Smiling Souls

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Enabling Strength and Independence in Women

December 3, 2014 by Richard

In an ideal world it wouldn't be surprising or unusual to find women who are strong and independent, and I think women are realizing this in themselves more than ever.

There is still this tendency for women to put their own needs and desires on the back burner in favor of what they think other people expect from them, what their families expect from them, what their children expect from them, what their husbands expect from them.

I think the empowerment of feminine ideals, and helping women to find strength and independence in themselves starts with the romantic relationship -- women's relationships with men. It doesn't end there, and of course, there are many more components. Some women are gay and this might not apply in their situations depending on the relationship they share with their partners. You don't have to be a man to be chauvinistic, and you don't have to be a woman to be enslaved by chauvinist ideals, and I'm not going to go cross-eyed overthinking my pronouns.

If a woman chooses to do the things we might think of as falling into a chauvinist way of thinking of her own free will and is happy with her life and her life choices, then her decision should be respected. Not all who appear to be enslaved, actually are. What I have brought forth to discus here are situations where a woman is bullied or manipulated into doing these things, and situations where a woman does not have a choice in doing these things, and situations where she is seen as unequal to her male counterpart. Those situations signal abuse; she lives in a state of suffering, and her suffering should end.

Some men have this ridiculous notion that women were put on this earth to be their slaves, and sadly, some women readily accept that. And yes, I have allowed that ideal to seep a little into my thinking too in the past. I never completely embraced it, but I know I'm not perfect all the same. I've made mistakes too. The good thing about making mistakes is realizing that you can learn from them, you can change, and you can move forward. You don't have to stay the same if you don't want to.

Women should work to find it in themselves to push back and say no to this ideal of chauvinistic enslavement. There is nothing wrong with saying no to this, and in fact, it is more helpful for everyone involved when she does say no. If she declares boundaries and holds true to the idea of equal partnership, he is forced to reconcile his beliefs with reality, and to participate equally in the partnership or fend for himself, alone. Men should work to find it in themselves to stop placing women in that position in the first place.

Women who have fallen victim to enslaving ideals must realize how to establish boundaries, and that boundaries are healthy and necessary. She declares what she finds to be reasonable and equal, he does the same, and they adjust until balance is achieved.

What must be considered when establishing boundaries? It is important to understand that she needs her own time and space as much as he does. That he can make his own plate of food at a gathering. He can wash the laundry too and share this chore with her. He can prepare some food for the family too and also share that chore. He can look after the children too. He can share in all of these things with her, and do them as well as she can, and share the responsibility of the home instead of insisting that she do all of this on her own, alone. He should not only do it, but do it with passion, with humility, grace, patience, joy, and gratitude, or at least aspire to those. He isn't a child and he should participate in life fully. She can earn a dollar as well as he can, she is every bit as smart as he, and it is nonsense to believe otherwise.

In other words, she is not less than him, they are equal.

Society would like us to believe in gender stereotypes and believe in their stereotypes more than our connection to each other. They want to say: don't believe your lying eyes, don't listen to your lying heart. They want us to believe that women are dumb, they are frivolous with their money, they are incapable of critical thought, they can't drive, they can't do anything... without a man. Bullocks! They are too soft, they are too sensitive, their minds are clouded in emotion. Bullocks! She isn't an object put here for his amusement; for his jollies and thrills. She isn't here to do his housework, to be his personal janitor. She isn't here to be a human factory, pumping out babies for him. She is a living, breathing human being with thoughts, hopes, aspirations, desires, dreams -- a soul. Her consciousness and her soul is not less capable or less in any way than his, she is his equal.

It isn't emasculating for men to recognize and accept these things, it is emasculating to deny them.

Men are victims too though. It isn't strong and independent for a man to force a woman to do all of these things for him. It is lacking in virtue and imbalanced. He has enslaved himself just as much as his female partner. He is letting himself avoid participating fully in his own family and being fully present in the moment with her. What is more important? Sports? Television? Whatever hobby? A job? Are her interests worth less than his? Should they not give each other equal time and opportunity to pursue their passions? Their connection to each other is more important than anything on television, or anything that might pull him away. He has to find the balance in himself, and she in herself. They must find the path forward that is inclusive and supportive of one another.

They help each other in this partnership and they see to it to raise each other to the highest they are capable of.

If you aren't able to get to that level of partnership, ask, what is wrong? Something must not be right. More often than not, balance isn't something that is difficult to find in a truly loving relationship. It should be easy to get there. You want to be of service to one another, you want to share in responsibility, you want to grow and experience together. You want to give each other this gift of balance and harmony. What stands in the way? What walls can be taken down? What can be done to make life better? What fear can be overcome? What guilt can be left behind?

