Archive for the ‘evolution’ Tag

Standing up against spikes

I’ve got a gripe, and it has nothing to do with this blog. But it’s my blog, and I have eight wonderful RSS subscribers who may by now be used to my flights in all directions, so I’m gonna ‘shout out’ about this issue.

(Now, I’ve been posting here with regularity 3-5 times a week for nine months, and so you may ask why I have just eight subscribers. Reasons may be many, but one for sure is that my viewpoints and voice are fairly peculiar, and perhaps not shared by huge numbers of people. Why do I keep writing? Just practicing scales, like any composer. I may be crazy, but I know this tool is here for my use however I see fit, regardless of the number of fans it attracts. I’m just that selfish.)

Here’s my gripe: spike heels.

I’m a compassionate person, and I don’t like seeing others in pain. The other day, we attended the graduation ceremony at a large university. Nine out of ten women (amongst the 1,000+ graduates) wore spike heels to accessorize their graduation gowns.

Of course, the same phenomenon can be observed on any city street, in restaurants and offices, any place where fashion matters.

Every time I see a woman wedged into these instruments of torture, I feel her pain. I am a woman, I know what it is to wear these modern imitations of the ancient Chinese feet-binding practice. I wear lipstick, low heels, and short skirts. But I simply cannot understand why women, who definitely choose the mutation, continue to patronize the tyranny of spikes.

(To be fair, I see the continued wearing of ties by men in this same anachronistic light. Note, however, that ties pose little health threat, while spike heels threaten the backbone, the core of our vitality.)

Okay, it’s the sexiness factor. Spike heels draw the eye to your butt, and their shiny pointy-ness lends an air of sado-masocism that awakens an excitement residing deep in us all, let’s go ahead and admit it. I understand the allure.

But they are painful to wear and walk in, they cause a dangerous sway in the backbone, they make one unsure of one’s footing, and they perpetuate the pedestal notion of the female. The pedestal notion keeps a woman on the shelf, an object to be used only when the real humans, the men or the masculine, have the whim to activate you.

A few years ago, I watched a high school choral presentation, and the same medieval oppression pervaded there. The girls wore tight dresses and high-high heels; the guys wore loose clothes, and sneakers. It made me so sad. I wish women would be more proud of who they naturally are, instead of accepting pain for the sake of fashion.

So I guess my gripe is not against spike heels themselves, but against the ignorance or weak will or paranoia or fashion slavery or bad education of the wearers. Haven’t decided which possible culprit is most to blame. The fact that these two events – a high school choral performance and a university graduation – were part of the education world certainly suggests our training does not counter this cruel habit.

If you ask a woman who’s wearing these stilettos if she enjoys the experience, she will probably gush eye-rolling thrill about it. But soon as she hits the car, the shoes are torn off with a deep sigh of relief. She thinks she enjoys wearing them, but the truth is she’s horribly uncomfortable.

The potential strength of a full population of comfortable women is not to be underestimated. We must get there, for the continued health of humankind! The reluctance of women to express their true selves, to get beyond vanity, slavery to the patriarch, and the mindset of second-class citizens retards our evolution.

OK. Enough already. Thanks for listening.

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Iconoclasm

Perhaps the key to our present economic dilemma is the good old “Think Globally, Act Locally.”  The phrase has been around for a while, but we’ve yet to really learn its meaning.

Seth Godin, in his infinite practicality, wrote yesterday, If you act small and think big, you are too small to fail. You won’t need a bailout because your business makes sense each and every day. You won’t need a bailout because your flat organization (no matter how large it is) knows about problems long before they’re too big to deal with.”

Trouble is, the idea of wealth as material gain will not be satisfied with acting locally. World dominion is the only dream of big business. The moguls seek horizontal growth, as far as it can possibly reach, and see little value in vertical digging in. More customers is the obsession of big business; deepening the relationship with current customers rarely if ever happens.

How much we are like children! Though we may suspect that world dominion is not only unsustainable but even undesirable, it’s contrary to human nature to turn away from big sparkly things. Give a child a toy that makes noises and lights up and he will learn to scorn the simple sticks and boxes that were his previous delights. But we’ve also learned that playing with everyday objects is far more nourishing to intelligence, creativity, and soul in general than the plastic do-it-for-you toys.

The issues of our time require evolutionary change. We are being called upon to improve the state of humanity on Earth. We are growing up into a time when childishness and selfishness will no longer suffice. It’s time to put away our toys, to devise truly sacred dreams, not merely ambitious ones. It’s time to leave behind the icons of material wealth and create gods that more honestly reflect the human spirit.

Playing with the edge

Consider the infinite diversity of our world.  Consider the vastness of the universe.  Consider how your love is so deep as to consume your entire consciousness and yet the one you love is never entirely knowable to you.

Years ago, a yoga teacher encouraged us to ‘play with the edge.’   If you’ve ever done yoga, you know the experience of moving into the pose, moving as far as you can to the edge of your capability, and hanging there.  It’s that place where you can, with patience, pry open the door to personal progress.  Do not shrink from that edge; rather, learn to go there gently and confidently and remain there in calm strength.

To progress, to learn, to evolve into our ideals, we do best to become comfortable with living on the edge this way.   If ignorance is not knowing what you don’t know, enlightenment is opening to the universe beyond your personal edges, allowing the probability that what you don’t know is infinitely larger than what you do know.  Once past selfishness and fear, you find that the vastness of the unknown becomes the very nourishment of your days.  Staying within your native ‘comfort zone’ no longer satisfies.

While these thoughts pertain to personal life, they apply just as well to the business world.  In your work, do you cling to the known, the predictable, the accustomed?  Whether boss or employee, do you catch yourself striving to establish once and for all your systems and methods?  Do you tend to ignore issues that are distasteful or threatening to you?  Do you wait until conditions force you to buckle before you speak up or take action?

Consider how learning to hang at the edge, to abide not in the center of your known world but at its fringes, will spin a life more enlightening and rewarding than you can even imagine.