after ecstasy, the laundry


I weary of our sophomoric culture where what adolescents/emerging adults value and how they think (or don’t due to unfolding brain development) is deemed cool, the dreck they choose to eat is favored, mistreating of bodies is worshiped & their sprouting adult shapes are considered the the apogee of achievement but most of all that stimulation is venerated to the exclusion of self-reflection.

Girls as young as six eschew kid-ness to look and play-act like 19-year-olds, and boys can’t play together as it’s uncool or “gay.” Many full-grown adults just won’t let themselves age gracefully choosing extreme exercising/dieting, plastic surgery, teen clothing and beauty rituals. We now have to endure everything from “hot moms” to old-fart six packs. Who’re they impressing? Sorry, sexy doesn’t last forever be you female or male, celebrity or hoi polloi. Nor should it.

What happened to workaday maturity? And I don’t mean the stodgy middle-aged image. I mean the ability to grok some of life’s profound truths. The capacity to perceive the extraordinary in the ordinary. The ability to see that freedom happens because one willingly grasps responsibility, and that a big part of the seemingly endless “ecstasy” our culture greedily snatches after is contained within the challenge to unearth it not in the actual getting.

Immaturity is repeatedly appreciated as an ideal, not a shortcoming; it’s equated with having fun. Being sensible and sophisticated = boring. Doing something well? Anal. Understanding there’s a (private) place and a (personal) time for…private and personal actions? Conventional. Empathy? Weakness. Respecting your body/honoring your spirit? Cowardly, if you’re male; prude, if you’re female.

Society denies ebb, revering flow. Never a shadow, only a chin-up! No yin, just yang. You can’t break the laws of the universe no matter how arrogant or jejune you are. Our unwillingness to recognize certain realities has almost no effect on their existence but it sure makes living in this society unbearable.

I don’t want to be regarded as an object of use, be it sexually, economically or otherwise. I don’t want that for fauna, flora, stones, elements or anything. None of us are things. We exist in our own right.

An immature mind can’t see beyond what they want; every thing/person narcissistically occurs only in relation to them. That’s understandable for children; it’s their natural evolving state. But, as George MacDonald wrote: Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the face of otherwise overwhelming impulse.

Children learn by modeling. What message are we marketing AT them? You’re never enough, and we’re never enough…unless you fit this claustrophobic shape/size/pattern/place/value/hot/happening/phat? The societal bar of “coolness,” the polarizing of hip and not-hip really needs to be cross-questioned, and thrown out.

There’s no “all or none.” We get to have “and & both.” All inclusive. Ants aren’t better than bees, hippos greater than worms, snakes superior to dogs, white over black, male over female.

Celebrate all that is, AS IT IS.

Reality? Reread this post’s title; accept both.

newness: routine vs. rapacity, part 2

For me, it’s really irritating to live in an indulgent society where greed for “stuff,” bucket lists, extreme experiences, and lately any experience/substance/body that one hasn’t encountered is considered cool (see wagging dicks, bouncing bosoms: newness, part 1). “Doing” instead of “being” the quintessential.

The extremes are obvious but it’s the ubiquitous invisible beliefs constantly studied and then media-fed to us that slay me. One crystal realm to see this subconscious struggle is with pre-teens and teenagers—one of the most beautifully vulnerable and most denigrated groups in our society— between what their spirit was born to do: connect, care, do “right,” play and what this dysfunctional society says is phat, hip, cool, or “fun.” Most of them forgo real fun for what’s hot, trendy.

Doing something one loves more than a couple of times, eating at the same restaurant, going in depth with an avocation, well, that’s “boring.” NEW is usually better than the same hike, meal, restaurant, the same genitals, activity, shoes, city, country… And even if we do repeat (and we all do) what we love that isn’t deemed cool, it’s like some senior-old-person guilty pleasure that we often justify or apologize for.

I like adventure and I like routine. We confuse NEW with true challenge and depth with monotony. Too many shallow “challenges” in life create chaos. Not enough sagacious varietal experience generates boredom.

O, the societal sin of being familiar. There’s middle ground; extreme breeds crazy.

Previous generations who stayed where they were, took road trips with the kids, (mostly) stuck to ethical mores, acted responsible (able to respond), invested serious effort in vitalizing their kids, had valid fulfilling work, well, celebrations and NEW were significant and meant something. “Special” wasn’t a daily seek & slake.

As with all mammals, routine establishes a sort of safety that authentically gives us the courage to face authentic stimulating challenges. Think art, writing, starting a business or learning to play an instrument. The NEW, the extremes, they see-saw our lives into addiction, impulsiveness, dot-to-dot existence and acting the goat. This is the stuff of undeveloped brains, like adolescents or emerging adults, because their cerebral matter isn’t all there yet.

If you’re under the age of 25, you get to be foolish and not see the bigger picture; this is your job. NEW is made for you! This is how you discover your bona fide Self. If you’re older than that, geez, you’re choosing immaturity and there’s no excuse.

Our culture is sophomoric because marketing likes it this way. Many of us don’t spend time thinking beyond the first spoon fed media thought. Time to act the adult and think deeper.

Being mature doesn’t have to mean humdrum, sexless, unmotivated. Really people, the infantile United States-ian “forever adolescent” is pathetically vanilla. And boring.

neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering ~ carl jung

As a counselor, I usually have compassion for the variety of coping mechanisms people use. But with Cognitive Dissonance—that’s trickier. In short, it’s believing one thing yet doing the reverse; it’s the reality between who we are and who we think we are. I find it a fancier name for denial, for lying, for hypocrisy, for delusion. Translation: the client doesn’t want to do the necessary work.

When most of us confront opposing wants, we have two choices: change our conduct for inner alignment to achieve integrity, or alter our attitudes and rationalize our behavior. Unfortunately, many are more prone to do the latter.

It’s “uncomfortable” to bring fantasy and reality together because suddenly it’s obvious what needs to be done and these depressing realizations mean we have a lot of work to do. Worse, we might have to face the fact that our “designs” are unfeasible. We might have to make an integris choice! We might feel pain! Yes, we will. Growth only happens in the land of reality.

Some examples: to be anti-birth control and yet pronounce abortion a sin, to believe in the sanctity of a glob of cells within a women’s body and yet adamantly endorse the death penalty, to be a vegetarian but eat chicken—poof! sleight of mind—conflict resolved. You no longer see it.

Unfortunately, I can, and so do most others. Cognitive Dissonance does reconcile our mind’s discomfort with incompatible thoughts and actions, but in a magical thinking kind of way. We hate to have our inconsistencies pointed out and will attempt all kinds of mental contortions to avoid them. Still, there’s a perverted leap over the truth. And a lot of secrecy, too.

This often occurs in marital affairs, where those involved are adrift in their created fantasies and fabricate a chimera rather than deal with the reality of their lives, their choices. Feels pretty immature and, honestly, spineless.

Because whatever you’re not dealing with, you’re passing on to someone else. Whether you intend to or not. See: now we’re cooking with gas(lighting). One of the major principles I taught my kids: If you throw a rock, don’t hide your hand. This meant they had to line their actions up with their thoughts and articulately stand by them. It taught them critical thinking skills which make it harder to inhabit the land of delusion. I respected my kids and their choices even if I sometimes disagreed with their “rock throwing.” Why? Because, at whatever age or stage of development, their intention was aligned with their whole Self.

I understand the need for resolution, I do. But I believe in conscience, too. Since when do people who compartmentalize not know what they’re doing? They do, and then they lie. To themselves, and to us.