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Uncommon Sense with Breck Costin

 

 

 


 

 

Heartbreak

Heartbreak is an essential part of being human. It happens to all of us and it happens in very different ways. There are events, such as: someone passing away, a significant break-up, a truly unexpected tragedy, results from poor choices, etc. Heartbreak hits us all differently and hits us from different parts of our lives. We have the ability to “rally” and move on, but heartbreak lingers. Even when we have the drive to move on and move forward, sometimes it’s just too much and will lay us flat. We are living in a time where heartbreak has become a quotidian expression. Heartbreak no longer stalks us, it now inhabits us.

There are new cultural personalities that are developing because of the heartache and the heartbreak. We use to have personalities of rage and anger because there was still the illusion that we could stave off and/or eliminate the heartbreak that hit us, but the endless waves of despair that come with such regularity has changed the way we deal.

When my younger brother died, fifteen years ago, it hit me very hard. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t experience loss before, but this was personal, it brought my mortality into focus. For months, I kept trying to shake off this feeling that hung over me like grey overcast. Until one day it dawned on me, I was forever changed and whatever room I had occupied was forever closed. I had been bumped into a different room, it wasn’t better or worse, it was just different. It didn’t offer up the same sunlight but then there was something more substantial. We have to learn how to live with less sunlight.



I Mean... Really

 
"'The time has come', the Walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.' 

I think it’s fair to say that the sea is getting hotter and pigs do have wings. However, Harvey’s wings are forever scorched. Do we rejoice in other’s misery (Schadenfreude) or is it more about flying too close to the sun and we want those to get their comeuppance? I don’t think it can get any clearer, we are in a Feminine Revolution and what was tolerated before is no longer tolerable and men will be forced to find other ways to behave. There has been a complicity between men and women, a mutual understanding that has brought out the worst in all of us. We have allowed fear and compromise to dominate. We have allowed gluttony to triumph over character. We have allowed silence to overshadow truth. To EARN a person’s love and respect rather than threaten their very dreams by way of leverage is “The Divine Right of the Insecure.” One can always tell if someone has really found redemption or if they’re just giving lip service, spinning contrite tales in order to reassemble back to what once was.

Sometimes it takes great loss to get the lessons, and sometimes that’s not even enough; but the stakes will keep getting raised if one doesn’t heed the signs. We are so consumed with staying alive, we don’t see how we are dying.

If one is to begin with Lewis Carol than they should end with Shakespeare.
 
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

What is the Truth?

What is the Truth? An age-old question. And one that we essentially are in search of all the time. We look for the Truth in our personal lives, with those we love–– our friends and family. We look for the Truth from our leaders, from our teachers, from whom we date to who we marry. We look for the Truth philosophically: from how to live our lives, to religion, to who we should work for and what we should do.

The need for the Truth is an all-consuming pursuit and it is certainly one of the core-centric commonalities that binds us together. We have Referees, Umpires, Pundits, Lawyers, Police, Committees and self-proclaimed authorities looking out for what is the Truth. There are the obvious Truths, where someone is caught in an outright lie. Then there are the not so obvious, where things are more subjective–– like whether it’s a ball or a strike.

Then there are things that you absolutely think are true, and you live from those truths until later on you discover that they were lies. When one is angry and says hateful things to another and then later on recants, which is true: the hateful things he/she said in the moment, or the loving regret they speak in the aftermath? 

So, how to get at the Truth: I have found that when one takes anything personally they have an inability to diffuse or reveal the Truth of a situation, if one doesn’t feel personally lied to and there is no threat of loss, that seems to offer up space for a person to tell the truth.
 

“The reason people lie is because of Shame, therefore to use Shame as a tool to get to the Truth will just further concretize the situation.”



Turning In

As a country, we are a melting pot of different ideologies, different ethnicities, different points of view and we strive to celebrate those differences. Historically we have been known to be a country that attracts fresh starts and offered a haven, free from persecution.  “Fresh starts” yes, but free from persecution? Hardly.

Our country was founded as a response to persecution, yet we have been the biggest violators of that ideology. It goes to show that the wounds which have been inflicted on us we continue to inflict on ourselves and others, like some sort of Ancestral Pathology.

