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The Persistence of Emotional Tone

Just imagine if you will: you-as-yourself are stuck in the middle of L’Temps Perdu, the books, you are the hero existing in the books who is always going to repeat this Perdu-ness, this times-past search of memory and emotion, over and over with , you are still on this path forever, even as paper morphs into pixels, and suddenly you run across this:

It is the seduction of information.

For more than moments one is not noticing that one is Perdu. Lost.  Still as we search through the courses dabbling here and dabbling there…(even, “Could I possibly get credit through MIT?”) The Perdu-ness of Being still exists.

L’Temps Perdu. Lost. (Our example, metaphor.) Every pixel we type, everything we say, how we interact, how we practice or receive Rolfing Structural Integration, is colored by this Perdu-ness of emotion. “It” will decide whether credit is sought. “It” will decide how and when we choose to use this information, even which of the many informations we (think we) decide are right.

We know people and even organizations like this who have been on their emotional treadmill, defending their emotional tone to the death with (seeming) reason, emotional blackmail, force, seduction, and coercion, for so long that there is seemingly no change in store, they will die with their Perdu-ness (or whatever emotional tone they have sucked into themselves).

Organizations are perpetuated on certain emotional tones by donors and founders, perhaps long after the orginal people are gone. The organizations may not have much factual “institutional memory” left, but remember the emotional tone and the actions rising from that of themselves in the past, and operate from that. Some call this organizational culture. I don’t. I say they are stuck in their  persistent emotional tone just like “Groundhog Day” the movie. Like the movie, these organizations can be a laughing stock.

Some mental health professionals, including teachers and clergy and organizational development specialists, make a good living perpetuating the emotional tone of their patients. Imagine, a “needy” or “victim” emotional tone and/or some other pejorative one such as “entitlement” or “righteousness” and how that could play out into a lifelong income. For only one instance of “therapeutic technique”, just try examining “archetypes” for awhile and see if your persistent emotional tone changes.

Mostly folks don’t show up to mental health pros complaining of the persistence of joy. Think about it….even in bipolar disorder, joy doesn’t persist forever.

The seeking for joy, that can be a persistent emotional tone. It is a big bucks enterprise with self-help books. I admit that I liked hearing the Buddha-bully Lama Marut talk this week in Philadelphia about his new book, Spiritual-Renegades-Guide-Good-Life. Even bought the book. When I asked Lama Marut how he reconciled his ridicule of our consumerism with his publishing of a book and the tour promoting it, he said not to buy into the ideology while doing something constructive within it. I was happy with that. (Enjoying the Good Life at Robin’s Book Store, hehe).

Even though sought for, joy doesn’t have the persistent dramatic quality of painful emotional tone.  I’m predicting the future here which is always shaky ground, but I’m saying no one will ever write 7 volumes on L’Temps Joyeuse.

Anyway, here is our self-help exercise of the day.  It is good to discover one’s persistent emotional tone and inquire of one’s self if it serves what one is about. One could even ask another person they trusted to tell the truth. Or turn on the tape recorder on oneself and hear one’s interactions with others. What is going on as I go through my day? (If you hear a high whine, reconsider, haha.)

An internalized emotional tone for me that I choose when I can is pretty serious, but it likes to have fun.  Unless overwhelmed “it” keeps coming back to my internalization of my Grandfather’s life: at age 12 upon graduation from 6th grade in Canada his family put his suitcase on the front porch and said something like, “We can’t afford to feed you anymore, you must go and make your way.” He took off, made his way 2000 miles south, and used his idealism to support his American family.

Ever a pragmatist, when my Grandfather was asked his place of birth during a census taking, he named Mississippi during the Civil War. Ever a futurist, he owned the first Ford dealership in his town and he surveyed and laid out that town (with some friends). His idea of fun was to go down to the train station and tell a bunch of bullies (about to stone an American who happened to be the wrong color) to all go home. My Grandmother figured strongly in the town, too, establishing (with some friends) the first library in town.

I aspire to that sort of spirit. Occupy is having big doings this Independence Day week in Philly, and I am going there for a bit.

I will not be telling them to go home.



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