Enlightened Conflict

giving yourself away … an unselfish view

February 22nd, 2015

saving someone drowning

——–

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

-

=

Dr. Seuss

——-

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

It occurred to me when rereading a January post “giving yourself away” < http://brucemctague.com/giving-yourself-away > that I had, with the best of intentions, shared a selfish perspective on giving yourself away. And that there is an unselfish perspective.

 

 

 

Yes.

 

There is unselfish giving yourself away. These are the people who simply help people, giving pieces of themselves away, because … well … that is what they do and who they are.

 

 

These people, the few, have a gift.

 

girl saving fire

 

I know of one for sure … probably a couple.

 

The gift is that they always seek to give a piece of themselves away if they see someone in pain, burdened by something, or just see a person needing to know that there is someone in the world who cares.

 

 

They do this regardless of the other person being friend or foe … known or unknown. They simply seek to … well … metaphorically … give a piece of themselves away to insure the other person has something good to hold on to when things look or feel bad.

 

 

What this means is … without trying to be the world to one person … they often end up being just that.

 

 

This is a gift.

 

 

It is a gift in that these people have an unending capacity to give themselves away.

 

 

I think in biology it is called regeneration. The body’s ability to give a piece away and have it regrow on the body. That is a gift these people have.

 

It is a gift because they never get exhausted giving themselves away piece by piece. It is a gift because they never lose enough of themselves to not have more pieces to give away.

 

 

-

“You will leave a little piece of yourself with everyone you imagine,” he said.

“You will get exhausted trying to give yourself away.”

noble infinite bits

————-

So.

Giving yourself away and never getting exhausted.

I think I will call this unselfish capacity.

 

 

It can be called unselfish because of something called “needs.”

 

We all have needs.

 

Needs, in the harshest light, pretty much stand in the spotlight of selfishness.

And, yet, the people with the gift I am speaking of seem to have such a huge unselfish capacity that their own needs seemed to get squeezed out of the selfish spotlight and are willing to stand to the side in the shadows.

 

That is a gift these people have.

 

 

There is another aspect of the unselfish capacity.

 

 

I will call it the ‘saving someone’ aspect.

 

 

My perspective on this one is mainly a business perspective.

 

When I managed groups and departments of people I loved picking up other managers ‘discards.’ The staff that they had given up on as too flawed or unmanageable. At that time, in my mind, no one wasn’t manageable. I believed as a manager I could ‘save anyone & everyone.’

 

But when I began managing companies and larger organizations I found I didn’t have the capacity to ‘save everyone.’ I became a harsher judge and jury with regard to staff.

 

 

I mention this because not too long ago I told a co-worker who was evaluating a potential hire, with some glaringly obvious cultural fit challenges, that ‘you can’t save everyone.’

He looked at me and said “I know … but why not try?”

 

The only answer I could give is that ‘if you give too much of yourself away in doing so you end up exhausted … or a shell of your former self having given too much of yourself away.’
Silly me.

 

 

 

I forgot that I am not everyone.

 

I had forgotten there are people with a gift … an unselfish capacity of which I do not have.

 

 

These people not only believe they can ‘save everyone’ but have the capacity to actually try to do so. That, my friends, is a gift.

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

The ‘giving yourself away unselfishly’ people.

 

 

The world needs these people.

 

We needed them in the past. We need them in the present. We will need them in the future.

 

 

dreams holow places empty peopleI imagine I owe an apology to these few gifted people for what I wrote in my original giving yourself away post.

 

 

Instead of apologizing I offer this post and the words you just read.

 

 

 

Giving yourself away is tricky.

 

And not everyone has the same capacity, or gift, to do it … and do it sincerely with no emotional baggage attached to the giving.

 

 

Appreciate the few who can.

giving yourself away … a selfish view

January 25th, 2015

not good enough trying

“You will leave a little piece of yourself with everyone you imagine,” he said.

“You will get exhausted trying to give yourself away.”

————-

-

“I wonder how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry.”

=

Aditi

——————–

-

“I ruined myself for a lot of people that weren’t even worth it.”

=

Unknown

================

 

 

Ok.

 

 

I like every single one of the quotes I began with because they’re not blaming anyone else for their problems.

 

That said.

 

While this topic is mostly about ‘self’ … let me be clear … keeping yourself whole is one of the most difficult challenges in Life.

 

trying fucked it up

 

Why?

 

 

Well.

 

We all have a tendency to give little pieces of ourselves away … with good intentions <most of the time>.
And then there will be times you have a piece taken away.

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

If you are not careful not only do you get tired … but you have nothing left to give.

 

 

Oh.

 

And at exactly the same time you run the risk of accepting some shit from other people and end up having to carry it around <along with your own shit>. This shit is not only their problems or issues … but more dangerously … their perceptions and attitudes.

