washed-up too soon? NO!

“If you go to the Buddhist meditation center, they make you taste each bite of food, so it takes two hours—it’s horrible—to eat your lunch! But you’re conscious of the taste of food! If you’re just eating out of habit, then you don’t taste the food and you’re not conscious of the reality of what’s happening to you. You enter the dream world again.” – Andre Gregory

Large disillusioned masses flock to city squares with little to no agenda and are often criticized for being so stubborn within the myth of participatory democracy. “Occupy a job,” so many will say with absolute resolve. Maybe we are witnessing the stages of grief of a people promised far too much by the American Dream. There is no way that everyone is on the same stage and therefore they have difficulty understanding each other.

Shock and denial that things have gotten to this point; they feel it will recover regardless of new leadership or worse believe it depends upon the upcoming elections. Others who do not believe this turn to pain and guilt. Being 2012, the world is quite chaotic and ominous, maybe more so than any other time, although probably just like any other year. When people begin to see what is really going on or see the system as broken, they turn to anger and bargaining. Yelling, protesting, resolutions, and all the other emotions at peak capacity are followed by a crash into depression under the impression that nothing will change.

Press on! It is the only way to break free from this despair, things start to get better, we begin to work through our collective problems, and then finally we accept the system and creative rules of the game to make things better for everyone. Seems easy enough and why not? There’s no reason to complicate everything or assume that most people are just wrong. Experience and education vary from nothing to too much. Many cannot even have a simple conversation on the world without reverting to “it’s just too complex to talk about, let’s talk about what was on the television last night or the weather.”just a man pointing at the horizon

Sometimes you have to find a new scene in order to see things more clearly. Remember one thing though. You bring you wherever you go. Changing your scene should not be thought of as an escape but instead as a way to better understand yourself under different circumstances. Everything is evolving regardless of where you are at the present moment. Generalizations, which are often regrettably used in this and many previous posts, can be dangerous unless you are willing to go and see for yourself if what you are saying is valid. Consciousness of the world is great. Do not take it personal though. Even if you were not part of the equation, most of it would remain the same. Since you are part of it, take a moment and talk about it with a friend sooner rather than later.

Turn it upside down

The idealized memory of the promising few casts a shadow of fear that many take to heart. This crisis of perception is not new and is used each year to justify so-called original works of art. The founders said this, the founders believed in that, the founders would roll over in their graves. Those who write history are people just like us all. They struggle to meet their editor’s deadline and from time to time compromise on accuracy. We should all take a moment to turn the argument upside down and see what makes sense and what does not. The truth seldom makes sense compared against a beginning to end fiction. What actually happened may come across as cliché compared to a sonnet written under duress. How do we judge source validity? If the grammar is off, do we lose confidence in the final conclusion? The same goes for people who may not have the best reputation, yet were there when the event happened. They saw with their own eyes, yet many would rather believe the spin of the corporate news anchor. The accuracy of interpretations matters less and less these days.

Self-diagnosis is not recommended when it comes to serious conditions. We have more access to information than at any other time in history. So when we notice symptoms of an ailment, it is easy to assume the worse, which creates a situation of self-fulfilling prophecies. The ramifications of this ability intensify when looking at the affairs of the modern world. Talking heads on every channel give their confident perspectives which very often contradict what they said the previous day. Politicians manipulate everything to suit their agenda and those who support them. Pollsters make ridiculous predictions with plus or minus two percentages and are taken literally by the undecided voters who either support the underdog or jump on the bandwagon. Millionaire strategists understand this concept and are paid even more to set up the wealthiest candidates for victory regardless of their ability to inspire. Instead of becoming pawns in their game, why not take another moment and really think about what is going on? Imagine the possibilities if everyone took an extra fifteen minutes a day to read and acknowledge that which they normally find to go against what they believe in. This advanced citizenship is not an easy feat, but would probably lead those individuals seeking positions of power to take a more human approach to their campaigns. Maybe then, the habit of seeking the truth will finally sink in.

Choose now!

