CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Most painting in the European tradition involved painting the person's mask," wrote abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell. "Modern art rejected all that. Our subject matter has been the person behind the mask." Your next assignment is similar to that of modern art's, Capricorn: to recognize everyone's persona, but delve deeper to explore the maddeningly complex, crazily inscrutable, gorgeously wounded soul that's hidden beneath everyone's persona. Strip away the surface, in other words, and investigate the essence lurking below.
if i felt like a smartass, mr. brezsny, i'd go on about how yes, modern art sees the hidden, illuminates the unseen beneath the murky depths, but post-modernism...now there's something interesting! why waste my time focusing on the maddeningly complex, crazily inscrutable, gorgeously wounded soul hidden beneath the persona, when i could just reject both the high and low forms of art, upend the art tables of sincerity and stability, and declare that only irony, spoof, and sarcasm are the last bastions of true art?
...but that would be very un-pronoiac of me, wouldn't it? cynicism is an illness, calloused and jaded apathy a boil that needs to be lanced. post-modernism is the skeleton dressed in finery and pretending not to notice it has no meat to it.
i used to adore post-modernism... i used to celebrate it. key phrase here being "used to."
it's funny. remember how i came home from work a couple sundays ago and actually cried because my back hurt so badly? well, late that day, one of the groomers had cornered me for something just one too many times. i put my hand out and asked her, "please, not right now?" and when she continued to speak, i just kept repeating, "just, please, not right now, 'kay?" until she finally backed off.
first off, i was very proud of myself for holding to my boundary. the old me would have let go the first time she ignored my request to delay the conversation and just swallowed the emotions. but i didn't. and i didn't break down and cry, or lose my temper, like i would have once upon a time. bully for me.
however, she thought i was upset with her. it's funny, because i thought she was then upset with me, so it was a huge mixup. i just wanted to avoid drama in the workplace. it got back to the manager lady, who asked why i was upset with the groomer. so i explained what it really was, and lucky for me, she's really observant. that groomer's a sensitive girl, and yes, i'm sensitive, but i hold myself in check a lot, and i also just come out and say what i want and need to say. it rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but the manager lady's like that too, so she understood.
last night, i finally had an opportunity to clear things up with the groomer, and i gave her a hug. we laughed. earlier, i told her i was making dhaal tonight and i'd save her some and bring it for her on saturday. oh joy of joys, another vegitarian at work!
so once again, mr. brezsny, you're on to something here. i've said it here before: i usually try to understand people as well as i possibly can. i give them the benefit of the doubt, second chances, and try to make my judgement calls based more on their motivation --the spirit behind their actions-- rather than their naked actions. it's gotten me skull-fucked repeatedly, but i'd rather that than have a jaded, realistic eye that borders on cynical. y'know?
i like my view of the world. it's a gorgeous place, y'know, where people are basically good people who try to do the right thing but sometimes don't have enough of the facts to be wise. we all need a little help, and you never know when a little kindness you give might be just the thing someone needs to completely change their life.
i would only add one word to my horoscope this week: "lovingly strip away the surface, in other words, and investigate the essence lurking below."
had other people i'd known been truly loving, investigating my essence lurking below, my crazily inscrutable and gorgeously wounded soul and not attaching their own expectations and imperatives upon what they thought they saw, i might've gotten better a little bit sooner instead of seeing pieces of the bio-dad in all of them and running the other way.
lovingly search for the essence in other people, with no expectations, always giving the benefit of the doubt. i think if people did that for others more, we'd find a lot more pain lurking in the darkness. a lot more scared little children, and a lot more inadvertent hostility than what we think we see. y'know? what we want to find. "you see what you wanna see, and you hear what you wanna hear. dig?" said the rock man.
and, i think, if we had no expectations, no cynicism, and a willingness to give second chances, we'd find ourselves capable of a lot more real compassion. a lot more radical intimacy.
may the Funk be with you.