Star Gazing, Navel Gazing and Intoxication

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"Moonshines" mixed media on canvas

“Moonshines” mixed media on canvas

Why do some people live static uninteresting lives while others seem to soar to the top? What is it that separates the realists from the dreamers? The introverts from the extroverts; and why in heck does it matter?

The word “myopic” is used to describe people who are bigoted and narrow-minded. Oftentimes, this term is laid on the undeserving because it’s easy to jump to conclusions and put labels on people before we really get to know them or understand why and how they think. In our “instant” society, we trash, label, and despair those who think differently from us. We hurry to form opinions of others and miss the sparkle of ingenuity that may lie just beneath the surface. What a waste!

Too many of us are crowd pleasers and sycophants looking for our next fix of approval and adoration. Whatever is culturally popular and acceptable is where they’ll find us chanting and shouting in unison the latest phrases and tweets. We have become a nation of navel gazers; so focused on our own narrow world view that we miss the big picture.

In the past, according to Wickipedia, “many cultures, including the Greeks, associated tremendous power with the navel. Obviously, the navel is a connection to the life-force of one’s mother, through the umbilical cord, so in some cultures, it is viewed as a center or starting point. In several societies, people have specified particular sites as the “Navel of the World,” ranging from Delphi to Easter Island. These sites were believed to have religious significance as centers of culture and religion for members of these societies.

"Hibiscus Glory" 16 x 20 oil on canvas (SOLD) Prints available

“Hibiscus Glory” 16 x 20 oil on canvas (SOLD) Prints available

“In the 1900s, “navel gazing” began to take on the additional meaning of being used to refer to people who seemed extremely self-absorbed or unaware of their surroundings because they were too focused on their own issues. In this sense, the term is generally meant to be derogatory, implying that someone needs to open his or her awareness a bit to think beyond the current situation, or to consider others. In this sense, navel gazing is viewed as rather self indulgent.”

You will never dream nor find inspiration if you spend your time navel gazing. On the other hand, if you look outside yourself and in your fear anesthetize yourself from pain, wonder, fear, and life experiences, you may become one of the walking dead among the living: an emotional zombie who never discovered his or her purpose in life.

“In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters were a race of people living on an island near North Africa dominated by lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.”

I read this statement and wondered if our growing appetite for drug addiction in whatever form might be the downfall of a nation lolled into thinking that everything is all right when it’s actually in freefall.

"Broken" mixed media on canvas (SOLD) Prints available

“Broken” mixed media on canvas (SOLD) Prints available

“In the Odyssey IX, Odysseus tells how adverse north winds blew him and his men off course as they were rounding Cape Malea, the southernmost tip of the Peloponnesus, headed westwards for Ithaca:

“I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of 9 days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars.”[1]

Are we fast becoming a culture of navel gazers addicted to our own self-gratification, oblivious to what’s happening in our country and in the world? Have we digressed so far that we simply “don’t give a dam?”

Once we were a nation of dreamers, inventors, and discoverers. Of course, the foolish and the unwise accused them of “star gazing;” spending too much time in frivolous pursuit of the impossible. Their efforts were considered a waste of time until the accolades and the money came in. Then they were appreciated. How convenient!

"Day Dreams" 11 x 14 oil on canvas

“Day Dreams” 11 x 14 oil on canvas

When we look up at the moon and the stars we discover an open door. Instead of seeing the dirt at our feet and the fuzz in our navels, we open our minds to greatness. Here are some quotes from a few star gazers who proved that looking beyond our own selfish pleasures may put us in touch with a higher force:

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence. See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa

And may I add to Mother Teresa’s quote: We need silence to get in touch with the divine within our own souls.

Don’t be a passive player on life’s stage, my friends. Be a dreamer, active in sharing and believing in possibilities. Take your hopes to the next level. Aspire to live the purpose for which you were created!

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