Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

C: The Easy Way Out?

uphill battle To say that V and I have been challenged by life lately is an understatement.  She is totally consumed by family illness and other family distractions; I’m having trouble sleeping because of my workload. 

When I come home from work at the end of a long day, my mind really wants brain candy, so I turn to “Top Chef” or any of the mindless offerings of TV (some of which I am embarrassed to admit to watching).  Let me just say that if it is “mindless” you are looking for, TV has a lot to offer.

Lately, however, I have been enjoying Oprah Winfrey’s “Lifeclass” series. Oprah is splicing in some clips from her many shows, having guests and audience participation to explore what lessons we can all learn from these episodes.  Some of them are quite good.  I have actually been congratulating myself that this, at least, has some substance as opposed to some of the mind-numbing things I have been known to watch at the end of a day.

Last weekend as I was doing some bedroom cleaning, I turned this show on.  This episode featured one of the editors of oprah Oprah Magazine, “Beth,” who is also a life coach.  Beth told of an experience she had while “out” during a surgery.  She did not die or nearly die, but she had some of that out-of-body experience you hear so many of the near-death people relate,  She “floated” above the operating room, watching her doctors.  She was bathed in light, which brought utter and complete happiness.  She hated leaving it and came away with the “understanding” that this complete happiness was the way she (and all of us) should feel all the time.  She “understood” that it was our own doing that our happiness in this life was so diminished, and she set her life’s path to exploring why that is and what she could do to avoid that diminishment.

She has decided that “truth” is the key.  She says that any time she shades the truth (even, “I like your hair…” when you don’t) diminishes her happiness in a way that she can feel.

So the rest of the segment was about lies we tell ourselves (even when we don’t know we’re lying to ourselves) and to others and the way that destroys a happy life.

The clear theme:  If you stick to the truth and only the truth, you will live in the bliss for which you were created.  If you are not living in heavenly bliss, it is because of untruth—even that of which you are not conscious.  You must, therefore, discover what secrets you are keeping from yourself so that you can be totally truthful and, therefore, totally happy.  Voila!

Well, it is a hypnotic proposition, and I literally sat on the edge of the bed, thinking about what lies I was living in which were diminishing the ecstasy for which I was truly destined…because, Lord knows, that is diminished at the moment. 

As I fell toward that message, suddenly Elvie began jumping up and down on my shoulder.  Remember Elvie?  I have written about him, here—he’s the “Little Voice,” the one that rides around whispering in your ear, and he’s always right.  My son and I use his initials “L V” to refer to him as “Elvie.” 

And what Elvie was saying was this:  “What about those people in Africa where some guerilla-type soldiers come in and hack people to death in front of their children’s eyes?  What shades of untruth was it that got in the way of their happiness?

And, “Gee, could it be that if only V would get truly honest with herself, then her daughter would be healthier and V could, therefore, be happier?”

And suddenly I saw myself, having been entranced by the allure of the message I was hearing, like this depiction of poor little Mowgli hypnotized by the scheming Kaa (first couple of minutes—although the rest is classic, too!):

Now, let me be clear: I believe we should be truthful.  I totally believe that lies we tell ourselves can hinder our happiness and success. I believe that lying (however small) sometimes can cause havoc in our lives, and we should avoid it.

But, c’mon! 

As I sat there, awakened by Elvie, wondering about my own readiness to fall into this New Age message, I also wondered why?  I believe it is a search for the easy way out.  I would LOVE to find a formula to life’s happiness, where I could be assured that if only I would follow that formula, life’s unpleasant challenges would dissipate.

But I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

No, instead, I think I’ll try to remember that I should not fall for “easy fixes” to cure any discontent or unhappiness I may have.  I simply do not think that someone in a third world country who is watching their child die of starvation because of drought needs to look inside herself to find what lies she is stuffing.  Let’s face it, life just brings difficulty.  Yes, we exacerbate them by our own actions, but sometimes we have nothing to do with the misfortune that comes our way.

