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Saturday, February 15, 2014

With the Speed of An Advancing Glacier, I Learn- The Sunday Collage

Some people have all the luck.

It's been a wild couple of weeks for me. I haven't been writing much and so today's piece is personal and if that kind of stuff isn't up your alley- I understand. A quick deviation here, which I will sum up later like a good English 101 piece.

Last week, I reached out to an old friend who publicly blames everyone (usually her boyfriends) for her problems. Women, and men, generally don't want to hear solutions so much as they just want someone to listen to them. I get that. Most people, and I have to say that women are a tad worse, think they are irretrievably and terminally unique and therefore any prescription you offer them will have no effect because they are hopelessly special. More on this in a bit...

It's hard to write or blog with so much going on. I always keep current  by reading at least an hour a day- I keep an eye on what our numbskull in the White House is up to and how much gold the Chinese are buying. I have some gold and mining interests that I monitor. I keep an eye on a wide array of current events.

But what really fascinates me is people. It has always been that way. I could spend my lifetime studying people and never get bored.   

I have spent a lifetime talking to people, teasing people, bullshitting with people. I have a co-worker that calls me a "master bullshitter." He is correct. Talking with people, or as we in the west say, "bullshitting" is how we get to know people. If you like people like I do- you will want to talk to them. So there is that part of my life which has given me a great deal of insight into a lot of folks- particularly as I watched their reactions to the things I have said to them.

Another part of my life is focused on addiction. People from dysfunctional families do dysfunctional things. They become alcoholics, addicts, and do some of the most zany shit you will ever see- thinking in some present moment that the zany decision they are about to make- is the correct one.

Here's a little side piece on the drugging of America.  

Of course, they will reflect back (sometimes from their prison cell) and say, "maybe that decision wasn't really very good after all." The problem with that laser like 20-20 back-vision is that it will not remove you from your prison cell nor will it help you prevent more shitty decision making.

In my life, I have met one or two people that I think were emotionally squared away. Which is to say, they were consciously thinking and doing the right things. Making good decisions all of the time. They had a very accurate moral compass and they were selfless. Let me say one other thing. Most of the people who interacted with the squared away types- did not comprehend them. I did- only because I paid attention to every detail because people have always been my hobby. The other thousand or so people I have known well enough to make a rational judgement about... are mostly fucking nuts. Subconsciously, they know this and they try very hard to conceal it. But it leaks out. It leaks out in their actions, their emotions, their decisions. Often those things have consequences. 

You cannot stop these people or intervene in their lives.. They are nuts. You cannot tell them they are nuts either.  Sometimes they just have to go to prison. Or keep whining. Or sometimes, kill themselves.

That's the part you have to get ok with.

When I think of dysfunction, I try to use examples we can all relate to. In that vein let me offer up this one.

Barack Obama. This is a guy who's mother was a 17 year old atheist, his father was an alcoholic who died in a drunk driving accident, his stepfather was a Muslim Indonesian and subsequent to all of that fine child rearing, abandonment, and culture hopping- he was raised by grandparents and exposed to some of the most powerful and dysfunctional people our generation had to offer. People like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.

He concealed all of that dysfunction in a nice, well spoken, and educated package and sold it to an American public- every bit as dysfunctional as he is. There were clues- like his cocaine, pot smoking, and tobacco use (or completely hidden life) which are the drugs we turn to when we want to change how we feel or who we are.  This is a guy who is so fearful of who he really is- that he has conned everyone into thinking that he is some sort of vastly intelligent, Mr. Wonderful. Many people believe it.

This is the river of our lives. We are all on some sort of crazed, dysfunctional journey and Barack Obama is no different. He's just gone to fantastic lengths to cover up his dysfunction. But in the end, he's just another bum on the dysfunction bus- forcing some people to buy insurance and dropping bombs on other people. Clearly dysfunctional behavior is not limited to fringe bloggers and bottom feeders.

I wish that I could tell you that I was always one of the squared away ones. But I am not. I am insanely grateful for that. I have all of these dysfunctional people in my life doing crazy things and even though I often know what the solution is, I can't give it to them. They don't want it. They would rather go to prison or feel the pain of a relationship that was dead a long time ago. These folks are on some sort of journey which is a complete mystery to me.

Mostly, you have to let these things run their course. You can't help people who still don't realize that the biggest problem in their lives is them.

The greatest thing that ever happened to me- was realizing that I was an idiot and that my best thinking left me angry, depressed, and unhappy. That the key to my present happiness is realizing that I was the problem and that I have always been the problem. This is how you empower yourself. It requires a great deal of humility and the willingness to completely abandon your ego. Once you understand the power of taking responsibility for every aspect of your life...which includes your poor decision making... then you can sort out the mess later.

Make no mistake about this. If you do not do this- you cannot recover. There is no generic substitute.

The gal I reached out to last week didn't get back to me. That was probably her polite way of trying to tell me to do something that is anatomically impossible. I have another friend going to prison which was completely preventable. I have another friend who is depressed and suicidal over a break up- which is also quite treatable. The problem with all of these people is the same. They just can't imagine the possibility that they are the problem nor do they see any curative power in that. They would rather eat jail food or bellyache about their bad luck.

So how did I get so lucky? What did I do differently?

I had reached a point in my life where I was emotionally distraught and spiritually sick. I was miserable, depressed, angry, guilt ridden, and God-less. I think, on the verge of self destruction, I was given an instruction which changed my life. Had my situation not been so desperate- I don't think I could have found the solution nor would I have been so willing to listen. I became teachable again. I removed every last bit of my old thinking and re-installed a new hard drive. That's not to say it is perfect- it's just a helluva lot better than the old one.

That's how I got lucky. The very same thing happened to Eckhardt Tolle on the verge of killing himself. He writes about the same experience in the "Power of Now." It was like hitting the emotional lottery.

Today I realize that what I have is a gift. A gift given to me at the lowest, most desperate point in my life. Perhaps others must sink that low to obtain it. Part of getting well is realizing that you aren't in charge of the planet and that these things just have to run their course with the people you love and care about.The river of life runs through jail cells, hospital rooms, and treatment centers and most always- there isn't anything you can do to alter the river's course.

It's been glacially slow but I'm getting it.