There will always be hierarchies. There will always be differences. But judgment and prejudice usually stem from insecurity and the fear of the unknown, and we have been conditioned to attack anything that is different. Prejudice and judgment are not relegated to the uneducated, to the poor, or to the over-educated and entitled. Its commonality is a traumatized heart–– a closed heart.

Hatred does not come out of a void, prejudice is a learned behavior. As parents, it begins with us; to be a good role model for our kids, to be generous of spirit. To not jump to believe what you see is the whole story. I am always amazed to see whenever I make snap judgments I am usually wrong. Or at least I certainly do not have the whole story.

I’m being taught everyday by my children: when I interact with their behavior, rather than knowing there is more to the story, I get more unwanted behavior. When I take something personally, I have no perception and I have no ability to assist in diffusing the situation.

Prejudice takes on many faces:
      Fear of the unknown.
      Fear of what you don’t understand or can’t explain.
      Fear of looking stupid.
      Fear of losing what you feel entitled to.

Fear is the reoccurring theme. We have no understanding of how to deal with our fears, we only know that being afraid is uncomfortable and someone will pay for our discomfort.

In times of uncertainty we look for diversions, entertainment, religion, meditation, mindfulness–– anything that can soothe the savage beast, or at the very least, can create some sense of normalcy and stability.

I personally have been looking back, whether it is my age or if I am just remembering a time when the world seemed bright and fanciful. However, the truth is, every TIME has had its pain. It is just our posts and or snapshots that allows us to distort the past.



Turning Corners

I just got back from vacation in Europe with my family where we had such a miraculous time. My heart is full. 

I am moved and touched by the the sweetness and generosity of the people of the world. We were treated with such warmth everywhere we went. I am clearly an American, and like the country I come from, I still think I have that inalienable right to act impatient and entitled. We are a country of “Willie” Loman’s, marketing a time that no longer exists. America has had so many opportunities to reinvent itself but we are too busy inventing slogans that are attempting to resurrect a time that is long gone.

The world is receptive to us but through very different portals. Receptive to our graciousness, our creativity, our ingenuity, our passions, our inclusiveness. I have become arrogant and proprietorial about what I am accustomed to.  What I discovered on this trip, due to gaining some distance from my self-proclaimed reality, is that I don’t particularly like myself. I don’t say that in some sort of self-pitying way or self-accusatory way, but more as an impetus for change. I don’t have enough money, youth, looks or cache for that level of entitlement.

I saw my future in such a clear way; I am to serve, not just sometimes, but all times. I don’t think making this change will be easy, as I have to battle a cultural riptide and personal impulses, but I do think this is the right direction.

In Memory of Chester

I was heartbroken to hear about Chester yesterday. My heart breaks for Mike, Brad, Dave, Joe and Rob (bandmates), Chester’s fans and family. We are not privy to people's pain, we only get glimpses into what people endure. As a father I can’t imagine leaving 6 kids this way, but I then think of Chester and I think more about him as a son than a father. And my heart breaks for him knowing him as an energetic, sweetly sensitive boy, where the world was too much for him. We all try to make sense of life and hell, I have made a profession out of that pursuit, but there is life that goes way beyond our own understanding. I watched a YouTube video of Chris Cornell singing “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles and Chester singing “Hallelujah” at Chris Cornel’s funeral and I was reminded of all things that are beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. And once again I was reminded that we are all heartbroken. Thank you Chester for all that you gave.

Taking Time to Change

They ––those people–– usually say, that as you get older your life becomes less expansive, your views become narrower and you become less tolerant. You turn down the music. Not to say there is not some sort of entropic aspect, or at least, some gravitational pull towards this way of being. But it doesn’t have to go that way; I have found that habitual behavior versus original thinking usually stands in the way of any kind of evolution. And many of us blame lack of time for our lack of capacity. We tend to maintain many of the values that we started with, rather than allowing life to look and feel like a constant cycle of expanding values.

Time Management is an illusion at best, as it is a sore attempt at putting lightening in a bottle. More like Timeless Play, the idea that there is an infinite supply of time and all one needs to do is access it. Most look at their time to see if they can shove a commitment into the time they have rather than look at what you want to create and harvest all the time you need.

