Monday, October 1, 2012

Do You Know Where Your Remote Is?

I remember the days when the only stations you got were ABC (channel 2), CBS (channel 4), NBC (channel 5), and PBS (channel 9).  It was exciting to then start getting KPLR TV(channel 11), and thrilling to get a channel 30 (for the life of me I can't remember the call letters).  This was back in the '70s.  Back when black and white TVs were still popular, so were console televisions.  There was a turn dial, some of them, like ours, had two - one to change the channels with and the other to adjust the lines and the picture quality - but not all of them went up to channel 30 (which wasn't denoted by a number, but by something else).  There were finicky rabbit ears that had to be adjusted depending on the channel you were watching and the time of day.  It didn't matter if your TV's image wasn't perfectly clear.  Even with lines running up and down and lots of little fuzzy dots, you still watched intently.

The fact that there was no remote didn't bother anyone.  There wasn't much to choose from in the first place.  In the second place, people were usually loyally devoted to a certain station for their programs during a given amount of time, so you didn't need to get up to change anything anyway. 

I don't think it was until more and more commercial blocks began to interfere with our viewing pleasures that even wishing for a remote became a desire.  And unlike today, the majority of us sat within inches of our televisions anyway, despite the fact that we could go cross eyed, or even blind, for doing so.

We weren't use to a million choices either, back then.  In fact it wasn't till the surge of longer and more frequent national commercial spots, and the up-rise of shows where people went shopping for all kinds of cool things and wore a different outfit every day, and who could do whatever they wanted with minimal moral consequences - despite their mediocre jobs, that we started to get a bit more self righteous in that we felt more deserving of optional ways to spend our hard earned cash.

This coincided with the idea that because we worked hard we had every right to spend money in order to show that we were at the economic level that we thought we should be at, despite the fact that we really weren't, and that this idea also made us deserving of sitting on our asses in front of TV dinners and Twinkies, in order to pleasure ourselves and to ease our poor hardworking bodies and minds with free entertainment, remote in hand (even though I don't think they were invented yet).  This also marked the time of longer hours for workers and businesses, as well as longer political battles in counties, towns, and cities on whether or not businesses, other than the Sunday morning Dunkin' Donut shops and the occasional family restaurants, should be open on Sundays.  Longer hours, to make more money, to spend more money, to sit in front of the boob tube, to see more people spending money and acquiring more things, to see more commercials for things we should be spending our money on because everyone else was.  So where was our damned remote!?

Well, we got our remotes.  We also got lazy.  We stopped taking naps, replacing good old fashion rest and fresh air with even more corporate induced television families and heroes.  We got love on boats, fantasy islands, bionics, smart assed rich kids, crappy cereals with crappy prizes, and toys that peed.  And we didn't stop there.  The remote controls needed remote controllers.  Soon every household had an alpha remote control keeper.  Those who lived alone were envied by the rest of us. 

Now we have even more choices, thousands of channels and programs to choose from, boxes and boxes of media options, individual controls and universal controls (none of it free any longer by the way).  We have so many choices we don't have time to watch all of our decisions.  And so hell yeah we're going to throw everything upside down, even if it takes us an hour or even days, to find that remote so we don't have to move a gosh darned muscle.  Our alpha status depends upon it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Softness of a Wish

We've all wished upon a Dandelion in their fluffy state of being, trying our best to blow off every single last white hair of hope and wisdom before we open our eyes again.  And depending on how much we want that wish, we may squeeze our eyes so tight we see stars, and wish upon those too, just to make sure our wish sticks... to something.  

Oh the softness of a wish.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Own Your Desires

A Child can teach an adult three things:  

To be happy for no reason,
To always be busy with something,
To know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.
                                                  ~Paulo Coelho

If this is true then I have one and two covered.  I am happy for no reason whatsoever at almost any given moment.  Even when I'm sick, or tired, or starving, or having a bad day, or unhappy about something, I'm still happy.  Hardly anything is important enough to bring you so far down that at least one thing can't be making you happy at any given moment.   I don't think many people understand how I can be this way. And some, okay one person in particular, seem to refuse to believe that this is true but I think that this is from projection on their part. 

