Getting in Character … June 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2613)

cryingFrom Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

Scribbled in the margin of the script was a note from the director: “This scene requires real tears.”

The actor stared at the instruction and was immediately struck by two words: “requires” and “real.”

In other words, this was a non-negotiable situation. It was required.

The director had already decided that based upon the construction of the scene and the characters involved, that the emotion would demand some weeping.

Then there was the word “real.”

For after all, nothing is more displeasing to an audience than someone sprouting crocodile tears which obviously are being dribbled by force.

So what to do? How does one tap the real heart of the matter, and find the deep-down growlings that generate the kind of energy that fosters tears?

The actor thought for a long time and finally came to a conclusion.

Tears are the release of our fears.

Our apprehensions lie within us, trying to hide in corners and disguise themselves as temporary apparitions until we finally break down and admit that we’re scared to death, and allow the tears to flow freely.

Matter of fact, it’s impossible to get in character without tapping the sadness of your role. Every human has fears. Masking them turns us into chilly lumps of flesh or causes us to concede that belief is a joke and never really offers any lasting solution.

After all, most people do not become atheists because they don’t believe there’s a God. They become atheists because they hurt and don’t believe that God gives a damn.

Without tears our fears remain.

And when our fears remain, we are defensive to the world around us rather than optimistic about the possibility of relationship.

We all need comfort. But there’s no comfort given to us unless we mourn.

How would anyone know? Are they supposed to read our minds? Should they anticipate that merely because we wear human flesh, there’s some devastation within?

Without the comfort, the fears remain, taunting our talent and making us believe that our ability is never enough. But when real tears are required and we feel the freedom to weep … we are suddenly afforded the healing of comfort.

 

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Populie: Deny and Defend… July 9, 2014

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2286) 

nixon thumbs upReligion, politics and entertainment often get together and find what is popular, mingle it with a lie, and then set out promoting the fad for the masses. After all it’s the easiest way to get along in the short-term.

Unfortunately, it wreaks havoc on the emotions and soul of the human race while declaring a truce with an existing deception.

It is a populie.

Even though we tout that we are a Christian nation, we tend to receive our marching orders from other nations and their philosophies.

  • From the Jews and Arabs, we cling to “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
  • From Buddhism, we believe that we have the power to enlighten ourselves.
  • And from the Hindu we have an inordinate worship of animals.

ClintonCase in point: we tend to prefer to deny having problems and defend our actions in covering them up.

Religion likes this because it makes human beings appear weak, and therefore God seems stronger.

Politics favors the idea because if you can survive a 72-hour news cycle about one of your failings, maybe it will go away.

And entertainment builds whole storylines around characters who either cheat or fudge on the truth, or defend themselves from dealing with difficulty.

Here’s the populie:

1. Deny. “I do not allow myself to make mistakes.”

2. Defend. “Therefore I will not tolerate critique from you or anyone else.”Obama

This populie creates a climate of lies, leading to an ongoing sense of mutual mistrust.

Since we don’t admit our fallacies, insist there’s no problem and refuse to be inputted by others, a complicated web of deceit is constructed and maintained by our spider sense.

It would be comical if it weren’t so dangerous.

And you can certainly judge your spirituality not on whether you attend church, but by whether you’re willing to deal with your problems without shame or falsehoods.

swaggartHonestly, this is what works in the human family:

A. Confess. “I will tell you myself where I’ve made mistakes.”

Confessing your faults one to another is the only way to set inner healing in motion. It is also the only way to prevent people from piling on.

B. Expand. “After I confess, I will tell you what I have learned through my mistakes and how I plan on improving my situation.”

If you want to be the victor instead of the victim, you have to be prepared to admit what is becoming obvious to all. If you get ahead of it, you’re leading the way instead of being drug with a rope by the mob.

Yet I will admit, this is probably one of the more difficult things for people to overcome. But if you don’t confess, be prepared to be confronted.

In the long run (which is often a shorter sprint than you might think) people do find out–and when they do, and they sense that you have tried to escape reality–the punishment will be more cruel.Newt

Deny and defend–a national pastime. But it is time to put it in the past.

In closing let me give you one idea on how to welcome this into your life: start very small.

If you left something on a table and someone had to move it, step over, apologize, and move it yourself. It’s only by practicing this kind of candor that you will gain the muscle to lift your own weights instead of having them dropped on your head.

“Deny and defend” may be one of the most popular of the populie–and may I add … one of the more devastating.

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One Per Customer … September 11, 2012

(1,635)

It’s Superman’s fault.

I mean, if we have to blame somebody (which we surely must), he, after all, was a great promoter of the dual existence. Feeling that his Superman persona would not fit into every social situation, he created Clark Kent. And likewise understanding that Clark Kent was incapable of outrunning a bullet, he kept Superman around.

It taught us, even as little children, that we would need many characters to function in a complex society, which often demands more than we can provide with our singular, puny personality.

So we bought into it. No one talks about it very much. It’s a general understanding– similar to the unwritten law that underwear shouldn’t be worn for more than one day.

