INNER PEACE AND BOTTOM LINES (IPS)

INNER PEACE AND BOTTOM LINES (IPS)

ANOTHER IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  A growing understanding that life is all about “multiple bottom lines” and the way you balance the lot of them promotes inner peace or inner chaos.

[If you start getting frazzled, you know something’s gotten out of whack and you have to go hunt it down and bonk it back into line…which doesn’t SOUND particularly peaceful, but is kinda fun.]

For weeks now I’ve been mired in a bog of paradoxes of the finest kind.

I’ve been trying to execute another one of my explorations of an admittedly complicated foundational question:

How does the energy you are generating as you walk in the here and now affect this consensus-world of ours through which you are walking and living your questions?

I’ve been looking at the thoughts and ponderings of wise guys and Smarty Pants – all those seemingly endless theories, postulates, formulas and philosophies about walking through the world.

I confess.  I am lost.

abandoned boat on a misty lakeside
“Lost” by VenusPetrov via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
The problem, of course, is that very often these guys come up with all kinds of strategies and solutions that work…for some people, in certain situations. Every one of those problem-solving systems and such have consequences and side-effects.

Explanations by proponents subscribing to various beliefs of one sort or another are often balanced by the pontifications of the nay-sayers who dis the other guys and delineate in detail why such-and-so does not work before offering up their own thing.

After a while it all became a lot like reading those horrifying tell-all pharmaceutical ads that I used to see many years ago in the old Reader’s Digest printed family magazines to which an elderly friend subscribed.

In each of the long, printed ads, in very dense blocks of text, there would first be a benefits list marketing squib about how some drug or other purportedly fixed a specific, narrowly defined chronic health problem.

This was followed by maybe two or more “truth-in-advertising” pages listing all of the horrendous side-effects of the wonder-drug that usually included failures of assorted essential body systems as well as madness or death.  ACK!

tiger in big tub in a cage with sign, "animals will bite"
“Truth in advertising” by Becker 1999 (Paul and Cat via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
My mind has been turning into a very complex pretzel.

Unfortunately, while abandoning this monkey-mind inducing project is an option, dumping my mind is not.  This replica of a very twisted and crunchy bit of dough has replaced what is the only mind I’ve got to work with.  (Sigh!)

I like my mind and I am a stubborn git.

RESETTING TO YOUR DEFAULT MINDSET AFTER THE MONKEY GETS LOOSE

When I get to the brink of nutso, I tend to go looking for something that calms my inner primate.  If I go for a nature-walk outside or stare at something that is simple but sufficiently complex, somehow the visuals I encounter turn my twisted pretzel-mind into a more manageable stack of skinny pretzel sticks.

Music also helps.

(There are probably all kinds of scientifically proven explanations for this.  We are not going there.)

And now, I present to you (and my aggravating monkey) this short YouTube video, “Pipe Dreams,” a 2008 upload by AnimusicLLC.

It was one of the offerings on the now-classic Animusic 1 DVD that went viral when it came out and generated massive interest in animation art, giving a giant boost to the artists and designers who specialize in the film industry’s computerized special effects.

Ahhh…that’s better.

A SIDE-TRIP INTO ANIMUSIC WORLD

That video and the other works that followed it were the brainchildren of creator and company founder Wayne Lytle and his longtime side-kick David Crognale.

If the video calls up feel-good fan-memories for you, you might want to click on the button below to access an excellent 20-minute video, “Does Anyone Remember Animusic?

This video is a history of the company and its Creatives put together by The Science Elf in 2022.

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[The Science Elf is a vlogger who is a mega-fan of fascinating techno-world gadgetry and hardware that he has described as “weird in some way.”  It is truly worth a look.]

OKAY…BACK TO BALANCING MUTIPLE BOTTOM LINES

In the middle of all the mad mind-bending, I was reading a lovely novel by Jessica Francis Kane, RULES FOR VISITING. It was superbly restful as a meditation about friendships, connections, and staying open to life.

It also seemed to provide a balance for all of the aspirational, high-flying concepts that were rattling around in my poor over-amping brain.  At least it muted the more strident voices beautifully.

The story follows May Attaway (a mostly solitary 40-year-old botanical gardener who is better with plants than with people and a most observant story-maker) as she visits four of her oldest friends who welcome her as their guest in their analog lives.

In the book, May says, “It seems to me that your oldest friends can offer a glimpse of who you were from a time before you had a sense of yourself.”

That struck me as a major truth.

