Observations

Choices and shit

There’s a video on upworthy.com – well here, I’ll just make it easy for you. Watch, then read on.

I shared this on Facebook and as I mentioned on my accompanying post, I have seen this one a couple of times. My first reaction to it was, frankly, so what?! Why do I give a fuck? This information isn’t going to change what I’m doing with my life or how I choose to make my money (nor do I really believe I am hindered or capped in some way to the amount of money I can choose to make) so why do I care*? However, I was (and remain) really curious about how this information hits other people so I asked

  • What are we supposed to do with this information and
  • What are you inspired to do after watching this?

Then I wrote, if I may quote myself: “I’ll also point out that if you are living the “typical American Dream” and buying the “typical American crap” and eating the “typical American Diet”, you are contributing to the reality illustrated in the video. Does it piss you off that I say that? Good. I hope it wakes you up, too. There are choices and that is where you claim your power.”

What the hell did I mean by that?

Simple. There has been a myth called the “typical American Dream” floating around in this country for as long as I can remember that if you follow a certain path – go to school, get good grades, get a job, find a spouse, buy a house, sprout a couple of kids and go to church on Sundays, then you will be happy. More than a few Americans who followed that path would tell you that there’s a major flaw in that theory because they followed “the rules” and they are fucking miserable. To make themselves feel better, they go to Wal-Mart (or wherever – I picked Wal-Mart because I think they are particularly evil) and buy a bunch of “typical American crap” which consists of stuff they don’t really need or even really want but they saw on TV that it would be awesome for __________________ ??? and it gets hauled home or worse, stuffed into a storage unit. All that shopping makes people hungry but also tired so they don’t cook a descent meal for themselves. They go to McDonalds or some other drive-thru. Or they buy packaged food-like product from the grocery store and zap it to some form of edibility in the ‘nuker. Don’t even get me started about the “typical American diet” because I could go on and on and fucking on about the bullshit big food corporations are doing to make Americans sick as well as fat so they can make more money. Go check out www.foodbabe.com – she will set you straight.

I don’t understand why we aren’t happier, do you?!

Actually, I understand completely which is why I live the way that I live and make the choices I make. And listen to me carefully… I am not sitting here, writing this on my fancy MacBook Pro trying to sell you on the idea that I am some perfect little goody two shoes who never eats a hamburger. What I am trying to sell you on is the fact that you have choices. Choices that absolutely contribute to the bottom line of those 1percenters called out in the video.

When you buy a house that you can’t afford**, not because it feeds your soul** but because you’re trying to make your ego feel good or impress your ____________ (parents, girlfriend, boyfriend – insert appropriate human here), you’re making some banker richer than he or she already is.

When you pull up to the big box store of your choice and spend one thin dime in an unconscious, so-disconnected-from-yourself-you-would-not-recognize-your-own-ass-in-a-mirror fugue state brought on by the illusion that stuff will somehow distract you from the reality that you can’t remember the last time you laughed for real, you are making some corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.

When you “feed” yourself with fake food product that comes from a national chain and/or and large food distribution conglomerate, you are making some other corporate CEO richer than he or she already is.

When you drive some huge land yacht of vehicle, not because you actually haul something or because you have lots of humans who need to travel with you but because you think it makes you look “cool” you are making some oil executive richer than he or she already is.

Do I need to go on or are you catching my drift?

You have choices. If you don’t like what you learned in the video, do something about it.

I would argue that you tend to make better choices when you take the time to get to know yourself. When you do work (paid or otherwise) that makes you feel good and like you are useful or that simply makes you smile. When you feed your soul with real connection with other real humans in whatever ways turn you on (and let’s keep that private, shall we? I don’t need those details!). When you begin to see that happiness isn’t available as something you can buy off the shelf but instead a choice that you cultivate every day in word, thought and action – then your mind begins to quiet down and you can see… better.

*As someone who has lived through not having a pot to piss in much less a place to stick it, I DO understand that when you’re in the middle of a financial meltdown or when you had no finances to melt down in the first place, it can feel incredibly painful and incredibly permanent. As someone who has lived through that, I understand that the worst pain came from what I thought about my situation, not my situation and the fear that it was permanent came from thought to. Thought that feels incredibly real and so completely narrows your point of view that your ability to see your reality, creatively address your reality, much less take action to improve it is greatly diminished. That knowledge doesn’t make shit pretty and shiny. But at least you understand that if you’re dealing with shit, you know that more shit, i.e. any form of self-flagellation, fantasy thinking, excuse making, plugging your nose or any other avoidance behavior, won’t fix it. Taking responsibility for yourself and seeing yourself in loving clarity, while taking  one step and then another, will. A water hose might help too.

