Monday, April 25, 2016

FRAGMENTS – "GOT DEM OL' COSMIC BLUES"

FOLLOWING THE SURVIVORS:
THE LANGUAGE OF GRIEF AND VIOLENCE

WHO AM I?
     I knew that their country existed but I did not know that I would go there but here I am. Here we are. The land where Grief and Violence is the language. I knew it existed. I saw the survivors on television. I saw them fleeing.
     I have heard them speaking, the survivors. They speak a language that is incomprehensible to me now. The sounds are so odd coming out of mouths that look a lot like mine. I am not sure what I have to do to learn to speak this language. But, I have crossed that border and I must somehow learn to speak this language.
But, they should not come here. It is not safe here.

THE ETHERIC FORM

WHO AM I?
     My son has been critically ill and in an ICU. I say this only to present the gravity of the situation. When we tell friends about the situation they say “we will hold you” (in our thoughts or prayers.) 0 Usually when I say this to someone, I will visualize them as they are – I will “hold” their form, their being.
     Plants and animals grow into a specific “form” or shape. A broccoli is different from the form of a carrot. This form something of the future – a plant grows into its specific form over time. It is “becoming”.
     When my son’s friends say they will “hold him” they are making a commitment which draws him into the future – they create an imagination which can only be filled when he arrives.
     Health is all about moving from the state of illness to the state of health – which is in the future.

WHY AM I HERE?
     We pull ourselves and our family and friends into the future by our visualizing.

LOW SELF ESTEEM
22
Who am I.?
I am -- -- you know who I am -- -- I am your low self-esteem. Two months you know me.

Cousin of your big mistake. Uncle of your bad luck.

Here mother said you got your poor eyesight, your large lymph nodes, your ears, and your propensity to drool from me!

Your dad says your poor teeth, bad breath, and passion to touch yourself at inappropriate times, and in appropriate places, come from me.

I think you're cute! But you know what a loser I am. You are hot! And what does that make you?

23
WHY AM I HERE?
Why I'm always here. Right here when you need me. Right here you shut your eyes. I'm here to get you to shape up! Sit up straight! Balance your checkbook! Don't touch yourself there! Don't pick your nose. Just your broth. Did you forget that little thing again! I'll bet you did. I'm sure you did. Go check out wait right here.

24
WHAT DO I WANT?

I want the best for you! I just want you to be perfect. Is that too much to ask question I knew you're better than all those shallots out there. You could look better. A smarter. Go faster. Do you recognize! Pres. King pope whatever you want a baby! Start!

25
the monster under the Cutter


IS MY HOLDING ON HOLDING YOU BACK?

WHO AM I?
     Even though you’re not here, I am holding on. I don’t want to let you go. You mean so much to me. I look at the things we shared, I go to the places we went, I think about you and ask you to come visit me and help me out. I sometimes feel you are holding on to me, too. I hear our favorite song at times when I am sure you are signaling me. That makes me feel so good knowing that we are still connected when we are apart. And we are SO far apart.
     Your smell is still on your clothes. I sleep with them sometimes.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Lately, I’ve been wondering if my holding on, is holding you back. If you’ve got work to do, then maybe I’m taking time away from what you need to be doing. Am I being selfish in spending so much time with you and that makes you spend more time with me? My life would be so different if I didn’t focus so much on what is now gone and will never be again.

WHAT DO I WANT?
    Should I be the one who is holding myself back from holding you so much so I don’t hold your back?


WHEN YOU DRINK THE CUP OF EGOISM,
YOU THINK YOU CAN HANDLE IT

WHO AM I?
    I always thought I could hold my drink. 'Cause when I drink, I like what I think. I never thought that I was losin', thought that when my ego was cruisin', I could just do anything my way. Now I find out I was lyin', that my pride was making me hide the fact that what was important to me was not important to you.
    After so many years of being together, I never paid any attention as to whether it made any difference if you agreed or you didn't - I was the man and in my cups. I could win our disagreements and because I got what I wanted it would make no difference to you. All I'd do once or twice a day was take a drink of my egoism cup and walk away - the man.
    Now I find that I was wrong. The little things from all along, actually felt that I said you were wrong that I was getting ahead of her by stepping over anything she wanted. I broke her heart, I crushed her will, I ground her down like a big machine wheel.

