Bet that title got your attention. 🙂
I should warn you in advance, I’m in amateur philosopher mode today. So, if you have an aversion to me in a virtual toga, you should run.
Cool. Pull up a lounger and grab a handful of grapes. This could be fun.
Last night I went to my first Tulsa Nightwriters meeting. I’m always on the lookout to expand my network of writer pals ‘cause they’re crazy fun like me. Plus, this group’s name just sounds cool–made me wonder if I’d get to take K.I.T.T. for a spin. (If you don’t know what K.I.T.T. is, you’ve got a lot less wrinkles than me. Google it if you’re curious.) I ended up disappointed on the car thing, but it was good to be around a bunch of folks who don’t find it the least bit alarming I hear voices in my head.
The speaker for the evening was Scott Thompson, a news anchor for our local CBS affiliate who’s claimed a mighty impressive string of awards for his work. After five minutes watching a few of his Oklahoma Traveler bits, I get why. Not kidding. In less than three minutes I heard sniffles from most of the women in the room and busted a guy dabbing a tear from one eye. When asked how he managed such poignant work, he humbly replied, “I guess it’s just a deep amount of sentimentality.”
My inner philosopher has been doing the backstroke through that comment for a good twelve hours now.
I looked up sentimentality this morning: The tendency or practice of indulging in emotion or nostalgia.
Hmmm. <Philosopher strokes chin and stretches out further on the chaise.> Indulging, huh? Which, by the way, is defined as allowing yourself to experience something enjoyable.
Stop laughing at me. I’m on a dictionary kick.
I think I get what he’s after. But indulging isn’t the right word for me. Receptive maybe? Let me use an analogy (’cause you know how I love my pictures).
Imagine a perfect fall Oklahoma afternoon. It’s seventy-eight degrees outside, the sky is a cloudless azure blue, and you have nothing on the agenda. You’re at home. Do you kick back in the air conditioned comfort and read a book? Open a window and sit by it? Prop the front door open but leave the screen door closed? Or throw the front door wide without any veil for protection and let whatever bit of nature wants to join you fly right inside? Maybe you leave the house altogether and find a spot under a shade tree.
To me, all of those are different levels of receptiveness. A conscious (or maybe subconcious) approach to how deep you’re willing to wade into the thick of things. Sometimes you isolate yourself completely from the elements so nothing can touch you. Sometimes you bare yourself to nature where both the good and the bad can bathe your body and spirit.
I think people live their emotional lives in this same way. Some spend the majority of their days isolated. Protected. Completely unaware of the depth of what’s available outside their fortress. Others prefer the wildlife. They metaphorically run naked through all manner of seasons and refuse to seek shelter from the storms of life. Some people pop in and out between the two in a perfect balance.
I think I’m an emotional outdoorsman. Sure, I get loads of bug bites and step barefooted on more rocks than I care to count, but the shelter of apathy stifles me. Disconnects me from the divine spark.
What about you? Do you prefer the safety of detachment? Or crave an emotional connection to life? How would our society and relationships change if we nutured our tendency toward emotional indulgence more often?
I know, I know. It’s deep. I did warn you…