A cup is more valuable chipped

 

There are nursing mothers taking Botox.
They are not able to communicate their emotions
with their babies, or even pick up the babies’ emotions.
We have just lost this capacity to be real, which is fundamentally what makes us human,
and what makes us feel connected to each other.

Peter Levine

I know this sounds extreme, but you know it isn’t. Our selfishness, self-centeredness has no room for the unintended consequences.

These nursing mothers have little awareness that their limited ability to make facial expressions will deprive their kids of the vital bonding process called attachment. That the capacity of forming positive relationships commences with the active and healthy attachment between the caregiver and the child.

Attachment is the drive for closeness—proximity to others, in not only the physical but the emotional sense as well. Its primary purpose is to facilitate either caretaking or being taken care of. For the human infant especially—at birth among the most immature, dependent, and helpless animals, and remaining that way for by far the longest period of time—the need for attachment is mandatory. Gordon Neufield

Research has conclusively shown that one of the chief methods to enhance the healthy development of children is face-to-faceeye-to-eye contact between parent and baby is key to feeling connected and developing a secure and loving bond. “A warm smile goes a long way, too. Babies also like to imitate facial expressions, which can be a fun way to play with your baby.”

“Boy your child seems mal-adjusted and even anti-social.”
“I know. But doesn’t my face look young and amazing?!”

Before you gavel the Supreme Court and rush to judgment to convict these moms…

We all are using some form of Botox.

Each of us is trying to be something or someone that is not reflective of our true selves. Mother Nature and Father Time, the parents of reality, have triggered a host of counter measures of artifice and superficiality.

In our cranial kingdom we have subconsciously concocted a hodge podge menu of what it takes to be seen in a better light. To be liked. To be happy.

Our natural state of being is not good enough.
These actions, practices, and habits get slowly ingrained into who we think we are. They define us. One botox treatment leads to another and the dominoes of self-degradation start to fall.

Addiction is basically any pattern of behavior whereby you cannot stand to be with yourself and certain of the more uncomfortable thoughts and more importantly emotions that come from being on your own.  So therefore you can be addicted to almost anything so long as it keeps you away from yourself–away from tricky self-knowledge. We can have a good life where we will almost certainly be guaranteed not to spend any time with ourselves. Alain de Boton

I am not against Botox if that makes you happy.

But are we awake to what we are doing? Are we conscious about what is motivating us?

Is there genuine intention to achieve an emotional end or just a thoughtless transaction without any regard to the consequences?

We have to see what is happening to us.

The fake has been on for a long time.

Rehearsed initial impressions, sanitized resumes, creative dating profiles…

We see it, we do it and we accept it. And we keep adding on to this mythical persona.

The classic is the response to “How are you?” and the unemotional non-present response “Good” or “Fine” with a fully botoxed looking face of no smile. You know the expressionless almost angry countenance of emptiness. We all do it.

If I know the person well, I say, “You might want to tell your face!” 😊

I used to have this wonderful barber. When I started to lose my hair, I asked him what should I be doing? “he said, “What do you mean?” “Do I need to take something or use anything?,” I sheepishly queried. He looked into the mirror in front of us and grabbed my face with both hands. He said in a grave and serious tone while staring into my eyes through the mirror, “Is your hair the source of your dignity? Does your hair define you? You look great and a little less hair will not make you any less of the good person, right?!” I looked back at him, nodded and smiled. He cut my hair and my bullshit!
 
We justify in our own minds doing things that are counter to our own health and wellbeing, ironically all in search of some shred of “normalcy” or even self-care. Sometimes it feels like we are self-administering some weird unnecessary chemotherapy we think will cure us. But there are massive side effects that could be iatrogenic, where the cure is far worse than that the disease. Suppressing who you are, hurts.

Humans have this amazing capability to adapt, part of our Darwinian survival instincts. But this innate skill gets applied to our growing need to portray ourselves in a favorable light at the least and a fraudulent one at its worst.

We have to see and navigate the heavy oppressive delusionary fog that surrounds us and clouds our minds. The fog of faking it until we make it. The deep fog of looking good over being good. The addiction to the false gods of our identity.

I am fond of the physician and trauma researcher Vincent Felitti’s astute remark about addiction that “it’s hard to get enough of something that almost works.” Much like the rush an addict experiences immediately after using: we crave more and more, again and again and again. In fact, the analogy is entirely appropriate physiologically, since among the brain chemicals released when we have moments of feeling loved or valued or accepted are our own internal opiates, or endorphins. And just as an opiate like heroin does not satiate, so the temporary endorphin hit of valuation or appreciation or approval or success cannot possibly resolve the ache in the soul. We are compelled to persevere in seeking those external sources of fleeting relief, only to have to replenish them once the thrill is gone.  Gabor Mate, the Myth of Normal

Our addiction help us endure this endless combat between this need for adult attachment, our need to belong to feel loved and our desire to be “authentic”, the need to express our unique essence.

This is not a zero-sum game. This is truly a win-win opportunity.

The battle between attachment and authenticity is won by forming a new world, that is bigger and better than its antecedents.  Your inner need for attachment will be more durable and fulfilling when you begin to shed anything that falsely represents who you are.  

We can belong, be loved, find meaningful attachment BY being ourselves.

It starts with awareness, the awakening to see what you are doing to yourself, and to start caring less about what others think.

To see your wrinkles as experience and smileage you have earned. 😊

Honestly, embracing our signs of physical aging as a natural part of our impermanence, it is life changing.

This is scary stuff. Fraught with the perception of great risk.

But it is the most liberating moment. To express who you are and what you look like.

Just consider the amount of time, not to mention money we waste thinking about keeping up appearances.

And another unintended consequence, is the role modeling we do. People look to us formally and informally for the clues of happiness, success and authenticity. What message are we sending out to the world around us and the generations that follow?

Never too late to be you. To engender attachment for the people around you.

Remember this is about now. Not how you judge your former self. How you free your present self from the addiction to botox and to embrace the beauty within you—and others.

A cup is more valuable chipped. 

It was broken. I am broken. 

And when we can see that we are all chipped and broken, 

we begin to value our life as an expression of the teaching

that we are truly perfect and complete, 

just as we are. 

Pat Enkyo O’hara

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