Energy and Friendship — 3 Comments

  1. i like the attention you give this evasive, ruthless topic……… seems to me one of the well-disguised ills of modern society…….like you say, so so hard to let go of…………and without enough focus on it, there’s no real chance we’ll get any closer to the authenticity we long for……the truth we ache for all our lives.

    you name friendship, but what about FAMILY relationships…………?! ……………same problem, if not even worse!… unacceptible it is to be really honest to almost ANY of our family relations………………….and, if and when we finally admit something difficult………………..well, the ‘usual’ usually occurs: conflict, resentment, distancing………..we usually refrain, then, from all contact for periods of time that are painful and harmful…..and so tragically destructive to the family structure…….

    ….it feels like we are engaged in a long-term battle against pretense………..or against our own culture……..not to eliminate it or necessarily to replace it with another………………….but to protect the good in it from contamination from falsehoods…………to keep it relevant and healthy by change and evolution……to prevent calcification from the giant institutions that now rule and contaminate our world with falsehoods, lies and illusions they sell us in return for our core humanity.

    ……………we’re in a serious struggle for our humanity, and it’s important to face up to it and talk about it in earnest this way………………..

    thanks for bringing it to the table.

  2. Dear Rachel: I am going through the same thing. How can we be totally honest and transparent in our lives and still not cause pain to others? As we change and grow, we are attracted to spend time with others with whom we have shared values and shared reality. We end up spending less time with people who are growing and changing along different paths. I have an acquaintance here in Portland who wants to spend much more time with me than I do with him. So I choose what events, parties, etc I am going to that it would be fun to have him along. And I invite him. He invites me to things, and when I decline, I share what I am saying ‘yes’ to instead. Sometimes this may be time connecting with my inner child. Sometimes I prefer to connect with my friends overseas on that day, or I am doing volunteer work, but I am always saying ‘yes’ to something, when I say ‘no’ to being with someone else. Last month I sent as a preview to my e-mail announcement a quote that I expect will cause quite a few people on my list discomfort. Here it is:

    The less we participate in this abusive economy, the better. 10% unemployment is deplorable. We need 90% unemployment. If we really resent this system, let’s earn less, buy less, and own less. Let’s invest our time, energy, and resources in things that can’t be taxed or parasitized by corporations. Let’s deal not in dollars, but in energy, nutrients, materials, local currencies, and relationships. Let’s not expand, let’s stabilize. Let’s enjoy art, culture, and leisure. Perhaps we can topple the pyramid by shrinking the bottom. ~ Kyle Chamberlain

    I love this idea. It would scare the heck out of many of my friends and family to realize that I am such a radical. As I continue down the path of Occupy, I am distancing myself from the corporate world, and the domination culture outlook on life. So be it. I am opening to hope, beauty, delight, a new community, inspiration, and abundant life and joy. And I am ready to reveal my heart completely, and deal compassionately with anyone who wishes to take issue with it. No one did, by the way. The few e-mails I got back were from my new friends who loved the quote as much as I did.

    There are new friends out there waiting for you. But if you spend your time and energy with people out of a sense of obligation, you will never find them, and it will completely drain your energy.

    I have taken Marshall Rosenberg’s words to heart, and now do my very best to only take on activities and social get-togethers which bring me joy. I check inside, and if there is no joy, no excitement about the prospect, I decline. This gives me time to connect more deeply with you, my dear Rachel.

    • Thank you for your beautiful & inspiring words, dear Diane! I want to pick out one thread that i have particularly been pondering today: The lack of response you received on sharing the quote. This morning, i thought i’d rewrite a paper i wrote about cultural trauma – something i’ve been blogging about on my livelihood blog.

      When i reread the paper i wrote a few months ago i noticed two things:

      • was in a lot of pain when i wrote it – pain about discovering the implications of growing up in an intellectual household and some pain (and anger) about writing yet another paper for which i’d be measured.
      • Second, the comments of the teacher helped me realize how difficult it seems to be for people to accept that mainstream culture is traumatic!

      The connections that Kyle, you, i, and others are making, are hard to accept, maybe even difficult to follow, when we think the system is working. Well, this reminds me of a button i used to have: “If you think the system is working, ask someone who isn’t.” That has a whole new layer of meaning now, too, thanks to the quote! Hopefully, if we keep spreading the message – in the many forms that we do – we’ll be able to attain 90% unemployment and live happier ever after! 🙂

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