And, I think that (I’m speaking of myself, here, as much as anyone else) only too-fat—from-too-much people who have the luxury of time (not to mention a steady supply of potable water) are sitting around seriously wondering if getting honest with oneself is the key to happiness.  That scene is probably not happening very often in, say, Haiti.

thanksgiving So, that’s a nice Thanksgiving message, isn’t it?  Maybe we should accept the challenges that come our way, do our best to overcome them with honesty and truth but also remember that struggles—and, yes, unhappiness—come with life.  There isn’t an easy way around it. 

Let’s concentrate on our blessings this season and derive happiness there.  C

P.S. – And about that “total honesty” thing…I am in/from the South.  If you ask me about your hair, I am probably going to tell you I like it whether I do or not.  Sorry, It’s the Southern way.  Guess I am not destined for heavenly bliss…


Vee said...

*Gulp* So you don't really like my hair? LOL! If you'd seen me lately...

As I was reading this, I was silently begging you to turn that stuff off. It is the biggest pile of kaphooey that ever hit the air waves. It's got just enough half-truths to keep women intrigued. There's only One Way to true joy and even He said that in this world there will be tribulation.

I am sorry that V and her darling daughter are dealing with so much and that you are as well with so much going on at work.

Say, do you read A*licia P*aulsen's blog P*osie G*ets C*ozy? I read it last night and wondered what you might have to say about such a thing they've recently gone through with a failed adoption. So sad. So seriously sad.

And, on that cheery note, I do wish for you and yours and for V and hers a blessed Thanksgiving.

A bird in the hand said...

Well, I'm not going to lie to you -- but people who preach this sort of "kaphooey" as Vee has said, don't live in the real world.

We do the best we can, and that is plenty.

Wishing you and V better times ahead.

Anonymous said...

oh i so agree w/ what you say. hey it would be great if there was a path to eternal bliss and happiness but as someone i know says "life is hard" - it just is. and no i don't think that is all because of untruths we tell ourselves and others or another XX new wave theory. life is hard and perhaps the "best" (what does that word even mean??) we can do as individuals is meet those challenges w/ as much honesty, humility and grace as we can.

and yes even as a northern i would most likely tell a person their hair looks good.

it is a perfect thanksgiving message if you ask me.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

For a few years I really got caught up watching Oprah in the afternoons when I got home from work. Most times I enjoyed it, but then there would be a show that would bother me--Sometimes what at first seemed wise, rang hollow after a while. Maybe it's because the "World"s wisdom" is really a counterfeit.

The Jungle Book clip was so perfect! When you hear self, self, self--and how personal happiness is the ultimate we should strive for--it's just not true.

Cowgirl V

Suzanne said...

Amen to everything you've said. I gave up on Oprah many years ago. Don't get me going! HA.

I come from generations of southerners on both sides, but had the misfortune to be born and raised in the north. But I'm a southerner at heart (and soul). If I see an ugly baby I'll say, "Oh, isn't she SWEET".

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Sorry, I'm laughing so hard because in my mind I can hear my long-departed aunt saying this in her beautiful southern drawl.

ain't for city gals said...

I do believe living in the Now. However, Oprah started believing she was Jesus and that started her decline...imho....

kath001 said...

I work with someone who is the most honest person I know...brutally so...no filters whatsoever. I can no longer enjoy singing in the car without feeling the sting of one of her comments. It was an offhand remark she made, but it cut me deeply.

I do not want to be that honest, thank you very much.

To be fair, though, she also says nice things that absolutely lift me up, because I know that there was absolutely know subterfuge (or even thought, haha) behind them.

I had one of those out-of-body experiences after my car accident. It leaves me with a memory of pure love. Words can't do it justice. I can't say that it left me with any intention to be more truthful...more that it made me want to live in the truth of His love.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sleeplessness and easy fixes, read up on binaural beats then download Brain Wave for your Apple device.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I'd lie about the hair too.

