Sunday, December 7, 2014

Simple things

"I love those who do not know how to live, except by going under, for they are those who cross over.” 

― Friedrich Nietzsche 

I have always wanted to believe in the power of simplicity. The art of minimalism and going without, of cutting away all that is unnecessary in life, to reduce mental clutter, emotional baggage - not to mention a rejection of the capitalist mantra that most North Americans grow up with: Bigger, better, faster, more.

The smell of fresh air, a cold glass of water, an empty road to walk; these simple pleasures are probably the closest I have to a "must have" list, the things I simply couldn't live without (All of which are in short supply here in Cairo, I might add). I am not a fan of unneeded fancy gadgets or shiny technology and have always hated the disposable nature of contemporary culture - buy a computer and then replace it every 3 three years. I detest the idea of waste, and of landfills piling up with our self-created garbage. Keep it simple, Less is more - these are motto's that I always fall back to.

And yet, despite my best zen and hippie aspirations, it seems that nothing in my life is ever truly simple. Perhaps the austere nature of simplicity is completely at odds with my artistic personality - intense, reflective, inquisitive, talkative, decorative and obsessive. I have accumulated a veritable treasure trove of artifacts from the past 5 years of travels (scarves, postcards, antiques, books, objects and ephemera), sitting in reused apple boxes back home in Canada, awaiting the day I ever settle down. If I could paint a wall, I would never choose simplistic white. Stencils of gold stars would more likely border a deep rich red or forest green, with layers of paper and cloth draped haphazardly about, hiding any and all semblance of minimalism. If I have a coffee table in front of me, rest assured it is covered in half-empty mugs, notebooks and papers. My ideal house resembles more a museum, than a functional quiet place of living. Embellishment and detail are what always draw me in - "the more the merrier", anything-goes philosophy of every shabby-chic decorator from here to Soho.

What then, am I to expect of my life, as it naturally echos my philosophies and creative persona? The very nature of an honest Artist is that life reflects art and vice-versa. Perhaps life will always be somewhat complicated for me, because that is who I am at my core - a complex, conflicted, person who attracts similar intense souls, similar difficult situations. Love might be simple, as the best feelings and emotions are - irrefutable nuggets of resoluteness and purity  - but the world they inhabit, the place where love has to live, always seems fraught with uncertainty and difficulty and patience waiting to be tested.

I can admire the Buddha all I want, in his serenity and peace under the Bodhee tree, but in actuality my spirit will always be more like that of a tormented wayward disciple - torn between palm lined paths, toting amulets and talismans from various journeys and beliefs that I stole along the way.

So this is life: a complicated, wonderful beast of a place. And I don't think I'd have it any other way.