Thankful for the lions

This week is election week in that big noisy neighbours place. You know the one. I’m seeing a lot of uncertainty around my media streams and in New Zealand we get a somewhat filtered view but it is noisy out there.

This ‘post’ is not directly about that event – but it is about what comes after and what comes after all big events when we think the sky may be falling.

My daughter was born in 2001 and she has a cousin who was also born that year – actually on Sept 11th. The sun also rises. A lot of the planet have a lot more to feel uncertain about but it does seems like we are in some kind of cultural apocalypse. The shocks are real. The global village may suffer from pariser bubbles and a weird fixation with amplifying trivia. How else to explain television?

Whichever way the story is told we do live in a time of cultural confusion, lack of vision and many shades of grey.

There is a tendency to think of an “Us” and a “Them” there is no them. We are all us / or all them. We’d all get along a bit better we we can empathise with other points of view. BTW no t-shirts were harmed in writing this.

I recently caught up with some friends I hadn’t seen for the best part of 30 years. I wondered what we would all say to our early 20’s selves if we could have travelled back to that time. The general feeling was that we all should have all chilled out more; and that things have a way of working themselves out.

Perspective is hard won when you are in a hurry to do everything. Part of the confusion and uncertainty that we all face often comes from cultural filters and viewpoints that we often don’t know we have. Culture can also be a force for good and for healing and insight.

In the film Manhattan there is a rather pretentious speech from the Isaac character

“Why is life worth living? It’s a very good question. Um… Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh… Like what… okay… um… For me, uh… ooh… I would say… what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing… uh… um… and Willie Mays… and um… the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony… and um… Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues… um… Swedish movies, naturally… Sentimental Education by Flaubert… uh… Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra… um… those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne..”

In 1979 most of that list made no real connection with me but I loved it that the character had a list which made a difference to him. Now I don’t really know much about the thanksgiving tradition but I know it is coming up soon and I know that part of that is being grateful.

Making a list seems like a cliche but it could also be a great way to come to grips with some of the ambiguities of life in a global village.

If we really think about it many of us have a lot to be thankful for. Maybe it is stuff like watching as many sunsets  and sunrises(really watching) as we can. Smelling that freshly roasted coffee when we first open the bag, making our own pizzas, family and friends or other magic moments.

I don’t think life needs to be as grandiose as we might imagine but the mythical “lions at the door”might not be what we imagine either. As Bruce wrote / sang in 1979 its inexplicable but life goes on.

“I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me”

Some cultural traditions are worth sharing – being thankful here.