Outside the “Rapist Box”: Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, and my Father

There’s been a lot of hype all over the internet lately about Bill Cosby and his alleged crimes.  This post is not about the question of whether or not he committed them.  If he did, it is tragic.  If he didn’t, the accusations against him are tragic.  Either way, it affects a specific group of people, and none of them are me, which probably makes it none of my business.

What I am interested in is the cultural response to the story.  Over and over I have seen people wondering whether it’s still okay to love The Cosby Show, or to laugh at Cosby’s stand-up jokes.  It seems that, if Cosby is a rapist, it casts a pall over everything he has ever produced, and has every chance of ending his career.  “Did it have to be Cliff Huxtable?” asks one article, while another asserts that “these revelations cast America’s once-favorite sitcom dad in terrible light.”  Netflix, TV Land, and NBC all jumped the sinking Cosby ship within a matter of days, canceling shows or pulling reruns.  Theaters began canceling his upcoming appearances.  “Run away,” says the mainstream media, “we don’t want to be seen to associate with an accused rapist!

It reminds me very much of the reactions early this year when the accusations against Woody Allen took center stage.  People who loved his movies suddenly seemed to be ashamed of that love, or to feel the need to never watch them again.  In fact, a personal appeal from the alleged victim, Dylan Farrow, asked for exactly that: for people to stop celebrating Woody Allen’s films.  It’s as if the overall cultural response is to say, “Well, if someone is a rapist, that means nothing they’ve ever done can be enjoyed or celebrated, because that would be supporting them, and supporting them is the same thing as supporting rape, and we certainly don’t support rape.”

Again, I’m not interested in arguing about whether any of these allegations are true or not.  There are plenty of articles out there arguing both sides of all these stories.  I am interested, primarily, in the cultural response to the phenomenon of rape. 

My interest in this issue stems from my own personal history. Continue reading

Divine Dissatisfaction

I got to see one of my favorite people this week – a friend who is more like a big brother or super-cool uncle than a friend.  One of my favorite things about this dude is the sort of wild and creative deeply mystical conversations we can get into — it’s just all kinds of fun.

This time, we didn’t have spades of time to dive deeply into the conversation, so we did a condensed, preview version instead, of a conversation we’ll have sometime in the next few weeks.  It went something like this:

Me: “So, the big idea I’ve been grooving on lately is that everything is already perfect.”

Him: “Wow.  I’ve been on the opposite side – looking at the universe as inherently failure.”

Me: “I think it’s the same thing.”

Needless to say, I’m greatly looking forward to having the time and the space to really explore this notion.  Here’s what I’ve got so far…

Continue reading

A Story of Grace

Lately I’ve been writing fiction.  I’m having a great time with it.  It’s liberating, after spending so much time writing Memoir, to delve into a realm of complete creativity — to move from harvesting the patterns from my own experience into using those patterns as a foundation to weave something totally new – a telling of a story that is unprecedented.  And yet, even in its newness, it feels old; it feels connected to archetypes and patterns that are inherent in every aspect of this universe that we are playing in.

This new experiment of writing fiction has me pondering the notion that maybe there is, really, only one story, a story that all of creation is telling, and that every unique story – whether fact or fiction, is simply a thread in the web of this one, ultimate story.  Inside of this notion, the One Story, then, is the Ultimate Reality…is God/Spirit/The Divine/The Soul of the Universe…or whatever language works for you.

Let’s sink deeper into this concept of The Ultimate Reality perceived as Story: Continue reading

A case of the greys

Hello, again.

I missed blogging last week.  Do you know the expression “my eyes were bigger than my plate”?  Well, last week, my eyes were bigger than my schedule.  I just kept adding things in, all the while absolutely sure I’d be able to do all of it.  Turns out, I cannot squeeze more than 24 hours into a day.

It triggers my perfectionism, to miss a week.  And all my voices have to have their say about it — “How could I let my readers down?”  “Let them down?  Seriously? How egotistical is it to think anyone depends on my weekly post?”  “But…I made a commitment to blogging on Tuesdays.”  and on, and on, and on.

It’s a predictable path, culminating, of course, in the arrival of yesterday.  Another Tuesday.  And me, all tangled up in my head, feeling like I have nothing to write about.  Which is just silly.  In this whole wide world, there is always something to ponder, and in my life, if there’s something to think about there is something to write about.  Nevertheless, I spent yesterday hanging out in the greys.

And then I woke up cranky.  Irritable.  Out of sorts.

So I got myself out of bed, and into the shower, and dressed, and brought myself out to the diner.  Because sometimes a case of the greys requires a healthy dose of hot chocolate, and sometimes sitting at the diner with my laptop gets me to write when nothing else will.

Maybe it’s the magic hot chocolate, but I’m sitting here, surrounded by pink-and-teal diner decor, laughing at myself.  Because it’s just so obvious and predictable.  I came home on Sunday from an amazing workshop saying to myself “I need to spend some time writing.”  And then I didn’t write.  And then I got cranky.  And it’s really that simple.

I think that we all have things that we need to do.

I’m not talking about the giant list of things we all carry around that we should be doing – you know the one – eat healthy, exercise more, get enough sleep, lose 5 pounds, volunteer, etc, etc – but the list of things we need to do.  Things that are essential to who we are.

There are the universal needs – breathing, hydrating, some amount of nourishment and sleep…but what I’m interested in right now are the individual needs. We all have them.  The things we’ve found that make us feel alive.  One of my major ones is writing.  It doesn’t just make me feel alive, it helps me stay sane.

So my question this morning is: why do I ever resist it? It’s one thing when, like last week, I am just over-busy.  But this week was a different story.  I could have taken an hour yesterday, or the day before, to write.  And I didn’t.  Instead I hung out in the greys.

I’m wondering if it’s about capacity for aliveness.  See, being fully alive is, well, a lot.  It’s intense.  And I think it’s a muscle that takes time to develop.  So maybe my resistance is just a muscle that isn’t fully developed yet.  Or maybe it’s not about capacity for aliveness, but rather about habitual numbness.  Maybe when my system is on a roll, there’s a message that starts flashing in my head — **warning, warning, this is not what this system is accustomed to. Please return to status quo immediately.**

I’m not sure.  What I do know is that writing (not every day, but a couple of times a week) is a vital part of my fully-alive life.  And that sometimes I resist my aliveness, and choose to live in the grey for a few hours, or a few days, or even a few weeks.

Here’s the thing – I love the color grey.  And there’s something delicious about wallowing in it for a while (as long as it isn’t too long).  The trick here is, I want to go grey on purpose, and not by default.  I want to schedule it, to make it part of my life.

I’m starting to think that my fully-alive life isn’t actually about being fully alive every moment of every day…but rather being in balance between the bright times and the grey times; mixing aliveness and deadness together in an expression of being that is unique to me and feels delicious…that somehow the grey days make the colorful days brighter.

What do you think?  Are there things you need to do that you don’t always do?  Do you find that the times of resistance enhance the times of flow?  I’d love to hear from you!