My Zone A (flood zone) apartment in Brooklyn has a nice view of the East River, and there's a part of me that wishes I could have stayed to watch as Hurricane Irene sent surges up and down the streets that meet the river's shore. But this thrill-seeking urge was put into perspective when my downstairs neighbor's ceiling collapsed and the antique store next door flooded; when I heard and read the reports of hard-hit areas upstate and in other states.


Still, the day after the storm people in my neighborhood were complaining about how "boring" the storm was. "I was expecting so much more" said the mother of two children who I was talking to at a local playground. This got me thinking about what "boredom" means. Is the muddle of daily life really so boring that we crave catastrophe and destruction even though we know how they tear other people's lives apart? 

For this month's newsletter I decided to reflect on a few insights from writers who have thought about boredom.

I hope you find this interesting and if you do, would be happy to hear from you. If you have any links or ideas, please send them along to


- Be safe, Kristin


On Boredom and Other Meaningful Things


On the one hand, every mundane and tedious situation we encounter in our daily lives has the potential to be meaningful. But when boredom happens because you're stuck in a house for three days with no power; when you're unemployed and confronted with a glut of unstructured idleness; when a medical condition leaves you with mounds of paperwork and insurance claims -- the suggestion that spiritual insight happens in these moments might seem like an insult.


Finding insight in boredom is a difficult thing to do given our complicated relationship to the very structure of time. William James writes that we're in a constant war with the mundane and that boredom (tedium) is a protest against the entire present.


He writes: 


"Close your eyes and simply wait to hear somebody tell you that a minute has elapsed. The full length of your leisure with it seems incredible. You engulf yourself into its bowels as into those of that interminable first week of an ocean voyage, and find yourself wondering that history can have overcome many such periods in its course. All because you attend so closely to the mere feeling of the time per se and because your attention to that is susceptible of such fine-grained successive subdivision...the feeling of bare time is the least stimulating experience we can have."(1)


John Berryman's Dream Sonnet #14 manifests that disdain for the feeling of bare time:


Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so. 

After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,

we ourselves flash and yearn,

and moreover my mother told me as a boy

(repeatingly) "Ever to confess you're bored 

 means you have no  


  Inner Resources." I conclude now I have no

            inner resources, because I am heavy bored.  

...(click here to read the rest of the poem.)    


Perhaps a general lack of inner resources makes us experience boredom as problematic, or maybe it's just the cultural guilt-trip (that little voice in your head) that makes boredom seem like such a bad thing. Regardless, it's ingrained in our culture to seek out distraction and eradicate boredom -- which means that the designers of Angry Birds will continue to make billions off the general fear of tedium. And we'll no doubt go on craving the stimulation of disaster, especially if we can remotely observe bad things happening to other people. And, anyway, even the biggest catastrophes become boring too.


Boredom clearly is not going anywhere. But instead of trying so hard to be constantly stimulated, what if we confronted boredom head-on. It's a fluid and evolving state of mind that hits almost everyone at some time; it doesn't need to be loathed, overcome, or eradicated


So be bored and notice yourself being bored. "There I am, being bored again." Notice what emotions it brings up, and reflect on who you are when you are bored. Notice other people when they are bored, and commiserate with them (waiting in line is the best place to practice this.) And when that gets boring, go out and do something else. 


I wonder: if boredom were culturally embraced as an inevitable but evolving state of mind, would tedium become...exciting? And disasters strike us as genuinely tragic even when they happen to other people?


Kristin Prevallet is a hypnotherapist certified through the National Guild of Hypnotists and a Mental Health Coach working on her certification through the International Association of Counselors and Therapists. She is also a poet and essayist who is the author of four books, including I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time. In both her workshops and in her work with private clients she combines integrative methods of hypnosis, energy psychology, and coaching. Visit her website for more information at



Workshops to Reinvigorate Creative Minds

Sept. 9, 6-9pm: 

     Flow States

Sept. 23, 6-9pm:           Automatic Writing 

Sept. 30, 6-9pm: 

    Transforming Metaphors 

Oct. 7, 6-9pm:



$40-$55 each (sliding scale for underemployed artists, writers, and students.) 


292 Fifth Avenue (NYC, betw. 30th and 31st)


For more information check out
To r.s.v.p. you can reply to this email, or call 347-384-2004.  

more On Boredom:

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all. (John Cage)


"Looking back now, I realize how much I owe to my boredom. Drowning in it, I came face to face with myself as if in a mirror." (Charles Simic on boredom and Hurricane Irene)

"So I would say boredom is a very loose medium in which the heterogeneity of the world can be gathered without coalescing into something meaningful-like a book."(Tan Lin

Boredom undermines the accident that arrives from outside history. Boredom is the placid effect of diminished expectations, without which ambush, surprise, the unpredictable miracle, the gift of irruption, could not occur. (Tyrone Williams from  Miracle, Accident, Race - or Boredom)



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