Home for the holidays- oh boy! Can’t wait to get there, to run around and disturb the kitchen, fall over each other to get to the presents and shake them till they break, use the phone in the car and run down the shopping aisle to get that stereo system. We hurry up to slow down, and that can lead to calamity, accidents, injuries, and severe damage to lives and properties.

We get enough of the holiday rush mess to overwhelm us, and “the holidays” seem to start earlier each year. Advertisers and commercializers make this a time to rush and hurry and spend money, making it more of a “materialmas” than giving these months an atmosphere of relaxation, vacation, and good spirits.

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What can we do to combat the onslaught? We can turn in to ourselves for a while, a necessary and essential while, to check our egos and our vices at the door and get back the spirit of what “holidays” are truly about. The benevolent nature and loving character of “the holidays” has been pretty well leveled under the crush of materialism and pride, about as crushed as if tons of dynamite were taken to a building and sent it to the ground. The noise and dust of the explosion shroud the sun and block the view and obscure the pleasures of clean air.

Leave it to a bratty nation like America to corrupt just about anything the untrained and untutored and uncivilized and self-protective egos can get hands or screens on. As seen and heard in recent behavioral evidence gauging the mental health and education status of Americans, we are on fragile ground mentally and intellectually. The Midwest has some of the worst drivers in the nation, and all you need to do is try to cross a street, watch the traffic along Chicago’s Chicago Avenue or State Street or Michigan Avenue, or watch when there are first responders making their way on a run, potentially to a severe accident or huge fire. You can see people on the cell phones, not hands-free either, you can see them pulling out in front of the fire trucks, and you can see them turning and running through crossways with people in them and the walk sign plainly visible. They drive sleepy, they put on makeup and they think only of grabbing that mall parking space; in short, they have no regard for the safety of others. Their minds are focused only on themselves and their interests- others do not matter.

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A fire department crew is the ideal example of people coming together, sharing talents and strengths, and working for others while improving themselves. This crew, sitting on the front of their engine in Nashville, sets the perfect tone for how we should think and act during the holidays.

And the advertisers and commercial institutions pick up on these vulnerabilities in our behavioral makeup and explode onto the screen scene and the airwaves with so much holiday drivel that those who cannot stand their ground against the push and tug will be caught up in a violent swirl that is enough to bring up credit card amounts, suicidal thoughts, depression, and the dangers of being trampled and crushed under the rush of “Black Friday”, “Christmas in July”, and “Cyber Monday” hordes that have nothing more on their minds than being first in line to get the latest television or gaming system. They want you to believe that getting that new electronic terror is more important than those around you in the store who are just there to shop and cannot care less about some big one-time deal on a television or a phone. Televisions and phones have been around for decades; they are means of communication and nothing else.

To make the situation worse, electronics companies roll out apps that tell you how to find parking garages, parking spaces, shopping deals and online coupons. These are meant only for pushing the “me first” attitude seen in people who have ego development levels of four or less on the Loevinger scale of one to nine for behavioral development. The apps and the online shopping herd mentality make it seem acceptable to behave badly and crowd the safety of others out, but there is nothing acceptable or appropriate about behaving like rotten, spoiled kids when there are others around.

So ask what is the underlying cause of this, and the answer certainly is not “holiday spirit” but total, unabashed, and shameful ARROGANCE. Yes, folks, Americans are arrogant. Just look at how we behave, hear it and see it. Signs of arrogance are everywhere- on our roads with the road rage and the pulling into pedestrian walkways when the signs are on; in the stores with the pushing and shoving and this terrible “me first” attitude; in the gangs and drugs culture that plagues such cities as Chicago and Los Angeles; and now in the use of so-called “social media”.

There is nothing social about social media, nothing at all. In fact most people who use social media devices in public don’t have a clue about what it is to be safe, polite, and caring about public safety. Yes, the phrase is PUBLIC SAFETY, the conscience and will to pay attention and look out for others, which it seems Americans have less and less and even worse seems to disappear during “the holidays”. It has to come down to the police and celebrities and first responders and emergency officials to get on the airwaves, shove aside the holiday mush, and remind us to do even simple things such as fasten the seat belt, obey the rules of the road, and pay attention to your surroundings, which last means turn off and take off the earphones and the loud music and be mindful of who is around and traffic and announcements of transit personnel. Polite society is not a place for the little glowing screen in the hand and the music blaring in the ears, so America is not a polite society, plain and simple.

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Transitions. A bridge at the campus of Seascape Resort, Aptos, California.

A brat is a child around whom no one wants to be around, and there are adult brats too. Bratty kids act spoiled, throw tantrums, cry and throw things and stomp the feet, they screech and act like everything they touch is theirs. They are the ones who invite others into the sandbox and then want the guests to do everything their way only, or they are not going to be allowed to stay. Adult brats cut other drivers off on the expressways, push and shove in the shopping line, complain as though they are the only ones affected by a certain circumstance, and curse and shout and act like blowhards, arrogant and foolish and indifferent, and uncaring.

We have a lot to learn, a lot of growing and listening to do. And we can begin by stopping, slowing down, and actually paying attention to who and what is around us. To do this we need only do a few simple things:

Turn off and remove and stow the personal devices
Read thoroughly the Rules of the Road and follow them
Learn about traveling with courtesy and dignity
Meditate
Get into the lifestyles of improvement and relaxation and the principles of Mission Control- a lifestyle that revolves around caring for the safety of self and the public
Clean out your space and donate items not needed to charities
Realize that you do not need drugs to help you combat the hurtful ways of others
Clean up after yourself- do not leave trash for others to pick up, a drawer for someone else to close, or a table full of dishes. You make the mess, you clean it up.

Staying calm and meditative in your actions and words is vital everyday, and especially during “the holidays”. For the benefit of your mental health, think before you speak and act on what the calm light of wisdom tells you- not the outside talkers or the impersonal screens and the useless sound bits- but the voice of the Pure You being the light on the darkness of the world’s ways. Stand still if you are out and about. If driving, put both hands on the steering wheel, turn off the devices, and watch the conditions.

Begin with the basics.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2016.

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