Simple, Not Easy?

Simple, Not Easy?
Ernest Holmes taught us that changing our thinking changes our life. Not might. Not could. It does. Why? Because everything we experience begins with a thought. You are reading this blog because you made a consciousness, non-verbal decision to click on a link. Or perhaps you made a choice recently or sometime in the past to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Either way, you’re not here by accident or some divine providence. You made a decision.
Deciding to change our thinking about anything is the first step to acceptance or at the very least tolerance. It seems very simple. And you know what? It is! Then why don’t more people do it? Why don’t the entire seven billion plus people on our planet simply make the choice to follow their dreams, dance like nobody’s watching and be their authentic selves?
Judgment. We judge ourselves. We judge each other. We fret and sweat about how other people have, do or might judge us. The universal principle of cause and effect is not complicated, but all the anxiety we put ourselves through would certainly make people think so. We, not God or someone else, make it hard. We take something that is simple and create a situation that is not easy.
I just watched Brandon Blinn’s award-winning film, “Thirteen or so Minutes…” It’s about two men who find themselves attracted to each other. I mean really attracted to each other. Nothing remarkable about that today and certainly not in my world, but there’s a slight twist. They’ve both been heterosexual their entire lives. It’s a short, poignant look at how we pigeon-hole ourselves into strict labeling of every part of our lives, including our ability to form intimate relationships.
I strongly believe straight men in our society are sometimes so horrified that they might be perceived as being gay that they often stop themselves of expressing even the slightest bit of emotion or caring for another man. That’s a pretty blanket statement, I realize, and I know plenty of straight men who are confident enough in their masculinity and sexual orientation to know that hugging, holding or kissing another man doesn’t make you gay. At one time I had absolutely NO straight male friends. Now I count many with whom I share my life and you might well be one of them. But as a rule in our country I stand by my statement. Study after study of gay bashing perpetrators has come to prove that the majority of them are repressing their own sexuality. There is obviously a problem that goes unaddressed daily.
I’m using the film and this issue to show just how easily we deny ourselves the very things we desire because it doesn’t fit our pictures. We want to go on a trip, but refuse to let a friend pay our way because we would feel pathetic. We ask for the perfect job, but turn it down because we’d have to move. We want to lose weight and even belong to a gym, but do nothing about it because it’s too far to drive, too hot and humid today, or too much trouble since we’re fat anyway…where DID all those lemon Oreos go to?
I just got home from the grocery store and spent five minutes communing with the most beautiful black butterfly with blue spots. I didn’t even know we had those in our part of the country. S/He apparently needed a rest on the fountain outside our front door and was quite content to have me watch the action of folding and unfold its wings. Beautiful. If I have exactly four more days to finish a very long “To Do” list before I leave on a ten-day trip to the Center for Spiritual Living Asilomar Conference just south of Monterey, California, in addition to managing the house this Friday for Voice United 8, the choral concert that kicks off Central PA Pride this weekend. If I’d thought about my chores and errands I would have never experienced the joy of just marveling at beauty. An added benefit was that afterwards I was so much more relaxed.
Go offline. Read your email just once or twice a day. Start enjoying life now, because “now” is all we really have. Today open up to experience life without expectation and without judgment. It really is that simple. Stop making it so hard.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Whose Hero Are You?

Bonnie Tyler’s song, “I Need a Hero,” was made popular as part of the soundtrack for the original “Footloose” movie. It also was blaring in every bar and disco I frequented at a time in my life that I was awake more at night than in the daytime. Or, if you’re younger than me you might remember the wicked stepmother singing an altered version of it in “Shrek II.” Here’s the first part of the original song:
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the Gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
Many of us have grown up believing in a God or power of some kind (even if it was a guardian angel or fairy godmother) that can swoop down and make everything better. That entity would give us exactly what we wanted and perhaps, just for added measure, even make a few people who had stood in our way pay for getting in our way.
Ah – sigh – the ignorant bliss of thinking that someone else is in charge of our lives! We make our ministers, our politicians, our entertainers and our sports celebrities into our heroes. These are usually people whom we think have gone beyond where we are in spirituality, celebrity, wealth, happiness or have a smokin’ bod. We put these people up on pedestals, often not as a goal to attain or exceed, but as a status unattainable to us. For the smokin’ bod types we also forget their jobs are to be in the gym six hours a day, seven days a week, along with a personal trainer and chef to be able to maintain cut arms and chiseled abs. Minor detail.
There are no white knights swooping into to slay our dragons and rescue us like we are some helpless damsel in distress. Speaking on behalf of myself – and a few other gay men I know – I have been both white knight (on far too many occasions) and damsel in distress (a pathetic state of being if you ask me). Neither is terribly gratifying. Oh sure, it’s a tremendous ego boost to solve someone else’s problems, make things all better and kiss their boo-boos, until you realize you’ve created a co-dependent slug who expects you to do everything for them.
The damsel in distress role isn’t what it’s cracked up to be either. Who wants to be dependent on another person for everything? If we give someone the power to make us happy we also give them the power to make us sad. Even Disney has finally figured out that the princess is no longer helpless, though for the most part the female lead eventually hooks up with a male counterpart. That’s partly because of the antiquated idea in our society that you have to be in a relationship to be happy, but I’ll deal with that next week.
You don’t need a hero in your life, at least in the sense of someone who will take away your problems. Mentors? Sure. How about a trained practitioner to treat with you about your issues and goals through the unique and wonderful process of spiritual mind treatment? Absolutely if you want results! But a hero? Nah. You’re so way beyond that. However, if you really still feel you need one, try your bathroom mirror. Awesome!
You are completely, 100 percent capable of making your own decisions and charting your own course. You are a unique, magnificent creature. We are waiting in breathless anticipated and baited breath to find out what completely fabulous thing you are going to do next. We know you won’t disappoint. In fact, you are going to completely knock our socks off!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry