Proust’s Q’s & A’s

Javier’s answers to Marcel Proust’s Questionnaire, April 2020

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

– Knowing that I am fulfilling my purpose for being here on Earth.

What is your greatest fear?

– That I may waste this great opportunity of an earthly life. It’s not really a fear but an invitation to get over myself and get on with the program.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

– Not always following my own gut feelings in the moment and then having to backtrack and catch up with them.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

– Arrogance, which is something I am also occasionally guilty of.

Which living person do you most admire?

– All the people who dare to be themselves.

What is your greatest extravagance?

– Contemplation and appreciation of the beauty and mysteries of the Universe: it may be of no practical use and therefore perceived as an extravagance, but it is vital to my sense of purpose.

What is your current state of mind?

– Happily calm, like riding in a luxury car across amazing landscapes with no traffic.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

– One-on-one romantic love and asceticism.

On what occasion do you lie?

– Never: the truth may be hard to express and hear, but in the end it saves a lot of trouble.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

– Fading tattoos that I am not willing to have retouched.

Which living person do you most despise?

– Despise may be too strong, but I do react to blatant liars who insult my intelligence with their lies.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

– Vulnerability, honesty, and sense of humor.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

– Honesty, vulnerability, and sense of humor.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

– “What I say is just a personal viewpoint: feel free to dismiss it if it doesn’t resonate with you.”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

– This planet and the stars above it.

When and where were you happiest?

– As my capacity to experience happiness keeps deepening, I would say, “Right here, right now”

Which talent would you most like to have?

– Right now, the ability to play a charango, a small South American guitar.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

– Nothing: it’s the paradoxical totality of the package that is so fascinating!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

– The courage to follow my soul path over and over again, no matter where it leads me.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

– A spoiled cat in the countryside or a much-needed bridge.

Where would you most like to live?

– Right here in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

What is your most treasured possession?

– Of course, my music collection!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

– Self-betrayal, self-loathing, and self-rejection.

What is your favorite occupation?

– Supporting other people in their healing and awakening through writing and leading healing retreats here in Peru.

What is your most marked characteristic?

– According to many: compassionate bullshit detecting and the ability to find a suitable song for every occasion. Personally: the willingness to always be open to question my assumptions and beliefs.

What do you most value in your friends?

– Their warmth, support, and sense of humor.

Who are your favorite writers?

– Tom Robbins, Jim Dodge, Hermann Hesse, and the poet Hafiz.

Who is your hero of fiction?

– Switters in “Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates” by Tom Robbins, and Roman emperor Hadrian in “Hadrian’s Memoirs” by Marguerite Yourcenar.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

– No one in particular.

Who are your heroes in real life?

– Martin Luther King, Jr. and Keith Haring.

What are your favorite names?

– Yuki (“snow” in Japanese), Rumi (not only for the poet but because it’s the Quechua word for “rock”), Rocco, and Andrea.

What is it that you most dislike?

– A flat gray sky that doesn’t change for days.

What is your greatest regret?

– Visiting New York City for the first time only after the closing of the Paradise Garage nightclub.

How would you like to die?

– Horizontally, outdoors, with the Earth beneath and the Sky above me, and a smile on my face.

What is your motto?

– “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” by R. L. Stevenson