There isn't a medal for sticking it out in an imbalanced, manipulative relationship. There isn't some great reward in the hereafter for allowing yourself to be crapped on, for foregoing your own happiness. Speak up, set boundaries, participate in life. Don't let fear and guilt ever hold you back from being happy. After all, choosing to be happy in the first place is key to being strong and independent. Everyone deserves to be happy, you are the best you that you can be when you are happy.

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The Machine

November 6, 2014 by Richard

So Chase decided to call and harass me today about my mortgage loan, which was due on the 1st, but is not considered past due until the 15th (their so-called grace period). I am paid every two weeks, so my payment schedule no longer falls neatly within the 1st and 15th of the month as it has for many years with previous employers. When I questioned the lady on the phone about calling about a payment that wasn't considered past due yet, she said they were being "proactive". Wonderful, they have decided to antagonize people under assumptions and speculation now. My intuition tells me that they just want to take my house and auction it off because they make more money that way. It isn't about the greater good of humanity, it's about the illusion of their greed, power, and imaginary money.

Our current system is deeply unfair and most of us know it. The banks make loans of obscene amounts of money for obscene amounts of interest that they very well know is difficult for anyone to repay. You might say, well, you agreed to it, didn't you? Sure, but so what? That doesn't make what they're doing moral or ethical. You can addict a baby to crack cocaine too, should you? No. Greed is not moral no matter who initiates it, or who agrees to it, or what the terms are. Greed is the same as cancer. It is can never be satisfied, and it will destroy everything in its path in its quest for the satisfaction that it can never obtain. That's why greed is greed, greed knows no boundaries. It can never be made good because that would be a paradox and it wouldn't be called greed anymore. Our monetary system is based on greed right now and sooner or later it will implode upon itself because greed is not sustainable, it will go until it has consumed everything it possibly can. And it will affect the entire population of this planet and life itself on this planet if we allow it to reach its logical conclusion of disaster. The destructive force of greed must be stopped. The good news is, we all more than have the power to accomplish this and more. We have always had that power.

The people that perpetuate greed are not bad people. They suffer from a mental illness and they need love and support, as all people do. My idea of love and support is to withdraw my support for their greed machine as quickly as I possibly can so that it will stop working for them and then healing can really and truly begin. I have supported that machine in the past by continuing to participate in the machine. The machine being the materialism, consumerism, credit cards, loans, etc. We don't need any of this stuff to survive and live. There is a way to live within the boundaries of sane and reasonable resource usage without supporting this machine of theirs. They desperately try to convince us that we need things we don't need. They try to turn 'want' into 'need', and very often they succeed at doing this. Every day they do it with their psy-op television and advertisements and so on, all designed to hypnotize and control and stimulate your base instincts of desire and take up residence in your subconscious mind. The only way out is to turn it all off. Turn away from all of it. Turn off television. Instead, talk to your loved ones, go outside and spend time on this wonderful planet of ours, read a book, exercise, be happy and stimulated by life itself rather than the lives of imaginary people that don't matter because they don't really exist. More of us are waking up to what's really happening and we're realizing that we have a choice. We have always had a choice. We can wake up and support each other, support love, support peace, and support our mother earth, or we can keep feeding the illusion and their greedy power machine. Well the machine stops if we withdraw from it.

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Cut the Cord

November 5, 2014 by Richard

If we refuse to participate in the system, the system's power becomes null and void and it collapses on itself. Cancel your credit cards, stop buying things as much as possible, and when you do buy things be very discerning with whom you choose to support. Don't feed the beast. Turn off the television, cancel TV services. Ignore the media, ignore the propaganda. See your favorite television for what it is, hard drugs to keep your consciousness addicted, unfocused, and unsatisfied. Realize that you will never be satisfied. There will always be another episode to watch, another cliffhanger to keep you coming back for more. Ignore both sides of politics, they are both right and both wrong. Yes we should all help people as much as they will allow us to, but people should also take responsibility for their own lives and realize they are in control of their own destinies. The solution to our political problems can be realized without division, hate, and fear. The media circus sows fear and division, that is its purpose, and no good can come from fear and division. It is meant to keep us endlessly distracted, divided, and fighting each other, instead of the real enemy, which is fear. Their power only remains as long as the people consent to it, without consent, they have no power. It is a struggle to realize these goals, I myself have only just begun to follow my own advice, but I am absolutely committed.

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I had an idea yesterday that I really liked. I have been thinking about zombies and other horror staples as metaphors for psychological illness and dysfunction in mainstream world culture. I see all things, even scary things, as reflections of the soul. Things to gain positive insight from, to grow from, and to evolve from. The zombie as a ghoulish creature is an interesting reflection of self. It thinks very little. It is not self aware. It mindlessly consumes the flesh of living people whenever possible. It festers, and rots, and falls apart.

