Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When Did It Change?

I was listening to an episode of Secret Princes today - it's another "reality show" about 4 real life princes who came to America to find the women of their dreams.  In one segment of the show, Sal - the prince from India, was on a date with a young divorcee.  As they were getting to know each other, the woman remarked on Sal's seemingly uptight nature when it came to public affection.  The repartee that followed really made me think about how much things have changed over the past 50 years or so when it comes to things like that.  Sal went on to tell his date that in his culture, public affection simply doesn't happen.  Couples evidently do not kiss or embrace in public in India. Divorce evidently doesn't happen either - he was pretty firm in his opinion that if and when a divorce would occur, the woman would most likely be ostracized and spend the rest of her days alone.  Needless to say, Sal's date with the divorcee wasn't going to go anywhere.

I can't exactly say I was shocked to hear what Sal had to say about relationships and marriage in India.  I've had the opportunity to get to know several people from there, and everything the prince says has borne out in conversations I've had with people I've talked to.  Truth be told - kinda reminds me of the late 50's and early 60's here in the states - you know, before the era of free love, sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. Even though I was just a young'un back then, I can still remember hushed whispers about the one single mom in our neighborhood, and even in the case of my own family, since both of my parents had been divorced prior to their marriage, I knew we were somehow "different."

Being raised through this period of cultural and societal tumult was tough.  I remember outward appearances being very important - and looking back on it, I think I was raised in an inappropriately prim and proper environment (there's a back story there for another day). My parents were definitely not affectionate towards each other, but then, none of my friends' parents were either.  I don't remember seeing much affection displayed anywhere except by "those hippie freaks" who seemed to be all over each other (of course such behavior was due to all of the drugs they were on - at least that's what the nuns and priests and our parents told us.) Sex was a very hush-hush subject, but then again, I think that depended on many factors. 

I don't know exactly when things changed, but they sure did change. I remember going to see my first R-rated movie, Ryan's Daughter, in 1970 (which was rated R, by the way, partly because it showed a brief glimpse of a bare female breast), and I'll admit I giggled even though the subject matter of the movie was pretty serious. By that point in time though, TV had already hopped on the "risque sells" bandwagon with shows like Laugh-In, Dean Martin's Golddiggers, and the soap opera world of Peyton Place. Of course, that wasn't real, it was TV! With the advent of women's lib and the birth control pill, it seemed that women's roles changed forever, and while I truly understand the driving force behind the former, and the good aspects of the latter, I think those two events probably played the most important role in our society becoming what it is today. 

Like a pendulum swinging in space, it seemed like the floodgates of freedom opened up and all of a sudden there were "options".  Women divorced because they didn't need a man to support them, they had control over their bodies and their futures in a way that society had never seen before.  A good thing?  In many ways.  A bad thing? I'd rather think of it as a good thing taken to a negative extreme.  Kinda like eating a gourmet meal every single time you ate...after awhile, there's going to be negative effects. The fact is, it opened the door to a much wider range of behavior that became more and more acceptable as it became more and more commonplace.

I don't think I'd be happy in a culture as uptight as Prince Sal described, but I don't think it's a bad thing to be a little discreet, a little proper while out in public (I still believe that it's a respect thing, I guess), and to maybe put the "specialness" back into our displays of affection.  I know there will be people that disagree with me, but I think there is a time and place for everything - and maybe I've seen more than my share of tongues being thrust down throats in public, or couples fondling and groping with no regard for who might be around them... and nudity and trash talk that's not time and place appropriate?  It's become so commonplace, that it's lost its effect.  Yeah, call me that old-fashioned.... I just don't like the thought of people  becoming desensitized to the point where nothing is special anymore - or nothing shocks them anymore! What do you think?  How far is too far?

I do think Sal is going to have some trouble finding his princess with such strict expectations.  Poor guy...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Force of Habit?

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
~Buddha The "Enlightened One"~ 

How many times have you done something simply because it is the thing you've always done?  Perhaps it's something that you've done since you were a child because your parents told you to do it (like brushing your teeth) or something you learned from a teacher or in church (if you make mistakes, you're a failure). Maybe it's a superstition that is ages old ...never walk under those ladders, don't step on cracks, and a broken mirror - well, kiss good luck goodbye for the next 7 years! And of course there are those crazy habits we pick up along the way without ever really knowing where they came from.

