Racing for Answers

truth_2
Imagine a concept of self as high functioning compassionate worker, passionate creative artist, and purposeful friend, all at the same time.

Can this type of person actually exist?
Success depends on detachment from deep feelings of apprehension or fear.
Can success sidestep acrimonious, self-serving competitor’s eyes?
Humanness without ridicule needs a strong determined and grounded right being.
You cannot move forward, while holding on to the past at the same time.
You become stagnate.

Your Mercury/Messenger clears nature’s obstacles with intellectual swords of crisp language in a well thought out script, balanced on strong limbs. The rat race proceeds – hurdle after hurdle – each leg having to lift higher, stronger and maintaining momentum – keeping the running stride.
If at any point between hurdles the Mercury/Messenger slows down, then time becomes wasted in re-accelerating or recalibrating the course. The desperate effort to “win” gets the race of ideas to the end of the track. Adrenaline rising as thousands of voices claim their ideas as more deserving than other’s, deafening the senses. Mercury/messenger pushes forward avoiding a fall or stumbling moment; working hard to land on both feet at the finish line – so close with a photo finish showing a mix of elation for finishing without dropping to the ground. On closer inspection, the runner’s pensive brow, and nervous hands pose in uncomfortable positions, while limbs search for grace to make the stress worth it.

Races – competition – one’s life work.

Arrogant, headstrong determinism believes the delusion that manipulations are everywhere and necessary. Is cheating necessary to reach the highest categories of success? The broad – vast – playing field, covered with many categories of learning, many paths to run, is impossible to master. So gaming the system becomes part of the system. Does running this type of race actually bring out one’s best self?

Questioned intentions.
Only the lines on my face speak the truth.
Yin and yang cannot hide from the eye if you are looking close enough.
Can you see the real lines?
Or do you see what you only think you see – hear only what you want to hear?
is there an objective truth?
Truth is only true to the depth you are willing to see.

Self-serving antagonists hide behind their limited generosity – just enough to play nice in the sandbox so the unobserving eye only sees their glitter in the sun drenched sand. The truth sits in plain sight – on the sleeve – within the movement of the eyes – the posture, or forced wear and tear of the voice. Eventually, the light reveals the truth when sight clears from foggy obsessions.

What to do if faced with such a truth?
Choose.
Go into the breach, or look the other way?
Focus on that hurdle of unforgivingness, or focus on the letting go of the illusion of unforgivingness?

Ideas are chimeras until made into something tangible; until they acted upon.
If races are never run, then nothing would be made real.
Illusory ideas would never be built because no one would show up to build the structures thus affecting us all to become puppets to the process of the “chosen.”

Divisive minds not rooted in consensus dialogues reject anything they don’t like. They shut out voices because they assessed the unworthiness of other’s voices because they know better and usually hold a resentment. No weighing options because they have figured everything out. The rebuke with their unyielding absolutes creating greater hurdles for Mercury’s success – greater moments of unforgivingness to overcome. Is this divisive mind trying to break spirits so they will all just leave?

Each has their own truth.
Each must speak their truth.
But in giving truth a public speech, each must hear the return of that voice in other people’s truths.
Compromise between voices volleys back and forth but if the runner stops mid track because they have decided to play it their way or the high way, nothing resolves.
The players will not able to shake hands at the end of the race – because the game wasn’t really played.

Feminism.

feminism

My dislikes of women has only to do with what I refuse to see or accept in myself as a woman. To work toward equal ground, and celebrate the differences among us and the talents between us, depends primarily how comfortable I am as a woman in my skin. I project my fear of not meeting the survival of the fittest standard by asserting strong likes or dislikes. This counters the very essence of feminism: women accepting the equality of others despite our differences.

Now this goes the same for those women who wield their hatred against me – brandishing your judgment like frogs shooting out your mouth, into the air either as a casual quip, or out-and-out calculated aggression. Such testy rivalries only serve to reinforce how feminism is a dirty word – something truly illusory and unrealistic as women can’t seem to exist on an equal plane among themselves. Such competition among women, tearing down others whom they have declared unfit, reinforces a standard, or rather a cloaked perception, around a patriarchal notion of right and wrong.

For my feminism, I too easily have experienced that uncomfortable act of trashing another woman. My aggression, internalized by patriarchal tendencies, consciously and unconsciously acts in ways to seek approval by men as the right move. In my youth, I reinforced division by dressing like a man, seeking androgyny, spouting thoughts in hard language or aggressive tones. All this showmanship co-opted a belief of womanhood that purposefully created a division among women because it made me feel powerful in a powerless position. Working among men who only feel safe around women who don’t challenge them helps to pit groups or women against other women because they are establishing the norms of a woman’s right or wrong view. All who reinforce that kind of subjective selection are complicit in allowing men to dictate the norms of womanhood.

