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Life Arts    H3'ed 4/19/14

The Work of Laird Schaub: Publisher of Communities Magazine

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Burl Hall
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Communities Magazine
Communities Magazine
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Housed within an apartment on Blake St in Lewiston, Maine; 13 year old John Defour (a fictional person) wakes up to the sound of an alarm.  In response he quickly hops up and goes to the bathroom to relieve his bladder.  He then begins to ready himself for school.  As he walks towards the living room, he flips on the television to watch some morning cartoons, which have surreal characters hitting each other.  "Yes!  This is cool" he thinks as the Road Runner tricks the coyote into running into a rock wall.  He then goes to the kitchen to pour himself some cereal.  He gazes at the box in adoration of being able to sound off the ingredients that are as complex as some of the chemicals he learns in his middle school science class.

His thoughts then shift as he gazes at the bottle housing his ADHD medications.  Shrugging his shoulders taking the medication, he pours the milk into a cereal bowl.  Mindlessly he begins to think about that kid Brian who he sees every morning at the bus stop.  Brian helps him to feel powerful.  Why, all he has to do is shake his fist at Brian and Brian begins to cry.  "What a 'wuss!'" John thinks silently. Meanwhile, he sees his friends giving the thumbs up to his terrorization of Brian.  A big smile comes upon Brian's face.  He feels power-full.  He has earned respect!

John's attention changes as he notices his mother stumbling and swaying out of the Master's bedroom.  She rubs her eyes in disbelief as she gazes at her son clad in his white underwear.  She then moves into the kitchen with hung-over eyes and throbbing head to grab a cup that will soon house some steaming hot coffee.  Yes, this will help her throbbing head manifested by a night of several beers and tears over the loss of a lover who decided another woman's vagina was richer that hers. 

"Same old story," she thinks.

Feeling used, neglected, depressed and alienated, she stumbles towards the metallic coffee maker, which started brewing a few minutes earlier by a computerized intelligence that knows the time she wakes up.

At least somebody cares, right?  Praise the Lord for coffee machines!

John, meanwhile, keeps his back to his mother as he readies himself for school.   It's like this every morning, day in and day out.  Deep inside he experiences a sense of pain stemming from an alienation that he can't label.  He just thinks he's weird.  Deep down, he knows that he doesn't belong. After all, according to his mom, teachers, and probation officer he does nothing right.

It's feels different with his friends, though.  They help him to feel "cool", especially when he picks on that boy, Brian, at the bus stop.  Without fail, John makes Brian cry.  Meanwhile, inside, John dies, unable to escape the lies that he makes up about himself.  His friends shall never know its all a lie.

John stops to gaze at his mother.  She doesn't notice him.  He is an alien to a woman who is herself alienated in what appears to be an alien world.  But John doesn't realize all this.  He just thinks he's weird and so is she.  He just doesn't belong in this life.  He doesn't belong anywhere.  Sometimes he wishes he had never been born.

In our modern age, we are facing many problems:  (1) alienation from life reflecting a lack of belonging; (2) deteriorating places of beauty that touch the heart due to the commercial-corporate take over of our lives and Nature; (3) the devastation of the planet by what appears to be a "growth gone wild" mentality; and (4) an increasing focus on standardized ways of doing everything from the education of children to burying the dead.

In the meantime, many psychologists say that a primary issue of our day and age is alienation.  Alienation from what?  Life in general? Our Self?  What is our Self if not our Nature?

How many of us go into an apartment (read apart-ment) and sit in front of a television and/or computer screen while having very little contact with sun, rain, wind and even the smell of our children's or lover's presence?  Yes, we live psychologically in what we house ourselves in, apartments.  We are, indeed, a part from life.  We refuse being a part of it.  Thus we have no sense of our Nature.

We are aliens breathing in and out the atmosphere of an alien planet.   While we read reports of "Soul Sicknesses" such as anxiety and depression, we aren't able to see that our depressed and anxious life is due to a sense of not belonging, which stems from a system that is alienated from Nature. 

Thus we tend to live in a standardized housing project and shop at standardized malls and box stores while living the good life within a standardized suburb in the good ole standardized US of A.  As John Cougar sings in his "Ain't This America," we all live in little pink houses that serve as blinders to who we truly are.  We too are standardized.

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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