Recently I watched About Schmidt (2002) and it triggered me to write a bit about it. It's so different from the usual canned Hollywood movies that I am so sick of!
This movie reflects the simple and ordinary reality of life. It brings a message about discovering our weaknesses and dealing with our humane complexities during the hard process of self-discovering. It has so much to do with passion! Passion for life, for changes...
The amazing part about the production is that it's "so simple"! The movie does not try to be amazing! The down-to-earth approach, showing average characters dealing with day by day struggles of life seems to be what makes this movie so pungent and well done! It kept me sat down for 2:05 hours without getting bored (unusual for me!). No violence, no fantastic BS, no excessive production, no hypnotizing background music... Just a story about people and their inner complexities! Their fears, shames, defeats, dreams, need for love, and their strength above all.
Here is one beautiful message, shown on a thought provoking sign seen in the Pioneer Village (Minden, Nebraska - one of the places where the movie was shot). The sign says:
It was a Casual Friday.
a Girl Friday met a Man Friday
for something fried,
because it was a FryDay!
They went for a fish fry
but it was a Good Friday
and someone said, passing by,
“There is no more fish today!”
They went then to T.G.I Friday's
and had fried chicken and French fries.
After all, it was a FryDay Night!
Then they watched Friday, the 13th.
Frightened they went home, on that Friday night...
Next date will be on a Black Friday.
Friday in English can be a day
to fry: a Fry Day -
with French fries, Fish Fry...
but in Germany it's about love - it's Freitag
from the goddess of love, Freyja,
also in Switzerland, Fredag.
In French, it is Vendredi
different lover, but not minus
derives from Venus,
the sixth largest planet is there, weekly,
goddess of love, also in Italy,
so in Spain, Viernes
and Vrijdag in Dutch.
I didn't know that much!
And that the Knights Templar were arrested on a Friday.
So was Jesus, killed on a Friday,
and Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer,
he too died on a Friday!
It just makes me mad sometimes! It seems that there is a bunch of people out there trying to show they are smart while they burn their gray matter with nonsensical ecological solutions.
Think about the hand drier in the public restrooms. Convince me that they make sense! Prove it!! What is really that we are saving by replacing the perfectly good paper towels by noisy machines that don't dry our hands at all? Facts: replacement costs; cost with electric energy to run the damn dryers; obnoxious loud noise in the restroom, and a constantly wet sink, because there is no more paper to dry the water we spill while washing hands. Besides, if you want to brush your teeth after that good meal you had, still hanging in between your ivories, you have to use your sleeve to dry your mouth and your tooth brush! How stupid is that?
Now, speaking of noisy gadgets that still keep parts of your body wet, there is another one: the darn automatic flush! Why in the hell do we need automatic flush in the toilet? Don't we have arms and fingers to push buttons or levers? Ok, think about this: you are there, in one of those special moments that require concentration - you just finished that great meal and you do need to get rid of the excess. So you sit down on the throne, all zen, performing your cerebral hygiene. And all of a sudden that annoying flush gets activated! You lose your concentration, and you end up with toilet water sprayed on your butt! How do you like that? Facts: D.E.D = Disturbing, Expensive, Disgusting. Yes, expensive when you think about the natural resource - WATER! - that is being wasted! There is no need to flush if we have not finished yet, right? I've heard toilets flushing even when there is nobody in the stalls!! What kind of "ecological movement" is that? So much talk about saving water, energy and paper... what a bunch of crap!
Here is another moronic thing, still speaking of crap and toilets: have you ever used those paper seat-covers? Well, if you never used them, that proves how useless they are - a waste of paper and labor! If you have used them, have you noticed how lame they are? Open one next time you go to a public restroom and think with your engineer mind: they have the shape of a toilet seat. In the center there is a detachable part, so I understand we are supposed to detach that central paper part, toss it, and line the toilet seat with what remained in our hands. No, wait! A friend of mine informed that you are suppose to leave on that detachable part and pee and poop on top of it, which will go down with the wait of the "stuff"! Now, my question is: why do they market that cover with the "detachable" part in, if it is useless and we still have to have the trouble to deal with that? Or, don't deal with that, according to my friend Mary, but still that fact does not eliminate the uselessness of the detachable part. Couldn't the manufacturer save that part of the paper, instead of having us to toss it? Or save the paper altogether? (instead of saving the paper towels, as a mater of fact!).
