Cleavage. What’s one to think of it these days? I have been having an ongoing debate, mostly with my silent, refuse-to-take-a-stand husband, on the issue of the overabundance of cleavage in the media. One can clearly understand why he is ambivalent on the subject, but really, shouldn’t we all take a stand? Men and women? Or, at the very least be aware of and own what we are doing? Are we simply standing back and watching the deterioration of our culture “unfold” into every area of our lives? Remain silent as decorum and respectability fall into never-never land? Compromise self-respect and dignity for political correctness? It is no wonder we are without direction in this country. Our media, a thing that continues to mushroom and invade every corner of our lives, is quite without ethics or morality and a whole generation has been raised and nurtured by it. They did and do not have a Walter Cronkite, or a Mayberry, My Three Sons, Eddie’s Father, Leave It to Beaver frame of reference. Though we later saw these as a fantasy , they were at least a positive ideal toward which to aspire.
I come to you with an open mind, looking for your wise and thoughtful feedback. I am looking for a balanced perspective. On the one hand, I am not an individual who abhors the human body, nor do I believe it should be covered at all times. Over the years I’ve found a comfortable middle ground for myself. My husband, like many, finds the idea of a nudist colony intriguing. I’ve assured him, however, that should he choose to follow this pursuit, he will be going it alone. While I see the value in getting down to basics and minimizing pretense, for me, when it comes to clothing, there’s a level of comfort that I enjoy from covering up, not least of all, it’s ability to keep me warm! I also value self-expression and one’s desire to be exactly who they are. I work toward that end every day, and I understand that end is different for each individual.
I also know that just because one attempts to be exactly who they are in any given situation, it doesn’t follow that no judgment takes place. It’s human nature to judge. Judging is how we find our footing in the world. It has its place, and I have used my impeccable judgment to determine that my hips and thighs, while they may look better naked to some, look better to me attractively hidden from sight by clothing. I digress. Where was I.
Ah, yes, the beauty of the body. I find the female form a thing of beauty, especially unadorned. In my estimation it was designed perfectly by our creator, the One That Cannot Be Named, with the wisdom that only a divine perspective could create; designed for form and function. It is a marvel. The female body carries within it the amazing capacity to transform multiple times in the course of one woman’s lifetime, morphing from a child to a mate magnet, from a young woman to the perfect host for the creation of another human being, carrying, in part, the awesome responsibility for the perpetuation of the species; then morphing again into a nurturing, protective, being, a source of sustenance, tenderness, strength and stamina for the protection and nurturance of the young; and once more transforming into the round soft mature woman who provides comfort and wisdom for the ages. I have such awe and reverence for the gift we all have been given and carry with us each day into the world.
So, when it comes to cleavage being used as an adornment, much like jewelry, I find something amiss. Perhaps it’s simply that, for me, this new fascination or style, if you will, is the further objectification of the female body, and sadly it is being done by women themselves this time. It’s an ego based endeavor at best, like sporting a diamond necklace or driving up to a party in a Porsche. I somehow find it to be denigrating as such.
I’m perfectly comfortable with women who enhance their beauty, particularly during the time they are interested in attracting a mate. That’s simply human nature. Beyond that, I believe that our time and attention might be better spent enhancing the beauty within. There is so much more to being a woman than our cleavage. Why muddy the waters?
What place does cleavage have on the nightly news? What place does it have in a teenage character on a weekly sitcom who is hanging out with her twelve-year-old brother? What is it all about? More importantly, what message is being conveyed to the younger generation? For me, it’s a distraction and of questionable propriety. It is not so much a moral issue as one of values, respect for oneself and a balanced perspective. Where are our values in this country when it comes to such things? I truly believe there is more to this issue than being old-fashioned and moralistic. In the end I find myself to be open-minded.
I’m searching for the higher ground here and though I could write pages more on the subject, I will leave it here for you to dissect. Please do. I would love to read your feedback, no matter where you fall in the continuum.
© Dorothy Sander 2013
December 6th and 74 degrees. It’s a strange world we live in. Stranger still is my relationship with Rowdy, my son’s dog, who remains by my side 24/7. Nevertheless, Rowdy and I have gotten into the habit of going for a mid-morning walk almost every day, a walk that has proven both health enhancing and often optimally meditative. I find the hour spent outdoors, moving my body through time and space, inordinately invigorating and always the perfect time for burning off frustration and moving my thoughts around.
This morning, Wayne Dyer walked with me, offering words of wisdom, laced with a touch of humor and a whole ton of experience. He referred to his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, which I remember reading when it came out in the 80′s and later passing around to everyone I knew, as a book he had written while still heavily under the influence of psychology. He has since gone beyond psychology to help spark a trend that has expanded the spiritual horizons for so many.
