Emptying out

In other words, being on vacation. To be free from obligations means being "idle, empty; to abandon, give out."
This is the first summer that I can attest to experiencing the meaning of those words, actively. Actively empty and idle. We all know Bertrand Russell's In Praise of Idleness, or Robert Louis Stevenson's "An apology for Idlers." We know, intuitively, or rationally if we have studied some philosophy, the importance of play. But I continue to find it strange and uncomfortable to face such emptiness.
It is a discipline to be able to relax into nothingness, letting the hours have their way, becoming attuned to the quietest inner voice that can only be heard when there is no structure. Discerning which kinds of emptiness bring nourishment as opposed to the fast food of nothingness.
The quickly-grown chicken of the mind, so fat and boneless that it cannot walk, occurs where idleness degenerates into sloth. It is not enough to fill the hours with TV-viewing or consistent cocktail hour, or whatever else deters from the listening, from the patience one is wise to lend oneself. On the other side of the void is something of better quality. To wait in faith, fishing in that emptiness, one will find fish.
There are different phases of emptiness. To empty oneself out - one first drains out all that one wanted but that didn't happen, and it is sad to come to such realisations; one fails at a few projects while learning is happening, and it is so hard to fail; one is subject to all the turbulence that happens before one accepts the nothingness for what it is.
There may be no long-distance bus rides, oh such jewelled diversions from self!, but instead, the world shrinks to much smaller turns of the hand, in one's little home. Where there are but flowers to be placed on tables, skies to be watched. Mornings to be listened to. Attention brought to where we live. Attention brought to how we live. Then, a slipping back into the knots of knitting, listening to their progress while watching travel programs on TV, dreaming the travel - in my dreams twice now I have gone abroad: once to Spain where I saw magical haystacks in vallied fields - haystacks from paintings I imagined were real, paintings I imagined in my dream...
The subconscious brings forth what the soul calls out for. When we possess nothing, we have more of a reason to grab hold of the tiniest of things, like the impression in one single dream. It is the world in inverse; one watches the world come out of oneself, and recognizes the symbols one is longing for, recognizes the destination one is moving towards. Only in emptiness do we truly see our τέλος - that end to which our lives are pointed. In Timaeus, Plato describes the actual cause of things as that which makes a thing good. What makes my life good? The answer to this question comes from the hunger during the fast.
I often say I would never choose emptiness or "making do" without something. Emptiness is so uncomfortable. But it is precisely the emptying out that makes space for something better.

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