I remember reading in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project about she turned everything into a spiritual exercise, endowing mundane activities and tasks with a noble purpose. What she did was simple: reframing something in her mind with the word “meditation.” You know, like “washing dishes meditation,” or “riding the bus meditation,” or “folding laundry meditation.” It’s all very ordinary yet insightful, in that trademark Gretchen Rubin way.
Since then, I’m slightly obsessed with how adding a simple word to a simple subject can transform it into something else entirely — and how it shifts your perception of the world just a bit in the meanwhile. Turning everything into a meditation, though, wasn’t really my bag. How I feel about meditation is how most people think about Sunday school: it was something my parents forced me to do as a kid, and while I know how beneficial and awesome it is, I still have this innate feeling of “ewwwwwness” that comes from my childhood. I should get over it, but I haven’t and as a result, I can’t turn washing dishes into some spiritual activity — it’s just washing dishes, still.
But finally I have a very Kat Asharya kind of equivalent to this kind of thought game: Goth everything. You know: Goth bill-paying. Goth casserole making. Goth organizing. Goth computer updating. Goth dating. Goth grocery shopping. The possibilities are endless! In my head I turn everything Goth, and it spirals into a odd yet lovely fantasia of everyday life, transforming into something like a Tim Burton movie. Imagine:
Goth money management: You light your candles and lay out your bills in a circle, contemplating yourself as a simple, forlorn node in the complex network that is the universe’s economy. You lay out your checkbook like a sacrificial virgin on the altar of prosperity. When you write out checks, you put lines of Mallarme’s poetry in the memo line. You listen to Depeche Mode’s “Everything Counts” while you do all this.
Goth sunset: The minute the sun touches the horizon, you take a picture of it on Instagram and use the Brannan filter.
Goth driving: At night, on a narrow country road, going fast, listening to Sisters of Mercy.
The possibilities are endless! Endlessly amusing, of course, but beyond the surface-level oddballness (Goth accounting!), it’s interesting how making everything Goth in your head makes you see how everything is impermanent and temporary, and how this can make everything so poignantly beautiful. Goths are fascinated by mortality because it pervades every aspect of earthly existence, and helps you appreciate it in the present moment. And then, of course, you think of something like Goth bathing suits or Goth ice cream, and you kind of giggle to yourself at how funny the world would be if everything was Gothed out. (I think Goth ice cream would be like black pepper, truffle and chocolate. Yum…)
You don’t, of course, have to use “Goth” as your mental talisman of transformation. Try “witchy,” perhaps. Or “existential.” (Existential ice cream!) Or “Satanic!” (Satanic ice cream!) Just something to transmute the everyday ordinary stuff we take for granted into something else, at least in your imagination. The world is a magical place, and so is your mind!