I joined a new gym. I found it on kijiji. House of Sisyphus. “We train the body AND the mind.” That was all it said. Not much to go on really, but the price was right, FREE.
So I shot them an email. I got a reply from some guy named Bert Camu. Weird name. I think he might be European. His emails were weird. He said nothing about a gym, but instead rambled off a list of things I needed to get. Snowshoes. Rope. An old tire. A bucket. Luckily I had it all here already. He told me to “start to walking around yard pulling tire. Every day. Especially after it snows. Den adding weight to bucket. Den again.” Ok, I thought, must be some sort of tree-hugger CrossFit shit, but whatevs, I’ll give it a try. “How long do I pull it?” I asked him. “Until you feel to vomit.” he said. “Every day. When you arrive from your work.” So I did. Didn’t hear much from him. He would send one line emails, “you are doing tha pulling, yes?” I would respond, yes. When I told him that I had started to do the workouts in my street clothes that I wore to work – that I seemed to get some perverse pleasure in getting my work clothes all sweaty, he replied rather excitedly, “YES! YES! GOOD! GOOD!” Finally I got up the nerve to ask him if I was ready to level up, maybe move to the next routine. “No.” He said. “Dere is nudding else.” That seemed odd, but I thought maybe it was just a language thing, so I kept doing the workouts, and finding I was feeling better, happier. I‘m sure my neighbours are having a laugh. “There’s that guy again, pulling his tire. Doesn’t he know it’s just going to snow and he’ll have to do it all over again?” Truth is, if they asked me why I’m doing it, I don’t know that I could put any logical answer into words for them. Or that I care. As an added bonus, now when I take the dog out at night, I have a nice path all the way to the back of my yard, away from the house and the lights and I can stand and stare at every star in the sky. My last 3 emails to Bert have bounced back. His ad isn’t up on kijiji anymore. Weird. I didn’t imagine at first I’d be happy with such a simple exercise routine, but strangely enough I am. Just gotta roll with it I guess.
Shared my Camus/Sisyphus observation with my buddy and personal sage, A. Titus Esq., the other day and he of course responded as only he could:
“A position I have long held to be so…One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Nietzsche called this ‘Amor fati’. Or as I like to call it, ‘be quiet and go’.”
I’ve read some Nietzsche, but not much and never studied his philosophy formally so had never happened upon this observation of his, but apparently Amor fati was a recurring tenet from his writings. From Wikipedia:
“Amor fati (lit. “love of fate”) is a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one’s life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.
This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, [emphasis mine] but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what Nietzsche apparently means by the concept of “eternal recurrence“: a sense of contentment with one’s life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.”
I don’t know how your days usually go, but not every one of mine includes a ‘holy shit’ moment, so when I come across one, I stop and recognize it. I particularly like the notion that acceptance of one’s fate doesn’t mean you still can’t strive to improve or change it, just that you are no longer at odds with it.
Excuse me while I get on with the being quiet and go-ing.
So, according to Camus, Sisyphus was happy with his predicament.
Huh. Hadn’t seen that one coming, but kinda makes sense.
“Finally, he is clear on the fact that the purpose of life isn’t to live as good and comfortable as possible, but it’s to live as much as possible. It’s to have a zest and a passion for reality no matter what it brings you, and this isn’t at all dependent on the world but on each of us.”