From bullshit jobs to bullshit help – a lack of basic security

I have to admit I agree with this article. Life has become too stressful for too many people, unless you’re rich.  The title may offend some, but I think it’s accurate.

Why are people being forced to adapt to a sick (and dying) system that favors only the wealthy, rather than the system itself being adapted to serve us?

Especially in America, capitalism has taken a dark turn toward fascism and even neo-feudalism (authoritarianism in either of these forms is actually a sign of end-stage capitalism — the final culmination of unregulated capitalism, with the rich not bound to the laws the rest of us are, and a dangerous lack of governmental checks and balances).  Neither form of end-stage capitalism is conducive to or compatible with human happiness or even simple contentment.

Yet we keep being told there’s something wrong with us if we can’t adapt and feel stressed out all the time.   We’re told to just smile and think positive thoughts, and everything will be hunky dory.   We spout shallow platitudes at each other and stick post-its with flowery affirmations on our bathroom mirrors.    But the stress never really goes away.

Why?  Because the truth is, the stress we feel is a normal reaction to the abnormal. Nothing about our system is normal or healthy for real human beings, and it needs to change.  All the sunny advice we are given and all the positive affirmations are nothing more than emotional Bandaids for our existential malaise.  They can’t and never will fix the underlying problem which none of us can fix as individuals, but must be addressed by the entire society working together for the common good.

A View From Askew

David Graeber has put forward the notion of bullshit jobs in recent years, and I highly recommend that you watch his interviews and lectures on the subject. However there is another bullshit trend happening…

View original post 573 more words

Maybe we should stop trying so hard to be happy.

Originally posted on October 2, 2016

fake-smile2

We live in a society that demands we always be happy and smiling.    “Negative” emotions are generally unacceptable, and we are told over and over again via pop psychologists and the mass media that constant happiness is not only our birthright, but our responsibility!    People are encouraged to stuff their feelings and wear a smile, no matter how they are really feeling.

Some people are more naturally given to cheerfulness than others, regardless of their circumstances.  We are all different; and those of us who aren’t naturally inclined to be upbeat and perky all the time are made to feel like we are somehow defective and our darker emotions aren’t okay.

So we seek out therapists, read self-help books, recite affirmations, pin up positive-thinking posters, and beat ourselves up if we don’t or can’t conform to the pervasive “don’t worry, be happy” ethos.

But what if not always being happy is actually saner than always being cheerful?  After all, there are a lot of things in the world to get depressed, upset, or angry about.    Acknowledging that bad things happen isn’t being negative; it’s being realistic.   For example, being afraid can sometimes save your life!

positive_thinking_cartoon

As long as you aren’t so depressed you feel like killing yourself or drowning yourself in alcohol or other substances, or can never see the bright side of anything, maybe embracing and accepting dark moods is a more authentic way to live.

Maybe if modern society acknowledged that dark emotions are a normal, non-pathological reaction to many things in life and accepted these emotions as easily as they  accept a perky smile and an “everything’s great!,” those of us who worry that we aren’t “happy enough” would actually begin to feel happier.    Maybe we need to stop trying to force ourselves into a box that doesn’t fit, and learn to embrace our painful feelings instead, and stop comparing ourselves to some ideal that we think we should be.

The world is not perfect and it never will be.  Why should we go through life, then, pretending everything’s perfect or beating ourselves up (and making ourselves more miserable) when we don’t measure up to some “happiness standard”?   It’s fake and it’s only going to make us feel like we’re defective.    Maybe we should just accept ALL our emotions as authentic and stop trying to always hide them away like something shameful.   If you’re happy, by all means, show it, but the emotional spectrum is like the color spectrum–there are many shades and hues, and a world with only one color is the most depressing kind of world I can think of, even if that one color is “happiness.”

Being truly happy isn’t a performance to impress everyone with how “positive” we are; it’s a feeling of genuine well-being brought about by accepting ourselves–ALL of ourselves–as we really are.     If you’re feeling sad or angry or upset, instead of berating yourself for it, accept your feelings as an authentic part of life.

