I was watching older episodes of “Super Soul Sunday” that I had recorded and started thinking about a collection of things today.  The first was a two-part interview with Dr. Maya Angelou and then Dr. Brian Weiss on reincarnation.

I find one thing I like to do when I watch these interviews, is listen to the question and then pause the viewing so that I can answer for myself and then press play and see what the guest had to say.

Oprah always asks such meaty questions that I use it to help figure out ways of presenting the concepts in my life and also to learn how to speak in something shorter than my usual tendency to fill in too much detail, or at least that is what some friends have alluded to, ok came right out and said (I have been told that Thucydides was much briefer in his “History of the Peloponnesian War” and its eight leather clad volumes, so I am trying…). I do find though, that a 45 minute show, after you fast-forward through the commercials, can often take up to two or three hours to get through, partly because my ADD based nature kicks in (oh look, a butterfly).

I am looking at the beginning of this piece and catching myself doing it again, so STOP IT! :)

I was crafting an answer for a question about reincarnation and why I believe in it when I went off on a tangent involving when I really started to become aware of the world’s “reality”, 1981 in Los Angeles and the beginnings of the Age of the Valley Girl (AVG), like oh my God!

Being a Hollywood kid at the time, we laughed at the way they talked, the way they dressed and the completely vapid way they related to the world around them, the was the Reagan era, shortly after his shooting.

What startled me, was when I finished my walk down memory lane (and deciding to watch “Valley Girl” later tonight for some laughs), was the realization that the rampant consumerism that we used to laugh about those “airheads in the Valley” have become a way of life, it’s called America, gag me with a spoon!

In today’s version of what it is to be an American, it is not about doing something, but about acquisition of things. The early period of the AVG was marked by the need to go to the mall, the central hub of all Valley life. The appeal is understandable, as Moon Unit Zappa said in the theme of the era:

Encino is like so bitchen
There’s like the galleria
And like all these like really great shoe stores
I love going into like clothing stores and stuff
I like buy the neatest mini-skirts and stuff
Its like so bitchen cuz like everybodys like
Super-super nice…

Its like so bitchen…

Frank & Moon Zappa, “Valley Girl” (italics mine)
We humans like to gather things, it’s a pre-programmed norm of our species, and we like to go places where “everybodys like super-super nice” (sic) since “its like so bitchen”. It seems that somewhere along the way, these went from being niceties of the retail industry to a cultural norm.

Slowly, we are transferring from a culture of doers to a culture of observers and purchasers. I have written before about my frustration about how difficult it is to get people to take action and those who seem to take advantage of this tendency to accumulate power for themselves.

We suffer from the mistaken belief that we are what we have, you are not your Gucci bag, but your things can often actually own you. It’s not that it is “bad” to buy or have things, but when it becomes more important than doing things, we can see that we have begun to lose our way somewhere.

So the next time that you find yourself needing some trinket you did not know existed 30-seconds ago, take a moment and ponder the possibility that maybe there is some place better for you to spend not only you time and money, but your attention and intention.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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