Flying bulldozers and dancing particles

Posted by on 10.16.09 | 4 Comments
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The cure for boredom (or as my mother used to say ‘what ails ya’) or what is perceived as routine, mundane and numbing seems to be opening to experiencing our everyday lives on extraordinary levels.

I bought a telescope at a yard sale last weekend. I’ve wanted one for a long time. It’s not a super-duper microscope—more like a beginner model. But when I stood outside last Saturday night with Andy’s middle son Joey (the one with the red hair) and found Jupiter and both of us were just blown away by it, there was no room for boredom, only delight.

So when I ran across an op-ed piece by Simon Jacobson Bereishit: Dancing Particles I was drawn in. (Underline is mine.)

One of our greatest enemies is monotony. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do we humans. Many of our problems originate from the wearing effects of boredom and routine. At some point, repeating the same activity again and again dulls our spirits, and we become desperate for something, anything, that will relieve our tedium and fill the hungry vacuum, whether it be healthy or not. We need that rush of excitement, that chase, that high that will make us feel alive again.

The question that begs, however, is very fundamental: Why should our lives be monotonous in the first place? Every thing in existence is in a perpetual state of change and movement. We begin our lives in a state of constant enchantment. Observe a young child crawling about exploring everything he or she encounters. The child’s unwavering curiosity, his constant movement, never resting in one place, excited and stimulated by the simplest things, is life playing itself out in its most natural form: Life as raw energy.

Why indeed should our lives be monotonous? I’ve been struggling with some form of lethal lethargy, some kind of snarky spiritual doldrums these past few weeks. The other night I had a dream that included a flying bulldozer. It had a fascinating flight trajectory and long metal flat wings folded up like, well like bird wings. I was fascinated and awoke somehow like my reset button had been mashed. I found myself interested in my coffee, my dog, my mate, my life. I’ve not had the chance yet to unpack the entire dream in detail, but something changed in me in part because of my enchantment with the flying bulldozer.

bulldozer
The bulldozer model without wings.

While in Colorado a couple weeks ago I spent a week playing with Edan, my 4 year old grandson. His favorite toys right now are Transformers. I put together Bumblebee and Optimus Prime about a million times, and while my fascination receded quickly after it took me an hour to put those devious little mind-benders together, his dedication to the toys never wavered. Seeing what looks like a toy car transform into a super-hero just keeps his young mind agile and full of excitement about the potential of life. Maybe participating in these toys’ transformation had something to do with my dreams making a bulldozer into an airplane. Or maybe the idea for Transformers came from someone’s crazed dream. Potentiality lies in the moment of realizing that what we thought was something is really not that–it’s something else. And maybe something else again.

What odd things bring us to life, to attention. Whatever it takes. Bring on the dancing, flying transforming particles already. Better yet, let’s take a bulldozer to Helena, Montana to see the leaves this weekend. Whaddya say?

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