Thanks to Neurofeedback, I’m not just getting older, I’m getting happier and healthier!

This is just begging to be reblogged. I’m so happy for your progress, Lynda Lee!

Comments have been disabled.

A Blog About Healing From PTSD

3452c63816973ffb1ccf28825deb0cee

The lyrics to an old Beatles song have been dancing around in my head lately:
– – –
When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
– – –

Sixty-four! That sounds OLD, doesn’t it? Especially for someone whose generational mantra was “Never trust anyone over thirty”!

Like everyone else on this planet, I started out as a very young person. I was little, and I could not wait to be big. The years passed slowly by, and I slowly grew, and then YAY!! I was all grown up, a bona fide adult. I had finally ARRIVED!!

But the years did not stop going by. Indeed, they started…

View original post 898 more words

What animals can teach us about mindfulness.

happy_pets

I’ve always believed animals are our greatest teachers. As humans, we tend to dismiss animals, thinking of them as lesser creatures with limited (or no) intelligence. We think that just because they can’t read, don’t speak, don’t wear clothing, and don’t create art, music, or multi-national corporations, that they don’t have anything to teach us. If anything, we try to make animals conform to us, dressing up lapdogs in cute outfits or teaching them tricks to impress our friends.

Animals have much to teach us, and in many ways, if we acted more like them, as a species we humans might be better off — and a lot happier too. Mindfulness is a skill that helps many of us cope with daily life and eases the symptoms of depression, trauma, and many mental disorders — and there is no person more mindful than a cat, dog, or other animal. Even the Buddha was never as mindful as that Labrador retriever who looks at you with such soulful eyes, or that cat that sits peacefully in your window purring his little heart out.

If you have pets, watch them closely. They don’t worry about the future or fret over things that happened in the past. They don’t obsess over themselves or what others are going to think of them. They don’t beat themselves up over past transgressions or worry that they might not be acceptable. They live completely in the moment, reacting only to what they need to in order to survive and be happy. When they are given food, they happily nosh down on it, thinking about nothing except how good it tastes and how nice a newly-full stomach feels. If you ask your dog if he wants to go out for a walk, he doesn’t sit around sulking because he thought your tone was condescending; he happily jumps up and starts to dance around, sometimes even smiling (I am certain dogs can smile). If you scritch your cat under the chin, she will turn her face up to you, squint her eyes so they are almost closed, and begin to purr. She doesn’t worry that you might think she has bad breath.  She doesn’t care!  Watch a group of otters at play. They are like happy children, enjoying the water and the bliss of splashing around and swimming in it, and the joy of being together as a group.

Humans are the only creatures who unfairly judge their own kind, are cruel and unjust for no good reason except to boost their own egos, and seem to look for things to be miserable about, even when things are going well.

Many people think we make ourselves miserable due to our higher intelligence that makes us think about everything way too much, and that could be true. But what exactly is intelligence? How do we know that animals don’t have just as much of it as we do, even if they have a different kind of intelligence? Just because we can read words and earn a paycheck doesn’t mean we’re better or have a superior way of thinking. Case in point: have you ever witnessed some people with Down Syndrome? While their cognitive abilities may be impaired, they are some of the most joyful and affectionate people on earth. I remember one day standing on line at the supermarket. Ahead of me was a young man who clearly had Down Syndrome, and he was happily smiling and waving at everyone who looked his way. People smiled in reaction, not because they were being “polite,” and not because they were laughing at him, but because he was spreading joy. You couldn’t look at this man and not feel a little of his natural happiness. Studies have shown that people with very high IQ’s are more prone to mental illness and depression. People who aren’t as “smart” do seem to be happier. Sometimes I think too much in the way of cognitive intelligence actually gets in our way and keeps us from living in the moment and just enjoying life.  Children at play have a lot to teach us in that department too. We can learn from them.

I’m not comparing the cognitively challenged with with animals and kids to be offensive, but I do think it’s important to point out that all of these groups seem to be more able to live in the moment, and living in the moment is what mindfulness is really all about. Mindfulness and staying in the present leads to joy. So who really is smarter?

