Idea Hunt at Jenny Craig: Maybe a Co-ed Sauna?

Posted: September 19, 2012 in Life, living, politics, religion, truth-telling
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I rang the bell.  They keep the doors locked because of thieving opportunists: on more than one occasion the consultants have all been busy with clients, and someone has walked in, helping himself (or herself) to the contents of purses and shelved products.

I heard the buzzer and, just as I was going to open the door,  a smiling woman wearing a Mary Kay badge opened it and held it for me to enter.  I thanked her and we both sat down, while the receptionist said “your consultant will be with you in a moment.”

“Hi there!” said the Mary Kay lady.  “I’m here to showcase cosmetics to the ladies here.  But we have some products for men as well.”  She paused, smiling.  “Also, we’re giving out free hand treatments to everyone, including men.  Would you like one?”

I grinned.  “No, I don’t think so.  Thanks.”

Her eyes sparkled in amusement.  “Yeah, I know how it is with you guys.  Too tough for that kind of thing.”

I nodded.  “Yup.  Check out the freezer bags over there that this place is selling.  A little too flamboyant for guys.   A little too…..*fabulous* too.

She laughed.

She was delightfully unreadable.  And, as it turns out, married too.  Not so delightful, maybe.  Blue eyes, auburn hair, pretty much perfect.  I figured she was perhaps in her late forties.  An amazingly attractive woman.

“So what do you do?”

I answered and reciprocated the question, which she answered.  And then we got into it.

“I meet a lot of people who don’t work out the details of their financial grind.”  She thought for a second.  “Like, you know how it is when you spend all that money getting back and forth to the office and you spend all that money to make yourself presentable, and by the time you’re done, you’ve actually only made a few hundred dollars clear every month.”

I nodded.  She was speaking my language.

“I know what you mean.  You’re feeding The Machine.” The Machine is my favourite descriptor of the whole process.  “You spend money to buy a car and insurance so that you can get to your job so that you can afford the money to make car payments and insurance and gas so that you can get to the office….”

She agreed.  “It’s okay if you love what you’re doing but….you only go around once.”

“Exactly.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve regretted every moment doing something I have no interest in doing.  I know it’s a cliché but – damn it.  Life is too short.”

We sat in silence for a moment.  Then, I posed the question to her that I’d been asking a number of people.

“I’ve been thinking about starting something up.  It occurs to me that I’ll only do well if I create something of my own, which I control.  I’ve realized I can’t really be happy working for someone else.   It has to be something *I* do.

I want to create a place.  A forum.  Or an in-person group of some sort.  The attraction would be that this would be a place where self-aware people could gather, outside of The Machine.  Don’t know whether to call it ‘Missing Spokes’ or ‘Wayward Wheels’ or what.”

I felt the familiar frustration welling up in trying to explain it.  “I don’t even know what the thing looks like, and am hoping for some ideas here.”

Unexplained, because of lack of time, was the fact that in fact I hate most conversations.  I’m too easily bored.  And so, discussions about gossip or everyday stuff – what cute little thing Sally said today – make my eyes cross.   The easily distracted out there (present company included) are just too easily distracted, if you follow.

There are some conversations though which I find thrilling.  Discussions with people who see a little beyond the immediately apparent – like this Mary Kay woman, or like so many commenters on my blogs.  Folk who truly have a story to tell, or a truth to relate.  Meaty stuff that gets the blood boiling, and the thought processes pinging like pinball machines.    I know there’s an appetite for more of this, and there are people who are starving for this kind of compelling company.

Whenever I think of a vehicle to bring us together though – there’s a blank.  I’ve thought about creating a Facebook group, and I think that would be a good first step.  I don’t imagine it could end there though.  Maybe it could be a compilation of areas, like TheBloggess has:  she’s on Twitter, a number of other key sites, plus her own blog site. (P.S. If you haven’t already checked out her blog, do so. )

I believe there is a groundswell of thinkers and lovers of truth, many of whom have been disgusted by the pigeon-holing and demonization of the party politics in the U.S.  People who refuse to adopt common assumptions, preferring instead to examine each issue on its own.  They often refer to themselves as “independents”, and for good reason:  there is no one party which represents all of their values.

I see the same thing in the Christian religious community too: people who have abandoned settings which encourage traditionally immovable white/black dogma, preferring instead to examine thoughts about God on their own.  Seeking to reconcile what their hearts are saying with what logic tells them, and doing self-examination in an attempt to come to a conclusion that might not be church-sanctioned.

“We’re ready for you, sir.”  My consultant stood there, smiling.  I looked at the Mary Kay lady and smiled sadly, disappointed that we couldn’t finish our conversation.

“Nice to meet you”, I said, shaking her hand before turning to follow.   I meant it.

