Circulate

Circulate: (v) to pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person.

I have recently been accused of being anti-social.

The diagnosis was offered because I failed to attend a party. It was assumed that anyone who didn’t want to come to this social adventure
had to be out of his or her mind.

I was supposed to come and circulate among people whom I have known for years, and read about ever-too-frequently on my Facebook page. As a matter of fact, I know so much about these folks that I could probably write personal bios for them.

But they were convinced that I had sunk into some sort of despair because I wasn’t going to come and hear the same old stories while partaking of a dip with only subtle new inclusions.

I do need to circulate–but I need to do it among people who are not necessarily related to me or benefit from me personally or financially.

A great man once said that if you only love those who love you, what in the hell is so special about that?

For instance, I just came back from the grocery store. I encountered at least twenty-five people I have never met before.

I circulated.

I conversed.

I opened up my heart to the possibility that these were good folks and I would benefit from the exchanges. I suspect about half of them thought I was crazy for being so talkative. But the other half took a risk, jumped in and, well…circulated.

We do not circulate when we only hang around those who resemble us or are friends because we buy presents for them on birthdays or Christmas.

We circulate when we allow the blood of human relationship to mingle among castes, races, genders and ideologies.

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Chum

Chum: (n) a close friend.

I was twenty-three years old before I realized there were gay people. I had been told they were perverts. Matter of fact, the American Psychiatric Association confirmed this to us publicly, making us feel our squeamishness was justified by their diagnosis.

I mention this because life marches on, and if you want to lay down and object, be prepared to have boot prints on your face.

When I was ten years old I had a friend. Let’s call him Timmy. No, let’s not. That brings up the idea that he had a dog named Lassie. Let’s
call him Frankie. That’s got a nice Brooklyn feel to it.

Frankie was my chum. Frankie was my devoted companion. Frankie hung out. Frankie defended me when other people said I was a fat pig. Frankie liked me.

Now, as I look back at it, I realize Frankie loved me.

Frankie always wanted to come over, spend the night and sleep in the same bed. That wasn’t weird when you were a kid–you could punch each other and joke around, but he always, by morning, cuddled up to my back.

When I was twenty-three, along with discovering gay people, I also realized that Frankie was one of them. I was probably Frankie’s first love.  An unrequieted one.

Because when I turned twelve, my gyroscope pointed toward pretty girls. Shortly after that I never saw Frankie again. Matter of fact, I don’t even know where Frankie is.

I hope he’s happy.

I hope he found someone who was worthy of his devotion.

And I hope that person is grateful to have Frankie cuddling up to him.

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Basket Case

Basket case: (n) a person or thing regarded as useless or unable to cope.Dictionary B

The most delicate journey in our Earth life is finding the balance between mercy and muscle.

When is it good to be sympathetic, and when is it necessary to exhort and challenge ourselves and those around us?

The truth of the matter is, weakness has no advantage unless it’s exposed–so that can grow into greater strength.

Being diagnosed as lacking–be it emotional, spiritual, mental or physical–does not really grant us an identity, but rather, assigns us a number and shoves us in a prison cell.

What do we do when we run across people who are basket cases, finding themselves completely overwhelmed by their circumstances, and often not comprehending why their burden is so cumbersome?

Mercy is a beautiful thing. atter of fact, without being merciful, none of us are worthy to obtain it.

Yet the predilection in our society to doctor tiny cuts and scrapes as if they are mortal wounds is not merciful at all, but ends up being a way of manipulating the frustrated brethren around us into becoming incapacitated.

I’m sure there is a true diagnosis for clinical depression, but I will tell you–not everyone who claims it has it.

I’m certain there are all sorts of diseases and conditions which infest the human body and brain, but by no means are these maladies meant to leave us dormant.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, there are too many unnecessary basket cases for us to really minister to the real ones.

Sometimes we need to stand up and accept that what is set before us is our present lot, and we would do better to buck up a bit and find a way to not only endure it … but win. 

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Antidepressant

dictionary with letter A

 

Antidepressant: (adj) a drug used to alleviate depression.

I always become aggravated when I’m told that certain subjects can not be discussed because none of us totally understand the height, depth or breadth of the situation.

Since my birth, I have been a novice, and remain so to this day.

I have never been an expert on anything, nor would I claim to be one, even if I possessed the benefit of a diploma.

Yet to remove discussion from the table is to close the door on the accidental discoveries which have blessed human progress. Yes, most of the things that we have come up with over the years were derived from the aftermath of “spitball sessions.”

So when it comes to the issue of depression, to complicate the matter by refusing to seek the simplest solution first seems absolutely irresponsible.

Candidly, I have been depressed in my life.

  • It was not due to a chemical imbalance.
  • It was not caused by my upbringing suppressing my true natural ego.
  • It was because I handled disappointment poorly and was not given the exhortation to press on to the next opportunity, which could bolster my confidence.

There is no quick cure-all.