Instant joy:

If you’re depressed or feeling bad, just go to Youtube and watch videos of cute, funny and happy animals (or babies, if you prefer).  There are thousands of them.  They are popular for a good reason: they make us feel better and can make us laugh and smile when we’re down.    It always works for me, at least a little.

Maybe we should stop trying so hard to be happy.

fake-smile2

We live in a society that demands we always be happy and smiling.    “Negative” emotions are generally unacceptable, and we are told over and over again via pop psychologists and the mass media that constant happiness is not only our birthright, but our responsibility!    People are encouraged to stuff their feelings and wear a smile, no matter how they are really feeling.

Some people are more naturally given to cheerfulness than others, regardless of their circumstances.  We are all different; and those of us who aren’t naturally inclined to be upbeat and perky all the time are made to feel like we are somehow defective and our darker emotions aren’t okay.

So we seek out therapists, read self-help books, recite affirmations, pin up positive-thinking posters, and beat ourselves up if we don’t or can’t conform to the pervasive “don’t worry, be happy” ethos.

But what if not always being happy is actually saner than always being cheerful?  After all, there are a lot of things in the world to get depressed, upset, or angry about.    Acknowledging that bad things happen isn’t being negative; it’s being realistic.   For example, being afraid can sometimes save your life!

positive_thinking_cartoon

As long as you aren’t so depressed you feel like killing yourself or drowning yourself in alcohol or other substances, or can never see the bright side of anything, maybe embracing and accepting dark moods is a more authentic way to live.

Maybe if modern society acknowledged that dark emotions are a normal, non-pathological reaction to many things in life and accepted these emotions as easily as they  accept a perky smile and an “everything’s great!,” those of us who worry that we aren’t “happy enough” would actually begin to feel happier.    Maybe we need to stop trying to force ourselves into a box that doesn’t fit, and learn to embrace our painful feelings instead, and stop comparing ourselves to some ideal that we think we should be.

The world is not perfect and it never will be.  Why should we go through life, then, pretending everything’s perfect or beating ourselves up (and making ourselves more miserable) when we don’t measure up to some “happiness standard”?   It’s fake and it’s only going to make us feel like we’re defective.    Maybe we should just accept ALL our emotions as authentic and stop trying to always hide them away like something shameful.   If you’re happy, by all means, show it, but the emotional spectrum is like the color spectrum–there are many shades and hues, and a world with only one color is the most depressing kind of world I can think of, even if that one color is “happiness.”

Being truly happy isn’t a performance to impress everyone with how “positive” we are; it’s a feeling of genuine well-being brought about by accepting ourselves–ALL of ourselves–as we really are.     If you’re feeling sad or angry or upset, instead of berating yourself for it, accept your feelings as an authentic part of life.

Believe in you.

Image

believe-in-you

Feeding our soul

Here are some inspiring thoughts from an amazing blogger I just started reading. 🙂

Snoopy’s got the right idea.  Don’t let a Lucy put a damper on the simple things that brighten your day.

Emerging From The Dark Night

10629782_560930684011924_6620447248046383828_n.jpg

A question for you.  What did you do today to feed your soul?

When we are down and hurting and when we are concentrating on the pain we have gone through sometimes we forget that there is something we could do to help our soul’s feel comforted in that moment when things are hard.  We could do something to love, care for and nurture ourselves.

Today prompted by reading a lovely meditation my favourite book  Tian Dayton’s One Foot in Front of the Other I thought of the things I did today to feed my soul and I thought of a gratitude practice of listing these things that would mean that the benefit of these lovely experiences could grow within my soul :

Waking I felt the sun streaming through the window, so grateful for its warmth and comfort.

I took a long, slow shower and lingered as long as I could under the comforting…

View original post 198 more words

That heavenly feeling…

wakingup

Credit: Catdoodle by eyecreate

Start the New Year with a (genuine) smile.

thisistheday

I’ve always railed against the fake kind of happiness whose intent is to diminish, belittle, and avoid responsibility or compassion, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little authentic positivity. When you really think about it, there are always things to be grateful for, no matter how seemingly insignificant they are.
So let’s start the new year thinking of things to be grateful for.