WHY AM I HERE?
    I used to make jokes that put her down. I made fun of her to make myself grander. She did without while I bought me the best. She bought thrift-shop and had left-over stew while I was on the expense account and didn't include you.  I was so self-centered I never thought of you just me 'n my pals having a few ego-brewskies - more than a few!
    I'm past my prime, I'm at the back of the line. I was unaware of the way that I was. It was only when she ripped me a good one and told me straight what I had been doin'. I was shocked and said I was VERY sorry, I didn't mean it, I didn't want you to go - and then you said that the honest truth  is that apologizing for being a mean person didn't MEAN anything.

WHAT DO I WANT?
    After years and years of abuse, there are no words to say to make up. "Don't even say 'You're gonna be different.' I can hear that song,  all day long, from a heroin addict or an alcoholic, and you my friend are hooked even worse, you're hooked on YOU, your egoism - and nothing can be worse. It's your inbuilt feeling that at any time your are SUPERIOR and at the head of the line. That you can handle everything you do. I won't believe you'll stop putting me down, until after we talk and talk and there are no put downs. Come back when you have stopped you're drinkin' of your egoism cup, that heady stuff."
    Now I know I can't hold my drink, cause when I drink I like what I think. I'm lyin' to me when I think I'm the great, that I'm the boss, and my gain is your loss. I am the guy in control. I am the guy who repaired my soul - she broke my heart, she crushed my will with a thing called Love and that made me feel that I could stop lyin' to make me first me and that putting myself at the back of the line makes me feel just fine.


DAME ADVENTURE

WHO AM I?
    I am Dame Adventure. I am the active agent in your soul hoping for action in the world. One of your many personality fragments. If you yourself can't be active and engaged in the world in some adventurous way, say you’re too shy, have an upset tummy, or are just grumpy (as you are many days) or are busy doing things you find important, or some other excuse; then. I am the being who walks up to you, drapes my arm around your shoulder or whispers in your ear and suddenly you become adventurous! Dame Adventure is all about life and exploration of the new. I am visible to everyone except you. Everyone knows that something happened, you are ordinary, hum-drum, you don’t want to be adventurous. They know it was me who bestowed the session with the new hair-cutter you had never been to before who seemingly knew exactly what you needed and gave you a great trim and also the name of that decorator who helped you throw out all that tacky old furniture and get something with style; and got you to join that book club where you met Jim.


SPIT ON IT

WHO AM I?
I am a high school Junior Varsity sports coach, 1960’s style – and that means LOUD. If you don’t hear me yelling at you, then you ought to worry because that mean’s I’m not lookin’ at you. And if I’m not lookin’ at you, the maybe I’ve written you off and you’re gonna spend the game in splinter city at the end of the bench.
     I make the rules here.

WHY AM I HERE?
I build character. My job is to take those unsure, 8th grade boys and make them into a sports team. I have a reputation for being tough - which I try to enhance with each kid. I want every kid to respect me and do as I say.
    I get these whining, angry, pouty, about-to-cry-cause-they-don’t-get-their-way boys who have lost control and are abso-friggin-lootly BABIES! Their way? MY way or the hi-way!


DEAR WEB MINISTERS OF THE INTERNET

WHO AM I?
     I lissen to internet radio preachers at night on my broadcast headphones. That's how I found yor show.
     I am writing to thank yu for the annointed prayer cloth which yu sent me upon receipt of my $1.00 donation via PayPal. As I sed in my 350 character message, I am an old man who has been an awful sinner (especoially avarice and greed! Love thet greed!).  I am hoping yur annointed prayer cloth - even though it is a little bitty ol', 1-inch square thang - has the power to heal the wicked hemmodiddly on my seater-rumpus 'cause I drive a fork-lift at night and settin' shore iz painful.
     I once was married. My wife was a devout gal who loved to fish for Bluegill at a local city pond. She wanted me to go fishin' with her all the time. I would take my lunch sandwiches with me. I don't like eatin' the crusts but she never would cut 'em off! But one day she wanted to test her faith. She had a 5-gallon plastic bucket full o' little bitty ol' Bluegills which she wanted me to gut. She saw my breadcrusts and decided to re-create the miracle of the LOAVES AND THE FISHES. It didn't work. She said it was MY fault. Some women is like that - always the man to blame.

