Cancel Culture: How to build a Tranquil Spirit in a Chaotic world.

There are times we don’t make progress in our work because something in our personal lives is holding us back. We may not feel worthy of the dreams you have for yourself. Even if we realize that this is the starting point of many heroic stories you find it difficult to place yourself in those stories. So, this is something we must begin to gain control of in ourselves. Our own dignity is worth cultivating, and that must begin within each of us.

I believe that there is nothing that can happen to us in life that can keep us from “starting over.” I don’t mean physically. Aging and any physical damage to our bodies are obstacles to be overcome. What I am talking about are things that damage our psyche and our spirit.

Especially now, in the new “Cancel Culture,” where people are bullied out of their jobs and are often cut off from family and friends there is so much fear of being singled out for humiliation. Many of us, who are of the baby Boomer generation, feel fortunate that the worst antics of our youth reside in our friends’ memories and not on video online somewhere. Still, we are all vulnerable. Our words can be taken out of context. We could be caught on cell phone video at our worst. We are all worried about being judged in a bad light.

Life, even at its worse, goes on. Even at our lowest point, we must move and think and start again. It may a great effort, but it must be made every day.

We must have faith we can return to life, though it may be different than it was before. The human spirit can overcome terrible events. It’s important that we keep that thought close to us when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our minds.

If there is something that you have done that is wrong and continue to do, even if you were compelled to do it because of your circumstances, then you must struggle to change that part of your life. If you can find help then get it.

Sometimes, I believe we are so close to our pain that we cannot determine why we do things we do not want to do. It can take years to figure out exactly how much guilt belongs to us and how much falls to others. But, if you are engaged in behavior that is harmful to yourself or to others, it will become your fault if you do not make an effort to change that behavior.

There is an old word that one hardly hears anymore. The word is “chastity.” Most people only know that it means refraining from sex. It does, but it also has other meanings.

Definition of chastity

1: the quality or state of being chaste: such as

  • a: abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse
  • b: abstention from all sexual intercourse The priest took a vow of chastity.
  • c: purity in conduct and intention… sought to protect her threatened chastity
  • d: restraint and simplicity in design or expression… describes the familiar campaigns with an admirable  chastity of diction.— Richard Brookhiser

2: personal integrity

In Western culture, the Christian Church centered much of its discipline around discipline in matters of sex, so that many of our words involving restraint and prudence in our daily affairs have a sexual connotation associated with them. But, discipline in our sexual lives is only a starting point in building up personal integrity. The liberating truth undergirding the discipline of chastity is that you are a human being worthy of respect and that other humans are also worthy of that same respect.

But, perhaps your problem is not something you feel you can control. If you are depressed, under personal attack or experiencing grief, even simple pleasures are difficult to enjoy. Suffering is not only mental, but can be physical. You should seek help if you find yourself in this state.

If events are not your fault you cannot always shake the feeling that you carry some guilt. Being a victim of another’s malice still makes you feel as if you caused it to happen. The younger you are when are when something harmful has happened to you, the harder it is to overcome the trauma. Shame, even if irrational, can make you believe that you are unworthy of love. That belief is something that you must fight every day. Remember, if you love, then you are worthy of love in return.

I do know, from my own experience, it’s hard to think straight when your whole being is in great pain. If you are a reader, it can be helpful to learn how other people who were completely crushed in spirit found a way out of that very dark place.

In my own searching for guidance, I found this book helpful: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

(Please note that I get a commission if you click on this link)

Amazon Book Description:

Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning.

Man’s Search for Meaning is more than a story of Viktor E. Frankl’s triumph: it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day.

Dr. Frankl survived the Nazi death camps. Anyone who has experienced deep trauma will undoubtedly see themselves in his experience. He doesn’t hold back in describing the horror of what he experienced there and his own response to it. He also offers concrete advice on how to pull yourself out of severe depression about your own situation.

Whatever is keeping you down and interfering with your life, whatever is causing you pain, cannot control you forever. You must work to see the dignity in yourself and work to protect it as best you can. It is never too late to restore dignity to your life.  

And you can start now. And if you fail, being again tomorrow. Discipline and self worth – your personal conduct and your own view of yourself – is something you can learn to control. No one can take it from you.

It’s your life, it’s your decision. Don’t let Cancel Culture get you down.

Until next time. 🙂

Motivation – the Train that Never Arrives

“We always have time for the things we need to do,
But never enough time for the things we ought to do.”

I have been waiting for the right motivation all my life. I have created many stories and characters in my head.  I’ve been dreaming of the day when I would finally finish my masterpiece. Then it hit me: Will I ever get it done? Where is my Motivation? 

Thinking is not doing. I know this. The above quote is from a friend and mentor who warned me about this nearly forty years ago. Still, it has taken me a very long time to truly understand what he was trying to express to me.

Why does motivation arrive for what I need to do and not for what I ought to do? It’s because writing, with the aim of publishing, is a risky business and the survival instinct in humans is all about reducing risks. Do I want to stand out from the crowd? Sure, I do. But, only in theory. Just thinking about how it will open myself up to public criticism makes me want to stay in bed all day safely hidden under the blankets.

This fear of risk-taking is the same reason why so few people do anything out of the ordinary. They fear starting their own businesses or speaking in public. It’s so much easier to simply keep our heads down and do the things people expect me to do. Mowing the lawn or washing the dishes may not be pleasant things, but they are familiar things to do, comfortable things. But when I up my pen – ink or digital – to begin something new that fear begins well up in my chest. To make it go away, I begin to look for the things I “need to do.” The fear subsides, but the desire to write continues to gnaw away in my heart and mind.

Motivation is never going to arrive. At age 61, I know that now. I must push on without it.

I wonder will it get easier? Will obscurity be my future? If so, I am afraid of nothing. Will fame cure that fear? Doubtful. Most famous people say celebrity status only made all their insecurities worse. What if the worse happens and I’m humiliated? Well, I’m old enough to have been there already – so what am I really afraid of? I think it’s a phantom fear and that’s how I must think about it to continue on.

How will I do it? I have thought about it a lot these past few months. And now when I start to recognize that terrible, debilitating fear of the risk welling up, I try to take courage and push that fear away.  I must concentrate on what I want to write. I must dare to make time for my art and do it regularly. Lastly, I remind myself: I need to do what I ought to do.

New Beginnings

To My Readers:

The world becomes more divided each day. It is difficult to decide how to tell what the truth of a matter is, much less what to do about it. We are continuously overloaded with information from many sources.

The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it doesn’t tell us which information is correct and it can’t tell us how to live a good life. We long for a kind of “evaluating science”, a method to cut through all the conflicting facts and opinions to find a way for ourselves and those we care about.

On this blog, I want to look at the confused world we live in today and try to make sense of it, at least enough to make life a bit more stable. We need a place where we can stand calmly in the center of the storm and push back against all the swirling problems that threaten to overwhelm us.

It’s a question that I’ve been engaged in as a personal journey for most of my life. Fortunately, I have found some wonderful guides along the way and here I hope to share some of their knowledge and wisdom to anyone who happens to stumble across this way.

I do not have a publishing schedule yet. And, I’m still in the process of setting up this website, so bear with me. Thanks! 🙂 Liz