 

Uhm. The ‘what they believe’ type shit.

 

 

I will note here that other people’s thoughts, perceptions & attitudes can be the heaviest burden you can ever assume. So while you give yourself away piece by piece you are inevitably gathering up pieces of other people.

 

When things get completely out of balance this means you can actually be carrying around more of other people <and their wacky opinions> then your own.

 

 

Scary, huh?  Kind of makes you hesitate to give yourself away.

 

 

Ok.

 

Maybe this means I am talking about being selfish.

 

And actually finding a positive aspect of selfish.

 

 

Because, yes, there is a twinge of selfishness in deciding to not give yourself away.

 

I say that because there are always people wanting a piece of you.

 

 

Especially if you are worth a shit.

 

 

But even if you are not worth a shit … other people are always in need of something more than what they have … and will always seek to get what they need.

 

Sometimes this is meant with good intentions.

 

thinking trying to
Sometimes it clearly is with bad intentions.

 

Intentions or not … at all times … if you ‘play’ … you give yourself away.

 

 

 

 

What this means is that if you are not very very <very> careful … you can ruin yourself by giving yourself away. I say ‘very careful’ because it can happen piece by piece.

 

 

So ‘being careful’ brings me back to the selfish thought.

 

 

 

You have a right to set respectful boundaries.

 

 

You have a right to decide when to give something away, of yourself, and when not to.
You have a right to tell the world “I have nothing left to give.”

 

 

trying getting started

———-

“It’s okay to care about yourself the most.

It’s okay to do what’s healthy for YOU. When someone hits you, it’s okay to hit back and then ask them what the hell they expected.

It’s okay.

You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you.

You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy.

You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”.

You have a right to say “Let me feed that back to you; tell me, how does it taste?”

You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions.

The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”

=

SonneillonV

———

 

 

And maybe that is what not giving yourself comes down to.

 

 

The right to set your own boundaries … and rules for interaction.

 

 

Now.

 

This will confuse the world on occasion.

 

Why?

 

 

“The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”

 

 

But you gotta do it or … well … you give yourself away.

 

 

Giving yourself away can be exhausting.

 

 

Giving yourself away does not always translate into ‘getting back something of equal value.’

 

Giving yourself away can ruin you.

 

 

Look.

 

 

In the end.

 

 

I am certainly not suggesting lack of compassion or not embracing a giving nature or even a belief that giving yourself away doesn’t have returns <actualization, esteem, gratification, etc.>.

 

 

However.trying human being

 

 

I am suggesting that if you give yourself way piece by piece to anyone and everyone who asks … well … you run the risk of no longer being whole. The essential parts that make up the whole have been given away.

 

 

 

I am suggesting that it is okay to be a little selfish, maybe self serving, when it comes to giving yourself away.

how you fall matters (RIP Scott Stuart)

January 4th, 2015

die trying gaping void

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer.

You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”

=

Scott Stuart

-

——-

– From Lion in the Winter –

<thinking they hear Henry approach the dungeon>

Prince Richard:

He’s here.

He’ll get no satisfaction out of me.

He isn’t going to see me beg.

Prince Geoffrey:

My… you chivalric fool… as if the way one fell down mattered.

-

Prince Richard:

When the fall is all there is, it matters.

=

“The Lion in the Winter”

——-

 

 

So.

 

 

I will begin with the thought that it is incredibly easy to flinch from your destiny.

 

And.

 

holding universe together matters
How you die matters.
Or.

 

 

When the fall is all there is … it matters.

 

 

It matters a lot as a matter of fact.

 

I thought about this when I heard Scott Stuart of ESPN died of cancer at the age of 49 this morning.

 

 

I wasn’t a huge fan of his as an ESPN announcer but I was a huge fan of his as a man and human being.

 

 

Death teaches you a lot about character.

 

Why?

 

Because it matters how you fall if that is all there is.

 

 

Now.

 

I am not going to be politically correct with regard to the thought I am going to share.

 

 

Pretty much everyone focuses on ‘living life to its fullest’ and making every moment count.

 

 

 

Well.

 

There are situations where things get a little reversed. In some cases some people actually see the Life finish line.

 

Sure.

 

We all know it is there but for most of us it creeps up on us from somewhere beyond the horizon … unseen but we know it is there somewhere.

 

For others … Life shows it to them. It says “here it is.”

 
Now.

 

It may be somewhere down the road but it is absolutely not over the horizon and it is a clear destination which you are traveling toward.

 

unseen life

To me … this is when how you die matters.

 

 

I am not suggesting you shouldn’t fight for what you believe is right up until the end. I am not suggesting you don’t fight for every moment.

