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Cookie Monster Perception

Cookie Monster Perception

The Sea Gives & Takes

During a Thanksgiving visit to Denver to see my son, we talked about giving. I described an occasion in my youth where I once gave one of my brothers a basketball.  In my youth, my gifts were given for purely selfish reasons: I only wanted to play basketball. And at age 10, I probably wanted only to assert my superiority over my brother.  I also probably wanted to whoop his ass on the basketball court. Nonetheless, I used this old example as to show my thinking has matured.  Now in my adult perspective, I believe giving someone something is about giving what he or she actually wants or needs.  

Somewhere along the line of life, I learned that giving wasn't about receiving.  I certainly now understand the act of giving is a present in itself.  While I view giving as an unselfish act because it is done without any expectation or attachment to receiving. Giving without receiving something in return is a higher calling. In other words, giving unconditionally!

My son, however disagreed.  Giving for him was more about the giver....that it was important that the giver feel good about his or her gift.  This attitude surprised me somewhat as I have learned satisfaction in giving unconditionally is much more important than satisfying my ego.  The gift's importance was determined by its value to the receiver.  If anyone simply considers Nature, its model provides explanations.  Than I added that I think sometimes the receiver does not know what he or she wants or needs. And then I finally  realized i was giving advice without my realizing I was hoping he would understand and accept the concept. I was reverting back to my childhood in a way. 

As Thanksgiving is associated with gratitude, it also reminds human consciousness of the natural forces of give and take...the perpetual waves of hunger and thirst...the continual urges of need and want...the constant ripple effect on our senses and sensibilities to fill what is empty...to satisfy and saturate our wants and needs.  As Thanksgiving / Christmas season are also associated with excessive giving and receiving! I see this sea as a waving craving to give and receive LOVE.

I can perceive nature's energy waves (sun, waves, temperature, winds, rain, snow, weather, clouds, lightning, storms, etc) as predictable and constant reminders.  Some people view nature's never-ending gifts without appreciating and respecting them for what they have given us.  It is easy to take these forces for granted.

  The sea as Cookie Monster taking a sea bite out of Japanese art. The sea isn't the monster, but our perception of it might be.

The sea as Cookie Monster taking a sea bite out of Japanese art. The sea isn't the monster, but our perception of it might be.

Many years ago, my grandmother gave me and my three brothers $25 check and a tie for Christmas....for 10 straight years!  After a while I did not appreciate her gifts.  After a while I viewed them as jokes and did not take them seriously.  

Anything even the repetitive of our heart-beating or our breathing, we humans tend to dismiss as always there.  But when forget their importance, we pay the price.  When we don't pay much attention and value the significance of something, we diminish and cheapen ourselves and our world...and ourselves!

Santiago, the old man in Old Man and the Sea caught more than what he needed so the sea and sharks take it back

Nature may appear selfish to some, but I choose to see HER as both giver and receiver of life.   Nature knows how to give and take unconditionally.  Nature has given me life.  Not only an opportunity to breath and witness HER wonders, but also the time to learn HER lessons.  SHE has given all of us humans a challenge and a struggle so we can become stronger in our appreciation for HER gifts.  SHE has given us time to experience life.

Nature possesses charitable impulses and actions and reminds us not only that GIVE and TAKE are natural, but also needed.  HOW we give and receive....HOW much we give and receive....HOW we think and feel about HOW we give and receive. But nature does not come with an instruction manual on gift-giving.  Nature does not tell us HOW to do either, but SHE shows us that GIVE and TAKE need balance.  So whether we take for granted today's preparation or our consumption, I would like to show my appreciation and love for all those who understand giving and receiving as well as those who do not.  That includes NATURE. Thank you, ocean, land and sea for all your gifts!

For those excessive givers or takers, I offer a reminder from Nature. Balance is what nature seeks and how we treat her is in many ways how we are going to find balance in our lives.  And, not unlike our past, our human hunger often leads to our animal gluttony. Like wind and waves upon the sea, the cycle is never ending in the sea of humanity:

Buy, Give, Eat, Serve More, Eat More, Buy More, Give More, Consume More, Waste More, Trash More, Want More..

.etc. Ravenously consuming our foods and our products, humans have become a sea of cookie monsters with an endless appetite.

How many of us are grateful for what we have or what we can offer others less fortunate?  

