Being a fool is cool!
Definition of fool:
1 : a person lacking in judgment or prudence Only a fool would ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
2 : a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding
In the start of the new seasons, I often feel uneasy, like I’m not sure if I’m ready to adapt to the given cycle. Fortunately for me, I have no impact on the rest of the natural world in these times. I cannot stop the flowers from blooming, or the birds from flying back home. I cannot deny the reality of change everywhere, to do so, I would have to be a fool. Which got me thinking about April fools’ day and why it is, we celebrate such a thing.
The history of it is unknown to the world, we can only speculate. Perhaps it has to do with the switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, the former of which would have placed the new year right around the date of April 1st (close to the spring equinox). The people who didn’t keep up with the times and continued celebrating the new year at that time would be considered April fools.
Others believe it’s a continuation of Hilaria, an ancient tradition practiced in Rome, where people dressed up and mocked each other in honor of the Egyptian legends Isis, Osiris and Seth.
Yet another theory is for people like me, who are fooled, or at least made to feel like one, by Mother Nature and the unpredictable weather around this time.
I can’t tell you which one of these is the truth, but I do find it fascinating that we celebrate this day internationally. What does this say about our culture? To me, it says that jokes, be that practical or otherwise, are an inherent part of our life. We constantly remind each other that you cannot take anything too seriously - not even yourself, that change is inevitable and if you try to deny that, you are a fool.
But isn’t there beauty in being a fool sometimes? In embracing the unknown and letting yourself be clueless, be made fun of? Maybe that’s exactly why we celebrate, instead of the point being pranking others, maybe the even more important aspect is allowing ourselves to be pranked, to be accepted as being the fool for once.
If the definition is lacking common powers of understanding, don’t we all do that at some point or another in our lives? In this ever perfect world, where it seems like everyone is an expert, not knowing can bring up so much shame and anxiety. But the truth is, everyone has to start somewhere, everyone has to start as the fool to become the master.
Beginner's mind is the mindset with which you do something new. There are no pathways formed in your brain yet, no habitual behavior to fall back on. You are unable to do it unconsciously.
We often hear the phrase “Ignorance is bliss” But maybe the truth is, bliss is the moment right between ignorance and enlightenment, when you’re not sure how you’re going to do something, but you have no other option than to figure it out and just do it, you are the fool, but that fresh perspective often gives the experience so much more value.
In Buddhist meditations, some people strive to maintain this Beginner’s mind, so as to not just go through the motions of an action without actually being present in the now.
Aka: Being the fool is cool!
No matter the reason for the celebration, it is so interesting to me, that we always find ways to embrace the unknown, sometimes it is through laughing or making fun of each other and ourselves, and sometimes it’s by doing something you’ve done a thousand times before, but this time, actually doing it with conscious awareness.
So happy April Fools’ day to all of us foolish people around the globe. I hope you celebrate, laugh and don’t take yourself too seriously.
May we continue to grow and learn, and yet remember it’s okay to not know things, and to make fun of ourselves every now and again.
Lots of love and a big hug. Happy Spring <3