Author Topic: Strange Connections  (Read 56055 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2006, 10:10:12 am »
Eureka.... I have found it....

Yes, there are times in my life when all the strange connections have an interconnection, a major intersection, and I have recently experienced one, thanks to the book I am reading now... A Journey to the Other Side of Life. A few excerpts (long ones), see if you can follow me:

We are living in an age of lost identities and purposes. Many of us roam the earth in search of who we are and why we are here. In pursuit of our own emotional happiness, peace and identity, many of us have emotionally abandoned the essence of life. Many of us have abandoned our homes. Many of us have abandoned our children and our children's children. Many of us have abandoned ourselves.
     Technology is increasing. Life's physical and scientific questions are now being answere faster than the questions themselves are being asked. But when it comes to the emotions we feel, many questions remain unanswered. We are living in a time of emotional confusion, loneliness, pain and fear. Although we are discovering technological answers, we are living in an age that has given us very few emotional answers. We are living in an emotional bog. However, I believe this is changing.
     Because of the heightened rush with technological advances and the seemingly digressed state of relationships and societal life, I believe the world is approaching an apex. Many of us recognize the need for our emotional lives to "catch up" with our technological lives. I believe this realization will lead us into an age of spiritual and emotional discovery and renewal. I believe we are approaching an age of emotional and spiritual enlightenment

Now, as to loneliness (and indeed this is the first time that I have felt that someone has described the specific needs I seem to require).....

     We are all looking for a savior. We are not necessarily looking for a spiritual savior, but an emotional savior:
          Someone who will rescue us.  Someone who will nurture us.
          Someone who will affirm us. Someone who will accept us.
          Someone who will validate us.  Someone who will love us.
          Someone who will help us feel good about ourselves.
     In essence, we want to return to the safety and warmth of the womb - no responisibility, no cares, no hassles, someone else always covering for us.  Sounds great, doesn't it? No, it does not. Many of us do not realize that when we are in this state of existence, our heart has no way of verifying or affirming its strengths, gifting or abilities. Consequently, it is unable to produce self-confidence, value or worth.
     At this point, we begin to look to others to give us a sense of confidence, value or worth in ourselves. When we try this approach (of looking to others for our sense of confidence, value or worth), we always lose. This approach always comes up short. Why? Often the people we are looking to for validation have wounded hearts themselves. Consequently, they too are more focused on getting and receiving, not on giving and validating.  When you seek an emotional savior outside of yourself, chances are that your self-confidence, value and worth will remain extremely low, and almost always it will even diminish.

A bit harsh, but in retrospect, perhaps too close to home to be comfortable.

     When most of us are in a woundedstate of existence, we feel and think that we are alone. We become convinced that there is no one around who will or can understand us or how we feel.  This simply is not true. Others may not be able to identify with the experiences that triggered our pain. Yet, often, many can identify with our feelings, fears and emotions that the emotional wounding triggers.
     Most of the time, however, we do not identify (we can, but we don't) with the emotions of those around us. This is because our personal focus is riveted on our own problems and pain, our own fears, feelings and emotions. Our attention, consequently is distracted by a preoccupation with our own wounding or fear.  This, in turn, renders us incapable of being able to love, understand, support and lend healing to those around us.

     Well, in consideration of this in my own life, is it any wonder that I felt so connected to the film in which this was made vibrantly and painfully clear?  Still, in my own life, I have attempted to avoid such selfish self-focusing. The pain is present, but I have learned to subdue and suppress it in order to serve others. And in reaching out to others, I find I am also reaching out to myself.

Now we come to the crux of the matter.

     Out of fear, hurt and pain, we naturally want to "return to the womb."  The womb is warm, safe and secure. However, in reality, we know it is impossible to return to the womb. But, we try to anyway - emotionally. So without realizing it, we attempt to experience the same emotional benefits we experienced when in the safety and security of the womb by looking to or hoping in someone outside of ourselves for our own peace, love, joy, stability and fulfillment. We seek an emotional savior.
     When these "saviors" let us down, we feel hurt, wounded, abandoned and betrayed. When they don't perform to our hopes and expectations, our lives remain unfulfilled. We then take those very same people we were hoping in and looking to, the emotional saviors, and we blame them or hold them responsible for the negative feelings or the problems surrounding our lives. Do you see how we do this?
     At this point, the emotional cycle or process takes it's most devastating turn. Why? Because if we are looking to, hoping in or blaming someone else for who we are, how we feel or for the circumstances surrounding our lives, we have given up control of our emotional life. We have, in turn, placed that control on the external person or influence in which we are hoping. We are no longer in control of our lives or emotions because we gave the control to the one whom we began looking to, hoping in or holding responsible.  What is the significance of this? What's so bad about losing control or giving up control of your life and emotional well-being, in hopes of being taken care of emotionally? Plenty!