Rather than feeding our faces and watching football games on Thanksgiving, how many of us are actually giving ourselves to others? Our sea of humanity could give more than mere thanks. Maybe a day entitled entitled Giving Day or Give-to-the Needy-Day when we all give back to the earth, sea and others less fortunate - might convey a more altruistic, unifying message.

Let's be honest; humans are givers and takers. While today's Thanksgiving spirit undoubtedly will reveal and display its humanity at the dinner table, tomorrow waves of Americans will descend upon shopping malls to maul their way through the masses to take what they can (not necessarily what they need) so they give what they want (not necessarily what they can) at Christmas time a mere 3 weeks away.

While it would be totally unfair to generalize and categorize, it would also be disingenuous to ignore human behavior. Holidays tend to serve us as reminders.  We often tend to forget who we are.

This time of year people give their time, demonstrate their appreciation, reveal their kindness, recognize contributions and acknowledge others like no other. But like any official honoring, there is also an excluding and ignoring. Not everyone receives the accolades or the acknowledgments. While some of us may glorify our forefathers' efforts that once "settled" this land, others may chose to denigrate them. While some praise, others recognize the huge sacrifices, injustices or hardships. Life, after all, exists with duality. Good usually means some bad associations. With many positive intentions, a negative shadow side often co-exists. Nothing is perfect. Humans are, after all, givers and takers.

The sea is Earth's biggest giver and taker.

When the sea provides, it balances itself naturally. It naturally wants to replenish itself, but it is not a cornucopia - an infinite supply. It has limits like any of us. It needs a balance between giving and taking.

Not that we Americans can't appreciate "our lucky stars" all year round, but "turkey day" is, and has seemingly always been, symbolic of our thinking we are special. While not only a remembrance day, it often is an overabundance day. Turkey and fixings, parades, football games, activities, family gatherings fill the day. Fill up and get stuffed with food, drink and festivities! ... and for some of us, just maybe become fed-up as well. Somewhere in the overflow and abundance we are supposed to remember how fortunate we are, no matter how unfortunate life has treated us or we have treated it. No matter how much window dressing we surround this day with, let's not forget that the stuffing (which we stuff into an animal carcass and bake in an oven for 4 hours) we call "dressing" is only bread, seasonings and some chopped vegetables. It may taste good, but let us not forget, there is not much substance or nutritional value there. We all accept or overlook these facts for this day is tradition with caveats. We give and take our turkey dinner. It is part of the plot that joins us, not too unlike that which divides us.

The sea always reminds us of its givings and takings also. And it always reveals how we humans have taken and given to her. Whether it is upon a dinner table or the shores of some faraway beach, imbalances and balances appear. Excess always leads to waste. What we treasure, we respect. What we trash, we disrespect. What we consume and discard reflects our care. If the sea provides gifts of bounty and beauty, it is incumbent for us to return the favor by taking care of it with our kindness and consideration. It is our mother after all. And she is the one who often prepares and cooks our meals. The least we could do is show her some consideration and appreciation.

Give and Take

Salt will rust the iron away

Rust makes the water taste that way

I'm sure that you've been hurt before

So have I, who's keeping score

Give yourself like the sea

Give yourself to me 

And I will shed my armor 

I will shed my armor 

In a world where we are taught to take

Learn to give as good as you can make

The guilty pleasures you'd avoid 

Could be the memories you'll most enjoy

Give yourself like the sea

Give yourself to me 

And I will shed my armor 

I will shed my armor 

Love's a pointy sharp edged toy

You have to play with to enjoy 

When you get beneath the skin 

Is when the fun really begins 

So I will stand here vulnerable

Give into the ocean's push and pull 

Leave my armor on the shore 

You won't be poisoned by it anymore 

Give yourself like the sea

Give yourself to me 

And I will shed my armor 

I will shed my armor

Mark Aaron James's Song

The natures of sea and humanity give and take. But the sea's gifts and grabs do so without human consciousness. Nature gives us what we don't have. Humans provide the governance that nature invites, but it is human nature that often takes and consumes more than it needs. Maybe it is time for man to become more caregiver and caretaker. Maybe 'tis finally time for more give-and-take between mankind and the sea. MORE GIVE LESS TAKE. Paying back and paying forward.  After all, people don't have to wait for a Halloween or a Thanksgiving to be generous or giving. The sea gives and takes everyday. Trouble is our so-called planet guardians and custodians are more takers, users and consumers than givers.

Sea-ing Back Tattoos

Sea-ing Back Tattoos

Sea Songs Continued ~ S-Z

Sea Songs Continued ~ S-Z