Receiving a massage from a lovely young lady and small but intimate massage establishment in Cambodia a few years ago, I was amazed by the conversation which unfolded at the time. The young girls working there were often interested in western and seemingly unsual ways of living and the more broad ‘world’ perspective. Even at my age, when tending my upper rear thigh area she remarked how beautiful and white my skin was, in particular making reference to that of a baby. You can imagine my shock having already noticed and appreciated her own flawless olive skin and youthful complexion.
When she told me what she would give to have such skin as mine I became even more intrigued. Like this beautiful young woman would swap skin with me? I told her she must have been out of her mind and that her skin was clear, consistent, glowing, and beautifully rich in it’s olive colourings. But her response was to screw up her face, shake her head, and tell me it was no good, that it was dirty.
The GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER on the other side concept is not uncommon, in particular in the western ways of living but it doesn’t make it any less startling in examples like the one above. The Rebel way of thinking and living on the other hand, pertains to accepting of ones self first and foremost – warts and all as it were. This is perhaps, the hardest aspect of the Rebel’s quest and indeed, usually the biggest part at the start of the journey. Without mastering this simple yet challenging practice, further growth becomes elusive or at best – painfully slow. While we each have our unique gift with which we can offer to others, we must take it out of and away from, the context of that which may make us less by unecessary comparisons. Understanding fully, that comparison has practical application only and no place when it comes to the self, personal assessment, or creativity, is of paramount importance. We are unique, both you and I, and that is celebratory material no matter what else happens to be.
The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
The most famous rock bands GREEN DAY and too, NIRVANA who came before them inspiring the former in a variety of significant ways, had a particular and ‘rebellious’ approach to both their music and their fans. They held and even cultivated, a measured portion of disdane for their audiences. But they did this while simultaneously holding a balanced amount of respect and appreciation. In other words, while Billy Joe or Kurt Cobain would thank audience attendance and/or participation, they would similarly play what they wanted, how ever they wanted, and tell their patrons they could F#*@ OFF if they didn’t like it. This may be a rather harsh example but the Rebel’s Way (TAO) is by no means, dissimilar. In order to love oneself, we must refrain from comparison.
comparison is the first ally of depression
Is it any wonder so many young girls become sad, depressed, and suicidal given the comparative expectations they are suggested to strive for? Tiny waists, perfect skin, eternal wrinkle free youth (it is increasingly common for botox injections to start at as young as 18 years old), model-like (barbie doll) looks, intelligence, emotional balance, unbreakable confidence, power, job potential and success including high finance, expensive clothes and jewellery, and a beautiful house (pickett fence) before thirty, add one devoted and gorgeous husband or at least boyfriend, perfect children to come (2.6 of them), glowing health, and the addorance of either fans or the larger communities across the globe. Not that boys and men have it any easier but it is particularly ‘in-the-face’ of young girls.
To compare ourselves with others is to misunderstand, save disrespect, the Rebel we are. It is after all, our uniqueness which allows us to experince our lives in ways that no one else can ever do. That which allows us to give to this world our gifts which again, no one else can ever do. To refrain from comparison is to say:
I am me and you are you and that’s always going to be ok. If we can bring ourselves to unconditional acceptance and then the celebration of it, it will be even more than ok. It will be stupendious, beneficial to all of those around us including ourselves, and a big part of lifes joy, meaning, and our experience of love
It is to affirm that your uniqueness is yours alone. It is only bad by comparison to something which you yourself perceive as good – the way you expect things ‘should’ be. It is only wrong against that which you say is right. And it is only ‘dirty’ when sat next to something you believe is clean. Without comparison, we are free to say:
I am this Rebel who talks, shares, loves, creates, laughs, sleeps, gives, receives, and grows freely of any standards or measures. And I, it, is a beautiful thing.
How can we honestly avoid what I consider a statement of quintessential ‘Rebel Thinking’ written by Kat Von D in her autobiography Go Big or Go Home?
We all experience joy, sadness, loss, fear, hope, and anxiety so in a sense we are all the same. There’s a true self that lives deep inside all of us, and it is asking to be set free so it can nurture us if only we will take a risk and let it
We can of course, maintain our lack of awareness, of respect for our own awesome potential. The outcomes won’t be disastrous and in fact, we will simply “see what happens” basing our perceived outcomes against qualities of comparison to other people and other people’s lives. But if we are to even scratch the surface of what we are inwardly capable of, sharing ourselves with the spaces we occupy, we might get an inkling of desire rising to the surface and fueling what will then become, the journey of all journeys. It’s what I want for me and for you too, and I reckon it’s gotta be worth considering. To do so means at least sometimes we need to engage in thinking about it, but not just ordinary thinking …
Pleasant musings til next time
Viscott, D, 1993, Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times: A Book of Meditations, viewed citations; http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/06/16/purpose-gift/
D, Kat, 2013, Go Big or Go Home:Taking Risks in Life, Love, and Tattooing, Harper Design, USA