 

 

I am suggesting that when the fall is all there is … that the way you fall really matters.

 

 

I sometimes think people ignore ‘the fall’ because they want to focus on Life.

 

 

Ignoring the fall as an undesirable event which should be ignored as if it will not happen.

 

 

Well.

 

I guess that’s not bad. And … people need to do what is right for them.

 

 

But not all ‘falls’ are equal.

 

 

In your own mind and certainly not in the mind of others.

 

Will King Henry care if the prince is disgraced … or chooses to die with grace and honor?

 

Probably.

 

He may look at the prince differently.

 

Let me point out … may.

 

Will it matter to the prince … Richard?

 

Surely.

 

 

It makes a statement of who he is as a person.

 

 

 

Scott Stuart decided how you die matters.

 

He realized the fall would not only matter to him … but to others.

 

 

I guess my point is that one way of looking at ‘the fall’ is to treat it simply as an adverb in the middle of a long sentence.

 

Simply a word with the intent of getting to the period.

 

Or.

 

Like Richard the Lionhearted, or Scott Stuart, you can treat it like it is the end of a sentence.

 
A period.

 

 

periods at the end

Or an exclamation point.

 

Or a question mark.

 

 

Or anything definitive or declarative.

 

 

A way to put a piece of punctuation at the end of this particular sentence.

 

 

Richard states that it matters to him and he is going to control how his fall is defined. Scott Stuart did the same.

 

This isn’t about being right or wrong.

 

This is about character.

 

 

I guess we sometimes worry so much about ‘maximizing Life’ we forget how we fall says something about who we are as a person.

 

We do not choose when we will die … but some people are chosen to die.
That is what cancer <certain types> does.

 

 

It touches you and says “tag, you are it.” Your horizon becomes less expansive and your destiny is better defined.

 

You didn’t choose this destiny but by being chosen you have to choose.

 

 

—-

-

“Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you’ll never achieve your true greatness — you didn’t choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose.”

Charlie Jane Anders

 

 

And maybe that is what Start Scott truly reminded me.

leading young direction

 

You have to choose when chosen.

 

 

Choose to flinch from your destiny or not. A destiny you did not choose.

 

 

 

He did not.

 

 

He said something at one point about “fight until you are too tired to fight … and then it is okay to stop, rest, and die.”

 

 

 

So, remember, the fall does matter.

 

 

Don’t flinch from your fall.

 

 

Look.

 

I may have this all wrong <except the fact that Scott Stuart did not flinch from his destiny>.

 

 

But.

If I do have it right.

 

I can only hope I do not flinch when faced with my fall.

 

 

===

RIP Scott.

You didn’t know me … but I wish I had known you.

you can only see as far as you think (and women)

July 31st, 2014

 women change the world stump

—–

“What I hate is ignorance, smallness of imagination, the eye that sees no farther than its own lashes. All things are possible. Who you are is limited only by who you think you are.”

-

Egyptian Book of the Dead

——-

thinking multiple thoughts

“We’re all in the same game, just different levels. Dealing with the same hell, just different devils.”

——-

 

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

 

I could write for days with regard to how little we actually see because of the way we think.

 

 

But instead I am going to begin by sharing a TV commercial focused on changing the way we see things <and how we should think>.

 

 

And, oh my, what a fabulous message … what a fabulous visual <that could have been miserably produced if not done carefully> … what a fabulous commercial:

 

women mans world

Break the Box: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2GIu5ZpnTM

 

<note: this may be one of the best commercials I have seen in a while … and yet … I would give it a D- grade for meeting its objective … but give it an A+ for inadvertently delivering a better message>

 

 

But.

 

Here’s the deal.

 

 

To me this commercial isn’t so powerful because it is against sexual violence … I think it reaches a higher level … and that is good.

 

 

I think it elevates to the bigger idea … that one person thinking differently … and acting upon it … can make a difference.

 

 

A HUGE difference.

 

I sometimes think we forget one person can make a difference as we get all caught up n the rhetoric with regard to what we are acting upon.

 

Words get in the way.

 

We want to label everything.

 

 

And as soon as we label something … it is like heuristics .. that simple label creates an image, and a thought, and a perception … and sparks an attitude.

 

 

We see and think one thing.

 

 

And that one thing can stop the one act that can make a difference.

 

——–

“Sometimes, all it takes to save people from a terrible fate is one person willing to do something about it.”

Veronica Roth

——–

 

Speaking of taking action.

 

 

The commercial you watched.

 

 

 

To give credit where credit is due … the commercial is from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault <TAASA> who launched a statewide education campaign about two Texas sexual violence directed state laws.

 

——-

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) is a group committed to ending sexual violence in Texas through education, prevention and advocacy.

