In The New York Times on Sunday, Arthur C. Brooks detailed his quest to sort out what he calls “the Christmas Conundrum.”
“We are supposed to revel in gift-giving and generosity, yet the season’s lavishness and commercialization leave many people cold,” writes Brooks in ‘Abundance Without Attachment.’ “The underlying contradiction runs throughout modern life. On one hand, we naturally seek and rejoice in prosperity. On the other hand, success in this endeavor is often marred by a materialism we find repellent and alienating.”
Brooks’ search sends him to New Delhi, India to meet with a Swami named Gnanmunidas at the Swaminarayan Akshardham Hindu temple. Gnanmunidas’ “formula for a good life,” explains Brooks, “is simple: abundance without attachment.”
How then, to remove attachment? Brooks offers three steps. From the NowPlayingNashville.com persepective, it was the first one that struck me: “First, collect experiences, not things.”
Material things appear to be permanent, while experiences seem evanescent and likely to be forgotten. Should you take a second honeymoon with your spouse, or get a new couch? The week away sounds great, but hey — the couch is something you’ll have forever, right?
Wrong. Thirty years from now, when you are sitting in rocking chairs on the porch, you’ll remember your second honeymoon in great detail. But are you likely to say to one another, “Remember that awesome couch?” Of course not. It will be gone and forgotten. Though it seems counterintuitive, it is physically permanent stuff that evaporates from our minds. It is memories in the ether of our consciousness that last a lifetime, there for us to enjoy again and again.
Since it launched in 2007, NowPlayingNashville.com’s tagline has been “Where to Go … What to Do.” It might be overly simplistic, even trite, to connect an overarching philosophy on removing attachment from your life with going out in Nashville and doing things. But there is something to it. Plays, music performances, fundraisers, film screenings …. they’re all experiences. I can detail vividly many of the concerts I’ve seen in the 16 years I’ve been in Nashville. I have fond memories of some of the fine fundraisers I’ve attended (and the items I scored in the silent auctions … which tended to be experiences). Not only can I recall what happened, I can recall how I felt — at the Belcourt Theatre, Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, High Watt, Family Wash, The Frist Center, Country Music Hall of Fame, Centennial Park and more.
Nashville is a particularly good town for experiences, at all price levels. For as much as the city has grown. For as much as being an “IT” City has brought the nation and the world’s attention upon us, there is still a thing called “Only in Nashville” that only happens when you go out and experience something — in a small club, on a large stage, on a park lawn, or in an old church and everywhere in between. Ask anyone who’s lived here for any amount of time, and they will have an “Only in Nashville” story. If you don’t have one yet, you will. But only if you get out and start collecting experiences. We’ve got a whole list of things to choose from at NowPlayingNashville.com.