Friday, January 28, 2011

changing perspectives, part one

last year when madonna was on david letterman's show, she was asked by the host if she thought she would ever fall in love again. the 52-year old icon paused, then answered, "oh, i don't know. i think maybe i have lost perspective". this was a brilliant moment of television for me, folks. it reminded me of the scene in "truth or dare" where sandra bernhard is asking her who she would like to meet in the world, and madonna responds, "i think i have already met everybody". well! if madonna is losing perspective, then we all better just hide in our caves! since her appearance on letterman, i have thought a lot about what she has said, and wondered exactly what it might mean for someone like her to lose perspective (on love). is it possible to have so many lovers in one's life that love, at some point, simply cries wolf at the door?

like madonna, i have had my fair share of lovers--and perhaps others' fair share as well, truth be told, and i consider myself very fortunate to be able to attract a variety of experiences to my life. believe it or not, it has become easier to do as i have gotten older, and nobody is more surprised at this than i. and yet, wouldn't ya know it, with ease of attraction comes the existential dilemma of diminishing returns in the Meaning department. simply put, once the mystery of acquisition is solved, a commodity often loses desirability--not a rule, but a theory--and soon to follow is the requisite loss of perspective. see, with enough patience the madonna story finally figured in nicely!

so my guess is that madonna finds herself at the beck and call of yet another gorgeous 21 year old south american model, let's say, and in the middle of the whole thing wonders to herself: is that all there is? or maybe this is just me i'm talking about, but not quite yet. and to be honest, i have no idea what madonna is thinking, so let's just bring it back to me.

the whole perspective thing is coming up because i am beginning to wonder if it is my perspective, rather than my experience, that is getting me into trouble here in los angeles. this wondering did not fall from the sky, i have in fact been reading a book that is leading me to look at how i look at things, or more correctly, how i think about things. the book is an old one, well, old in that it was written in 1980. it is called "feeling good", and the author is david d. burns, m.d. i decided to read it because there are a lot of my fellow counselors who have found it valuable when working with depressed clients. i am, in fact, beginning to use it with some of my clients, but for the sake of this blog, i can report that i have also been using it on myself. nutshell: the way we feel is a result of how we think about things--adjust the dominant thought and change the way you feel about something. (it's a nutshell, folks. read the book.) if i were to look at, say, the way i think about los angeles, could there be something in there that could be negatively affecting my experience here? survey says...YES!

this is basic cognitive therapy, some of which i have used in the past on both myself and with clients. so why does it seem so radical as i read it now? i think that it may be that i am applying the logic to how i think about this city and its people, and perhaps these are subjects that are challenging for me to tamper with. and yet, and yet, i feel rather urgently that i must indeed tamper! this is because i want to avoid, if at all possible, making a mistake about leaving los angeles. how would i know that i had made a mistake? simple--i would have exactly the same experience with people in another city that i do here. and unless everyone is the same everywhere (something i doubt, concerning friendliness and approachability), then it may be mostly my thinking about people that is leading the proposed exodus.

i have explored how i think about angelinos in previous blogs, but for this post's sake, let's review here:
-angelinos are all obsessed with only youth and money
-angelinos HATE bikers and think they are lower class and have no place on the road
-angelinos have complete disregard for anyone other than themselves and those they know and like
-angelinos suffer from excess entitlement
-angelinos are angry at me because i am gay and loud and beginning to suffer less in life
-angelinos carry around too much narcissism to ever really care about another person
okay, so that's the short list!

wonder if there might be a distortion or two in my thinking???

to be continued...