Ron Colone: On the subject of all those scars

RON COLONE

Thirty or so years ago, when I first met my sweetie, there was a story I used to tell about the most bizarre night of my life that involved a Major League Baseball game, a swinger’s bar, a stranger’s hot tub, a donut shop, a laundromat, a stone and gravel truck, a dog show, a rainstorm, a photo mat and a metropolitan bus, all comprising one long night and morning.

Since we were new in our relationship, she received it politely, but when I told it to someone else some weeks or months later, I could see she was less thrilled about it, and when she heard it a third time, it was clear she didn’t appreciate it or find it funny. It made her uncomfortable and prompted her to see me in a slightly less-positive light, neither of which I wanted. So, over time, I stopped telling the story altogether.

This is what happens. We adjust our words and behaviors based on the signals and information we get back from the world around us.

It’s like when a stand-up comedian goes out to a club to try out new material on people, to see what works and what doesn’t. I do the same thing with these columns; I like to read them out loud to someone before I send them off to the paper, just to see how it feels. The feeling tells me what I need to know. It’s almost like a polygraph machine; when the needle starts moving up and down more vigorously, then I know something is happening at that point in the piece I’ve written that is not energetically correct or consistent. If it feels uncomfortable coming back at me, then I know it’s not right.

Bruce Lee described a “process of revelation” that occurs when we look into the “mirror of relationship” to gain greater understanding and discover [things about] ourselves.

Don Juan said, “We live inside a bubble of perception and what we witness on its round walls is our own reflection. The thing reflected is our view of the world, which begins as a description given to us by others from the time we’re born.” Eventually, the description grabs so much of our attention and holds on so strongly that it becomes our view of the world.

The idea of a bubble is an apt analogy for what we have with Facebook and all the rest of the social media platforms. The infamous “algorithm” we’ve all heard about keeps feeding us “more of the same” — that is, it delivers content to us that matches our tastes, reaffirms our attitudes and reinforces our already-held beliefs. Same thing with partisan news programs.

The problem is, reinforcement of what we already think gets in the way of us learning new things and adds a false sense of certainty, supposed-approval and perceived-popularity to the views we already hold. Therefore, it never becomes incumbent upon us to adjust anything about ourselves, our words, our impulses, our behaviors. We’re good right where we’re at and exactly how we are; it’s those other people that are the problem.

There’s a difference, though, between self-love, self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, and apathy, lack of effort, lack of caring and partial understanding.

Perhaps we get to a point where we decide, or realize, that we are not required to do or be anything else or anything more in order to fulfill someone else’s expectations, but then, what of our own?

We can sit there and be satisfied with our current level of knowledge, wisdom and fulfillment, or we can strive to keep learning and growing, expanding and deepening our awareness and understanding of ourselves, each other and life.

The way by which we gain a greater understanding and a more enlightened view of the world is by opening ourselves up to new energy, information, experiences, perspectives, descriptions and explanations. That doesn’t happen on social media.

If you don’t find yourself having to make a few adjustments from time to time, then you’re probably not paying attention, or maybe you’ve just stopped caring.

Essential Ron Colone: Start your day off with a little perspective. A collection of musings from columnist Ron Colone

It is hard to provide a short bio for Ron Colone. Writer, performer, business owner, concert promoter, music historian, baseball fan, proud son of Detroit for a start. There's so much more. We at the Santa Ynez Valley News have been lucky to work with Ron in various roles for more than 30 years, and we want to make sure you have a chance to read more of his thoughtful and insightful work. Here are a few of our favorites, let us know if you remember one that we missed and we can add it in. 

Ron Colone can be reached at ron.colone@gmail.com

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