Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Pause in Judgement.

My judgmental attitude is no secret. I've crafted and honed it; I can form an opinion in Olympic medal-winning time. When Michael Jackson died last year, I didn't have any pity or sadness. I was only fascinated to watch it tsunami over Twitter and Facebook, as I was on those sites for work all day and saw the bandwidth shudder under the "news".

I confidently came down on the side of those who were shocked by the outpouring of support for Jackson. I thought, what happened to the man who settled out of court on child molestation charges? Pop culture has a short memory - but this short?

However, an article introducing a new insomnia blog page at NYTimes.com was printed yesterday. It talked about Americans spending thousands of dollars on fancy sheets, perfect mattresses, aromatherapy and nighttime music.... all the while still drinking too much alcohol and caffeine, staying up watching TV, pushing ourselves with few hours of rest. And author Patricia Morrisroe wrote:
I can’t think of anyone more dissimilar to the hard-boiled Hemingway than Michael Jackson, yet he too suffered from chronic insomnia. One can only imagine the pressure Jackson was under rehearsing for a grueling world tour with the sadly prophetic title, “This Is It.” Over the years sleeping pills and other tranquilizers had lost their effectiveness to the point that he demanded that his doctor administer the powerful anesthetic propofol, which was later ruled a major factor in his death. Jackson referred to it as his “milk.” There’s something terribly sad about someone wanting to sleep so badly that he’d opt for a hospital anesthetic, rather than the old-fashioned sedative: a cup of warm milk.
And so even my epic heights of judgment stop and pause. I take a breath, and I remember the Buddhist advice to treat every living being as if he or she is (or has been) your own loving mother. How much compassion can you muster for your mother when she is pain? Imagine mustering that compassion for every rude driver, every unhelpful customer service rep, every sad celebrity. And I let my weekend be time for more practice in this compassion.

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