Category Archives: Arts

Musings on the State of just Being (or My Days of Doing Nothing)

I have been in a state of not having to do something or be somewhere on any particular day or hour for a few days now, a state that is partially voluntary, yet it is not a vacation.

Here is what I have observed so far:

I found myself waking up earlier than I usually did when I had work.

I noticed the details of my house more intently.

I only did things that I wanted to do, not that I had to do and found that I liked doing a lot of the things that I thought I “had” to do!

I found that each day had its own rhythm and it was best to surrender to those rhythms of high energy and low energy.

I thought about things a lot more clearly.

I felt emotionally liberated in that I could feel whatever I wanted to feel without any pressure or control.

I had some very interesting and profound conversations with people.

I discovered that staring at the wall for an hour was not boring at all, but was a sort of peaceful meditation, and a great way to let the mind wander and ponder some deep issues.

I discovered new writers that made me feverish with intellectual excitement.

I got really good as SUDOKU.

I reconnected with reading.

I reconnected with my plants.

I did not for one second feel bored or restless.


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Filed under Arts, Literature

Reading and Other Offline Distractions

Some thoughts now that I have gone back to reading actual books (in paper format).

I won’t talk about the intimate experience of reading a real book and about the connection with the object and the smell of the paper etc… I basically went back to reading offline because I needed to get offline. Here are the thoughts:

FOCUS: Reading on a tablet or laptop or phone is quite distracting for me, because I always find myself interrupted by one thing or another, always multitasking, always in an agitated state of mind: here, there, and everywhere at the same time, and agitation that was both addictive and counterproductive.  Sometimes the mind needs to calm down!

CALM: It’s such a calming effect to only be focuses on one thing at a time!

REFLECTION: Since I am focused and calm, my mind can wander into a state of uninterrupted reflection and thinking without being bothered by electronic signals.

LMA: Leave Me Alone: somehow, if you are actually reading a paper book people are less likely to disturb you than if they see you on some electronic device.  I think it’s because the etiquette of reading is pretty much established, while we’re still working on our e-etiquette.

TIME LAPSE (NOT): Time stretches out and moves at a more natural pace – things take the time they need no more no less.

PERSPECTIVE:  Rereading some stuff that I read years ago, with the perspective of today’s me is an awesome experience, it’s like reading something new altogether.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: Somehow I found that non-electronic reading was a better springboard for creativity, thinking, and emotion than its e-counterpart.




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“Heritages” the Movie: an Introspection on Lebanese Reality

I don’t usually rush to my blog to write movie reviews, I am not an expert in the field of film making but I am a movie buff.

HOWEVER, after watching the movie “Heritages” by Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi, I felt moved and compelled to share this experience.

“Heritages” holds a mirror to our daily realities as Lebanese, our choices, our lack of choices, our constant love hate relationship with this small, deeply flawed, yet beautiful country.  It is a brave endeavor that does not seek to beautify a very bleak reality; it does however approach its subject matter with great love and respect, and that is commendable!!

The movie is an autobiography of a Lebanese family and has a documentary feel to it, but what is really exceptional and noteworthy is that the makers of this film bravely told their intimate histories with depth and honest reflection.  Every Lebanese watching this film will related to this family is some way, they are ‘us’.

Philippe Aractingi’s personal struggle to understand, cope with, and get over the experience of the Lebanese civil war rings very true with those of us who remember it vividly.  It is an experience that we have all tried to keep hidden somewhere in the backs of our minds so we can carry on with our normal lives; the images and scenes that this director chose to show of that era resurrected a monster that we must all learn to face…

The movie deals with all of our doubts and struggles: our diverse backgrounds and heritages, our relationships with each other and with the region around us, our exiles, our returns, and most of all our trying to understand why we are so attached to this country and why we are so reluctant to leave it.

This kind of scripting is very rare in Lebanese cinema as it contains depth and real multi-layered characters and story lines.

Go see it, it’s one of the gems of Lebanese cinema and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.


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Filed under Arts, Social Organization


Worth a read, and if you’re not into reading, worth a watch…

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Filed under Anthropology, Arts, Literature, Political, Social Organization

Let’s Talk about Love

This entry is a deviation from the usual subjects on this blog, and here it goes:

On my way to work today I found a song playing over and over in my head, ‘Mon Dieu’ (My God) by Edith Piaf. It’s one of those songs that I always loved because of its over the top sentimentality, but today it dawned on me that I probably really love this song because of its harsh reality…

The song is a prayer of sort, and the legendary Piaf in the first line pleads with God to keep her lover with her for a little longer: Not asking for forever, not for eternal bliss, not for the silly fairy tale ending, but only for a little more time. No romantic misgivings here, just a plea for more time, time to love and to say what needs to be said, time to create memories, basically time to fully enjoy the feeling of love in the now without regretting a past or looking too much ahead to the future.

This is a song about love devoid of expectation and of plans, a song that realizes the oh so fleeting nature of this all encompassing intoxicating feeling.
This is a song that is very aware of the impact of time on love: lovers always wishing for a little more time, while knowing that time will be the eventual killer of that love…

Mon Dieu ! Mon Dieu ! Mon Dieu !
Laissez-le-moi Encore un peu,
Mon amoureux.
Six mois, trois mois, deux mois…
Laissez-le-moi Pour seulement Un mois…

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Filed under Arts, Poetry

Love in the Time of Politics

Love and Politics in this corner of the world are two things that evoke very strong emotions and reactions. Here very few, if any, grow up without some kind of political ideology (often closely linked with religious dogma) and it becomes entrenched in the mind and part and parcel of the overall individual personality.

Here I am talking about hard core politics, not the kind you find in Western democracies where opposing parties are not necessarily bipolar in nature and ideology. This type of hard core political thinking tends to overshadow all aspects of a person’s life, and yes even a person’s love life.

Love in the romantic sense, is another very strong motivator for an individual, but is it enough to overcome political differences (on the individual level)?

What happens when love and politics clash in the lives of a couple? When their semi inherited ideologies come to a head with each other? What do you think wins: love or politics?

Today, on this Valentine’s day, and especially in this region, political fervor is at its most heightened state with revolution and uprisings and attacks and counter attacks and reactionary movements etc.. Emotions are high, nerves are strained and love is in hiding.  Only those who share the same political thinking are allowed to love each other, all others are destined to clandestine and strained situations.

All emotion is taken up for the ideology war against the others.  Sad times for Love in the time of politics.

Happy Valentine’s day.


Filed under Arts, Political, Social Organization

You Say You Want a Revolution?

This post is just the lyrics of the song ‘revolution’ written by the late great John Lennon in 1968, and still makes sense today to those who question.  It is definitely worth a read and a listen.  (In parentheses are my addenda.)

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out?

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

You say you’ve got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan (Yea, where is the plan?)
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We are doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is, brother, you’ll have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead (we are all prisoners of our own conceptions of our systems)
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao (or Che, or any modern day leader, guru, revolutionary or anti-leader)
You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

and here’s the song:

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