cainer and four readers


Cainer said on the second day of Aries: CALM down and cheer up. You are not fighting some hopeless battle or struggling with some impossible situation. It merely seems that way. This will continue to be your experience until you decide that you are ready for a different one. At that point, you will become willing to contemplate an option that currently, you feel determined to ignore. Once you do this, you will see it is well worth pursuing. You are just one big conceptual step and one small physical step away from a far easier life.

The message haunted me for days. The key points, as I saw, it were something I am determinedly ignoring, a big step conceptually but a small one physically, a far easier life.

I asked four readers what they thought he was talking about.

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1

Going back to Quest? Getting a job, maybe something like testing out the brews if they are Y2K compliant or something screwball like that.

Hey, I'll drink beer even when the date has expired, so no problem there. Getting a job, however, would NOT make my life easier.

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2

It struck me as obvious when I first read it. I figured you'd see the interpretation, but rebel against it. Since you profess not to know what it means, I must admit that it is probably not obvious to anyone else, and my interpretation is really no better than anybody else's.

Also, let me preface this by reminding you that I don't believe that Cainer has any particular insight, and that those times when he appears to be on target it is mostly our subjective desire to make it applicable that is at work.

However, having said that, you are and have been determined to ignore several options for a long time. The primary one is the option of seeking professional help for your various addictions and problems that make life difficult for you. On occasion you make noises about wanting alcohol to control your life less. The "project" comes to mind. It's a big conceptual step to decide you want to make things better, but a small physical step--D* can help, but you have to decide you want to do it.

Alternatively, and it goes along with the primary thought, there is your whole reluctance to do anything that will "earn" you money. Working for a living is not something you want to do. Granted, you spend almost as much time hunting for food and tobacco, and waiting for shopping carts, as you would if you had a job. The problem is conceptual, not physical.

If you're looking for a third alternative (moving in order from the most simple to the most complicated) there is your reluctance now to want to be part of "polite society." Again, conceptual, not physical. Right now, you would rather get drunk with [the Sleeptalker] or stoned with Mondo than go see a movie with me or *. While your choices are your own, they have consequences that sometimes make things more difficult for you.

And the most complicated of all the things that you're conceptually not able to accept is the idea that you might be better off to attempt, for awhile, to live like a normal person again--give up this nomadic idea and let yourself be a somewhat eccentric, bohemian, apartment-living wrtier or artist. I admit this is what struck me first. What's stopping you is not that you couldn't start to sell your work for enough money to live comfortably on, with a roof over your head, but that you don't believe it's what you want to do. Again, it's a conceptual problem, and nothing else.

This one helped especially in coming to my own eventual conclusion simply because it contains so many wrong notions. The idea again of getting a job and an apartment (can you imagine how quickly that place would become headquarters for the Social Horror Club, how many evictions would follow!). The idea that there's something wrong with me, my "addictions", my disinclination to live as a "normal person" ... it's all classic Mama Stuff with an added dose of historic Householder vs. Nomad views, well-intentioned but totally off the mark, I think.

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3

Well, could be anything, couldn't it? What do you think?

So, you've had your fill of armchair psychiatry, but you're asking for my opinion? Must be bored.

No, I won't "squawk" about your being in "denial" or not. I'm not a professional, and can't tell you if you're an alcoholic or not. Frankly, I don't think it matters. I think what's important is that you seem to be lost - you have no sense of purpose or meaning in your life. I don't think how much you drink is a reliable barometer of your mental well-being - it's only one small facet of the whole picture. I'd like to see you find something to make your life worthwhile, rather than just existing - but no one can do that for you. Service to others seems a worthwhile goal, but something you could only do if you started taking care of yourself first.

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4

I do think you've got your big conceptual step all wrapped up.

Gawds but you're sounding sane. Even on the edges of wise [ggg]

Any wisdom is sheer illusion, and the same might be said of "sanity", but I think the reader was right about the wrap-up.

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So there you have it, Cainer and what four readers had to say in response to my question. I'm grateful for their responses, as I have been in other cases where I've sent out ideas or questions for consideration.

My own conclusion is that the "big conceptual step" is simply giving up the false notion that there is anything fundamentally wrong with my life right now, that what I am determinedly ignoring is, in fact, there's nothing wrong at all. Abandoning the notion that there is something wrong does indeed promise to make my life easier.

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the tales