My One Foray Into Athletics

soccer-ballI am trying to figure out how to clearly articulate the inherent duality in non-duality discourse, so in the meantime, I give you silliness.

Now, this is truly a silly post.  This post is completely worthy of the category.  There is no hidden meaning, no social justice component, no spiritual significance, no reference to renunciation or creative expression or meditation Olympics.

This is a post about my one foray into intramural sports, or any sport at all for that matter.  I have only had one foray.

38801_151041021578234_7750609_nWhen I was in high school, I was part of the artsy theater and poetry crowd.  You know, the ones who wear all black and listen to “alternative” music.  You may reference, on the right, a picture of me and my friends against a brick wall, very Breakfast Club-esque. I may not be wearing all black in this picture, but I can assure you, I spent almost a whole year in all black.  (Later in life I balanced this out by wearing all white for a year, but that is another less silly story).

I was so all-black-alternative-artsy-poetry-girl in fact that when I participated in the Junior Miss pageant (I did what??), my “talent” was reading a piece of my own angsty poetry while dressed all in black holding a dead rose in one hand!  Yes – a dead rose.  You can imagine how that compared to the other contestants’ opera arias, baton twirling and gymnastic routines.

It’s fair to say that none of my friends were at all athletic.  The closest we came to athletics is when one of my dearest friends, a flamboyant boy named Jeffrey Fountain, would chase the Christian Athlete’s Association jocks down the breezeway, pretending that he wanted to ask them out just for fun.  He relished in who he was and made no attempt to stay in the closet.  Instead, he used to bring flowers to the football players, as if the jocks were stars in a Broadway musical instead of quarterbacks and wide receivers.

1914471_1222121920278_1785469_nSome of the guys in our circle of friends had a punk band (of course) named The Scrammies.  Despite not being athletic, we had invented our very own sport called Scram-ball – kind of like hacky sack but using a beach ball and your head.  But since there were no Scram-ball tournaments, we thought it would be rather funny if our pale and skinny lot played soccer.  So, one year we decided to enter the high school’s intramural soccer league!

In honor of our punk rock roots, we named the team the Scrammies.  For our team uniforms we wore white and green spray painted t-shirts with “Scrammies” stenciled on the back and cut-off jeans.  We showed up at every game we were assigned to and lost every one.  We cheered each other on, laughed and had lots of fun, given that we didn’t really take the whole thing very seriously.  Other more serious teams found this very annoying.

The sad fact is that in the whole intramural tournament we only scored one single goal – and it was against the faculty!

Soccer-Ball-HD-Images-WallpapersIt might surprise you to know that I am the one who scored this goal.  I was surprised as well, because it was a complete and total accident.  The ball hit me in the head and then went off in a trajectory straight into the goal.  While my head hurt and I was a bit stunned, my team mates cheered and laughed and gave me high fives.  It was all very exciting.

I am tempted to conclude this story drawing some inference about living life fully or believing in miracles or gaining compassion and understanding for athletes and people unlike ourselves by walking a mile in their shoes – even if I did wear my black high-top Converse with all the peace signs scribbled on the soles.  However, I promised to make this a purely silly post, and so I will.

Go Scrammies Forever!!

1914471_1222121960279_7150450_n

Are Lobsters Going to Hell?

lobsterOk, I haven’t done a silly post in a long time.  Given that I haven’t been posting every day I have not felt in danger of taking myself too seriously, but I should stay committed to my policy of regular silly posting none-the-less.  I guess the real danger of taking yourself too seriously is when you think you are not in danger!

So, my silly post this week is about my idea to stage a protest outside of Red Lobster!  We could make signs, form a picket line, stamp back and forth yelling slogans.  It could even be a nationwide Red Lobster boycott that could make for silly nationwide news coverage!

Why am I picking on Red Lobster?  What have they done?  Violated workers rights or paid their employees paltry wages like McDonalds?  Served french fries with 19 ingredients like McDonalds?  Why am I not calling for a boycott of McDonalds instead??

Well, it’s biblical.

The bible says that shellfish are an abomination!  In fact, it says so 7 times, so it must be like a really bad abomination!  So, that is why I’m asking the question (despite the fact that I don’t believe hell exists, that happiness is inevitable for all living things, including lobsters, and that in the end Love always wins):  Are lobsters going to hell?

