Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life, Trauma, Questions & Alexander McQueen

"The Good life is not a place you arrive at. It is a lens you bring to the place you are at right now"

Just yesterday I wore an Alexander McQueen backless dress and felt beautiful in what was a most ingeniously created work of art. In its construction and conception. Must take a beautiful mind to have conjured this I wondered, and then my mind began to ask what made this acclaimed creative genius said to be worth twenty million pounds, commit suicide at 45 at his stunning  two million pound flat in Mayfair, central London? He was doing work he liked, achieved recognition, success, money, fame, adulation and was one of the greatest creative geniuses of our times. Not enough reason to endure living? Are there further barriers to the elusive state called happiness? 

One hint perhaps, was, critics opined, an obsession with the 'Afterlife' that came across in his work. Did he see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, on the other side from life? Perhaps!

The ostensible reason was that the fashion designer – high on cocaine- slashed his wrists with a ceremonial dagger on the eve of mum Joyce's funeral was the grief of her parting. 


But we loose people through life. Life is a series of loss, from the day we are born. So then what is the way out to grapple with pain, loss and suffering? I’d say the  only way out is within. What comes to mind is a famous quote about happiness –‘chasing happiness

Try to capture it and it evades you. Sit on a bench and close your eyes - it will come and rest on your shoulder’.

McQueens psychiatrist  shared with the inquest that he felt constantly let down by people. By friends whom he had felt exploited him, that they had taken advantage of his fame and he had felt "let down" by some long-term relationships. And then he was shattered by the loss of that one person whom he trusted, his mother. And this only highlights the same point, that the very elusive happiness does not come from relationships. Nor even from material triumphs. 

One cannot be obsessive about money, house, friends and faithfulness from those friends, because these wants and expectations prevent peace. 

One can only do what comes one's way and try to be serenely absorbed in that. Remember Fountainhead’s Howard Roark? His greatest joy was the journey, his creation, his obsession with his perfection. Sorrow comes from resisting reality and from discontent.  One has to flow with life and accept the let downs as teachers- to grow with the good and not so good . That is the only way to equanimity. Sorrow is what we allow ourselves to reach in and wallow. Please lets live life one day at a time. I’d have said that Mc Queen. Let Go. Because you can’t change people and you cannot change the past. People are what they are.

So then what is the route to happiness? I believe that there is no such thing as permanence in any state, not even happiness. But one can snatch happy times, learn to savour the moments and like Wordsworth so aptly put it, stand and stare. Do we really ever stop to enjoy nature (whatever little of it we have left)? 

 Greenery is a great healer, and walking barefoot in the grass is therapeutic as is hearing music one enjoys. The good life is not a place you arrive at, it is a lens you bring to the place you are at right now! So snatch happiness and enjoy the journey. Because there is no destination at all but happy moments create a bank balance of fortitude and delight that you delve into when the going gets touch. It makes you into a survivor than a quitter! 

Nisha JamVwal nishajamvwal@gmail.com

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