They support survivors on their paths to hope, healing and justice. They are a unifying force bringing together parties involved in and affected by sexual assault as a catalyst for change.

TAASA aims to achieve their mission and reach their vision through educating our communities about sexual violence, advocating for public policy change that confronts sexual violence, and finally, addressing and eradicating the myriad root causes of sexual violence.

The campaign can be found at www.HopeLaws.org.

——-

woman when i grow up

Anyway.

 

 

 

That is good stuff.

 

 

And with sexual violence in mind I will focus on women, how society <and men> look at women … and some of the ‘labels’ that affect women … and how society kind of sees women because of these labels <perceptions> … and therefore thinks about them … and then inevitably how we behave with regard to women.

 

 

And I also imagine I am gonna have to mention that godawful word ‘feminist.’

 

 

This ‘label’ may be one of the most polarizing … and detrimental discussions … revolving around women and issues.

 

 

I don’t have to be a feminist to believe in gender equality.

 

 

Nor do you have to be a feminist to discuss women in society and the workplace.

 

 

I am going to use it in the following frame of reference <just to be clear on how I think about it>:

 

——

“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”

-

G.D Anderson

——-

 

 

The word feminist creates a variety of absurd images which make many people only see so far.

 

 

Unfortunately the word, the label, I think also impacts women … how women think about themselves and how they think about each other.

 

 

And that is a shame.

 

It is more than unfortunate.

 

 

Women can be bludgeoned to a point where they maybe lose sight of making a difference as an individual.

 

 

But … one person can truly make a difference.

 

And <maybe tritely suggested> that one person almost always is you.

 

The individual.

 

And where they can make the biggest difference is actually with themselves.

 

Therefore if someone has the opportunity to ignore society they then have the opportunity to not ignore how you think about yourself.

 

 

——-

“Why do you put your self esteem in the hands of complete strangers?

-

Helena Bonham Carter

——-

 

women rebellion Jett

 

 

By the way … this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek support or look for some affirmation with regard to how you think.

 

 

But it does suggest that some of the simplistic labels may have to be ignored in defining your own esteem or how you define yourself.

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

I do not hesitate to tell anyone that I love the way women tend to think about things … and at times I believe the world would be better off if we had more female leaders <countries & businesses>. It may simply have been my management style … but the women in my groups and companies tended to outperform the men.

 

 

But suffice it to say that, at minimum, I believe we would be a better world if there were a better balance in the women to men leader ratio.

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

How does a woman find support in a society which often bludgeons them with words, labels and images suggesting they are disadvantaged in some form or fashion <beyond a state law like Texas>?

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

 

Women speaking out for women is tough.

 

That may sound weird but hear me out.

 

 

 

Older women speaking out sound … well … old.

 

 

Tired.

Bitter.

Angry.

 

 

Even if they are not really any of those things.

 

<we see only as far as we think>

 

 

Most celebrities don’t sound credible.
<we see only as far as we think>

 

 

 

And the most credible rarely get heard.

 

They aren’t famous and they don’t get the microphone that often.
<we see only as far as we think>

 

 

 

The young sound … well … young.

 

 

And maybe a little naïve on occasion.

 

Sometimes their lack of Life experience makes it difficult for them to articulate thoughts in a way that makes them relevant to a larger audience <they just sound young & inexperienced>.
<we see only as far as we think>

 

Therefore … when a youngish articulate female rolls around with the articulation skills to make people listen … and listen closely … I think feminists <or whatever you want to call someone who wants women to have a fair shake in the world> should be shoving them out into the public as often as possible.

 

<note: I have said this before and until proven otherwise I think Katy Perry, Jennifer Lawrence and Selena Gomez … and maybe Maria Sharapova fit the bill>

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I hate the words we use around discussing women … disadvantaged, unequal, strong women … well … add something to the list … women are … well … other humans … other individuals.

 

 

I tend to believe they mostly are ‘disadvantaged’ by nothing more <albeit it is a big nothing> than how people think.

 

 

They may be disadvantaged by heuristics … the labels and words and silly soundbites we want to use in today’s society to summarize more complex ideas and thoughts.

 

We should be thinking broader.

 

 

We should be thinking beyond some labels.

 

For example:

 

——-

“Screw writing “strong” women.

Write interesting women.

Write well-rounded women.

see with your heartWrite complicated women.

Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner.

Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband.

Write a woman who doesn’t need a man.

Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks.

THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN.

Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people.

So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong.

Write characters who are people.”

——-

 

I like this because I don’t like comparisons between men and women.

 

I tend to believe we should address all people issues equally.

 

 

 

And I think this way because I tend to believe many of the issues which are often deemed ‘gender specific’ would be alleviated <or lessened> if we thought this way.