Leviticus 11:10 says “Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.” 

RedLobster_ext2_cropped_959_487_90_c1I’m not really clear if this means that those who eat lobsters are going to hell or that the lobsters themselves are going to hell, but someone sure is going to hell and it definitely means we should stage protests outside of Red Lobster!  Right?

I always think of this when I see people protesting Equal Rights for LGBTQ persons on the basis of the bible.  I want to join them with signs saying “Lobsters are Going to Hell!” and “Poly-Cotton Blends are Sinful!” and “Stop Women from Braiding Their Hair NOW!”  (Yes, Leviticus also bans wearing cloth “of two kinds of material mixed together” and women braiding their hair or wearing gold, pearls or costly garments.)

churchsignIn looking up Leviticus verses for this post I actually came across a website called God Hates Shrimp.  I was relieved to find out that the site was in fact a parody, pointing out just the sort of thing that my Red Lobster boycott aims to – that to pick and choose which bible verses to plaster on neon green poster board is hypocritical at best, bigoted and hateful at worst.

The blog 11 points put together a list of 11 things that are banned in the bible that we do anyway, and no one thinks a thing about it.  And there are much more than 11 things – and not all of them are silly.  Along with the rules stating how many camels should be given in dowry to the husband’s family, how many chickens should be given to the rabbi after each woman’s menstrual cycle before she may enter the temple again and how a man may not harm the edges of his beard, the bible also calls for stonings and all kinds of barbaric punishments for relatively minor offenses and endorses slavery, as long as the slaves are foreigners.

Personally, I believe more in tuning in to the Living Word of God that resides in our hearts and tells us what is right, what is loving and what brings us closer to Christ or Krishna, but for an alternate use of bible verses – here is a list of 15 bible verses that support LGBTQ Equality!

So, in a typical self-contradiction, and in a typical silly post turning social justice, I have changed my mind and instead of boycotting Red Lobster, I call for Lobster Rights!  Lobsters and Shrimp Unite!  Take a stand for your worthiness in the eyes of the Lord!  In my heart of hearts I know, God Loves Lobsters, too!

02food.600


HRC_Red-LogoIn the absence of a Lobster Rights Campaign, please consider helping Human Rights Campaign in their fight for equality!

 

The Implementation of Dumb Ideas

RENUZIT-500x247In this week’s silly post I’d like to talk about an ad currently running on Hulu for a brand of air-fresheners.  Aside from the fact that air-fresheners contain numerous toxic chemicals that can cause everything from reduced sperm counts to cancer, the ad is really stupid.  It has hunky men carrying air-fresheners in slo-mo, winking at the camera seductively from each room of a house – one in the kitchen, another in the living room and yet another sexy young thing in the bedroom.  The ad goes on to say that while having a different man in every room might be a fantasy, you can in fact have a different toxic scent in each room.

First of all, what woman fantasizes about having a man in every room?  That sounds terrible.  Second of all, the campaign is so ridiculous it makes me want to NOT buy that air freshener, even if I wanted to poison myself with benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, and phthalates. 

1075545_562888983757997_1303988084_oThe thing that gets me about really really bad advertising is that there are so many people involved in the process of actually getting it on TV.  First there are a number of people at the ad agency who come up with the bad idea, then their creative team does a pitch to a company, then the company sends the proposal up the chain of command and who knows how many people sign off on the concept and budget.  Then there are graphic artists, writers, producers, casting agents, actors, make up artists, cameramen, boom mic operators and even key grips, whatever the heck they do.  It must be at least 100 people who take part in producing a really really bad ad.  And nowhere along the line did someone say – STOP.

The same is true for some of the reality TV programming of today.  There are food shows about deep-fried-mac-n-cheese-hamburger-loaf. There are married couples flipping houses and arguing over every remodeling decision along the way.  There are housewives arguing in virtually every metropolitan area of the United States.  There are naked people who are either afraid or shopping or dating, or a combination of all of the above – of course arguing more or less the whole time. There are even horrific things like a man being eaten alive by a snake in some kind of snake-digestive-juice-resistant suit.

In all of these TV shows there are countless people who never say – wait, this is dumb, let’s not do this.

