exit through the gift shop

my heroes are not gurus, swamis or saints. i trust that type about as much as i a do a telemarketer.

these days, my heroes are mostly comedians, and they all possess a few qualities that i admire:

the ability to see what is around them…

…to process that information intelligently, according to their own perspectives

…to be brutally honest when communicating their thoughts

…to do so with total lack of pretension

…to do so with a sense of humor

…and through doing so, to gain success – on their own terms.

i don’t see a lot of these qualities in the so-called new age movement. unfortunately, since what we do is still a bit of a marginal activity in the minds of the many, when we say “body work,” a lot of people associate us with the new age…and all of its undesirable connotations

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after receiving her first session from me, a client asked what i thought had changed the most for me the most in my years of doing the Work. after giving it some thought, i replied, “every day, in every way, i’m giving less and less of a fuck.”

i still think that was a pretty good answer.

but let me be clear: i’m not talking about not giving a fuck as in giving up; i mean forgetting worrying about what might go wrong, what people might think, what catastrophes might befall me if i do what i want and express myself on my own terms.

and, apparently as a consequence of this, I have experienced many of the stated goals of the new age movement: lucid dreams, the sense of mind-body unity, seeing and feeling energy patterns, learning to learn, getting over my past…but all of these are secondary to simply deciding, on a deep organic level, to just…not give so much of a fuck anymore.

which leaves me with what?

no purple robes, no angels, no guru, no spirit animal, no endless desert search for the lost mystery school that will tell me what the enneagram really means, and no gift shop on the way out.

just me, my Work, and my world.

-riley

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11 Comments on “exit through the gift shop

  1.  by  Leslie

    Clark Gable, a stunningly brilliant figure, always ahead of his time, perhaps, was “radically undone” when he delivered his now famous ‘exit line’ to Vivien Leigh in the 1939 Classic: Gone With The Wind:
    “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”

    It was spoken by Gable, as Rhett Butler, in his last words to Scarlett O’Hara. It occurs at the end of the film when Scarlett asks Rhett, “Where shall I go? What shall I do?” if he leaves her.

  2.  by  Chris

    “If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourslef in some way” (From Sheldon Kopp’s Scatological Laundry List).

    Which is the tiny line that separates admiration for someone’s work or attitude from mere idolatry? I think that admiration (is it that word?) can be fuel to keep working on yourself your way,but idolatry can be a pond to stagnate in frustration trying to imitate someone…

  3.  by  riley

    Leslie, that Clark Gable line is great! I have yet to see the movie, but now I’m motivated.

    Chris, I agree that idolatry is a monster, and I’m using “hero” here pretty loosely. I actually think line you bring up isn’t so tiny. To me, idolatry happens when you focus on the person, or the personality; healthy admiration happens when you appreciate a person’s work for reasons that you understand. The former leads to, as you say, immitating unessential elements, while the latter leads to an examination and understanding of the qualities that YOU find to be of value so that YOU can be more conscious of what YOU want to bring out in your own work. It only seems like a fine line because of the way we talk about people and their work: for example, the person Doug Stanhope and the body of work that he represents are known by the same name: Doug Stanhope.

    Foucault clarified this for me in his essay “Death of the Author,” which I heartily recommend.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  4.  by  Robert

    That’s a brilliant post. You are focused on the basics of uncovering/creating your life and you have basically ditched all the fluff like angels, gurus, etc. This is similar to the step I am taking now as well in discarding a lot of beliefs about what I not-long-ago considered sacred. Seems to free up tremendous energy!

    •  by  radicalundoing

      yes, robert. we 3 have been ditching as much of the fluff as possible. stay tuned for our upcoming deconstruction of major belief systems operative in the new age sector and many others…….we’re ready.

  5.  by  riley

    thanks, robert, again. i definitely have little tolerance for fluff, especially when quality of life is at stake. nothing is “sacred” in my mind, except what works, and in my experience, beliefs don’t. tremendous energy does.

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