 

 

I do think it is kind of crazy <as a man> that there is any discussion about ‘well … why are we so focused on women … men have issues too.’

 

 

 

It’s crazy because something like nine out of 10 eating disorders are suffered by women

 

 

It’s crazy because something like 95% of cosmetic surgeries occur with women.

 

 

 

It’s crazy because while men are more likely to experience violence on the streets than women … can a man really suggest that they understand the feeling that there is no point that a woman doesn’t think about security when alone on a street.

 

 

It’s crazy because while men may be physically stronger than a woman <in some cases> that doesn’t mean men are in any way mentally stronger than women <and we men seemed to get this shit confused a lot>.

 

think

Anyway.

 

 

Seeing as far as you think.

 

 

 

Back to that thought.

 

 

Oddly … I find the labels surrounding gender equality create debates which end up being very inward-looking <men to men & women to women>, hostile and relentlessly futile and extremely off putting.

 

 

What about simply being … well … a humanist.

 

 

Because … simplistically … limits on what anyone can be should not be defined by anyone other than yourself … and certainly not by society.

 

——-

“Why do you, or they, or anyone get to determine my limits?”

-

Veronica Roth

——-

Well.

This puts all onus on the individual … you alone … with no one to blame if it doesn’t turn out the way it ‘is supposed to.’

 

I know.

 

I know.

 

 

Society doesn’t make this easy.

 

 

 

A society which sees only as far as it thinks.powerful beyond measure 2

 

And to conclude … that is why I like what Sarah Silverman says:

——-

“Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. Not because they can’t, but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t.”

-

Sarah Silverman

——-

 

 

stars and shrinking

July 1st, 2014

stars and shrinking human

——-

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realize there are more important things than what people do all day.”

Calvin and Hobbes

——-

So.

We seem to focus so much on what we do every day … the ‘doing’ in Life.

And while Life doesn’t force us to do so it certainly encourages us to do so.

 

Life does this by throwing obstacles and things to do and responsibility in front of us seemingly as we take each step into the day.

Because Life does this … it is seemingly impossible to do anything BUT think what we do all day as the most important thing.
And I am not here to suggest what we do each day isn’t important.

 

 

Well.

 

Maybe I am just thinking about it.

Thinking about it in a way to make sure we aren’t doing so because we are … well … shrinking.

 

Shrinking before the immensity of Life.immesnity of life norman-mailer

 

Now.

 

Immensity of life.

 

Let’s face it … it is easy to shrink before it.

 

Day to day, surprisingly, is actually easier for us to face. Not suggesting it is less difficult … just easier. It is represented in … well … things.

 

Things to do.

 

Things to say.

 

Things to check off on a list.

 

Things to put on a list.

 

There is never a shortage of ‘things.’

Life is … well … immense.

 

Immense in its intangible and vagueness.

 

I imagine I am suggesting we don’t <or at least make the attempt> shrink from purpose in Life simply using ‘what we do in daily life’ as an excuse.

shrinking focus on

But it is hard <really hard>.

 

Because ‘purpose’ is vague.

 

It is ‘doing good’.

 

Yikes.

But … does that mean doing good for whomever is in front of you at the expense of someone else? … or doing a greater good for the planet at the expense of someone in front of you?

 

Yikes <again> … yes … those choices are real.

 

Simplistically we try to believe it is simply ‘doing the right thing.’

 

But sometimes the right thing for you, or from your perspective, is the wrong thing from someone else.

 

It is ‘having a good heart’ <meaning well>.

 

But does that absolve you from meaning well but still causing harm because meaning well sometimes means not making the hard decision.

Or sometimes it does.

 

 

Purpose, to be meaningful, is a combination of intangible higher order type stuff … with some tangible daily <or weekly> decisions and choices.

 

And it is not easy.

 

And it is not easy on top of what you do in your daily lives.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are an infinite amount of ‘bigger things’ to be done.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are more important things than what people do all day.

 

And I do believe most of us shrink before the immensity of Life.

 

 

And I do not mean that as a criticism … just as something that is normal human behavior <or reaction to what is in Life>.
I don’t have answers here.
Just questions.

 

As in questioning whether I pay enough attention to things beyond what people, and I, do all day.

 

——

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”
E.E. Cummings

——–stars and thinking boy

 

I imagine I believe that while I do not have the answer today if I keep asking the questions maybe I will get closer to an answer tomorrow … or in some day after that.

 

 

I kind of think that is what looking at the stars reminds us of.

 

ragged claws across the universe

December 31st, 2013

 

“I should have been a pair of ragged clawsragged claws brains

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” – TS Eliot

 

 

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” – TS Eliot

 

 

Well.