You have probably used a toilet with one of those automatic plastic lining attached to the seat, that runs around after each use, delivering a fresh lining. It seems a better idea to me... although I have wondered if when the whole thing rotates it really goes to the trash, or... eventually comes back to the next user! :-p
Where is the "green" in all these gadgets? Darn automatic faucets that don't dispense enough water to wash your finger tips, and waste of the same water on automatic flushing toilets. They claim to save paper towel at the expense of electricity to run the noisy dryers; and add gadgets demanding use of more paper, or plastic!
Did I say "paper or plastic"? Green here, green there, it's all a fad! Look at the "green bags" in the grocery stores! Have all the plastic bags been banned from earth at all? Noooooooo! They are still around! Gazillions of them: garbage bags, grocery bags, all sort of disposable plastic stuff that goes to the landfills anyway - so why so much concern about the useful plastic grocery bags? What, again, are we saving by replacing them with fabric bags? The Earth? Don't tell me lies! Oh, yes, perhaps we are saving the bank account of the smart ass who started this craze about "go green". And people buy it! People follow everything, as if they were hypnotized! They adhere to any new fashion! "Ohhhh, everybody is doing it? Let's do it, too! Let's go green!" - Without pondering whether there is some sense in that or not.
Yes, I go green! I turn green in disgust by realizing how people are brainwashed - and they don't even notice it!
Just try it.
Don't make a face,
don't be afraid,
just reflect on it.
Open your senses and
allow the sensations
to be with you.
you must know what
it is all about.
Do not cling to prejudices,
Leave uncertainties behind,
open your mind,
get attracted to it,
bite into it!
Sweat, cry, get immersed
in the feeling -
it's not a suffering,
it's an experience.
The color and the message.
Talk to it.
This is life forever,
and how you eat
a red hot pepper!
I got inspired by a delicious hot pepper when I wrote this poem, Sunday 27, 09.
Isn't life like that? So many times we get scared to try, to take a bite, then we cry, complain, talk bad about it, suffer... but in the end it's all in our head. There is no suffering! Actually, it's just a matter of point of view.
Many people believe that certain things (like peppers) are bad for you. That's just a viewpoint. It's not absolute truth! Other people believe it's delicious, hot, intense, healthy (all that vitamin C!), and it triggers new sensations...
Just look at it, observe it, and accept it for what it is. Freely! Naturally!
Back to regular life! I was on vacation, and that explains my disappearing act for the past few days! Sometimes we do need to disappear for a while, don't you think? It's good to refresh ideas, see different things and people, and cause some longing on somebody's heart. ;-)
I was at Disney World and there is always something valuable to take home when I go to that "other world": Mr. Disney's principle and his approach towards his dreams. It's all so inspiring! I feel so much stronger and positive when I see the whole world he has built. I feel that I can, too! That's the best part of the trip! I love Goofy (he's my favorite, with all his simplicity and good heart); and I am crazy for all that different food we can have at Epicot. I am fascinated by the art in Hollywood Studios; and by the magic and all the colors in the Magic Kingdom. I feel even more connected to the Universe being surrounded by nature and animals in Animal Kingdom; and totally alive and excited when riding on the roller coasters! Pure adrenaline! But, what really comes back with me when it's time to come back to the "regular life" is Disney's main message about life. Persistence, positive thoughts, positive attitude.
Time and circumstances help us to achieve our goals, but we have to do what must be done.
Sometimes we say, "I can do it later", but later can be too late! If you have an insight, an inspiration, a feeling that you should get up and do something, do it! Tomorrow you may not be around or, you may be and may realize how many opportunities you have been missing in life.
Think about that. No... don't just think... do it!
