Recently I was driving home, flipping through the local radio stations, trying to find something besides One Direction or Kesha, when something got me to stop. Coming up next, they would be talking to their special guest, “Beer Belly Kelly”, and she had some advice for all the girls out there. I wondered what type of Gandhi-esque thoughts she was going to share with all the listeners, so I stayed tuned. In my awakened perspective on life, I love to examine the thought processes of our culture, what I heard made me realize a few things.
“Beer Belly Kelly” enthusiastically calls herself that, because of the copious amounts of beer she can chug. She is quite proud of this, in society’s standards, this makes her ’cool’, so I was certain Beer Belly Kelly had some real pearls of wisdom to share. She said “Girls who don’t drink beer can’t be trusted, they are boring, and no guy is ever gonna want to hang out with them, or date them, so if you don’t drink beer, you better start if you wanna find yourself a man or friends”. Wow. It was like she was reading the words right from a Deepak Chopra book.
First, I had the realization that I used to have some Beer Belly Kelly Syndrome in me. I fell victim to the social programming that getting hammered, chugging beers, doing kegstands, slamming a beer in the morning, this was all cool and fun. In fact a few years ago, I tried diligently to learn how to smash a beer can on my head. Well done social programming, well done. I found pride in the amount of beer I could drink, that I was thought of as ‘one of the guys’, and of course I was also guilty of the many facebook photos of me and my cool beer. Looking around at society, we see this as the norm. We are bombarded daily with alcohol advertisements that tell us drinking is sexy and cool. Movies are filled with this same illusion too. Bars are the main social hangouts. Take a trip to Las Vegas, and you will not only see people drinking every minute of the day in casinos, but walking around the city with their drinks. They are so proud to carry their little beer trophies around legally in the streets, this is freedom!
If they were to look at if from a different perspective, they would see that this is anything but freedom. We are conditioned to behave like this. What better way to oppress people, then to make them think that this poison is magical, then watch them do all this damage to themselves, willingly. Alcohol makes you cool and sexy, it is mandatory when watching football, it will give you confidence, it will make you fit in with society, it makes everything funner, it helps you through a bad day, it makes for wild nights. We should be so lucky that this is legal, while a plant like marijuana, that has tons of medicinal benefits, or mushrooms that can expand our consciousness to allow us to see beyond ourselves when done safely, are illegal. Apparently our creator made a mistake allowing these plants to grow on our Earth. Thankfully our government knows what’s best for us, and not only allows us but encourages us to drink this magical alcohol, that destroys our liver, lives, marriages, and kills us off daily.
The second thing I pondered, is how do we fall victim to this illusion so easily? I remembered what author Eliot Cowan said in his fantastic book “Plant Spirit Medicine.” Initiation is a ritual that shows a person his or her purpose in life. In traditional societies this ritual is usually performed near the time of puberty, because it marks the moment when physical growth is complete and education of the soul can begin. The perception of life purpose is the dawn of spiritual vision; before this, the soul is wandering in the dark, so initiation is also often called the “vision quest.” This idealism is lost on Western society. The blueprint of life I was given as I came into adolescence was a dreary one, lackluster and incomplete. I was to drudge my way through the educational system, one that diminishes free-thinking and creativity, I was to pick something I ‘wanted to be when I grew up’ from a list of degrees at a college, a career that paid good money, and made me fit in with societies standards. I would then get a job, in said field, work this job for many years, then hopefully retire one day and get to start enjoying life, then die. That was my vision quest. No wonder I sought other means to escape that reality. I was Snow White, lured into the fantasy of the shiny red apple.
If I were able to go back in time, I would give adolescent Bridget a new blueprint. One that is full of magic, creativity, excitement and purpose. I would explain to her that she is the architect of her life. She can express herself in whatever creative facets that speak to her soul, never conforming, never needing to fit in. That there are things so unimaginably beautiful in this world, that they can not be understood by the mind, they must be experienced through the heart. Most of all I would remind her that she came into this life with a purpose, and she will always be guided and supported along her journey. Why would one ever want to escape this reality? I realize now, the main thing that was missing in my life was a sense of purpose. Lack of purpose makes us feel as though we are the by-products of some accidental reality, not knowing whats coming next, or where our life is going. Purpose can be our GPS in this life, helping us navigate through the rough waters, and helping us find our own paths. Realizing I had a purpose in this life, I didn’t have to follow the typical blueprint of society, and could express my uniqueness and individuality in any way I wanted, led me to freedom.
So, I thank “Beer Belly Kelly” for her misguided thoughts and advice, because they made me reflect on how far I’ve come, and reminded me how beautiful the world is when you’re not looking at it from the bottom of a beer can. Though I can’t go back and rewrite history, saving me from years of being lost, poisoning my body, diminishing my Spirit, and many failed attempts of smashing a beer can on my head. Hopefully I can present a new blueprint to my daughter who is now entering those adolescent years. To help her find her path and awaken to her purpose, as she begins her journey to discover who she truly is. If I can do that, then every dark day of my past was worth it.