I am always busy with something, even if it is busy doing absolutely nothing at all, which is something if you think about it.  I may say I am bored when I'm dissatisfied with what I am doing or with what my options are, but that really isn't being bored.  It's being busy trying to figure out what I can be doing instead of what I am doing. 

graphic source
Where I pause is at the third bit of this marvelous little quote: I wasn't so sure I knew how to demand with all my might that which I desire.  I don't even really know that that is possible for me. Or is it.  Or was it ever?   Either way, I discovered that after reading this quote by Paulo Coelho, I am not totally comfortable with the word "demand".  For one thing, there are too many things to take into account when it comes to demanding ones desires.  And for another, demand is a strong word.

Oddly enough, I had been thinking about this matter for a few days before I read Paulo Coelho's quote.  I've finally gotten into reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Book one is all about Italy and pleasures.  Specifically, one of the main themes in this section is the importance of allowing oneself life's pleasures, all the while knowing that you deserve those pleasures.  I fully understand this, and this I actively do.  Gilbert says that this is something that Americans don't do well.  If this is the case, then the European part of me must be coming through. 

So I know I've switched to talking about pleasures here, but aren't desires the same as, or at least don't desires go hand in hand with, pleasures?  Isn't the one just an extension of the other?  And if this is the case, if I can and do demand and enjoy what gives me pleasure throughout my day, then why would I have any problems demanding what I desire? (Assuming that this is the reason for the pause I took at looking closely to this.  I still wasn't sure.)

I spent some time thinking about this.  And thinking about this some more.  Over and over coming to the same conclusion. For every example of a desire of mine, I could trace that desire back to the fact that I did demand those desires in one way or another, or I am in the process of demanding them.  Sometimes quietly, sometimes out loud, sometimes with my whole being depending on how big of a desire it was or is.

I really don't have that many desires, and the ones I do have are so simple, I don't think of them as desires you see.  In my head they are wants. For the most part that's the same thing to me.  Albeit most of them are strong and entirely important if for nothing else but because they are mine. 

Okay, so I do all three.  I know and utilize these lessons.  I have kept them with me since I was a child.  This is good.  So I go back and read the quote one last time to check off the list, each one at a time.  And this is when everything clicked.  I finally understood where my hangup was, the reason for my initial pause to wonder whether I could and did demand with all my might that which I desire.

We all see those quotes about how important it is to use correct punctuation, because it saves lives.  "Let's eat grandma. vs. Let's eat, Grandma!"  Well, it's just as important to read things correctly.  Now you may have read correctly on the first try.  If so, please don't tell me because I don't want to know how slow I am.

I read again and saw it, that one word that I kept avoiding.

"To know how to demand with all his might that which he desires."

I do know how, but I don't always know if I'm doing it right.  Happy-ness and busy-ness come easy to me.  They are more instant in their achievement.  Achieving some desires is much harder and can take much longer.  Some are impossible, like desiring your loved one to come back to life, or like desiring for something that happened to not have happened. 

Some desires have a slim chance of happening, like the desire to win the lottery.  And then there are some desires which take a long time to come to fruition.  You wonder if they will ever come to you.  You wonder, therefor, if you desire those desires enough.  You turn them over to make sure that they are your exact desire.  Most of all you wonder if you're demanding  them enough or the right way.  It's for these last two types of desires that I questioned whether or not I knew how to demand with all my might that which I desire. 

My conclusion?  Yes, I believe I do know how.  

There are some things in life that we will never know, that we will never get.  All we can do is try our best and hope for the best.  Our desires like everything else must be pure and true for them to live confidently within us and therefore for us to know how to demand them.  We must own them. Do you own yours?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Small Note About Father's Day

photo source
This father's day I won't be calling my dad or sending him a card.  That was over a long time ago and I can't say I'm sad for it.  Sometimes it just doesn't work out between parents and children.  And that's okay, it really is.  There's hopefully someone to replace that parent.  Maybe not exactly, but fundamentally.  The same can happen even if that parent is a part of your life but the relationship just isn't what it should or could be.  If there isn't a substitute, you have to not only come to terms with that fact but you also have to find a way to fill that spot on your own, or get to the point where you don't need that spot filled.  I was fortunate enough to not need it filled.

For a fabulous and unique variety of Father Daughter stories, check out the photo source link above. 

And for a beautiful take on fatherhood from a father's point of view: A not-so-dramatic perspective of fatherhood by John Stapleton

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Apple, the Straw, and the Milkshake - Saturday Random Question and Answer

You can punch a hole in an apple using a straw. How do you think that makes your milkshake feel?

I don't think my milkshake cares.  It's made of strawberries...

