The New Independence


Lonsdale Quay 153

A teenage boy sits in the middle of the wilderness.  A shiny clean Ford pick-up and a man (presumably the father?) are in the backdrop.  A computer is perched on the teen’s lap and he is skyping his mom.

She gushes “You made it!” to her smiling son.

The punch line to this Ford commercial is ‘Welcome to the New Independence!”

If that is what independence now looks like,  I firmly believe someone forgot to cut the umbilical cord.

I did something last week I’ve not done is a long time.  On Sunday I slept in.  And I didn’t go anywhere or talk to anyone.  I did some writing, cleaned my house, washed some clothes then curled up and watched a bit of television.

I can’t remember the last time I decided to just cocoon myself within the walls of my home.  Perhaps what was stranger yet is that I found this rather remarkable in some strange sense.

Just how plugged in have we become?

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And so I pondered this commercial and so many more that cater to a populace that seems to thrive on the next technological ‘wonder’ with a fervor or perhaps a fever?

Send a text or an email to a friend, family member or loved one and if the response isn’t reasonably quick, worry sets in.  Something is wrong!  The phone call is made and voicemail comes on.  A sense of panic washes over you.

Then you stop to think if you’ve perhaps offended in some way?

You feel a little foolish when it is discovered that they were in the shower or in a meeting….or, I don’t know, living?

And they were doing so without you.   Strange.

I stopped to get my coffee fix at Starbuck’s this morning as I always do on my way to work.  A beautiful day was dawning.  The rising sun was kissing the clouds causing them to blush a deep pink.  The sky was a sleepy blue and a mist hugged the trees.

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I slipped back into the car and began my trek to the office as Willy and the gang discussed on the radio that distracted drivers (i.e. those using their phones to text and  talk) were now responsible for more vehicle accidents causing serious injury and death than drunk drivers.

This caught my attention and began to really observe those on the road with me this morning.  It didn’t take long before I noted driver’s with their heads looking down toward their lap or looking downward at the passenger seat even though no one was in the car with them.

Some openly held the phone in front them as they spoke into it.

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Hey I’m no saint.  I’ve used my phone a time or two while driving, though rarely.  I’ve never tried to text.  Still, this really raised a certain awareness for me.   I am now committed to never using the phone while driving.

I love to drive.  I love to crank up the radio and sing to a favorite song.  I always enjoy the changing vista that surrounds me and often I am stimulated in the creative sense.  Man, there is nothing worse then having a line or two for a story that you’ve been working on suddenly rise to the surface and you just happen to be doing 100 KM on the highway!

But here we are now evermore enslaved by these technological tools that have invaded our lives.  I am no longer working in the downtown core, however, when I was it was increasingly apparent this absorption with the iPhone, Smart phone, Android…whatever it is we are calling this thing.

I’ve posted about this.  Of how I’ve had people walk into me and barely glance up.  Heads bent with that familiar little screen glowing up at them.

My daughter mentioned at dinner tonight that this was likely becoming an addiction of sorts and it was probable that some form of neurosis would result.  Sadly, I do believe she’s right.

She was also correct in stating that collectively we’ve never been lonelier.  I love conversing and sharing ideas.  I confessed, and rightly so, that often I have very strong opinions and its a well known fact that I’ve had my foot in my mouth more times than I can remember.  That is who I am.  I do learn from conversations and debates though.  A point of view will be expressed giving me pause and open up an entire new path of thought for me.

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Still, even when the tongue is running with blinders firmly in place…it is still just my expression of thought.  There is no malice or ill intent.  Just me thinking I know everything.

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I’m silly, garish, brash and at times amusing, even humorous.  I’m also intelligent, thoughtful, intense and care very deeply about this world I inhabit.

The idea of conveying all your thoughts, of who you are through, texts and tweets, well, my daughter pointed out that all of this could be edited, until the sender was satisfied it represented who they thought they were.

But was it accurate?

In a conversation you can say things in the heat of the moment.  Emotions can run high at times.  At the end of it however, Are you giving an impression of who you really are perhaps?

And as I write this, there is some conflict, because writing is such strong expression for me.

There is a difference though.  I’ve a very deep love of these things we call words.

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And while I have a Twitter account, I’ve found having only 140 characters impossible to work with.  I’m still far too long winded.  But again, I digress.

What is happening to us?

In 1997 I purchased my first computer.  I can recall being on a ‘chat room’ talking with people who were in Australia.  This fascinated me.  And what do you suppose I asked them?

Oh, it was hopelessly mundane.  “What’s the weather doing?”  “Do your toilets really flush counter clock wise?”

