The Whole Damn Thing

As I'm sitting here, fingers to keyboard, I'm being rather reflective as we move into the New Year. This reflection has me painting broad strokes in my mind that move from frivolity, narcism, bailouts, excessiveness, goodwill, vanity, and back again.

What comes to mind immediately is my recent boxing day experience of walking into the expensive stores and seeing people buying merchandise like it they were spending pocket change. To this point I actually overheard a couple talking about how horrible the economy was, how concerned they were about the big 3 (car industry), and the fact that they lost a lot of money in the stock market - meanwhile the sales clerk was holding  a floor length fur coat saying "Is there anything else I can show you?" as they proceeded to pay for the $$$$$ coat.

In another corner of the world where I live, I see from my car window the kind gesture of a women helping another women with a walker get unstuck in the snow as they both found themselves walking across the street at the same time. The one woman was helping from behind to nudge the other so that her wheels would break free from the snow bank. The woman with the walker, who was severely hunched over, attempted to turn her body to give the other woman a thank you nod. It was heartwarming.

Earlier the same day, I'm working out at the gym I frequent to get smack dab in the middle of a conversation about botox injections and that "anyone who is anyone is getting it done." I happened to be in a line of cardio machines where the women to the right and left of me were talking around me. Which is quite surprising as you would think they would want to keep a conversation like this one on the QT. I say that because they were listing off names of people that had recently had "work" done, and I knew a few of the people they were talking about! Yeesh, so now when I bump into these people I'm going to have to stop myself from inspecting their faces. Oh, ya that's going to be easy.

Look, I do not profess to be a goody two-shoes (what the hell does that mean anyways?), and by no means am I a prude, I just wish people would give more thought to their actions. We live in such an instant gratification world that I sometimes think that I'm the only one who ever remembers that it wasn't always like this? Was it? No, really, was it?

What happened to "all good things come to those who wait."

That's my small rant for today. And yet I am very optimistic for a happy and healthy 2009. Ok, There will still be the same idiots doing the same senseless things; and frivolous people doing frivolous things; and yet there will also be wonderfully kind people doing wonderfully kind things. To which I say ... this whole damn thing is one peculiar life. I'm here for the long haul. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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The Dude

I feel like a free wheeling dude (or dudette) as the holiday's are upon us. I can go wherever the road takes me. It's a freeing feeling to know that I have some time to do what I want - sleep in, stay up late (and it's not for work!), exercise as long as I want, hang with friends and family, go to films, galleries, museums, coffee shops, whatever, it doesn't matter. I'm just "being." It's so selfish and yet at this time of the year it seems so necessary (for me) to recharge so that I'll be good to go when I get back to officially working. I say selfish as I am very aware that we are in one of the worst recessions, possibly on the cusp of a depression that we have ever been in since the depression of the dirty '30's.

New year messaging in the media is full of doom and gloom. Articles feature "remembering the great depression," the credit crisis, the big 3 bailout, Wall Streets a bust, and more. It's definitely not life as usual, at least it shouldn't be.

So in my own little world (way) I've decided not to take the big holiday trip that I normally go on this season, and yet I will still go wherever the road will take me ... however, it'll be by foot or by hybrid (hybrid anything!). And I'm o.k. with it.

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A Little Magic ....

I'm constantly amazed at how we as human beings are ever evolving. It seems in most cases at the speed in which we're ready to invite change; their is no black and white to how we develop. We are fragile beings with tentative souls and careful hearts.

Interestingly today I was at a store I frequent, and spotted dzi beads (pronounced "Zee") hanging on a jewelry tree (more about what they are in second) and mentioned to the woman behind the counter how I've had some interesting "luck" wearing the dzi beads that I purchased a while back, and went on to talk about the beads and their "magical" properties. As I was talking about them there were a few people in line behind me listening (I was checking out, and not holding up the line by any means). I tried to answer a few questions with the limited knowledge that I had about the beads; and then as I was getting ready to leave the store .... the 3 people in line bought the beads! Now, I'm by no means one of those people that can sell anything to anybody, except for the fact that I tend to be a tad enthusiastic about things, and yet I couldn't help thinking that perhaps their motivation was due to the fact that the new year was fast approaching and perhaps these people were looking for a little magic for the start to the year? Perhaps it was because we're all just a little nervous about the economy and by wearing the beads it just might provide a little comfort? Who knows, I wasn't going to analyze it to death. I was just so interested in the fact that 3 people, one after the other bought the beads. Curious. 

Here's the 411 on what dzi beads are as defined on Wikipedia: it's a bead stone of mysterious origin going back @ 3000 years. The bead is thought and expected to provide positive spiritual benefit. They are generally prized as protective amulets and sometimes used in traditional Tibetan medicine. Beads that are broken are believed to have diluted benefit because they have taken the brunt of the force that would have otherwise impacted the wearer. The meaning of the word "dzi" translates to "shine, brightness, clearness, splendor."  In traditional Chinese, the bead is called "heavens bead" or "heavens pearl." There's more information on this on the web and in books, and if interested I encourage you to check it out further - for example there's ever a certain way to wear them.