The initial conditions of snow covered roads are treacherous. Just the other day, my truck slipped off the road and without any control was headed straight for a telephone pole. For some reason, instead of twisting the steering wheel back onto the road, I straightened the tires and expected to go straight on through, hopefully to the right of the pole and into a snow bank. It all occurred too quick to really know how what actually happened next. The truck must have hit some bump in a ditch and it bounced back onto the road. Thinking back, I remember sliding uncontrollably accepting the crash as if it had already taken place. The natural reaction would have been to correct course as soon as I started sliding. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision or not. All I know is that the truck bounced back onto the road and later in the day when I came back to the scene of what happened, the wind had covered up whatever had caused the miraculous save. It was cold and dark, so I didn’t bother digging through the snow. Maybe when the weather warms, I’ll be able to discover what it really was. It doesn’t matter though.

from Patch Adam's book, Gesundheit!

Waiting for something to happen is one of the toughest aspects of life. Whether it be a positive outcome or negative, the feeling is the same. The result of this waiting is too much thinking. The waiting game as it is often referred leads to anxiety along with a mixture of hope and despair. There is no way to predict exactly what will happen. Some days are characterized by evidence of all the good life has to offer with optimism. Others are not easy and drag on through pessimistic thoughts of how bad things can get. Most days have both ups and downs with variations of speed. There is no reason to let that ruin the present moment. Why spend so much time in the waiting room, when there are alternatives? It all depends on what the individual believes is the right course of action. The important thing is the decision to act. Even if the options are unclear, a choice must be made and fast or the waiting will go on forever. Or worse, the chance to make a difference will fade away. Nobody is damned. No matter how bad things seem, they are usually a little better than perceived. Keep a steady head, face the music, and continue on. As this habit of choosing to act grows, what was once an impossible situation now becomes realistically solvable. Thinking too much about it is recipe for inaction. Life is not meant to be spent waiting. Accepting what is out of one’s control is a vital choice to make and leads to further options on how to deal with whatever comes. So make it happen.

Acting out, living out

There is no reason to be so defensive. Knowledge does not come easy and very often the resistance to new ideas prevents advancement. Nobody has it all figured out and if they come across as if they do, they are probably more lost than you. Humility is a vital step toward growth. The question becomes: how teachable are you?

“Half of the people can be part right all of the time. Some of the people can be all right part of the time. But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time.” Dylan misquoted Lincoln and many others, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We can still carry messages to each other, not say it the exact way it was meant to be said, and manage to share the idea effectively. Sure, an argument should be sound and as close to perfection as possible to stand up to scrutiny. However if you look close, you’ll always find imperfection. Nothing ever is perfect and by dismissing things beneath unrealistic standards, there will be no progress. After all, even the sloppy points, if taken together, manage to lead to great results. Measures of success vary on so many levels. We have to make do with what we have in front of us and not lament our perceived limitations.

Some people refuse to acknowledge any of these points and have grown within a sheltered existence where they are never wrong. Avoid these people at all cost. They are unlikely to change and it is not your business to try to change them. Never take anything personally from these types when chance does bring them across your path. There literally is not enough time to convince these people how they are wrong. And remember, they may be part right some of the time, which only strengthens their resolve to be proud. They are not at fault. Parenting may have something to do with it, but I’m not psychoanalyst.

Instead of fixating on others, think of what can be done with what you have at the moment. Take some beach wood and create a goofy looking structure in the middle of winter. Do something unexpected. Be different. Creating something original is far more interesting than attempting to draw a perfect circle freehand. Conduct a self-analysis and figure where your performances may need improvement. The thing is, the only way to figure all this out is to act out, to live it out. There is a great chance that everything needs improvement, so take another look whenever you sense all is well. When it feels like others are to blame, take a look at yourself. It is the only way to move forward.

“This is going to be the best stage you will ever have to do your number. Never mind all that reflection. Let’s see who we are. Let’s turn the thing on and write as it’ll go and see what kind of shadow we cast.” – Ken Kesey