Pimping Your Hen

Join us for the third and final instalment of the electric three-part Alternative Hen series by Mistress of Mayhem Siobhan Scanlon, founder of The Peacock Bride. In part three Siobhan explores the art of Peacocking with party accessories.

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Hencessories

So you’ve picked the date, chosen the location and pestered the hens, the only thing left to do is to choose the hencessories (aka accessories for hens). Now this can open up a can of worms; Do we choose a theme? Do we dress the bride as a 6ft c*ck (it being a hen and all)? Will granny wear a leopard-print tail? In truth these these are just minor blips along the journey. With so much to consider choosing the right accessories need not be a worry if you follow our tips for choosing the right accessories for the big do.

Peacock the Bride

Peacock the Bride: Peacocking means dressing flamboyantly and for attention. Rule number 1: the bride must stand out. Whether that be with a flashing veil, a sequinned hairband or a ‘drama queen’ emblazoned tiara, it must mark her role at the party. The good news is thank to fluffy wands and metallic wings there’s more choice than ever and trust us any bird worth her salt has a pair of these. In short, pimping the bride need never be a chore.

 

Hens who play together

Hens who play together, stay together: An often underestimated factor in the creation of a great ‘night out’ are what we call ‘fun fuellers’. These are anything to unite a group of unknowns in a light hearted way. Our favourites include inflatable instruments, glitter top microphones, photo props, fake tattoos and of course piñatas… There is nothing quite like watching a blindfolded chick aimlessly beat a half bashed unicorn.

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Look after your broad: So the big night has been and gone, and has most likely left a thumping sensation behind for the majority of hens. I’ve been to enough hens to know that foreseeing a grim aftermath can often be enough to tame a hen in her tracks which is not what anyone wants. But there is a cure, and they come in the form of 2 x 25ml health shots known as Faust’s Potions. These are pure magic. After a few too many G&Ts take the Asleep Potion before hitting the hay and the Awake Potion when you rise. Overnight they will work their way round your insides delivering all kind of goodness to your vitamin depleted carcass and come morning you’ll have more gusto than Miley Cyrus on speed.

Connect with The Peacock Bride’s whimsical world of poultry cool via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Thank you for joining us for The Peacock Bride // Bane + Antidote Alternative Hen series!

Keep your eyes on The Peacock Bride for our next collaboration this Autumn. When the nights draw in, the parties get longer. More room for depravity and the sublime we say… Bring it on. #alifelessordinary #badlybehavedbalance






How to Throw a Kick Ass Hen Party

Join us for the second instalment of the electric three-part Alternative Hen series, penned by Mistress of Mayhem Siobhan Scanlon, founder of The Peacock Bride. In part two Siobhan proffers poultry pearls of wisdom, explaining how you can throw a sizzling bash for even the most disgruntled of hens.

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Anyone who has had the pain, I mean pleasure, of organising a hen party knows all too well the challenges sometimes faced. Trying to please 20 ladies can be difficult at the best of times but throw location, cost, food, activities and sleeping arrangements into the mix and unless you carefully manage this you’re likely to end up with hen’s egg on your face. Below are a couple of simple tips that can really make the difference between a ‘MEH’ party and an ‘Sha-mazing’ bash.

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1. Save money on the RIGHT things

In the last few years, the price of hen parties has sky rocketed. But there are some clever ways to save money so you don’t have to sacrifice a month’s salary on pleasing the bridezilla.

– Consider self-serve options for accommodation, such as glamping or renting a house. You can pre-load the place with bubbles and breakfast, saving you a fortune on sleeps and eats.

– Call restaurants/cafés in advance for any group deals. You’d be surprised how often they are willing to create a set menu for group bookings. That way the cost is set, everyone is clear and you don’t have Greedy Gertrude at the top of the table ordering steak to get her money’s worth.

– Fish around for any BYOB (bring your own booze) options in the area. These are becoming more and more popular, and are a massive relief to the budget without actually sacrificing anything.