At this very moment, as I hear a knock-knock-knocking somewhere, I look out my window and see this gorgeous woodpecker! It's pecking on my wooden window frame and I think about the relation between life (i.e. energy) and motivation. What motivates a woodpecker to peck?
When we answer this kind of question related to our own "pecks", we find out what motivates us in life. Because we are not birds, our motivations may be related to more than instincts and needs. We are, after all, passionate animals!
Oh, what we do for love...
We do strange things
We cross the limit
We search for more
and find it!
We fall, we fly, we die
and again we try,
we live in awe
for all what we saw,
what we know of love.
We learn, we teach
foreign words to speak
beijo, tesão, saudade, amor
such a glamour
what we do for love...
We take risks, we thrive
we drive far away,
just to play,
and be alive.
It's a treat
when we meet we melt,
loosen the belt,
fasten the ties
when we dive in each other's eyes
skinny-dip, up to the soul
trip with no toll
Oh, what we do for love...
We do get in trouble!
Day-dream in a soap bubble
suffer from anticipation
worries, fears, expectation
we cry of pleasure, excitement,
and laugh in the next moment.
We become stupid, and braver
silly and savvier.
We go round and round just to say
what's already expressed in another way
our feelings, this urge
desires that emerge ...
We hide, we hunt, we show off
we take longer showers
we count the hours.
We dance in the parking lot
we sing out loud a lot.
We can stand on our head
and we smile all the time
like the Cheshire cat
in Wonderland prime.
We are not all there, ourselves
We don't know which way to go
but it doesn't matter
when we delve
holding hands in wonderlands.
Oh, where we go for love....
to places of danger, excitement, fancy
a house of cards,
idle scenario changing all the time
a tea party, but with wine.
It's a fall down on the hole
deep, really profound
we can hear that sound
that peculiar sound
we are all for action.
Yes, it's a moment in time,
A torturous delight
to climb up the mountain...
just for the thrill
of drinking from its fountain.
Softness of heart,
fit like a glove
wonderful things we feel
when we are in love!
Experiences - mine and other's - are my road map through life. Theory is the wayside, where I can eventually stop to check the map.
One friend of mine once asked me, "What is love and what is passion for you?" and I asked back, "Do you want to know the theory, or the experience?" She thought for one and a half seconds and said, "Both!"
There I went with the theory first, "Love is what makes you feel in harmony and in balance. It's the reason. Passion is what makes you feel exuberant and ecstatic. It's the energy." And then came the experiential part of the theory, what, of course, varies to each person.
Is it possible to love and not be passionate? Is it possible to be passionate, without love? For me, Yes and No! To both questions! Although, when love and passion comes together, we have it all! Really, "all". Because we have then harmony and balance to keep us sane, and exuberance and ecstasy to keep us alive! And THAT is a heck of an experience!
This is not only valid for people's relationships, but also for our relationship with things. One may love his job, but not be passionate about it. You may love your spouse and not be passionate, either. Teenagers sometimes are passionate about things, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, but many times that is not love!
I love photography, but I don't think I am passionate enough to become a professional photographer. I am very pleased with my beautiful and artistic shots, framed on my own wall. And that is the point: the intensity of love is the measure of our capacity to change, to go beyond, to give, to transform situations and ourselves. Highly intense love is sometimes understood as passion, because that's what moves us along. If there is not enough love, or passion, we don't move so far.
People usually pursue what they love and are passionate about. If it's just love, things can wait. Love makes us too confident, calm and still. Not enough pep to accomplish things. If it's only passion, we can never wait long enough to accomplish things. Passion puts us in a hurry. What sometimes can be helpful, if mingled with the confidence and calm that love provides.
It seems that love is more of a commitment, and passion is more of a burst. Well, does this sound like a theory? Yes, it does! Theory and experience overlap a little, and so do love and passion.
When we love we are brave and do everything up to our limits! When we are moved by passion, we dare to go beyond our limits. Way beyond!