I think this time of year tends to bring about struggle. Perhaps the shifting to shorter days. But I've certainly felt it on my end too.

KathyB. said...

Oh, if you don't like my hair that is O.K. Just please tell me where I can find a beautician that can make it better.

I am so in agreement with this post. As I read it I was a bit suspicious that you would be endorsing the message from OW, and very pleasantly encouraged in the end.

Really though, such "positive " new age messages lead many to despair because we are left believing we are responsible for all the negative and bad things that happen to us because we were not positive enough, or somehow deserved all of them.These teachings also lead one to believe we can actually control our lives in a way we truly cannot, and again, lead to despair and feelings of failure & guilt.

Ah hah! So that is why my husband is fully entrenched in the TOP CHEF competition..I might need to intervene here for him. Really though, sometimes life gets so intense you have to find a way to immerse yourself in something inane and totally superficial just to let go of the serious stuff that weighs you down.

Thank-you for this post.

Anonymous said...

I don't even like my hair! Oprah lost my viewership a long time ago. Thanks for writing such a good argument for a false doctrine. If only people would question and reason it out for themselves instead of blinding following a celebrity. Have you read Josh McDowell's New Evidence That Demands a Verdict? Great book!

Immigrant Daughter said...

Hair is a problem we just have to live with and anyway who cares but we ourselves. What you said about truth is right......living a truthful life is much easier than trying to remember what lie you told and to whom. CM

Eggs In My Pocket said...

As always, love to stop here and read. I just wanted to stop by and wish you a Merry Christmas. blessings,Kathleen

Vickie said...

Hi, C and V - sorry I took so long to respond. It's been crazy at my house!

1 Corinthians 3:19
New International Version (NIV)

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness".

All our silly "wisdom" is complete foolishness in God's eyes. We can only be wise in one way and that is to trust God's wisdom and seek His will and His word. I used to watch Opr*h until a year or two ago, she had some crackpot guy on there preaching some silly something about being "complete" in ourselves & our own spirituality and a bunch of other gobbledy-gook. And Opr*h was going to have special shows set aside for him to spew this garbage and they were selling books to it if I remember correctly. Audience members flocked to it - we're always looking for answers, aren't we? I

I turned the show off and never watched her again. I always thought she had somewhat quality shows, but that did it. I thought what must the Lord think about all this foolishness! HE is the only way. The Bible promises us hard times in this life and only through standing firm in our faith can we hope to get through it and find complete happiness someday with HIm.

There. I hope both you girls and your families have a wonderful Christmas season. I know V has alot on her plate, and so do you. I guess we all do in our own ways. I'm lifting up her daughter to the Lord. Sorry for the volumes here...

Zuzana said...

Just stopping by to wish you girls a wonderful Christmas and all the best in the New Year - thank you so much for your kind visits and friendship in the past year,

Vickie said...

Your "white christmas" post has not updated. What happened? Didn't know if you knew or not... Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, C & V!!!

KathyB. said...

You know, I was seeking some special, heavenly, Godly,justification for the extreme trials & tribulations our son was / is going through. One day he stopped me and said "Mom, it's called 'life',life is full of struggles". He is right. HOW we endure and triumph over the trials & tribulations is what marks our character, our faith.

I too have been tempted to fall into the trance of Oprah's cures & remedies, but really, when considering the grand scope of life from century to century, ocean to ocean....where is Oprah's new age philosophy really working ? I mean REALLY working?

When I go back to the one true source of wisdom for all mankind and all ages, the Bible, well, Oprah has a lot to answer for and it will be to the One who created her and holds her eternal soul in His hand.He loves her too.

Sandra said...

Boy, when you said you watch worthless TV, you really proved it with the story of Beth! While you're on Food TV, why don't you try Chopped and Cupcake Wars -- now THOSE are worthwhile TV! :)

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