Happiness and sappiness

It is the nature of the earth and our dust to be in constant contact with the impulse of life. If we listen we will hear the continuous tread of love moving up our limbs like sap, like an electric current, impelling us as well to “stir and step out.”*
M. C. Richards

One reason that traumatic memories become dominant in PTSD is that it’s so difficult to feel truly alive right now. When you can’t be fully here, you go to places where you did feel alive – even if those places are filled with horror and misery.**
Vessel van der Kolk

In their book on the experience economy,
Joseph Pine and James Gilmore point to something more lying
beyond experience:

At the weekend, with friends visiting a country estate,
Four of us sat down on a long bench that comfortably gave us our own space
to explore and engage through our senses
the sounds, feelings, scents and sights of our environment
for four minutes thirty three seconds.^

Robert Macfarlane warns that we are increasingly exchanging our landscape for a blandscape:

The nuances observed by specialised vocabularies are evaporating from common usage, burnt off by capital, apathy and urbanisation. The terrain beyond the city fringe has become progressively ore understood in terms of large generic terms (‘field’, ‘hill’, ‘valley’, ‘wood’). It has become a landscape.^^

Wherever we are not present,
We are in danger
from the bland all the way through to
Vessel van der Kolk’s trauma-prison.

Never has there been a more important time to practise presence
with nature, with people, with ourselves,
With information,
Focusing on sappiness rather than happiness, and then,
Something more:

How much of the beauty of our own lives is about the beauty of being alive? How much of it is conscious and intentional? That is the big question.*^

*From M. C. Richards’ Centering;
**From Vessel van der Kolk’s The Body keeps the Score:
^I have innovated this simple exercise from John Cage’s composition Silence;
^^From Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks;
*^Joseph Campbell, from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.

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