Historical Nostalgia By David Reid Otey

Nostalgia: The old shows, the old comedy, staying up late for a trip to the past, to remember what was funny then and see if it is today, when it really doesn’t matter.  That’s what I thought, at first. But when talking about it with a friend I realized it does matter in the ways of ”seeing” history being made. Being able to watch the process and progress of thoughts and issues portrayed in simulated comedies and dramas.  We watch how ”the ways of the past” built up and progressed to become our ”ways of the present” which will someday join the box of ‘ways of the past’. An endless cycle because the types of thoughts, philosophies, beliefs and patterns used to create establishments, governments, businesses and cultural standards never cease to exist. They ”take turns”, having generations of people and  time to exist within.

The ”old stuff” really isn’t old. It is still current in showing us how we shape and how we change beliefs, thoughts and life patterns.  Our own personal histories  go through the same process, from something  simple and immediate ( like dropping a coin into a gumball machine, twisting the handle and collecting the gum ball ) to complex and consistent ( like crocheting a baby blanket ).  In the realms of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, change is the results of ideas worked in real life situations.

The issues of the past are still the issues of today, although they might have shifted from the top of the news list to a lower placement. The themes remain the same; love, life, death, joy, trials, community, etc.

High school plays are 90% nostalgia plays :classics from three or four generations past.  There is a series of birthday cards where you can buy one for the year you were born and see the list of the top songs, tv shows, inventions, news events, etc. Nostalgia is ‘recurring style’ in clothes fashions, music, building designs.  Recently I read that current country music is a “ripoff” of the 1970’s rock music. “Ripoff” should simply be called ‘recurring’ because the essence of an era cannot be copyrighted. Newness of anything is  limited because ”there is nothing new under the sun”, especially when you consider the length of time humans and ideas have existed so far.

More often throughout the past thirty or more years you will see a mixture of themes and styles from multi-eras borrowed and blended to appear like a new perspective, similar to the blend of peanut butter and grape jelly you can find in stores (as simplistic as that comparison might seem). This is good in a way because such combinations create enhanced perspective of each era through complimentary comparative connection, if that can be considered a reasonable, realistic or even possible term for style. Yet there is also a  danger that combining eras can also distort the ”real meaning” of an era’s phase in the history of what and how thoughts, beliefs and ideas came out of each other. Sometimes combinations would trivialize serious, meaningful lessons learned from very intense moments in history such as the Holocaust that impacted world cultures.

The past is always part of the foundation that current systems stand upon. The past should always be known and understood as much as possible, to prevent giving up any specific freedoms we may take for granted such as marrying whoever we want to from any culture or race, to prevent falling into a trap of agreeing to give up a standing of respect or opportunity that was fought for and earned by the lives of our ancestors such as civil rights. The past strengthens our lives, adding solidarity from other’s experiences that created wisdom we can add to our own lives. We can dream more, believe more and become more by complementing the past with our personal growth and with our supplemental contributions in life to reinforce the structure that bonds the progressions made so far.

There used to be an image of wisdom represented by a bearded wise man in a robe who lives on top of the highest mountain. Seekers of truth would climb that mountain to learn the truth of what they should do, should be, and which path they should follow in their lives. Wisdom is not one truth alone. Wisdom is combined truths because all knowledge is interrelated. There was a time in the past when many women could not vote, could not own their own properties, could not be leaders in government. In fact, the government made laws to prevent women from progressing. So the passion of freedoms ignited a long and very effective fight resulting in great changes for all future generations of women who will hopefully know and understand this part of history. There was a time in the past when slavery of one race was condoned, accepted and practiced, where one race of humankind was considered property to be bought or sold at will, to be treated however the owners wanted to treat them without that race having any protections under the laws of the land. In fact there were laws made against them, to keep them bound, enslaved and extremely limited in their lives. So, again, the passion of freedoms ignited a long and very effective fight resulting in great changes for all future generations of one race who will hopefully know and understand this part of history. The past is the place for reference to receive encouragement, wisdom, ideas and aid in supporting your own life dreams.

Let the past be strength for your progress instead of an escape from changes. Let the past be the voice of cheering you on to keep making life better for yourself and others, to become involved in the communities, instead of retiring into a bubble of “my times way back when” in seclusion of the life around you that came from those past moments. Let the past teach you rather than imprison you, empower you instead of coddle you. Honor your past by continuing the process of constant recreation by seeking or becoming a cause for someone or something. let your present become a memorable past for someone else to be empowered from. Create your life to a favored piece of nostalgia for your family and for your community, for your spirit and soul.   The End.

