The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the category “individuality”

Laugh, So You Don’t Cry

 

Originally posted October 24, 2014

comedytragedy masks

 

Jo

It’s a good thing parents are biologically programmed to love their children; to believe that even the strangest-looking baby is the most beautiful creature on earth. Otherwise I’m not sure I would have survived. I was not an attractive child. As a toddler, I had the nose of a 90 year old man. People kindly told my parents it was just an awkward phase; surely I’d outgrow it.

Unfortunately, my awkward phase lasted my entire life.

I learned early that being funny was the key to my emotional survival.   It was far better to have people laugh with me at myself, than to laugh at me.   If I made a self-deprecating remark, they were disarmed. If I could laugh with them laughing at me, I was protected from their barbs. If they repeated my observation as an insult, I was able to take it as a compliment. They were using my joke, after all, and that meant they thought I was funny. Or, if they insulted me but not as cleverly as I insulted myself, I won again! Say the worst about yourself and nobody can insult you!

Humor was the path I took to love. There are other paths, but that was mine.   When I made people laugh, they wanted me around. Instead of being ostracized, I was included in their social groups. I was popular, even. Playing the clown was how I negotiated my way through everything. All my life lessons came through this.

I may not have been much to look at, but what did beautiful people offer the world anyway? You have to be a decent human being to be truly beautiful. Still, I was never quite able to let go of the nagging sadness to not have been born lovely. I eventually learned that everyone hurts in their own way. Everyone carries the wounds of childhood well into old age. Maybe forever.

The funniest people (and I have known many) are always outsiders. Sometimes they’re on the outside because of their odd appearance. Or maybe they’re just quirky in some way. Usually, though, they it’s just because their observation post on the world is in an out-of-the-way place where others dare not go. From their unique viewpoint, they see the things in ways that most others cannot.

I’m not saying that it’s only funny people who have unique viewpoints, but if you can make people laugh while they consider your way of seeing things, they are more likely to remember and agree with you and see things as you do. “Speak softly and carry a big shtick.”

The funniest people are also very smart. They can pluck the seed of truth from chaos. They hone in on hypocrisy like heat-seeking missiles. Their lack of respect for authority makes them natural iconoclasts. They are natural empaths, too. They instinctively understand the deepest fears and insecurities of others; they clearly perceive the nature of the ego that drives them.   That’s why comedians make such great actors. They understand the most subtle nuances of emotion, something also absolutely crucial to delivering a good story. Looking at people, they see behind the veil of bluster and into the folds and shadows where self-doubt hides.   Once seen, it cannot be un-seen.

The great funny people are also often the most troubled, the most confused. We all secretly believe we don’t belong. There’s this over-reaching fear that if others saw us as we saw ourselves, they would look at us with the same pity and contempt they regard a sad, desperate, alcoholic clown at a three year old’s birthday party. “Get lost, Bozo! That red nose and big shoes aren’t fooling anyone!”

I developed a thick skin. I took the hits and stood back up again. I had no choice. I won’t say I wasn’t hurt when people said bad things about me – and they did, because I had a sharp tongue. I had no patience for the thin-skinned; for those who could dish it out but couldn’t take it; for those who pointed to the sins of others without considering their own. I pushed the edge, I know. Sometimes I went too far. I often made people cringe. I did try to limit myself to those who I believed could take it. But if they couldn’t? Well, that was their problem, not mine. I wasn’t responsible for the feelings of everyone in the world.  I’d taken my licks and learned my lessons. They had to take and learn theirs.

There were the haters. Lots of them.  I tried to ignore them but when they got under my skin, my salve was to surround myself with people who got me; who could laugh with me at the same stuff; who enjoyed the view from where I stood.   If I could make someone laugh – even one person —   really laugh from the deepest part of themselves; if I could get them to laugh at my truth, I was healed. The rejection of those who didn’t understand me no longer mattered.

To the question of whether a sense of humor is an innate talent or a learned skill, I say it’s a bit of both. Like any talent, most people pursue what they are good at. No normal person pursues a lifetime of failure and humiliation. And the longer you pursue, the better you get. Like an Olympic athlete. It’s natural talent, nurtured. I was the Nadia Comăneci of the Chuckles Olympics.