Thirteen Reality 2This ad for an apparently intelligent TV station is actually quite funny and points to the state of our TV entertainment.  I know there are quite a few really good shows out there, also.  There has even been some God centered shows that come and go, like ‘Joan of Arcadia,’ ‘Eli Stone.’ or the awesome good kicks evil’s butt ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’  But sometimes I look at some of the truly dumb ideas that actually manifest themselves as ads and TV shows and I wonder.

I guess it’s kind of like other really dumb ideas, like segregation or women not having the right to vote.  For a long time, they were just accepted and all the boom mic operators and key grips of life didn’t feel it was their place to say anything even if they thought it was a terrible idea.  It took people like Martin Luther King and Susan susan-b-anthony-quote1-300x200B. Anthony to speak up and say – STOP!  Then enough people joined them and said – yeah, I think it’s really dumb, too.  And then the Civil Rights Act and 19th Amendment could happen.

So, I guess, if the awful toxic air-freshener ad has any merit, it is to remind us to speak up against dumb ideas!  Why is racism and sexism still showing up in so many ways in our ads and TV programming and everywhere else in our society?  Why should gay or lesbian human beings have any less rights than any other human being?  How could such a bad idea still even be a thing?  Let’s just stop implementing all these dumb ideas.


hrc-logoPlease consider supporting the Human Rights Campaign – to speak up for equal rights for the LGBT community.

Or support any of the fine organizations listed on the Get Involved page who are working towards ending dumb ideas.

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

article-2693000-1FA30DFD00000578-601_634x929This is something that falls both under the category Silly and Important.  I’m not even sure it’s silly enough to fall under the category of a silly post of the week, but with a name like ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables,’ I’ll say it qualifies.

I recently saw a video about a French supermarket, Intermarche, who wanted to do something to combat food waste.

Did you know that grocery stores throw out up to 40% of fruits and vegetables simply because they are ugly?  I had no idea, but I, too, look over the fruits and vegetables and squeeze and examine as if I actually know what I am doing.  I search through the tomatoes and the peaches to find the prettiest one, as if my fruit bowl at home needs to rival a French Provencal painting.  Little did I know that my finicky fruit and vegetable habits are part of such tremendous waste.

So, thank goodness for Intermarche for setting me straight.  They set out to prove that ugly fruits and vegetables taste just as yummy as DSC_3342their more beautiful counterparts.  They dedicated a whole aisle to the deformed produce and sold them at a 30% discount.  They also started a line of prepared foods made out of the two-legged carrots or bulgey eggplant.  This way people can take home a bowl of ugly tomato soup and taste for themselves how delicious it is before buying the lumpy things themselves.

An estimated 90,000 tons of produce in the U.K. goes to landfill sites annually, all because customers associate ‘ugly’ with ‘defective.’  I don’t know what 40% of the US grocery store produce equals in tons, but I’d guess it’s a lot more than that.  The same is true for all westernized countries.  The amount of fruits and vegetables that are thrown out world-wide simply because they aren’t visually acceptable to consumers is astounding.

It is even more egregious when you factor in the fact that there are areas in the U.S. that are called “food desserts” because there is so little access to nantesgood healthy food.  How many people are there in this country (or any country) who live in low-income neighborhoods that don’t have access to fresh produce?  When you also factor into that the fact that a head of broccoli in America costs more than a full meal at McDonald’s, that blows my mind.

So, my not-so-silly ending to my kinda-silly post for the week is this:

The ugly fruit movement should join forces with the Food Justice movement and design programs to take the less than perfect looking – but still just as tasty and nutritious – produce to lower-income neighborhoods and sell them for a discounted price.  And we should all stop being so prissy about our food.

Diamond Rings and Body Hair

shavingYou guessed it.  Here is this week’s silly post.  Last week it was about shaved heads.  This week – diamond rings and body hair.

You might be asking yourself “How are diamond rings and body hair even related?”  Well, they are related by the fact that they both have an arbitrary cultural meaning that really has nothing to do with anything.

Here is a video illustrating how diamond engagement rings didn’t even exist before an advertising campaign started in 1938 by De Beers Diamond Company.  It must be the most successful advertising campaign in all of history because now diamond engagement rings are just a part of our culture.  And not just in America, but all over the world.  Wow.  That kind of blows my mind.

