and now Charlie…

Illustration for Home Digest by Rui Ramalheiro
Illustration by Rui Ramalheiro

Kind of odd and creepy that I’ve been writing about Charlie. One of the main characters in my fiction (work in progress) is named Charlie. He’s a robot repair guy, not a journalist and not intentionally named after Mr. Rose. However, I’ve spent a lot of time with Rose over the past couple of years.  He’s the first person I see every day (on CBS Morning) and I’ve watched his late-night PBS show for at least 20 years.

With current comparison’s to the Pandora’s Box myth, I feel compelled to say that the aBoP (listed on my pinned post, of books and projects) is a reference to that myth.  I’ll  post an excerpt of my intro that explains why, but first I want to say how #SAD I’m feeling to learn of this dark side of Charlie Rose.
We all wrestle with addictions and kleshas (Buddhist term for our habituated tendencies) but so tragic to see a lifetime career in shreds over uncontrolled behavior.

Rose has discussed turning to meditation (over the past year or so.) Let’s hope he continues and that it provides relief and insight.  As I posted on twitter:  “We are definitely at an inflection point. Constant focus on sex and power in movies, TV and social media needs serious analysis and contemplation.”  We must also look at the intense violence that we constantly feed our youth.  These issues are all inter-related and entwined.  A society that favors explicit pornography, horrific violence and rarely focuses on positive values is doomed.

History does repeat, so take a look at the downfall of past great civilizations like Rome and Greece to see where we are headed.

With that, the Pandora story is very apropos so I will share how I explain it in the intro of my in-progress fiction:

“In the famous Greek myth, the god Zeus had a daughter named Pandora. When the time came for her to be wed, the king of fate and thunder gave his daughter, and her husband-to-be, a locked box (actually it was a large clay jar or pithos, but in translation it’s always been called a box.) The important part is the admonition that Zeus gave the couple: to assure your happiness, DO NOT OPEN!  Pandora couldn’t believe that her father would give her a gift she could not enjoy. So sometime after the marriage, while her husband was away, curiosity got the best of Pandora and she opened the gift. The most horrid things came flying out. She had unleashed all the evils of the world.

There are many variations of the story known as Pandora’s Box. I like the one that implies Zeus had locked up all the world’s troubles and entrusted his daughter to keep humanity safe.

What are the consequences of our 21st Century society’s lust, greed, and endless obsession for more (of everything)? How far can we go before everything collapses? Can we change our fate by changing our attitude? and what if we don’t? Perhaps this story will prompt you to ponder these possibilities.

So, why did I choose to call my story “a Box of Pandoras”? One of our favorite New Mexico governors, Bruce King, once warned our state legislators, ‘If you pass that bill you’ll be opening up a whole box of Pandoras.’  It became one of his trademark sayings. Rest his soul, we still laugh about it. But he (and Zeus) were right to warn about unleashing the world’s troubles.”  (c) 2015 – 2017

Now, I better get back to writing…

Seeing Clearly?

happy-new-yearEvery year millions of Americans make resolutions for the New Year, and sadly within a few weeks (or days) many will lose that resolve and revert to old habits and behaviors. This year let’s not see that as failure and throw in the towel.  Instead, see it as an opportunity to actually notice our patterns and work on those.  It’s the best way– maybe the only way–  to make real progress.

It’s been awhile since I discussed my books, thoughts on mindfulness and what it means to See Clearly.  I’m sure many of you who watched me rant on Twitter this past year wonder what  beneficial advice I could offer.  Most of us know what we “should do”, but often we forget or just don’t want to face it — myself included.  So, I wanted to start off this New Year with a post that hopefully can help us all, regardless of politics.

To elaborate on this concept of seeing our patterns, the first and hardest part is to recognize these patterns without a lot of judgement.  NO judgement would be best, but realizing that most of us are our own worst critics helps.  See, you’re not alone.  We all do it.  I was very critical of my snarky tweeting last year, but just couldn’t seem to stop.  I would read another person’s attempt at sarcasm and think, “hell, I can top that”  and then I’d spit out my best zinger.  Sure, some of them racked up a lot of views, but really, who cares.  Is it worth sacrificing my true principles for the momentary pleasure of tweeting? Isn’t that the question for all addictions? Is this drink worth it? Is this “fix” of whatever worth it? We know the consequences… we’ve experienced them many times before. But somehow we find endless ways to magically avoid seeing clearly.  So, that’s the trick. Noticing that we are ruled by our thoughts, desires and aversions.  And, of all things, that’s where meditation comes in 💡  (that’s a light bulb, not praying hands… but either works.)

It took me years to realize the real purpose of meditation.  It’s not to silence our thoughts (which is virtually impossible), but to notice them.  “Oh, now I’m reliving that episode again.”  And, don’t even think “I should stop.”  Simply notice that you’ve thought of that several times now or maybe it’s a new thought. Just notice the thoughts.  It’s quite a revelation in the beginning, like stepping back and seeing yourself in action. Maybe you’ve become aware of your habitual tendencies some other way, or you may be a long-time meditator and know there are many stages to the process, but this is a good one for starters. Just notice. It’s also called Mindfulness.

I would love to get more feedback and exchange thoughts here.  Sorry if I neglected to approve your comment(s) over the holidays.  I really do want more interaction here.  I’m going to post a poll with this on Twitter to see if people would prefer to read more nonfiction material like this, or want another fiction story (aka a novel.)  Maybe I should also ask if you like to listen to audiobooks, read eBooks or still like hard copy.  And, then there’s social media and virtual reality! Whatever way we communicate, here’s to a happier new year for all of us.