Cheryl Pappas
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Come Home for the Holidays

For those seeking a sex or holiday booze article, click onto something else immediately, like TMZ or the Today Show.
In the spirit of holiday cheer, I challenge everyone to follow Nancy Reagan’s sage words, “Just say no” to turning away from having your own mind.
Plug yourself back in right this minute and, as they say, “check this out”.

While the news we breathe has bottomed us out, in the sheer abundance and details of everyday violence and hatred, we humans have stopped thinking and feeling and responding to anything.
Gone are the days of outrage. There is no draught or pause in the horrors that collect and take up residence in our psyches today.
Personal responsibility is not just unpopular. The media force feeds victimization onto us all, to the tune of rage and no truths being told.
The question is, how to revive thinking in our people and how to stop collecting media-imposed trauma and emotional manipulation?

Manipulation is now such a problem that people have stopped feeling anything at all.
In fact, to hear it from corporate entertainment commercials, having real thoughts or feelings is a problem best solved by immediately calling your doctor for a prescription. Side effects, be damned. Better to face death than sadness.

In the spirit of holiday cheer, I challenge everyone to follow Nancy Reagan’s sage words, “Just say no” to turning away from your own mind, heart, and independent self.
I’m proposing a winter experiment.
Let’s see if we can come back to life by side-stepping the cheap distractions tempting us to leave our selves.
Come on. Just an experiment.

Distraction #1. Finding comfort.
It’s perfectly understandable to desire comfort in trying times, but right now comfort is in the way of finding our brains.
Comfort is a tricky seductress.
While smart people can all agree that comfort talk, i.e. “It’s all good“, is phony, who doesn’t want to wrap themselves all the way up in a warm mini-series, i.e. The Killing, and unplug from having a personal life?

Comforting words and passages and comforting books of spiritual wisdom are always beautiful, yet at the moment, not helpful either if we are to wake up.
Enough with the “16 Steps To Inner Harmony”.
Maybe you can’t smell the thick smog of thoughtlessness parading as harmony, but I can.
There is no harmony without clarity.
As Cher said in Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!”

Distraction #2. Acting out.
Sure, it feels good to follow celebrity twitter fights.
More taxing, obviously, would be to discover why we are obsessed with who is dissing Jennifer Aniston today.
Watching other people acting out pettiness and stupidity is the only feeling of human closeness some people have.
I understand.
Why is everyone so angry?
Why are you so angry?
We are sleepwalking with unspoken human responses.
We have become mute, yet we are still human.
So where are they, these bottom-line human responses of our very own?

In short, hell, yes, we feel something; everyone in this society is desperately covering up these blips of real feeling, via distractions and/or medication, but the feelings still exist.

Distraction Tool #1: Texting.
Texting is big because we can focus on typing, and so it is both physical and mental; two distractions in one!
Looking down at our hands used to be a sign of discomfort and obvious embarrassment.
Remember, boomers?

When you were having an in-person talk with a friend, way back in the ice age of childhood, and that friend suddenly looked at his hands, what would you have thunk?
Whatever it was, it had something to do with discomfort and sweaty palms.

Today, the techno toy we hold and look down at is a terrific distraction, not only when we are out to dinner with so-called friends, but also while walking and texting across streets like L.A.’s Wilshire Blvd. during heavy commuter traffic hours.
Streams of passive-aggressive sleepwalkers, typing furiously away, blanket the boulevards.

There they all are, heads down, metaphorically waving middle fingers into the road, daring those drivers in their Escalades racing home to the west side not to mow them down.
Perfect distraction, this typing, as in the junior high school typing class that bored me into lucid dreaming.
(Granted, had I stayed awake, I would now be able to hammer out these blogs at 1/1000th of the time it currently takes me with my 2 finger-punch approach).
The point is, anyone left with an ounce of heart and curiosity knows this era of distraction is nowhere. Nowhere near, that is, the heart and beautiful originality of the mind we could be expressing and creating from.

We are mute with each other and nowhere near having a proactive response to a world going cuckoo.

It’s as if a team of societal landlords are jacking up the extremes of traumatic news reporting to measure just how few human brains are still in personal use.

Ferguson, NYC, Florida, young girls missing and found dismembered, viruses from airplanes via somebody’s trip to Africa, corrupt housing markets and financial insanity, Bill Cosby, phony two-party politics, celebrity baby bumps and bitchiness, homegrown racial hatreds.
Enough, people!

When was the last time any of you used your perfectly good brain power to have a private discussion with yourself having nothing to do with someone else’s famous or infamous life or other people’s opinions of the day?
How about your own state of mind/feelings/being?
What do you care about?
Where do you personally stand on these hysterical headlines?
What do you think or feel or really have to say?
What is important to you?
What have you personally left behind in your life that you could pick up again in order to have a life?
How do you get your own mind back?

Now that the Christmas shopping season is on countdown, we have distractions in stereo.

Here’s the meat of my temporary challenge.

Whether you decide to listen to the Clearwater Channel loop of recycled Xmas muzak or the NPR daily roundup of moment by moment global atrocities with their team of British correspondent geopolitical analysts, keep track of the morbid residue collecting and gunking up on the bottom of you.

That’s right. There was wisdom in that overused therapy question, “What are you feeling?”

Let it all rise to be known by you and take a clear look at exactly what comes up in your heart and mind.

You are a person of heart and mind.

Pay attention.

Wake up.

No commitment. Just an experiment.

Come on back home.
At least for the holidays.

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