  1. Karen Milliorn says:

    Particularly in light of recent events in the Middle East, one of my favorite Bible verses is “we see as in a glass, darkly”. We have to remember that mirrors back then weren’t very good, so the writer refers to a very fuzzy view of things. We must beware of people who are TOO certain that their way is the one & only way. I am also always struck by the similarities among various religions, especially in their creation & “hero/salvation” stories. But what most catches my attention, in the end, is the notion of “enlightenment”, which, in one form or another (sometimes in very graphic form) runs through most major religions. See the paintings of Horus weighing the heart of the dead against a feather to determine their fates in the afterlife. See the Buddha see king the shake the weight of earthly—well, everything. Consider the notion of forgiveness & the lifting of the “burden” of your sins. I was taken aback one year, when one of my Jewish friends came to me & apologized on Yom Kippur, for what she thought had been an unnecessarily critical remark, that had been WEIGHING on her conscience! The message is, “If you have a light heart, you are saved/redeemed/good to go/whatever”. Conversely, if you carry around guilt, grudges, anger, etc, you won’t get very far (or, depending on your religion, go too far in the wrong direction!).


    • wolfshades says:

      Oh believe me, I know exactly what you mean about the dangers of absolute certainty. Having come out of a fundamentalist Christian background where such certainty was the core of all dogma, I appreciate and share in the wariness of stated dogmatic “truth”. The one thing I’m always certain of – and this is what feeds my curiosity – is that I don’t know everything. Enlightenment, I’m convinced, is a life-long quest anyway. Makes me wonder how many people, in the moment before their death, ever say “well now I know it all for sure”. I’ll bet the number approaches zero.

      I suppose the word itself – enlightenment – has a lot of baggage to it, and so is understood in different meanings. The enlightenment of a new convert is therefore different from the enlightenment of someone who has just left a cult, on the realization that he has been brainwashed all that time.

      I suppose my own enlightenment began at the point where someone helped me to understand that life wasn’t “done” to me, and that I wasn’t a “victim” of it – and that I had the freedom to make choices, quite apart from social expectations. Realizing that turned me into a reformed smoker of sorts: where just the thought of someone saying to me “oh he made me feel bad” kind of drove me a little nuts. ; ) No one makes you feel anything: they say or do something, and you have a choice on how to react.

      When I told my counsellor “every day, I go to this place and this happens and it makes me angry/depressed/whatever”, she said “so what you’re telling me is that every day you make the choice to go this place and become angry/depressed/whatever”. And that’s when the light clicked on. She subtly inserted the very true word “choice” in there, and that put a whole different spin on it. Telling someone they’re free to choose, particularly when they didn’t know it before, is probably the most rewarding enlightenment one can offer, I imagine.

      From there, there is more enlightenment to explore: is the God I believe in, the God that’s been preached to me all those years? If He’s responsible for the creation of people (through evolution), is it shocking to Him that some turn out to be attracted to people of their own sex? Having given us a sex drive, is He shocked when we masturbate? Does He love atheists? (I think He does, and in fact I think He appreciates their curiosity and willingness to use their minds to arrive at logical conclusions – even though they may have been wrong).

      And then it branches out: is the whole purpose of life to prepare for death? What does it mean to “live life abundantly” anyway? Is the entirety of existence comprised only of those things which we can feel, hear, see, taste and touch? What about string theory? What about quantum physics? Those require exploration beyond the five senses, don’t they?

      See what I mean? Your comment provoked all of this thought – and it’s what I’m getting at here: conversations like this thrill me. Thank you Karen.


  2. Karen Milliorn says:

    Yes! Having a brain whose neurons connect and fire back & forth is definitely great fun! And being able to get series of neurons going in more than one brain is more than twice the fun!


  3. Karen Milliorn says:

    Wolf–MTKed wants to read Mark’s blog, so I told him he could get directions from you–didn’t want to advertise in The Daily comments. I had mentioned in a comment that the blog was banned in Cuba & China, which piqued his interest. Thanks in advance. He should enjoy your blog, too. I do.


    • wolfshades says:

      Thanks Karen! I really don’t mind if anyone wants to post the link to my blog there. I have done so in the past. I appreciate your discretion though. : ) Mark’s blog was banned in those communist countries? *Fascinating*. I’m really curious now – what did he say that worried them? : )


      • Karen Milliorn says:

        He’s an equal-opportunity insulter! He’s gotten hate mail (we assume) in Arabic. For that one, see the blog about Religion 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, etc. I can look it up if you have trouble finding it. We have the yearly blogs bound for our kids & a few friends. It’s amazing, otherwise how many people think the true stories in the blogs are totally fiction (names are often changed to protect the guilty!) mark still wants to visit Cuba before Castro is gone. I have visions of his getting to the entry station & his name being on a list……..BTW, if I want to ask a question, is the best route or would you prefer routine email? Whichever is best for you is OK by me.


        • wolfshades says:

          I’ll have to take a look for it. Sounds interesting! I’m now curious as to whether we might be on the same page regarding religion. Given his wonderful cynicism, I suspect we might be. : )


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