2. Nobody likes to be dictated to a hen party is NOT a military operation

dictator henI’m all for having set plans, and for a hen party it’s a must – but there are certain ‘rules’ to be considered when it comes to planning. Before bulldozing ahead with a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s worth bearing in mind that people’s expectations of a hen party can vary massively depending on their own situation. Understanding this is the key to a successful hen party!

Let people dip in and out of activities as they wish. I organised my sister’s hen party last year, and we decided to take a jaunt on some electric bikes for a couple of hours. This wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I had arranged a masseuse to come to the venue for anyone who preferred that. There’s little worse than feeling obliged to do something you don’t want to do, especially when you’ve paid good money to be there. Besides, when the pressure is off, people will most likely get involved of their own accord. By setting the tone for a relaxed and flexible weekend early on, the hens will be onside from the get go!

3. Never underestimate the power of FUN FUELERS

‘Fun Fuelers’ are what we like to call any paraphernalia that, in a nutshell, generate fun! Remember, often hens are meeting for the first time or you may be flying solo for the weekend, so having a couple of icebreakers are a great way to quickly unite a group in a natural way.

Things such a photo props, hats, inflatables and piñatas goad people to get involved. There’s full fuelersnothing more unifying that discussing your outlandish costumes or watching the blindfolded bride-to-be beat the living daylights out of a unicorn piñata.

4. Arrange as much as you can advance

Where possible, prebook and pay for as much as you can. The only thing worse than being forced to wear matching pink t-shirts that say ‘Zilla’s Hen Party’ is being landed with another £200 bill at the end of the weekend. The last hen I went to included food for the weekend, taxis, drinks, dinner, club entry, even some champagne caviar! It was such a relief to all the hens at the end of the weekend, and there was no begrudgery over the price tag.

5. Dont be afraid to switch it up

Don’t be afraid to switch up the traditional format of the hen party and stray from the ever popular two-night/one-day activity format. One-nighters are becoming more and more the done thing, and you’ll find that people generally tend to give it socks for the night. Another trend is that of day parties – still life painting, ice cream making, laughter yoga and clay pigeon shooting are all the rage amongst 2015 hens. Do what your little heart heart desires but for pete’s sake consider your hens in the process.

Connect with The Peacock Bride’s whimsical world of poultry cool via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stay tuned next week for the third and final instalment of the Alternative Hen series, where Siobhan will be exploring the art of Peacocking with party accessories.

We leave you to ponder the words of Charlotte Brontë, ‘I would always rather be happy than dignified,’ she says. Second that Charlotte. Cluck fucking cluck.

#alifelessordinary #badlybehavedbalance






The 7 Best British Festivals of 2015 – Your Summer Curated

Find your perfect summer music festival match with our essential guide to Britain’s best small and independent festivals of the year.

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Sundown over glampers. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

By Slava T Gordon

Spring is finally in the air. The first flowers popping up all over the country means one thing of incredible importance – the festival season is nearly upon us! Festival lovers everywhere will agree, there is no place more deliciously suited to their needs than summertime in the UK. A fact that even those lucky ducklings who managed shimmy their winter away in far flung sun-kissed locales, such as Wonderfruit festival in Thailand, will confess… one of the main reasons for their flight of fancy being to ease the withdrawal pangs felt at the end of another great British summer.

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Bane + Antidote editor Alex Volkers’ reaction to the end of the festival season. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

Each new season brings an ever-expanding list of festivals to choose from. We know you have plenty to do orchestrating your summer party schedule, without suffering the existential crisis of wondering if you’ve chosen the right mix of festivals. As professional revellers we are attuned to your dilemma. Keeping time with the offerings, we have translated undecipherable chunky beats into a list of the juiciest and most tantalising small and independent festivals on offer this summer. Armed with this guide you can spend more time rallying your favourite mischief-makers, focussing on the mayhem and completing your fancy dress inventory. When placing your seasonal bulk glitter order we encourage you to do your body (and mind!) a favour and stock up on Faust Potions too. The Recovery Pack was designed to help you maintain your shine and keep you bouncing ALL season long.