**I used that word, afford. That’s a touchy one. Personally, I think “afford” means you have the money to pay cash for what you’re buying – cash being the plastic card tied directly to my bank balance. But there have been other times when “afford” meant using a credit card. I don’t recommend going into debt because it can cause a level of misery worse than hell. However, if you are awake to what you are doing, misery turns into choice. Actually, the misery gets skipped altogether. Yeah, I know that a lot of financial experts would argue with me but I’m not giving financial advice here. I’m telling you what works for me.

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FTW, WTF?

The Most Versatile Word

WAY back in the day, when the Internet was a young, tender thing and wav files (HUGE wav files!) first began circulating, some clever person recorded what is now available via YouTube at a fraction of the bandwith. It effected me profoundly. And it never fails to crack me up. It is my hope that you enjoy it just as much.

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brain energy, FTW, kick ass

Blocks – Play with ‘em

I’m a Jonathan Fields groupie and I love everything the man produces, says, teaches… If he wasn’t married, I’d stalk him. I listened to his interview with Milton Glaser twice because I was so fascinated by what Glaser had to say and it seemed that Jonathan was very open in the interview and, sweetly, a little star struck.

Glaser’s comments about a couple of New York’s great educational institutions got me thinking about what I suspect goes on in these places of higher learning (although Milton was speaking of specific high schools). I say “suspect” because my own experience with school was very brief. A few semesters at a community college in Virginia was enough to show me that computer science was a major most likely to make me psychotic as opposed to gainfully employed. Writing, I’m good with. Writing code… fuck that. As much as I hated the programing classes, I loved being in school because I love learning. Still do. I left college without a degree but I learned how to learn; how to teach myself. So I feel like I got my money’s worth and then some by about a million fold. I’ve never run across another major that inspired me enough to return to university (no, I’m not European I just like how they phrase it better so I’m adopting my imaginary mother country). That being said, art school of whatever type or some sort of degree where they churn you out a better writer has always been a temptation. Not because I wanted the piece of paper but because I “suspect” that these programs present their students with blocks of time that they must dedicate to their specific projects or honing their particular craft. They might not have been projects that students would have chosen on their own but completion was a requirement. And in that requirement, an extremely valuable lesson would have been learned and that is how to apply direction to inspiration.

A blog post authored by Danielle LaPorte, another teacher high on my love list, about her most effective time management strategy reminded me that these blocks of time I believe to be so valuable can be had without shelling out thousands going to university. (See how that just rolled off my tongue? I’ll have dual citizenship before I finish writing this!) Go read it when you’re done here; It’s good stuff!

I can create my own blocks of time. And so can you.

Purposefully decide when a block of time to do work is going to happen and map out a plan for the work that will be worked on. Show up and do the work.

And look, I know there will be some voices in your head that start chiming in with whatever bullshit story that will make you stop doing your work. Or worse, keep you from starting it. Those voices… they are actually trying to protect you in a weird, fucked up way because they don’t understand what a badass you were put on this terra firma to be. Thank them and send them away to fuck with your crazy neighbor down the street. (Not really – I just wrote that because it made me laugh. Do not send voices or anything else to fuck with your crazy neighbor down the street. Send the crazy neighbor love. Energetically. Do not engage with the crazy neighbor. Because they are… well… crazy!)

Sorry, I got a little distracted. Sometimes I’m the crazy neighbor down the street.

Blocks of time… create them. Work them. Enjoy!

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FTW, Observations, ow!

That*

I try not to default to coach mode when friends are talking to me about stuff going on that they’d prefer not be going on. But sometimes, I am a tiny bit of a dumbass and words come out of my mouth that ought noughta. Like the line I delivered yesterday about them being ready to take responsibility for their life.

I do have more compassion than Attila the Hun which is actually why I said what I shouldn’t have said. Especially because I really understand where they are coming from, having been there and done that *. But I forgot that, having left there since I was done with that *, the words “take responsibility” can sound about as unappealing as shoving a firecracker up your nose shortly after lighting the fuse. Responsibility? Um, no thank you… I’m a little busy trying to decide between a razor blade versus a chemical cocktail as viable routes to permanent snoozeville.

See, I can joke about this stuff because, as I mentioned before, I have been there and done that *. And once that * is survived, you get permanent access to make stupid ass wisecracks about end-of-life contemplations in the worldwide comedy club called I Think My Life Is FUBAR. Don’t agree? Kiss my ass. It’s not about irreverence. It’s about the pure fucking glee of coming out the other side of that * without requiring a frontal lobotomy.

Anyway, the words “take responsibility” mean something very different to me now. They are exciting words to me now. They mean that I get to go do stuff. Stuff I want to do because the actions fueling all that luscious responsibility mean that I get to enjoy what my life looks like. Because my life is perfect now and filled with rainbows and unicorns all the time. Pffftttt! Bitch, please! You don’t believe that shit, do you?