Both lines above come from TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

 

In the 130 line poem Eliot explores Life from the depths of the ocean floor where one scrabbles out a living on ragged claws to the heights of the universe … and the immensity of Life that resides in between.

Uhm.

Okay.

At least that is what I see and think when I read it.

 

And unfortunately <or fortunately> I am no literary expert and therefore do not have the ability to tear his writing apart evaluating what they call ‘literary allusion’ <… pulling from Donne, Dante, Shakespeare and Marvel to Chaucer, Hesiod and the Bible. A reader has to take these allusions on board to get the most out of his poems, though on the surface they are fairly accessible>.

 

Therefore.

I can only tell you what I think after I read it. That must mean ‘what is on the surface’ is what I imagine the experts would suggest I am doing.

So take what I share with a grain of salt <but read the poem>.

 

Ok.

I admit that TS Eliot poems tend to make me think … stark language steeped with cynicism and a hint of urgency driven by desperation but always with an introspective look at Life.

 

ragged claws sense of ourselvesThis poem is about a person’s desperation that time in Life is running out and he hasn’t made his mark on the world.

 

I believe most of us have an ongoing thread of ‘am I being meaningful’ in Life. It is ongoing from the time we begin wondering what we will do in Life through the moment we step out of school and into the real world and continues as we do what we need to do day in and day out to survive and be the best we can within the circumstances we exist in.

But.

I do tend to believe with age … we begin to obsess a little more over the whole idea of ‘being meaningful.’

That is what the poem makes me think about.

A man looking back on his Life, and at his life, and desperately assessing what could have been.

 

in my pea like brain the whole idea centers on adequacy.

Ah.

Adequacy.

Equal to what is required ior expected but not exceeding it by much. Adequate is suitable to the case or occasion. Nothing to rave about but meets what is needed.

 

I purposefully chose adequate to share my thoughts because it suggests we have what it takes to do what we need to do in Life … yet … is adequate enough?

 

Most of us muddle through Life with small glimpses of something bigger. Maybe it is slightly beyond our grasp for some reason we cannot truly understand … but the glimpse remains etched in our minds in such a way we tend to come back to it again and again in our thoughts.

 

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.

 

Ah.

Is this what we fear as we ponder our lives?

 

That Death mocks us as it awaits our arrival?ragged claws someone to tell

The arrival could be years away … but it can be seen mocking even from afar.

 

I imagine the thought behind the mocking is found within us … in that I was afraid I was not good enough, did enough … or been enough of what I could have been.

 

I wasn’t adequate to be anything more than what I was.

 

There is a self-consciousness with constant introspection and anxiety about mortality and fragility of ‘doing something’ in life.

 

The poem digs deep into a self reflected desperation … which I don’t see as all consuming … but rather a moment of deep thought. A thought so deep that Life begins to become overcome with feelings of self-consciousness and regret and echoes of a hundred indecisions and a hundred visions and revisions.

The hundreds bombarding you in that one moment.

 

Luckily we tend to shed these moments well … and move on.

When we don’t we tend to be haunted.

 

Are we haunted by the Life led?

Or by the Life which we never led?

 

Regardless we are haunted.

 

This kind of soul searching for meaning is often simply seeking a richer association with Life than simply scrabbling with ragged claws.

 

And in that search and introspection of adequacy we often seem to dare to peek at unimaginable heights. The heights which we are uncertain we are adequate enough to not only explore but to survive and prosper.

 

Which leads to my favorite part of the poem.

 

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate,

Time for you and time for me,

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.

 

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

 

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

 

ragged claws thinker doerAh.

Do I dare?

Do I dare to walk among the disdain I expect from the people who talk of Michelangelo?

 

Am I good enough to accept that I will have my time just as you have yours?

 

Am I only adequate to use ragged claws to survive the day to day depths of life?

 

Am I adequate enough to actually dare to do, and be, more?

To actually disturb the universe?

 

And then there is the immensity of Life that resides somewhere in between.

 

I tend to believe while we do not dwell on these types of questions … most of us ask them of ourselves at one time or another.

 

Ok. I will admit.

It is poems like this … at times of the year like this … that one ponders whether they have made a mark in the world.

Have they done something meaningful or maybe more importantly … ‘am I meaningful.’ And I don’t mean to people <because someone always cares about you> … I mean meaningful to something bigger … Life.

 

It is only the arrogant who say ‘yes I have.’

 

The majority of us just wonder.

 

And there is a discomfort in not knowing.

Not knowing if you have not only been adequate or whether you would have been adequate doing more.

Discomfort in not really knowing how ‘big’ we could be.

Discomfort in the belief that our ‘adequate’ made us little.

 

Discomfort in not really knowing if you could have been better … done better … and made a better difference.

 

In the end.

I gotta tell ya.