Ok, so what about the body hair?

Well, women and body hair is really the same thing.  I don’t know who it was that decided that women should not have any visible body hair.  It probably wasn’t De Beers Diamond Corporation and maybe it wasn’t in an advertising campaign, but somehow this also became just a part of our culture.

If you actually think about it, it’s really weird. Who can even come up with something so weird?  The hair that grows quite naturally on our legs and in our armpits and around our secret places, for some reason this is considered unacceptable?  What?  Who had that idea? How did that come about the first time in history?  And why on earth did a second person agree that it was a good thing to do?  And then a third person, and then a whole society?

73383679.jpgFor some unknown reason women all over the world shave, wax, epilate and tweeze all kinds of hairs in all kinds of places.

And yet, as bizarre and non-nonsensical as these societal norms may be, they are barely questioned.  And what’s more – I’m sold. When I get engaged – I want a ring!  Don’t go thinking you can just propose without getting down on that knee and popping one of them boxes open.  It would feel weird not to have a ring on my finger (though I’d happily figure out a way to get around the whole diamond monopoly and have some other kind of stone so De Beers gets nothing!).

And I think my legs look better without any hair on them.  I get frustrated with shaving and then having stubble grow back in and itch like crazy and make me feel like my legs have been bitten by a thousand tiny ants.  So, then I go through the pain of pulling all my leg hairs out by the root only to have them grow back inward or side ways under my skin giving me not only little bumps and irritated hair follicles but red ugly dots as well.  Either way, it’s an ongoing physical nuisance.  What is the point again?  Why do I do this?

I’ve internalized the cultural norm.  I myself prefer my legs smooth.  I think it looks prettier.  Does this make me a shallow person? (no)  Does this make me weak minded and conformist?  (not really)  Should I rebel and grow my body hair out to make a statement? (if you want)  Does it really matter at all either way?  (probably not)

All I can say is that I guess it’s for the same reason that I speak English or I wear jeans and t-shirts instead of walking around naked – it’s part of my culture.  It’s part of the weird generally agreed upon societal norms that we all just made up.  And sometimes they make sense, like wearing boots in snowy climates, and sometimes it makes no sense at all, like shaving your lady parts.

shaving-2So, it’s good to be aware of this.  And it’s good to step back and question these norms.  Even if you decide to play along, it’s good to do so through conscious choice.

And sometimes these norms are a lot less silly than shaving your legs or buying an engagement ring.  Sometimes these societal norms we just accept as reality are disempowering and oppressive and it DOES matter if you question and rebel and choose to make a new reality.  Sometimes these accepted realities are world-wide – like violence between nations being an acceptable way to “resolve” conflict.  Sometimes these norms are societal, like women not having the right to vote or get an education.  Sometimes the norms can just be within one church, like gays and lesbians going to hell and being treated as less than human.  Sometimes the norms can just be within a family, like a wife being submissive and belittled.  And in each of these circumstances, it’s easy to see the wrongness looking at it from the outside.  And it’s important to understand that it’s not always so easily seen from inside that reality. That is where compassion comes in.

If another intelligent species were to come to earth and see how when men and women decide to mate for life the man spends 2 months salary to buy a common crystallized carbon rock ring and how all the women spend so much time and effort and discomfort to remove all their body hair – what would it look like from the outside? That’s where I’d hope they would have compassion for us and not just think we were really really weird or just plain silly.

The Ad Campaign that Nike Will Never Air

Womens_Nike_Free_TR_Fit_2_Blue_White_Lemon_YellowI’m sorry if the headline was deceptive and you think this is a biting expose of some ad campaign chronicling Nike’s appalling child labor record that got squashed by the powerful corporate giant.  It’s not.  That would be a much more worthy thing to write about.

Unfortunately, this is just my silly post of the week in which I will tell you all about the ad campaign that I came up with for Nike that never existed anywhere outside of my own head.

Remember all those ads that Nike used to do that said “Just Do It?”  Maybe they still run those, I’m not that up on the latest in sports advertising, but they were big back in the day. Well, I had this idea to do a series of ads that instead would say “Just Be It.”

