The Chairman of The Bored himself, Iggy Pop, at Pink Pop 1987
Image source: Wikipedia (Creative Commons 2.0)
I don’t actually remember the last time I was this bored. Really bored. I’m talking Iggy Pop grade, Chairman of the Board, bored: industrial strength bored. The kind of bored that makes you want to throw a fit on the floor and slap yourself a number of times just to have something to do. Angry-bored. I would almost go as far to say existentally bored, but nah, fuck it, that sounds way too much like hard work in the explanation department.
Why is this even blog-worthy you say? Well, because it’s just so damn rare for me to get bored.
So it’s different and meaningful. An opportunity to take a holiday from myself. A rare space in my ridiculous busy-busy-busy, “grown up” life. A chance to let myself burn down to the ground in a pathetic, flaming heap. And most importantly of all — to love it!
Like most people, I fight boredom tooth and nail, screen and meme. It’s sadly ironic that as a Shaman, I’m often so focused on the act of attaining some lofty spiritual goal, that I’m frequently even stupid enough to forget the essence of my own spiritual teachings.
In particular, the ones about fully embodying and experiencing my emotional states. Owning them, lock, schlock and barrel. Seeing them through to their natural conclusion, come hell or high water…
In some ways, I was actually better at being a Shaman, or should I say, healing myself Shamanically, when I wasn’t one.
When I was a young adult, I was a natural at it. During states of mind-numbing boredom, anger or frustration I would scream out loud, maybe throw some stuff around, jump up down around the room, beat my chest, get high and then paint or write something for hours and hours and maybe even call a bunch of friend’s to help join me in this process. And then all would be well with the world…
I would find my inner-rock star in the voids offered by boredom. Sure it would club me like an angst filled Tsunami any chance it got, but when it’s turbulence receded, it always left me surrounded by the rich flotsam of my inner being laid bare and beautiful, gleaming in the sun and awaiting collection.
But somewhere along the line I grew up. I became civilized and dependable. Sensible even. Sigh…
So, now I say hello to my long, lost little friend: boredom. Haul him up from the abyss. Pull up that sludgy net with a ton of other weird shit wriggling around in it.
Oh, look. There’s some repressed anger, disenchantment, a sucker punch full of angst, a shitload of resentment, intense apathy and…
Well nowadays there’s a lot less throwing around of stuff. Ok, well to be honest, almost no throwing around of stuff actually. Shits expensive when you’re a “grown up,” and you don’t feel like a rock star anymore, just an emotional retard whose going to have to work overtime to pay shit off.
Such is the depravity of our modern consumer culture, A.K.A “Shiny Barbarism”, that I have dedicated a whole other series of blog posts to it. Beginning with Fire Vs TV Part 1
Sublimation — Ahhhhhhhhhrg!
We channel off our genuine emotional needs in some socially acceptable way and with it we lose the deep connection to our creative source: we go jogging, we pin on our service badge, we buy more useless junk to fill the hole in our soul. We do what the psyche texts say we are supposed to do to compensate. But it’s always just that: a compensation. And as modern and touchy-feely as we are…
How often do we own the full spectrum of our emotions?
How often do we smash open a true expressive space to stop all that raw emotional energy from eating us alive?
Judging by the state of the world, not the fuck often enough. Admittedly, I hadn’t truly owned my boredom and disenchantment for a long time. Least of all let it work my writing mojo. So who the hell was I to be pointing fingers?
So this was one precious postcard from the psychic abyss. A big chunk of shadow wrestled up from the unconscious depths like some bizarre, pulsating psychedelic orb of uncharted creaturehood.
But here in the light it didn’t look so tough. It was all kind of limp and falling apart as things pulled up from deepest darkest depths tend to be. Inevitably they end up in a jar or become fertilizer for your mind’s garden. I was never one for keeping jars so…
I wrestled what was left of it’s slimy carcass up to my chest. Smeared it all over my skin. Stomped around the room with it, screamed myself hoarse, jaguar, bear, wolf. Took up the praying mantis kung-fu pose and Jackie Chan-ed my way through a host of invisible bad guys till my lungs burned with exertion. Fell to the floor, scuttled and writhed under the couch like a cockroach in all the emotional and intellectual rot of what I had been. Drew myself up into a mighty tree, flipping over the couch as I rose. Kicked and flicked things to make room for my expanding roots.
