Thursday, March 5, 2020

Tree of Life

Though it isn't new, I recently watched the film "Tree of Life" for the first time.

If ever there was a movie that captured the inner workings and relationships and patterns that compose my own thinking patterns and inner world associations, it's this one.

This is an abstract topic, so I guess it's only natural to find it difficult to use language, which is logical, to describe exactly what I mean.

But bear with me while I try...

Throughout any given moment in life, we have continuous thoughts-- some are ruminations, some are mundane day to day, and some are higher level such as when we get moved to epiphanies unexpectedly, or when the day is just right and we experience a euphoric state on a regular afternoon walk.

Just now I have finished dancing in the kitchen, after feeling infused with something--- beauty? inspiration?--- from seeing the new pink blossoms on the redbud trees swaying in the wind. I'm not sure what that is. And somehow these "good" feelings don't always involve "good" thoughts. Sometimes thoughts of death, of suffering, of the terrible nature of reality, can also blend in but still produce this result of inspiration and of somehow touching divinity.

It is really hard to explain.

But, this movie, Tree of Life, some of the scenes in it reminded me of my own thoughts. Isn't that strange? I've never had this experience when watching a film. I mean, of course there are films that feel familiar, like Amelie's daily life and small amusements, but this is a different level. More subtle and ethereal.

I especially loved the timelines, how flashbacks to early pre-human earth would happen randomly, which might confuse a lot of viewers, but how it made perfect sense to me in the overall storyline.

I should take the time to expound more on this, because the experience was fascinating, but I must hop along now.

If you haven't watched this film, here is the trailer, test it, see what you think. I hope you watch it.

A good conversationalist

One thing I notice that bores me in conversation is when the other person talks too much about themselves.

I think talking about oneself or one's preferences or experiences can be done in a way that considers the other person more, though. It can be done in a way that is interesting. For example, instead of only stating my love of hummingbirds, I could go on to talk about the objective qualities of the hummingbird, what intrigues me about them. This opens up conversation, rather than just saying "Oh yes, *I* love hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are *my* favorite!" (How interesting is that?) You could instead say something like "I love hummingbirds! Did you know that the Anna's Hummingbird overwinters here in the Pacific Northwest; it doesn't migrate like all of the other hummingbirds. I wonder how they cope when the temperatures plummet?"

You're able to state your love of hummingbirds, but also add value by presenting interesting objective information, as well as engage the other person, giving them a chance to provide feedback. Hitting the ping-pong ball rather than catching it.

This creates a more inspired and energized exchange, as opposed to "Oh I love hummingbirds! Hummingbirds are MY favorite!"

To develop self-awareness about if you do this or not, or why you feel bored in conversation with certain people, it can help to examine how many statements begin with "I...." or "My..." without ever leading into something more objective or engaging.

None of this really matters unless it's someone you spend a significant amount of time with. And of course if you're specifically discussing something very you-centric, this doesn't apply either.

This is more a quibble I have about people I'm around often, and why I notice feeling bored in conversation with them.