Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Yes, I am a child born to a hippy mother, and yes, I know most likely too much about Timothy Leary.  But damn if I don't love this phrase he was given by Marshall McLuhan.  This post was percolating in my mind for a few days, and then an old friend sent me an e-mail which brought it all together.  Once again, I have a friend to thank for inspiration!

We live in a hyper drive world.  One in which most cannot get enough information quickly enough.  One in which children no longer gaze at clouds or search the grass for bugs.  One in which we no longer practice common niceties or even acknowledge folks around us.  One in which we all have to be available at a moments notice and if we unplug for anything, it seems the world, for others, falls apart.

I don't care much for this world we now live in.  Call me a Luddite if you will, but frankly I'd like to go back in time.  Back to when phones had to be plugged into a wall, back to when people would feel great guilt or shame if they let a door close on another person, back to when we wrote handwritten letters.

I don't believe all this shit on commercials which makes it seem like doomsday will occur if you don't buy the new smart phone.  Commercials actually irritate me to no end.  I also don't want to be told I'm being unproductive if I don't fill every moment of my day.  I like having days when I can choose to do anything or nothing at all.  I am one of those people who protect my "me time" (this phrase is one that my friend who inspired me used).  You may say this phrase is "selfish" and I agree.  We need to be more selfish, but in the right way.

So here is where Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out comes in.  Many think it has only to do with tripping along the LSD road.  Not me.  This is how I break it down:

Turn On:  When I bike or hike alone, I often go pretty deep into different levels of consciousness.  Yes, I'm all still there so you don't need to worry about me crashing, but my mind tends to work in a different way.  Things come to me at different speeds and on different levels than I'm used to.  It is during these times I do all of my personal "work" if you will.

Tune In:  While riding, hiking, walking or camping I am tuning in.  My senses are all firing, I am acutely aware of my surroundings, and when I get a few hours to "tune in" I am elated.  Very few things in this world bring me more joy than feeling, I mean truly feeling my body work, smelling whatever may be in the air--be it resin from pine trees, woodsmoke, freshly laid manure--you get the idea, seeing the beauty in everything natural and some human made items as well, tasting sweat drip down my face or the beer I so rightfully earned and hearing either my friends voices (the ones who are riding with me) or just the song of birds vs. the phone ringing/buzzing/vibrating.

While tuning in, if I am around others, I also find I become more sensitive to their needs.  This could mean something simple like giving passing space to someone on the trail or asking someone if they need help if I see them with their bike on the side of the road.  I like tuning into others.  It makes me feel human.

Drop Out:  This could be the most difficult one to explain.  For me, "dropping out" means not getting swept up into keeping up with the Jones', not feeling the need to be "in the know" all the time (whether it be news or gossip), and not caring about being popular.

About a year ago I chose to go on a news diet.  It was one of the most difficult things for me to do since I thrive on learning new things and keeping up on what's going on in the rest of the world.  In this modern day of 24-7 news and media hype (even on NPR), I found myself getting angrier and angrier.  Sure, I knew where all the wars were and what countries were struggling financially, but I began to wonder if it was hurting or helping me.  I would have to go on rides or runs just to calm myself down after hearing negative news.  So, I decided to pull the plug.  Now, I can proudly say I am able to read some newspapers (although I still greatly limit myself) and chat with clients about specific world events, but with the elimination of television and radio news, I am a much happier person.  It comes down to this:  I know the type of person I am and I control the actions I take--that's all that really matters.  No knowledge of climate change will change how I live--I will still choose to live simply with a light footprint.  No news of racism will change how I treat others since I choose to treat others with respect regardless of their race, financial status etc.  I will also not be bought by big corporations trying to sell me things or tell me I will be a better person if I work harder. Essentially, I am dropping out of the cycle of brainwashing.

For all of this self realization I have come to in my forty years of living, I can thank my mom, my husband and all of my friends.  Please know that this is my journey and way of living.  By no means do I suggest others follow in my footsteps unless they want to.  I do not judge others for wanting specific material items or wanting a certain way of life.  I just ask that others don't judge, but instead respect me, for my choices.

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