land mines and lung cancer…

I watched on the television this morning an extremely violent and graphic advertisement for an anti land mine group. The ad showed a family watching a soccer game during which one of the players steps on a land mine. The ad also showed the anguished mother’s cries as well as the bloodied stump of her daughter’s leg. It was horrible to watch. I felt as if I were watching a horror movie but much worse and it took me a few minutes to understand it was not a movie but an ad to raise awareness of the danger of land mines.

The other day I saw an ad persuading people not to smoke by graphically showing the affects of cigarettes on lungs. The ad showed a surgeon operating on a man with lung cancer and the damaged lung tissue. It was also terrifying.

I bring up these ads because they are so dramatically different from the ads used in the past to encourage people to stop an unhealthy behavior or to encourage people to donate to a cause. In the “olden days” the advertising world used positive reinforcement to encourage charitable giving. That approach appears to have changed.Scare tactics were understood to have little success in the advertising world and were tried for a brief time and then given up. I wonder why they are appearing once again? I wonder if they are more successful this time around?I can’t imagine they are but I may be wrong. Forcing people to watch terrifying situations doesn’t encourage them to donate to a cause but, rather, to turn off the image. Perhaps the new generation of TV watchers is responding to these graphic images and it is only my generation that resists them.Perhaps images of violence are so commonplace to those in their twenties, these ads serve to remind them of healthy behavior and benevolence  in a way they listen to.

I find this scary.

don’t let fear get in the way of life

Fear is a mean and nasty spirit that jumps into your body and wrecks almost everything you feel like doing because once you feel fear you stop doing it.The thing I try to remember about fear is to recognize what it is when I feel it. If I forget this crucial step I can be overcome by fear and miss out on important things that offer themselves to me in life. For example: if someone asks me to dinner with a group of people I don’t know I usually regret the invitation. I know this is ridiculous but I spend way too much time rationalizing this choice and telling myself I would have had a terrible time anyway.New opportunities in life are like the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that appear in the Christmas tale. They are offered to us in life as gifts that honor our lives and refuel them. Jump on these opportunities and bathe in the luxury of the unexpected.

California Dreaming…

I am trying to move back to California. I have been trying to do this since I left. I left nine years ago to be near to my mother who was at the end of her life. We had a very magical time together for  a few years until she died. Once she died, I was frozen into a state of wax museum status. I couldn’t move either way, east or west. The thought of another cross country transfer was too tiring to consider. I waited  and waited for some sign, some presence, transforming me into a knowledgeable creature. I was and am tired. I realize as people get older they resist change yet perhaps it is the very thing they should welcome. Change brings an ultra awareness of an environment and the need to adapt,seek information from it, and decide what to do. How to interact within it.Married people don’t usually change their environment at my age because they are settled within their own world. It is tiresome and tiring to change.Single people sometimes hold on to what they have and where they live as they feel letting go will deprive them of the dream they have held on to for a long time. The dream is safety and security and companionship. They don’t realize that this dream can only be actualized by learning to live safely within oneself. A happy life is one in which you feel nurtured and if you are nurturung yourself you are in control. That seems to be the most portable existence imaginable. I am yearning to be in California as it speaks to my soul and nourishes it.

abandonment

After a holiday with friends and family I feel almost guilty writing about abandonment but I can’t help it. I am so blessed with wonderful family I shouldn’t complain. For those of us who live alone life can feel incredibly lonely at times and then again almost euphoric at other times. I struggle with abandonment a lot. It is one of those things we are not supposed to mention particularly in mixed company. It is not appropriate to speak of those harsh nights when you come home from work and know there is no one there to share your day with. Sometimes you go over in your mind your attractiveness quotient: how smart you are,  lovely,  sexually appealing, compelling, and still come up short for how could you be alone if all the previous categories were ranked on a high level? It is embarrassing to confess loneliness to anyone as it is an embarrassing condition. The world expects single people to remain silent on their condition. The world knows people who have partners are happier, healthier and generally more competent yet half the world is single. That is the interesting figure to me. Somewhere out there are many, many people who live alone and feel the same things I feel. That is what keeps me going.I think to myself I may be alone forever yet if I remember to remember there are so many other people who are living alone just as I am I feel comforted. I have to believe that someday I will find my heart’s desire:  just like the beach in Robert Haas’s wonderful poem, he will arrive on my doorstep and I will know him. The trick is to continue to believe this will happen.

happy new year

actually that phrase isn’t what I mean…joyous new year would be more appropriate. We have been living with so much anxiety even our daily family lives are not serene. Everyone is waiting for someone to decide we are safe once again in our world.Spending money seems very risky and trusting our financial system even riskier. I feel stuck in my life and have felt stuck for almost a year. Perhaps it is because I don’t know where to live and have no sense of which way to move: east or west. When I make decisions about my life I make them internally without any conscious thought. Some people make decisions rationally by making lists of positive versus negative and then tally the columns. Were I to do this it would be a waste of time as no matter what the columns added up to I would just do whatever I had instinctively felt all along. The frightening thing about this time period is that I have lost faith in my own instinct along with many others in the world.What we might have known and believed in a year ago seems irrational, false, shaky or just plain unclear. I am meditating on fiinding my own instinct again and following it. I feel more hopeful these days that I will make a good decision and find joy and peace within it. Sometimes a little forward motion gets the car in gear.