Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Segregation of Edward D

I was in the grocery looking at labels; specifically, honey.
There were labels with images of little bears, little bees, sun flowers, Grandma's home baked biscuits, wooden honey dippers and a plethora of honeycombs. All had some variation of a delightful golden yellow label. Next to the honey were shelves of berry jams and on the other side were still more shelves of peanut butter. Each had labels designed to make them stand out from the crowd. After a while, the plethora of labels for one product becomes mind numbing and they all begin to look the same.
There were so many standing out from the crowd they had formed a new crowd.
Humans have an innate need (compulsion?) to label everything. It's not just a tree... it's a maple tree. And it's not just a maple tree, but a sugar maple tree.
We tend to label ourselves as well. I am this... I am that. What we really mean, in a backhanded, passive way, is I am not something else. For instance, I am male and, therefore, not female. The presumption being that I will understand male things and not female things. (Go with that wherever the hell you want... not my circus.)
I am North American. Therefore, I cannot be anything other than North American. The population of North America is approximately 480 million people (Canada, Mexico and the United States). Since the world population is 7.33 billion, I've immediately separated myself from 6.85 billion other folks on the planet because I am not, suddenly, whatever they are.
And I only had to use one label.
If I go further and state that I am Canadian, I bounce another 445 million people off my “like me” list. Now I am the same as 0.5 percent of the world's population. Then again, I am male so the percentage drops to 0.25 percent. I was born in Sault Ste Marie and we all know Northern Ontario folks are separate and distinct from everyone else, thus the Monty Python Lumberjack Song. So now I am separated from 99.9995 percent of the planet's population.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
If I drill down far enough, I will eventually separate myself from every other human in the world. And it is not that difficult a task. Aside from places I've lived or where I was born, the next step is to use more personal things like hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, religious belief, sexual preference, IQ, EQ, hobbies, eating habits and on and on. In the end, I will become what is true for me and everyone else on the planet... unique.
But is that really true? Am I really so unique?
My uniqueness (quirky as it may be) brings me to the stunning conclusion we are all unique... which makes me no more unique than anyone else. In our labeling (attempting to stand out from the crowd), we all become the same... standing out on our own. In our uniqueness, we are the same... human.
The more I label myself into a corner, the more I separate myself from everyone else. And I wonder, sometimes, if it is nothing more than a convenient excuse. “I am this way because of... blah, blah, blah.” Or worse, it's an excuse for tyrannical behaviour. “They aren't the same as me because of... blah, blah, blah... so I'll treat them with less respect.”
The latter makes me physically ill.
My thought is this... until we stop labeling people and start treating each other respectfully as equals, none of this societal rendering goes away. None of the tyranny stops until we understand we are all nothing.
*** Atoms are made of light waves which are essentially nothing and from which we are all made which means we are all nothing and you can't be better than someone else if you are both nothing and you can't be worse than someone else if you are both nothing which means you must both be equal regardless of what we deem as physical appearance or emotional make up or what we choose or how we feel because we are all nothing. Whew! Talk about run on sentences! ***
If I continue to label myself, I'm only creating reasons to distance my self from those who are not of my label. I just can't get my head or my heart around that thought. 
I can't seem to distance myself from others because of a fictitious label. Perhaps there is a label for that.
As for the jars of honey, I picked a mid price point with a cute label inclusive of bees and went home with it. I'm pretty happy with my choice.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Steep, Rocky Embankments and Better Reasons

I'm looking for a farm... of sorts.
I've never really been a big city person. Somehow, I could never grow used to the noise and the smog and the crunch of people and the overwhelming anonymity between neighbours. Yes, I'm that guy who walks down the street and says good morning to everyone he meets and waves at people driving in the neighbourhood. I grew used to that in the country. As inane as it may seem to city folk, it makes a lot more sense to me than ignoring everyone.
I made it this far. Rough terrain.
My intent, then, is to move back to the country where my heart is already waiting for me.
At the same time, it's not something I'm willing to dive into head first. Oh, I'll move when the time is right and the appropriate piece of paradise pops up on my radar. I'm not nearly as impulsive as I once was. At fifty-four, I'm not as quick to dive into something just for the sake of diving in and I'm still young enough to take my time.
I should have thought of taking my time last week before I was sliding down a rock strewn gully two klicks into the bush while attempting to get to Borer's Falls. I was late getting to the trail-head and my impatience led to making a hurried misstep on a slippery rock. Okay... sometimes I'm a bit impulsive. Being back in the bush with a broken leg isn't my idea of a good time. I was bruised, strained and lacerated in a few places (with no broken bones) and took the mild hit to my confidence in stride knowing I'll make another attempt in a week or so when my ego heals a bit.
I should have been more prepared for the hike over rough terrain. I know better.
In some circumstances, not rushing in makes sense. Waiting for the right time and place in the continuum can be a good thing.
More importantly, getting into anything for the right reasons is imperative.
It seems to me relationships are like that. More often than not, I hear single people say they are looking for a relationship. When I ask why, the answer that often comes back is, “I'm tired of being alone” or “I don't like feeling lonely”. If that's your reason for looking to get into a relationship, you're doomed to fail. Why? Because it's the wrong reason. We can be “not alone” with anybody... or any body. Just go outside your living accommodations, look up and down the street, pick one and stop being alone. Pfft... dead simple.
If all you want is to not be alone, join a crocheting club and be with people.
Yes, I understand being with a person means meeting a man or woman to be with in a relationship. Yet, if you're searching for someone to stop being alone or to stop feeling lonely, you're in it for the wrong reasons. I've seen too many relational car wrecks because people jump into something so they can feel momentarily happy distracting themselves from themselves.
If you can't handle your own company, what makes you think someone else will be able and willing to handle it?
Further, if you're expecting someone to save you from whatever strife you have invented, I can tell you being a White Knight is exhausting. Eventually the armour cracks and falls apart leaving the knight exposed to everything coming at him or her. (Yes, women don the armour as well.) All I'm saying is we have to be comfortable with who and where we are before looking for happily ever after. Expecting someone else to save us from... whatever... isn't proactive. It's victim mode. I think we have to at least make an effort to solve our own issues. Sometimes we do need help. It's important to at least first make the effort to stand on our own two feet.
Our confidence in ourselves returns when make an effort to become comfortable with who we are.
Then, we can look for a relationship.
The much sought after relationship will probably find you at that point. Confidence is sexy and attracts attention. Just sayin'. It's kind of like farming. Without a good base, very little of value is going to grow.
So... the farm will show up when I'm ready. I have to trust the Universe is working on the connection. It will happen when it's meant to... if it's meant to. Not everything is meant to be. Sometimes the thought or dream is a pathway to something better. I just have to be ready.
As for the carnival ride down a rocky embankment, failure isn't failure unless I let it beat me. I'll heal the ego by making it to the bottom of Borer's Falls in a week or so. I just don't give up that easily.