It has been a day. Hottest recorded temperatures in history in Salt Lake City. 107 Degrees. September is not feeling like September. Supposedly six planets are retrograding or about to retrograde. I don’t know how I feel about any of it but every time I feel a funk it seems I read somewhere that the planets are up to something. Mostly, it just makes me contemplate how the macrocosm gets into the microcosm whether it’s on a planetary, global, national, or community level.
Today honestly felt like auto pilot and I could not stop thinking that no matter what I did unease was going to set in. Everything I did felt like such a farce. My husband was sitting at the kitchen table reading about ice cream sandwiches and calculating how much they would be a piece if he went to this mega ice cream sale at the distributors this weekend and bought Ice cream sandwiches by the case. That sounded like poetry to me.
Sure, I am down for ice cream sandwiches. Why the hell not? But should I? I have been thinking like an entrepreneur lately. I have been thinking too in terms of creating content for profit. For instance, how much could one sell Ice cream sandwiches for at twenty cents a piece?
I went hunting costumes at goodwill in September and got a steal of a deal on costumes for three dollars a piece in excellent condition. When I purchased them something just wasn’t sitting right with me. Partially because none of them were in my size and I have no young children anymore. Then it dawned on me, this is GOODWILL. What kind of predatory consumer had I become? Then I thought of the housing market and how nobody can afford to buy a house anymore or how offers on homes by families are being countered and outbid by people who own multiple properties. I thought of all the airbnbs that could go to limited housing and how I should just start staying in Hotels in defiance.
What really got my goat was an article I read about how Californians are being asked to rent out rooms to teachers so they can afford to live in the areas where they teach. What has society become? So, we built THIS?
I have also been thinking in terms of plastic pumpkins. Why not just get the real ones that are ecologically sound, and why paint all over wood furniture? It’s like painting over trees. I swear there’s a conspiracy to imitate nature at the expense of the real thing. There is a lot of imitation going on at the expense of authenticity detaching itself from its roots. Consider the fact that maybe we are meant to be artists for the sake of creating art and not just content creators commodifying our very existence for likes, follows, and capital gain at the expense of our own craft. Imitation thrives. Something new and organic does not.
I have been thinking in terms of binaries, absolutes, and cancel culture too. I’m realizing how harmful othering is in terms of binaries. How we are being conditioned to believe we can not hold space for two things at once. Something or someone may be this which is not so good but they can also be that which I concur with or see as a redeeming or admirable. Some people may be a little more of this or a little more of that, I mean it’s never quite a fifty fifty, but I can say with certainty that not everyone is this or that completely. Yet, the way things are going you are either this or that and if you are a not, then you can be cancelled immediately, and if we all have erred as humans (which we have) then technically we can all be cancelled. This thinking also bypasses the notion that people are capable of evolving and growing. What did Jesus say, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” So I’m trying to look at “the other” differently.
I’ve been contemplating moments in my life when by all accounts someone should have been my arch enemy, my nemesis, etc. but that turned out to be not so. What a surprise! Sometimes opposites do attract and generally it comes when 1). We have laid out our differences finding common ground or 2). We are completely aware of the differences but choose to love “the other” unconditionally. We love them despite all the lesser qualities they have and BINGO by doing so, we find that the other person changes somehow or meets us somewhere on a plain we never imagined. This doesn’t mean we facilitate others in ways that make us feel uncomfortable at our expense, we just LOVE.
So, here’s the situation. I have a former war vet that comes into my work all the time and we talk. He is a huge conspiracy theorist. I don’t know why he is drawn to me because when he sprouts off conspiracy I find he is the exact opposite of who I am. Yet, he touches base with me and chooses to converse with me and he comes in after long periods on the road to connect for whatever reason even though I am everything he is not. He knows I am married and he discusses his trials with dating and he tells me if he meets a girl who is THIS or THAT it is over. In my head I’m thinking. Does this guy have any idea that I am this or that?