WHY AM I HERE?
     I saw yor web site offerin' instant healin' so I sent for the annointed prayer cloth. I said it's little bitty and may not work for the hemmodioddly on my seater-rumpus 'cause I can't get it back there 'cause my belly is in the way and if yor hunkered down to look inta mirror 'n yor waggin' yor tail feathers 'round and tryin to get that annointin' cloth ta land in th' landin' zone, well, I might miss.
     I have amassed a lot of money in cash workin' deep nights and driving fork-lift on double'n triple'n overtime.
     I'm tryin' to figure out who I should send all this here cash, to.  I hear-tell the internet is got lots of people lookin' for money. That true?

WHAT DO I WANT?
     I want all you internet radio preachers to read this post and then leave me a comment about why I should pick you to send all my money to.
     Just answer the three simple questions: Tell me who you are - why are you answerin' this blog post - and what do you want?
     P'haps yu can cure my LOVE OF MONEY. It's big, too! Youll hevta write me 'n tell me what ta do wid the annointed prayer cloth and ma' sinful GREED? What should I annoint?


DREAMLIKE LOVE

WHO AM I
Who was it that wandered between us and asked us to compare? Who was it that seems to whisper in your ear told you that this guy was the one who was mad for you? Had real affection for you. That he was the one for whom you should spend a moment or two, just a moment, waiting for him outside the bar?  Not to go away so quickly. Who was that?  The one who hinted at love before any of love’s complexities or realities entered in. This was when did love had a dreamlike quality.
Love had a dreamlike quality when it was presented in the ideal. When love was about the ideal of womanhood, and manhood. The ideal of perfection, beauty, grace, tenderness, affection, joy, smiles, trusting, warmth, companionship, caring one for another, sharing in the simple things of life such as sunshine and rain snow. The love of the outdoors.


LIVING ON LONGING
WHO AM I?
We live on longing for one another even though we have never met. I want to consume you, consume your attention and interest.  I want you to want what I create. I want your attention, your time. I want you to read my blog, buy my book, smile at me in the café. Not blow me off. I long for you to need me. Narcissism? Vanity? Greed?
Perhaps you want me to consume you, to imagine you, to create you well enough to write a blog post which shows you an image of something that everyone sees in your soul. Something which you have kept hidden. You live in the longing that we all will truly experience you, say that you matter, say that your life matters, say that we truly see you. Recognize you to my readers. Make you a star.
     Ours has been, for many years, a disposable culture. Nothing is repairable because it is made cheaply. It is cheaper to get another. Maylasia, Japan and China, even Vietnam, hecho en Mexico - all want us to consume them. We throw them away. Life throws us away. Use us up, throw us away. Fagettanboutit.
Landfill our hearts. We are not sacred.  Once we were part of a family, or a group, or an enterprise even. Not now. Now we long to belong. Now they try to fill us with longing for what they have and so they long for us. We are immediately consumable. We are impulse purchases. Tweets not conversations. We are snacks, not full meals. Disposable cups of instant beverages. We live in boxes on the streets. We are replaceable.
    My heart is a landfill filled with bits personality fragments.  We have used one another. Broken off little bits. “I like her. She makes me laugh.”


PIROUETTE OF WASTE OF BREATH

WHO AM I?
    “The years to come seem waste of breath” said the poet Yeats in the poem, “An Irish Airman Faces His Death”. As an airman plunging through the flight of life lived in the forward, by the time you traverse the clouds of experience you have already arrived.
“A waste of breath the years behind” he continues.
And, so it seems we stand and sometimes pirouette or spin on this point of balance between this life and this death.
What makes it wasteful to bring this all to mind?


