Bubbles

As some of you may know by now I get my inspiration from anywhere. This means I can never run out of things to write about. I hope.

Waking up this morning, as I usually do and sure most of you as well, with the first morning coffee in hand, I glanced over my SNS feed. Most of the time nothing ever really catches my eye and I move on to reading a bit of the news. Today in the Facebook feed something grabbed my attention. It was a comment underneath a Facebook post.

You may be aware that these days Facebook is popular among the old(er) crowd posting photos of food and family, recent vacations or simply funny quips from the internet. The one that caught my attention falls under the vacations heading.

I am from Minnesota, and Minnesota winters can be brutally cold with a ton of snow. Many stay indoors during the winter months waiting for spring to arrive. Over time cabin fever sets in and they either get out of the house or go crazy. There is a swath of the Minnesota population like myself that takes winter head on by participating in winter sports such as skiing, skating and broomball. (Learn about broom ball here)

The other swath would rather not deal with potential frostbite and the loss of fingers and toes so they head south to a warmer climate. We call them snowbirds. The comment that caught my attention this morning came from a snowbird who had gone south for the winter. South, as in south of the border to Mexico. I love Mexico and have spent a lot of time both sober and not. I don’t recommend not being sober in Tijuana. A story for another time.

This Minnesota snowbird was clearly in a resort town along the ocean as evidenced by the beautiful deep blue ocean beach pictures he posted. Along with the accompanying photos, he had simply written.“Enjoying vacation in Mexico.”

This is not what caught eye. I know we all like to make comments underneath the postings and this was no exception, 25+ at last count. Most likely all from Minnesotans from what I could tell with comments like, “looks beautiful,” “I want to go there,” “I remember going there,” etc.

Scrolling down near the bottom I noticed a comment from the original poster which went something like this, “I am enjoying a part of the world not yet ruined by US influence, there is a community of expats here that are enjoying the richness of the Mexican culture, with a strong revolutionary attitude, something we need in my country as it has fallen in disarray.” He goes on to say, “With the time I have left on the planet, I want to better myself, fight the good fight for justice and not be tied to the outcome. All the intellectualism of the world won’t bring a solution. It was as John Lennon said all along, ‘All you need is love.’” How beautiful is that?

This comment got me to thinking just how caught up we all can be in our bubbles. Notice I did not write bubble? That’s right we have multiple bubbles in our lives that cut us off from fully experiencing what life has to offer. There are far too many bubbles to list, the obvious ones, religion and politics are the driving force behind the chasm between one another in the United States at this moment. But there are many more.

Bubbles are really anything that you are a part of that reinforces your ideas closing you off from other possibilities. We all do it. Maybe it is human nature I don’t know. What I do know is that people have substituted the word bubble with the words camp and tribe avoiding the reality that they are in a bubble.

What I found so amazing about his quoted comment above was his literal transformation as he wrote it. He simply had to get out of a bubble I call the “provincial bubble.” Provincial in this case means the area in which you live. This can be neighborhood, state or even country. He stepped out of all of the above and it unexpectedly opened his mind and heart. It’s as if he became enlightened in that instant. You could feel and experience his amazement and joy.

I bring this up not only for you to read and ponder, but also as a reminder to myself. I am prone to bubbles. I recall a time in a university writing course. The professor gave us an assignment to write about something that influenced our life. At the time (early 1980s) I was really into punk rock music. It was my life and fueled my anger and other darker parts of my life at the time.

I wrote the paper with such conviction laying out reasons why corporations and governments are evil and it was only punk rock that could call out truth power and take it on. (Yes I was 20 and naïve at the time). Handing in the paper with a smile and job well done knowing that the assignment turned manifesto will convince the professor to listen to punk rock and fight the power alongside us.

The following week he handed back our papers. Calling my name last, I went up to get my “Manifesto.” The professor handed me my paper, but it was heavy, as in not paper light. I had no idea why until I turned to the last page to read his comments. He had taped a cassette tape to the bottom of the back page.

(For those born after the 1980s, this was the main form of listening to music along with a tape player)

I was confused by the tape and thinking the two paragraphs long comments the professor wrote meant I had gotten an F. That is until I read what he had written.

You have provided a cohesive description about punk rock music and why it is so important to you. But your last sentence, ‘punk rock is the only music that is powerful and unique enough to change the world not country music.may be correct in this moment for you, but don’t close off your mind to other forms of music. Give this tape a listen and tell me his lyrics and music is not as powerful.”

What he had given me to listen to was music by the original country singer “Hank Williams.” I immediately went home and listened to the tape. You know what? He was right. It was amazing listening to the combination of blues and country, and the emotion behind Williams’ singing was amazing.

It was then and there that my musical bubble popped for good. It was from that day forward that I will always remain forever open to new music and why to this day I have an eclectic taste.

Fast forward many decades, although I have been out of the United States for well over a decade living in Japan, what other bubbles have I put myself into? This is something we all need to ponder and change. All the evidence I need? Anytime I become dogmatic and defensive it is time to pop that bubble and find a new way.

Maybe in the end life is simply a series of bubble popping as we grow and get in touch with what really matters – LOVE.

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