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A happy camper. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

Shindig Weekender

Shindig Weekender

When: 23 – 25 May 2015.

Where: Near Bath.

Who: Norman Jay MBE, The Cuban Brothers, Dub Pistols – DJ, Joey Negro, A. Skillz.

What: A low-key collaboration by Bristol based Ghetto Funk and Pussyfoot. This party ‘for friends, by friends’ features a fantastic line-up chock full of big brassy beats and funky bass lines. More of a gathering than a festival there is little danger of losing your friends at this intimate event. Set in beautiful countryside near Bath there is an all-day cocktail bar, boutique camping, and a nightclub that keeps the party going until the morning sun. This year there is also a Kid’s Kingdom with daily circus shows.

Get in the Mood: The music lovers at monkeyboxing.com have compiled a ghetto funk compilation for your aural pleasure.

Red Rooster

Red Rooster

When: 5 -7 June 2015.

Where: Euston Hall, Suffolk.

Who: Kitty Daisy & Lewis, CW Stoneking, Ian Siegal, Son of Dave.

What: An immaculately curated weekend celebrating all that is great about the American South conveniently placed in an exquisite corner of Suffolk. Posse up and get down to the finest selection of roots, country, Americana, R&B and soul bands in this here land. When you’ve danced holes in your boots you can belly up to the table with your well-earned rock-and-roll swagger. Enjoy finger licking BBQ, mouth-watering gumbo, spicy wings and mac and cheese. Wash it down with a more than ample supply of American whiskey or craft cocktails (we are drooling already, do we have to wait until June?!). Late-night campfires, buskers and woodwork complete the atmosphere. If there is no room in your saddlebags due to a plethora of fancy dress there are glamping options available too.

Get in the Mood: Louder Than War offers a full rundown of last year’s festival complete with music videos.

Noisily Festival of Music and Arts

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When: 9 -12 July 2015.

Where: Coney Woods, Nosely Hall, Leicestershire.

Who: Stephan Bodzin, Grouch, Boris Brejcha, Parasense, Victor Ruiz, Joof, Loud.

What: Noisily is a godsend to dance music fans who continue to mourn the loss of the Glade Festival each July. For those who love to dance and prefer to do it non-stop and surrounded by like-minded, shiny, happy souls, then this festival has it all. Set in stunning and secluded woodlands location? Check. Under a canopy of wild psychedelic art paired with the latest in laser-light show technology? Check! Check! Featuring a stellar electronic music line-up (including the Liquid Stage), top-notch production values and a killer Function-One sound system? Check! Check! Check!

Get in the mood: England’s longest running and most comprehensive festival guide eFestivals offers a great summation of last year’s festival.

Give! 2015

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When: 17 – 20 July 2015.

Where: Stanford Hall, Leicestershire.

Who: TBA.

What: With only 750 tickets available this event is tiny by festival standards. A gathering of kindred spirits featuring all the elements of a well-produced music festival, we like to think of it as the family reunion of our dreams. Set in some of the most beautiful English countryside on the river Avon, Give! is a place for nourishing, replenishing and sharing as well as dancing to great tunes. There are plenty of options for boutique camping and a full menu of spa services. If you look pretty in pink all the better… for this year’s group photo on Saturday all revellers are encouraged dress to impress in their pinkest pink finery.

Get in the mood: Ben the Bee has curated the delectable offering that is House of Honey Radio, available 24/7.

Secret Garden Party

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When: 23 – 26 July 2015.

Where: Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire.

Who: Jungle, Cat Empire, Angus & Julia Stone, Caravan Palace, Public Service Broadcasting.

What: An eternal favourite of Bane + Antidote. Not one to rest on its well-earned laurels, Secret Garden Party finds ways to make our collective jaw drop in awe and shriek with delight year after year. Hands down it is still one of the most exquisite and magical festivals around. This year’s theme is ‘Childish Things’. The intent is to reclaim a youth that is wasted on the young. Pack your childish fantasies and your silliest mates and get ready to revel and play like it’s back in the day, when everything was new and wonder-full.

