Self-reflection

Use Mad Men Wisely

Like millions of others, I couldn’t wait for the seventh and final season of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men on AMC.

This last season of Mad Men is dredging up old stuff I hadn’t thought about – or have been pissed off about – for roughly 45 years.

A new marketing lead at an existing client company meets Joan Harris, not one of the male partners of advertising agency Sterling Cooper, and is clearly disappointed. Over a coke at the bar he starts lecturing Joan like she never worked at an advertising agency much less is a partner of one. It made my blood boil.

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A senior executive refers to a black woman and some white men as “Gladys Knight and the Pips” as they enter a work meeting. OMG this hit my buttons.

Don Draper hits on another woman while on a plane from LA (and his time with his wife Megan living the LA life) back to New York. If I see Don with that sympathetic and lustful face looking at one more different woman while she shares her woe (this one a widow) I am going to scream.

Mad Men is terrific entertainment, not reality. 1969 is LONG over. While it may be troubling to recall the professional travails back then; getting angry all over again wastes energy that could be spent on real current problems — like continuing gender bias in the workplace.

What I realize as I watch Mad Men this season is that it was cutting a little too close to home — and giving me an opportunity to reflect on some buried issues as well as current ones. This is a good thing: fresh opportunities for personal reflection and renewed growth – and this I recommend.

The accurate costumes make one wince and are without doubt triggers for memories of our own past. But what has me really exploring raw feelings are the subtle or not so subtle mocking of the ways we experienced our lives back then. It seems to me that how we were experiencing new avenues of sexual freedom, politics, civil rights and patriarchy comes across as a bit too much like a surface set of fads rather than the difficult, thoughtful and challenging opportunities of that era.

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It really was not easy to “become liberated”, “be involved in civil rights”, or “want to be taken seriously”. Politics were white hot and challenging and conversations with parents/authority figures were often brutal. Mini skirts, and smoking pot were more than props – they were small attempts to express new ways of thinking in the culture. A culture which we were trying desperately to change — and ultimately did.

I can take Mad Men and its terrific acting and writing as a way of getting into my own history and life explorations; or, I can just let the show continue to annoy me, and remind me of old, relatively minor wounds, and 60’s fashion. Upon reflection, we at least cared about fashion and looking pulled together back then. Seems like anyone today could spend 6 weeks traveling anywhere with black pants, jeans, two tops, a washable universal-looking dress, walking sandals and an average-looking sweater or cheap raincoat. To me, that is not progress. Or maybe, sister boomers, it really is.

Zen Day Gone Wrong: Is Tuesday the New Monday For Us?

Think Zen.

The results you get ARE the feedback.

Stay mindful.

Be present.

Breathe.

If you could read my personal 2014 resolutions you would find all these goals right there.

So I started my planned Zen day with yoga – all set and on time for once — not rushing — another resolution.

It appeared I wasn’t hearing my fabulous yoga teacher Laura. Or, what I thought I heard couldn’t seem to translate into the poses Laura was directing us toward.

By headstand, shoulder stand, and “wild thing” (one of those yoga poses that should be illegal) I was cooked — couldn’t wait to get to savasana (relaxation at the end of a session). But as the chants were being sung my blankets were off kilter and the deep relaxation wasn’t.

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Not to worry. Seek peace. Golf lessons from Joanne is sort of the opposite of yoga. The need to relax is even more profound because the whole game is counter-intuitive. Keep your eyes on the ball but let the club do the hitting. Swing back two thirds and then forward evenly and without pulling up. Look at the ball but do not nudge it.

Yeah I get this. The balls I was using hadn’t gotten the memo. They didn’t go far.

Sigh. Lunch break with Bill – let’s go somewhere comfortable and easy – relaxed and simple. But there was a traffic jam in Tucson — yes, you skeptics, it actually happened. Ate the bread due to the “stress” of yoga and golf and arriving late to lunch. My Zen day (otherwise known as a spoiled girl’s day) wasn’t working.

Post lunch I reaffirmed my commitment to a Zen day. I would run a simple errand to pick up the jewelry repair not ready yesterday.

Store owner Chris told me to come back today, but when I got there he was STILL not ready with my ring. Seems “the afternoon” in Tucson does not mean 2:30 PM but 5:30 PM.

Oh whatever — move on — maybe some actual professional work will make me feel truly Zen since it is related to my heart’s passion: coaching.

After an hour of moving old emails from my inbox into the slots marked for each of my coaching clients in an effort to have a simpler and cleaner email, the system message indicated that all that movement had failed. Of course I wasn’t worried all 200 or so emails were somewhere — they had to be on my Mac. Well, not really.

Writing this blog has been the easiest part of the day – was hoping to watch another episode of House of Cards tonight to REALLY relax. Alas, our universal remote isn’t working. Was the universe saying “relaxing with this acid comedy/drama would not cause Zen”?

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Is Tuesday, previously thought to be the most productive day of the week, really the new Monday for fabulous-over-60s?

I doubt it. Because if a fabulous-over-60 doesn’t watch out, ANY day could be the new Monday and there will be no productive Tuesdays! Our expectations have shifted and we often aim for a Zen day any old day of the week.

Should have known when I was in the mood for a Zen day, the tree in the forest made no noise as it fell because no one was there — or something like that. If I was a total masochist I would end the day watching this and really start to cry.

Image credit: here

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