Transcendental Weekend

Transcendental Weekend

of or relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm
These journal entries were written over the course of three days. I rid myself of all the stuff I felt was intertwined in my life, yet not essential. The original recordings were handwritten in a personal journal. Through this experience, I was able to feel temporarily transformed and gradually liberated and free from materialism, which allowed me to really live in the moment, a concept that Henry Thoreau, a major supporter of transcendentalism emphasized. That was until I returned back to my life as I knew it!

Friday, November 13

9:58 AM

I found myself instinctively reaching for my phone this morning before getting out of bed. Instead, I grabbed hold of this tattered journal.

11:33 AM

I’ve been pacing up and down my room for the past ten minutes debating whether or not I can really give up all of my possessions for the next three days. Then I realized that there are people who have nothing in this world. I have clothes on my back, food, a family and shelter, that’s more than anything I can ask for. I can and I will do this.

12:04 PM

My phone, my wallet, my camera, my computer, my makeup all piled up on my desk. stuff, stuff, and more stuff. How did all of this stuff become so intertwined in my life? There is so much more to life than materialistic items, but it’s so hard living in a world with so much to share, so much that you’d like to record and show your friends or capture the moment instead of actually being in the moment.

12:30 PM

Whoever says living a simplistic life in this modern era is easy, is only kidding themselves. The truth is, it’s incredibly hard. After liberating myself from all my “stuff” I feel empty and alone. I realize this is only the beginning of the journey so I better have a positive outlook.

1:31 PM

I picked up my book today. A clean layer of dust from abandonment. I haven’t laid hands on it since the summer. I un-doggy eared the page to p.23 where I had left off. The words looked unfamiliar. I decided to begin again, maybe a fresh start isn’t such a bad idea.

2:30 PM

I forgot how much I love to read. It’s really an escape from my complicated life. “You were an incredibly voracious reader,” my dad would say.

4:30 PM
And we’re off to the country! Every bump and jitter excites me. My ears, usually deafened with music from my iPod or my eyes trying to capture the perfect shot with my camera, now able to enjoy the scenery and live in the moment.

6:45 PM

Ah, beautiful fresh air. Absorbing into my pores. I wasn’t on my phone; my fingers weren’t clicking away trying to explain to other how beautiful it was here. For the first time in a while, I felt liberated and free.

5:03 PM

Wow, I didn’t realize how quickly it gets dark out these days. Right now, I’m slouched in our outdoor hammock, which is hanging from a cute little tree. I’m watching the silhouettes of the youngsters bouncing up and down on the trampoline. Even though I’ve only begun this experiment today, I realize living life is not from behind a screen; it’s truly living in it and immersing yourself. Why wait for a friend to respond to your texts when instead you could be relaxing reading a “rollicking good tale” or actually communicating with people.

Saturday, November 24

9:58 AM

This is really strange, I’m starting todays entry the same exact time I started yesterdays first entry. Even though I started it at the same time, I already feel worlds different. Life is sweeter. I jumped out of bed, excited for what this day would bring. The smell of perfectly cooked bacon crept underneath the door crack wafting into my nostrils. I could hear the sizzle of frying eggs…everything was melodiously sweet. It’s not until now that I realize I don’t have my phone, my computer, my makeup or any other things from my pile of stuff with me.

2:51 PM

Just visited a museum called Masa Moca today in the town of North Adams. It was like the Moma, only better. The slanted hallways and the intricate and exotic sculptures and paintings were mesmerizing. I walked into a room of white walls…or so I thought. I took a step closer and noticed they were full of intricate geometric lines, thousands of them covering the walls. They were so faint you would have missed them unless you really looked close. If I had my camera I wouldn’t have seen the lines.

6:03 PM

Fresh-faced, wearing a smile, I opened the door to the restaurant next door. Makeup wasn’t clinging to my face, I could enjoy dinner with my dad and brother and eat messy chicken wings.

Sunday, November 25

9:08 PM

We’re on our way home from the Berkshires. I had the best time. Liberated and free from all my stuff, I was able to enjoy life and be in the moment. I realize that I can’t always come to the country when I feel the commotion of the city, but I can learn to reduce and simplify so life isn’t so stressful. You can’t always be like Thoreau and go off to live in a cabin in the woods, but you can live in a cabin in your mind.

Ariel Rissman, Age 15 Garde 10, Packer Collegiate Institute, Honorable Mention

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