For me, zombies reflect in their most distilled representation, misery. Misery loves company, and misery will seek out any path that presents itself to bring to itself that company. What a coincidence, because zombies love company too. You might say they are drooling over it!

In a more fine-grained understanding, zombies reflect the misery of mindless consumerism and constant escape. If you look at aspects of life on earth, it isn't very difficult to make the connection between zombies as a metaphor and the materialistic consumerist culture. Where living animals are treated like inventory. Where plants are modified without consideration for the harm that modification might cause to people. The onus for this falls at the feet of the consumer, who does not consciously recognize or consider how their behavior plays a role in feeding this tragically uncaring beast of greed, gluttony, sloth, and misery.

Consumerism is like the zombie because it consumes indiscriminately and without regard for the source of what it consumes. It feeds and feeds and feeds until there is nothing left to feed on, and it leaves nothing behind to carry on when it has passed. It does not even have regard for destroying itself in the process of consuming or seeking out consumption.

Another aspect of the misery reflected in zombies is the constant need to escape. The need to escape through television and movies. The need to escape through drugs. The constant need to escape any meaningful self reflection, dialogue, or interaction with self or with other people. At its core, the zombie does not think, it carries on in a trance like state reacting only to its primitive desire to make more zombies by consuming all living flesh it sees until that flesh becomes a zombie too.

Of course, we need certain things to stake out an existence, material things aren't themselves bad. Neither is consuming meat in itself a bad thing. But an ethical and realistic approach to solving the zombie problem looks vastly different than the one conditioned upon us by the wealthy elite. It requires treating animals as living beings, just as necessary and equal in existence as humans are, and providing animals with their natural environment and the care a living being should have. If the animal is a chicken, then it should be doing things that you imagine a chicken would do. Pecking food from a lush green field, for example, running free. Not grown in tiny cages the animal is not allowed to depart while being pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to squeeze the most money out of its brief and miserable existence. Practicing LOVE demands that any animal be treated well and that its existence be respected and regarded as sacred, rather than something to control and dominate.

Likewise, the destruction of natural environment must end. Trees, green growing things, the ocean, the air, are all sacred things required for both humans and animals to exist on the earth. The impediment to realizing harmony and balance with mother nature is materialism and greed. Greed never finds enough to be satisfied, that's why it is called greed. Today greed has destroyed so much habitat that entire species are on the brink of extinction, and greed will not be satisfied once it has made extinct the entire earth, not even when the last breath is choked out of the last living thing.

The various tools of escape have to be minimized or eliminated. First, it is required to consider the motivation behind tools of escape and what those things bring in terms of personal growth. Where it concerns television, video games, and movies, not all are equal. The objective of television is to keep watching television, and so television is designed like a fly trap. It lures in and won't let you leave easily. One episode is intentionally designed to be a cliff hanger, to keep you coming back to watch the next episode and the one after that, ad infinitum. Television and movies also portray a very unrealistic view of life. You get lots of drama and violence and imagination. Life seems very exciting through the eyes of someone else when you can live vicariously through that person in a world that does not exist with characters that don't exist. But when you leave the television or the movie and return to your own life, your own life seems less fulfilling and more dull. You are not as excited about your own existence. Not as excited or interested in talking to your wife or husband or children. The event of the day of an ordinary life don't feel as fulfilling when you spend all your time engaged in someone else's idea of an adventure or good story. Additionally, through media, you are constantly being influenced and conditioned. Your point of view on political and social issues is influenced. You are constantly being subliminally persuaded to buy things to make your life better, even when more often than not you don't need those things.

Which is certainly not to say that all is bad in television, movies, and video games, some things excite and inspire. Some things lift up and cause great reflection leading to growth. It requires a discerning attitude to tell the difference.

The effect of lulling media essentially has the same effect as drugs in terms of escaping life and interaction with self or others. Turning off the television is a big step forward, doing so comes with the realization that you will never find the resolution you seek, it is an illusion. You are constantly being led like the rabbit to a carrot on a stick.

So in consideration of the zombie as a metaphor for social dysfunction, I've made a plan for my own future that involves as much self sustaining behavior as possible, and as little reliance on the outside world as possible. This involves paying off and canceling credit cards and loan debt. It involves the desire to own a farm, to grow food, to shepherd animals for both well-being and eating. I'm not perfect, and at this point in my own life these solutions are still in their infancy, but at least I have already recognized the zombie in my own behavior, awakened to it, and am taking steps in the direction of changing that behavior.

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