Are you like a zombie bank? Zombie life on borrowed time and money (Part One)

My Saturday mornings are zombie time and this week I have been pondering zombie-lives

How do you spend your Saturday mornings? Some people race around. I find that the best review programmes tend to be on radio and TV on Saturday mornings and I like to let the world wash over me, get up late, and spend some time reflecting on how the week went before I go out to do the shopping and join friends for a meal.

During the week I tend to push observations that are not particularly practical to the back of my mind. In my Saturday morning time, I pull them to the front and tidy them up – make sense of them.

This week I kept brushing up against full-scale denials

In quite unrelated incidents I remembered and noticed a peculiar habit that some people have ~ that we must all have ~ of denying reality.

Of course, it is absurd to think we ever have a completely accurate grasp of the world around us. And we know that there is nothing more delightful and shocking than the view of the world from a completely different perspective. But sometimes we actively deny reality.

Mother of an abused child syndrome

  • I once lived and worked with people who had what I called “mother of the abused child look.” Whenever anything difficult came up, they looked past your left ear.

No one else lives here syndrome

  • I lived previously in a place with quite shocking art. It had no depth perception and the background was often blurred. The background certainly never had people in it except as a silhouette on the horizon.

We are invented the moon, we really did

  • I’ve known communities who live a perfectly Walter Mitty life. They have quite grandiose ideas about their contribution to the world matched only by shocking squalor of their physical circumstances and sparseness of their professional knowledge.

Denial in the big bad West

In the big bad West of the developed world, there is another phenomena. This is not necessarily an individual phenomena, I might add. We all do the things I describe, so it is a cultural phenomena – a collective way that we experience our collective life and express our collective purpose.

As it happens, as it does, a good description of this phenomenon arrived in my Google Alerts in a post on leadership from by John Ortberg, whom I don’t know, but I take it from the details is a Christian minister in the USA. Sadly there is no comment box to leave a note appreciating his work. It you are running an Alert on yourself, thank you.

Deteriorate as slowly as possible

John makes the point that many people seem to live by a motto “Deteriorate as slowly as possible.”

When you have been big, rich and powerful, inevitably there is some decline ~ at least in bigness, richness and power.  Inevitably when you live in a country that is big, rich and powerful, then you have, say, a 66% chance of not really being big, rich or powerful yourself and you live in the reflected glory of people who make your country big, rich and powerful.

The flip side of success then is deterioration. That is is just reality.  It is not a psychological phenomenon.

It becomes sad, it becomes a denial or reality, when we aren’t aware of our deterioration, or we are stuck in deterioration ~ moaning, complaining and whinging such as the English are prone to do. Deterioration is part of our life. It has to be as the shadow of success.  But we must live well within it.

How should we deal with deterioration?

How should we deal with deterioration? Gracefully? That is one option. Gluttonously – that is another option – I know someone who said she enjoyed living in decadent societies. But why not exuberantly? Why can’t we enjoy the morphing and regeneration that is a natural part of life as a snake changing its skin? Why can’t we celebrate the cyclical shriving? Why can’t we celebrate newcomers and mourn the departure of old ways in dignity?

I’ll list John Orteg’s questions for recognising communities who are deteriorating in an unhealthy way in Part Three: Questions to Recognise Cultural Deterioration and What To Do About IT

Part Two: Deny Deterioration at the Cost of Your Love of Life

Part Three: 6 Symptoms of Deteriorating as Slowly as Possible

Crossing the Rubicon – when vague wish becomes determined intent

Some days we wake up determined

Today, I woke up with things to do – all the things that somehow never made it on to today’s to do list.  Do you ever have one of those days?

Crossing the Rubicon

In psychology, we call it “crossing the Rubicon”.  The Rubicon is a river in north Italy.  Ceasar sat the wrong side of it with his troops and knew that the day he crossed over, he would be declaring war on Rome and that there would be no going back.

Rubicons in our lives

We have many Rubicons in our lives.  Going to university, getting married, buying a house.  We have many “once only actions” through which we are changed forever.

The public and the personal

Some of these are obvious and we often mark them with a public celebration. Some are personal.  We know that we personally have crossed a Rubicon.

The everyday

And some are just everyday ~ we go from wish to intent and get on with action.

Crossing the Rubicon is not all good

We can be a little bit of a menace in the “crossing the Rubicon” mood ~ because we are so determined to get something done.  We might also be short-tempered and impatient with others.

But get things done, we do!

Crossing the Rubicon – that moment when vague wish becomes determined intent.

For an inspiring 20 minutes: JK Rowling @ a Harvard commencement

Just in case you don’t know, JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books. She was also invited to address a Harvard graduation day (they call it commencement on that side of the Atlantic.)

JK Rowling tells her life story and she is very very funny. She also illustrates positive psychology. You will be inspired

One and two: Twenty minutes together.

The Art of Determination

Harare International Festival of ArtsDo not ask life for meaning, ask rather what meaning you give to life?

With apologies to Viktor Frankl who made the acute observation that we have to respond to the challenges that life present to us.

The Harare International Festival of Arts took place in Harare as scheduled – in spite of 165 000% inflation, in spite of delayed election results, in spite of the increasing violence.

Life informs arts.  Photographer Chris Kabwato  blogged his pictures including witty exhibitions in the Zimbabwe Art Gallery.