Lately I’ve heard a few things that have taken me from a place of “pah, political correctness gone mad” to a deeper understanding of our intrinsic connectedness.
Firstly there’s the podium girls and the grid girls, my partner mentioned internationally sports were pulling the plug on these types of roles. Then the next day there was a moment as we arrived home to our little suburban street, to witness the teenage girl across the road washing her car to the thumping sound of some totally demeaning rap lyrics blasting out from her stereo.
I had my white middle aged suburban mom moment in my head, and the contrast to my ‘oh-so-cool’ younger years (those who know me may dispute this, but we shall just go with it for the contrast). I let it sit, “am I just getting older I wondered?”
Well, yes, there is that, the wisdom of age. But it brought to mind another conversation I’d had with a friend recently about sex in long term relationships. With the demands of jobs and/or parenthood, this becomes a grey and dismal area for many.
She was talking about the evolution of porn from magazines to video, and what that was creating in our society today. I’m going to join this up, as I did in my own head, with some interesting insights I’d gotten from reading about some ancient Vedic cultures.
We are basically talking about the power of imagery. We create our reality with our thoughts, but we don’t imagine words, we imagine images. So those who can conjure images that stick in our minds – be it you, or someone in society that can create common images in the now or enduringly – have a powerful influence in our present reality.
The issue is that most of us are unaware of both the inherited and learned images that play such a major part in how we perceive the world on a day to day basis. Sure, most acknowledge this to an extent with the marketing of brands that proliferate in our modern world. But then there have been many more powerful images than that.
As I was reminded recently, a really common one is the white Caucasian Jesus. Given he hailed from the Middle East, the likelihood of this image being false is extremely high when you apply some common sense. Not wishing to offend by the next leap in my thinking, but the issue of false images brings me back to the conversation we were having about porn.
The truth is, whether in a magazine or on the screen, the images that are projected have very little to do with what the vast majority would actually consider to entice intimacy. Sex is something that is only a part of a whole, especially in a long term relationship. If isolated it’s – at its best - a bit of sweaty bump and grind that leads to hopefully one person having at least a very fleeting moment of pleasure. At its worst, it’s damaging the connectedness rather than strengthening it.
As my friend said, there’s no 1-2-3 in the bedroom that can even come close to the love felt when her man comes home and says “you sit down love, I’ll clear up the kitchen”.
Interestingly my youngest daughter kept taking Gary Chapman’s ‘5 Love Languages’ book off the shelf and leaving it around lately. She cannot read but she likes the big loveheart picture on the front and so imagines it must be about something good.
I haven’t read that book in years (possibly even decades), but its principles stuck with me from the first time I flipped its pages. The simple premise behind it is that we all express and feel love in different ways. For certain, not everyone would put any real weight on their partner recognizing their efforts in the kitchen, nor relieving them of those efforts.
It’s not to say that we don’t all appreciate someone taking up the slack for us from time to time (or someone giving us a hug… or spending one on one time with us… or noticing our efforts and appreciating them rather than berating and criticizing… or even lavishing us with gifts), it’s more that each of us have a different pathway to love, so these things will mean more or less to you depending on your ‘love language’.
Leading on from last week’s article on what our thought patterns are really doing for us, one of the most important points to note are the images the thought patterns create in your head, and to question whether these images are healthy or not, are they images that create feelings of love? Sure, we all had some version of damage that came from our childhood, but what about all these external images that we openly subject ourselves to?
What are the lyrics of the songs you’re listening to? What are the TV programmers you are watching saying to you about life? What is the news you are reading telling you? What are the games you are playing doing? Don’t underestimate the power of images that get conjured. Each image that desensitizes us to crime, violence or hatred, or engenders fear or aggression is a step away from love and connection.
What images must that teenage girl have in her head, for her to think she is being cool listening to that crap? The urge to walk across and tell her she was worth more than the picture being painted by her music was internalized. She doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, so rather than come off as a moralizing old bag, I trust she will hear her lessons when she is ready for them.
However, it was obviously my time to hear them, and to wake up to more of the falsehoods that surround us and stand in our way of the deep connectedness that lies within us.
The point is that the desires of the flesh are deeply connected to all our other interactions and connectedness. Listening to the demeaning lyrics of a song creates images in your head, reading or watching porn, watching TV, reading news, playing games… on and on… do exactly the same. The question we each have to ask ourselves – and our children as they emerge into young adulthood - is whether these images are pathways to love and connectedness or quite the opposite?
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