This marginalization of women reinforces the growing popularity of anti-feminism. When women co-opt competing womanhood by judging other women’s level of femininity, belief systems or choices – too fat or slim, tall or short, sexy or bullish – women lose their ability to have feminism as a tool toward a true condition of equality.

We have a tremendous capacity for change. So stop it ladies and grow the fuck up – take a good look in the mirror and accept your part in the process of shaming others whose politics, lifestyle or preferences are different from yours. Don’t judge based on age, or size or the power of some singular talent – embrace feminism and see beneath the veneer of your materialism that although gains in access for women exist, we are still operating in a privileged patriarchy.

Dear DA

Truth

The battle long ago, some twenty-six years in the making, came to an abrupt end when the door slammed behind me. Into the padded room, I stirred with my worst self. Delusional of clarity, being, and thinking, I laid curled in a ball on the floor with frightened conflicted tears wildly rage-full; while at the same time filled with a strange sense of relief.

In my memory’s glimpse, that moment represented all of my youthful self annihilation coming head to head with any glimmer of potential for a future. Straitjacketed by my bottomless self-centeredness, anesthetics removed, the chemical hangover lived larger than that other self understood. The long road laid before me. Choices.

The nurse came in and took me to another room with sunlight. She smoothed my crying spirit of angst and disbelief at being in this place. At this crossroad, self-centered blindness continued to shield my ability to see a future of any real possibilities beyond this captivity. My thoughts possessed only strategies to change the course on my appointed condition. However, as time slipped by, forced into seeing what I created, acceptance became the key to my freedom.

There was never a loss of a god. The edge of streets and late night harbors shadowed the very being of me and my spirituality. I didn’t know who I had become, and could not see any possibilities to change that broken girl. My life reeled inside my head like a cinema feature out of synch. Yet a presence always surrounded me. Something intangible. Like an invisible cloak protecting me from the demon, until one day, that safety disappeared. The end game was in sight, and that finale became the only possible end available to me.

Looking back at growing up without an intellectual voice to mentor me, subjected to Reagan suburban expectations, dis-ease motivated my search for something darker. I pushed to the edge of moving in faster beats, and shadowy tonal scales of percussive rhythms, and moved to New York City in quest of kindred spirits. Our street theater soundtracked by an alternative mix of 70’s back room tunes fed our revolutionary spirit against the tyranny-of-the-corporate-majority destruction of alternative arts. We launched MTV images of anxiety, dressed in dark uniforms, and danced in skank clubs that reeked of alcohol and dry goods. Life seemed fearless as we masked the apprehension and delusion.

My geographic to San Francisco tightly nailed the coffin shut. It was only a matter of time, and the resolve, set in stone, tempered a careful stride as I tried to get money from the ATM. The memory of standing that last balmy day of January as the sun set, scrambling for $20, etched the reckoning. This withdrawal led to the last crystal memory of a journey doomed toward oblivion. By Sunday, I followed the money trail back to New York, thinking I had it all under control. Nothing was as it should be, and in my room, back on The Crossway, the mirror lied, and I thought no one could tell. By Wednesday, the door slammed, and the future was born.

This present memory-tunnel post reminds where I came from, however not as something stoically held on to. This recall of the ‘flatlining of my life’ expects that I find gratitude in each day for another opportunity to practice flexibility, open-mindedness and generosity of spirit. The ball and chain of youthful resentment, anger and fear stopped me from being whole. So the memory of this embryonic critical moment reinforces the point-of-view that a future can exist where my talents may live to their fullest potential only if I get out of my own way.

So.
We show up for the road less traveled.
We remain on the path.
We seek to recover despite the surrounding chaos and pain of accepting truth.

Work Shopping Development

leadership-valuesSelf-reflections are the necessity of design.

The essential self needs the ability to reflect, however, the way we feel about ourselves colors that reflection. So if a fruitless character trait, ingrained over years of use and misuse, weirdly appears whenever you don’t want it to, coloring a too sensitive lens, reflection becomes skewed. The result is not a state of truth, but rather a more self-centered degrading state, from a life long trait staying despite efforts, at a crossroad of needed change.

“Why me?” retorts provide opening to reflective counter arguments of silent discussions that have no audience, but in one’s mind’s eye seeks to answer the frustrations swirling over and over, rehearsing right voice.
regretwoman
Although time-consuming, reflection becomes the only process that leads to a safer personal space after the wrenching moments of fearful regret that forebodes being turned out.

Searching for breadth to hope.

