December 19, 2011

A "Happy New Year" Deconstructed

I am not a negative person...I just have a tendency to look under the rock (so to speak) at all the little "bugs" that can be found when we think critically about our traditions. I'm not about to criticise our holiday rituals or tear apart why we do the things we do. I am, however, interested in the messages of the new year we hear in the media and out of the mouths of many health promoters and change specialists alike.

This is a great example of "good intentions gone bad". If you have read any books on narcissism, you will understand what I mean. In reality, we aren't unique or special...but that doesn't make us a collective bunch of losers either. It just is. A child raised to believe she is unique and special, will be expecting unique and special things in life (and suffer the shock and depression when it doesn't happen). Some may think this is negative, but Real Life Health is about reality.  The reality is we are all the same..but different.
The messages usually focus on change; change your thinking, change your life, change your body, change your hair, change your attitudes, change your get the idea. I continue to find it fascinating when "we" (the global we) support writings (usually through email or on our facebook page) about "being good to ourselves", or "appreciate every day like it was our last" know the kind. These messages are usually found on those motivational posters that I love so much. Personally, I prefer the demotivational posters because they lean towards reality more than fantasy.

But what does it really take to "appreciate every day like it was our last"? Well....lets take a look at that. Our society is based upon a linear concept of time. We have a past, a present, and a future (of course the quantum physicists suggest time is fluid but if I go into that more, my head will explode). Stress is based upon our future events (usually). We stress about what may happen but this is a perceived stress and not based upon reality...and that's the burden of being human. We worry about tomorrow (so suck on that Fleetwood Mac!). Although it is possible to "be" in the present, it does take practice....and in this high paced culture of ours...who the hell has the time?

I don't have the time to find a secluded beach, rent a horse, and walk it at sunset. I try to savour the moment, yet I'm always thinking of what I need to do when I get home. Ironically, we all desire change now and most never consider the process of change the journey. I think we would all be more successful at change if we lived a little more like this guy and enjoyed the journey as much as we think we will enjoy the end result.
So when our society supports (and even celebrates) the busy, the rich, the beautiful, the athlete, and the I.Q. of whatever super smart is, it is no wonder why we focus on the future and not the present. We have been socialized to think ahead.  When yogis, counsellors, health professionals and the like start going on about shutting off your mind and being in the can see what a bitch that may be for most of us. Although I believe and practice self responsibility, I also believe we are the product of our society....big time.

Take those that desire "world peace" what I think we need more of is "world education". With education comes peace. For the messages of "love they neighbour" what we really need to do is "love ourselves" 'cause you can't truly love anyone else unless you love yourself. A great party game would be to take all these well-wishes and translate them into real life messages. I think you would find "bugs" in all of them. this is assuming that "the heart" is unencumbered by the unexplored hurts of our past. The heart can "see beauty and love" when the heart is open and free from pain and sadness. The reality is that many people (if not the majority) are the walking wounded; going about their day in a zombie-like trance unwilling to stop and examine these hurts. Many are adult children still clinging to painful memories that inevitably shut down the heart and make it virtually impossible to see beauty and love. Very sad and very realistic.  
....and that's all I have today. It's the Monday before the Christmas weekend and I have a caramel / Visa hangover. I hope you are nearly finished your Christmas shopping, crafting, or baking and ready to sit your bum down on your cozy couch, wrapped in a blanket, with a cup of something hot and a good movie (at least that's my own wish for me).


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