1_thefalls2They would have an athletically toned person putting on their Nike apparel inter-spliced with vibrant scenes of nature.  The person featured in the ad would be filmed getting suited up in all the latest Nike gear in total silence, only hearing the sound of their breath.  It would be dramatic lighting – dark background, stark light shining from an angle creating intriguing shadows.  The person would be seen putting on a Nike training jacket, with an intense concentration on their faces like this is the race of their lives – then an image of a rushing waterfall comes in for a few seconds.  The person puts on some Nike wrist guards as if they are going to do gymnastics or go rock climbing – then the camera switches to an eagle soaring above a vast canyon.  The person then ties their Nike shoe laces – then a heard of buffalo stampede111120-Meditation-296x300s across the screen.  Finally, the person bows their head and silently prays inside as if they are about to take the Olympic stage -then they sit down in lotus position and start meditating.  Again, just a few seconds of each nature scene rushes through the screen – the water, the eagle, the buffalo.  And the screen fades into “Just Be It” and the Nike swoosh.

This was around the time of some Olympics or other, so the Olympics were on TV all the time.  Of course, this was many years before the whole issue of the Olympics, the symbolic world games celebrating cooperation and brotherly love, ironically being held in Sochi with Russia’s human rights violations against the LGBT community.   So, instead of giving me ideas of ways to stand up for my gay or lesbian brothers and sisters, the Olympics gave me more ideas to expand the silly ad campaign.

0f4267fa965c115b00da1147e9762208They could have an ad that looked like Olympic news coverage.  The sports caster would announce, with all the excitement that only sports casters can muster, that we were checking in on the Olympic meditation race.  The camera would pan over to the various meditators from around the world sitting on little platforms in lotus position – the classic Indian Yogi in orange robes, the ascetic from Burma with only a loin cloth and a beard, the Tibetan bald headed monk in scarlet.  Then you’d have the young American newcomer in full out yoga gear, the blond Swede with stubble and casual baggie pants, a Sikh representing the UK in turban and trendy track suit bottoms.  They can throw in the Nike logo wherever necessary.

The clock in the corner of the TV screen would be ticking away: 42hrs, 38min, 7 seconds and counting.  The sports caster would continue his commentary “The team from India is of course strong, as they always are, I think we even saw Swamiji Beyondananda start to levitate a little bit there.  But this year we’ve been surprised by Lars Torngren from the Swedish team.  His race for Oneness consciousness has been nothing short of amazing.  And let’s not forget young Ajeet Suresh Singh from the UK.  He started his career as a British Bhangra rapper, but when in his mid-twenties his thirst for fame and riches turned towards the Olympic meditation team, nothing could stop him – his name doesn’t mean Invincible for nothing.  It will be an interesting race to see who reaches Enlightenment first.  Back to you, Dave.”

Again, the screen fades to “Just Be It.”

I thought these were great ad ideas and I was sure Nike would agree.  I even looked up Nike business offices contact information on line and emailed them asking where might I send an advertising concept?  I was curtly told that Nike only accepts ad ideas that are patented – and as I was not about to go through that whole process, alas, Nike will never air the “Just Be It” campaign…

nike_child_labor_bigJust as well as it’s hard to Just Be It or to put your whole self into Oneness Consciousness if you’re violating human rights and child labor laws in foreign countries.  So, the whole idea is better off here as my silly post.


 

As this silly post touches on some un-silly issues, here are some links:

To help in ending child labor world wide:  Human Rights Watch

To help fight discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters:  Human Rights Campaign

The Shaved Head Dilemma

Natalie_Portman_Shaved_HeadI have decided that at least once a week I am going to post something truly silly.

One reason is to keep myself from taking this whole blogging thing and myself too seriously.

Another reason is just because it’s fun.

And a third reason is that silliness is seriously important.  I went for years of my life very seriously focused on a serious spiritual path that had no room for silliness – and I suffered and my spirit suffered.  So – from now on I make a holy vow before God to always be at least a little bit silly.

Last week’s silly post was about shoes and socks.  This week’s silly post will be about hair – or rather, lack of hair.Sinead_OConnor_Shaved_Head

All through high school and college I hung out with the alternative, counter-culture, artsy, punk and poetry theater crowd.  I had numerous female friends who shaved their heads a la Sinead O’Connor just as a fashion choice – and they looked awesome.  Shaving your head, in my circle of friends, was cool.

