Yesterday, I felt inundated by questions and dark thoughts about why the world is the way it is. My stock answer, the one I tell myself over and over is, “It is what it is,” whatever it is. This is a dichotomy of thought on my part as I also tell myself that it is possible to change my own situation, circumstances, feelings and thoughts just by thinking positively, by not letting the shadows of what might be overtake the light of what is. I can make the shift from negative to positive. I can bring positive love and light into my life by being love and light, by sharing the good and putting less focus on the not-so-good.
I also believe that when we have questions, even those internal little niggling thoughts, answers present themselves. It’s up to us to look and listen, to be still. If we ask (even silently), we shall receive.
So, with the thoughts of yesterday still whirling around in my mind, questions about how we can possibly make the world a better, safer, lighter, more loving place bouncing and pinging, I found this video on my Facebook news feed. It’s from a site called The Master Shift.
John Lennon was not my favorite Beetle. In fact, he lost me when he slipped into what I called his “Give Peace a Chance” phase. I was young and silly and had no idea what that was all about. I’ve changed since then. I’ve grown a little in my thinking and I realize that Lennon, like so many others who were able to hone in on something real and tangible while the rest of us were in denial, while presenting an image of a hippy-dippy lifestyle that was suspect in my eyes, was looking and listening and finding answers that make sense for all of us.
This video is long by today’s standards of seven second bytes but it’s worth a look and a listen. You may have heard it all before; it may not bring instantaneous meaning to you or answer your questions, but it was there for me this morning to shine a little light on my own questions and I want to share it with you.
This morning, while floundering for something to write about, swallowing my desire to rant about the negativity that seems to be spreading like an unchecked virus around me, a song came to mind: The Impossible Dream. I have fond memories of Man of LaMancha. My brother went to see the musical in high school and came home inspired. He gathered our friends, handed out roles, taught us the words, and we re-enacted various scenes from the play. That memory of my brother standing in our backyard belting out this song is still my go-to when it feels like negativity is winning.
As to the negativity? When this is the best advice a woman can offer young girls in finding their place in the world, I am profoundly saddened: “The world we live in is a twisted and broken place.” I have no words to describe how wrong this feels to me.
So, I offer you this little bit of nostalgia and hope. You can find it on YouTube but it won’t compare to the wonderful memory I have in my head.
The Impossible Dream
Music by Mitch Leigh and Lyrics by Joe Darion
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right, without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star.
Is it just me or is the bloom off the rose of social media? Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here, but it seems to me that as the focus of Facebook and Twitter has changed from, “Look at me and all of the interesting things I’m doing!” to “Buy this!” the social aspect of connecting with friends and family has slowly been leached out of the media.
I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook. I just don’t have enough friends online or off to require a repository to keep up with them. And besides my writing, I don’t have enough interesting happenings going on in my life to require instant status updates. I have to admit, it is much easier to share photos and quick messages with family and my few far-flung friends, but if the news is big enough, we still call each other or text or send an email.
As for Twitter, for me the platform has devolved into 140 character commercials. When I first joined a little over a year ago, the art of the mini conversation–enticing people to connect with you through short bursts of witty banter–was becoming a valid art form. I liked the give and take, matching wits and quotes with like-minded people. The fun of Twitter, however, quickly faded as my posts and follows were greeted with stock replies of, “Thanks for following. Now, please check out my website/blog/author page and buy my book!” I can honestly say that throughout my Twitter adventure, not one long and involved conversation ended without a plea for a book purchase. In some cases, I bought the books; in other cases, I felt manipulated.
Now I know it’s all about the numbers. We’ve been convinced that the more likes and followers we have, the more successful we will be as authors or salespeople or entrepreneurs. (Maybe that’s really one job description: it seems impossible nowadays to be a writer without also being head of sales as well as the leader of our own one-(wo)man band/corporation/organization.) Long gone are the days of hole-ing up to write “The Great American Novel.” Now you have to be “out there” building a presence, developing a fandom with followers. And then you have to write four or five or six more books just like that while you hawk your work on Facebook and Twitter and every new platform that comes along. Forget about writing good books or building relationships or maintaining the ones you have. It’s all about the advertising. Sell, sell, sell! is the new mantra of the upwardly social.
As for me, I’m stepping off the garden path and letting the crowd pass me by. Social interaction makes me uncomfortable hence my comfort in being a cave dweller. As for the internet and life in the social matrix? There has to be a better way.
So, today I’ll leave you with this:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles today, To-morrow will be dying. Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674)
(I wonder how many will remember this from lit class and how many will think of HBO’s Newsroom?)
It’s Friday and I’m thinking that at some point over the weekend, I’m going to go to a movie. (First showing, small popcorn, bottle of water, back row, exactly in the middle of the aisle.) Here’s my dilemma: I don’t know which movie to see. I was all psyched, ready for MAN OF STEEL, and then discovered that it doesn’t open until 6/14. Bummer!
So, what are my other choices?
THE PURGE opens this weekend. My only reaction to the trailers I’ve seen lately is YIKES! The premise sounds intriguing and I like Ethan Hawke and love Lena Headey but having survived the Red Wedding last Sunday night, I don’t think I have it in me to sit through another blood bath. Click here for a link to the NYTimes review in case you’re interested.
How about AFTER EARTH? I guess I have been living under a rock because I was surprised to learn this morning that M. Night Shyamalan directed this one. I liked Signs and The Sixth Sense but I don’t know about this one. Here’s a review from Wicked Local (Plymouth).
And then there’s FAST AND FURIOUS 6. I can’t decide if it’s a viable choice or if I’ve seen enough of The Rock and Vin Diesel–even as buddies working on the same side. I might have to wait for this one to come out on DVD. The reviews I’ve seen don’t look too promising. Here’s one from JoBlo.
Star Trek: Into Darkness: Seen it. Iron Man 3: Seen it. I liked both of them but I have to admit to being more a Trekkie than a Stark fan. (Well, except for the Starks of Winterfell but that’s another story!)
Maybe I’ll wait for MAN OF STEEL after all. Besides, the finale of GAME OF THRONES is on Sunday night and that might just be enough excitement for me for one weekend.
Help me decide. Take the poll and let me know which movie you’d like to see this weekend.
“We don’t just share our lives with animals; we are animals — a reality that we often choose to forget in modern Western culture. Research published in the June special issue of SAGE journal, Social Science Information (SSI), delves deeper into our relationship with other creatures, critically examining our own animal nature, and looking at how animals profoundly influence our culture — perhaps more so than we had initially thought.” (from Science Daily 6/5/13)
A friend of mine, another Cave Dweller like me, sent me this link this morning. I’m not sure how it’s relevant to my quest to understand my desire to step away from 21st century society and the strange demands I feel it puts on me as a human/spiritual being, but it’s an interesting article.
“To be human does not mean to have fled animality, but on the contrary to live within it and to let it live within us…we are animals and animals are us.” And that is an intriguing idea.
In some respects, I think we’ve evolved beyond our early survive-by-the-seat-of-our-pants (or animal skin shorts) mentality. Then again, sometimes I think we’ve simply learned to design better clothes and weapons, added more social structure for crowd control, and that we’re all Cave Dwellers at heart just trying to survive in our modern world.