(via Tessa over at Tessa Can Do It.)

My list of 10 things that make me happy:

1. My relationship with God
2. My church
3. My empathetic therapist
4. My incredible son and daughter
5. My 2 cats
6. my small but cozy home
7. my 2 blogs, one which has grown enough I make a little money from it (about $40 a month from ads)
8. my ability to write what I feel and write it well (most of the time)
9. music — almost all kinds
10. my insight into myself (even my therapist is impressed)

Music always lifts my soul, so here’s a few of my favorite mood-lifting songs (this is by no means all of them!)

This ’90s rock hit, meant ironically or not, always makes me feel better even when I’m at my lowest.

I think James Taylor was talking about God here:

This emotional ballad helped me get through some really rough times.

I never grow tired of this huge dance hit from about 2 years ago because it’s just such a great song with a positive vibe and it makes me want to turn somersaults all over my house (which I can’t do but I still want to!)

A happy ending to my DMV ordeal.

sunshine

I need an antidote for last night’s list 23 Things I Hate About My Life, so I think this might do the job.

Today was a good day. The first thing that happened was I didn’t have to walk the 5 1/2 miles back to the car repair shop. I actually got picked up by someone from there this morning and brought in to pick the car up and pay for the repairs. That’s another little blessing I might have taken for granted in the past. They’re almost always there if you are paying attention.

Anyway, in order to put enough miles on my car to see if the check engine light would come back on (it did after 60 miles–which means I failed the second inspection but was able to get a waiver at the DMV almost right away, which means I can go get registered tomorrow–FINALLY!), I decided to drive to the Light Center in Black Mountain. I described my experience there last year. I’m not a New Age sort of person at all, but I found this place special and instinctively knew it was a good space when I first went last year. Rather than working against my Christian faith, I felt like it actually enhanced it. So since I had to drive a long distance today, I decided to go again.

The light therapy room wasn’t open yet, so I spent a little time in the prayer room upstairs, which is held in a geodesic dome. The acoustics are odd–everything echos but not in an unpleasant way. I sat down and spent some time talking to God and I felt He was there with me and that everything was going to work out today. I felt a sense of relaxation come over me and I didn’t even notice the pain in my upper back anymore (I suffer from back muscle strain from my day job). I took this photo of the inside of the prayer room:

prayer_room

In the light therapy room (which is free–everything is free of charge here), I sat down in one of the soft partially reclined chairs, grabbed a small blanket, and focused on the lights. The room is lit in order by seven colors ranging from red to purple. Each one represents the seven chakras (which as a Christian I don’t have a problem with–I believe the chakras exist). Soft music played. I started to feel a bit sleepy but then it was over. I got up, stretched, and felt very peaceful and centered.

labyrinth2 labyrinth1
2 views of the labyrinth.

I wandered around the grounds until I came to the labyrinth. I’m not sure what spiritual purpose a labyrinth is supposed to have, but I walked through its maze and looked around at the trees until I came to the center, where visitors leave “offerings.” I pulled out two small items from my purse and set them there, then walked back through the labyrinth to the parking lot.

offerings2 offerings1
Can you tell from the pictures which two items I put there? The first is the Before picture. Click to enlarge.

I drove back through the mountains and into town and as the traffic began to build up, I felt the stress return and my back and shoulders began to hurt again. Back to real life.

The check engine light also came back on almost the same moment I felt the stress return. Was this a coincidence or not? My stress level rose. I prayed for the feeling I had earlier today.

I took the car to the inspection station and got a second Failed inspection, which I knew I would get. I drove to the DMV and to my shock, was seen right away by a very nice man who looked at all my paperwork and issued me the waiver. So tomorrow I take that last step–going to the DMV’s registration office first thing in the morning and finally getting my car legal. Call me crazy, but I’m actually excited about that!

Life is so wonderful and weird sometimes.