Archive for November, 2010

Thanks for giving

November 24, 2010

Okay, so now that we’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot… and then put a farmers market on top of that (and called it macaroni), where are we, really, this Thanksgiving?  Was this land really made for you and me?  And if so, why?

Sure the ghosts of Native Americans haunt and hover around our feast-laden tables and around the strip malls and tract homes that may have once been sacred lands, but where do we go from here if we are to live free of fear, guilt, shame and desire?  What might we learn from the spirits that surround us and inform our country’s karma, spirits which may well be our country’s karma?

In the context of impermanence, who can really be said to “own” a land?  Druids, Saxons, Gauls, Brits, Germans, Yanks, Indians, Native Peoples?  And what about when the icy fingers of glaciers tighten their grip once again upon a land truly owned by no human being?  We may, for all we know, ourselves be the spiritual descendents of vanished beings who have returned to inhabit confused western bodies and minds, to inherit the wind of this place and time.  Perhaps this might help account for our country’s general state of stuckness and malaise.

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Homeward Unbound

November 17, 2010

I had a lot of fear about a recent trip to the city of big shoulders—my childhood home, a place where my father lay languishing in an assisted living facility, a place where my mom wanted me to return, to return to the basement of films made and left, of photos taken and forgotten in drawers, of heavy yearbooks waiting for their rightful owner who was on the lam from his karma.

As if.

Walking below a harvest moon I admitted to Andy that it wasn’t money or lack of compassion that had blocked my visit—it was fear.  The shrink who deals with everyone else’s feelings, I realized, was terrified to go home—home to ground zero of depression, denial, narcissism, false faces and family secrets; the place of long-festering fraternal hurts and resentments, wounds needing to heal with no map and no sutures at hand.

*

Hanging with my brother is like stepping into The Cooking Channel… Having traversed the endless subterranean tunnel at O’Hare International I emerged into the waiting car, my nephew DJing from the back-seat, listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and then suddenly I’m eating baby tomatoes in truffle oil.

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Where Were You in 1908?

November 10, 2010

I was recently at a fundraiser for The Wright Institute, a beloved Los Angeles institution… a place that gave me psychological shelter in the storm of my late twenties (in the form of sliding-fee high quality psychotherapy), a place that later helped train me as a psychology intern, a place started by a woman who recently turned 101 and is still practicing as a psychologist and teacher:  Hedda Bolgar.

After being lauded and honored in a lovely garden surrounded by multi-generations of spiritual children—therapists, teachers, supervisors, former interns, beginning interns, friends and admirers, Hedda addressed the group.  She said that she wanted to talk a bit about being 101, suggesting that while people fear getting old, but she highly recommends it.  “I’m selling it,” she quipped.

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“Jackass” 3-D: Mirror of our World

November 3, 2010

I had an interesting weekend recently, one that took me from yoga to Jackass 3-D to The Merry Wives of Windsor.

And while I did my best to “take the yoga” with me to Jackass, I must admit that it is Jackass that I am most inclined to think and write about (perhaps the best of the Jackass oeuvre, while Merry Wives is widely acknowledged to be one of the weakest efforts on the part of the Bard)—as Jackass turns out to be an absurdist work of non-sense that could have come right out of Weimar Germany or 20’s Paris.

It’s not that the Merry Wives was not delightful, as it was performed by The Globe Theater’s troupe and is a work dealing with middle-class Elizabethan manners, a nice counterpoint to the rectal temperature reckoning to which Jackass subjects the American Zeitgeist.  If Queen Elizabeth was a woman who apparently could not get enough of that philandering jackass, Falstaff, the movie Jackass has everything to give the Queen’s English the bum’s rush.

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