Saturday, September 30, 2006

A World of Plenty (vs. Deficit Living)

A World of Plenty vs. “Deficit Living”

I see living in general as often having two distinct life views and paths which I will call:

1. A World of Plenty and

2. Deficit Living

I try to live in A World of Plenty and for the most part I succeed. I feel myself blessed in many ways. I am content with most of my lot in life. In some ways I need to push myself to take more risks and strive for more life experiences. In my world I enjoy many day-to-day things that I experience. Increasingly I notice the trees, flowers and bushes. Today’s sunlight looks gorgeous amongst the trees outside.

A good way explain my perspective is to look at my health. On the positive side, I get sick relatively infrequently. I’m in extremely good physical shape. I exercise frequently and am good at much of what I do in my exercising.

I also am very, very aware of physical limitations that I have. Sexually, I can’t function well in some ways. Viagra only helps a little. Often it isn’t enough to make things the ways that I would want them. I am very, very aware when I’m with my partner that I can’t perform the way that I could ten years ago when I was 45. I’m also aware that she would like me to be able to satisfy her in ways that I can’t generally do.

More importantly I don’t bend as well as I used to. My body aches much more easily. I can’t see well without my glasses which I now wear 90+% of the time. When I bruise myself it seems to hurt more and take longer to heal. My teeth are far, far from the “good teeth” I used to have. Hair is increasingly growing out of my ears and nose which isn’t attractive. I’ve lost about 6-8 pounds, but want to lose another 20 or so at least over the next year and not have my visible belly. It’s hard to get over this hump.

My health is a World of Plenty because I focus emotionally upon the positive things related to it. I walk and ride my bicycle when I can. I focus on the parts of my sexuality which still work well and enjoy being a sexual person. I try to be supportive of my partner and understanding of her and to enjoy the sexual life we have together. I don’t struggle most of the time with the health issues that I have, but rather feel alive, good, and well. When I feel the aches, I get over them relatively quickly.

In the end it is my attitude which shapes how I view my health. To have that positive attitude it is helpful to have freedom from a major health crisis. IF I were seriously ill or otherwise in poor health, this would be much harder to do. I would then need to focus much of my energy on the health issue that I faced in my life.

I also need to not have a “primal wound” which hasn’t healed within me. IF I had been seriously physically or emotionally abused as a very young child, I might well have an emotional block which would make it hard for me to look at things positively. Some people can work through these blocks. For some it may seem impossible to do so.

Deficit Living is very easy to be in for many people. It is easy to never feel safe or to have enough of whatever is important for living. Life does have an incredible number of pressures for most people. They often lack time for themselves. When they do have time for themselves it often is minimal in various ways and seemingly “not enough”.

In Deficit Living it feels like one’s life is dictated by others. One’s job (if one works) has its shortcomings which are seen as major. One may not have enough friends, or enough time to spend with one’s friends. Materially one may really want things that one can’t afford. One may buy things and they seem to be “wrong” or not to give one what is expected from them.

We all have periods where Deficit Living situationally takes over our lives. We are sick and wanting and expecting to get well. Our relationships have issues that overwhelm us. We lose close relatives or friends and feel the losses deeply. We may be in a major car accident or have some other “calamity” befall us.

When Deficit Living is our norm, such situational things fit our life view. A health crisis is a blip in our life showing us how horrible our health is in general. Our bosses tirade or threat to our job helps show how horrible the job really is.

Where one lives in a World of Plenty one obviously experiences the same health crisis, but looks to move beyond it or how to cope with it as time moves on. The “lows” of life may be felt much more vividly when living in a World of Plenty because of how they contrast with our normal view of life.

IF part of our World of Plenty is really a denial, rather than a “true” life perspective, our world view may be really severely tested during the difficult periods of life. Seemingly being an “eternal optimist” can be a cover for one who really doesn’t experience some of the lows of life. We may cover them over or “sedate oneself” with “bribes”. We may try to cover up our feelings. This may be self-defeating. It is important to experience what happens in our lives and to really allow our feelings to get churned up and dealt with.

Living in a World of Plenty may also involve living in a narrow world and not taking risks in one’s life. Obviously for such people it may be helpful to challenge some of their life experiences and values and try to grow outward and inward. I plead guilty to this one in parts of my life.

Deficit Living may also serve as a mode for staying motivated and trying to move forward. Seeing the world as “evil” or “difficult” and seeing oneself as “up against it” can help motivate some to try harder and do more in their lives.

I would argue that where motivation comes significantly out of anger, pain, or “against” things as it often may do in Deficit Living it isn’t a healthy long-term path for living. It may mask an: “I’m not ok” part of our primal being; a hurt from early childhood.

For me moving ahead in a World of Plenty is a particularly healthy strategy to live as I move in my retirement at the age of 55. Outwardly perhaps my life faces a lot of “downs” and difficulties as I move towards being an “Older Person”. In other ways it is far easier as I don’t face the pressures of work and of moving towards the prime period in my work career.

I would argue that living in a World of Plenty or trying to move in that direction is particularly helpful for people whose lives feel trapped or otherwise difficult. It is easy to live in such a world when one has few pressures in life. Where one has the pressures of children, work, relationships and other things that can be time consuming and stressful it is particularly important to find ways of coping and feeling good about things.

There is no simple way to move towards a World of Plenty. The path in that direction must of necessity be found by each of us for ourselves. Breathing deeply, yoga and many other things may of course help.

