Monday, September 17, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

...REAL Courage...

Today, as I stand to face the unyielding pain that seems to wish me undone, I am again reminded that one must dig deep to find REAL courage. Because no matter what "they" may say or how "they" insist that there is "nothing we can do", in my own heart I know that none of this is my Truth. I do not believe, for one second, that I was made this way so that I would succumb to such nonsense. Being stubborn and tenacious and utterly immovable in my belief, I will not abide their hopeless predictions. I will stand and face this Thing, whatever it may be, and hear Its message. I will hold fast to my Courage and trust that there is a reason. For all of it. And so, as much for myself as for those who may need it, here is a reminder of what REAL Courage IS:

"You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked?
Have you ever risked disapproval?
Have you ever risked a belief?
There is nothing particularly courageous in risking one's life.
So you lose go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey til the end of time, right?
You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences.
That's not courage.
Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with.
Real courage s risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts
and suffer change
and stretch consciousness.
Real courage is risking one's

{from the novel "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins}

Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Lottery Dream Home

A few lifetimes ago, I did a research paper for a Psychology class. I was curious to know what people want...and why. So, for about a month, I stood outside various campus buildings and waited for students to pass by, asking them.

What do you want?
Why do you want it?
How do you think the having of it is going to make you feel?

Without exception every single student began with what they didn't want. Without exception. Once they'd given that answer I would ask, "Okay. So now I know what you don't want. But the question here is, 'What DO you want?'"

After all these years, I can still recall how the majority of them had to think for more than a few moments to come up with an answer. Many of them couldn't answer  at all. They simply didn't know what they wanted. But they were quite passionate about what they didn't.

To this day, I do occasionally ask people the same question. Mostly because I am still curious. Not surprisingly, their answers are the same.
They tell me what they don't want, which leads me to the next question (which is a bit different from the one I asked back then):
" Yes but... do you know what you want?"

It's almost scary to hear their responses. Really. Scary. Because the majority of them tell me what they don't want, and why, and this always, always leads to my (now) next question which is, "Why does that scare you so much?"

I have learned, over the course of my own experiences, that Fear is a major force in the lives of many. We are constantly fed stories, on the news, and on social media, and in the countless ads we see on television that lead us to more FEAR. It's small wonder that so many people walk around in a constant state of anxiety, given the massive doses we're fed on a daily basis.

A sad and sorry testament to our "modern" lives.

So...the other day, whilst watching a tennis match, a commercial for an HGTV show came on. The name of this show is: "My Lottery Dream Home". In this commercial, the host goes on and on about how he's going to show you how to live the lavish life of a millionaire..."because you CAN!". I watched this 60 second spot with an ever-growing queasiness in my stomach. The whole of the ad was as over-the-top as you might expect for such a show. It was, quite literally, sickening.

And it got me to thinking about what people really want. Again. Why do people think that living in a garish mansion with gold toilets and massive circular stairways and foyers big enough to land a plane and 10 bathrooms and gated driveways and (fill in the rest. I know you can do it!) is going to make them feel any better than they do living in a 3-bedroom house with porcelain toilets in their 2 bathrooms? What makes people hunger for such things? Do they really think that having all that fit-for-a-king stuff is going to make them feel "more than"? Is living a millionaire lifestyle what it's going to take to make any of us feel better about ourselves? Do we think that these things are going to fill up the gaping holes in our souls?

Call me crazy (or maybe you'll call me other things. No matter. There's a point to all this. If you'll just hear me out.) but I find the whole gamut of such TV shows as distasteful as rotten fish on a bed of maggots. I'm not saying that wanting "more" is a bad thing. In fact, I believe we're wired that way. It's how we progress. As a species. We achieve whatever it is we strive for and then we set higher goals for ourselves in order to achieve more. I believe it is as innate a characteristic as wanting our children to live better lives than we did. HOWEVER...

{Oh you just KNEW that was coming, didn't you?}

It seems to me that this constant supply of fear-driven information has somehow warped our sense of reality. We see the women on "Real Housewives of....(whatever city you want) and we want to live those lives. Forget the fact that all that crap is staged and most of them don't actually live/talk/dress that way. It's TELEVISION, for Pete's sake! And then there are the Victoria's Secret models strutting across the screen with their "perfect" breasts and teeny waists and pouty lips, all dolled up to perfection and starving for a burger and fries. We see them and want to look like them and drive ourselves crazy when we can't reach such impossible standards. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cosmetic surgery to avoid the signs of aging. We buy things we can't really afford on credit cards that are so maxed out we're drowning in debt, all because we want what we don't have so we can feel better about ourselves.

Where does it end?
How can we expect our world to evolve into a better, kinder, more humane place when we're all so consumed by...

I wrote that paper when I was a mere 20-something. And still, the questions eat at me.

What do you want?
Why do you want it?
How do you think the having of it is going to make you feel?

Do you suppose that all this madness is driving us to extinction OR to the realization that our lives don't need to be lavish to be GOOD? Do you think that by seeing the hatred and injustice and utter waste, we can clear our heads and be inspired to ignore the Fear long enough to right the wrongs that seem so horribly abundant in our world today?

Do you THINK...that we can find our way again and decide, once and for all, that "things" do not the Human make?

If JOY is our reason for Being, (as I believe it is), and we get to choose, why, then, do we choose to suffer instead? Why do we ache for things that, in all likelihood, will never make us feel the Joy that comes from hearing a child laugh or watching a litter of puppies frolic or feeling the kiss of the Sun on our faces?

If living in a mansion with gold toilets and enormous foyers is your version of Joy, my only question then is:

Are you living the Joy while you try to get there?