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Marriage life thrives from Touch. By David Reid Otey

Touching, hugging, making love: for most people these are the elixir of life second only to breathing. These three acts reflect the most important part of existence: to feel, to belong physically to another person, to have daily sensuous contact, body to body on any level. It can be as slight as holding hands and light massages. But among adults it should include all three actions at least within every three days.  Loving Touch soothes, heals, bonds, excites and balances emotions.

Some of us miss being touched with passion, with desire, with the plan to make it go from light to heavy and then to the dance of love.  Touch is life. The right touch makes the best feelings: hugs, fondling, caressing, joy, deep breathing. Touch is the way God made to let us know the meaning of that phrase, “and let there be light”.  A passionate hug pulls away stress, softens the harshest times, gives relief, offers hope, fills with strength needed to go the next step, the next mile.

It is  dangerous and unwise  for a spouse or partner to change the relationship with their spouse from often sensually physically intimate to mildly or hardly physically intimate. It cracks the emotional and spiritual bond, wrinkles the confidence and could open the door for infidelity.  To withhold the intimately passionate physical expression of love  could be called a type of infidelity, because the main partner has closed off and shut down one of the main promises to each other in being together in marriage; to give to each other’s needs desireably, willingly and affectionately from the heart. This promise of physical expression was never and  should never be based upon obligation nor by force, nor by ownership, for those are not a foundation of love toward each other.

Withholding  the sensuous bonding act is to tear apart the bond of loyalty and devotion, creating a possible domino effect upon the other levels of sharing. Withholding creates a change in perspective, from loving another for what YOU can give them to make their life happier, to loving them for what THEY can give you to make your life happier regardless of what they need. That is a formula for producing emotional pain that borders on subtle cruelty. One sided giving gets lopsided quickly and forces devotion and loyalty in an unbalanced and unnatural form.

In one case, a man visualizes having an affair with someone else–a friend–for the purpose of playing it through in his mind. He knows the joy would be great because he knows the feelings would be mutual and honest. But he also foresees that this situation would be desired again, and that it would be against his nature to use another woman for intimacy. He would be truly loving with his giving and he would receive honest joy and equal affection as well.  Then he thinks about his kids and grandkids, what they’d think, how disappointed they would be, how it would affect their confidence in their own abilities to be faithful for decades without ‘falling’, how they’d look at him as weak and as not being the same man anymore and, to some degree, maybe create an emotional distance between them . He can foresee  the awkwardness of holidays and family nights. No, it is safer to take care of his needs in a solitary manner. One depending more upon imagination than reality, upon fantasy.

I, for one, need touch to feel like life is great.  Empathy, compassion, sensuality and sexuality are the strongest passions we have.  They are the most common traits of human desire that businesses use for  themes in advertising their products.  Touch is the prime reward for performing the other common traits of human desire. We live for give and take. If that circular balance is disrupted between two people, other parts of a relationship soon deteriorate. Anger, arguments, insults, derogatory remarks of contempt: these can be temporary and logical reasons for withholding, since they interrupt the necessary feelings of desiring each other.  These can and should be remedied as soon as possible.

Otherwise, another possibility is ”falling out of love” with someone. No longer feeling desire to touch them, to want them physically, to feel their touch in return. What reason is there for that ?  Has each stopped seeking to do the ”little” things that make emotional and physical foreplay ?  Has one of them changed into a person now repulsive, now unattractive in any or every sense ?

Has one partner’s body and mind simply aged to the point of shutting down any relationship to the more intense passion of love’s expressions ?  Do they only want for themselves the simpler expressions of holding hands, sitting close, being present together and nothing more ?  How do two life partners balance this troubling situation ?  Perhaps one partner’s body has become weakened or deadened to the strong desire of intimate physical passion because of poor health, whatever the cause. Does that mean they do not realize the loss ? Does it mean they avoid talking about it, hoping the other partner will leave them alone and figure out their own remedies ?

These variations create an unwanted maze to stumble through. The success or failure of coming out of this maze with the same life partner and with the same desired loyalty and devotion that began  the relationship depends upon the thoughts of self-worth, of reasonable expectations with respect to changing physical conditions and of quality of life for oneself. And all of these reflect a system of belief that must be evaluated again for deciding what changes to make and how. Who should matter more ? God, culture, family, self ?

Life is not an easy road,  simply because of changes that alter physical and mental abilities, hopes and dreams, and conditions that affect self-respect and confidence.  We all walk the same road yet in our own paths that sometimes join together either for a lifetime or for a number of seasons. Some of the potholes we can handle easily together, one pulling the other out to safety. Sometimes one gets left in a pothole too deep to be helped. But those times, when such separation is so distant as to be out of reach, happen because someone let go of the other’s hand to see something else apart from each other or to not be slowed down. There is no easy answer. Each one of us will study as long as we are willing, as long as we are able to understand, and finally choose an answer, an action that is either acceptable or justifiable.                    The End.