Another one was this: “We don’t get to write from scratch the whole story of our life.  We are given certain plot points that must be incorporated.  Maybe we settle when we’ve done the best we can.

As a fellow believer in the power of words and stories to make sense of things, this one resonates for me way more than all the motivational hoopla about individualism, self-sufficiency, and powering on through obstacles and so on and so forth.

large collection of balanced stacks of rocks on a driftwood teeter-totter
“Balancing rocks at Wildcat Beach” by David Abercrombie via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Somehow, the quiet voice of the novel brought up a different perspective about this whole balancing act we all do.

Humans make all kinds of plans and the schemes and dreams that multiply and mutate and morph as Life-Its-Own-Self presents other, different possibilities.  Just being open to and looking at all of those different possibilities may actually be a better way of navigating on through the thickening plots that surround us.

The beautiful mundanities of a story about Life-Its-Own-Self is soothing.  It seems to me that it is the ordinary, quiet things in my life that seem to bring me back to better clarity.

The book ends with a blessing: “I have very few friends and not one of them is replaceable.  May you settle and find good friends.”

THE QUIET VOICE OF THE ORDINARY

Here’s a little YouTube video uploaded in 2018 by The School of Life that explains, “Why an Ordinary Life Can Be a Good Life.”  It is, I am thinking, another quiet affirmation of a truth that tends to get drowned out by our postmodern mega-phonic urgencies engendered by our effort-filled strivings.

There is a word, “koinophobia,” which was coined by The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. It means “the fear that you have lived an ordinary life.”

Sorrows” is an online dictionary created in 2009 by writer, graphic artist, video maker and voice actor John Koenig as a blog that he later expanded to YouTube and then made into a book of the same name.

Like many of the entries in the Dictionary, I think we needed that word.  The School of Life video might help to mitigate the fear that it names.

ANOTHER QUEST, ANOTHER BOOK

Another book that crossed my path was AND THEN WE GREW UP:  On Creativity, Potential and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood by Rachel Friedman.

This one is written by a former child prodigy who went on a real-life journey visiting a number of her old friends with whom she who attended a remarkable arts summer camp for extraordinarily talented creative young people run by the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

In the book, Friedman tracks down a number of her childhood friends from the camp sessions she attended.  She arranges talk-story sessions that take a “where-are-they-now” look at how the early creative ambitions of these baby musicians, dancers, actors, and visual artists and the supportive adults who surrounded them, translated into their adult lives.

She also reconnected with some of those friends as a result.

Cadillac potentialities and expectations – realized, morphed, or transcended with the help of Life-Its-Own-Self — are explored in Friedman’s book.  The result is a wonderfully nuanced look at the various ways in which people focused on creativity and living the life of an artist have made of their own life-journeys.

classic Cadillac hood ornament
“Cadillac” by Jon Matthies via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
My favorite takeaway from this book was Friedman’s definition of “experience.”  She says it is “lessons learned about finding ways of making your needs compatible with living in the world.”

As Friedman says, the process takes as long as it takes and you can only do what you can do today.  Researching and writing the book helped to clarify her own thoughts about the course of her own life as well.

She is finding her way to singing her own heartsong more joyously.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In case you haven’t noticed, this post has been another sort of exploration as well —  one that takes the hood off a number of my own strategies for taking back my battered brain after my Inner Monkey gets loose.

Among the things I do in the aftermath of yet another Monkey coup d’etat attempt are the following:

  • Notice when I’m starting to topple over into analysis paralysis or, even worse, burn-out.
  • Run around finding some way to take a break. In this case I dived into an awesome bit of digital art that includes peppy music.  I could also have grabbed a snack, gone for a walk outside, found somebody to hug, danced around singing silly songs, spent some time digging into some dirt, taken a nap…well, you get the idea.
  • Open my head up to counterintuitive, non-mainstream perspectives and thoughts like the little School of Life riff (once the monkey got sent back to its corner). Please note that if I’d done that before banishing the monkey, it would just have added one more thing to the chaos.  (Timing’s important here.)
  • Trip over cool, new, and totally “useless” but very interesting things to explore like the THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS or more Animusic videos.
  • Go find a friend and reconnect, or make new connections with other people.
  • Make a poem or tell a story.