Except… perfection is perception. My dream-come-true life is an ever evolving growth process. Just when I think I’m fully awake to it, I learn something new and level up. This life creation stuff is constant work. (Ew, work! Another dirty word!) But it’s work that lights me up, not the drudgery kind of work that comes from being somebody besides me but the work that makes me a better me. I hope I keep working (on me and on waking other people up ‘cause that’s what I do) until the day I drop dead because, having been there and done that *,  I now know how glorious life is. Even when the cat has thrown up on the couch or whatever bullshit goes down on any given day.

Life is a game. Play it hard or play it soft but for fuck’s sake, PLAY it!

When you’re ready. When you are done with being there and doing that *.

In the meantime, just know – and yes, I am about to go cliche on your ass – this too shall pass.

((hugs))

*Disclaimer: Your that may not be the same as my that. All thats are individual. But all thats are universal in that they all seem to suck mightily while you’re in the that.

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Observations, ow!

What’s that smell?

I am in a dangerous head space. I am thinking thoughts that could easily take me out of my happy world and plant me square in another one where people are not to be trusted. Where relationship is less about connection and more about confused pain. A place where the illusion of separateness fuels fears that I really am alone in the world.

I could be really fucked here. Except…

Thanks to the gods and the humans who taught me to know better, I do. Even while looking down this very black rabbit hole, I am graced with the awareness that these thoughts are just thoughts. They are not real and I am not obligated in any way to believe them. Nor do I have to attempt to banish them, change them or resist them; No, that would be like handing them an engraved invitation to stay the night. And I want better company in my bed.

Just writing this has been enough for several of them – the smelly thoughts – to head for the door. The other free-loaders will leave too. Soon, another batch of thoughts will come along and I will feel better. Probably. I know my default headspace is happy so yeah, I feel pretty confident in this.

In the meantime, I will breathe. I will feel. I will take care of myself. Not with chocolate or wine or sex or whatever. But care. I will breathe and I will remember that the surest way to connection, available to me 24/7 is to simply say, silently to myself “connect to source” and let the love settle around my shoulders. That’s what connection feels like to me, a warm embrace shared among the all the living beings with whom I share this experience called life.

What was I saying about feeling alone? I forget…

Thank the gods and humans who taught me to know better.

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kick ass, Observations

The Universe Has Spoken

I saw an episode of The Good Life Project featuring Erica Napoletano. Wow! She had a plethora of good shit to say. I was hanging on every word and when the video ended, I went straight to her site for more magic. After a good, long session of binge reading her blog, I was ready to sit at her knee, gaze up at her adoringly and call her momma in a creepy, cartoon-like voice. This woman is my new idol. And she’s from Texas. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen somebody from the home state that made me want to do anything besides renounce my citizenship.

She also pissed me off just a little bit. Not because of anything she did or said. She could do no wrong… she is perfection in a red-headed female. An example of how it’s done. It was more like while I was reading/drooling all over her website, I kept thinking ‘this should be me’. Okay, no. Not in some weird, I want to stalk her because part of my psychotic brain has hallucinated that she stole my life and, therefore, must pay sort of deal. It’s really just good old fashioned jealousy. Because I could be her. Okay, again no. I don’t mean HER her. I mean I could be further along in my own dragon slaying.

What a gift, jealousy. There’s not much better for illustrating what you might want to change in yourself than a big whop upside the head by the Green Envy Goddess. That’s her job, ya know, to hold up a mirror and say “Hey Precious! You wanna get off your ass?”

But wait, there’s more…

Beautiful friends and a Tarot deck. Sitting around a dining room table, taking turns reading the cards. Just for fun. Except the reading I got was a second whop upside the head. From the Universe. With a sweet message that sounded remarkably like “get the fuck off your ass!”

I’m smiling… My life could not be any more lovely. I had a shitty life. I learned some really awesome (and not so awesome) stuff about myself and I turned it around. I am still learning awesome stuff and I have made a very good life. Not perfect. But very cushy. Very comfortable. Like the soft, pink satin inside a deluxe model coffin with the super-duper seal to keep the worms out.

Now I’m laughing. Because honestly, I can crack myself up on demand!

Here’s why all this is excellence and why I’m smiling and laughing, even while realizing I have so much more to do. This “so much more to do” is a want to. Not a have to. I hit the luck lottery in realizing that growth and change doesn’t have to be fueled by the “big, bad thing”. I joke and swear a lot but seriously, I am deeply grateful for my cushy, comfortable life. I worked hard for it. I can get downright teary eyed from the gratitude I feel on a daily basis. From this place of goodness, I want more and I’ve known I wanted more for awhile. But fuck me if I don’t let fear and doubt keep me from doing more of what I love. More of what I want. More of what will might-possibly-maybe land me a spot on my own episode of The Good Life Project.

Ha! I just came up with the mother of all life plans… Live a life that will catch the eye of Jonathon Fields. Can’t hurt!

In the meantime, I hear ya, Universe. I’m goin’. I don’t have it all figured out yet but 1) I never will, 2) thank the gods for that and 3) what a thrill ride this life thing is!

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