Mechanisms of SOcial Control
One of my newsletter subscribers emailed me on the eve of the Aug. 7 Aquarius Lunar Eclipse to say:
“Shortly after reading your two emails, the song “Imagine” played on my playlist. We all know the intention of this song and we’ve all heard it a million times, but how long has it been since we’ve all really listened to the lyrics? I think this song means more now than ever and I’m not sure if it would help the rest of your listeners, but it sure helped put me on a better path this morning. Just thought I’d put that out there in case you want to share.”
I have found the lyrics written in the late 1960s and early 1970s by artists like John Lennon, Pink Floyd and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to be incredibly resonant lately. Wanting to double check that “Imagine” was indeed written during this period, I ended up on the Wikipedia page for the song. I learned that the song was inspired by a Christian prayer book given to John and Yoko by Dick Gregory. In John’s words:
“The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing—then it can be true.”
And then this summation of the song by Lennon biographer John Blaney caught my eye:
“Lennon contends that global harmony is within our reach, but only if we reject the mechanisms of social control that restrict human potential.”
Choose the Muse?
I fell into an accidental nap on Sunday evening and when I woke up I was in the process of downloading a whole bunch of ideas that I’m putting in scribble-scratch graphic novel form because I’m seeing them as drawings or diagrams. Which is rare for me, because I’m not usually a visual person.
The drawings in the download were telescopic; they reached across time and space, tying together the personal and the collective narratives that restrict our human potential — and showing various methods we can use to escape the control mechanisms.
I had a detailed list of deliverables to finish on Monday in order be responsible and stay on track. But the downloads kept coming during the night and I practically jumped out of bed Monday morning (really rare for me) because I was so excited to see the connections these pictures were making in my mind. They were showing me how the hypnotherapy, shamanic journeying, personal narrative work, astrology, and archetypal meditation I’ve been doing with my clients for the last 10 years tie in with the ancestors and epigenetics workshops I’ve been doing with Diana Quinn in 2017.
Drawing is not something that comes easily to me, but I spent a good part of Monday morning getting as many of the drawings onto paper as I could. And then…
And then I started feeling guilty about all of the ‘real work’ I hadn’t even started on yet.
And I stopped.
I told myself I had to go back to work. And you know what?
I had felt super energized and motivated in the days leading up to the eclipse. But once the eclipse was over on Monday afternoon, I just fell into a hole. I started feeling so sad and fatigued and apathetic. Like: “What’s the point? The whole world’s going to shit anyway. It’s too late to save ourselves.”
When I quit drawing and chose ‘duty’ (an arbitrarily chosen duty, by the way) over what my heart wanted, I lost my imagination. The Muse, who had been riding shotgun with me for the previous 12 hours, shrugged her shoulders and walked away. I had run smack dab into my own internalization of one of the social control mechanisms.
“Imagine…Living for Today”
I mooned around for several hours in that mood, beating myself up internally. Or, in reality, getting beaten up by the egoic mind. “See. This why you suck at making money. Because you can’t even stick with a simple to-do list. Face it: You’re a failure. You’re a terrible provider. You’re going to end up pushing a shopping cart and sleeping under a bridge — and that’s if you’re lucky. That’s if you don’t end up in debtor’s prison!”
Around ten o’ clock I was just feeling miserable. I was too anxious and sad to sleep and there was nothing I wanted to do that merited staying awake.
And then an insight from a conversation I had with my pal Lisa on Monday morning popped back into my mind. (More on that in part 2.) This idea was strong enough to get me off the couch and onto my feet. And almost before I knew what was happening, I had recorded a new, completely improv live looping electric guitar piece.
Watch the video – “Our World Now” (3:39)
Just to be clear, the video is an artifact, at least for me. It’s a memento, like the photo from summer vacation that enables you (by the process of imagining) to tap back into the memory of the sun warming your skin, and of the vivid blue color of the water, and of how peaceful and warm and relaxed you felt in your body.
The creative process that led me to make the video? That was the result, that was the reward. Because within minutes of getting off the couch and taking two steps in the direction of my guitars, my tiredness had dissolved. My sadness had evaporated. I felt alive, I felt joy, I felt real. I was experiencing ‘flow’. I could once again “imagine” a harmonious world, a world that has a place for me in it. And a place for you.
What changed? You’ll have to read Part 2 to find out! (coming soon)