About this poem: as I age and raise teenage daughters, I realize the stage where I was distracted by the issue of physical appearance played a “hyped up” role in identity. All that time and energy directed toward something I was really not in control of could have been invested in cello playing, writing or reading a good book.
I’m also keenly aware that I still care more than I would like to – I exercise now with the goal of building and keeping muscle/strength but aesthetics still has some play in my intentions.
Our culture idolizes the young, which is silly because being young is fleeting and not based on wisdom or experience. It’s just dumb luck.
Happening now: six teenagers in our dining room, jamming on violins, viola, and cellos. They love playing together so much, that they arrange to meet weekly…driving almost one hour one way to each other’s houses. Proactive and unpaid.
Here they are during a concert in July:
Who says kids these days are just on their phones?
In training our new dog to like her crate, I randomly place tasty treats inside and keep the door open. When we first got her, she refused to go in – most likely because it reminded her of the kennel where she lived with hundreds of other dogs.
But quickly, she grew to associate her crate with treats. Only happy things happened there: some peace and quiet, a warm bed and chicken jerky.
We can do the same for ourselves. We can create positive associations to activities and places that are good for us that we might not feel so great about right now.
There are a group of cyclists that ride by my community every morning around 5:30 a.m. Most likely, they don’t think Ugh, have to wake up early and go riding again. Instead, they might associate this activity with camaraderie, friendship, and a feeling of vitality.
The ultimate power lies in knowing how to train ourselves to be better.
I watched the scene regarding baselines from “Blade Runner” the other day. I started thinking about society and laws and citizenship and what true self-determination might be. What is patriotism? Citizenship? What are our obligations and how does the individual contribute to the mass?
To run on a hamster wheel means to do things without thinking and without an end in sight. It’s a lack of presence.
“How can you tell if you’re on The Hamster Wheel? Your focus narrows and becomes singular. You get reactive instead of proactive. You’re not breathing deeply. Your shoulders are tense. Your jaw may be gripped. Your heart is beating fast and you feel frantic. You experience chronic fight or flight syndrome, your adrenaline is pumping like crazy. You stop really ‘seeing’ people and they start to become objects.”