Social norms shape responses, prohibiting truth because people act within the confines of polite virtue, especially when they want others to like them, or give them something. Fear of failure, rejection or loss outweighs celebrating a true self in these moments, especially when weakened by lack of sleep, rest and basic nourishment. No one values a good “f— you” at the expense of propriety. Society directs us to embed maneuvering through the social protocols as a means of survival. Yet in the end, this strategy lessens the ability to follow through on the things that make you happy.

The work-shoppers, a collection of self-seekers, who pretext their actions with justifications of uplifting themselves to be more of service, in truth only act and move the discourse when it elevates their positioning. Their strategic anecdotes move into the arena to seize the opportunity to tell a story of self, the subtext of which is a maneuvering of power. Stories, moving audiences to some great emotional finale of a lesson learned, only pit one against another with competing emotional narratives tuning to the pulse of repression and gross rights violations. After these types of performances, dogmatic dialogues prevail because no one dares to mention how the fabrication is just that – fabricated to manipulate people to some end. It is always about power for work-shoppers.

How did I get here?

I daydream at these points. Competing for attention only reminds me of a youth I rejected. So for survival, my attention diverts to understanding character, and how they fit into the play. Their lives become part of a script, which in the stage directions describes the way they wear their shoes, hold arms folded, or purse lips, listening, but always thinking of the next thing to say. Or the ones whose silence waits to find strained comfortability, yet still struggles in the way they hold their bodies, hearing the quiver in their tempered words, always seemingly working toward mastery, yet continually uneasy, with what feels like slight emotional instability. The work-shoppers become part of a scene, only a glimpse in time. People sacrificing for a check in their bank. I see the scene unfold, and predict the end.

I am a narrator, crafting a monologue of my reflection to divert to some distant place, searching for who I am.

The workshop facilitator explains, in squint and exhorts great excitement, to awaken interests with stories of leading the ship in treacherous waters of data, while riding the waves between the symbolic and the theoretical, and then gliding into the sunset, along to real world applications, always linking back to theory, then forward with personal quips and quivers for dramatic effect. Like a yo-yo, up, down, in, and out, moments pass: the process repeating each week, after week, into months. The work-shoppers, some tried by their own process, yet there’s always that ‘one’ who continues to maneuver.

I feel like a camera.

Processing so many stories dizzily jams my elder brain, which weighs priorities differently; knowing in the end, nothing really changes. Days provide dull light with faint overviews of what feels like a hangover from working overtime into the early morning hours, alone with my stories. monologuing in my head.

People will perform in what ever manner that provides the best path of least resistance. Power, privilege, and authority drive the soul of the go-getter – the work-shopper – only to find that something can be anything if you can hold your head high.

In the end tho, we only have ourselves. The goal is to live without regret.

Life-Balance

Rock It!

feminist.inline-vertical

Born into third wave feminism still meant I would be defined by men’s concept of femininity. Growing up struggling with my identity of womanhood led me to rebel into playing music on the fringe. Rock and roll women redefined femininity in that male dominated field. I’m not talking about Lilith women – I mean women who possess the raw, energetic rhythms of crunching guitars, rants and churning melodic choruses. Hard core women redefined my concept of gender and power. Many abandoned femininity for androgyny to keep a foothold of “being in the business,” and not to ruffle the boy’s feathers. Surviving beyond the misogyny, female players remain true to the rhythm, not pining for stardom, yet keeping the beat in whatever respectable position they can. Women carry our feminist culture from generation to generation, helping to support women to reach their fullest potentials. Although we look to Patti Smith and Kim Gordon as iconic rock and roll mothers, all rock women, in their own measure, pave the way to carry forward the art punk/hardcore feminist anthem.

The crossroad between mediocrity and excellence.

Mediocrity1

“Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Genius is never calculated. It is idiosyncratic, and moves in fits and starts – never a straight line.

My day of reckoning on the journey to “genius” hit a fork in the road, demanding a decision to decide my future path. I wrestled with which direction to take, perceiving one as destiny versus the other a calculate end. Each path its own rugged journey, but both options possible. My desire, tinged with the fear of not being able to feed my child, ignited dreams of successfully switching crafts, driven by an intuitive and insightful creative imagination. I never saw that 10,000 hours meant another lifetime of practice; believing my skills, although latent, would take me to the next level, despite the truth saying something different.

Instantaneous reflection sums up all that I came to be at that point: weighing options for the sake of security.

This biblical moment of choosing – changing a life path – demanded humility and acceptance of my true self within that moment. All that I was, and all that I was capable of being from years of practice whirled in wild imaginations of becoming something new. Leaning toward efficiency and the least resistant path, my delusions of grandeur fueled my ego, believing I could command any task. The appeal of the fast track to success led me to make regretted phone calls; to not realize my inconsistency; and “give randomness and ambiguity the appearance of order, structure and uniformity.” My choice quickly revealed the pedestrian nature of my new vocation.