If I start falling….. By David Reid Otey

If I start falling, don’t push me the rest of the way over the edge. Please grab my hand and pull me back into a balance, so I can have a chance to change my steps, my beliefs, my hurtful ways, my stupid and dangerous choices. I do not ask for codependency. I will not claim that you do not understand my pain and tortured thoughts.  I do not ask for entitlement. I will not claim to be so sick, stupid, ignorant, disabled or lazy that I won’t work to try pulling my own share of the weight in family and community.

I have already seen blind, crippled, maimed, diseased and severely burned people regain their lives independently to become a strong and proud part of their families and communities. They had the right to scream out, “You don’t understand” to many.  But they have the love and support of many by choosing to try, to give, to live among others instead of hiding away in a private world of pain. They allowed others to pull them up and forward and into a better place, better peace, better lives of greater joy and hope and success.

It is very hard sometimes to leave the mental room of self pity. There is a false significance, a twisted self-worship in pretending to be the most abused and misunderstood person in the world. There is no competition when hiding away from others. It is easy to make daily dark clouds of ”poor me” statements to sustain a personal package of pain and self-torture; to maintain a dreary, lost, hopeless, bottomless pit type of existence,  when being allowed to hide away from anyone who would tear it all down with talk of dreams, gifts, connections of love, personal growth and contribution.

I met a middle-aged lady outside a small town grocery store one chilly autumn day. She stood with her bicycle when I made the mistake of asking her, “How are you today?” She told of her leg pain. I tried consoling. She said no medicines work and no one cares. I offered ideas. She said she already tried every single one of them. She listed more complaints. I offered more compassion, nodding, saying more ideas. Soon I understood that her life will be a constant and consistent package of self-induced misery for all of her life because, for her, it is easier to feel important by spouting off how hard her life is rather then by making any effort to make it better. Sometimes laziness can become a disease. But it’s more than that. It’s a trained and conditioned helplessness. She pushes herself over the cliff every single day. Nothing will ever be good enough. No one will ever be able to do anything well enough for her. Yet she seemed genuinely unhappy, or maybe bragging about misery carries a perverted happiness of its own addiction. When I had enough of her glorifying tragedies to listen to I said, ” hope the day goes better for you”, and walked away.

The encounter led me to think about why I will never become like her. What is it that will protect me from sitting in self-pity beyond a heathy time frame ? The answer is my family and my friends. I have friends because I connected with those people through church,  through classes, through work, through creative events like open mic nights and through volunteering. I have a social job, teaching. I also extended my teaching to after school lessons for music and martial arts.  I believe in dreaming and forming the dreams into reality. I believe I have talents for a reason. Others have told me I am important to them when they said “thanks” for teaching their kids to be stronger. I felt empowered enough to begin a women’s self-defense class-Level one, as a contribution, to have in churches and social centers and for girl scouts. They said “thank you” for making their lives safer. I knew how to seek out the help I know I needed when life was changing, by talking to friends, by watching videos of speakers on youtube, by reading books by the speakers, by paying attention to the opportunities that appeared and by grasping them and working with them and becoming more of the dreams I want.

Life is action, creative action that leads to certainties mixed with unknown surprises and unknown results. A Successful and Happy Life is accepting two continuous constant facts:   1. You WILL make mistakes often and consistently, in differing areas at different times, because that is part of creating and personally growing in life.   2. You WILL survive the mistakes, learn from the mistakes, be stronger because of the mistakes, and be led by your corrections to becoming a better and more creative person.

There are two types of  “falling” : 1. The one where you missed a step, forgot a point, let go too soon, held on too long, forgot to stay in the kitchen when you cook, didn’t think before speaking or acting or temporarily forgot you are equal to almost everyone else.

2. The kind where you give up everything and everyone who loves you, who stood by you, who accepted you as you are–to think of only you and the misery you have, and to handle it all on your own in a pride seeking to prove yourself as a king or queen who needs no one for anything. You give it up  to be abused by your own self-world, one of a kind, not of this world, twistedly, pervertedly unique–because this disease of extreme loneliness makes you hate yourself as being not deserving of anyone else, but you want them all to see it because you really do need attention like the rest of us. You give up to be seen. You take yourself out of life to be missed.

If you can see that those actions are pleas for recognition, for validation that your humanness is needed as much as anyone is needed, that you are disconnecting instead of connecting, and that you need to give someone else a chance to hold you, to include you into their lives, to let them be blessed by who you are and what you have to offer to make this world, their world a much better and happier place, you can and will save yourself and save those who would be lost without you in their lives.