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Image by Philip Volkers Photography

Get in the Mood: Read the latest SGP line-up news by Haptic World.

 

 

 

Somersault Festival

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When: 23 – 27 July.

Where: Castle Hill Estate, North Devon.

Who: Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jimmy Cliff, Passenger, Crystal Fighters, Norman Jay MBE, Angus & Julia Stone.

What: From the team behind Wilderness Festival, this is the most exciting lifestyle festival that we have encountered. Billed as the summer camp for adults, this is perfect for music lovers with a taste for the outdoors, or adventurers who crave more from their time in nature. With a full menu of daytime activities there are many reasons to make sure you get a fair amount of rest. In addition to a top musical line-up you can learn surfing, rock climbing, coasteering, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking. When you’ve worn out yourself physically you can rejuvenate in the spa from Claire Hamilton the genius behind wildwellbeing. Follow that with gourmet feasts, campfires, immersive theatre and forest parties. Rinse and repeat for 5 days and you will head home knackered yet rejuvenated.

Get in the Mood: Latest news and line-up information at the comprehensive eFestivals website.

Festival Number 6

Festival Number 6

When: 3 – 6 September 2015.

Where: Portmeirion, Wales.

Who: Grace Jones, Belle & Sebastian, DJ Harvey, Kate Tempest, Young Fathers.

What: Definitely the most unique and arguably the most sophisticated UK festival this summer. With an explosion of colour and sound, Festival Number Six stages a full takeover of Britain’s only Italianate village. Festival season is a great time of year to visit the Grade II listed village of Portmeirion, Wales. You may recognize it as the location of 1960s cult TV show, The Prisoner. Featuring a full range of arts and cultural programming, multiple award-winning Festival Number Six has much going on above and beyond its incredible line up. Plus, this is the closest you will get to an authentic coastal Mediterranean experience without using your passport. In addition to the standard glamping options, early birds can secure a room in a renovated Victorian Castle. Now that’s truly Posh camping!

Get in the mood: Gigslutz offers a comprehensive review of 2014’s festival

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A summer well spent. Image by Philip Volkers Photography

 

 

March’s Punch of the Month

March is the month of St. Patrick’s, but that’s no excuse for green beer & crème-de-menthe we say. Try this sophisticated concoction instead. 

Words by Slava T Gordon. Image courtesy of Food with Legs – check out their post on this David Wondrich tipple.

emeraldBefore parading and drinking, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland begins with a Church mass to honour the national patron saint. The tradition of wearing green is relatively recent, and is purported to help the wearer avoid being seen by leprechauns, who have a nasty habit of pinching.

St. Patrick’s Day is renowned for raucous and rowdy celebrations all around the globe, making it one of our favourite national holidays here at Bane + Antidote… parades and all night drinking are never a bad thing. Chicago once went as far as dying thier river green. But for a celebration so marked by the voracity of its jubilant troops there is a marked absence of tasteful celebratory consumption on offer. Green beer, green bagels and crème-de-menthe cocktails are the norm. That is why we are bringing you this sophisticated gem of a cocktail.

Applaud your good-taste and coopted Irish heritage this March by adding The Emerald to your repertoire. This mature and spirit-forward cocktail by David Wondrich for Esquire deserves to take its place as the rightful Irish cousin of the Manhattan.

Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

You’re going to need to stock up on hangover cures this month friends.

 

What to Do on Valentine’s Day if You’re Single

Bane + Antidote have sourced the funnest, quirkiest Valentines Day weekend events and shenanigans from around the world. Singletons say ‘no’ to misery and mediocrity – dust off your disco shoes and fly.

By Slava T Gordon

It may come as a surprise that Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love by comedian, playwright and founding father of the English language Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages. Whatever its origins, it has grown to become a global celebration of love, and a vital post-Christmas source of revenue for card manufacturers, confectioners and florists worldwide.