Why I needed verification of this type I cannot say. I was a different woman back in 1997.  I was emerging rather awkwardly into this life.  And while I’ve made leaps and bounds in the social department, I can still be totally inappropriate in what is uttered from these lips of mine.

Still I am searching for the human experience. I want to drown in it.  Want to find its honesty, its wealth, its truth…my truth.

I want to find a certain peace.

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I don’t know.

Somehow skyping someone from a desert or a forest or from wherever to let them know they are where they are holds little appeal.

The new independence.  From what?

Definitively I am very independent. I’ve had to be.  The life plan dished out dictated as such.  And what is independence?

It is in my mind it is someone who is ‘stand alone and self-sufficient’.   They don’t need anyone.

There are times when I wish I could ask for help, when I could admit I’m only human, when I could express comfortably my vulnerabilities.

That requires a great deal of trust and I’m still working feverishly on letting myself do this naturally.

I hope Carol reads this post.

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She was a pen pal of mine some 40 plus years ago.  It used to take some three weeks to a month to mail a letter over seas.  Carol lived in England and I, of course, in Vancouver, BC Canada.

We wrote for a few years. Pen pals were the thing back in the day.

And while I was writing Carol, my life was falling apart…rapidly.  I don’t know what I told her.  I don’t know if she knew.  But close to 40 years later I received a message on Facebook.

At the time I wasn’t very good at checking messages.  Carol had sent me a message asking me if I was the person she’d written in her youth.

It blew me away.  This was my pen pal after all these years.  And I hope to meet her one of these days.

We shared an energy, a time, a confidence.  Both young girls with a life ahead of us.  And we made choices.

Yet I must thank technology for allowing me to connect to her again.

No, I’ll not slam this ‘new independence’ of ours.  Perhaps we should use it with caution and appreciation though.

The frailty of youth is that they think they know how to resolve the sins of the past.

In time they’ll come to know it’s just human behavior.

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A bronzed moosehead gazes out above a fake fireplace tonight down at Begbie’s.  A barrel of peanuts sits at the door for those barbarians who will swill the shells upon the floor after consumption.

The Eagles serenade me over the sound system as I wrap this up.  I’ve watched an array of personalities come and go in the last two hours.

The girls that work here know me.  I pop down from time to time on a consistent basis to write.  It’s what I do.

And as this night closes all I can think is just how grateful I am to be here.  How much I love all of those that share my life, how much I love the energy beings that encourage and drive me each day.

Blessings and peace to you all.  And always offer a smile and greeting. It’s just good form.

Namaste.

 

 

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Who am I and why am I here?


Ah yes, that age-old question that we all seek to answer during the course of our lifetime.  This morning I was considering some of my annoying habits.  There are a few that just seem to have ingrained themselves into my being.  The first correlates directly with the above statement.

I have this incessant need to explain everything.  This manic requirement to justify why I feel a certain way, why I said a certain thing, why words that are totally inappropriate slip from my lips, why I laugh when I think I should cry.

And yes, I ask myself who I am and what my purpose is from time to time, though I really try to steer clear of it.  It feels like a question on a test, doesn’t it?  Should there be multiple choices for the answer?  No, this one is an essay answer.  And I guess there really is no definitive response now is there?

I change and shift all the time according to the world around me and what influences my line of thought.  Am I the same person I was a week ago?  Actually, I am.

What I am finding is that at the core of my being I have always been the same.  What has changed and continues to do so is how I respond to the world around me.  We are at an early age molded into the expectations of our society at that time.  When I went to school young girls were not expected to do exceptionally well.  As long as you received a passing grade this was more than acceptable.  I was being groomed to be a good girl and find a man. I was to get married, manage a household and look good all the while.

Being the rebel that I am, I failed miserably and did not live up to these expectations at all.  Indeed, I slept around, never married, had a child out-of-wedlock and gained a horrendous amount of weight and looked just awful and felt worse.  It took me some twenty years or more to figure out how to operate a household budget to boot.

I didn’t set out to be a non-conformist…I just happened to be a run-a-way train that was continually derailing it seemed.

And society continues to make its demands on what it expects from those that want to move through it successfully.  And I have to wonder who makes this shit up?

I am, by nature, very simple.  At birth, I was a point of light, a being enraptured by the beauty and expanse of this endless universe.  Curious and playful with a deep love of all that surrounds me.  And that is me in a nutshell really.

That sense of self was buried for a long time in anger and fear.  Perhaps that’s part of the experience in the human equation. I think about trends.  We are told how to look, what to eat in order to look like that, how to dress.  Books line the stores telling us how to have it all.  Books on the ‘Laws of Attraction’ have become huge.  Follow these simple examples and you too, will have all the riches you’ve ever dreamed of!  I often wonder why they always push the material wealth as a selling point.