TENDERNESS AND VULNERABILITY

WHO AM I?
    I have always been afraid of tenderness and vulnerability.
    When I was a kid, I thought that if I was tender - then I wouldn't be tough. If I wasn't tough, bigger boys might pick on me. I was an only child and guess I felt vulnerable because I didn't have a big brother or sister to defend me.
    So, my attitude was closed, ready to be protective, guarded. What am I saying, "was"? IS. I try to be engaged with life - not an observer. My attitude toward life IS cautiously open. Friendly, but inwardly if you get tough, pushy or overly egotistical, I am ready to take "appropriate action".
    Some of us, depending on temperament, actually like to run into other people. I have some friends who are choleric by temperament, who don't feel they truly "know" somebody until they intensely disagrees with them, maybe even physically. They are bossy, pushy, aggressive and loving. I don't mind bumping into them if that is what it takes to get thum to feel heard so the rest of us can get a word in edgewised. When I do this am I actually making myself "vulnerable" and taking the hit?
    Vulnerable may not be cowardly.
    I played catcher in jr. high baseball and blocked the plate when needed. One boy came in with his cleats (metal) high and ripped my pants to shreds but missed my thigh (thankfully). We tussled a moment after and I threw a punch in pay-back. He got benched and had to play in street shoes. I got safety pins to close up my drooping drawers and keep my underwear from showing and a word from the ump about "pay back" punches.
    When I was 14 years old I worked very hard to be tough, brave and invincible - not only on the inside, but outwardly as well.  This meant that I had to fight kids in schoolyard battles, afternoon scraps and back yard boxing matches (with gloves). School yard fights taught self-defense, how to block punches, how to see 'em coming, how to throw that upper-cut, how to detect the other's weaknesses so you can win. The aim was violent but not destruction. So, a thimble-full of tenderness was there. My pacifist parents were mortified, but how do you ever know about violence without being violent? I had to cross the line in order to know where the line was.
    I will admit to being vocal at sporting events in which I am passionately engaged. My oldest son took a hard-thrown elbow during a basketball play-off game which knocked his tooth through his upper lip and required a stitch to stop the bleeding during the game.  I said a few dozen, or more, probably more choice words to the athletic director. The next year she solved the "Mr. Yeager" vocal problem by asking me to run the electronic scoreboard during the play-off game which transformed my passion into a quiet, observant, socially useful and SILENT task. Smart lady.
    Like I said, I am afraid to be tender and vulnerable, until I get to know you and feel "safe".
   
WHY AM I HERE?
    If you can't be vulnerable, if you go around with your "shields up", lots of amazing things bounce off of you. What am I saying? If I can't be vulnerable and I go around with MY "shields up", lots of amazing things bounce off ME.
    When I played high school basketball I had a coach that wanted us to be physically "tough" and he wanted us to be aware of one another. So, the lesson was, don't mind the physical pain, and be sensitive to your teammates. Great esoteric lessons, huh? Pain pulls us inward to our selves, his instruction was to ignore it. Play through the pain. And, don't think of yourself as a hot-shot, look down the court for your teammates.


TWITTER FEED

WHO AM I?
Am I a robo-call? Must I always be repeatable? Are you under some kind of thrall? Are you seeking value lessons? Are you seeking wedding vows? Are you automating desires to gather “follows”? And, is my follow meaningful? Am I just a number’s game? Will you really care, if I’m really here? Could a meeting ever really be possible? Is it Cyber- Paradise is Lost when a factually falsehood found. An eternal status-quo found? Is transformation ever possible in a sexting, texting round?
    Am I accused, confused of singing the blues.

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

WANT FRIES WITH THAT DAY?

ORDER HERE
Maybe you don’t think about it quite like this, but when you wake-up in the morning, and you open your eyes; it’s like you’re at the “Order Here” window of the drive-through of your life. Your Higher Self is waiting to see how your Lower Self is going to order the day.
     What will you order today? Pick from the menu? Will you Super Size it? Maybe try something nutritious? Easier to do the same-old, same-old? The habitual order of everything: roll out of bed, maybe a cup of coffee, read the newspaper, breakfast, family chores...?  Yadadda, yadadda?
     Do you even think in advanced about each day? Or, is it so routine, it just kinda thinks itself? Or is your life a “whatever?” reactive, “just deal with it!” kind of affair? A day where the biggest thinking is to make sure you remember the list: the “honey-do’s”, “gotta-do’s”.
Feelings? Feelings in the “feel okay” mode, where we avoid those “troublesome ones”. You know. Overall, it’s a one step after another in the morning, then lunch, then the afternoon.
     Brain on automatic pilot, going through the motions, easy-peasy, no big deal, you roll along and then you hit the “Pay Here’ window.

PAY HERE
However your Lower Self ordered, or didn’t order the day, you will get to the “Pay Here” window. The “Pay Here” window is how you spend your time, and energy of course.
     If you’re a low energy kinda person at the moment and you have sparse resources, this is where planning could have helped but, since you never troubled your pretty head about planning, you may have headed out with a menu full of illusions and intensity, but no time for nourishment.
     If your day was ordered to be reactive to whatever comes your way from others, whatever “pops-up”, then the world, your friends, your kids, your dog’s BM schedule, whatever, is how your day is spent. Doing what they want.
     Maybe, you’ve got obligations, like car-pools, sports mom or dad, business commitments, so your day is spent racing around so that you can fulfill those duties.
     What about something for you? Something to nourish your soul? If you don’t nourish yourself physically or psychically, you are being spent. How much does it cost you not to nourish your Heart? Not hone your skills? Not spend even one hour doing what you love?
     Don’t use it? You lose it. You lose it? You pay big time. This you’ll discover at the “Pick Up Here” window.

PICK UP HERE
So, what did you get in return for the time you spent today? A sack full of “whatever”? A jumbo serving of rushing around?
     Anything nourishing in your sack? Hmmm?
Lay your head down at the end of the day on your “Pick Up Here” pillow and do you feel good about what you accomplished? Or, do you feel harried? Exhausted? Spent?
     Will you spend any time at all planning for tomorrow? Or, will it be another duplicate of yesterday’s “Order Here” menu?  Nothing nourishing planned because you don’t have time? Because it’s too much trouble? Because, you’ll get to it tomorrow, right?
     You want fries with that day?

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager

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EARTH DAY - A Reprint From 2014 Calendar Of Virtues - "DEVOTION BECOMES SACRIFICE: THE SEED"


This post has been moved to:
CALENDAR OF VIRTUES - DEVOTION BECOMES SACRIFICE - THE SEED

This blog post is based on the Calendar of Virtues (http://www.calendarofvirtues.blogspot.com) which you can find on a separate page on this blog. You are invited to join an on-going exploration described on that page.

REPRINTED FROM Th3 SIMPLE QUESTIONS available from the book's web site and online retailers.  www.th3simplequestions.com
 

EARTH DAY - HERE IS THE POST FROM 2014

This blog post was originally written for threesimplequestions.blogspot.com in 2014.

WHO AM I?
     I am the Seed. I am all about Devotion. In me I have bound together all of the genetic matter required to reproduce my species. This has been gathered over successive generations of plants. Some qualities have stayed, others fallen away over time. And, I can protect this special cargo for a very long time. Because I am a plant seed, I have enclosed the germplasm in a very hard seed-case.
    Human Devotion is a virtue and gains strength when one spends time with something or someone important to you- including your future plans and dreams.  Like the seed, a practice of Devotion is an active gathering together all the knowledge, insight and experience possible within yourself – and this can take time, lots of it.

WHY AM I HERE?
    Sacrifice. The Seed is all about Devotion AND Sacrifice. When the time is right, I have got to be able to transform myself – to sacrifice one form - the form I am most comfortable with, have spent so much time perfecting -  to become another – sacrifice my beautiful hard-shell to become re-born as a plant. I'm gonna need some help. When I’m planted in the dark earth and broken down by water, warmth, and life in the soil, that to which I have been devoted – will be released. Without Sacrifice the "new and improved me" cannot be re-born.
    Self-sacrifice is terribly uncomfortable. Sometimes if you are in the midst of personal change it can actually feel as if something within you is dissolving, something hard or fixed is breaking down.

THE OPPOSITE: Not Caring
    The Virtues of Devotion and Sacrifice depend upon Care. There is a risk that they can draw you in to a type of hyper-devotion such as dogmatism or fanaticism. To guard against these excesses, many may develop an negative virtue of distancing themselves by not caring or cynicism. The soul question is how to stay objective but devoted and engaged. How to come close without merging.

WHAT DO I WANT?
    The questions I ask myself are: Has Devotion been easy? Hard? Has it gotten stuck? And, how is it going with your self-transformation? Is it time to practice the Virtue of Sacrifice and give up that to which we are devoted so that something new can come into the world, and into yourself?

