Begin: Writing Through the Monotony

So I needed a hobby…

With my days seemingly blurring together, I struggle with the notion of routine and mundanity. Is that a word? (Turns out it is) Daily rides on the train packed with people all looking through the screen of their phones. Coffee here, coffee there. All of my belongings on my back, it occurred to me that my life was pretty heavily set in a daily ritual.

Step 1: Struggle to get out of bed.

Step 2: Maybe take a shower? Nah… Is it obvious how greasy my hair is?

Step 3: Realize I’m out of clean clothes, put on oversized sweater and leggings.

Step 4: Make a smoothie – that’s better than bacon right? Ha!

Step 5: Visit with the husband, hop on the train.

Every morning. The exact same. Weekends are somewhat of a breath of fresh air, what with all the sleep ins and treat breakfasts laden with pork and potatoes. However for the most part, my days consist of managing to struggle through work/school without hitting the preverbal wall, coming home and plugging myself into my television. This ritual ends with watching re-runs of a 90’s sitcom in bed, sleeping pill, sleep.

Monotony turned frustration. Repeat.

My weekly Brain Pickings article landed in my mailbox. Every Sunday it flys in compiled with articles, clever anecdotes and musings from writers everywhere. Complete with reviews of great books, and teachings on how to be alone, Brain Pickings has been a source of peace and solitude in an otherwise turbulent life.

A section titled “Bertrand Russel on the Vital Role of Boredom and “Fruitful Monotony” in the Conquest of Happiness” caught my attention immediately. Discovering great authors that struggled with the same perplexing human dilemmas as myself has always been a relief. In this section of the article, clips of Bertrand’s insight are quoted amidst commentary on his book entitiled: “The Conquest of Happiness“. Bertrand points out how monotony is not only a part of the human experience, but the acceptance of routine and boredom is vital in the pursuit of happiness and wholeness. Bertrand is quoted saying:

“The special kind of boredom from which modern urban populations suffer is intimately bound up with their separation from the life of Earth. It makes life hot and dusty and thirsty, like a pilgrimage in the desert. Among those who are rich enough to choose their way of life, the particular brand of unendurable boredom from which they suffer is due, paradoxical as this may seem, to their fear of boredom. In flying from the fructifying kind of boredom, they fall a prey to the other far worse kind. A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.”

Surrounded by noise and busyness on a day-to-day basis, it never occurred to me to not only stop fighting the monotony, but embrace it as a vital component of a balanced life, and ultimately a content one. The ever elusive state of “happiness”. So here I am, breathing in the monotony and breathing out acceptance. In search of wholeness, I’ve decided to write through the monotony. (Hence the name) I’m going to attempt frequent writings in the hopes that it gives me a good platform for all my thoughts, and within, the ultimate acceptance. 

And hopefully, it does for you too.

–M.H

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