Difficult Teachers


 

don't worry, be happy
get me out of this place!

      There’s a reference in one of the books of Don Juan’s Magical Mystical journeys by Carlos Castenada, via my father’s recounting, therefore embellishing a tale was simply a matter of course, to the worth of ‘difficult teachers.’ How those who make our lives painful while we are going through a certain experience (in work or school or finding life’s purpose) can often teach us the most.
      With that in mind, as one ‘difficult’ experience was passing, an old extremely severe ‘teacher’ who brought great pain and suffering as a by-product of his demanding persona, came into view, causing me to think about, thus far, the lessons that could possibly be extracted from this latest painful excursion into needlessly traumatic SOP and how that related, full-circle, to those other ‘lessons’ extruded, biopsied and laid to rest, until the next one comes along.
      THE OBVIOUS SUBDUED BEATS BIG & BOLD, IF YOU CAN’T PULL BIG & BOLD OFF FLAWLESSLY.
      DON’T SAY TOO MUCH TO THOSE WHO ARE MORE THAN 51% OF THE TIME TALKING SOME KIND OF SMACK.
      EVEN BEING FOCUSED ON BEING THE BEST ISN’T ENOUGH IF YOU WANT TO STAY SUBMERGED IN GOODNESS. THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO FIND IT UNSETTLING, THAT DEFINITIVE KNOWLEDGE, FROM EXPERIENCE. THAT OLD SAYING ABOUT EARNING, GAINING, DEMANDING, DESERVING, RELINQUISHING RESPECT JUST DOESN’T RING TRUE. THERE SEEMS TO BE LESS AND LESS OF THAT, MORE AND MORE OF THIS FAST-TRACK SHORT-HAND TO NOTHING SUBSTANTIAL BUT SOMETHING PROTECTIVE OF THAT BANAL, MEANINGLESS EXISTENCE WHERE SMALL TALK IS ALL ABOUT HOW TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE DOWN, TO MINIMIZE THEIR EXPERIENCE, THE ULTIMATE CYNICISM LACED IN BACON-FLAVORED PRIVILEGED-STAMP ON BACK OR FOREHEAD, TATTOOED ON THE INSIDE OF THE EYELIDS: YOU ARE RIGHT BECAUSE YOU ARE IN POWER, HERE, NOW, AND IF SOMETHING DOESN’T SERVE YOUR BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION AND CERTAINLY ANYTHING THAT CALLS ATTENTION TO PROCESS OVER EGO AND GETS INTO THE MUCK OF THE LAND WHERE THERE ARE QUITE A FEW PEOPLE WHO JUST DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. AND SO IT GOES. THAT’S YOUR FIRST MISTAKE. THINKING YOU PLAY BY EVEN REMOTELY SIMILAR RULES BECAUSE YOU ADHERE TO SOME MYTHOLOGICAL VALUE PLACED ON THE WORTH OF COLLABORATIVE PROCESS, ELEVATING THE MEDIUM (WHATEVER THAT MAY BE BUT ALWAYS TRYING TO MAKE SOMETHING A LITTLE BETTER FOR HAVING BEEN THERE) AND TRYING TO BRING SOME INTEGRITY TO THE OVERALL message, product, method, meaning, process, interchange, professionalism, rules of the game.
      Coulda been accused of taking herself too seriously, or not realizing when things were going south and how to fix it; not having enough support around the general — this is a big one — if you can’t trust your immediate surroundings, then you are screwed. It’s not even about betrayal but constant undermining and purposefully misunderstanding — then using that to your advantage, as gameplay. Gosh I am so ridiculously naive but this has taught me that to me in the role of captain at the helm, to have the creative ‘vision’ that is supposed to keep everything else afloat, you really can’t have a ‘down’-second, and because you must always be ‘working,’ the rest of the crew, as Guy Richie pointed out, really has their own ‘agenda,’ so sometimes your moving with intensity is perceived as going against the grain of whatever pace has been adopted around — what? In this case, some bad moments that got sprouted like bad seeds from someone with bad intent who was texting horrible things about someone to another who is off-set — why involving them? And there it goes. Rumors. Negative untruths. Spread so far as to go off the periphery of the set, and why? It’s not clear but it was something to learn from, whether it’s simply adapting and not being a moving target–but how does one do that? Is that bulls-eye something that can only come off with comet & bleach?
      Or what can be over-thought is probably not worth miring one’s mind in for too long, best to get back on the horse, moving forward, not sure what all that means or why things are thought or certainly why actions sometimes have minds of their own, but, God-willing, the next go-round will be sweeter, a little less painful, a little more fluid, I swear I am ready for that–not necessarily easy but something where I can bring something truly into the mix, am allowed to shine, for the betterment of the whole, where the spirit of collaborative generation of ideas — and how that makes a thing better — is truly understood and valued. Like-minded for some project you can really get behind, like the amazingly under-amped “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for being well-constructed, and so through-line savvy without being overly fawning or gratuitous in its references. An homage as well as a movement forward in the thinking, somehow managing to integrate all precursors (the good of each put in the mix) and explore how the story came to be. That’s a hard sell. How Ulysses got to page 1. Or Faust determined that it was worth selling his eternity for the here-and-now (a true nihilist? or early Existentialist-thoroughbred who’s creation at hand was the only thing that mattered) or an excision of all that has been held ‘true’ and absolute, or real and the platitudes, for the likes of those in attrition from the ever-present belied (Archaic . to lie about; slander) wearing the scars of the ideas that wont’ give way, the mind’s pit bull jaw-hold strong and steady.
     So in the end, it’s keep your mouth shut unless you are given both the authority (general, commander-in-chief, her majesty, the one who people ask and then actually listen to) and the responsibility (true ownership in the process, utilizing every individual’s key and dynamic strengths, finding a way to fit them together like a rubrix cube rather than a mangled, ripped apart Tibeten prayer flag with good intentions in some blue blood’s front yard, all feng shui’ed to hide the buried bones, ancient history, things better left unsaid.
     To try to be true to oneself. To try to be honest, forthright, willing to change what ails others willing to listen and respond, hoping for an open environment (not sure how to react when this becomes apparently off-kilter, that someone is pulling some seriously sinister strings, getting tied up in motivation when there probably isn’t a clear one, or one that can be understood with logic.) SO YOU ALWAYS FAIL when trying to extract meaning and avoid at all costs; in general, it’s better to figure out a solid, even keel and let the mess wash over you, this one sucked in like the Perfect Storm, and here’s the latest wreckage, determined not to let this kind of knock-me-over happen again, at least for a little while, so I can get my bearings.
    These are the difficult lessons. There are many kinds of difficult teachers.

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