When people die, we tend to say they are at rest. Headstones on burial mounds sometimes etch the words, “Rest in peace.” This euphemism isn’t limited to English. It exists word for word as the German phrase, “Ruhe in Frieden,” or the Spanish saying, “que descanse en paz.” In the conscious, living mind of an individual, rest is an action we take to relieve ourselves of stress and weariness. It is an effort we take to recover from our efforts, either mentally or physically.
Rest doesn’t necessarily involve inaction, such as laying on a beach or falling asleep in one’s bed. It can involve an action, such as watching a movie, playing a game or swimming in a lake. So is it odd that we apply this term to those who no longer have the ability to think? Those who are lost from this world, with no way to ever again participate in the existence we share, are at rest only in our memories. Death, as far as we know, removes one’s ability to rest.
It has been ten months, since I fully unpacked. Since April of 2015, I have been living out of two bags. After some life changing events, I left the amazing city of Wellington, New Zealand. It was truly the most beautiful city I have ever lived in. After spending two and a half years there with some very amazing people, my journey led me westward through Australia, Asia and Europe. I met up with old friends, found new loves, and learned the hard and true virtues of minimalism.
Human beings tend attach themselves to relationships. We become loyal to our work places, schools, families, sports teams, religious institutions, political parties, favorite product brands and nations. More often than not, loyalty is one directional. Once loyalty is given, there is an implication of staying true to that person or idea, even in cases where rational decision making would say otherwise. Gaining loyalty based on some arbitrary societal vector can often lead to a means of control and even subjugation.
The interpretation of media we use to exchange information depends heavily on surrounding context. Writing and photos can turn from rational to offensive, possibly even illegal, all dependent on the way and means by which they are presented. Human communication, art, performance and entertainment all depend heavily on the surroundings in which they are created. Much of how we interpret something to be either funny or offensive is dependent heavily upon both the context the work is presented, and the culture in which an audience was born into and raised from.
Recently I was the victim of a robbery. Prior to this, I was debating if I wanted to leave my city. I’ve grown increasingly tired of office work, and thanks to some recently accepted publications, I’ve wanted to look into funding to pursue independent research and apply for PhD programs. I had originally thought to continue working for a year while applying for funding and graduate programs. I have no insurance for my stolen items, making the loss somewhat more absolute and has pushed me to the point of my previous option of leaving to work on my own research, regardless of monetary concerns. Although there is a solid methodology behind my decisions, the interpretation of my options in regards to certain probabilistic outcomes can easily be interpreted as a type of fate or destiny.
I first saw Blues dancing in its modern form in 2005 at the Windy City Lindy Exchance in Chicago. Lindy Hop, a form of Swing dancing, started to reemerge in the late 1990s, partially due to the GAP advertisements featuring Swing Era dances that aired in 1998. Modern Swing was in the process of rediscovering itself as dance instructors were watching classic movies to rediscover and teach Lindy Hop.
Many DJs found that much of the danceable music from that era was intermixed in their collections with Blues. In the late nights between social dancing and classes, swing dancers were rediscovering Blues music. Unlike Lindy Hop which rediscovered an existing dance that had faded but had not truly died, modern Blues dancing is an amalgamation of both original, non-structured movement with many borrowed steps and stylings from Swing and other Jazz dances.
When two people dance together, it’s a lot like the first night of sex between two lovers. It can be delightful and filled with laughter as two people explore the conversations tucked within each others bodies, or it can be like fitting a futon through a doorframe. The type of dance or even the skill and level of the dancers has very little to do with how a dance turns out. A good dance can become a living thing; an exchange of ideas in a tapestry of movement. Like a well crafted composition of instrumental music, it is a conversation without words.
I was once an evangelistic Christian. I believed in this endeavour to the point where I went on a mission trip to my home country of India. Prior to the trip I only knew, and learned, what was wrong with Hinduism and why Christianity was the only truth. I did not bother to learn about the culture I’d be placed into nor did I attempt to objectively understand their beliefs of my own people. I truly believed I was doing the work of God in this country. What hurt the most is the memory my grandmother took of me, as being irreverent and intolerant, so much different from the misbehaved yet loving child she had known years prior, as the last memory of me before she passed.
A small group of us would heard to Camp Washington Chili after the Thursday night dances. The six or seven of us, ages ranging from college students to young professionals to retirees, would occupy the table of the diner long into the night and past the hour when it would be reasonable for us to go to sleep. We were dancers, and although the discussion meandered, the topic I spoke of more reverently than any other was that of dance philosophy. The group grew to the point where it was no longer intimate, and those who I enjoyed the company of the most stopped dancing, but the philosophy of dance is a subject that can be carried into almost every aspect of one’s life.
The modern office cubicle came about sometime in the 1960s. A cubicle seeks to grant some degree of privacy while taking up a minimal amount of space on open office floors. They are usually easy to assemble, dismantle, move and resize. People who work in cubicles typically have all sorts of photos, toys and other knickknacks on display if the work environment allows it. In this way they are all slightly unique, as unique as each individual worker. In the same way, under the decorations and personal items, each cube is exactly the same, just like all their occupants.