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Psychology of Self Injustice

Are you working yourself to death?
"Some people just really like to feel sorry for themselves," that's the way it can really seem and it's hard not to believe otherwise.  Not that I don't ever feel sorry for myself, because I do, but to a point.  I let myself feel what I'm feeling and then I move on to greener pastures.

You see, everything works out in the end.  It does.  That is once you realize that some things are out of your control and you decide to act upon that fact.  When you stay in a rut of worry and sorry, especially if it's because of a boss, it only perpetuates the cycle and the "everything works out" part is all that much farther away and you become depressed and stressed if it's not really what you want.  

That said, and this may be confusing to some that it can actually be both ways, some people do enjoy their worry and their sorry while they are hating their worry and sorry and the situation that brought them to those two things. This oxymoron of emotion comes partially from habit, but it is one that allows for them to place blame on everyone but themselves if something doesn't work out because, "See all that I am doing... and still?  See how I am sacrificing? And see how wrong and terrible my boss is?"  So much blame is put on them already that it is a release and a relief to act and react in this way.

Now to be fair, a boss can easily take away your livelihood. In an instant. The economy has nothing to do with this fact.  And if you are devoting all and more than you have for years at a time, you can become too depressed and too tired to make life changing decisions and new goals for yourself.  If you have a family to support, it's even harder to get out of the hamster wheel that a job tends to exercise its employees on.  Unfortunately, in these last few years the economy does have everything to do with the fact that people no longer have the opportunity to simply switch out of a bad job or at least one with better pay.  And most of us are not one of the lucky few that work for a company of good morals, values, and ethics.  I mean the human kind not the Christian kind (though some are one and the same). 

And not all of us are lucky enough to be in a job we love.  If we are working in a field we love, but the politics or higher ups of that job are terrible, the hours are terrible, and the benefits are terrible, the work we love is at risk of being, if it already isn't, work that we can no longer stand. 

A lot can come from this terrible cesspool that we've found ourselves in.  Our family and family life suffers.  We expect more out of them. We begin to mistrust them as we do our own selves and our own job security.  We can't deal with the normal issues that come with a family, yet we are doing "all of this" for them.  We begin to compare the one in charge of our home with the one in charge of our work.  We blame those we do just because we can, like our boss does to us.  Time becomes a blur.  We realize what we are doing, but we can't stop the cycle, at least not for long.  The longer we are in this mess, the more the cesspool becomes quicksand.  We can't understand why our significant other is not solving our problems, because surely they can see what is happening to us.  

And we continue with our worry and our feelings of being sorry for ourselves because it's the only thing that seems to comfort us.  So in this sense, yes, you can be completely right in saying that "Some people just really like to feel sorry for themselves."  

But try as one might to offer up a bit of the life that could be, offer moments of being in the moment without worrying or sorry feelings, the only way that the person in question can accept any offerings, is if that is exactly what they do, accept those offerings. 

We are the only person that can take ourselves off the hamster wheel.  We are the only ones that can make the true sacrifices that benefit those who really matter in the end, our family and those who were with us the best that they could be through it all.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ground Control, It's David Bowie's Birthday

So it's David Bowie's birthday today.  Not that I keep track of these things, they just jump out at me and I think to myself, "Really?  I could have been celebrating all day and I find out now?"

In tribute to Mr. Bowie, who is 65 years young today (and looking pretty sweet I might add) I thought I'd take us back in time for a couple of tunes.  You may want to change your outfit and grab yourself a drink.  Oh, and some lipstick and eyeliner.

Here's the original 1969 video for David Bowie's Space Oddity:

And since I really feel like dancing and I bet you do too...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cheers to 2012

Well, it is 2012.  Finally.  All last year I've been wanting to write 2012 and found myself rather disappointed when I came to write 2011.

I don't feel the likelihood of the ending of the world. Not this year.  But I do expect there will be lots of changes.  And I mean lots.  Not sure what they will be, or how any of us will make out.  Though I can say I detect quite a bit of creativity coming from people.

2012 will be a wonderful year for creating and recreating ourselves.  The proof will be in the pudding.

Things I'm looking forward to this year:
  • Wonderful blogs by awesome people.
  • Lots of nature walks.
  • Taking more pictures with my camera.
  • More game nights (or days) with the family.
  • Juicy books to read on my Kindle.
  • And a whole lot of life and article writing (maybe a good balance of the two this year?).
Happy 2012 to everyone.  Cheers!

~ Frieda

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