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager


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Friday, April 15, 2016

FIVE WORDS FOR FREE

WHO AM I?
When I was a younger man, I used to write comedy for a living. No joke. I know that may seem hard to believe because of the nature of this blog which is not especially drop-dead humorous. But, when you’re a 30-something many people in general, and many writers in particular, are more bright and sparkling in their wit. But, as life goes on, and crises mount, we become more life-weary. Some of our country’s greatest comics spun the tragedy of their lives into humor. Robin Williams was brilliant and always edgy, right to the end. Then the pendulum of aging and fear of the future swings toward us and bearing up under the changes takes the edge off our joy.
I never was a comic. I wrote funny but am not a wit. Not witless, just not quick. Many of you are probably spontaneously funny. I have a 20-second delay between the moment in which a witticism is called for and the moment if finally dawns on me what to wisecrack. I’m a “wise-gap” guy filling moments with awkward silence, watching opportunities for quips and puns sail away. Where friends fill the air and pepper each other with “toppers”. Even “Silent Cal” Cooledge, Vermont’s first President, was more of a quipster than I seem to be. A woman told him she had made a bet she could get him to say more than five words. Calvin said: “You lose.”
Perhaps I’m more like Kipling. I like a good set-up.
They tell a story about Kipling who lived in Vermont at the height of his career. Kipling was paid £1 per word – an extraordinary amount at that time. A boys’ school collected 1-Pence from each of 100 students and sent Kipling £1 bill with the following note: “Dear Mr. Kipling, We hear you get £1 per word. Here is £1, please send us your best word.” Kipling responded with a note which read: “Thanks.”
     Jokes and brief sketches aim at a punchline. A payoff. A “snapper” as we used to call it. The term “punchline” comes from the “Punch and Judy” puppet shows of the medieval era – two puppets who would say witty things and smack each other around. I used to collect jokes for use in corporate speeches. But a punchline is nearly meaningless without the set-up. Here are a few of my favorite punchlines: “I don’t want a giant teddy bear, I want a crunchy little pie!” Or, “Shoot the dog.” Or, this one: “...does this look like yours? And she hit me in the throat with a 2-wood.” See? Punchlines need a set-up.
     The set-up. Our lives are our set-ups. Like an extended sketch scene, our lives go between “beats” of dull periods, a build, and a pay-off. Rinse and repeat. There are only two archetypal structures for sketch humor: a “normal” person in an odd, bizarre, ironic or absurd situation; OR a bizarre, ionic, or absurd person in a “normal” situation.
     My life is tediously ordinary most of the time – like lives of transcontinental jet pilots - hours of boring normality interrupted by moments of crisis. Some lives are dark struggles to pay the bills, stay well, get well, do laundry, care for others interrupted by moments of humor, and thank God for the “comic relief”.

WHY AM I HERE?
Humor is in our lives to lighten us up, balance our seriousness, bring us levity, counteract gravity. It’s like a pendulum that swings back and forth bringing balance. There are so many serious people in life, so many serious situations. In those times, humor is available to us to heal the sadness.
I had a friend, an older guy named Bert, who was a dentist. Bert liked to ease the jitters of his patients by being amusing. He was really a very funny man and could crack us up with jokes, and witticisms and puns – especially puns. Burt could not tell his patients real jokes, because they couldn’t laugh with his tools in their mouths. So, he would be kind, sweet and amusing and pun a great deal. It set his patients at ease. Most of us are like Bert. We want to be pleasant. When Bert passed away, we got an announcement of his memorial service and I busted up laughing. We went to the memorial and I asked his wife if Bert had planned the time of the gathering before he died. “No... why do you ask?” “Because it is scheduled for 2:30. Bert is probably giggling that his memorial is at “tooth-hurty” I said.” A slow grin arose on her face, the Being of Humor and Bert caused this seeming “coincidence”.
     The spiritual Being of Humor stands between our pompous, sense of self-importance, our desire to be perfect, happy and healthy; and the part of our psyche which is enslaved by the gravity, suffering and reality of our situations, our lacks, defaults, illnesses; the realization that no matter how great we think we are, there is a punch line at the end of our life, a payoff, one of Shakespeare’s gravediggers and death. So, we live our lives running between our smart self, and our less-wise self. Even thinking about the reality of all that is sobering, or worse. Our sense of humor swings between the two, this pendulum helps us not get stuck at either end.
Life is not easy. There is suffering. Humor gives a certain lifting and moments of fun to “grin and bear it.” I think they call this ability to find balance, integrity. Living that life for which you have skills and talents and living it the best you can. Not taking yourself too seriously. Being able to have the realization that when you fall short, some insensitive friend will inevitably be there to point out your failure. This is a sometimes painful “gift” and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