When we love someone, we make exceptions, we support the other's interests just to see the beloved one happy! But when we love AND are passionate, we not only support, we physically and intellectually help the beloved one, for the pleasure of giving, and being an active part of their passion, too!
Love and passion should be together in all what we do... okay, it's not always possible! It's hard to be passionate about cleaning the windows or mowing the lawn, no matter how much we love our property! But, in a sense, it's some kind of passion that moves us towards the lawn mower or the Windex. It's the passion for our ideals and principles. If my ideal of Home Sweet Home is to have spotless windows and a nice lawn, I move towards it! At this point, it's not passion for the lawn and windows, but for what leads me to them: the ideal.
Love makes us more realistic. "I love my property but I don't want to mow the lawn." Passion makes us more like a beast! You grab that darn lawn mower and to the front yard you go! Front yard first, because the neighbors must see how passionate you are about your lawn! (Well, if it's not passion, then it must be that sense of “I should” that moves you. If so, my dear... I am sorry for you!)
All right, that was just a silly example. Now take it to a higher level and think about other ideals: personal freedom; or even spiritual, financial or political ideals. It's the passion for such values that motivates people to do what they do. It doesn't matter if it's an intense love affair or the affiliation to a political party, the reason is the same: all starts with the passion for an ideal.
Here is the battle: if the beast in you (sensibility) eats the reality (sense), you become a prey to your own instincts. If your reality suffocates your inner beast, the beast dies and you are doomed to live a boring, colorless, meaningless life. So, sense and sensibility must go hand in hand, already said Jane Austen, right? And I am with her!
Some married people claim they love their spouses, but they are so full of sense that the passion fades away (if it were there, some day). One part cannot do for the other anything that is related to passion because there is none! Some married people can't even help each other with their endeavors, because one's interests are not the other's interests. Okay, that's fine, we are all different, but what about some support to the partner? Love supports! We all have different tastes, approaches, dreams and goals in life. When there is love (even if there is no passion) it does not matter if you like blue and your partner likes yellow. You could even buy him/her a yellow pair of sneakers, couldn't you? Noooo??? So you must not be in love, or passionate enough!
My friend Jane (not Austen) never liked sports, and she is supporting her boyfriend just because of love and passion. She knows that she doesn't need to be an athlete to support him. She just helps him to become one, because that's important to him. And he is important to her. More than importance, this is love and passion together.
Sometimes we do things not because we like or agree with, but because they are important for someone who we love and are passionate about. Sometimes things can be difficult, but it always turns out to be a pleasure, never a sacrifice, when we truly love and are passionate.
I read that quote somewhere... My identification with it was instantaneous.
Passion moves me along. It's my energy, my breath of life. Without passion, I'd rather die.
Don't you think our passions are the motivators that help us get up in the morning? They are also the fuel that keeps our mental lights on late at night.
You might have several passions. Or a big one. But if you don't have any passion at all... tell me, what is the fun? Life just goes by.... just like that??
I am passionate for life when it's exciting! And life is exciting when we make it exciting!
Don't get confused with "things you love" or you simply "like to do". Not everything you love or like to do, may be a passion. But ALL what are your PASSIONS you love and like to do!
You may love your job just enough, but still not be passionate for it! You may like to dance, or grow veggies, but may not be passionate for these things.
I love to cook, but I am not passionate for it. Passions brighten my day: my business and my ESL trainees, my inspirations when I am writing, my studies, the moon, roller coasters, sexy men (yes, plural! why should I limit myself?), the drums, belly dance, photography, cheese & wine, friends, summer, roses (of course!), pastel (Brazilian pastry), and if I keep thinking I may find some more.
Passions keep our mind sharp, our body happy, and our soul young and singing!
Now that I've shared mine, what are YOUR passions? What really does make you vibrate in high frequency? What does make you believe you can! What does make you feel strong, accomplished, and really ALIVE?
Think about that one moment - that one moment in time (or several times) - when intense excitement rules your senses. That's passion!
The spice, the flavor... and we are here to savor it!
What are your passions?
"One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested."
~E. M. Forster~