Every one of us has loving, good and creative value for others to grow in and with. We were made to be joiners to life, extenders of life’s creative possibilities. So, if you start to fall, fall into someone else instead of away from the world. Fall into arms that want to hold you, that WILL care for you and help you heal, who will give patience and peace. Fall into another chance. Fall into the risk of hope and maybe, instead of into despair and self-degradation. F.A.L.L.  Faith And Love Live.     The end for now.

Rub Down–A view of life actions. By David Reid Otey

One  summer afternoon I stood  washing cups, dishes, pots, pans, silverware and glasses, looking out the  window at the sunny, warm day, watching robins, finches, wind blown grass and waving tree branches. I smiled and had a thought-attack.  It started with a simple question: What am I really doing ? I was rubbing a soaped sponge inside, outside and along side each item in the sink. I use very hot running water, inspecting every speck of grime, food, spit, grease and stain to be erased with the help of  over head lights and  window light until satisfied it is disease-free, maintaining health for my family,  assuring everyone they sure won’t get sick from dishes I clean, that I care for their well being.

Then I thought, ” If this is such a noble thing I’m doing,  why have I  often felt like it’s a drudgery, like an insult to my station in life, an act that  made me feel angry at others: those who made more dirty dishes than me that I have to clean. Why do people argue about whose turn it is to wash ?   Why have I  rushed through washing a bowl and get mad when a piece of food is stuck to that bowl so that  I attack it,  splashing water all over everything,  frustrated that I can’t clean the bowl in  ten seconds, as though it were a state standard to prove intelligence.

I  realized that it really is sort of  a “beneath me” attitude that most of us respond with toward washing dishes,  cleaning the toilet, scooping the cat litter  box, lifting dog dumpings on a walk–not the stuff  people of class and wealth perform, but hire other people to do. Therefore, we do not like being our own hired help, so to speak. It’s a clash of self-image expectations. It came from conditioning, simply following the role models we had in our families: mom and dad, and even friends.

So, now, I wanted to change my mental perspective of this type of work to something positive. If I look at only the physical action of what I’m doing, apart from all of the ”added” perspectives, what I see is simply giving the items a ”rub down”.  It’s like a massage where you have someone rub down your central nervous system, rubbing out stress, bringing back the happy wonderful feeling of calm and peace. That human touch of healing, of giving, of sharing and caring for your emotional, spiritual, physical welfare.  Everything I do, everything I touch and everything I say has an effect, a result upon something or someone both directly and indirectly, especially upon myself.

The boy, Alladin,  rubbed a lamp to  make it shine,  and a Genie flowed out in a smokey cloud to take a solid form and tell the boy he could be granted three wishes. His action created an effect, an opportunity, an improvement, a hope.  Effort creates an opening to an unexpected opportunity.  Practicing guitar playing, for example, is an action of consistently rubbing the strings in patterns for melody and rhythm. The more frequently you do this, the more understanding, clear tones and perfect sound and timing you will gain, and that could lead to opportunities of making money through teaching and being in a band. Maybe it’s a crazy way to say it and see it. Rubbing the brain with thoughts and ideas from class room text books or from novels and newspapers. Rubbing the eyes with visions of colors and shapes and all sorts of art styles. Rubbing ears with speeches of great motivation, with stories of people who came through the toughest of times in life–such as incredible stories on the TED site.

If something or someone bothers us, they have rubbed us the wrong way. We can recognize that and straighten it out, somehow gaining an understanding as a rub down of sorts to bring ourselves back into alignment with peace and energy for the next step on the life journey.  There are far too many conditioned “downers” we switch our minds into playing out and shaping our days into a high percentage of depression. I think now of some of the news we see and hear daily. Why should I let a stranger’s life in the news affect me on the low depressing side of life. ? I can have an opinion without making myself sick or angry about whatever they did. I can pray for those who will be on the jury, for the lawyers, for the doctors, for everyone else directly involved in the decision making part of that story for that person. Some in my family let news rub them the wrong way. A famous person gets acquitted. They yell at the television. Sure, I agree it’s wrong in my opinion and according to my beliefs. But I’m not there. I have nothing to do with it. I cannot make a difference in that stranger’s life. So, I’ll rub all of my physical, emotional and spiritual energies onto and with the people and work I can affect where I live, where I am directly affected by those who share their energies with me. I’ll spend my time trying to make my home, town, city, wide spread area stronger, happier, safer, more productive. I think now that I really cannot afford to waste my time on unrelated lives and events elsewhere when I can easily do thinking and planning for where I am and toward what I want to do and become.

I rub away the dirt and grime off the plates with a tool that cleans. I rub away the weeds from my thoughts with tools that clear: great speeches, great stories, encouraging life coaches, volunteering, creating and planning times with family for fun things at fun places to empower dreaming and hopes that make a positive difference for all lives.     The End for now.