The Exigent Duality
Self-Improvement - 07:20 CST, 6/23/24 (Sniper)
I've been reading a book called "Radical Hospitality". The author lived part of her life with Benedictine monks, and explains what "Benedict's Rule" is, along with how we can use it in our own lives. The gist is that the heart has to be truly open to others. Being actually open is scary, because the other person may in fact change us in some way-- and change can be and often is terrifying.

Therefore, before one can be open to others, they must first be open to themselves; if they're a mess inside, they are going to be "shields up!" like in an episode of Star Trek-- be superficially kind perhaps, but not in a way which genuinely exposes them to any risk of the profound, or any risk of authentic, heart-felt connection.

This leads me to a second discussion point. Two days ago I went with my kids to see the Pixar film "Inside Out 2". I am not a fan of CGI films, and I find modern cinema to be vacuous, trite, superficial, and way too filled with that eye-rolling slapstick one-liner style humor. The film began, and right away I saw the Cultural Marxist influence: the Muslim gal, a black friend, the coach is a black lesbian-looking design, the dad is kind of dorky and effeminate, the mom is driving the car, and so forth.

But what the film gets right is the way it presents the development of anxiety disorders. Without spoiling the film, most of the movie takes place inside the character's mind, inside a "control room" of sorts-- and each of the different personality facets such as joy, sadness, embarrassment and so forth are anthropomorphized! "Anxiety"-- an actual character, and with a wonderful design to boot-- shows up, quite literally bottles the other emotions, and jettisons them from the control room.

What I loved about the script was that, at first, the anxiety gives the character great success: she's better at hockey, she's fitting in with the kids at her new school-- it's like she has super powers! But eventually, "Anxiety" loses control of the situation, and it takes the other emotions to rescue things. Afterward, they don't jettison "Anxiety" though-- that character just becomes part of the crew, in the newly-actualized protagonist: the film emphasizes that "Anxiety" has its place-- like reminding the character to study for an upcoming Spanish test-- but it can't be the only thing in charge.

It was quite literally "Sniper: The Movie" and I felt a deep, deep personal connection to it to the point where I had a few tears stream down my cheeks at the ending-- because I so desperately desire that positive outcome for myself, after so many years of suffering. I think if I can put together the advice from the film-- loving all parts of me equally-- I can work towards becoming actualized, which will let me experience genuine human connection again, like I could when I was a child and teenager.

The final topic is that I've started up at a chiropractor for the first time in my life, and will be going in three times per week to fix decades of neglect. My spine is all over the place! The "adjustment" thing is taking some getting used to-- it has a real "shock value" the first time you undergo it, "What did you just do to me?!" But when I walked out of there for the first time, it was the first time in two decades I didn't have shoulder pain, and my anxiety seemed greatly reduced. Now it's a matter of repetition, gradually getting my muscles to "hold" the correct positions, versus everything simply shifting back after a few hours.