WHAT DO I WANT?
The inevitability of the failure, the darkness, calls forth the light. The gravity makes us long for levity.
A rare person is one who believes that somehow they can very quickly create a different situation instantly on the spot, in the midst of crisis. Swinging this pendulum of humor even in desperate situations is possible, IF you are able to be objective and independent in the moment of tragedy. Otherwise, without the capacity to pull yourself out of the moment and stand back, it may be impossible to change the set-up and the pay-off and the reality.
     Once, when I was a part of a writing team, were creating humor for our boss, Bob Stanford. Bob was “Mr. Seveneleben”, a legendary advertising genius and head of the 7-Eleven in-house ad agency. Our writing staff had written humorous sketches for the annual 7-Eleven Sales Meeting. We were in the recording studio and Bob was recording our scripts... which he was finding less than funny. Finally, in anger, he took our scripts and threw them into the air. Then he pointed to we writers and said, “You, you writers, come in here NOW!” We did. He lined us up single file, got a legal pad and a pencil and pointed at the first guy and said, “You, be funny NOW!”
     All funny thoughts immediately were seen flying out of each of our heads.
     The first writer said, “Uh, I can’t think of anything, Bob.” Bob glared and pointed at the second. “You. You’re allegedly one of my writers, now say something funny!” “I got nothing, boss.”
     Bob was seething with every hang-dog apology. I wanted to mumble something about my in-built 20-second delay, my “wise-gap”, but why state the obvious. I stared at my shoes.
     And so it went until we came to the last guy, Mark James, my boss, our Creative Director who brightly said, with considerable performance animation, “Okay boss, here’s the set-up.”
“The head of an ad agency calls his writers into his office  and says to them, ’Be Funny NOW!’ And the only thing you hear is...” and here Mark LOUDLY clapped his hands “... the sound of their tuckuses slamming shut!”
Bob sat in silence and then slowly grinned.
     Mark saved our tuckuses.
     And, life is like that. One moment crisis, and the next, if you’re bright and clever like Mark, you use humor to move the situation and the pendulum swings. The question for us all is, can you be as creative in the moment as Mark was then? And if you can’t? Well, life gets grim and then you die.
     But, hey! Look on the bright side! Even then, even after you’re dead, the Being of Humor will embrace your friends and family and the pendulum will continue to swing. After all, humor is a spiritual being which inspires us to do a very human thing – to laugh. And, laughter is a very human thing. Laughter brings balance and healing.
     There’s an old gag about a woman named Lena whose husband Ole has died. They’ve been married a long, long time and living in this very small village. So, Lena calls the local newspaper to report Ole’s death and ask for an obituary to be published. The editor says that an obit costs $25-bucks, but she can have five words for free.
     Lena says that to the editor that everybody knows Ole and is well aware that he and Lena have been married such a very long time. So, she says that she thinks that five words is probably enough to say the important stuff. “Okay, what do you want to say?” asks the editor.
     “Ole died. Boat for sale.”

© Copyright 2016, Jean w. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“S1 CAN’T HELP IT, IT’S THE WAY I AM!”

WHO AM I?
     I must have approached this question of “Who am I?” several hundred times since I started writing this blog based on the three simple questions. Last night was the first time I remember a response - “This is who you are!” - approaching me. And, I realized there are actually only very, very few things which I am. One is the Texas twang I grew up with.
     Last night my wife and I were seated at two-top table in a “fine dining” restaurant north of Middlebury, Vermont. A table of six people entered and sat at the opposite end of the empty dining room. They began talking amongst themselves, not loudly, but enough so they were audible.
     I suddenly became aware that a few among them were speaking in a mild, lilting Texas twang. I became aware, “That is who I am!” or at least, that is a part of who I am. I smiled and commented to my wife because a Texas twang is so unusual here in Vermont. It reminded me of the phrase, “You can take the Texan out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the Texan.” This must be true for everyone from everywhere in the world. You can take the New Yorker out of the Bronx, or Brooklyn, or Flatbush, but can you take the “New York” out of them? No. My friend Bemis was born and raised a “Southie” but has not lived in South Boston for many years, but that upbringing is still in him, is a defining part of him to which he can refer in an instant.
     Our language is one of those essential pieces of the answer to that question “Who am I?” An accent, dialect, word choice, sentence construction is unique and generally personal having to do with where and how one is raised and our unique genius or “higher self”, the one who learns “how to speak” takes that in and can recognize it forever. We have our own unique, personal speech pattern, but we can recognize that pattern across a room and scan for the “kindred” spirit to which we are attracted as I am sure any refugee from one part of Syria, or from anywhere else, can recognize someone else from their home. You can’t be a refugee from your native tongue.
     Generally, though language is from a specific place in the world and identifies a group of people who live there in that language. Each individual’s Angel, the higher self, is a member of that group and learns to speak, but the language is totally idiosyncratic. My Texas Twang is shared, otherwise I wouldn’t be attracted to the stranger across the room. It is the Arch-Angels, the heavenly beings who care for groups of people. These groups create their own slang, dialect or patois; uniforms, tattoos, ways of being. I’ve often wondered about the Arch-angelic beings of the NFL or Hockey teams, MLB – proud, individualistic scrappers.

