Here’s an idea. Don’t attempt bhujapidasana whilst menstruating. Wearing trainers. In a boutique on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Apparently it was impressive. I can’t even remember the last time I did a sun salutation. Truth is, the body is failing me. I’m sick. It was the city what did it.
Here’s an idea. A week of sleep. Solitude. Writing. Practice at dawn. Woods. Endless mint tea. And perhaps some cake.
I once believed life could become what one desired. Actually that’s bullshit. I was always acutely aware that life was persistently disappointing. And still I believed. I believed not that my dreams would come to fruition. I believed as if they could happen. I had no reason to believe as a child there was much purpose to my bleak existence. And yet I believed as if there was a grander purpose. Perhaps all those Sunday school teachings of my childhood will never quite leave me. But to believe as if ones desires can happen (even if reality suggests the contrary) can in Kantian terms mean progress will ensue. Believing in the beauty of possibility can allow things to happen.
But how to distinguish progress and the mere fact of the passage of days, that is to say, not dying. Can progression not be understood as merely the act of awaking each day realising one is not yet dead and then endeavouring to actively do stuff. I am not dead I might as well clean that window, I am not dead I am going to have an omelette for breakfast, I am not dead lets pay that credit card bill. So can my life be considered as a progression or just a clutter of stuff I did whilst not dying. I am not dead so lets do that degree, I am not dead so start practicing ashtanga yoga. I am not dead so lets go to Mysore, India….
A bit of a morbid perspective perhaps. And not to mention constructing a world view dependent on the absence of a negative (if we must consider death as negative) could lead to fatalistic qualities (not an awful proposition in my personal view). Yet I am often puzzled, what comes first: the belief or the doing? Is it not that we fall into things and then in retrospect say oh yes this is what I always dreamed of? And is it not that dreams are always altered by reality in some very mundane detail?
To believe always feels a little ridiculous as well. I have started mumbling to people that ‘I write’ when asked that foreboding question “What do you do??”. I remember declaring to my mother shortly before she died, that I wanted to write. My 15 year old self had finally articulated this urge that had always resided in me. To write though, not necessarily to be a writer. I was not into categorising my passions into job titles – nor am I now which is no doubt to the detriment of my “career” (i.e. my distinct lack of).
To state my desires was not to believe they would happen nor was it even an act of believing as if they would happen. Rather it was a statement that did not contain any performative qualities. A statement that did not bring about the desires declared. It was a statement made in spite of the reality, and in spite of my beliefs in what could happen. Perhaps “I love you” can sometimes act the same way – a non-performative gesture that is used without taking the action it declares, to love, and something believed in often in spite of the reality that reveals the ridiculousness of its purpose, and in spite of a reality that will shape its course (for better or worse).
Though to make the utterance is a performative gesture in and of itself, for to make the declaration: I want to write, I love you, brings about a new situation in which the desire is finally articulated and thus made real in the sense of being dragged into a shared present. The declaration believes in itself – it believes as if it is true – even if the speaker does not.
To believe as if feels like an exciting exercise. To believe as if feels vital even if I do not believe in the possibilities of the materialisation of my wishes. It feels like something I should cling to. It feels like I should embrace the ridiculousness of believing and just wait a while and see what dreams may come.