When the paycheck becomes more important than the dream, the intuitive becomes stunted.

Artistry too easily caters to the price tag of fame, forcing the genius impulse to breed ideas outside of main street. Its idiosyncrasy becomes compromised because its first stroke, like the first thought to action, is an inchoate creative act illusively tied to prescribed financial ends. Success becomes the product sold in the galleried marketplace, not a boundless understanding of things tossed about in the imagination. The product driven genius then becomes a pseudo intelligence, channeled only to find the right path money dictated necessary.

The rhetoric of rugged individualism requires that pervasive mediocrity exists.

Managing competition inherently relies on people never reaching success, but feeling they can if compliant, reinforcing the pseudo-genius. Market forces use an American Dream “success” story to perpetuate a delusion that people buy to feel their brilliance. This contrived success masks the mediocrity. Subliminal selfish ends compromise first thoughts, which feed the stroke of the pen, brush or hand that sets out to interpret the scale of form and function. All creative acts become a competitive act.

There are no mechanisms in America where society nurtures and celebrates creative impulses for their own sake.

Artists become a happenstance – classified as some special being sitting outside the mundane, and challenging norms because they have courageously denied participating in the day-to-day ‘systems’ – or have found a means within that system which appears to extend their creativity. In this society of product driven ends, materialism forces the artist to hide in cubicles, day in and day out, until their job salaries provide enough to get them back to their real work.

The starving artist illusion, worn like a mantle, feeds the pseudo genius, who waits for the singular moment of discovery by the service of wealthy patrons.

Money coerces decisions at the crossroad. Immediately strategizing to give value to an end product, logos churns conflicted thoughts. As a well-bred daughter to my parent’s mission of robust independence and self-reliance, my creative intelligence conflicted with their conformist interpretation of working toward the golden ring. Their narrative conjured a strategy to achieve the “right” end, exemplified by possessions, such as the right house, right car and perfected dress; promoting the ‘Horatio Alger’ myth of meritocracy – man against man for position and material success.

“Mediocrity’s shallow soul finds refuge in insincere moral platitudes – such things as ‘appropriateness’ and ‘respectfulness’, ‘politeness’ and ‘civility’ – and it is by nature deferential and obsequious, and places much emphasis on status.”

Under the light of competition, strategic moves to win, become a valued monetized action, derailing the creative purpose for truth in form and function. Operating under this motive “to win” denies any imagination to internalize how structures move within time and space, negating exploration and constraining real reflection. The preoccupation with making money, and considering what that money can buy, feeds the glory and fear of star power. With this mindset, the best end is a selfish manipulated end, which always means people lose.

Calculated materialism deadens artistry, and a mediocre reality with its preconceived notion of virtuosity deadens genius.

Superficial people co-opt mediocrity to make themselves powerful. Keeping the middle ground as a cultural norm means people get just enough to satisfy their base needs, prohibiting any motive to challenge the system of power. Position and influence measures the utility and synchronicity of being, wrapped by self-serving competition, which motivates the artist’s drive to sell their craft. Art, no longer an expression of truth, becomes a commodity, pitting idea against idea like a drag race, defining those who have “it” with those “who don’t.” The price tag defines the “it” piece. The artist becomes a shoe salesman in hipster clothing.

Innovation demands our hours in the chairs consist of learning, re-learning, and surviving the cycle of success and failure.

With the multitude of people on this earth, and the different players in any given game, the best, at best, is only a fleeting moment of time. There is always someone else in the wings, or another perspective of brilliance to shine forward and capture the pockets of big donors. Playing to the benefactor curtails the freedom to think. We are too busy playing the financial catch-up game to sustain our best true selves. This game nurtures the American soul, and is nurtured by big donors, tethering all ends to our philosophy of materialism.

To rise above the tide of mediocre expectations, and its self-fulfilled prophecies, depends on accepting the obstacles to creative truth, and turning them over to something forward moving – not being afraid to stand outside the mediocre masses.

Clear vision challenges aimlessness. Fierce curiosity distracts and sidelines comfort zones. We must believe in the third eye that counters righteous indignation against the cacophony of voices, pushing and pulling the truth, over and over again, to justify their watered down norms of thinking and being, and settling to the lowest common denominator.

The artist’s truth, isolated to the fringes, rises above the fray of mediocrity when it can feel a deep connection to love and nature, and exist without the need for power.

Art gives the abstract ideas of past, present and possible futures, real constructs. This creative imagination, inherent in the birth of its being, cannot be bought. Society needs to nurture the sentient artist rather than force it to the confines of materialism and the will of wealthy often political patrons.

We must know who we are, to rise against this tide, and trust the process of becoming.