 

Having a tombstone read “he dared disturb the universe” would be quite a legacy.things doing wooden

 

Anyway.

To close.

A thought from Marianne Williamson which seems to tie well with the poem.

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

 

 

Have a great 2014.

Dare to disturb the universe.

 

ragged claws——–

 

To read the entire poem.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot:    http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/eliot02.html

 

using your body to make a statement

November 18th, 2013

 

“I will write in words of fire.

I will write them on your skin.

I will write about desire.body making a clinbed a tree

Write beginnings, write of sin.

You’re the book I love the best,

your skin only holds my truth.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Ok.

 

I love what young people <tweens & teens> are doing these days with using their bodies to make a statement.

To be clear <part 1>.

 

This is not about tattoos <although I have something to share at a later date on that from a sociological standpoint>.

This is not even about temporary tattoos.

This is about temporary messages being artistically delivered on their skin. Everywhere and anywhere on their bodies … from hands to feet to back and front.

 

It isn’t a fake tattoo.

body making a brain painMaybe it is just body writing <like sky writing?>.

And it is frickin’ awesome.

 

To be clear <part 2>.

I do not believe this idea is anti-tattoo or young actually listening to older people suggesting that committing to something like a tattoo is for life.

 

I actually believe what they are doing is attitudinal … a reflection of a generational attitude.

 

And this attitude even has a name. Trendwatching <a trend futurist group> calls this type of attitude ‘transumerism.’

And boy oh boy does it embody our younger generation.transumers words

 

 

At the foundation of this generational attitude is a fact that in today’s world we are putting a higher and higher value on the temporary and the transient.

 

Uh oh. A lot of older people find this extremely uncomfortable.

They wonder why no one can be consistent any longer. Or make a long term commitment. Or relax on one idea or opinion or thought anymore.

 

Instead the young are embracing many opinions and thoughts. They appear to have learned to embrace a thought of the day. To feel free and express what they think now … express an opinion in the here & now.

 

Their view?

We are being topical.

We dare to make a statement in the moment … when we believe it is most impactful.

 

Impact is in the moment and not the grind <although they are not opposed to the grind but that is another article>.

 

In fact what they are doing is showing us a fairly big attitudinal shift … culturally. Experiences are starting to out-value ‘things.’ The intangible and the temporary are building a higher value than many fixed unchanging tangible items.

 

Fixed items are losing value by becoming synonymous with boredom, with hassle, with quickly-out-of-date, with maintenance, with taking up too large a part of budgets. Heck. Even taking too much of our lives.

 

This is an entire generation of ‘transumers.’ They embody an experiential based economy and culture.

 

This transumer generation is driven by experiences instead of the ‘fixed’, by sensory entertainment, by discovery, by fighting boredom.

body making a backUhm. Long term?

This means as adults they will increasingly live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles, and attitudes,  of permanence  <ownership and possessions>.

 

The risk?

In the inexperience <I hesitate to say immaturity> of youth it can become an obsession.

By that I mean the fixed is replaced by an obsession with the here and now, an ever-shorter satisfaction span, and a lust to collect as many experiences and stories as possible.

 

It is an attitude of … “hey, the past is … well … over … and the future is uncertain … so all that remains is the present. So what the hell … I am going live and make a stand in the ‘now’.

 

This means that attitudinally the young are finding more and more status not from ownership of products & things but from an ability to change and make statements … which change and evolve and adapt.

 

There are winds of change shifting traditional status cues while still doing so in the unchanging important of appearance <or how one looks> in the young. From a larger perspective we need to take note that this means they are gaining more status not from traditional labels <geeks, jocks, preppies, etc.> but status based on attitudes and beliefs.

 

The young are demanding expression <and demanding status from self expression>.

 

They are figuring out how to make their own mark in the world … not staying still, nor silent about what they feel or believe.

 

As one professional body writer suggests:

 

“… I think that when we write a message in a part of our body, we touch the hope that this message is stronger than a simple piece of paper or other material

When we use our bodies courier, we speak from the heart ..” .

<note: There is even a website for how to do a ‘sharpie tattoo’:  http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Sharpie-Tattoo >

 

Regardless.

Digging deeper in transumerism.

 

This thing they are doing is representative of ‘temporary freedom’ or ‘fractional ownership’ of an idea or thought.

 

Trying out new things, escaping unescapable commitment and obligations, dropping formality and offering endless new experiences. No wonder that this idea is catching on with the young.

 

 

They are curious.

Less judgmental because expression changes and varies <it is more difficult to be judgmental on a moving target than a stagnant target>.body making a real men

 

I love how these kids are figuring out how to make an impression and remain silent.  It reminded me of a quote I saw attributed to the Dalai Lama:

 

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” – Dalai Lama

 

I am certainly not suggesting today’s high school youth embody the Dalai Lama. But they are figuring out ways to express themselves in powerful ways.

