Jun 7 2017

Learn To Do Everything Lightly

An hour into dinner last night with Alex Rigopulos, he picked up his phone, tapped away at it for a few seconds, and slid it across the table to me. I then read the following:

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.”

– Island, Aldous Huxley

Alex and I have been close friends for over 20 years. I was an early angel investor in Harmonix in the mid-1990s, enjoyed the Viacom acquisition of Harmonix in 2007, watched Alex and his co-founder Eran acquire Harmonix back from Viacom in 2010, and then I invested again in the company in 2013 with my partners at Foundry Group. Throughout, we’ve had an emotionally intimate relationship that I treasure, even though we aren’t often in the same physical location.

Our conversation last night was 1% Harmonix and 99% life. I prefer this as I have plenty of time to talk about work with Alex and the team at Harmonix, but precious little time to sit quietly, with a very long-time friend, and talk about life.

The Huxley quote surfaced as we were talking about attachment, detachment, and non-attachment. Walking lightly and non-attachment are similar, so we spiraled deep into that for a while, enjoying a harmonious intertwining conversation about these concepts against the backdrop of our current life.

As I walked home from dinner for the third night in a row in the rain in Kendall Square, I barely felt my feet touching the ground.


Also published on Medium.