Boredom with the everyday.
I know it is a question of perception, of restlessness induced by a media culture that values ever ongoing action and excitement and maybe a lack of sense of meaningfulness in our (my) life. I used to be almost phobic of being bored. Of finding myself in the nothingness of my apartment or my life. And for a long while I thought the solution was to try and fill myself up with something: some activity, watching tv, walking for hours instead of going home… I have even stuffed myself with sweets until I felt sick rather than “be bored”. Do you recognize this?
And then a couple of things happened.
I met the man of my dreams. (How can you then be bored?) And one of his traits that has been truly beneficial to me is his ability to just hang around doing nothing. And with him it was suddenly an exquisite experience. Just laying on our backs in the park watching the dogwalkers, the clouds and the movement of leaves. The experience of meeting him, someone warm and open who actually loved me for me, was so adventurous and soothing to me I suddenly started to savour every moment. And then my relationship to my father’s wife deepened. She has a truly deep connection with nature, and is a textile artist. And fell head to toes in love with her way to look at the forest and transform what she saw into capes and dresses and crayon drawings. I started interacting with nature in a new way. I also picked up art again. Slowly, carefully, and the ferociously when I discovered how good it made me feel. How can you be bored when there is so
much to look at?
The third thing that happened was that I started drama school. And I think that up to that point it was the most transformative event in my life. It changed my outlook on life and my creativity profoundly. One of the things was the study of detail. How, through studying a character, I could loose myself in her every move, action, thought. Studying every aspect of life suddenly became a tool to understand and interpret another human being. Every emotion and thought and observation became material to create. Also we did a lot of exercises designed to help us be more creative in our outlook on life and other human beings.
One of my favorites is this one: The hero in everyone.
It is perfect to stop unnecessary boredom on for example commuter trains –potentially one of the most dreary everyday situations. What you do is you pick someone, anyone. Look at that person carefully, and then imagine a movie in which that person is the main character, the hero. What kind of movie would it be, who would that person be in the movie? For example right now I see a man across the “alley” (between sitting groups), wearing jeans and a grey cardigan, half asleep listening to something in giant headphones, who didn’t have the time to shave this morning and will probably receive some kind of comment at work because of it. He is not just that guy. I see him in a uniform. Back straight, not a crest or wrinkle on his wear, a twinkle in his grey eyes. He is a flight captain. The Second World War is raging. He is on his way to go on a flight mission to pick up fugitives, members of the resistance in France who have been exposed and have vital information. He knows it is a mission that may cost him and his fellow soldiers their lives, but they have faith in him. And he has faith in his beliefs of a better world. Ok, I hear you. Accuracy, fortunately, is not necessary in this exercise (I’d be in trouble history wise…). Just go with the flow of your imagination.