But what if you’re one of the millions of people who haven’t found ‘the one’? Or one of the thousands of people whose Facebook relationship status says, ‘It’s Complicated’? Should you lock yourself in your room shedding tears for good times past? Hell no! The world is chock full of people just like you, and they’ll all be having a splendid time, so why not join them? Your options are to join those uniting in mutual rejection of love, or those that are going out to find it. Either way it’s bound to beat a bunch petrol station flowers and a high pressure candlelit dinner.

undie run FP Alice 2

Still need convincing? This article will get you in the right frame of mind: Why Valentine’s Day Is Actually The Best For Single Girls (same goes for guys too).

Authors note: Whether you plan to drown your sorrows or to raise a toast to individualism, you’d be wise to stock up on hangover cures. Check out our shop for details.

 

 

 

London

1. The Artful Badger present Love & Lightning Valentines Ball at The VAULT Festival Lates 

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13th & 14th of February 2015

After the sell out success of the 2014 Art of Hearts Valentines Ball, the Artful Badger are delighted to invite you on another amorous adventure of exploding emotions and magnetic attractions. For two nights we, once again, infiltrate the tunnels below Waterloo Station as part of the Vault Festival 2015. Rooms of love and lust where wild music and passionate performances set the scene for mischief and match making. Secret rooms, stalls, games, alluring aerial, boisterous bands, provocative & punchy performances, delectable dancers and of course…a romantically rampant party!!

2. If sexy debauchery is what you are after head directly to the Library Members Club.

Hosted by MEATtransMISSION’s Radio Love, a night not to be missed with burlesque routines from House of Kittens, live painting by Alex Tzavaras, and cocktails and general misbehavior instigated by House of Wrong, ‘So wrong it’s left’.

3. You may be surprised to discover Valentine’s Day is a great day to try your hand at taxidermy.  

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Stop in at Horsely House to craft your own pair of ‘Anthropomorphic mice’ in their special Valentine’s Day workshop. ‘All equipment and ethically sourced animals provided. After this 5 hour class you will leave with your own pair of romantically entwined mice‘. Yes, you did read that correctly. Read more here.

4. If you just want to dance until the sun comes up, head to one of the edgiest underground party locations in the city – Hackney Wick.

Check out Number 90 Valentines Day & Night Party – they will keep you going with great House and Techno from the Half Baked Familia, ft. Bloody Mary, Konrad Black & Geddes at Number 90 Wallis Road.

5. Friday I’m in Love sing-along club at The Phoenix 

Karaoke? Pah! That’s just for show-offs. The real fun comes from 200 souls singing as one. That’s the deal at the UK’s first ever singalong club; grab a songbook and throw your arms around your friends – or complete strangers – as you belt out hits all backed by the amazing FIIL house band. Previous special guests include comedians Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Tim Vine and Phil Jupitus’ .

If none of the above float your boat, The Londonist has found 13 Non Clichéd Things To Do On Valentine’s Day.

 

New York

Image and text courtesy of NewYork.com’s post, 7 Unique Events at New York Museums. Read the full article for many more V Day weekend tips.

1. Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at New York Transit Museum

‘Everyone has had the guilty pleasure of cruising the Missed Connections section of Craigslist from time to time, whether to poke fun at other people, or in the far-fetched hope of finding love with a complete stranger from the F train. Take it a step further by attending the 5th Annual Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at the New York Transit Museum (Feb. 12, 6:30–8:30pm), which includes Valentine’s crafts and love poetry inspired by Missed Connections posts; tastings from NuNu Chocolates, Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Brewery; a photo booth; and an informative talk from OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder. Boerum Pl. and Schermerhorn St., from $15, web.mta.info’

2. MoSex Steamy Valentine’s Weekend 2015

MoSex

‘Get steamy on Valentine’s Day at the Museum of Sex. On February 13 and 14, the museum will remain open until midnight and offer spa-themed packages featuring stimulating exhibitions, aphrodisiac cocktail “treatments” (fruit-infused vodka shooters) and the debut of the museum’s new sensual bath and body kit. 233 Fifth Ave., from $20,  museumofsex.com’

3. Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day at Brooklyn Museum

‘Discover the power of touch on the Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2:30pm) at the Brooklyn Museum, which is offered to the blind or partially sighted, or simply those who wish to expand their appreciation of art beyond sight alone. A museum guide will lead guests through exhibits by including rich verbal descriptions, interactive discussions and curated sound and tactile experiences. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, free, brooklynmuseum.org’

4. Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts at Morbid Anatomy Museum

‘One thing’s for sure: Your Valentine won’t soon forget this date. On February 14 (1–4pm), the museum is hosting a Valentine’s Day Special Workshop where you and a friend can make anthropomorphic insect shadowboxes together. In the evening (8pm), Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts  presents sex-culture historian Mel Gordon lecturing on “the erotic procedures and shameful public exposés that transformed… American courtship habits.” The lecture is accompanied by rare film clips chosen by Gordon, who is the author of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar BerlinMorbid Anatomy Museum, 424 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, from $20, morbidanatomymuseum.org’

 

Paris

It may be the city of romance, but even in gay Paris you still have options. Check out the following articles before resorting to a candlelit dinner pour un:

 

Los Angeles

The events and text below were taken from LA Weekly’s post, 8 Valentine’s Day Events to help you celebrate your freedom. Read the full article for loads of great ‘anti Valentine’s Day’ tips.

1. Bacari PDR’s

‘Bacari PDR’s awesomely long happy hour from 5 pm to 11 pm is the place to go if you are single and live in Playa del Rey. The anti-Valentine’s Day for singles theme has inspired $8 speciality cocktails like the “Love Me Tinder” made with a spicy infused vodka, grapefruit and lime juice, dry curacao, fallernum liqueur, and cranberry and lime bitters. All small plates (excluding seasonal menu items) will be $6. Guests can also drown their sorrows in a $20 open bar all-nighter, which includes 90 minutes of all-you-can-drink red, white and sparkling wine, sangria, and house beer. Sounds like an Uber kind of night.6805 South Vista Del Mar Lane, Playa del Rey; (310) 439-2100,bacaripdr.com’

2. Anti-Valentine’s Party at Bird’s Café/Bar

5925 Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-0175
Date: Feb. 14, 2015, at 8 p.m.

So, you’ve been dumped and are still licking your wounds and trying to mend your broken heart. That’s all right. Bird’s Café/Bar will enjoy embracing your woe-is-me presence on Valentine’s Day. For two decades, this neighborhood dive – known for its juicy rotisserie chicken and black-heart martinis – has thrown well-attended pity parties for down-in-the-mouth souls. You’ll get a chance to engage in some righteous voodoo-doll therapy, and listen to such tunes as “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and “Love Stinks.” Make sure your ditching story is comfort-worthy, because door prizes will be awarded to those with some of the sappiest tales.’

 

Hong Kong

Read Quintessentially’s QInsider/HongKong article on ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day Options‘ in the city. Our favourite? Anti-Valentine’s Day at Fatty Crab.

‘Kicking proceedings off a day early, Fatty Crab celebrates single-life with its Anti-Valentine’s Day evening on Friday 13th February. Think cocktails from guest bartenders, an in-house tattoo artist and plenty of hot, hip individuals’. 

 

International

CUPID’S UNDIE RUN

Put the hilarity in charity’ in 38 international cities including New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

‘Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile(ish) run in your bedroom-best on Valentine’s weekend. No, we’re not crazy, we’re just crazy serious about raising money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation. We raised over $2.8 Million in donations last year, so come join the fun and help us double it for 2015! Brief’ run. BIG party. Millions fundraised!”’

Obstacles to Happiness by Anthony De Mello

These powerful words are by Anthony De Mello, a great spiritual teacher – a lesson in uninterrupted happiness. He reminds us not to get bogged down by the roles that society assigns us. As a radical thinker and renowned philosopher, we use De Mello’s words as a critical component of our mental-wellbeing first aid kit. This chapter is an excerpt from his brilliant book Awareness. We hope you find it useful.

