Posted by: lmcg1 | March 30, 2013

All wretch and no…

A youtube video has been making the rounds recently, and I have seen it come by on the social network a few times now. It is ‘If money were no object‘ by philosopher Alan Watts. It is one of those inspirational type of pieces, short and to the point. The thing was that the name, Alan Watts, rang a very vague bell and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I finally got around to looking him up and I sort of started to remember. The thing that had thrown me off was that the voice speaking on the video was British, and on looking him up, I found that he had lived many years in California, and was very involved in teaching during the 1960s and 70s. Then I started to remember a bit. He was particularly interested in Buddhism and was one of the early proponents who wrote extensively about it. This became very popular during this time of social upheaval.

I think I read some of his writing way back then; a browse through the basement didn’t turn up any though. There are a lot of videos  of his talks on line so it will be interesting to follow up on a few more.

This sort of video can make you think about how your own life has gone along. I particularly like the line here, that if you don’t follow what your heart says to do, then it it is “all wretch and no vomit”, that is a lot of work but no satisfactory outcome. Very well put.

me 68 sm

This was me in 1968, in my shockingly short kaftan (home made of course). My mother wouldn’t take the picture of all of me. This was the mini skirt days. When I wore this, she had fits about me taking the bus because it was too short! and people would see my underwear!

What was I thinking in those days? What did I really want to do? My cousin and I were the first in our family to head off to university. I was at UBC heading into 4th year Microbiology. I recently saw a statistic that said that I was one of 0.2% of women who got a science degree at that time. Who knew? I went into the sciences; I did like them. I also liked the arts and leaving a small town for a big city/big university provided all kinds of interesting opportunities. I really loved visiting the art gallery in the basement of the main library. I wonder if it is still there. I still have a programme from a show of Japanese calligraphy I saw then. I saw all the shows that MUSSOC, and was a volunteer stage hand with them for a couple of years. I saw plays at the Vancouver Playhouse. When I had space for an elective, I took an arts class. I went to all the arts festival films, and such. Dance programs – Merce Cunningham still is a memory. And then the dances and rock bands etc.

Listening to the Alan Watts piece made me think back to those days and what direction I chose. I chose the sciences, and practiced in that field for many years. The arts weren’t a real choice then, unless you were planning to go into teaching which wasn’t for me. I really didn’t know enough about the arts except that it was something you did for fun while you got on with what you did for a living. In the back of my mind though, I always wanted to learn to draw and paint. And eventually I did. Now, 45 years later, I am doing what I love to do, and I am actually going to get to take a drawing class, finally, after all these years. I will be writing about that over on Redberry Art.

So has it all been ‘all wretch and no vomit’ for me? In some ways yes, in others, no. Probably just like most people.


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