Tuesday, October 25, 2005
When I was growing up as a kid Halloween was one of my favorite holidays but for nearly 30 years I really didn’t pay too much attention to this “pagan” holiday. Halloween has once again become one of my favorite holidays. What is there not to like about Halloween? Oh, I could do with a bit less of the blood and gore that is associated with the holiday but there is so much else to love about this fall holiday. There are the pumpkins, the annual Charlie Brown Halloween special, the orange and black colors, the references to ghouls and goblins, the costume parties, the cute little kids that come to your door who can barely say twic or tweet, the haunted houses, the ghost stories, and lets not forget the candy galore.
I love Halloween. It’s a fun holiday. Much simpler and less stressful than Christmas. You don’t have to worry about what to buy or run around town fighting hoards of other folks in search of the perfect present. All you need to do is boogie on down to the store and buy some candy for the kiddies and if you don’t want to participate in the passing out of candy tradition you can opt out and go out for dinner or a movie. I love watching old monster classics during this time of the year, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon….and….some recent cult favorites which include The Army of Darkness, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and American Werewolf in
We need Halloween as individuals and as a nation. We need to let our hair down from time to time and Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to do so without the threat of losing all our dignity. Our society has become so serious and stressful on numerous fronts these days and Halloween provides an outlet, at least for one day, to release a bit of personal and national angst. Personally I think they should make Halloween a national holiday and I think everyone should be forced to dress up for the day, including the president. I wonder what costume would look good on George Bush?.....Hmmm???.....If my little Halloween promo hasn’t convinced you of the merits of taking the time join the antics of the ghosts and goblins of your local neighborhood than for your sake and the sake of the country take some time to chill on Halloween night at least make an attempt to join the rest of us crazies in spirit if not in action…..
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Rhythm.....the rhythms of the body......since I quit teaching summer school over the past couple of years I have become increasingly self aware of the rhythms of my own body and the effects of living at "frantic speed" because unlike most folks I now actually have enough time off to experience a significant change in my body's rhythm due to the radical change of the pace of my life which occurs during the summer......Some observations......For the past two years I have ended the school year with a significant amount of back pain which has required multiple visits to chiropractors, doctors, and even a series of visits to a local acupuncturist. While each visit brought some temporarily relief it wasn't until two or three weeks after I stopped seeing the various doctors that the pain eventually subsided or went away completely.....armchair amateur medical self analysis......I have concluded that the pain subsided, in large part, because of the dramatic change of pace of life and the increased amount of exercise I get as I romp around on vacation each summer.....more observations.....every school year I start off the year in high spirits because my body, mind, and spirit has had time to rest and adjust to what I believe is the a more natural rhythm of life but by this time each year I begin to feel my body, mind, spirit, and soul breaking down as the stress mounts and the pace races faster and faster due to grading papers, meetings, lesson planning, and the additional pressures of meeting both state and federal educational standards. Since the school year has started I have probably gained some ten pounds and am at the point where I feel like I am on a run away train and I can't get off. Know the feeling? Feel the pain?
This yearI am determined, more than ever, to do something about the situation I find myself in. I have already made some minor changes which include cutting back on running around on the week-ends and staying at home more during the fall. I have also decided to revisit Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.'s excellent book "Timeshifting" and integrate some spiritual/meditative/psychological exercises and insights which I will talk more about in the days and weeks to follow......Points of frustration.....While I am optimistic that a person can change significantly inside and out I am also reminded by reality that we all to one degree or another live in a society and individual subcultures that don't seem too concerned about the unatural rhythms of life and frantic pace of life that prevent us from taking a hard look at ourselves, our society and the increasing stress related to the crash course we are all on. In other words, our challenge is more than individual because much of what I have identified is instutionalized on numerous fronts, IMHO......At this point I don't have many answers or suggestions for myself or the society at large but I suspect as individuals we may need to begin by slowing down and learning to live in the moment. I'll have more to say later but for now I'll leave with these thoughts from Stephan Rechtschaffen......"To be aware of time, we must develop new attitudes and new skills. This involves focusing on one thing at a time., learning to slow down and notice---really experience----our physical and emotional states. It involves reacquainting ourselves with our senses, our friends, our spouses, our children, and just what it is to be in this moment....If you feel your life rushing by, as though you can't keep up ieth all your obligations nad the demands upon you.....just stop! Begin with jsut a moment. Allow yourself to be aware and to feel in this moment. "