The Silver Bullet

by Kris Kelley
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

One of my all time favorites from Sensei, which I would like to pass on to you.

The Silver Bullet

It is tradition that with the coming of a New Year we create in our minds a cross-road of introspection between the past and the future.

It is therefore common that we reflect upon the unaccomplished resolutions to which we committed last year, and without greater self-analysis call ourselves `flakey' and `undisciplined' and continue to declare new resolutions for the following year, resolutions that will similarly remain unattained.

It seems we can thus pass an entire lifetime without losing the weight we want to lose, without learning the new massage technique we wish to learn, without playing the instrument of our dreams, without spending more time with our families, etc.

As an existential strategist, massage therapist, or simple friend I often find myself engaging individuals who, year after year, have seen their lives go by and (now desperate) wish me to rescue them with a few chosen words of solace or inspiration. This is frequently when I offer my "Silver Bullet" talk, which goes something like this:

The European Medieval tradition relates that a gunshot with a silver bullet is the most certain and reliable method of killing a lycanthrope, that is, a `werewolf,' that diabolic figure that for centuries terrorized the existence of a superstitious people who believed in supernatural beings and therefore in magical solutions that would end the same.

For most of us the days have passed in which we feared werewolves, placed gargoyles on our rooftops to ward off evil spirits, and lined the entrances of our homes with rings of garlic to fend off vampires. Nonetheless, the concept of a `silver bullet' as a metaphor for a quick, effective, and effortless solution to a challenging and resilient problem remains.

Logically the expression is often applied with skepticism, sarcasm, and irony: although it is common that
problems manifest that are as gloomy and overwhelming as werewolves,' rarely do they present with `silver bullets' as solutions.

Nevertheless, in today's world this is what people seek most: an immediate solution with a minimum amount of inconvenience.

We want to lose weight but continue eating sweets, drinking beer, ingesting fats, and only exercising from the couch to the bed, from the bed to the table, from the table to the car, from the car to the office, and from the office to the couch.

We want our relationships with our spouse to improve, but without self-compromise and only as a result of indicating the improprieties and defects our partner exhibits as prerequisites to our marital bliss.

We want our youth to stop taking drugs, but without our having to stop consuming alcohol or nicotine, which constitute, by far, the two drugs that cause the most social and economic damage.

We want our societies to be safer, cleaner, more prosperous, even more beautiful, but we continue to delegate our civic duty to a class of professional politicians who year after year deceive us with words only to later disappoint us with deeds.

In short: we want the silver bullet that kills the `werewolves' of our existence and that changes our lives, our relationships, and our circumstances but without the effort of changing our own perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors.

During these days of festivities, celebrations, promises and reflections, take a few moments to contemplate upon your lives, your families, your neighborhoods, your societies and countries, and if you find defects and problems therein, think about the following: if you are not part of the solution you are the problem; and when you search for `silver bullets' to solve your problems know that you do not have to look beyond yourselves to find the werewolves that terrorize your own existence.

Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous Holiday Season and New Year,

Kris Kelley

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