Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pervasively Unsatisfactory

A friend from high school, Cretin Vodka, liked to switch the lyrics in this song to "You hurt my feelings." It was a good joke, but I always associate this song to the time I was in the looney bin on account of the line, "Oh no I've said too much; I haven't said enough."



When you're in the looney bin you are choosing your confessions all the time because what you say, and don't say, directly influences whether they let you out. Or not.

It's a bit like that when you're trying to have a discussion in real life. You try to find a way to explain yourself in a way that strikes a balance between reality and respect. Sometimes it seems like the only way to keep the balance is to shut up - at least until you can be sure your own feelings are reality based.

Reality is a weird thing especially when people are looking at their lives in retrospect. Like when you wonder how your life might have turned out if you'd taken a different path. I never wonder about that, actually, but there have been times when men have said I reminded them of someone from college. I doubt that wondering about your life path is a gender specific phenomenon, but I have only been the source of such speculation for men. Specifically men who feel mired in Dullsville and daydream about a free-spirited hippie chick they met at some concert.

During my divorce, it seemed like every other guy I met imagined I was that hippie chick. These guys were all in their early or mid-fifties, successful in their careers and had older or grown kids. A few still had wives. One man who swore he was separated told me over a lunch at a trendy downtown restaurant that being with a woman like me could help him rediscover his creativity. He even wrote me a poem where he called me his butterfly. Granted, it had been a sunny day at a sidewalk cafe in Union Square, but I thought the Butterfly comment reeked of Mid-Life Crisis.

Maybe I had one too many expense account dinners with men who were searching for external solutions to internal issues. A certain kind of female is much the same as a sporty convertible in the land of External Solutions. I'm attractive enough physically, but I excel at asking questions that allow for reflective responses, and I always pay attention to the answers. That's how you learn about people. It's certainly how you learn that you've been objectified.

Right now, I'm reading a book that Max the Psychic Life Coach loaned to me the last time I got my hair cut and colored, The Mustard Seed by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Bhagwan explains:
. . . peace is only possible if everybody is almost dead. There will be no war, no conflict, but there will be no life either. That would be the silence of the graveyard . . . That type of peace is useless -- then this world, with war, would be better . . . many have been endeavoring to bring about peace, and their attitude is just negative. . . . even great philosophers think that if war is finished, everything will be okay. This is negative. Because war is not the problem. The problem is man. And the war is not outside, the war is within. And if you have not fought the war within you will fight it without. If you have fought the war within and have become victorious, then the war without will cease. That is the only way . . . once you conquer yourself your fight with others ceases immediately -- because this fight with others is just a trick to avoid the inner war (1975, pp. 29 - 30).
This reading is part of my ongoing study into changing our patterns - both individually and as a society. If Rajneesh is correct, and it sounds like he is especially when you factor in his own colorful history, then we can count on the world being far from peaceful for generations to come. Nevertheless, we can hope to create a peaceful place in our own little worlds. From what I understand, the Buddha taught that All Life is Suffering, but a shrink named Mark Epstein says in his book Open To Desire that the word Buddha used for suffering, dukka, is more precisely translated as "pervasive unsatisfactoriness," which would mean that Life is Pervasively Unsatisfactory.

I can easily imagine a Buddha thin or fat nodding sagely and saying, "Life is Pervasively Unsatisfactory," because it leads directly to one of my favorite show tunes, It Sucks to Be Me, from Avenue Q.



It's hard to stay pervasively unsatisfied when a group of lively people and puppets shout, "It sucks to be me." Life is further put into perspective when the Asian Landlandy sings, "It sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka sucks to be me." She's also featured in another of my favorites, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist Sometimes.

7 comments:

Mr. Charleston said...

God gave us a sense of humor so as to survive the insanity. As Jimmy Buffett said in Margueritaville; If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane. For me, it's music and mother nature. The closest I come to inner peace.

Liberality said...

It's certainly how you learn that you've been objectified.

LOL! For sure.

It's certainly no picnic sometimes, this life on Earth.

PENolan said...

Music and Mother Nature? We should absolutely drink to that - maybe even at a picnic.

Jennifer said...

You: "It's a bit like that when you're trying to have a discussion in real life. You try to find a way to explain yourself in a way that strikes a balance between reality and respect. Sometimes it seems like the only way to keep the balance is to shut up - at least until you can be sure your own feelings are reality based."

Me: Sometimes you knock me over the head with your wisdom Tricia. I've been doing some soul searching lately and realising that I've not struck a balance in important conversations and I've still not shut up. More food for thought pal - thanks.

PENolan said...

I'm glad you're a pal, you most beautiful woman.

Jaliya said...

Speaking of butterflies ... check <a href="http://www.soaringimpulse.com/2010/04/when-butterflies-whisper.html>this</a> out. I adore Maithri's poems ...

Jaliya said...

Oops ... I screwed up ... will try again with the link. I really want you to read that butterfly poem! I've been into the red wine tonight -- hubby went on a movie date with a friend of ours and I got silly. Sang my heart out this eve -- needed the tunes! OK -- linky-linky: http://www.soaringimpulse.com/2010/04/when-butterflies-whisper.html

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