     A few good questions there at the end. The romantic desire of self-sacrifice is a devastating one, particularly when it requires our emotional dependency on another human being. And I think it only reminds us of the pain that Jack might have been carrying for far too long, having developed an emotional dependency on an emotionally unavailable Ennis. And still, with all this pain, there is opportunity for redemption and spiritual communion, but let me continue... what follows are the painful extremes of the romantic depression.

     When you give up emotional control to influences outside of yourself, at that point you enter the threshold of depression and depressive behavior. When it is inside you, depression triggers feelings that make you think things such as: "I have no control or say-so with my life or with my own feelings. Others have more control and more of a say-so with my feelings than I do. I am powerless. Others are in control of my feelings. I am not." Thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, defeat, no control, and no say-so establish themselves as constant companions at this point in your life.
     These are the thoughts and feelings with which depression blasts its recipients. From this stage you enter an even deeper negative cycle. You lose mental and physical motivation to live. This stands to reason. Why would people want to live if they could not have a determination in their own lives and feelings? Who wants to live a life where everyone else has more control or say-so over them and their feelings than they do themselves? What is there to live for?
     In its extreme form, depressive behavior will even manifest itself by causing the individual to ball up into a fetal position or live for days in bed.

(Been there, done that.) The feeling is: "Why should I get up and live life? Nothing is going to change. I am not in control of it. Everyone else, including God, has the control over my life and feelings. I have nothing to live for. I'll just stay here where it's safe. This way I will not have to make any decisions, and if I don't have to make any decisions, I will not have to worry about making a mistake." (Not exactly what was going through my mind at the time, but maybe from a deeper perspective...) How does this happen? How is it that not exercising personal, emotional control leads to depression? Well, it makes very good sense when you think about it. "I gave up the control of my life and my emotions, when I began looking to you, or hoping in you, or holding you responsible for my sense of who I am, how I feel or for the circumstances surrounding my life. I began looking to you, holding you responsible or hoping in you to do, be or perform in such a way that would cause me to feel good about my life, my environment, my circumstances or myself. When I began looking to you, I held a hope that you would take control for me and provide me with happiness, love, peace, and fulfillment. So when I began to place my hope in you to control my life and happiness for me, I relinquished control, emotionally."
     This happens to millions of us. It is not a conscious thought process, though. It is emotional. We do it subconsciosly. We do it without even thinking about it.

Alright, I get it.... my life is the way it is now because of me, not because of other people around me. Now that I've come to terms with that, how do I change it. I need to reveal and alter the root of the tree. That sounds familiar... "root of the tree." Is it connected to something else?

The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;

That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.

According to A Journey:
There are five keys that produce emotional wholeness and completeness. The engrafting of these keys, along with other aspects of emotional healing, life-improvement and change, is what the Journey is mostly about. Ah.... so another aspect of holistic life coaching.

According to this, my lack of good roots is based on: a lack of emotional control (check, though poetry helps); a lack of a sense of connection (hmm, nope, I have that.... perhaps too much of it, but it may be the basis for the new root, so perhaps worth holding onto); a poor personal attitude (I think I'm usually pretty upbeat and have a great attitude about life in general, but maybe that's just me); emotional pain (check, though poetry helps); a lack of self identification and purpose. (Ooh, big one, though I'm working on it.) The problem with me is that as soon as I set my eyes onto something and start striving for it, something happens..... my life is twisted completely around, as though something in the universe is saying, "No, not that way!" or "Wrong, guess again."

« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 11:07:07 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2006, 02:16:07 pm »
I really like the distinction betwixt the spiritual and the emotional savior. I think a lot of people become involved with religion, particulary the evangelical kind, not realizing the difference. The vacume that then results is like a black hole that never goes away.

