You know when you eat too much cheese and you turn into a human blob of bloating and immobility?
I feel like we’ve all eaten too much cheese.
We’re encumbered. Some of us are encumbered with children or spouses, others encumbered with silence and stillness. They’re two sides of the same coin. You can’t have too much of any of these things before losing your mind. That’s why it’s like cheese. You need the right amount, as a complement to your piece of bread or pasta. You’re not supposed to eat the whole thing.
And yet, here we are.
One of the things we do when we’re encumbered is attempt to dispose of the feeling. Distract ourselves from our present circumstances. For some of us, that’s TV. For others, it’s social media or drugs or alcohol or work or petty drama. Anything to take us away from the bloated cheese feeling.
This week, in trying to dispose of the bloated cheese feeling, my husband suggested I start my day differently by getting out of the house.
“And go where, exactly?”
“I don’t know. Literally – ANYWHERE.”
This vague recommendation was extremely annoying, but seeing as the alternative was wallowing in my cheese-immobility-pool-of-self-pity, I decided to go for a walk. It was the most irresponsible thing I could think of to do during a workday in the middle of a pandemic. It felt like cheating. Which reminded me of MAGIC LESSONS.
In one of the episodes, the host, Liz Gilbert, suggests you turn your art into an affair. You “cheat” on your responsible adult life with your art. I wasn’t making art, but being outside when I had a laundry list of 1,789,000 things to do felt like I unlocked an ancient form of irresponsible wisdom. It was like hitting the internal reset button I didn’t know I had.
As luck would have it, I was also listening to Julia Cameron (as one does, on their cheating irresponsible walk).
Julia didn’t say anything about having affairs, but she did encourage “luxury.” She said, “Creative living requires the luxury of space for ourselves, even if all we manage to carve out is one special bookshelf and a windowsill that is ours.”
We have very real, serious, constraints in our lives right now.
But you’re of no use to anyone you love if you’re encumbered in cheese.
PS: I’ve been rereading Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy and was delightfully shocked at a passage I found on page 42. This is the worlds most infamous money-driven arrogant asshole – and he writes:
“The majority of business men are incapable of original thinking because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Their imaginations are blocked…I have developed techniques for keeping open the telephone line to my unconscious, in case that disorderly repository has anything to tell me. I hear a great deal of music…I take long hot baths. I garden. I go into retreat among the Amish. I watch birds. I go for long walks in the country. And I take frequent vacations, so that my brain can lie fallow – no golf, no cocktail parties, no tennis, no bridge, no concentration; only a bicycle.”
See the full quote here.
IF EVER YOU NEEDED PERMISSION, HERE IT IS IN WRITING. From the godfather of advertising and sales himself.