In my life I have had two major unfulfilled fantasies:
Swirling around a melody and moonlight-filled terrace wearing a gown of pure gossamer -- guided gloriously by Fred Astaire -- and...
Sitting at the feet of Joseph Campbell as he charismatically steers his spellbound students at Sarah Lawrence College through the mysteries of mythology.
Underlying both of my projections is the yearning that someone wise, wonderful and above all, skillful -- and preferably attractive -- would materialize, leading me through the intricate steps that embody harmony and grace.
Thanks to Ginger and other lucky ladies I can place my feet in their shoes on film and in my dreams.
As for Joe, through the magic of Netflix, I have summoned his spirit and image teaching a series of seminars called "Mythos," hosted by Susan Sarandan.
Must masters always be male? Since all men arrive through the mechanism of a woman, who is their first love and teacher, when and how did this role reversal take place?
Fred and Joe were both men and certainly masters. Neither, as far as I know, perpetrated any pain on their partners beyond perhaps a bruised toe or ego.
Fred spent decades perfecting his craft. So, it has been mentioned, did Ginger -- backward and in high heels. Though a famed professor, author and lecturer, Joe was a lifelong student, going so far as to marry a young dancer in his class.
Males have been programmed for millennia to be providers, protectors and competitors on behalf of their families, communities and countries. In the process many have extended their perhaps genetic, natural aggression to all competitive arenas. Providing has turned to greed, protecting to waging war, competition to corruption.
Why, in this present so-called advanced stage of civilization, is the world still governed predominately by practices resulting from ignorance, lust and malice? Lord knows, these attributes have no gender.
If theories of reincarnation are valid, all of us have existed at some time in many forms... After all, male and female are determined by only one chromosome. So why are we such slow learners?
Everyone has a gift, divinely bestowed. To not explore, discover and use this blessing for good is perhaps a waste. But no enforceable crime, unless illegally used against others. Yet all action and inaction is subject to a Higher Power.
Why have we learned so little from the sages of the ages that we continue in this path of ignorance, lust and greed? I once knew a guy, a he-man healer from Montana whose hulk held a really gentle heart. Once I inquired about his spiritual beliefs. He replied "I belong to the Old Farts Club -- you know -- Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tze... "
Fred Astaire and Joseph Campbell appear to be cast in the same mold -- i.e. GentleMEN!
There was a time in the not too distant past, following events of 9/11, when I refused to read newspapers or watch TV news. Perhaps I hoped that denial would bar bad things from awareness, keeping me in a cloud of protection that would somehow minimize negative impact and protect me from harm.
Slowly I am learning that the unbearable must be recognized, actually acknowledged in order to eventually prevent the wheel of history from repeating the same old sad story. To that end I am now reading a book, "The Disappeared" by Kim Echlin, which tells the heartbreaking story of a Canadian girl and a Cambodian boy, encompassing all the horror of the killing fields.
Don't read it at bedtime.
There is only one way to live in a world without viciousness... radical change toward each other. We can become aware, compassionate and forgiving.
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