Month: March 2019

Real Opportunity Awaits

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Find something to get excited about and focus on that. The news cycle on social media offers the exact opposite of that advice, and drags the viewer down into a trench of dirty water. There’s sewage there, as well as the corpses of reptiles, amphibians, insects and a few mammals. One longs for a psychic shower after scrolling for too long down there.

There’s just as much beauty in the world as there always was, but it won’t be found online. A genuine smile from a complete stranger carries a wallop greater than a million likes or shares. Making a child laugh is better than clocking a thousand visitors to your page.

It’s easy to become addicted to a glowing screen, but harder to become addicted to the give and take of real life. The possibilities are endless out there. Good and bad things happen all the time. Real opportunity awaits.

Be Here Now

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If you can somehow avoid negative emotions, does that guarantee happiness? Not really. It makes happiness more likely, but simply being free of envy, lust, greed, and anger don’t mean that gratitude and contentment will rush in to fill the void. You can isolate yourself in a monastery, eat bland food, avoid stimulants and have nothing to do with sex, yet still find that peace of mind eludes you. Even if you’re not actively bored, you may not be happy. The natural state of man is probably not ecstasy.

When you look into the eyes of a cow or a horse that is simply standing there chewing, you don’t get the idea that the creature is thrilled. Maybe a goldfish swimming in its bowl is enthralled, but I don’t think so. There’s a whole lot of being alive that is neither fun nor drudgery. It’s just being.

And that’s got to be enough. Because there’s plenty of time for active suffering punctuated by brief moments of joy.

So maybe the best we can hope for is to dig what’s happening, whatever it is, safe in knowing that “this too shall pass.”

Why Expect Trump to Be Someone Else?

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We know who he is, so why keep manufacturing outrage each time he opens his mouth? He consorts with prostitutes,  acts like a Mafia Don, and seeks to make others small in order to make himself seem big. None of this is surprising in the least.

The fact that he is out President should raise a few eyebrows. Looks like there’s work to be done to repair our political process. We’ve had bad Presidents before, but this one takes the cake. That’s all he wanted anyway, for someone to give him a cake and proclaim him “special.”

He didn’t want the job, and surely didn’t want to do the work the job entails. He just wants attention, and seems to have a real knack at getting at. Praise, blame, outrage, all feed a man starving for attention.

 

POOR LITTLE ME

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The character defect is probably “envy,” but the major symptom at least for me is self-pity. I can get a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat thinking about unfair it is that everybody else is getting their needs met but me.

I can stoke the fires of this emotion by responding to people who might not sympathize with my plight by saying “That’s easy for you to say, you have a job!” Or girlfriend, wife, family, money, health insurance…whatever it is that I lack. Fanning the flames of self-pity and outrage at the gross injustice of it all!

I don’t have any justifiable grievances that are worth hanging onto, but that doesn’t stop me from going down this road anytime I want to blame others and feel sorry for myself. It takes an act of will for me to pull out from this nosedive. There are times when I simply cannot cultivate gratitude for anything.

Playing the victim has few rewards and is mainly about excusing oneself for failure. I tried to love her, but she didn’t love me back. I tried to do a good job, but they fired me. I tried to get ahead, but I didn’t know the right people.

Poor me.

Turn Back While We Still Can

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Democracy can’t thrive if discourse is impossible. If nobody can or will discuss issues, then our attempts at politics devolve into name-calling and blaming. That’s where we are today. I’m not sure there’s any way up and out that doesn’t involve first enduring some awful crisis.

In a more genteel atmosphere, collaboration is possible. Give and take can be a way of moving forward. But in this current toxic pit, everyone feels his or her back is up against the wall, and only drastic actions will matter. Let ’em have it with both barrels.

Violence in words breeds violent actions. Intolerance is a self-fulfilling prophesy. There’s only one way out of this and it involves turning back, not plunging forward. Things can get worse, much worse. We haven’t seen total collapse in our country, but we’ve witnessed it in many others. It arrives sometimes with little warning. States of emergency. Bank holidays. Martial law. Travel restrictions.

There is still time to admit we’re going down the wrong road and retrace our steps. We don’t know how much time we have, but we’re pretty sure if we don’t take substantial action, things will gradually continue to get worse. Trump will become more erratic, his supporters will love him even more, and eventually the social fabric will be torn in a way that cannot be mended.