Being able to laugh at ourselves and at our tragedies takes the sting out of it. It puts things in perspective; helps us wrestle an unruly life back into our control. Laughing files the sharp edges off the pain.

 

(I know who this is, but we agreed that it would be best if I didn’t say.  😀  Nevertheless, we had a couple of very deep yet funny “conversations.”  I was given some personal messages for others, two of which I was able to deliver. The general message for all is “Be kind to others. Make sure the people you love know it. Do the right thing, follow your conscience, be true to yourself, and if they don’t like you,  f&^% ‘em! That’s their problem!”)

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An Oyster, Ostracized

originally published oct 15, 2014

(this story seems particularly apt these days,  given how the current political situation has torn families and even marriages asunder.)

oyster with pearl

 Cha

The pain of my family haunted me all my life.   My parents and siblings were not particularly evil people, but they were small and callous, jealous and petty, insecure and often mean.  The toxic dynamics in my  childhood shaped me as an adult – my needs, desires, fears, insecurities, my ways of interacting with the world.

When friends or acquaintances make us unhappy,  we are free to sever those ties. Family, for better or worse, is forever.  I withdrew as much as possible from mine, but there were inevitably situations where interaction was unavoidable.  Family is genetically and biologically intertwined.

I dreaded the occasions when I had to spend time with them. I always left their company licking my wounds, feeling once again, like a rejected, unwanted child.

No one in my family understood my choices.  At best, I was tolerated but never embraced. I was unwelcome and unaccepted not because of anything I had done, but simply because of who I was and what I believed. My feelings were never taken seriously. My siblings’ own families later learned to mock and mistreat me the same way.

It wasn’t until much later in my adulthood,  when I met other outsiders like myself, that I eventually found love. Because it had taken me so long to find it, I treasured it.  I savored the feeling of being embraced and accepted for exactly who I was.

Even so,  it took me most of my life to shed the pain of being shut out of my family.  I clung to my anger  because it made my pain righteous.  I refused  to let it go until I had from them an apology; an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.  I wanted them to accept responsibility for the misery they had caused me.

Finally,  I understood I would never have that from any of them.  My only release was in forgiveness.

That was the lesson I was born to learn.

We travel and are reborn, again and again, with the same group of souls. But sharing the same journey does not mean we will receive love or understanding from each other.   Some share our paths specifically to aggrieve us, or for us to aggrieve them.  The same soul may take the form of a different kind of  nemesis in each lifetime.

From irritants, an oyster can make a pearl.

The hardest kind of forgiveness is for those who don’t believe they need to be forgiven.

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

 

Playing Chicken with the Afterlife

Originally published Oct 6, 2014

eggs

 

…continued from previous post, August 18

 

The following evening, I went right back into my deep meditative trance (which gets easier to slip into the more I do it) and “called” for the spirit I’d been speaking to the previous night.

I don’t know if it was him playing games,  another entity entirely, another entity using him as a vehicle,  or perhaps my own unconscious,  but instead of seeing anyone who might be Kenneth (or Peter Dinklage), I was flooded with images of demons, devils and wild animals. They were really “in my face” and I sensed they were trying to scare me.

I looked at them directly and said (in my head), “Hey!  I’m not intimidated by anything in real life. I’m certainly not going to be intimidated or frightened by something that’s in my own head! So piss off!”

 It was kind of comical, actually.  There I was, mentally yelling at demons in my head, perfectly, logically, intellectually aware of how insane it was.  I couldn’t say for sure if I was completely imagining them or if they were “really there” in the astral plane.  For certain, I was not dreaming. I was absolutely awake.

 They kept coming for maybe thirty seconds more, but I kept ignoring them and brushing them away,  and eventually they dissipated and left me alone.  This was perfectly in keeping with my personality. I have been known to “go medieval” when someone  purposely tries to intimidate or scare me, as happens from time to time on the subway or the street. Bullies have literally backed away from me, cowering…as well they should!