The idea that it takes time to change is not true; what takes time is how long it takes for people to realize they need to change. Being radical and revolutionary in your examination of how you have lived and how you are living, can’t be bad.


“To introduce an initiative of changing your mind and opening your heart, time and time again, seems like a good way to go.”

Dreams and Fantasies

We all have dreams; those that are very different and diverse from one another. And then we have fantasies associated with those dreams. Fantasies, rich with revenge and virulent excess, create potent images of what we will do, who we will be and how people will respond to us when those dreams come true. It only takes us minutes to put a fantasy together, and the internal detail can be quite prolific. Dreams, on the other hand, can take a lifetime.

A fantasy is intoxicating, it has us long for an experience that is altogether untrue. However, the fantasy is fueled by fabricated social media and marketed lies. The experience that a fantasy promises does not live in a fulfilled dream. In order for a dream to come into existence, the desire for the fantasy/experience has to dissipate, and the desire and hard work to build a dream has to come into focus.
 
This is the reason so many never fulfill on their dreams: because the addiction to the fantasy is far more alluring than the sobriety of a dream.


“Your fantasies have to die in order for your dreams to come true.”
 

Lost and Found

There are certain qualities that we come into this world with. Whether those qualities are decreed by our genetics or by our environment, they did not require effort or examination. They were our “Givens”.  

There are some people who have a strong work ethic. And there are people who have the ability to make us laugh, while others have the ability to move us deeply. Some are good with numbers, while some are savvy at having other’s number. Some have the ability to think outside the box, while other’s design the box.

We all have different innate abilities that we are blessed with. It is easy to rely on these inherited traits; and if they monetize and yield a certain cache, we think that they will sustain us forever. There is, however, a finite value to these innate qualities. At some point, after you have sucked all the marrow out of those “Givens” you find yourself in need. That’s where true character begins. It is not things that come easily, it’s where you have to really work for qualities that were not part of your inherited self.

The reason that developing a new trait is so difficult is because the moment you introduce the notion of a new paradigm, you threaten an existing one. With how much mileage is yielded from those innate abilities, it is hard to turn your back on a consistently reliable resource.

You can’t get rid of something that is innately you, but you can move it out of first position. Understanding when something which used to feed you is now killing you and needs to be retired, is a sign of wisdom. If that quality has ruled despotically for some time, then you have been lost for some time. Time to put another quality in first position and archive this old friend.


A life dedicated to evolution understands that you are introducing and retiring qualities constantly.


The Great Romantic Gesture

The Great Romantic Gesture belongs to another time…

There are romantic expressions and romantic actions but a true Romantic Gesture has certain criteria, and we do not live in a world that is conducive to the Great Romantic Gesture. We live in a world that is riddled with fear and the addiction to staying alive. A true Romantic Gesture has to bypass all reason and requires some sort of considerable threat in order to qualify. The threat can come in many forms: emotional, financial, your reputation impugned or life-as-you-know-it forever altered. We are all too interested in building or holding on to our way of life for a Romantic Gesture to occur. It’s all well and good to fly someone to Paris on your private jet for the night; as exciting and unusual as that is–– if you can afford it–– but it’s not a great Romantic Gesture. For it to be a real Romantic Gesture you have to have some skin in the game, meaning risk is involved; for no risk means no reward.  
Many glorifying examples live in movies and literature. For instance, John Cusack in Say Anything. Despite him having nothing to offer nor does he qualify to be dating this girl, he is smitten, so he bypasses all logic in the face of being completely diminished by the girl’s father. He puts it all on the line for love. And in the end, he stands hoisting his ghetto-blaster high above his head in triumph, not for having won the girl, but for having triumphed over himself. A winning act. Both Romeo and Juliet gave their lives for the ultimate Romantic Gesture. They died having known what that felt like. These heroic acts used to live in life, but now they are relegated to the screen or the page.

I can’t help but think there is a yearning to know what living was like in halcyon times. There seemed to be an imperceptible net that allowed for the cavalier freefall of those bold Romantic Gestures. There is certainly no net now, whether real or imagined, but these acts–– if in fact they happen at all anymore–– belong to the foolhardy.


 Chivalry isn’t dormant or hibernating, it’s truly dead. Entitlement, however, is alive and well. –BC