Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Struggling with My Addiction

Today, I left my phone at home. I am trying to remain more focused on work and in the moment. My phone is getting in the way of this. It seems a lot of the time I am not looking at a sunset and just seeing a sunset. I am looking at a sunset and seeing an opportunity to take a picture of a phenomenal sunset and share it and receive praise and kudos on it. As I confessed in the past, I am praise junkie. The instantly gratifying world of my iPhone and its highly connected communities feeds way too much into this need for attention. I don't even seem to have the self-discipline to NOT be able to look at it. So. I left it at home.

On the ride in, I stared at the USB plug hanging from the lighter hole in the car and came up with a pretty funny country song. A song about a longing naked dongle feeling empty and wishing it could plug into something...anything...Hey, I said it was funny, not quality.

A moment ago, I went and visited my phone via the iCloud "locate your phone" app. Yup, it's still there, at my home, right where I left. I imaing it cold and shivering. Pining away for my touch as well. Because that is how addicts are, obsessed with their drug of choice. I am going to leave it home whenever possible.Electrical impulses are ruling my life, my moods and my time.  I need to foster this letting go. (she says, from the keys of her laptop computer)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reimagining the Past

For all of you children born in the 70's and growing up in the 80's and 90's, who remember junior high and high school without cell phones (and I am not counting here the cellular telephones that were as big as a suitcase and sat in your car between the front seats), here is a fun mind stretching exercise. Try to re-imagine events from your junior high and high school years with today's technology.

I tried this this morning while I was waking up. I wonder what would have happened if... Just try it....

Then, imagine some of your current relationships unplugged. How does it change them? I think a plugged in relationship is a neurotic relationship. Too many answers are expected. Too much "togetherness" is experienced, even though actual "togetherness" is probably lessened. In this world of constant noise and stimulation, do we really need our relationships to be one of the things blinging at us and demanding our attention?

And let's discuss for a moment the Mars/Venus equation in light of texting. How does a man EVER get to go into his cave a woman is constantly able to text at him there? What kind of electronic boundaries should exist in relationships? What kind of texting addictions are being born out of the constant need for attention? What cancerous perversions are cropping up?

Maybe I long for the simpler days. The days like when I was in my summer after ninth grade. A boy signed my yearbook. He wrote, "It was great getting to know you and we should go out this summer." He might have been being nice. I liked him. Maybe he would have asked me out. In the old days, it was more daunting to ask a girl out since you had to call her house and maybe catch a parent on the line. He never called.

But, after a little while, I forgot about him. I bumped into him once that summer. We had an awkward, blushy hello outside the movie theater. There was no personal phone number I could give him on which to reach me. I didn't have to feel the pain of no texting from him, or be on Facebook to see all the fun he had that summer with out me. I could continue to have my life. That was the beautiful thing about life before being plugged into everybody else. We lived our own lives. We knew what we wanted. We didn't have to text ten people to figure out what we wanted to do, we just decided what we were doing.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

With a Little Shizzazz...

There is never any question in my mind that God exists. OK, well, sometimes I forget that I believe, but I always know I am in His care. Just this week, I had a chance to chuckle at how His plan is so intricate and yet perfectly simple at the same time. Well really there is nothing intricate, it's all simple. It's the not knowing in our heads...the creative thoughts born out of confusion, trying to make sense of it all, that complicates it. Sometimes, however, a moment comes along that is just so beautifully simple. All intricacy is suddenly distilled into one drop of simplicity.

So, now that I have built up your expectations. I will tell you about the moment.

This week, I was sweeping the deck. Liam thought it looked like fun. Huck Finn style, he begged me to take over. I was generous enough to share the joyful job of dancing around the deck with the broom, fighting large tree detritus with him. He took over just as joyfully. His sister, always a skeptic, ever the realist, looked on with disdain.

Often, the complexity of the diametric opposite personalities of my children is something with which my brain perseverates. I can really hung up on it...struggling to figure out why one was given ALL the optimism and the other ALL the pessimism. One ALL the extroversion, the other ALL the introversion. One is food motivated and struggles with weight, one has to be encouraged to eat and is a beanpole. And the list goes on and on this way. It's challenging, it's like they each require different parenting. And yet, they have only me most of the time. But I digress...

So, here is Liam sweeping the porch as if he were swordfighting or at play. And here is Elena, getting more and more annoyed at his glee. Until she cannot stand it.

Elena: "Liam, you know NO ONE likes to sweep. It's not something people enjoy. It's a chore. It's stupid."

Liam: "I'm making it fun...I'm adding a little shizzazz into it to make it fun."

I love that he doesn't really pay any mind to his sister's wheedling. I love that he makes his own fun. I love that he makes up a word for his own fun. But, I also love that she sets him straight. She's always there to make sure he knows what the world expects of him. That he might not want to pick his nose in public, or wear his "lambie" pajama pants that are two sizes too small out to church, or eat with his fingers.

I love his shizzazz and I love her thoughtful and pedantic way with him. She wants to protect him against the side of him that is too quirky to be appreciated by most of this world. I believe this is God's beautiful plan. Although I sometimes wish they were more alike and there was some degree of moderation in their personalities, He sent them to be foil characters for each other. No sense in fighting it. It just is what it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The promise of a day
Like thick full clouds
That overfill the morning valley.
With the dawn's light warmth,
Giving way
To what will be.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Our Shadow Sides

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."
Oh Jung! I never knew you. In some ways, I am glad. In other ways, I suppose it was a necessary step that I come to know you. Let me begin at the beginning so as to not lose anyone along the way...

Once upon a time, there was girl. This girl understood a lot about herself. She worked on digging the dirt out of her subconscious "nails" and attempted to figure out what her darkest and least desirable traits were. She stumbled blindly along this path for years...she read books. She saw therapists. She took prescripted drugs. She flippantly jested with friends about her shortcomings and foibles. She was aware of what was lurking there, or that something was lurking there at least.

Then one day, she was reading a book by M. Scott Peck and she read of the Jungian concept of our shadow self: our denied subconcious, our darkness, our struggle.As he put it, those of us who are the most in touch with our shadow selves are the most good and those of us who are the least in touch with our shadow selves, the most evil. This intriqued me, I researched more.

From Wikipedia:
"The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself" and represents "a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well".[17] If and when 'an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in others — such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money and possessions — ...[a] painful and lengthy work of self-education".[18]

And from John Elder:

"The Shadow describes the part of the psyche that an individual would rather not acknowledge. It contains the denied parts of the self. Since the self contains these aspects, they surface in one way or another. Bringing Shadow material into consciousness drains its dark power, and can even recover valuable resources from it. The greatest power, however, comes from having accepted your shadow parts and integrated them as components of your Self."

I also was not aware of the fact that Jung was the one I had to thank for the concept of "projection." By projecting those darknesses from our shadow selves onto others (who are displaying similar, if not the same, negative characteristics) we are able to chide and to some extent release a bit of our own dark side. Terrific.

The range of what we think and do
is limited by what we fail to notice.

And because we fail to notice

that we fail to notice

there is little we can do
to change

until we notice

how failing to notice

shapes our thoughts and deeds.
-R.D. Laing

This leaves me feeling grim. That I have more muck and mire to wade through before reaching an enlightened state is not news to me, but every time I am reintroduced to this concept, I am disturbed by it. Sigh....Oh Jung...why couldn't you have been a bit more of an optimist?