city can be to YOU and your
DOLLARS. Think Artistic Billboards! This rapid growth, much like a
metaphysical act of temporal dysplasia, seems to have no definitive
form in sight. The amorphous popularity and population expands and
reforms new idealistic ventures on where to take it. Of course, it
depends on who is in power to take control of this exponential
metastasis and who is willing to cut and resell the fish, if you will.

“ The hippie free spirit vibe of the city is getting domesticated and
put in to debt by the draw of the smelly green prosperousness of the
future. Build up! They say. Build thy tall phallic buildings that
worship economic success and exploitation of resources. They can only
build so high to the sky until they realize that no one wants to go in
debt for beautiful views or be so inconvenienced as to take their
smarmy little pomeranians and corgis down 31 flights in an escalator
that plays Top 40 gunk.”

With each new renovation of old and slightly off kilter buildings, a
new wave of infantilized well groomed post-intellectuals flock to flip
and form a new sense of identity whilst blending recycled wood and
materials with new modernly minimal inspired aesthetics comparable to
what you would see in any new progressively populated gentrified inner
city ecosystem. One would not dare to keep with the original
structural integrity and history of the houses before the settling of
hipster egalitarians. Like a hand with a bunch of sore thumbs, the
palm seems to look way more greasy and wrinkly in comparison with such
fresh and modern architecture strait from a kitschy named firm.

“The Ol’ Flip Flop Flock N’ Walk!”

If one were to take a moist towelette to the greasy rimmed portal of
this new crowded pretension that we call this Texas city, they would
find a residue built upon rustic nostalgia and the pursuit for a
health conscious high energy no strings attached utopian future. (
What a great package! Sell that LOVE! We Love You So Much!! ) The
influx and overflow of small niche gyms penetrate the poorly managed
pot hole ridden streets within the heart and amorphous edges of the
city. Of course none of these establishments exist solely on their
own. An entire ecosystem emerges. An integral and primal symbiotic
relationship where in pre or post “workout” activity can immediately
be satiated and gratified with an overpriced cold pressed juice, vegan
muffin or an espresso strong enough to drive a squirrel to open up a
tiny trailer that prides itself on selling the most local of acorns
and nuts. Get your workout on, get your hair cut and pop in for a
wheatgrass shot paired with a nutrient dense smoothie.

The abundantly diverse and divergent musical ecosystem radiates
through the city and is greatly and appropriately within the lines of
the acceptable noise ordinances. Give glory to the newly powerful and
the State that provide such commendable and elegant restrictions for
the continuing progressive landscape of fortune, fame and fabulously
modern familiarity. Although the spirit of the musical vibe seems to
have been squandered and transmuted, there still appears to be music
or the potential for music around every corner. The whole spectrum of
music and musicians stretches itself across many plains and creates
various pockets of micro scenes and genre gatherings. One need not go
far to go from one polar opposite style of music to the next. From
blues, to metal, to math rock, the ever changing interchanging of
bands, projects and egos creates a robust energy that livens up the
expensive drinks, curmudgeon bartenders, poorly kept bathrooms( with
the occasionally entertaining gravity ) and the seldom outburst of
dancing energy that one might see at show where crossed arms and loud
talking is the norm.

The insulin like spikes of trends and recycled sounds that occur in
the scene that it makes it hard to pinpoint the emergence or relative
significance of a vital and sustainable scene. It is as if everyone is
trying to feed off everyone, but also get ahead like post-apocalyptic
sound junkies waiting to capitalize on the next sexy sound soup or
(salad). The ups and downs of the musical landscape has led some acts
to have their moment in the sun and then vanish into obscurity or use
their mediocre status to form new experimentally derivative bands that
can make just enough money to support their beer water, cult film and
taco habits. Peaks and valleys sprinkled with recycled mediocrity and
contemptuous complacency.

The exploratory art scene wanders around and latches itself to the
most eye catching, naive, pretentious, post modern aesthetic. Copies
of copies. Budding degenerate crowds flock towards new explorations in
material, form and concept. All in fun and games. Some will just
wander to take advantage of the free piss beers and bitter red wines
that were donated from a local patron in order to help pay for the new
befuddled property taxes. Some do indeed like the smell of their own
damp pits. An odor of effervescent modernism radiates across small DIY
galleries and well established High Brow(esque) boxes that seem to
migrate towards the repetitive imagery of crudely drawn cows, quirky
foliage, Austincentric happenings and retro referenced shapes and
colors.

Catchy slogans and cutely arranged graffiti compositions are scattered
throughout the city with a sense of contrivance and lackadaisical
pretension. What perfect performative spaces to take trendy #hashtag
worthy pictures and share them with the your specified and highly
curtailed appropriated echo chambered social media feeds. This pin
point focus on the accessible aesthetic that does not go out of its
way to challenge the viewer seems to be the meat and potatoes of the
public art realm in ATown. Although all these descriptions may seem
cynical, there is a certain type of unification that emerges from
adhering to a loosely emboldened and urbanely modern contextual
framing.

“ You can walk around the city constantly feeling like something or
someone is trying to get you to buy something you didn’t even think
that you knew you wanted. How bizarrely clever and dangerous.”

This new brow beaten modern aesthetic seems to permeate its way
through the truly visibly gigantic architecture to the upcycled
reclaimed wood side tables at the newest and finest fusion restaurants
where most of the cocktails contain some type of bitters or a variant
of ginger beer. They all want to be different, but perfectly in
harmony with each other to a new reformed and almost cynically sterile
type of look. Trendy colors and angular shapes float through a space
and beauty up brutalist(esque) gray boxes, banks and bars. Don’t
worry, a type of environmentally conscious biophillic resonance is
present in all these centrally planned and ready-to-go structures.
Clean edges and awkward asymmetrical placements. One could look across
the other Big Cities and see the derivative similarities of all the
tall skyscrapers and minimalist erections of efficiency and
exploitation. It all looks as if it was just meant to be, but holds an
essence similar to an awkward dance between teenagers at a parent
supervised soirée. The skyline seems about as seductive as a block of
cheddar cheese with a garnish of parsley and a dollop of Jello.

Well, what more is to come from this amorphous beast of modernity and
capitalistic sway? The constant economic growth and rise in population
has created a new tentacled titan that seems to be consuming the free
like spirit of what the capital city use to be. It seems as if people
“want” to care about what is happening, but complacency, frustrations
with traffic, and the rising cost of city living has lead them to
surrender any real sense of resistance. I mean who would want to stand
in the way of all this “progress”, if that is what you indeed want to
call it. Like all booms, busts and bursts, there will inevitably a
deeply crescent valley of ambiguity and chaos. The chaos may be more
domesticated that one would think on this matter. The ubiquitous
homogenization of technological integration and passivity, will have
people taking to their feeds and streams complaining of the most
minute of troubles. The mere fact of “waiting for something” will seem
like such a burden that the humid air of the city will be amplified
and choky. This encroaching crow of convenience and compliance will
slowly make a nest of discomfort, confusion and the urge to seek out
more obscure and extemporaneous pleasure. Too close for comfort or too
far from a unified community and culture?

DG