 I sensed Kenneth was there, somewhere, even though I couldn’t see him, and I said, “I was really looking forward to hearing more about your life, but not if you’re going to try to f&*@ with my head.”   (I wasn’t about to take flak from what was possibly merely a figment of my own imagination!)

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to get through to me, get past all these tricksters, or if he was in cahoots with them, but I wasn’t willing to stick around to find out.

I moved my focus to other things and soon I was so deep in trance and I felt as if I were flying.

It’s hard to explain what came next.

A colorful, changing fractal design totally filled my vision. But it wasn’t so much what I was seeing as what I was feeling. It was as if I were in an alternate reality; as if I’d somehow transcended my body;  as if my consciousness had escaped the confines of my brain and was spreading out into the universe.  (Sounds so trite, I know!!! But I’m telling it as I experienced it.  Readers can make of the information what they will.)

I cannot imagine that an acid or mushroom trip could be more intense. (I’ve never done either drug.)  And yet, I felt totally safe and in control. I knew I could “awaken” myself at any time and be perfectly lucid.

Now, I imagine some of you readers will think I’ve gone off the deep end. Maybe this is all too “woo woo” for you. Believe me, it’s even more “woo-woo” to me!   I’ve been struggling with this trajectory, myself, since this whole business started.

This is a very deep rabbit hole I’m heading into. Perhaps, ultimately, it will lead to greater understanding of the universe. Or perhaps I will lose my mind completely. I honestly don’t know,  and I do worry about it.  What if I become confused, and stray from the path to enlightenment and accidentally take some detour to La-La Land? How will I know I’m NOT in the right place?   I’m pretty sure that if  I ever DO find myself in such place,  I will be convinced that I am experiencing reality and have discovered Truth. 

What is insanity anyway?  “Normal” only means your reality jibes with everyone else’s version. But who’s to say that the guy wearing the tin foil hat isn’t perceiving a truer reality (or at least another valid but alternate version of reality) than the rest of us;  a reality to which we are completely oblivious?

Who decides who’s crazy?  Maybe insanity isn’t some kind of absolute mental defect, but rather only an alternate perception of reality which is only considered pathological when it’s completely at odds with the main of society.

In his lifetime, Galileo was regarded as crazy.

So was John Nash (“A Beautiful Mind”)

 And David Koresh (of the Branch Dividians/Waco, TX)

Not to mention Ted Kaczynski   (Unibomber)

They all believed they were totally sane.

I am not one who believes without proof.  So far, I don’t really have any (except the names I received initially — see first posts.)   Kenneth was probably right. Maybe I’m afraid to ask for proof for fear I won’t get it. Or perhaps I’m afraid that I will get it which would draw me deeper into exploration of the rabbit hole.  I (a most level-headed, logical person) worry that I will be regarded as a woo-woo nut job.  For the time, being,  I prefer to stand back a bit and  refrain from committing myself into a new reality.

And yet, I don’t want to stop. It feels good going to that place. It feels right. What I’m seeing explains a lot of things.

I am very much enjoying this process, this listening to and writing the stories.  Even if  it does mean I’m crazy, I am willing to walk that path.

Which reminds me of the old joke:

A man says to a psychiatrist, “Doc, my wife is crazy. She thinks she’s a chicken.”

The shrink says, “Bring her to me. I can cure her.”

The man says, “I would… but we need the eggs.”

These stories are the eggs.  I’m the chicken.  Cluck, cluck.

 

*****

  “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”                                                     -Rumi      

 

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

Gravitas

Originally published Oct 3, 2015

Midget-man

Note:  I am in my meditation trance and the first strong image that comes into my head is that of Peter Dinklage, the actor.   I think “aloud”, as if speaking to whatever entity is showing himself to me.   “Peter Dinklage is very much alive so I know you aren’t him.”  I try to push the image aside but he won’t move. He tells me he’s “impersonating” PD to indicate to me that while alive he, too, was a little person.

 Then, he tries to give me all kinds of personal information about himself.  I didn’t want to hear it because I prefer that all narratives be vague enough so that they could be anyone, anywhere.   I believe they have more power that way. But he keeps insisting.