Thank fuck there was no body home. Thank fuck the walls in my shiny barbarian home are sound proof.
So what are you telling me boredom? “Fess up, you smarmy, little git,” I growled.
“Well, firstly it’s such a waste of time having an answer for everything. Feel more, think less.”
In my quest for deeper spiritual meaning and guru-like transcendence, I had become a pretentious grown up know-it-all git. For more on the perils of such states of self-inflated stupidity see:
So, clearly a bout of healthy self-deprecation was in order.
Oh, by the twitch of the energy point on my left brow, I should have a telegram arriving from the Galactic High Council at any moment. Hmm, I wonder what it could be … wait …
It says: “You a complete and utter twat. An unevolved ape. End of story. Get over yourself, you are a wanker.”
Ok, point taken. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And even if it isn’t, who cares. Let it be a damn cigar. It dosen’t have to be a revolutionary metaphor, a Jungian UFO, a freudian phallus or anything else for that matter.
Sigh…why does everything have to be so freakin meaningful all the time?
Whatever happened to good old-fashioned oblivion. Chaos. Confusion. Boredom?
No boredom meant that there was no space in my life to bring things to a natural sort of conclusion. Burnout, breakdown, apathy, frustration, resentment, disenchantment, are all our special little friends. They claw right the fuck through the vast majority of those unhealthy civilising illusions.
They tell us stuff like: when to move on or let go, when to change direction, when to just chill the fuck out and take a rest, to be still and stop taking ourselves so frikkn seriously, when to fall into a babbling, sweating heap on the floor. How to die a little and be reborn.
Not bigger, better, faster, higher or stronger, but more real!
Because there is such a thing as too grown up, too civilized, too normal, too healthy, too gut-wrenchingly polite.
This is the inner-rot painted over. Collapsing within, fiddling while Rome burns, while the Titanic sinks, taking selfie pictures with our dying idols on the pavement, instead of breathing life into them.
Meanwhile as Babylon burns…
I still can’t help wondering, where all our terror of True Boredom began?
Of course — that phrase. The one that went hand in hand with rise of modern Western industrial society. Que newsreel propaganda voice:
“IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S WORK.”
That moral beating stick used by church, state, and big industry to keep the masses enthralled by the endless work ethic. Constantly distracted, drawn outward and away from the inner-space necessary, for a rich and creative inner life.
Somewhere along the line, it seems we copped a psychic sucker punch which chained our conciousness to the worship of busyness for its own sake. Trained us to violently avoid states of self-reflective stillness and beingness. Conditioned us to sublimate and fear the shadow. To lock it away in favour of business-as-per fucking-usual.
So why does the church, state, and big industry need to have a moral beating stick at all?
Because people with idle hands have the time, space and energy to free themselves from mental slavery. People with a rich inner life and the time to creatively act upon its inspiration, are much harder for elite power systems to manage.
Hoards of little idlings have time to contemplate, to rationalise, to criticise and synthesise. To examine the bare facts of their existence, and see what does and doesn’t benefit them. To confront and integrate the shadow. To shrug off the perpetual, fear-induced struggle for wage slavery and re-engage their capacity for deep critical thinking and holisitc judgement.
As one of the great rock odes to true boredom, Nirvana’s Smells Like a Teen Spirit, was a scream for confrontation and integration of the shadow of the collective consciousness repressed behind that have a nice day smile.
Boredom gives you time to think, time to thank, to integrate, to drop out, cop out, wig out, pig out, to rock out with your frock out, to connect the dots, to reject the rot, to die a little and be reborn. To write a new story of self. One that accords with your true path in life. Do not fear boredom. It is your friend!
LONG LIVE TRUE BOREDOM!
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