Friday, December 11, 2009
A Manifesto of Matters
Matters and Mattering
I have the flu today, and am choosing to luxuriate in my listless lack of energy rather than wallow in aggravation at my sniffles and other discomforts.
As part of that, I currently lack the energy to care about a number of things that normally get me worked up. This has crystallised for me some vagues musings I've been having recently, about the things that matter to me.
Not the Things that Matter, you understand. I'm not examining the Universal Truths of Life, if such things exist, just the things that get my heart going, that brighten my eyes and make my arms wave around wildly when I'm boring everyone else by talking on and on about them.
And when I get to the core of it, there's a simple, central theme that unites the things that matter to me. When I get right down to it (and I might have said this before), what matters to me is helping people have more choice, and the ability to make good choices.
Simple, isn't it.
Art matters to me, because it's a living demonstration of the different ways we choose to experience the world and life around us. My art matters to me - apart from the chance to show my perception of life, however subtly, I'm noticing more and more that even my snapshots play with multiple views and interpretations, implications, suggestions and stories rather than straightforward statements. My images matter to me because I can subtly show that the way one person experiences something may be very different to another - and both are interseting.
Health matters deeply to me - mine and others. You don't know how much chronic pain or illness can restrict you until you're lying on a couch doing a cost-benefit analysis of getting up to go to the toilet - and wetting yourself is winning. (No, it's never gotten quite that bad for me, but it's been damned close.)
Community matters too - both the ones I've chosen and the ones that surround me. The people around us inform our choices and shape ourselves and our experience of the world. I'd like to see the stories we construct about ourselves and the people we identify with be as compassionate, supportive and inclusive as possible.
Parts of my job matter to me as well. Being able to make things that can improve people's health & ability to function matters deeply, and I'm both proud and grateful to have the chance to do so. However, the colour of a bottle or its promotional strategy don't matter. Not to me, anyway. I'm excited by doing, not selling. Recently, I've been drawn more deeply into the aspects of work that I dislike doing, and I've destested it. I'm reminding myself, here and now, that it doesn't matter.
So, since I have one body, one consciousness and one current life, I'm going to concentrate on the things that matter to me. There are things I don't care about at all, and I'm not going to fret about that, nor apologise or feel bad. It is what it is.
Today, I'm too listless and tired to care about the things that don't matter to me. When that listlessness has gone, and my nose is no longer trying to choke my eyes in their own weight of mucous, I want to continue to not care about the things that don't matter - and glory in the things that do.