His name was Kenneth B-something and he’d lived in Ohio, and had only just passed on at the age of 58. He tried to tell me more, but I kept “changing the subject.”  

Finally,  he started to get testy and scolded me:  “You don’t want to hear details because you’re afraid that if they don’t check out, your whole ‘talking to the dead’ premise will fall apart, and then what will you have?”

I have to admit, he made an excellent point. Still, it was strange being called out by a dead guy (or possibly just a figment of my own imagination)

 He became very argumentative and irascible, which is unusual. Most of the other “spirits” with whom I’ve communicated, have been, well, quite spiritual!

 I chalked it up to the fact that (according to him) his death was very recent and perhaps he hadn’t had time to process his life yet.   So, I just listened to his story:

 

Kenneth:

I was an accountant. I made a nice living, but I never got married. I never felt the need to find someone to grow old with. I had some serious health issues and I knew I would be lucky if I lived to 60. I’d probably die much younger.  I wanted to really enjoy my life and be free from responsibility during whatever time I had.

You have no idea what it’s like going through life as a dwarf. When you are a member of a persecuted religious or ethnic minority, you may be subjected to a lifetime of prejudice and abuse, but at least your own family is the same as you. And you know that somewhere on the planet there are places where there are others like yourself.

This is not so when you are small. I was the only one in my family to have this condition. I was already in my late teens before I met another little person like myself.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, including my own family, couldn’t seem to stop themselves from regarding me as a child.  They patronized me, often without awareness. A dwarf is an object of ridicule. Strangers – mostly stupid drunken teenagers – would often come up to me and make rude comments, then run away laughing, as if I were not even a human being whose feelings were worthy of respect.

I presented myself to you as Peter Dinklage because I admire him. He has gravitas which is something no other little person I’ve ever known or seen possesses.

Even though I was an excellent accountant and had many clients, there was always a separation between us. I was “other” and “less than” and forever would be. Even within my own family.

As you might imagine, this created a lot of psychological issues for me, including a deep and painful lifelong sense of isolation.

You might think that this would be a good reason for me to get married and have children. In a family of my own creation, I could finally be part of a welcoming group, albeit a small one, who would accept me as myself.   But, as I said, I knew I wouldn’t live to be very old and I didn’t want to burden others with my medical issues.

Also, I never found a woman of my own height with whom I had a strong connection. It’s difficult enough for people of normal height to find someone they can relate to and love.  Imagine how difficult it is when that pool of potential mates is so limited.   And relationships with normal-size women were too problematic in more ways than I can tell you,  not the least of which were those lapses into patronizing behavior.

 [I am shown a little woman in what appears to be a road house type bar.  She is way over-dressed – too much makeup, too many sequins, a lacy petticoat under her skirt,  big hair.  She’s dressed for dancing and looks like a real “party girl.”]

That was my girlfriend. She wasn’t especially smart. Honestly, it was hard to have a real conversation with her, but she was fun and she loved sex and. She was as much as I could handle. Or was willing to handle.  I wasn’t looking for anything deep. I just wanted company sometimes.

—–

Addendum:    At this point, I began to fall asleep. My mind was drifting into dreams (which is very different from meditation.)  I asked him if we could pick up the story the following evening, when I’d be better able to focus. (This is something I’ve just learned how to do – to go back in and meet up with a spirit I’ve communicated with in the past.)

 I was really very interested in hearing more of his story, more of his life and his lessons, more of those issues he talked about,  but I simply couldn’t stay awake anymore.

 The following evening, I went right back into my deep meditative trance (which gets easier to slip into the more I do it) and “called” for him.

…to be continued

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

The Pleasure in the Pain

first published Nov 30, 2015

 

crying eye

Ri

Life became so much easier once I learned to feel the pleasure in the pain. I do not speak of the passion of physical pain, which is not pain at all; I speak, rather, of emotional pain.

This is not to say I sought it out, but life is full enough of pain that there is no avoiding it. My life became easier when I no longer numbed myself to the inevitable. I stopped running from it wherever it found me. After time, I didn’t even bother to step out of its way.

I stopped fearing it. What a release to enjoy the beauty in sorrow! To savor the taste of my own tears. To climb down deeper into understanding on the rope of my pain.