So we pick a profile to use when we’re with our families, another one on the job; some people even select an identity to don while driving their car. Don’t forget the pious face we keep in the jar to use for more spiritual occasions. And then, when it’s time to vote, we pull out our donkey or elephant costumes and try to stay within party lines. At the end of the day, ready to go to sleep, we’re not quite sure who is in bed with us.

After all, who are we? We wonder why we’re a little sad, preoccupied, uncertain of the future and unwilling to be as generous as we once thought we were going to be. Superman should have made up his mind–be Superman or be Clark Kent, who just had some really neat abilities, like helping his friends lift boxes on moving day.

The only true pressure in life is trying to be more than one person. You have to find your philosophy. It’s one per customer.

A philosophy is easy to recognize: it has one moving part, one concept, one function, one energy, one idea, one piece of holiness. Universally, it extends this particular motion throughout all the facets of our lives. Ten commandments are nine too many. The seven virtues of a successful person is a half a dozen over. Whenever we try to multiply our approaches, we divide our effectiveness. You have to find your philosophy and its one moving part, and remain faithful to it. Therein you find the key to fulfilling human life.

The average person has five philosophies at work at all times. No wonder we are busy, exhausted and cantankerous. Here are the five:

  1. It’s all about family.
  2. It’s all about financial security.
  3. It’s all about health.
  4. It’s all about God.
  5. It’s all about freedom.

You can see–these five are not going to peacefully co-exist within the skin of our human kin. They battle. When you think about family, security becomes upset because everything is too expensive. When you think about God, you feel that your freedom has been impinged by religious imprisoning. When you think about your health, you worry about your family, insurance, God–AND a loss of freedom. So these colliding ideas become the “five stooges” within us–running into each other, knocking each other over and popping to their feet, ready to fight. It’s just too much.

You have to develop a singular philosophy of life that covers family, finances, health, God, and freedom. Otherwise, you’ll get up in the morning, look in the mirror and wonder why that growth has suddenly appeared on your neck as you stumble down the stairs to breakfast to be bombarded by some family member who has also found a growth on her neck and wants to talk about it. Over breakfast, you’ll read the newspaper about the financial collapse, making you wonder if you should withdraw all your money, stick it in a sock and bury it underneath the dog house. Lying on a table nearby is the morning devotional you promised your church you would read everyday before work, which on this particular morning, has lost out to a second helping of bacon, which worries you because of its high cholesterol. Part of you enjoys the morning activity with your family, while another portion of you is eager to get off to work, to have that twenty-three-minute drive, with complete freedom of the use of the radio before you arrive at your cubicle, to be told what to do by someone else who is also worried about his family, security, health, God and freedom.

I discovered this dilemma in stages, but I finally came to the conclusion that if I was going to change hats every time a new situation came up, it was only going to make me look ridiculous, with constantly messed-up hair.

I have a philosophy. It has one moving part. It used to be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But I found a weakness in that statement, dubbed The Golden Rule.  When I felt bad about myself, or was angry with the world, I would project that anger onto others and justify it by saying, “All humans are angry.” By no means am I criticizing the Golden Rule, but I am saying that everything spiritual matures and grows.

This year I have taken a step of faith and innocence, to make the only moving part of my singular philosophy to be, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

It is liberating. I don’t have to try to be top dog, nor do I have to look to find out if there IS one. I don’t have to wait to be saluted, nor is it necessary for me to provide the salute. We are all the same in the mind of our Creator, and from that status of equality, we either improve or deteriorate our possibilities. If you run across people who have improved, you should leave them alone or give them applause. Don’t deter them. If you run across people who have deteriorated their equality to become the “poor lost pups” of our kennel, look for an opportunity to scratch them in the right places and give them a bone. They will usually let you know they’re interested in getting off of their leashes by wagging their tails.

During this election year, my heart is heavy as I watch normally intelligent and even caring people turn into political maniacs, trying to prove their point about issues that no one completely understands.

So do I love my family? I sure do, but NoOne is better than anyone else. I also believe in the family of man.

Do I need financial security? Absolutely–but NoOne is better than anyone else. I will need to work for what I get, just like my neighbor.

Do I have concerns about health? Of course, but NoOne is better than anyone else. Broccoli works in my body just like it does in yours.

How about my feelings towards God? That’s easy. He’s the One that came up with the idea that NoOne is better than anyone else, because we are told that He is no respecter of persons.

But what about my freedom? Again, NoOne is better than anyone else. If I am willing to grant freedom to other people, I can anticipate the same.

I do not know if you will take this essay seriously or not. (Perhaps it’s a bit optimistic for me to believe you’ve even gotten this far in reading it.) But you can improve your life one hundred per cent simply by abandoning your “Clark Kent costuming.” Bring your life down to one moving part–one philosophy–one idea. You can pick what it is. You don’t have to follow mine. But each one of us is granted a single unit.

Yes–one per customer.

It not only makes our lives sensible, but it frees us of the responsibility of learning a new script … every time the scene changes.

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