Ever wonder why we aren’t all mulch-millionaires by now?

Like many of you I read some of these books.  I did so more out of curiosity than anything else.  I am not a particularly material person to begin with so extreme wealth really has no personal interest to me.  What I found with these books was that they often parroted each other.

It sounds simple enough.  What you put out to the universe will be returned.  Not an easy thing to do though.  Once you start to look at the strings of energy that bind all of us, of the how they vibrate and how they affect each of us not just individually but collectively as well, then the complexities of the theory increase exponentially.  And are you seeking your signature in all this or chasing an idea that has been fed to you?  Hence the question, ‘Who am I?’

Perhaps that’s the key to all of this but I do know it’s not that simple.  I have listened to tapes that encourage repeated use so that you’ll have the messages hardwired.  Several years ago there was a program called ‘In Pursuit of Happiness or Perfection’….not sure which.  A woman I worked with paid $500 to attend this program.

She changed radically, after that week-long program and not in a good way.  One of the things the program encouraged was to surround herself with the people she wanted to be like.  It became very apparent that I was not one of those people.  Conversations that had once been enjoyable began to have a more obligatory feel on her end until I just didn’t bother engaging in the relationship at all.

I don’t know what happened with her.  I know she divorced and from there I can’t say.

I guess I looked at it this way.  I have to like who I am first and foremost and that’s what I have worked on.  As for why I am here?  Why for the journey, of course.  To watch the magic of each day unfold and be a part of it.

As for my annoying habits…and there are a few, I am working on them.

Enjoy your day and thanks again for stopping by.

Peace.

 

 

Resolution…


We are by nature, creatures of habit.  We are living in a time when change is occurring daily and just as we comprehend the new ways of the world that are being dictated to us, they shift and morph into another animal all together.

While I use computers, for me it really is just a tool.  It it is frightening how fast we have become a slave to this technology though.  On certain fronts, yes, it is fabulous.  On other levels, however, I wonder what it’s doing to us as a collective being.

I have been watching a number of documentaries as of late.  One was documenting the use of the new must have, the iPhone and / or Smart Phones.  The waste being produced by outdated technology…well, I don’t need to tell you how alarmingly high the rate is.  So if you think global warming is going to get us first…think again.  Could well be the plastic pollutants and their chemically based counterparts that create our demise.  On the show they were opening up dead fish and birds that had been found and they were full of plastic debris.

Cell phones alone produce a dizzying amount of waste.

The debris now beginning to wash up on the shores of British Columbia, which is my home province, from Japan’s earthquake a few years ago and the tsunami that it produced is devastating to see.  And it will apparently continue on for years to come.  The long terms effects?  Unknown.

The other concern is social behaviour as a result of this technology.  Go into any coffee shop and you’ll find the familiar glow of a laptop on several faces.  I see tables of young people not talking to each other but texting on their phones.

Indeed, when I come across someone simply reading a book it is a relief of sorts.

Yet the age of electronic and computerized technology continues to devour us.

And here I am still trying to get it together emotionally.  They say there is an APP for everything.  Not one for healing emotional traumas.  I wonder if somewhere someone is actually working on such a thing?  I am sitting here envisioning myself going in for a session with a robotic psychologist.  And you can pick if you want a female of male inclined robot.

Here is a brief re-enactment of what I am imagining at this moment.

I enter a barren room.  A white leather sofa sits in the middle of the room.  Two armchairs of a rich red material sit facing each other on either end of the sofa.  Mr. Loco my robotic doctor sits on a slightly elevated platform directly before the seating in a white metal chair.  For him (and I use this term only because he has been fashioned as a male) comfort is not an issue.  The walls are white and the floor polished concrete.  There is a carpet in the sitting area. 

“Hello Nancy, please have a seat.  Would you like some water or would you prefer tea?”

Hello Dr. Loco.  A glass of water will do fine.  Thank you.”

A door opens from his abdominal area and an arm protrudes moving first to the water cooler then toward me with the cup of water in hand.  I press the release button on the side and take it from the arm.  The arm withdraws back into its cavity.

I have a weird obsession with this arm thing.  It can move to any place in the room within a 20 foot radius.  I wonder if Dr. Loco ever malfunctioned what kind of damage that arm of his could do.  I slap myself mentally.  “Stop this!”

“Tell me how you have been since our last session?” He inquires.

“Hmmm.  Hard to say.  I’ve been okay I suppose. I find all this a little strange.  I know I signed up to be a test subject but lately I have been having some second thoughts about all this.”

“There is no such thing as a second thought Nancy.  All thoughts are created equal.”

“Easy for you to say.”

He does not respond. 

“Are you ready to get started then?”