Great emotion – both joy and pain – is opening. The heart is rent wide, laid bare without defense. No walls. No ego.   Only in this state — without ego — is it possible to connect to the universe.

I learned not to waste that state of grace.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

A Collection of Moments

First published November 21, 2015

Dungeness River, Sequim, WA - Magdalena Bassett

Jek

I can remember the screeching of the sea birds as they descended on the harbor to feed on the offal of the fishermen’s catch. At the time, I thought of them as a nuisance. But I remember them now with affection. They were so purely alive, exploding in a storm of biological imperative.

There are a lot of things I remember now that I didn’t take the time to notice then: The way the air on the skin changes from season to season – a floral caress in the spring; in winter. A slap on the cheek from an angry lover. The way a certain scent, not smelled since childhood, catapults you back to the nursery.  The quiet breathing of a lover, in the place beside, and the warmth left behind when they are gone.

Plodding along, one foot in front of the other, I never took my eyes from my path; I never noticed the small miracles lining the way.

Only later, perhaps too late, does it become clear: there is no prize or grand finale. What you have in the end is only the joy you’ve collected along the way.

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.
 

 

Photo by my pal, the very talented Magdalena Bassett. Image: The Dungeness River on a rainy day in Sequim, WA

A Rose Blossoms

First published November 12, 2015

child adult holding hands

Kif

I met her when she was very young, a perfect rose among the wilting asters. Even as a child she was poised and full of grace; wise beyond her years. Her natural talent was unmistakable, but it was more than that. She shone, as if a pure light passed through her, magnified.

Children such as this are gifts to the world. It is a rare privilege to teach one.

I did not normally take on students so young, but she needed to be trained properly. To be taught bad habits as a girl might destroy any hope of future perfection. She needed the best. I was the best. It was my duty.

Her parents recognized this. They considered it fortunate that their child had caught the attention of someone such as myself; someone both of deep knowledge and high influence. They believed she never would have been born with such remarkable abilities if they were not meant to be fully developed. And so, because they truly loved her and understood the needs of her soul, they abdicated their obligation and entrusted me to mold and shape her as I felt best.

Our dynamics were complex. One part parent-child, another part ego. Some of it was about legacy. A certain a measure was about need. One share was about wiping clean a tablet full of regrets. We had a mutual fear of abandonment and also shared the fear of being too needy. In this churning stew of high emotion, there was jealousy and suspicion of betrayal; there was anger and frustration; envy and longing. Sometimes, the teacher became the student. We fell in and out of love with each other but never mutually at the same time, and never for the right reasons.

Such a relationship offered many opportunities for furthering my spiritual wisdom and deepening my self-knowledge – if I’d only looked deep enough. But even a dedicated seeker of Truth cannot possibly understand the lessons whilst in the thick of it. The emotions come spilling out in a jumble, too confused and fleeting to analyze.

From here, I am no longer lost in the minutia. From this height, I can see the broad strokes, the course of our individual paths on a map that was drawn before we were born.   They ran parallel, then diverged, crossed and forked, rose and fell, once again ran parallel only to diverge yet again.

It will take me a long time to understand this journey.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!

 

One Truth

First published Oct 16, 2015
truth2
listen to One Truth/Omar Faruk Tekbilek
Ipo

Whoever believes without question and adheres most closely to dogma is not the holiest among you. There are no answers without questions, rejected answers, and more questions.

There is only one truth and it is this: You will never know the Truth.

To settle on understanding is delusion, but to cease questioning is to shackle the soul’s ascent.

 


Omar Faruk Tekbilek,  an amazing and deeply spiritual musician whom I’ve had the privilege to meet, interview and chat with many times.  If you don’t know his work,  I encourage you to search him out.  His first solo album, Whirling,  is still one of my very favorites,  even 25 years after I first heard it.  Absolutely hypnotic.  If you’re looking for one album to listen to when you’re in “that mood” — that’s the one!  He is a virtuoso on many instruments and his voice is like buttah.  Or honey.  Or honey buttah.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is
If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is

 

 

photo from http://www.ruthlera.com/

Belonging

first published Oct 1, 2015

pitchforks-mob

 

Ger

When I was young, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was not well-versed in the social graces and did not get much respect. I felt odd and apart from others.

