Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 261 Wrangling the season of increased dissatisfaction

One of the more fascinating things about the TV show Mad Men is its look into the origin of our culture of dissatisfaction. Modern advertising lies at the heart of that culture, the sense of needing stuff or services or products to feel better about ourselves. The season of dissatisfaction goes all year, but it rachets up now with sales and the driving need to buy and give in order to please others, to satisfy ourselves by satisfying them, even though a part of us knows that stuff never really satisfies.

This is also the season of nostalgic dissatisfaction. Many of us fell into a yearning for former, and often mythical, holiday happiness, trying to recreate a togetherness of intimacy and happiness that may well never have happened.

Because of this increased dissatisfaction with what is, with our circumstances, financial and relational, we tend to try to soothe ourselves more than ever with alcohol, food, or shopping. It’s a big time of relapse around addiction, of letting go of healthier habits for some fleeting possibility.  We see that glass of wine, that piece of cheesecake, that shiny expensive object, and we romanticize the moment, as a woman remarked in my AA meeting today, even though our better selves know the moment won’t last and it won’t even be all that great while it does last.

Sitting with what is without wanting to fix it is one of my biggest challenges. Dissatisfaction makes me restless, irritable, discontent. The remedy for me is gratitude, extra meetings, time spent quietly with good friends and with my cats. 

How will you wrangle your dissatisfaction if it pops up this holiday?

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