anthonydemello

Obstacles to Happiness by Athony De Mello

What I’m about to say will sound a bit pompous, but it’s true. What is coming could be the most important minutes in your lives. If you could grasp this, you’d hit upon the secret of awakening. You would be happy forever. You would never be unhappy again. Nothing would have the power to hurt you again. I mean that, nothing. It’s like when you throw black paint in the air; the air remains uncontaminated. You never color the air black. No matter what happens to you, you remain uncontaminated. You remain at peace. There are human beings who have attained this, what I call being human. Not this nonsense of being a puppet, jerked about this way and that way, letting events or other people tell you how to feel. So you proceed to feel it and you call it being vulnerable. Ha! I call it being a puppet. So you want to be a puppet? Press a button and you’re down; do you like that? But if you refuse to identify with any of those labels, most of your worries cease.

Later we’ll talk about fear of disease and death, but ordinarily you’re worried about what’s going to happen to your career. A small-time businessman, fifty-five years old, is sipping beer at a bar somewhere and he’s saying, “Well, look at my classmates, they’ve really made it.” The idiot! What does he mean, “They made it”? They’ve got their names in the newspaper. Do you call that making it? One is president of the corporation; the other has become the Chief justice; somebody else has become this or that. Monkeys, all of them.

Who determines what it means to be a success? This stupid society! The main preoccupation of society is to keep society sick! And the sooner you realize that, the better. Sick, every one of them. They are loony, they’re crazy. You became president of the lunatic asylum and you’re proud of it even though it means nothing. Being president of a corporation has nothing to do with being a success in life. Having a lot of money has nothing to do with being a success in life. You’re a success in life when you wake up! Then you don’t have to apologize to anyone, you don’t have to explain anything to anyone, you don’t give a damn what anybody thinks about you or what anybody says about you. You have no worries; you’re happy. That’s what I call being a success. Having a good job or being famous or having a great reputation has absolutely nothing to do with happiness or success. Nothing! It is totally irrelevant. All he’s really worried about is what his children will think about him, what the neighbors will think about him, what his wife will think about him. He should have become famous. Our society and culture drill that into our heads day and night. People who made it! Made what?! Made asses of themselves. Because they drained all their energy getting something that was worthless. They’re frightened and confused, they are puppets like the rest. Look at them strutting across the stage. Look how upset they get if they have a stain on their shirt. Do you call that a success? Look at how frightened they are at the prospect they might not be reelected. Do you call that a success? They are controlled, so manipulated. They are unhappy people, they are miserable people. They don’t enjoy life. They are constantly tense and anxious. Do you call that human? And do you know why that happens? Only one reason: They identified with some label. They identified the “I” with their money or their job or their profession. That was their error.

Did you hear about the lawyer who was presented with a plumber’s bill? He said to the plumber, “Hey, you’re charging me two hundred dollars an hour. I don’t make that kind of money as a lawyer.” The plumber said, “I didn’t make that kind of money when I was a lawyer either!” You could be a plumber or a lawyer or a businessman or a priest, but that does not affect the essential “I”. It doesn’t affect you. If I change my profession tomorrow, it’s just like changing my clothes. I am untouched. Are you your clothes? Are you your name? Are you your profession? Stop identifying with them. They come and go.

When you really understand this, no criticism can affect you. No flattery or praise can affect you either. When someone says, “You’re a great guy,” what is he talking about? He’s talking about “me,” he’s not talking about “I.” “I” is neither great nor small. “I” is neither successful nor a failure. It is none of these labels. These things come and go. These things depend on the criteria society establishes. These things depend on your conditioning. These things depend on the mood of the person who happens to be talking to you right now. It has nothing to do with “I.” “I” is none of these labels. “Me” is generally selfish, foolish, childish—a great big ass. So when you say, “You’re an ass,” I’ve known it for years! The conditioned self—what did you expect? I’ve known it for years. Why do you identify with him? Silly! That isn’t “I,” that’s “me.”

Do you want to be happy? Uninterrupted happiness is uncaused. True happiness is uncaused. You cannot make me happy. You are not my happiness. You say to the awakened person, “Why are you happy?” and the awakened person replies, “Why not?”

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!

You can learn more about the work of Anthony De Mello from The De Mello Spirituality Center.