During our life time a shift has taken place in the psycho/spiritual world, a shift that though I have sensed its for as long as I can remember, have only recently begun to name. At the risk of repeating myself, we are a generation raised by parents who didn’t know the first thing about subconscious behavior. Freud provided us with the first glimpse into our subconscious motivations, and the recognition that we were being motivated by things outside of our awareness. As a result, the majority of us ran as fast as we could away from the church and straight into the arms of psychology.
We began to believe that our hope resided in our growing psychological awareness and understanding of ourselves and our relationships. This was would be the vehicle that would bring us to a place of peace and happiness. We just needed to know ourselves better, to understand our motives, heal our wounds and let go of the guilt, then we would be free to live and love fully. If that didn’t work, or took too much time, there was always the medication alternative to treat our unrelenting angst. Depression, anxiety, ADD, were as physiological phenomena, were beyond our ability to control using psychological tools, perhaps. We were let off the hook. (*See note below)
Jung stepped things up a bit, nudging us a bit closer to an awareness of the spiritual component that was ignored or overlooked. As we grew angrier and more frustrated with organized religion, we became less willing to even entertain any notion of its relevance. Thanks to Freud, we can now see that we were repressing our spirituality, which began to come out in all sorts of unattractive predilections. Sublimated spirituality is left to find its way into all sorts of unpleasant diversions, such as, promiscuity, violence, and narcissism. As we struggled to find our lost spiritual identity we left the church in droves, or became social activists, or the like. The nature of spirituality of our parent’s did not speak to us. It could not reach our deepest needs and our most profound despair.
Here we are, decades later, and I see a further shift taking place, a gradual letting in of all things spiritual. We are waking up to the fact that no matter how hard we try, we do not have all the answers in our earthly awareness of things. Once more we were trapped by our hubris. Once more we must lift our eyes unto the hills from whence cometh our help.
Is this what we came for? Our generation? To carry the world further along on its path toward enlightenment, bearing the burden that we will likely never see it come to fruition? Is this what we were placed on this earth to discover? Our generation of psychological know-it-alls? To discover that even psychology doesn’t have all the answers?
So much more to say, but suffice it to say for now, that I am regularly blown away by an intuitive awareness that something profound is taking place in the hearts and souls of men and women everywhere. I know many of you feel it too. A powerful force for goodness, truth and beauty…a powerful force that can only be described as something beyond the everyday work-a-day world, beyond our ability to perceive and quantify, perhaps beyond many people’s awareness; a cosmic energy that can only be described as something akin to what we used to call God, is uniting us, coalescing our energies, and empowering the force for good.
*Note: I would never, for a minute, devalue the place of medication in the treatment of mental illness. In many instances mental illness is profoundly painful, debilitating and difficult to treat. Medication, indeed, has its place. It is not, however, a panacea and I believe should be distributed more judiciously than it has been in recent decades.
© Dorothy Sander 2013
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
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Relationships are fraught with complications. Even when two people are deeply connected and functioning more or less on the same wavelength there are times when conflict or misunderstanding or hurt feelings erupt. Add a little spice to the personalities and you have all the ingredients for a conflagration (especially during the holidays!).
Sigh. I hate conflict. I hate dissension. More than anything I hate silence.
Have you ever learned about a project and felt instantly compelled to be part of it? That's how I felt when I heard about The Red Suitcase, a mother/daughter road movie in development about a 66-year-old woman who, with her grown daughter's help, has to find the courage to start her life over. The film is based on a true story about the filmmaker's mother, who suddenly found herself alone and penniless after her husband of 35 years walked out of her life, and it stars
The holiday season brings with it the ups and downs of family interactions. Even if we live 500 miles away from parents or siblings, and feel quite comfortable in the skin we’re in, coming back together over the holidays, or any time of year, is likely to stir the pot of unfinished business in these relationships.
As very small children we formed opinions about ourselves and the world in the context of our family. We took in information day by day, bit by bit, through our feelings, physical sensations, intuition and thoughts. During the pre-verbal years we could not put language to our experiences and many of those feelings and early formed beliefs may yet lay buried within our psyche. In order to process them fully, we must bring them into conscious thought.
It is, at least in part, for this reason that family members stir up such intense emotions and reactions within us. We find ourselves angry and hurt in situations that would not ordinarily bother us. We struggle to understand our reactions or to find words to put to our feelings in particular and the family dynamic in general. To complicate matters, our family members carry similar “baggage” and react to us through the same blur of non-verbal emotions and beliefs.
One of the primary benefits of “talk” therapy is that through this process we are able to begin to put feelings and intuitions into words and then begin to make sense of things. For some people, journaling is an even more beneficial process, and may, in fact, provide a more direct access to the pre-verbal area of our psyche.
Taking time to sit down and write about family issues provides an excellent opportunity to diffuse emotional energy before, during and after, family encounters and helps us come to terms with the unfinished business of childhood.
© Dorothy Sander 2013