None of this is easy or straightforward! I think it important though.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The "Rule of Law" and Different Realities

In reading an article in the New Yorker which focussed on Richard Cheney's legal advisor a Mr. Addington it was noted how few of the current Republican Adminstration are lawyers and how the role of "Law" in their actions is "different". From the article and other things I've read it seems clear to me that when one comes into power with a "radical ideology" it leads to trying to shape things to fit that perspective.

The current administration perspective on terrorism and related issues focuses heavily upon the purported need to adjust regulations to recognize that "terrorists" are not a state. Through this distinction these people are seen as not having the rights that countries and their citizens have.

In looking at this and similar perspectives it seems clear to me that we have totally different realities that makes talking with each other very difficult. For these people terrorism is something that has come upon us totally unjustifiably and unrelated to anything that we've done. For me terrorism is has evolved due to a variety of causes which in part relate to how the United States has dealt with the rest of the world.

For me the United States does good things, but also does horrific things in the world. To those "on the right" the United States is - good - good - good.

It's hard to talk with each other when our basic premises are so different! We still need to find ways to reach others to help them see more of our perspectives on such issues.

It is important!

More later!!!!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Killing - Respect

It's very sad to hear the story of the shooting of five Duquesne University basketball players! As the news is to date at a University sponsored dance, some of the basketball players talked and "flirted" with one or more young women. Several young men who weren't students evidently found out that there was no search for weapons at the dance (and a sponsorer/organizer evidently knew that they were bringing guns into the dance). They went in and took offense at the "flirting" with one or more of "their" girlfriends and shot the five basketball players.

I would like to hope that the young women in question could choose to talk or not talk with the basketball players. IF they did want to talk, that should have been okay. IF they did not want to talk, there should have been a non-violent mode of resolving such an issue.

"Possessing women" shouldn't be an issue. Talking through things peacefully should be possible.

"Respect" is about living peacefully with others - listening and acting responsibly.

It's very sad that killing and seriously injuring others with handguns in particular is so easy, common and "normal" in the sense of being normative among so many people.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tears - Feelings - Mortality

I'm crying now as I write. I'm reading Lauren Bacall's autobiography. I just read of her beloved Humphrey Bogart's death January 14, 1957 after his struggle with cancer. I cry when I feel sad or touched at times.

My tears are increasing thinking of my own father's death Friday, November 13, 1964 when I was 13 years old. I remember my mother awakening my (younger) brother saying: "Wake up boys. Daddy died this morning." My father had been very sick. His death was entirely "logical" to me then. At the same time I'd never consciously been aware that he was dying. Death wasn't talked about commonly then and not in our family.

As I get older I think of death more and more. It gets gradually easier for me to think of it at all.

Since my father's death I've been relatively lucky related to losing family and friends. One hard moment was when my friend Pamella's younger sister was shot-to-death in the parking structure of the New Orleans Hilton in a hold-up in her 20's (I think) years ago.

Now my step-father is in his mid-80's and next year my mother will have her 80th birthday.

We each have our own personal visions of both life and death. While we can share some of our feelings, it is our own path largely apart from others. We can receive and give love and support.

I try to appreciate and enjoy the life that I have! I've been fortunate to be able to retire at age 55 and to have the time to do some of the things that I want to do for myself. I hope to continue to enjoy living for as long as I have. Each day, each month, each year - is something much appreciated!


Friday, September 15, 2006

Hypocrisies - Galore

Yesterday listening on National Public Radio I heard the author of a book talking about Karl Rove, the political guru for George W Bush and the Republican Party in general. Apparently his father came out as Gay - when his son was 19 and they had a good relationship until the father's death in 2004.

It seems rather hypocritical that Rove could strategize the demonizing of Gays - Gay Marriage etc. - to win Ohio in particular and the election in 2004 and other similar battles while being obviously aware of what being Gay is really about.

Now Torture Galore - but doublespeak about it - hits the Senate in the U.S. - courtesy of Mr. Bush - who doesn't seem to understand the need to live by the rules he wants others in the world to live by.


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - A Political Charade

9/11 - Today - which should be a remembrance seems rather a day when President Bush desparately tries to salvage a political victory out of the disasters he has helped create in its image.

It was the greatest opportunity he could have had for true leadership and moving forward! Instead it bred a campaign of fear and innuendo - hatred and anger - rather than love and unity.

So sad!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Divide - Feeling a Little Weird

I read of the continuing efforts of the Bush Administration to push any faintly, faintly reasonable limits towards autocratic power free from Congressional and Supreme Court intervention. I think of how crazy and bizarre it is when purported terrorists potentially could be put to death with secret testimony and no right to confront their accusers directly.

I think also of how splintered U.S. life is between people who seem worried about a "breakdown in values" where Gays and Lesbians can somehow threaten their Christian lives by simply existing and trying to be "normal" and others whose views may have more similarities with my values. I think of how I could possibly believe in the dangers of "liberalism" and feel that other people were beneath me and needing to lift themselves up by the bootstraps absent decent healthcare, education and peace in the streets near where they live.

I really hope that more people will see the cronyism, deceit and gross inefficiency and lies of the past years when voting this fall and two years from now.

I wish I could simply believe that things like Al Queda were "the problem". I see instead a world where we create more and more terrorists with our disasterous foreign policy. Hatred and fear do not give us peace of mind and peace.

It simply isn't that complicated for me to see so many things. Others may get confused with all the lies and misinformation out there.

I'm cautiously optimistic that things will get better! I hope also that the "left" and liberals will gain and use power wisely. That seems unlikely absent electoral funding reform and other necessary changes.