Have you got any go-to solutions for beating back analysis paralysis or a flirtation with overstuffed content catatonia or even a complete burn-out?

campfire
“Feed the Fire” by Stephanie Young Merzel via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Here’s a poem:


UNREQUITED DREAMS

A question to ponder:
How do you deal with unrequited dreams?
Those empty shells of constructs
Built of brightly colored hopes
Are sitting there melting
Like runny, old tri-colored jello salad
On some plate left out in the hot sun…
Sticky, viscous stuff that’s still sweet to the tongue,
Now bait for ants and other scavengers.

Take that Hero-slash-Crusader Rabbit thing….

The problem with the Crusader Rabbit gig
Is one nobody ever mentions
When they’re pumping up the wannabe heroes…
Stuffing them into garish hero armor,
Handing out the paper swords and cardboard maces.

I mean, look it….

If you’re lousy at the Hero trade,
You’re just another crazy on the side of the road.
There you’ll be, clunking and clanking
In your outmoded armor,
Screaming epithets at the pro-ductive people,
Streaming past your soap box,
Busy, all of them,
Stabilizing the status quo and
Keeping this old world turning.

They’ll keep on streaming past,
All those tick-tock minions,
When you’re just another unremarked body
In another unremarkable grave….
And there you’ll be,
Another grain of coffee
In the dried-out pile of filtered grounds
From some dictator’s cappuchino.

Fair-to-middling level Rabbits
Drown in the rising frustration of petty la-la-la-di-dah.
Their true-believer constructs get flushed away
In the regularly timed floods of
Expediencies and short-term objectives
That look awfully good on paper
(And just plain awful on the little peeps)
As the Big Cheeses and their attendant Cheeselets
Keep right on rolling on.

Oh…and if you’re good…really excellent,
Why, then, you get the Grand Prize!

They shoot you dead
And put up a bronze statue in the park –
Another public pigeon landing pad.
They’ll probably throw a parade.
They’ll probably shoot off fireworks.
Yay!

Wise guys will tell you that Rabbits
Stuck in Jurassic Park need another plan.
Wise guys say you sit…you watch…you witness.
The world turns and it all changes.
Up goes down, down goes up.
Wise guys advise that you spend your days
Untangling your own jungle lianas,
Chopping aside all those wild vines
So that when you need to move, you can.

Me, I say the best plan’s going to bed for the day
And pulling the covers over your head.
Maybe some other dreams will drop on by.
A pitcher of iced tea and a plate of chocolate biscuits
Would likely be appreciated, I bet.

And all those beloved, unrequited dreams?
The ghosts of futures past?
It’s best to toss them out, I think,
Bidding them a fond farewell,
Before they gather scavengers.

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Lost Highway” by Ewen Roberts via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

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SOME OTHER POSTS TO EXPLORE

(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)

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Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

 

4 thoughts on “INNER PEACE AND BOTTOM LINES (IPS)

  1. As always, I enjoyed reading your post. 

    But what really resonated with me is what you said about every human making all kinds of plans. Indeed, we all make plans. No matter how small, insignificant, or life-changing plans we make, they are still plans nonetheless. I believe it’s man’s nature to try to look at every possibility and scheme to make things better in their lives. 

    As with the case of inner peace and multiple bottom lines, I believe it’s up to each and every one of us to find them on our own. I mean, we have to try every solution that comes to mind first before discovering what actually works. This is because what worked for others may not work for us. 

    Another thing that struck me was what May Attaway said about our friends having a glimpse of who we are even before we had a sense of ourselves. I’ve proven this to be true! When I reconnected with one of my closest friends in college, she said I am not who I used to be. To which I kindly replied, “You think so? Perhaps I was really not the person you thought I was.”

    1. Alice, you’re right.  We humans are plan-making fools.  I suppose it’s how we figure out where to direct our next step and the ones after that.  Charging off in all directions at once doesn’t work, after all.  (I know.  I tried that.)

      And I agree that we are obliged to try as many solutions as we can in order to find the ones that work for us.

      I especially like your response to your friend.  That was right on, I think.  It is fun, though, to reconnect with our old friends because they do help us see how far we’ve come on our own journey. 

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Alice.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  2. Parameter says:

    I agree with you. As humans we make several plans. We map out strategies and make a conscious effort to work towards them. But life on its own presents different options. We are left with no choice but to work along the line.

    But one test I have always adopted is that of inner peace. If it will work, then I must find peace with the alternative. That way, I can work along with natural alternative

    1. Parameter, I love your thought about using inner peace as a test for your choice of direction.  Working along with the “natural alternative” does make a lot of sense.

      Thanks for your visit.

      Please do come again.

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