I've had many a discussion with family and friends about just such things.  Call me curious, but I guess I'm not the type to just "do"... I want to know why I should do something.  It probably drove my parents crazy - I'll have to ask my mom someday - but it wasn't that I was a disobedient child.  I was a logical child... and I continue to be a logical adult - most days.

I guess that's part of the reason that I get frustrated with society's hesitance to change. Sure, some things can't be changed over night, but does that mean it's not worth looking into at least getting the ball rolling.  If something isn't working, isn't making sense, isn't logical - why on earth do we continue to do it?

I think our government would benefit from some "observation and analysis", as could our education system, and on a more personal level, our day to day life.  

Maybe it's time to get rid of the two party system of government and start electing officials who are not driven by party affiliations, but simply want to do what is best for the good of the country and its citizens.  

Maybe it's time to overhaul an education system that fails to turn out educated, capable, skilled graduates because it's too (pick one) expensive, time consuming, judgmental to teach students at a pace commensurate with their individual abilities. I believe a broad range of studies and exposure to many types of subject matter is important in a young student's life, but beyond junior high, perhaps it is time (and money) better spent teaching them the more in-depth skills and or knowledge base that they need to excel in whatever field of endeavor they choose.

Maybe it's time to start looking at our own personal lives and ask ourselves why we do the things we do, make the choices we make.  I'm going to guess that many of us probably wouldn't like the answers we come up with. If you had a chance to change something that could better your life, or your child's life, or to leave a small positive mark on the world, wouldn't you do it? Or, you can continue to do things out of habit, out of apathy, out of ennui, and life will continue just as it is today... I think I'll do my part to make some small change.  What about you?

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Sundays have always been the perfect day to officially start a new page in my life. Diets, projects, relationships - the ones that I start on a Sunday always seem to work out best.  So, here I am. It's Sunday, and this is my new blog - "Path to Lomaqatsi." (You can read more about the name in my left sidebar if you're curious!)

This blog will be my meager attempt at sharing my thoughts on life...and yes, I have a lot of them.  Most of them are pretty commonsense, perhaps a tad old school by today's standards.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not stodgy and stiff.  I just believe that the world would be a better place if people were mindful.  You'll hear that word a lot in my writings.  Mindful... let's see... that would mean that people thought about what they were going to say or do and how their actions or words might affect others (not to mention themselves) before they actually said or did something.  It implies accountability as well - since I believe that lack of accountability is the 8th deadly sin (or whatever your personal spiritual beliefs would equate that to).

Now that I've mentioned religion (I know, I know - not a topic for discussion if you want to keep things civilized), I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not exactly religious.  That doesn't mean that I'm not spiritual, or that I don't believe in a higher power - it simply means that, in my opinion (and this blog is just that - my opinions), religion is akin to a private club... typically members only and most of the members don't really understand why the club came to be in the first place or when, how, or why the membership guidelines or participation rules came to be.  If you need to be part of a formal religious group, I respect you for that.  I only ask that you respect my need to not be - and also that you respect the rights of others when it comes to their beliefs, opinions, and lifestyles.  When it comes down to it, I believe the choices we make in life should be the result of...yep, you guessed it... mindfulness. A little thought goes a long way in making good choices.

You'll also find I'm very open-minded... in fact, I love hearing new ideas, learning new ways of approaching life, and even playing the devil's advocate.  Be forewarned though - I don't tolerate bad behavior well, so if you can't play nice, please excuse yourself from the game!

Expect a wide variety of topics - life just gives us so many opportunities to explore and learn. I am a bit of a learning addict to be honest, so you'll find my knowledge pretty broad based and my areas of interest very diverse.  If there's something you want to discuss or would like to know my thoughts on, drop me a note and I'll be happy to see what I can come up with... the school of life has provided me with what I consider an amazing wealth of experiences, and I'm always up for more.

Thanks for stopping by - have a blessed day!