Mirror, Mirror Off The Wall

“I used to live in a room full of mirrors; all I could see was me. I take my spirit and I crash my mirrors, now the whole world is here for me to see.”
– Jimi Hendrix (A Room Full Of Mirrors)

 

I find it strange that mirrors don’t come with instructions. They are, in fact, one of the most dangerously brutal objects found in our homes, harboring the potential to destroy our emotional well-being with ease. They threaten our image of ourselves, and even at times warp our perceptions. And yet, there is no warning label about their misuse.

Their addictive properties offer a vise to both the vain and the masochistic. For the naive, they readily shatter precious illusions and reflect the naked distortion of our imagined perfection. Yes, mirrors are uncompromising in their function, merciless in capacity, and indignant to their facility.

Seeking the truth through the ‘looking glass’ we stare … and lie to ourselves about our reflection, reflecting our own hypocrisy or delusion.

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Wool And Water: Who’s Fleecing Whom?

“Can you do addition?” the White Queen asked.
“What’s one and one and one and one and one
and one and one and one and one and one?”
“I don’t know,” said Alice. “I lost count.”
– Lewis Carrol (Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There)

 

I ask you … is inconsistency the only thing consistent in your life? Is ambling through life with no real purpose seem to be the norm for you? Does getting through the day seem to be both a tall order and the order of the day?

Turbulent times, indeed! I’m reminded of the old Chinese toast that chimes, “May you live in interesting times”. Of course, the saying actually reflects a curse … but then I guess it’s all how you interpret it. Still, a devil’s advocate might suggest that going all ‘Pollyanna’ would most likely mean that something has gotten lost in the translation! Yes, it’s often hard to know what to believe and more importantly what to think.

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Crabalocker Crabs Boxed In Sideways

Some get the gravy
And some get the gristle
Some get the marrow bone
And some get nothing
Though there’s plenty to spare.
– Joni Mitchell (Banquet)

 

They say that moving houses is one of life’s most stressful situations. With this statement I tend to both agree and disagree. However, more to the point is that it’s just a depressing affair. There are surprises, usually of the morose kind, as well as subtle disappointments, bith expected and unexpected. The ‘normalcy’ of what you have come to expect, even if defined by ‘normal standards’ as ‘abnormal’, tends to be replaced by a form of irreverent and frenzied ‘hell’ …a helter skelter of sorts that fans of the ‘Lost’ television series know all too well. Yes, I think ‘lost’ is a shade of one way of describing how I feel these days.

I really don’t know where to begin in attempting to extricate myself from this self-imposed purgatory, because ‘sideways’ is not a usual option. But, that is pretty much the way I’ve been moving through life the last 2 months or so. Shuffling to the left, shuffling to the right, I shuffle and shuffle … and then I shut down. Not one for banging my head against a wall over and over again, I’ve just withdrawn into my crabby shell and have been waiting for this state of suffocation to pass … sometimes even forgetting to breathe.

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Decluttering Clogged Clingy Clutchers

What lies in tatters,
trouble be known.
Seeking some wisdom,
so far from home.
It’s been a long time not comin’.
A heavy cross to bear.
A long road of spinning wheels,
leading nowhere.
– Jay Schwartz (A Pocket Full Of Holes)

It’s time denude yet another myth about life with the following reality check: life is not always what you make of it. Whoever said it was was just being pretentious. Most people who are born into poverty stay in poverty. Most people who are born into middle class households stay in middle class households … unless of course they slip into poverty. Very few really ever get ahead or even make it out alive.

It’s the truth. You know it. I know it. We all know it. Nevertheless, we feign denial, shake our heads and cry “no, no, no” and desperately want to believe that ‘change’ is just around the corner or that hope springs eternal. It’s not folks. Sticking your head in the ground like an ostrich only makes it’s easier to lie down in your grave. And, the morbid reality is that ‘life sucks and then you die’.

The poor and the homeless know one thing all too well, ‘you can’t take it with you when you go’. The rest of us, however, find ‘comforting denial’ in our possessions which we accumulate to build up a fortress of sorts in order to keep out intruding thoughts and sobering realities … until the walls come tumbling down and we take up residency on skid row. (Pregnant pause) Oh, did I mention I was moving?

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Fettering Fetid Feta Cheese

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you,
pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. 
 – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is dangerous to be right
when the government is wrong. 
– Voltaire

 

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not an economist. That’s ok though because the lesson of today’s sermon has less to do with economics and more to do with emotional blackmail and bullying … and yes, a bit of politics, too – especially in relation to Greece where these days insanity is the ruling rationale of the day.

In my last post, I referred to the dire economic straights Greece is in concerning it’s debt. It’s a precarious situation to be in because in deciding how to resuscitate itself the country is basically in a ‘damned if you do and damned if your don’t’ position. Meanwhile, economists far and wide have weighed in on the crisis, mostly waxing doom and gloom. More troublesome still is that the country is practically being forced by its peers into adopting austerity measures that are not only unpopular back home, but also quite ineffectual in both the short and long term. 

For its ills, Greece’s economic ‘partners’ in the European Union (EU), all with vested interests, have prescribed some very bitter tasting medicine. Unfortunately, in this metaphor, the patient has been misdiagnosed and the medicine will eventually prove fatal. Some even argue the country is already brain dead and that it’s only a matter of time before the decision must come whether to amputate from the neck up or neck down before ‘the plug is finally pulled’.

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All Thumbs Going Forward

“Whatever you get paid attention for is never what you think is most important about yourself.”
– David Foster Wallace

Last Thursday, in one of those ‘stupid clumsy me’ moments, I bashed my hand against a wall and screwed up my right thumb. As I’ve had my fair share of broken bones over the years, I didn’t think it was fractured and even managed to play guitar with it for a couple of hours with my buddy. Nevertheless, I had it x-rayed the next morning just to be safe; it was swollen and stiff, and the thumb, too! 

While waiting for the x-ray report to come in, I sat thinking back to when I had broken both elbows in a bike accident a couple of years ago, on April Fool’s Day no less. I thought about how crappy it would be to start the New Year incapacitated, trying to get by with my left hand, especially as I’m right-handed. I thought about toasting the New Year holding a champagne glass in my shaky left hand, as well as typing this post one letter at a time in true ‘hunt and peck’ fashion. I considered how 2011 might be giving me one last kick in the crotch before it winks out of existence. And then, a sobering thought struck me, “aww was 2011 really so bad to me?”

About 6 hours before my accident, I had been reading the last post of Joe Bodolai, a comedy writer with many notable television stints to his credit, including Saturday Night Live (SNL). Eulogizing himself, he listed his life’s achievements in length, as well as noted his regrets, personal peeves and even his sardonic predictions for the coming year. He then closed his extensive suicide note expressing thanks to the many who had been a part of his life, as well as suggesting “I need to feel the good that I did and whatever good I have ever done for you is enough for me.” … Well, apparently whatever good he did in his life wasn’t ‘good enough’ for him to rest his laurels on and so he offed himself by drinking a mixture of Gatorade and antifreeze.

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The OK Factor

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
Back in 1967, the year SMiLE was supposed to have been released, Thomas Harris (MD!) published his eventual best-selling ‘self-help’ book, I’m Ok, You’re Ok. This post is not about this book.
However, because the book’s title has passed into pop culture and the public’s obsession with ‘self-help’ ideology, I thought I’d reference it. Just as with Sigmund Freud’s works, Harris’ book, at the very least, does lay out some interesting ideas and terminology for others to build on. On the other hand, ‘Dr.’ Harris also endorsed electro-shock therapy as a treatment for some conditions, so I would approach his writings with a long ‘grounded’ pole.