I am certainly not saying that there aren’t physiological reasons for psychological struggles. But simply because someone who is naturally depressed tends to feel better if they’re doped up does not mean that other avenues should not be attempted first.

When it comes to solving any problem, here’s what I think:

1. Is there a simple solution right in front of us that we cannot see right now because we are blinded by our fear or inadequacy?

2. Is there a possibility that through study, conversation and even a certain degree of faith, we could uncover a better path without instituting drastic measures?

3. Having exhausted the practical, can we cautiously and nearly reverently pursue a treatment of a more intrusive nature?

America is too intoxicated by chemicals and constantly trying to introduce new ones, old ones and ones yet to be approved.

Sometimes it really is as simple as having someone else to give a damn … and talk with you.

 

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AMA

dictionary with letter A

AMA: (abbr.) American Medical Association

Much to the chagrin of a physician or two who have crossed my path, I look on the medical field with the same level of respect–and caution–that I do with politics and religion.

I know that doctors want me to have faith in them and to accept their diagnosis and treatment without question. But like politics and religion, medicine has things it does well and other things yet to be achieved.

For instance, politics affords us a rudimentary form of democracy which is certainly better than any other style of government presently available. But it also thrusts upon us politicians, gridlock and a ridiculous amount of debate, which stall needful expansion.

In the same fashion, religion stands as a symbol of goodness and kindness in a world gone mad, while simultaneously translating the mercy of God into the misery of restrictions.

The American Medical Association is much the same. Although they offer many advances, it is undoubtedly true that much of what they do will be viewed in the future as the equivalent of placing leeches on the body of the ailing George Washington.

It’s just important to understand:

  • What medicine knows and what medicine doesn’t know
  • What religion does well and what religion does poorly
  • And how politics advances the cause of humanity, and also how it can deter

So here’s a clue: don’t do anything until you understand. And that doesn’t mean that you should comprehend, or why don’t you “get it?”

Move out on the basis of your own understanding.

Several years ago I told my personal physician that a certain medication made me feel sick, and rather than lowering my blood pressure, was actually raising it. She doubted my assertion. So the next time I went in I brought a report, explaining that the pill was under scrutiny and needed to be carefully administered. She was still not convinced, but I insisted that she take me off the medication. When she did I started feeling better.

Two months later the drug was removed from the market.

This is not my doctor’s fault; she was following the precepts of her particular religious practice. It was my responsibility to avoid something I didn’t understand.

There are many things I don’t understand about politics and religion–and also medicine.

But rather than assuming I’m ignorant, I just choose to delay joining the party … until I’m sure of what’s in the punch.

Adler, Alfred

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adler, Alfred (1870 – 1937): Austrian psychologist and psychiatrist who disagreed with Freud’s idea that mental illness was caused by sexual conflicts in infancy, arguing that society and culture are significant factors. Adler introduced the concept of the inferiority complex.

Adler just wasn’t sexy.

You see, that’s the problem with humanity. It’s not that I’m a prude and object to sexualizing. Anything as vastly accepted, recognized and universally shared as sex is undoubtedly has across-the-board appeal.

But if you mention Sigmund Freud in front of the psychiatric community thinking that you are being wise and inventive, you might need to be prepared to be ridiculed for your lack of information. Making everything in life about sex is like insisting that pornography is a rite of passage for discovering how to interact with members of the opposite gender.

Adler had two major problems: he took away the sexiness AND he inserted the need to question ourselves on whether we felt inferior.

That last one’s a killer. That’s why people aren’t making movies about Adler, but every once in a while Freud gets stuck in because he gave us license to explore our strangeness and foibles by blaming our mother and father for a lack of warmth which caused us to become perverted.

That’s the difference. Freud gave us somebody to blame. Adler made people take personal responsibility for their own actions, their own culture, their own environment and their own feelings of insecurity.

Honestly, which one would YOU choose?

But somewhere along the line, in order for a society to grow out of being stuck in adolescence, people have to admit that they might just be their own worst problem. Yes, maybe our parents were not very good. After all the position comes with neither a manual nor any natural inclinations, contrary to popular opinion.

What we do at age thirty-five needs to cease to have anything to do with what happened to us at age four. Otherwise, we pass on the impression that everyone in the world is really sick, waiting for a diagnosis to come along and rationalize erratic behavior.

Adler may have had a whole lot more on the ball because he asked people to trace ALL the factors of their lives, and also to consider that taking a back seat to others is a personal decision rather than a permanent position.

Freud, on the other hand, made everything about erogenous zones and how we feel deprived, which caused us to act out as little children.

So we have to STOP being “children in the marketplace”–grow up, forgive the failures of our families, and start allowing ourselves to inhabit a persona which is ours alone and not at the mercy of the indiscretions of others.

Yes, if our society does not grow out of its “teenager phase, ” we will continue to throw tantrums, lie and never get our homework done.

And when the homework is not done, the national need will never be met.