WHY AM I HERE?
The Texas Twang was like a magnet. It drew my attention. “The Texas” in me was attracted to “The Texas” in that other person. It was automatic. I pivoted and looked.  Mine was a sympathetic response. But, what if it was an antipathetic response, negative.
     We have biases. What if I thought people that talk with a southern drawl, or Texas twang are stupid, uneducated, slow witted. Or the French Canadian accent, which we may hear occasionally in Vermont, meant something negative? Or, a mid-Eastern accent was to be feared? Or, if I was a black kid and watched a white cop cruise by and stare at me? Or I was a white cop who had been trained to watch hand gestures?
     We have in-built, automatic “selves” that are attracted or repulsed by in-built ways of being. S1 is biased by, attitudes, experiences. As the popular song goes, “S1 can’t help it, that’s the way I am!” S1 presumes that that this “magnetism” which causes us to pivot is a forever thing. We are raised a particular way, we are trained a particular way and, like a magnet, we meet a person or situation and our automatic behavior kicks in, “click-bang.” We don’t need gun control so much as S1 control.

WHAT DO I WANT?
Freedom. Creativity. S2 strengthening. That’s what I want for us. In addition to the “automatic self” there is another self within us. Call the “automatic self” S1. The non-automatic self, call that self S2. So, let’s ask your automatic self to answer the following questions:
What is 17 X 24 ? Your automatic self stops, gets confused and calls on S2 for help S2 grabs a piece of paper and a pencil and does the laborious steps for multiplication.
Or, how about the following: you have a compass which always points toward magnetic north (just like your S1 always reacts in the same way) – so, how do you travel west if your S1 points north automatically? Hmmm? How do you sail your little dingy into the wind? Or, do you curse you luck and drop anchor until S1 shifts?
     S2 slows down S1. You have to practice taking a step back and watching S1 do its thing. Not reacting. Wait a moment. The old saying was, “If angry, count to 10.” Give a head fake before going up for the shot. There are lots of examples from many places.  Mostly, we think they don’t apply to us: “We can’t help it... “ which is not exactly true.
     “Who am I?” I am someone who has a S1 and a S2. I have wind in my sail. I have magnetic north. I live in a community of good and bad people and I probably can’t tell one from the other, really.
I can develop the capacity to use the compass for orienting myself and using the automatic way of being within myself as a signal, maybe even a strong signal, but I can live in the world of cause, not automatic effect. I can take my finger off the trigger of reaction. “The Texan” is an indicator that someone across the room is speaking with a Texas twang. Where is the genuine threat in gang symbols, or a teenager wearing a hoodie, a girl in a hijab? In me. My fear. Slow down. Call for S2.
Can you take “the Texas” out of the S1 Texan? Nope. But you can choose to use S1 as a compass for S2 and go “west, young man, go west”. (Tip o’ the hat to Horace Greeley for the “go west, young man” phrase – but, really, did the phrase “young man” cause a “he’s sexist” reaction from your S1?)

© Copyright 2016 Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved.

------------------------------------------------------------ 
The first six months of the The Three Simple Questions bLog is available in book form!


REVIEWS:
JACK MAGNUS / Readers Favorite Review:  http://ow.ly/Xrogz
     5-Stars
BRENDA HAMMOND / GoodReads Review - http://ow.ly/Xrp2Z
    "You should buy this."
MARK KRAUSMAN  / GoodReads Review - http://ow.ly/Xrp0G
     5Stars


READ SAMPLE CHAPTERS AT BUBLISH:
https://www.bublish.com/author/view/5046


WHERE TO BUY:\ TH3 SIMPLE QUESTIONS: Slice Open Everyday Life
AMAZON AUTHOR SITE: http://tinyurl.com/jk9a6e7
AMAZON BOOK: http://tinyurl.com/zxa8v8a
AMAZON KINDLE: http://tinyurl.com/hcgszn3
BARNES & NOBLE: http://tinyurl.com/hzsyxun
NOOK: http://tinyurl.com/h7td54a
APPLE iBOOKS: http://tinyurl.com/hfexmsl
KOBO: http://tinyurl.com/zoxzb2c
SMASHWORDS: http://tinyurl.com/z4nnfu4