Friday, August 24, 2018

Being comfortable in your own skin

I'd like to give a shout out to Ben Affleck, a superhero we all admire and respect. I'm not much for celebrity gossip. In fact I think people who obsess over the lives of the rich and famous really need to get a life. However, since a few news headlines crossed my desk I will comment on them.

First we hear People Magazine report that Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus split up after a year of dating over distance. It was amicable but they couldn’t make a long-distance relationship work. OK a little too much information but good for them. Two wonderful good looking individuals move on in an amicable manner. That's all that needs to be said. Oh but no, the sleazy paparazzi have got to trash things up a bit to stir up controversy so they can make a buck at others expense.

Then we hear that since the break up Ben has been spotted with a 22 year old Playboy model. OK that's really TMI. People have a right to privacy. Oh it gets worse. Then we hear his ex wife and her body guard just dropped Ben off at rehab. Give the guy a break. I mean really.

We are told that Ben Affleck lives in LA near his ex wife with whom he shares custody of their three wonderful children and that Lindsay Shookus lives in New York near her ex husband with whom she shares custody of her darling daughter. Young kids are involved in all of this. The tabloid trash need to back off. The MSM is turning into celebrity gossip.

In July the tabloids went on about how Ben's ex wife didn't want the woman he has been dating for a year near their kids. Ben and Lindsey were not seen together in public since. Meanwhile the tabloids are rolling their eyes about Ben going into rehab again as if we didn't know why. We're talking about three wonderful adults and four wonderful kids. Let them be.

Years ago I applied for a paid position as a youth leader. One of the teenage girls who was also part of the selection committee asked me in my interview what I would be willing to do with regards to talking with the youth about dating. I just shook my head and said dating advice?! Not a chance. I am divorced you know. If you want someone to teach the youth martial arts and take them on service projects I am totally down with that but if you want someone to sit there and talk about dating, you're going to have to find someone else. Needless to say I didn't get the job.

Nevertheless, over the years I have noticed various other people, famous and not so famous, go through relationship meltdowns. We saw Brad Pitt leave a healthy relationship for a passionate affair with a woman who completely screwed him over in the end. Was it worth it? Absolutely not. Even Curtis in New York has been through some pretty bizarre break ups. I'm like yo, I do not want to go out like that. I want to retain my dignity. I want to retain my self respect. After all, it's about being comfortable in your own skin.

Martin Luther King said "This is the judgement: Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others? Anybody can be great because anybody can serve." I agree. Service to mankind is the true measure of greatness, not material wealth. However, I'm at a different place in my life right now. I've served all my life and I do not regret one minute of it. Now, I lean towards Buddha who said "If you can, help others. If you can't help them, do no harm to them." We need to see how our choices affect others. Finian's Inferno. That's what I'm talking about.

I remember hearing a Mormon joke a few years back. "This guy gets diagnosed with cancer. It's fatal. The doctor said he only had six months to live. He tells his doctor that he is considering joining the Mormon church. The doctor says he thinks that is a great idea. The patient then asks do you think it will heal me of cancer? Not at all but I think it will be the longest six months of your life." Mormons are busy. They are very dedicated. Very hard working. Very busy.

I'm not so dedicated any more. I'm more at the age where if you can't help them, do no harm to them. For me it's all about being able to live with yourself. When you look back over your life can you say in all honestly you are OK with the decisions you have made and how they have affected others? Looking forward when it comes to making new decisions and new footprints so to speak, instead of saying what would Jesus do ask yourself "Can I live with myself if I make that decision?" We all make decisions in life and we all face the consequences of those decisions. Not all consequences are bad. Some are good depending on the choices we make.

The bible says a friend of the world is an enemy to God. It kinda makes sense. The world is pretty messed up hence the term worldly. If the world, generally speaking, is evil, you can't be a friend of the world without being evil. They say the three deadly Ps are the quest for power, popularity and praise of the world. Which makes being externally defined somewhat problematic.

Some people are internally defined. They make their own decisions based on what they feel is right. Others are externally defined. They make decisions based on what others tell them is right. That's not a road I'm prepared to walk down. They say if you don't have haters, you never stood up for anything. I have a lot of haters because I've stood up for a lot of things and I'm totally OK with that. As William Shakespeare once said, "To thine own self be true." Peace.

The compassion of Buddha, the truthfulness of Tao and the five virtues of Confucius. These are the principles that I embrace. This is the Ghetto Gospel. Ethics matter. It brings inner peace.

Years ago I was pretty hard on Amy Winehouse simply because she refused to go to rehab. She even sang that catchy song making a joke of it. Unfortunately, Amy should have gone to rehab. That was no joke. Greg Scarnici did a parody of the video showing how absurd it really was. Before her adition to crack cocaine, Amy was comfortable in her own skin.

The fickle mob that obsesses over the new age anorexic models would have called her chunky but she was gorgeous back then. Anorexia is not sexy. Back then Amy was a magnificently talented singer who was at peace with herself. Then something happened and she became addicted to crack. Her physical appearance went downhill fast.

There was a video leaked to the press of Amy smoking a crack pipe. It was heartbreaking for two reasons. Seeing her descend that low was one reason and the betrayal of a fake friend trying to make a buck by betraying her trust was the other. Think of the pressure these people are under. They can't make a move without the paparazzi watching them. Fake friends tag along for the money then betray them at first opportunity by selling inside info to the tabloids.

In the video of Amy smoking a crack pipe right before she lit up she was looking at her wedding picture on the wall. It was very sad. Who do these people have that they can trust? Money attracts fake friends. The same thing is happening now to Ben Affleck. His fake friends selling inside tips to the tabloids need to STFU and mind their own business. Private lives are private.

The bottom line is obvious. People who are comfortable in their own skin and are at peace with themselves don't use drugs to escape reality. They embrace reality. That's enlightenment.

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