Chew On This!
IMD – Inspiration Motivation Direction
Zanny, Humorous and Profound Ideas
from the One and Only Douglas Hook
18 August 2020
Coming Home – from John Kehoe “A Vision of Power and Glory”
Coming home means deciding that now is the time where there is no retreat or illusion. It means looking at yourself, your life, your place in the universe with neither hope nor despair. Seeing everything just as it is. Seeing yourself just as you are. Stopping for a moment and just letting go, and this takes courage.
Seeing ourselves as we really are is not easy, nor is it always pleasant. We have spent most of our lives trying to be something different from what we are. To have more money, to be more successful, better looking, smarter, more in shape. Yet in doing this we have fled from ourselves, never taken a stand, never claimed our little piece of the universe, however humble. We have taken no time or opportunity to get to know ourselves and discover our beauty. We have been too frightened of what we might find.
Looking closely at ourselves, stopping time and illusion to find out who we are, takes immense courage. For, in examining ourselves closely, we might find that we are not as successful or beautiful or smart or loving as we thought or hoped. And this is a shock. Looking closely we might find that instead of having it all together we are really quite vulnerable and confused and alone and unsure. But this is good to see and know about ourselves. Why run away from it? It’s real. If we’re absolutely honest with ourselves, we’ll admit we’ve suspected as much. And that’s good too. For this is when we can see ourselves rather than when we are puffed up all full of ourselves or trying desperately to become something else. Let go of it all. Come home and relax. Pull up a chair and get reacquainted with the you that exists right now. The one you’ve been avoiding and trying to change. Let go of all that nonsense. It’s neurotic and self-defeating. Maybe being who you are is not as bad as you suspected. Maybe and maybe not. How will you know until you take the time to find out? It’s a risk, but the alternative is to be constantly running away from yourself. And that’s too tiring. Besides you’ve been doing that your whole life.
Coming home to ourselves is a wonderful thing. It’s a big step. A courageous step. When we get to know and accept ourselves, without illusion, a huge weight is taken off our back. Then we can learn to truly relax and enjoy ourselves. It’s while we try desperately to be different from what we are that we get stuck.
With taking a stand comes freedom. A new awareness and appreciation of ourselves develops. We become more tolerant of ourselves and even get to like ourselves, faults and all. We become more tolerant of others too. Others suddenly do not have to match our expectations, share our views, be or live the way we think they should. Now there is more space for diversity, contradictions, differences. In relaxing all expectations of others, we can fully appreciate their differences and uniqueness.
Not needing to be anything but what we are, and others not needing to be anything but what they are, it all becomes so open and easy. Suddenly our old way of judging ourselves and others seems so ludicrous. Things are what they are. As we let go and allow life to just happen, instead of trying to orchestrate it, something wonderful happens. We appreciate everything just for what it is.
Living this way means not only coming home to yourself but coming home to life as well. Just as we’ve fled from ourselves, we’ve fled from life too. We’ve tried to make believe it’s something that it’s not. We’ve tried to make it into some utopia where our every wish and dream should be fulfilled. We have this image of what we think life should be and when it doesn’t match our expectations, we get depressed, discouraged, disheartened. We are living an illusion. We want life to be what we think it should be or could be or will be. We’re afraid to look at it directly. We’re afraid of what we might find. Remember when you were small and growing up and you imagined what it would be like when you were an adult? Well, you’re all grown up and this is it!
Life is happy. Life is sad. Life is joy. Life is grief. Life is health. Life is sickness. Life is success. Life is failure. Life is excitement. Life is boredom. Life is achieving our goals. Life is failing at our goals. Life is having friends. Life is being lonely. Life is being confused. Life is being sure.
And it’s a wonderful thing, this diversity. Life is what it is, and if you stop and look beyond your illusion of what you think it should be, and really examine it closely, you will find that within this diversity lies tremendous beauty and goodness.
We have a life. We have an existence. We have a body and a mind. This is precious. We have free will to choose our thoughts and actions. This is wonderful. We are on a journey. It’s exciting and terrifying. Our journey consists of constant ups and downs, hopes and fears, but it is a good journey. That the world is good is not just an arbitrary idea. The world is indeed good because we can experience its goodness. Friendship, a brilliant blue sky, making love, children playing, snowflakes, a sunset, acts of kindness, a good joke, the beach, trees, a hot summer day, a good movie, sleeping in Saturday morning, listening to good music, eating delicious food, helping someone out, sitting in front of the fire on a stormy night. One could go on and on and still be just scratching the surface of the goodness one can experience in any given day of life.
Coming home to life means that we wake ourselves up and give ourselves a good shake and recognize that goodness doesn’t happen to us only now and then. It happens quite regularly, almost constantly if you really look at it. We should feel that it is wonderful to be in this world. How wonderful it is to see yellow and blue, red and black, purple and green. All of these colours are provided for us. We feel hot and cold. We taste sweet and sour. We have these sensations and we deserve them. They are good.
We experience the changing of seasons. We experience night and day. The sun and moon. All this is good and nurturing. But life isn’t always good. It isn’t always pleasant and enjoyable. No, sometimes it can be downright miserable and unfair, but then that’s life too.
Come on home. Let go of any bitterness, disappointment, anxiety or frustration, and let the sun warm your bones.
Maybe there’s no caviar, but there’s always a hot bowl of soup, and it will nourish you. If it’s cold put a sweater on. If it’s dark turn some light on. If you’re lonely call a friend. If you’re sick take some medicine.
Maybe you don’t look like a movie star, but you’re not Frankenstein either. Maybe you don’t have as much luck or money or love or health as the next person, but there’ still plenty of goodness in the world to fill you up if you allow it. Let go of all illusions and come home. Life is forever happening. It is spilling out abundantly all around you, every minute of every day. Come home and enjoy it.
14 August 2020 – Communication
Communication in today’s world is an immensely, widely-used, easily accessible activity. It can engulf the enthusiast, use up huge amounts of time (and data) and become of such importance that it seems vital to inform the world of everything – including one’s latest bowel movement. This is written by one who has made very little use of the digital communication system available. It can be overused and underused.
I’ve begun to communicate using digital avenues and what a joy to make contact with old friends after a mere 50 years! Friends such as Neil (in the USA), Gary (in SA) and, no doubt, there will be contact with others. Of course, that is not to say I have lost contact with my family – particularly my brother Bruce in the States, whom I visit regularly.
So, from the perspective of an under-user, I would say that no matter how trivial your posting may seem to others, it is still as real as ever to you. And that’s who counts.
13 August 2020 – Endurance
It seems quite a strange way to start a new blog, but I want to talk about ill health and the observations one comes to while experiencing it. There’s a lot of it around you know! Fortunately, it hasn’t been too serious for me – ill health has never been a problem in my life – but recent experiences have had a definite effect on my general outlook on life. In very simple terms, it has made me realize that life is divided into two, the satisfactory and the unsatisfactory, and one can characterize life under one of those headings.
The key is the acceptance that circumstances might not be exactly the way one wants them to be. This should not be perceived as negative, but as a condition which can change. So, life is a combination of the two states. My admiration of people who have successfully adopted strategies for coping with changes in health has grown immensely. These people do not see themselves as victims, but as warriors who fight through the unsatisfactory, and find within themselves, a pleasantness and an optimism. Their problems don’t flatten them. They rise above them to find and appreciate, while enduring the unsatisfactory, what is satisfactory.
More will be revealed …
“A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude, that if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision.“ Edward Gibbon
Spring time …
“A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.”