Present Tense

To Rant or to Meditate, That is the Question……

I’ve always been a bit self-righteous.  Even as a kid, I had a strong sense of fair-play and a highly-tuned BS meter that I had no problem using, even on my teachers, which didn’t sit well with them and resulted in plenty of very poor citizenship scores on my report card.   That’s where the “self-righteous” part comes in; I’m pretty sure that I’m right, about most everything, nearly all of the time.

I find myself in a place of utter disenchantment with so much of our culture: crappy, soul-sucking reality TV shows, lying, selfish politicians, hypocritical religious leaders, manipulative media talking heads.  I’m sure you have a few more things to add to the list.  Here’s my dilemma: do I ignore it all, go inside myself to find peace and focus, or do I raise, hell; give voice to my feelings of being totally stepped on and kicked around by those in power, who say they want what’s best for us, but clearly do not.

I should say that I’ve never put much of my faith in the political class.  In fact, I have rather libertarian political views, in that I think the less they get involved in our day to day lives, the better.  So, I shouldn’t be disenchanted or disappointed in the reality that has smacked me in the face:  they don’t give a rat’s ass about us.  Oh, I voted; I held my nose and I’m hoping and praying that the folks I voted for will be able to ratchet back the giddy over-spending that has been the norm for the past few years.  A girl can dream, but I have low expectations that they’ll just leave us alone and stay out of our pocketbooks and our moral decisions.  Yeah, fat chance, right?

Here’s my struggle:  how to balance my innate compulsion to rail against what I see as injustice, wrongs, incompetence and just plain stupidity in our culture, with my need to find inner peace and to let go of trying to control what I cannot.  I see how a lot of you do it; you unplug, you disentangle, you drink wine and watch “The Idiotic and Dysfunctional Housewives of New York/New Jersey/Des Moines”.  Maybe that’s a decent plan because I don’t see you ranting on a blog on a beautiful Sunday morning.

There has to be a middle way to express myself, without being overcome and eaten alive by anger.  Jesus and Buddha both preached taking care of your own sins/shortcomings/imperfections and in doing so, you lead by example.  I get it, but it seems as if whoever shouts and screams and “demands” the loudest, commands attention and in turn, takes control of the national discussion.  So, human nature dictates that those of us who feel as if we’re not being heard,  yell louder, get nastier, attack the ‘other side’ as evil and destructive.  A vicious circle.

So, what to do?  I’ve given up the self-medicating that allowed me some oblivious time away from my anger and discomfort with modern life.  I have dabbled in meditation and spirituality and found both to be very calming and comforting, but then I make the fatal error of turning on the news or surfing the ‘net and I’m all fired up again. I guess I’m not any different from you.  We eat too much, we drink too much, we consume too much lousy media, we let it all wash over us and figure that it’s really easier and healthier to just stay out of the fray.

Here is what I’ll ask of you and it’s nothing less than I ask of myself:  carve out 20 minutes of your day to think about what you feel strongly about and then act.  It can be as simple as using your Facebook status to express a viewpoint on something of consequence.  I think that a lot of things are happening in our country because a lot of us are tuning out all of the nonsense because it’s just too painful and draining to care too much.  Take a stand, just this once.  You’ll feel better.

October 17, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , ,


  1. Jane.
    You are searching, questioning, wringing your intellectual hands and wishing/hoping things will change. The addage is true, my friend: HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY. Make a plan. Base that plan on what you know to be true, right and just. Regardless of the religious or moral authority. Implement your plan. When you get new information, change the plan. I submit to you, this is the only way anything ever changes.
    I accept your challenge and counter with this one:

    Make a list of the things that matter to you; things that REALLY make a difference in your day or in the overall quality of your life. Then, write down three things that you can do to change or even marginally impact the issue. Then, DO one thing. Rant (to those who can impact the issue), mediatate (on how to make a difference), call, write, carry a sign, give money, volunteer – but, DO SOMETHING.
    You inspire me Jane. Keep searching.

    Comment by Amy | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. Don’t worry Jane, I won’t ever shut-up, and I don’t think you should either. When I can’t take it anymore, I go swim, I go for a walk, or I bake–my first loves (haha!). I’d like to lose myself in mind-blowing sex, but that ain’t happening any time soon.

    I also make it a point to not watch the news everyday, doing so just drives me insane. I’ll read the paper at least 4 days a week, but I will only watch a news program once or twice a week.

    Since you’re doing well w/ the meditation, how about picking up a hobby or learning a new skill? Focusing your energy on something else that is productive and mentally engaging can become a sort of refuge for a beleaguered brain. My sister took up knitting and eventually learned how to spin yarn just to give her academically savaged brain something else to do. Seems to be working well for her!

    Comment by Roxanne Rieske | October 17, 2010 | Reply

    • I also have that strong sense of fair-play. It won’t leave me alone sometimes until I act to correct what I see is wrong! It thoroughly alienated me high-school, and it’s been no friend to me in my career, either! But, that’s the price I pay for having a clean conscious. 😀

      Comment by Roxanne Rieske | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. Love this Jane…especially your call to action! One foot in front of the other is all I am conquering these days so the inspiration is timely. Love you and thank you!

    Comment by Margie | October 17, 2010 | Reply

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