These is a wonderful article I read years ago (this a little OT), in the January 1989 edition of the Atlantic (I'm 90% sure) by Joel Agee, called "A Fury of Symbols". I think you would enjoy it as well.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2006, 11:24:21 pm »
A Holiday Message from Daniel.

     I would like to take a few moments now to wish everyone a truly momentous holiday season. While the new year (by BBM standards) may have come and gone, we failed to react with the celebration that we still have when January first approaches. It may take a few more years of celebrating the occasion of December Ninth to truly recognize the day with the greatness it deserves.

However you celebrate the holidays, I hope that you use it to create and maintain the deepest of connections. Whether these connections are with God, with the universe, with humanity, with your family and loved ones, or with some transcendent reality that the holiday has made more clear for you. Some of us may even take this opportunity to connect with the film, and with the two men whose love we watched form, then disintegrate and then reform again; spiritual communion, redemption, love, beauty, truth, wisdom..... spiritual presence, forgiveness, obedience, celibacy, poverty, silence.

During this season of joy and celebration, remember those that are less fortunate than you. Then perhaps we can consider whether or not they are truly less fortunate.  What we see as a weakness in another may very well be their greatest strength.

May the peace that eluded Jack and Ennis be with you all.

((I'll be out of town for a few days, so please don't be alarmed if you cannot reach me. I will return shortly.))
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 01:07:08 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.


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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2006, 11:28:09 pm »
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Daniel...

be safe on your journey... :)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #74 on: December 22, 2006, 11:44:46 pm »
One last gift.

'Twas the night before Solstice by James Finn Garner

Twas the night before solstice and all through the co-op
Not a creature was messing the calm status quo up.

the children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Dreaming of lentils and warm whole-grain breads.

We'd welcomed the winter that day after school
By dancing and drumming and burning the Yule,

A more meaningful gesture to honor the planet
Than buying more trinkets for Mom or Aunt Janet,

Or choosing a tree just to murder and stump it
And dress it all up like a seasonal strumpet.

My lifemate and I, having turned down the heat,
Slipped under the covers for a well-deserved sleep,

When from out on the lawn there came such a roar
I fell from my futon and rolled to the floor.

I crawled to the window and pulled back the latch,
And muttered, "Aw, where is that Neighborhood Watch?"

I saw there below through the murk of the night
A sleigh and eight reindeer of nonstandard height.

At the reins of that sleigh sat a mean-hearted knave
Who treated each deer like his persunal slave.

I'd seen him before in some ads for car loans,
Plus fast food and soft drinks and cellular phones.

He must have cashed in from his mercantile chores,
Since self-satisfaction just oozed from his pores.

He called each by name, as if he were right
To treat them like humans, entrenching his might:

"Now Donder, now Blitzen," and other such aliases,
Showing his true Eurocentrical biases.

With a snap of his fingers away they all flew,
Like lumberjacks served up a plate of tofu.

Up to the rooftop they carried the sleigh
(The holes in the shingles are there to this day).

Out bounded the man, who sent straight to the flue.
I knew in an instant just what I should do.

After donning my slippers, downstairs did I dash
to see this trespasser emerge from the ash.

His clothes were all covered with soot, but of course,
From our wood-fueled alternative energy source.

Through the grime I distinguished the make of his duds--
He was dressed all in fur, fairly dripping with blood.

"We're a cruelty-free house!" I proclaimed with such heat
He was startled and tripped on the logs at his feet.

He stood back up dazed, but with mirth in his eyes.
It was then that I noticed his unhealthy size.

He was almost as wide as when standing erect,
A lover of fatty fried foods, I suspect.

But that wasn't all to make sane persuns choke:
In his teeth sat a pipe that was belching out smoke!

I could scarcely believe what invaded our house.
This carcinogenic and overweight louse

Was so red in the face from his energy spent,
I expected a heart attack right there and then.

Behind him he toted a red velvet bag
Full to exploding with sinister swag.

He asked, "Where is your tree?" with a face somewhat long.
I said, "Out in the yard, which is where it belongs."