In my twenties, I volunteered to do some work for an organization. They were happy to have another body and brain to help the cause.   We were all working towards the same goal, and there was a real sense of community.   For the first time, I felt I belonged and was a part of something.   It pleased me and so I devoted more time.

I quickly and mostly unconsciously assessed the group dynamic, even the more subtle, low-level hierarchy. The closer I moved to those in power, the more I emulated them. The more like them I became, the more respect and higher status I attained within the group.

I devoted myself to making myself as helpful as I could be to those at the top.   I made sure they knew they could trust me and count on me, which they increasingly did. I was always there, ready to do what needed to be done, all in order to make myself indispensable.

Over time, I became a part of the larger inner circle. … not the core group, but close enough so those below me on the ladder thought I was more important than I actually was.

This group came to define me. They were my family, my support team, the only ones who accepted me fully, even though none of us ever really shared our personal feelings with the others.

And then, after a many years, the momentum of the group shifted. They wanted to do things which I did not condone, acts which would cause material and/or psychic harm to others.

I was in a quandary.

If I contradicted their mission, if I protested, if I suggested that as a group we reconsider our actions, I would have been ostracized. I couldn’t bear to go back to the days of having no status, no friends, no acceptance.

I felt it was wrong to follow them, but I was too much of a coward to say no.

Initially, I regretted the harm I did to others but I soon convinced myself that our actions were just. In any case, I did not bear this guilt alone. The ones above me, certainly, but also the ones below. Their belief and compliance allowed those at the top to achieve their goals. It was easy to deny my own complicity when I felt myself to be a cog in a machine that was moving forward with or without me.

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
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Why Zig When You Can Zag?

  first published 8/1/14

zig-zag-cigarette-papers

Zig

I never understood why some people had a hard time with change. Me? I changed myself all the time. I must have totally recreated myself half a dozen times in my life. I would just decide what I wanted to be, and then, work hard at becoming that person. It was more than just changing my career or changing where I lived or changing my relationships. It was changing the way I looked at the world. Changing what I let in and what I kept out. Changing what I accepted and what I fought against. Changing what I respected and what I despised. Changing the way I let the world change me.

Some people didn’t take me seriously; they said I was just trying to find myself but I knew I was never lost. Inside, I was always myself, unchanging.  I simply wore these personae like costumes but my soul remained the same.

I was not looking to find a skin I felt comfortable in. I was seeking new experiences, new perspectives. I was attempting to live many lifetimes in one. There was something powerful about being able to recreate myself at will. I had no fear. I had no long-term attachments.   I never promised permanence to anyone, although a few wanted it.

There were many who thought there was some kind of pathology to this. Who knows? Maybe there was. But I never felt I was running away from anything. I always felt as if I were running to something. I was not stumbling around in a wilderness. I was boldly exploring new lands!

I pitied those who remained on the same course for their entire lives. It was as if they were compelled to follow the trajectory they set out on. Most of the time, they weren’t even the one who set the trajectory in the first place. “Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, raise them up, retire, sit on the porch.”   What kid lies in bed at night, dreaming of such a future?  But that’s how it usually plays out, their futures molded by parents, teachers, society, blah blah blah.

I preferred challenge and change. When zigging was expected, I liked to zag.

Of course, if everyone preferred challenge and change, society would fall apart. The powerful (political, commercial, academic), need the masses to behave in predictable ways. People like me messed up their statistics!

But I figured, we have free will; might as well use it. Who has the right to tell us that we cannot recreate ourselves in our own image? Whose business is it but our own?

I understand better now that all that change was my trajectory from the beginning. In that course, I had far less spiritual choice than I thought.  But in each case, it felt as if I were expressing my singular free will.  Perhaps that, too, was merely an illusion.

Still, while I was living it, I felt as if I were the captain, well in control of my own ship,  navigating waters of my own choosing, using maps of my own making, following nothing but my heart and the stars.

This was certainly better than following someone else’s plan for me.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!

 

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