Begrudgingly I agree.  From the back of his head another appendage emerges.  It is shaped like a small disc and is attached to a delicate metal cable and it rounds over his head then moves over to mine and hovers above.  A few electrodes move out from the disc and attach themselves to strategic points on my head to measure my cognitive functions. 

“Are you comfortable?”

“No but let’s get on with this.  As I have expressed before, sitting here with this contraption on my head will never feel comfortable.”

“Very well.  I am programmed to ask this though.”

“I know you are.  Please proceed.”

Dr. Loco makes a few buzzing sounds as he assessed his memory bank.

“We will work on early childhood trauma today.  We have been reviewing the results and I believe you are ready to access these memories.”

I grimaced then nodded.

“Nancy, I will require an audible reply.” he reminds me.

“Yes, okay.” I mutter. 

I felt the odd sensation as the electrodes were activated to record whatever the hell was going on in my grey matter.  An image flashed before me then another.  Memories better left forgotten began to emerge.  I am a child.  Crying, pain, hurting, frightened, hiding, wanting, desperate.

“Stop now!” I tell Dr. Loco.

He waits for a moment til everything stills then asks, “Tell me how those memories made you feel?” 

I felt a rush of resentment at the tin can sitting in front of me.  Then again, when I had done this same thing with a flesh and blood doctor years before, I had felt the same resentment.  He waited silently.  They always do.

How do I feel?  I looked at this automated creature that doesn’t feel and has no idea what it is I am telling him.  He simply collects the data and somewhere, unseen people program him to ‘fix’ me.  It is a pilot project designed to clear the neuropathway’s of all the repercussions of trauma that can occur to the human race.  It sounded intriguing at first.   Now, I’m not so sure.

“Raw.” I begin, “I wanted so much to please my father, thought that the reason I wasn’t was because I wasn’t worth it.  But I tried…at least in the beginning, in my early years.  Wasn’t quite so jaded then.  I believed in God.  Thought he could fix things.  I prayed every night for the fighting to stop.  Always things would quiet for a bit, then the tension at home would start to build again.  I remember asking my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Potter, if God answered everyone’s prayers.  She smile sweetly and told me that he only answered those that were worthy.  That confirmed it.  I wasn’t worth shit.  I’ve spent a lifetime denying myself of what should be given naturally.”

Pausing I looked back at this and just felt so empty and alone.  I was never prepared to go out into this world and yet, somehow I turned it around.  Somehow I managed to get to this point in my life. 

“And how do you feel about yourself now?” he inquired.

Foolish.  What had I hoped to get out of this experiment?  Did I really think being examined by a machine would help me finally lay all of this to rest? 

“Just ducky.” I replied.

For a moment I heard the buzzing as he tried to comprehend my repsonse. 

“Could you rephrase your answer?”

“No, I can’t.”

“So what you are telling me is that you feel like a duck?”

I smiled at this.  “Yes.  I feel like a duck.”

“Why do you think you feel this way?”

“Because ducks are goofy but everybody loves them.”

“So you feel good then?” he responds.

“As good as I would were I a duck I suppose.”

Dr. Loco processes this for a moment.  “We can explore this revelation at another time.”

I don’t respond because he misses some of the little oddities we have in our speech.  If I come back he will surely have been programmed to understand these little euphemisms.   In all fairness, he does catch quite a few. 

“I think I’ll leave now.” I tell him.

“We haven’t finished our session though.”

“I need some time to process what I am feeling.”

“The purpose of this programme is to record what you’re feeling, Nancy.  By leaving now, we will have to access…”

“No, you won’t have to access anything.  I will certainly recall how I feel and these memories have surfaced….they won’t disappear again.”

“Still it would be of benefit…”

Again I cut him off.  “The benefit would be for the program…not necessarily me.”

I am feeling agitated.  “Can we end this please?” 

The disc and electrodes are still attached.  A second stretches into two.  He makes all of this little buzzing noises then I feel the machine as it withdraws and watch as it recedes into the back of Dr. Loco’s head. 

Standing, a thought occurs.  “Has anyone ever cursed at you?  Sworn.  Used profanity?”

I don’t know why this is of any importance. Just a random thought. 

“Of course.” he replies.

That was it.  “Good bye.” I respond as I turn toward the door.

“Good day, Nancy.  I will see you next week then.”

I don’t answer.

I’m not too sure where this little drama came from but such are my imaginings. I wonder if such things are being explored in the technological field. We are a strange animal, that much is certain. I hope we never lose our individuality.  I hope we never lose our wonder.

And for me I will continue on this path to where I am content to just be.  So much more to learn, so much more to feel.  But I’ll get there.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. Namaste.