Fast forward just a few years when in my mid-twenties it was time for me to renounce my ego-identifications and dedicate myself to God.  Normally on such occasions one shaves ones head to give up any vanity or pride in ones appearance.  But what was I to do?  I thought shaving your head was cool.  If I was going to renounce being cool (and let’s face it, I was never really ever cool to begin with), it wouldn’t work for me to shave off all my hair.

79ab3e3a862654d78b66d77880e754bcAdd to that the fact that “cool” to me was also being really super spiritual.  The more spiritual, the better.  In the New Age Mecca of Asheville, NC, where I lived, being spiritual was the same as being a member of a really fancy country club – so again, shaving my head as an act of renunciation would be the ultimate in cool and would in no way help me in my quest for humility.

So, I decided just to cut my hair short – have it symbolize my letting go of the past, give up my identification as a long-haired girl.  At least I could do that much.  So, I said my prayers in the morning and went down to a hair salon and, holding my intention inside, the nice chatty hairdresser cut my hair short short.

And it worked.  I looked like a dork.  I think in the fashion world my face would be described as being too long for short hair, and whatever the reason, I looked awful.  I was all forehead.  My short rat-brown hair looked awkward and embarrassed on top of my head.  I hated it.

Then I laughed and I thought, ok, this is good.  This is BETTER than shaving my head.  This fulfills the purpose of shaving my head much more than shaving my head would have.  I renounce looking cool.  I renounce my pride and my vanity.  I renounce my attachment to my appearance and my concern with what I look like to others and I focus my attentions on God.  This is what I wanted.

tibetan-buddhist-nun

And while now-a-days I have grown my hair back out and I enjoy being creative with colors and clothing and how I combine my shoes and socks, it was good for me at the time.  Now I can enjoy how I dress without being attached to how I look.  I can do so while not identifying as a long-haired counter-culture artsy poetry girl.  I can do so while identifying as a Soul.

My Favorite Shoe & Sock Combo for the Fall

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset“What on earth is a spiritual blogger doing blogging about socks and shoes?,” you might ask.

Well, one – when I signed up for NaBloPoMo they said everyone would understand if there were days I was less than brilliant.

Two – it’s NaBloPoMo and I have committed to posting something every day and if I write a deeply spiritual and insightful post every day I am in danger of taking myself too seriously.

And three – I really do enjoy this particular sock and shoe combination and it makes me happy any chance I have to wear them.  And isn’t happiness what spirituality is all about?

Furthermore, what is wrong with writing about shoes and socks?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.

I know for the most part in the world’s spiritual traditions fashion has not been a main concern.  In fact, nuns and monks the world over wear the same thing every day whether it be the black and white of the quintessential Catholic nun, the drab brown of the Franciscan friars, the vibrant scarlet of the Tibetan lamas or the Ocher orange robes of India.  But I think those outfits are just intended to help the wearers stay focused on God and not worry so much about what they are wearing or what their fellow nuns and monks are wearing.  It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the average householder enjoying a creative fashion choice or two.

As long as we keep things in the right perspective, most things in life are ok to be enjoyed – in fact, I think God would like for us to enjoy all the marvelous options of garments, accessories and footwear in His creation, as long as we don’t get too imbalanced or whacky about it.  If you are so attached and identified to fashion that you won’t leave the house unless you are picture perfect or you judge others for not wearing the latest trends, I think we can all agree that is not a good thing.  But if you simply enjoy expressing your creativity and your individuality through the clothes that you wear, great.  I don’t think God created us all so different because She wants us to all be the same.Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

So, I don’t think there is anything inherently un-spiritual about fashion.  Shoes and socks are a perfectly good and joyful thing.  That being said, for anyone who spends over $500 on a single pair of shoes – I challenge you to donate that same amount to your favorite charity.  Just sayin’.

 


Ok – today my friend Teza (aka Lord Flea) wore this bold combination of shoes and socks to church.  I applaud her fashion choice!  Since wordpress does not allow photos in the comments, I am adding it here.  If anyone else has a shoe and sock combo you’d like to share, please email them to me and I will post!  Enjoy!

download_20141109_134531