Sofia Vergara doesn’t care about your biceps

Sofia-Vergara

I walked into the gym the other day and looked for a cage. The cage is mainly for squats and deadlifts. Those are the exercises that form the foundation of my workouts. But from what I’ve seen in the gym over the years, the most popular exercise for guys is the bicep curl, which it was for me many years ago. Polishing the guns, in every way possible. Standing or seated, barbell or dumbbells.

Sometimes when I see bicep curls being done, I’m reminded of a conversation between an old girlfriend and me. She said that she sees guys doing those exercises in the gym while staring at themselves in the mirror. She said, “I think they’re in there doing it just for themselves.”

I disagreed: “They do it to be more attractive to females.”

But now I think she was right.

This focus on the thing, the form, and not the person, is clearly seen in marketing (big surprise). Sofia Vergara prefers soda pop to men in her diet Pepsi commercials. And the guys in beer commercials pass up the girl for beer. This should be funny because it runs against what we do in real life. But does it actually? Do we chase stuff, like the job, money, beer, or bigger biceps, over relationships? Do we spend more time getting a paycheck and attractive physiques or more time learning to have a conversation, more time trying to connect and build relationships?

Building up a bank account or body is in many ways easier than building a solid relationship, but it won’t get us the kind of people we need in our lives. These kinds of commercials and my days in the gym remind of this almost every day. The challenge is getting into the habit to focus on what others want and what they do. This genuine curiosity can’t come from a place of insecurity, and security doesn’t come from external wealth. It comes from you knowing who you are, and accepting who you are, so all the attention that would otherwise be tied up in stabilizing yourself can be turned outward. I think when that happens, people realize you care about them. And that’s what it’s about in the end…being valued.

And putting diet Pepsi and big biceps in their proper place.

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Following a party means following a bias.

Insanity is voting for the lessor of 2 evils

I’m amazed how many in the US could staunchly defend a political leader, or a party, given how the government and corporate institution are so intertwined and how disconnected from the community these institutions naturally have become as they have grown to their present size.

Maybe because the issues have been simplified into a reactive dualism, such as if the right takes a stance, you step just to its left and play the relativist instead of thinking about the issue, or vice-versa.

Shades of gray that require contextual and independent thinking have become the black and white of following.

“I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.”

Care v Dont care

The title quote is from Leo Buscaglia. He was an evangelical champion of love and observed many things about the human condition. From my first readings of his works, I was hooked. And I’ve related it to my experiences with death. Among my other readings, his has helped me solidify my opinion that it’s curiosity that will drive us to happiness. Curiosity means caring. Caring, first for yourself (after all, how can you truly care for others if you can’t care for yourself?), and then start getting curious about your environment, particularly the people in it.

Make yourself one of those who care. Because when you care, you become part of that minority that holds power. Someone valuable. We don’t have to change the world, but we can make a difference in everyone’s life that we interact in. Again from Leo:

“Don’t spend your precious time asking “Why isn’t the world a better place?” It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is “How can I make it better?” To that there is an answer.”

And when we do good things, we contribute to a positive environment, and this will come back and create a better place for us to live. Do good, and good things happen to us. But if we wait for good things, wait on others who care, then the environment we end up in isn’t good. It may not be bad, but it is a limp, stagnant environment. An environment in which you may be financially stable, but without love.

We create the environment we are in, intentionally or not.

So care…about everything you can. Don’t get lost in the troubles of the world. Your vicinity is the best place to do good, with your friends, family, workplace, and neighborhood. Do good things, and good things will happen to you.

There’s nothing spiritual about karma. It’s just the way life works when you live in a community.