"But where will I put all the presents I've brought?"
I looked at him squarely and said, "Take the lot

"To some frivolous people who think that they need
to succumb to the sickness of commerce and greed,

"Whose only joy comes from he act of consuming,
Thus sending the stock of the retailers booming."

He blinked and said, "Ho, ho, ho! But you're kidding."
I gave him a stare that was stern and forbidding.

"Surely children need something with which to have fun?
It's like childhood's over before it's begun."

He looked in my eyes for some sign of assent,
But I strengthened my will and refused to relent.

"They have plenty of fun," I cut to the gist,
"And your mindless distractions have never been missed.

"They take CPR so that they can save lives,
And go door-to-door for the used clothing drives.

"They recycle, renew, reuse--and reveal
For saving the planet a laudable zeal.

"When they padlock themselves to a fence to protest
Against nuclear power, we think they're the best."

He said, "But they're children--lo, when do they play?"
I countered, "Is that why you've driven your sleigh,

"To bring joy to the hearts of each child and tot?
All right, open your bag; let's see what you've got."

He sheepishly did as I'd asked and behold!
A Malibu Barbie in a skirt made of gold.

"You think that my girls will like playing with this,
An icon of sexist, consumerist kitsch?

"With it's unnatural figure and airheaded grin,
This trollop make every girl yearn to be thin,

" And take up fad diets and binging and purging
Instead of respecting her own body's urging

"To welcome the shape that her body has found
And rejoice to be lanky, short, skinny, or round."

Deep in his satchel he searched for a toy,
Saying, "This is a hit with most little boys."

And what did he put in my trembling hand
But a gun from the BrainBlaster Power Command!

"It's a 'hit,' to be sure," I sneered in his face,
"And a plague to infect the whole human race!

"How 'bout grenades or some working bazookas
To turn all of our kids into half-wit palookas?"

I seized on his bag just to see for myself
The filth being spread by this odious elf.

An Easy-Bake Oven--ah, goddess, what perfidy!
To hoodwink young girls into household captivity!

Plus an archer play set with shafts that fly out,
The very thing needed to put your eye out.

And toy metal tractors, steam shovels, and cranes
For tearing down woodlands and scarring the plains,

Plus "games" like Monopoly, Pay Day, Tycoon,
As if lessons in greed can't start up too soon.

And even more weapons from BrainBlastersCo.,
Like cannons and nunchucks and ray guns that glow.

That's all I could find in his red velvet sack--
Perverseness and mayhem to set us all back.

(But I did find one book that caused me to ponder--
Some fine bedtime tales by a fellow named Garner.)

"We need none of this," I announced in a huff,
"No 'business-as-usual' holiday stuff.

"We sow in our offspring more virtue than this.
Your 'toys' offer some things they never will miss."

The big man's expression was a trifle bereaved
As he shouldered his pack and got ready to leave.

"I pity the kids who grow up around here,
Who're never permitted to be of good cheer,

"Who aren't allowed leisure for leisure's own sake,
But must fret every minute--it makes my heart break!"

"Enough histrionics! Don't pity our kids
If they don't do as Macy's or Toys 'R' Us bids.

"They live by their principles first and foremost
And know what's important," to him did I boast.

"Pray, could I meet them" "Oh no, they're not here.
They're up on the roof, liberating your deer!"

Then Santa Claus sputtered and pointed his finger
But, mad as he was, he had no time to linger.

He flew up the chimney like smoke from a fire,
And up on the roof I heard voices get higher.

I ran outside the co-op to see him react
To my children's responsible, kindhearted act.

He chased them away, and disheartened , dismayed,
He rehitched his reindeer (who'd docilely stayed).

I watched with delight as he scooted off then.
He'd be too embarrassed to come back again.

But with parting disdain, do you know what he said,
When this overweight huckster took off in his sled?

This reindeer enslaver, this exploiter of elves?
"Happy Christmas to all, but get over yourselves!!"

Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #75 on: December 23, 2006, 01:52:35 pm »
That's a hoot!  :D

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #76 on: December 28, 2006, 09:30:15 pm »
Well, I've returned, and you think that my holiday would be a happy experience. It was for the most part. I received the new McKennitt CD (as I hoped), and was able to give some beautiful gifts, beautifully wrapped, to my closest friends and relatives. I always secretly smile to myself when they unfold the wrapping paper on the edges instead of ripping through it. There is no greater tribute to the selection of giftwrap.