I told him, “Dave (for the purpose of this blog I will call him Dave) maybe you are looking for someone who is the exact opposite of you are and you just don’t know it. I see you with someone who is everything you are not.”
He said, “I don’t think so.”
I just had a chuckle. He told me once, ” I want to meet someone in an organic way. Like, how you and I have just met at this store talking, not some superficial way on a dating app. So, in around about way he considers our friendship to be organic although it goes against everything he says he wants, yet it feels “natural” to him.
I worked for a medical provider who was the same way. Everyday I turned on my computer, his political views about the glories of capitalism and the harms of “socialism” were all over my screen and I would enter past it and roll my eyes. He had several medical assistants in the past, and none of them worked long term, and here comes this single mom who worked out long term and we had a long lasting, respectful, and endearing work relationship. I don’t think such pairings by the universe are accidental. Sometimes we are paired with our opposite for good reason and if we immediately cancel the “other” we miss out on the lesson and so do they.
So I don’t know why I spewed this all over my page, but I feel life is a series of lessons and I’ve been led to people or things that have had my wheels spinning about such lessons. I mean, I started thinking about binaries and cancel culture heavily these past weeks with the Elvis Presley Movie and even the death of the Queen of England. My thoughts went like, “Yes, Elvis was THIS but he was also THAT, ” or the Queen of England, “Yes, she was THIS but she was also THAT.” So should one cancel the other? Why can’t I just go with two things can be true at the same time?
I realize that I must hold space for both even if I tend to favor one or the other and there is not a person alive who doesn’t have a shadow. I’m not dismissing the shadow self or vice versa, I’m just acknowledging it with the other. People can be enigmatic creatures of varying proportions.
I read an interesting article recently about how to stop the spread of misinformation, and the solution wasn’t to come at someone with facts, evidence, counter arguments, etc. The solution was to get at the very techniques that are at the heart of critical thinking. Kind of like, “teach a man to fish, and he will feed himself.” You will get further leaving the argument behind and merely educating others how to recognize and deviate falsehoods for themselves through critical thinking. One mentioned way was teaching about the dangers of false equivalence, dichotomies, binaries, and absolutes.
As I read the article, a little clip was shown from the Star Wars movies where Anakin Skywalker was having a moment with Obi Wan. Yes, Anakin was turning to the dark side becoming Vader and he shouts out to Obi Wan, “Either you are with me, or you are against me.” In which Obi Wan replies something to the effect of only someone who has turned to the dark side talks in absolutes. There is much wisdom in that, and I find that the internet has become a binary system that favors absolutes.
Much division has been created with machinations and algorithms that favor either or thinking. One triggers the other, one feeds off the other. Hence polarization of phenomenal proportions that don’t favor the real world. It’s like porn in a way, getting sucked into fictitious fantasies that don’t reflect the real world and the reality can’t keep up. Many times, I have thought the world is like the media and it’s not. It quite simply is not. It’s times like these when I have to reckon with myself and say, Step Away, Step Away, just Step away. The real world is much more nuanced than the media portrays and it’s dangerous. It’s completely dangerous. It dehumanizes us in a way that escapes reality and favors something less organic.
So these have been my thought processes going into the week, harvest moon, retrograde and all. I’m just trying to find my way in a society where I don’t want to be consumed or be the toxic consumer. I don’t want to be prey or predator in these f’d up systems. I want to love the other as much as I loathe others because hate never changed anybody. The best way to do this is to recognize that yes, each of us have a shadow self and I can hold space for that in others and maybe I need to recognize that their shadow self may even be a reflection of my own. Their shadow self also comes with its own lessons as does mine.
I also want to continue to recognize the systems that are in place that mimic what is natural but certainly are not and get back to what is natural, the roots, not the imitation. For instance, no more plastic pumpkins at the expense of the real thing.
Anyway, these are my thoughts on a fall day.
Until Next Post!