Headphone adventures: approaching life situations as symbolic or as if a dream

 

Over the last several months, I have had an adventure relating to headphones. I wanted to buy noice cancelling headphones (for travel and neighborhood noise) and do it outside of Norway since the price is lower.

The first was going to be delivered to my partner when she did a Vortex class in Wakefield. The delivery people didn’t deliver it since they “thought the hotel was closed on Mondays” (!) and there was no time for re-delivery before she left the hotel. (April 2019.)

The second – which I got when I was in London – was defective (pulsing in one ear) and I had to return it after coming back to Norway. (November 2019.)

The third was one I actually bought in Norway but it was the wrong – and inferior – model so I again returned it. (January 2020.)

The fourth got delivered to the wrong address in London and was signed for (!) and received by someone I have no idea who is. At least someone out there now has a nice pair of headphones and they didn’t have to pay for it. (February 2020.)

At this point, I knew I had to take the symbolism in this more seriously. If life is trying to show me something, what is it? What can I learn from all this?

What I first saw was my contraction around it. I have sound sensitivity (typical for CFS) and also misophonia, and although it’s much better than it was, I still sometimes get stressed from noise. My approach to the whole situation – and getting noise cancelling headphones – was contracted and fear-based.

How can I approach noise in general with more ease? (I have already worked on this but there is further to go.) And how can I approach the headphone situation differently?

When the last pair of headphones were delivered to someone I don’t know who is, I got into a stressful pattern of thinking and feeling – some mix of hopelessness, victim, and related beliefs, identities, and emotional issues. I noticed this and the addictive tendency in it.

The whole process seems to have put me in a place where I was finally ready to hold it all more lightly. To let it go more fully. And to take a more genuine approach of playfulness and adventure.

I decided to order another pair more as an experiment. This time too, something went “wrong”. When I went on the website to order, they didn’t have any new ones in stock and there was no indication they would get more in. So I ordered the one pair of used headphones listed. The following day, I got the message they had cancelled my order since “the product was unavailable”.

This only strengthened the shift that had already happened in me. From this new place, I went back to the website, ordered another set (they were now suddenly available), received it without problems, and enjoyed using them on the flight back to Norway. (The flight was very enjoyable, partly because of the comfort from the headphones.)

Not everything in life needs to be taken as a symbol or as if it’s in a dream. But when there is a pattern like this, it can be helpful to approach it in that way. If life wants to show me something, what can it be? If this was a dream, what would it mean? If I am supposed to learn something from this – to grow, heal, mature – what would it be? How would I be different in this situation? How can I implement it? What issues – emotional issues, beliefs, identifications – stops me from making this shift?

I also noticed that this ongoing situation felt like a series of synchronicities. Perhaps not in a strict sense, but what happened seemed to follow a similar dynamic. It was as if life wanted me to see something through a series of unusual events. (So far, when I have ordered something online, it usually goes without a hitch.)

The depth of popular culture

 

Some folks see popular culture as inevitably shallow. But is that true? And is it true that shallow is bad?

First, is shallow bad? No. There is nothing inherent in life telling us what we should be into. There are no requirements.

Many have stressful and busy lives and need something undemanding to help them relax and switch gears. Nothing wrong in that. (Although we can question a society that sets us up for such busy and sometimes stressful lives.) At one time or another, easy pop culture serves a helpful function to us.

And for most of us, it’s just one part of a much more varied cultural diet.

Is it true that pop-culture is shallow?

Yes, it’s perhaps true in a conventional and limited sense. There may be less soul and more formulas in much of what we find in pop-culture.

It’s easy to find exceptions. There is often depth to aspects of what we find in pop-culture. Something surprising, moving, or something that gives us an insight into ourselves or the lives of others. And some of what we find in pop-culture obviously has more depth, richness, and complexity to it, for example, stories rich in archetypes like Star Wars (original trilogy) and Pan’s Labyrinth.

It also depends on what we define as popular culture. Bach is quite popular. Is that pop culture? Chopin was a pop-culture superstar in his time.

And it depends on how readily available something is to us. When we have to put more effort and intention into finding something, it can seem more sophisticated, for instance when we are into the pop-culture of another time or culture.

Finally, we bring the depth to it.

When I watch movies, including the most mainstream Hollywood movies, I often look for archetypes and archetypal dynamics.

I take it as I would a dream, see the different parts of the story as parts of me, and find it in me.

I notice what I react to and look for the beliefs or emotional issues it triggered in me.

I notice what I am fascinated by and find what the fascination is about and then see if I can find that in myself.

So when it comes down to it, if we see something as shallow, we can only blame ourselves. We take a shallow approach to it.

We bring the richness or the shallow to it.

A personal note: In my late teens and early twenties, I had judgments about pop culture and went deep into more “high” and “sophisticated” art, music, books and movies. There was nothing wrong with this, and it was very rewarding and I still enjoy that type of culture. But it also came from insecurity. I wanted to be “better” and more sophisticated. I didn’t feel good enough as I was. Now, fortunately, I feel more free to enjoy all of it.

If we have ideas about high or low culture, or one thing being better than the other, it’s a reminder to take a look at ourselves. Where in me does it come from? Do I try to create an identity for myself to feel better about myself? How would it be to enjoy it all independent of labels?