I found myself thinking, on many occasions, of how my life has been transformed by Brokeback Mountain, and by knowing and engaging with all of you here. I know that I have said in many places that the film elicits a variety of emotional and physical and philosophical pinings within the self, and these are explored more fully in my upcoming book Dreamfilm: Brokeback Mountain Explored, as well as attempting to identify what about the film has led so many of us to connect with it, including its recurring themes and the manner in which they were journeyed in the film. There are two themes that I did not explore because they were far too complex to look at in one short text, and it is these themes which my life is resonating with, with temporary and momentary instances of reflection on the other great truths that Brokeback Mountain reveals to us. These themes are spiritual redemption and communion.

I will not go into detail about what those exactly are, because I only am barely starting to understand them from an experiential basis. I spent days reading The Dark Night of the Soul and am now convinced more than ever that the second book of that text is speaking directly of the few moments of darkness that we perceive in the film on the Mountain. It is a difficult experience to define other than to say that this awareness enlivens my entire being, from the expansive opening of the heart to the expansion of the mind in tingling epiphany (felt shift, self-transcendence, breakthrough, peak moment)
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #77 on: January 04, 2007, 04:31:00 am »
Happy New Year, Daniel!  Glad you're back!

I wanted to let you know that I went ahead and posted questions 6 - 10 at ... Milli & I seem to be the only two responding.  We'd love it if you'd come over and give us your insight into 1-5 when you have some time!

"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #78 on: January 08, 2007, 03:34:13 pm »
Thank you Lynne, and a Happy New Year to you as well.  I have taken the time to post some responses to my own questions, although you and Milli have done a great job already.

Lately, I thought I would take some time to clean my room, and ran across some things I wrote almost a decade ago. The papers are yellowing with age, rumpled by the weight of dust, but the text on them is still legible, and still resonates with my most inner presence.

Love Life. Live Love.

Love Life:

1. Accept change.
2. Be still and know the truth.
3. Learn to forgive yourself and your circumstances.
4. If at first you don't succeed...
5. Be who you really are, even if it means sacrificing a false aspect of your public life.
6. Look for beauty in all things.
7. Be grateful for that which you have received.
8. Look forward to each new day as a bundle of opportunities.
9. Be artistic or creative in at least one way.
10. Use the five senses creatively, inspiringly, but responsibly.

Live Love.

1. Recognize others.
2. Realize that everyone has a story.
3. You must love yourself before you can love others.
4. Understand your emotions before you voice them.
5. Be honest, but gentle.
6. Respect one another's privacy.
7. Learn to forgive others and their circumstances.
8. Everyone and everything has a purpose for being here.
9. Be grateful to the camel.
10. Recognize beauty in the plain. See the divine in the ordinary. Contemplate the supernatural in the natural.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 07:36:05 pm by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #79 on: January 15, 2007, 03:10:14 pm »
Well yesterday was my BBMiversary. It has been one year since I first saw the film, 6 months of floating in a cloud of pain directly afterwards, followed by 2 months of invigorating self-searching for the spiritual wisdom inherent in the film and in that pain. The last few months have seen me trying to find some way to implement that spiritual wisdom in my life.

For the first time in my life, I have pined for a particular person for over a year, and I do not find it in the one bit healthy at all. I have mostly conquered it, as I have discussed in other threads, but from time to time that torturous emotion rises again and I (as always) push it down. Push it down, resist, survive. Push it down, resist, survive. A monotony of life choices but little can be done for it.

Yes there are days when I sign onto this board and the new messages folder is filled with additions to the Jake Jake Jake thread, or as is the most recent, the Jake hosts SNL or Jake in Drag threads. As much as my fingers itch to twitch the arrow over those words and dare to press down with the simplest of muscle movements, I have managed to resist. I am resisting! I am surviving! I think that if I keep this up for a bit longer, I will be completely recovered, as the pangs of unquenchable desire are fewer in number and farther in between.

"Gyllenhaalic" is all too real a term, and I feel as though I am battling against this "ism" as much as an alcoholic would battle against his alcoholism, or any other addict against the things that he would sacrifice life and limb to acquire. Push it down. Resist. Survive.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.