For me, the take away on this is: "We welcome something new when we're ready to receive it." Three people today were ready to receive, explore, whatever you want to call it. I find that fascinating.

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Dream It, Realize It ...

My friend and I got together last night over a bottle of wine - and with a blank piece of paper we began our independent scribe of what it is we wanted to achieve in 2009. We needed to be descriptive, to write down the tangibles of what exactly we wanted, to the point of describing the look, taste, feel of the goal/desire.

As I'm going through the exercise I'm realizing how damn hard it is to describe exactly what it is that I want to achieve. I find myself being rather vague and inarticulate to the point where I wrote down ... "Work on being more articulate in what it is I want."

I can see how writing what you want down is helpful as it works on formulating in your minds eye exactly what it is you want to accomplish. With a clear goal and a step by step plan (ok, so they'll be a few glitches, hiccups along the way) you would be well on your way to making thing happen.

Ironically as we're writing down our goals, trying to be focused, we get side tracked and started talking about life happenings ... we eventually got back to pen and paper ... and soon realized that it would take more then a couple of hours to carve out our dreams for the year. So we took paper in hand, grabbed a cab and went to a pub.

My goal today is to continue writing out my 2009 goals! 

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The Curious Case Of ....

Benjamin Button. Christmas day I saw the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and thought, what a gift. A magical and insightful story about a man aging backwards. Their is of course a lot more to it then that. The message was subtle yet powerful.

How appropriate to see a film like this as we move into 2009. In actual fact, anytime is a good time to see a film like this. It certainly made me give pause and reflect. And to my point earlier in my blog it speaks to this being "a reality" and not "thee reality." We can change our lives, over and over if we choose. The fear of the unknown is so powerful isn't it? It can stop us in our tracks.  It can paralyze us from pursuing life.

As I get closer to meeting my friend just prior to New Years to jot down our "dream list," I'm giving more and more thought to what it is that will really jive me. What will prove to be purposeful to me. If you're one of those people who are already doing what it is you've always wanted to be doing, I applaud you. I think it's rare though.

Life is a journey and not final destination. To that I already know.

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During this holiday time I wonder what people are doing, where they are, who they're with ... I'm basically curious rather then having the need to know because of any deeper meaning. I find the holiday season brings about a number of anxieties and expectations of ourselves (maybe of others) that beg the question; are you doing things for yourself or for others? And if it's for others does it bring about a good feeling in yourself? I'm interested.

This is the first time in many years that I'm in "town" for the holidays due to a number of logical reasons, however, the way I'm feeling right now I can't exactly remember what the reasons were? I'm just slightly, uh slightly feeling sorry for myself. I'll get over it. After all I have complete flexibility to enjoy myself over the holidays right here in River City, and I will make the most of it. Although a far away land is calling for me ... I will return soon .... 

Having said this, I hope you're in a good place and able to do whatever it is you want to be doing.

Hmmmmm maybe I'll catch a flick tomorrow ....

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Spinning ...

I wonder about everything. How people function day to day, what and how they're thinking, doing, believing and basically just "being." You see I believe we've all been spun since birth. Just as soon as we pop out of the womb we're basically taught how to think, feel, well really ... be. From religion on up (or down, depending on how you look at it).

Basically, I have a hard time conforming. Conforming to the 9 to 5 job mentality, the house, the 2.5 kids, the material world (that I must admit I get sucked into) the institution of, well, any institution actually, and mostly, the brainwashing of organized religion.

I try so hard to have faith in human kind, and yet I can't believe so many people get trapped into the day to day (moment to moment) propaganda that envelops us.

Every one of us live in "a" reality ... not "thee" reality ... meaning we can change our circumstances, our way of living if we really wanted too, and yet, it's so much harder then said. So what do we do ... go through life (a lot of us) going through the motions. So what's it going to take to make a change? I've been thinking a lot about this as we move into a new year with new hopes. I have no idea what 2009 will look like, and yet I'm sure I'm going to effect it in a way that involves change - real change.

I'm going to need to ponder more about what this change will look-like. To start though, my friend and I are getting together before January 1st to write out our "dream list." A list that's full of what we wish for in 2009. I think it's a good first start. I invite you to do the same.

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Spinning In River City

As I start typing the first words on this blog I am compelled to use the title "Spinning In River City." It came to me from the musical "The Music Man." The show is based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a band leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash. In River City, Iowa, prim Marian the librarian sees through him, but when Hills helps her younger brother, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold. Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her.

It has everything; intrigue, love, deception, naivety, compassion, and greed. The simplicity and uncomplicated title of "The Music Man" brings to mind such mass interpretation. To this point I equate our world as such, a spinning mechanism full of contradictions, foibles, compassion, and more. My interest in creating this blog is to explore and express what it means to be human in a way that I hope will be thought provoking and interesting. I'll leave it at that for now, in its simplest form. Much more later ...

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