Friday, July 18, 2008


Hi! My name is Glen. I'm an artist by profession. Recently, a good friend suggested I start a blog. When I asked her what she thought I should write about, she said to just talk about whatever interests me. Since the scope of my interests is daunting I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go with whatever is circulating in my brain at the moment. It's a trick I use to short circuit my A.D.D. Well, here goes. I hope what I write resonates with someone out there in the blogosphere.

The name of my blog is "AmoMoi". It's a very unscholarly Latin-French hybrid that is meant to translate roughly into "I love myself". "Moi" is actually "me", but the french word for "myself" just didn't flow. I would have chosen straight-forward english, french or latin but all of these were already taken. Despite how it sounds, my reason for choosing AmoMoi wasn't narcissistic, but stemmed from a life-long effort to develop the habit of being kind to myself. More than a few people have told me that I usually do things the hard way. To help remedy this I use the phrase "I love myself" as a mantra. I figure if I repeat it long enough eventually it will stick, and I'll begin to treat myself more kindly. Goofy, New Age crap, you say. Maybe. But I'll give it a shot anyway. I'll try fakin it til I make it.

Most people are better at being good to themselves than I am, and some people really excell at it. I remember hitchhiking with my roommate on Cape Cod. The guy who picked us up was,( to my starving artist's eyes), a very posh fellow, indeed. He was impeccably dressed, and his car was a miracle of comfort. Leaning back deep into the plush, beige upholstery of his Beamer - at an angle I feared was dangerously close to being horizontal - our driver prattled on in his silky smooth voice about the seeming perfection of his summer on the Cape. Working two crumby jobs to pay for an apartment, and a studio, I hated him, instantly. At the time we were picked up my friend and I - armed with a dufflel bag stuffed with dirty clothes - were headed for the nearest Laundromat which was about a half an hour from where we lived.Thinking back, I marvel at the fact that our fancy friend even bothered to pick us up - beggarly sight that we were. Perhaps he was practicing noblesse noblige, or maybe some form of slumming. To be fair, it was probably just plain old human kindness on his part.

Anyway, as I was saying, while my friend and I were headed for the Laundromat, our driver was on his way to a fresh water pond to have a swim. He chose the pond over the bay because, and I quote: "It's just such a bother to rinse off all that sticky salt after swimming in the ocean." Hearing that, my roommate and I exchanged the obligatory, clandestine rolling of our eyeballs.

To this day I picture the guy arriving at his destination. I imagine him spreading out a sumptuous, over-sized beach towell with a thread count exceeding 1,000, after which, he walks down to the water's edge, inserts a newly pedicured big toe, and proceeds to display an uncanny talent for knowing precisely how many degrees plus or minus the temperature varies from his ideal of 72 degrees Celcius.

Despite my sarcasm I have to admit there was something I admired about the guy. He had what I lacked - and I don't mean money. He had the ability to be nice to himself. Now, mind you, I wouldn't want to be him. He was too laid back to suit my somewhat stormy artistic temperament. Also, being a dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, I bridled at what I perceived to be his obsessive pursuit of bodily comfort. Personally, I like being a tad salty. As any good cook will tell you : No salt, no flavor.

All this being said, after a period of reflection, I realized that my encounter with the posh guy in the cushy car had taught me a valuable lesson that I think can apply to anyone. It's simple. If being good to yourself doesn't come naturally, and you haven't a clue as to how, or even, where to begin to do so, start with your own body. Fritz Perls, that self-styled dirty old man, and father of Gestalt Therapy, called it the "contact boundary".You see, the body, unlike the mind, is something concrete. It's something we can apprehend directly with our senses. For instance, if you've made a decision to take a certain course of action, and the course you've chosen elicits a pleasant response from your body, you've probably made a sound choice. However, if your body tenses up, or say you get a hollow feeling in your gut, or maybe you suddenly get inexplicably tired, then stop a moment, and think of other options. As you do so note which ones produce favorable reactions, and choose one of them instead. TRUST THE BOD! It's a genius at knowing which actions best reflect your authentic self. And, one more thing: Remember, feelings are physical, and not to be confused with emotions. Emotions issue from the mind, and are more ephemeral. But, that's another topic, altogether - something best discussed on another day.

Hmmm! Think I'll give myself a little love and take a nice, leisurely bath. I know, I could surround the tub with legions of candles - maybe burn a little incense. How about that CD of Tibetan monks chanting, or the one with the waves lapping against the shore. Sound too much like a New Age cliche? It does, doesn't it? Last one in the tub is a self-loathing, curmudgeon.

See ya! Glen

P.S. Check out Perls' book, "In and Out of the Garbage Pail". It's a classic!

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