 

I love this trend of type of body writing.

I love how our young are learning how to not only express themselves but show how to express thinking … real thinking.

 

I love the attitude <and behavior>.

 

And I think we old folk should start learning how to accept an entire generation of ‘transumers’ built upon an attitude of ‘loving the transient an temporary.’ I say this because our tendency will be to slow them down and suggest that they are missing something. We may focus on what I referred to as ‘fractional ownership of an idea’ as a bad thing. Instead we should be encouraging them and teaching them how to maximize that which they are and invest in making fractions wholes <like bricks in a foundation>.

 

Now that is an attitude that will need some strength on the part of us old folk in order to change.

And change is hard.

 

Oh.

body making a loveUnless you are young.

Because they are seemingly embracing some ongoing aspects of change <but still holding on to a very strong moral compass at their core>.

 

But … most importantly … they are not just embracing change … they are addressing cultural attitudes and societal ‘misbehavior’ by taking a stand. They speak out on things that they believe need saying.

Silent … but powerful communication.

 

In the end?

 body making a statement

 

“You’re the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth.”

 

 

The skin of our youth may be holding truth up before our eyes.

 

We just make damn well sure we see it.

 

creating strong roles for women

October 30th, 2013

 

Well.female power ambition

Like it or not … the entertainment industry does play a rather significant role with regard to our attitudes <and some behavior>.

 

The one attitude discussion that always gets me … in fact … aggravates me … is the whole discussion surrounding ‘strong roles for women.’

 

 

And what aggravates me is that we even talk about the fact there are strong roles for women. Why should it even be a discussion? Why isn’t it just something that just “is”?

 

As in something like the fact we breathe to live. Or as Joss Whedon says… “Equality is not a concept, not something we should be striving for, equality is like gravity … misogyny is life out of balance and it sucks something out of the soul of every man and women confronted with it.”

 

I find it aggravating that we still spotlight women in shows like Homeland, The Closer, Covert Affairs, NCIS, Bones and others as remarkable partly because they are women and not simply interesting characters.

 

I find it aggravating that in this day and age we have to discuss ‘women can be whatever they want’ in high schools and yet are challenged by these same young women we are encouraging with regard to what role models they should be following <among the few> … and at the same time you get the questions from the young women you can scan the young men in the room and they are snickering or joking about ‘stay at home’ or ‘cooking & cleaning’ <of which you know that if even a splinter of truth is within the snickers there is a significantly larger issue at hand>.

 

I find it aggravating that we still not only suggest it is the differences between a woman and a man as an excuse for how things are … but an actual REASON for how things are.

female power balls

I find it aggravating that we still refer to strong women in male terms <characteristics> as if someone needs male characteristics to be strong and, conversely, a female characteristic is ‘weak’ <or softer>.

 

I find it aggravating that we assign gender tags when a leader is a leader … strong is strong … and being good at what you do is being good at what you do … and none of those things are driven by your gender.

 

What I don’t find aggravating is a speech Joss Whedon gave in 2006 at the Equality Now Conference.

 

Whedon imagines himself at an imaginary press conference answering the same “dumb question” he is asked “400 times” by reporters … why does he write strong women characters?

 

Starting off with the anodyne answer that it was due to his “strong mother”, his “engaged father”, the fact that female characters are allowed emotions, or just because “women are hot”, Whedon finally shouts: “Why aren’t you asking the 100 other guys why they don’t write strong female characters?”

 

 

I am including Joss speaking … the short version is absolutely fabulous … almost extraordinary in the world of speech making in terms of its concise ability to make the point of which is aggravating me.

 

The fabulous short version < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqsIFlTVoXQ   >

 

The full speech <8 minutes>: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoEZQfTaaEA

 

 

Finally.

 

It aggravates me that we can play a 2006 speech, a fabulous speech, and the issues still resonate today.female power soy mujer

 

It all aggravates me because I know too many strong women to name in this post.

 

In fact … I cannot name one ‘not strong woman.’ Every woman I know either externally exhibits whatever we want to deem ‘strong’ …. or internally … at her core … has the strength of however many men you want to line up and judge their strength.

 

We confuse strength as a definition.

Confuse it with muscles and ability to move tangible objects.

 

And it aggravates me that we do that.

 

female power anyn randWomen are just as capable as men to move mountains of ideas and thinking and people.

 

Creating strong roles for women? The whole idea that we have to talk about it aggravates me.

 

The real discussion should be <to quote Sheryl Crow> … “are you man enough to be my man?”

 

 

Are we men strong enough to play that frickin’ role?

Enlightened Conflict