Copy Watches

More than 15 years ago, I worked for about a month as a technical consultant at a petrochemical plant in Singapore. I was filling in for a colleague who had been working there for over a year straight and he needed a little time off to take care of some family business. While I was there, I had a number of incredible and amazing experiences. One of the oddest, besides eating chicken feet, durian fruit and grilled stingray on a banana leaf ‘plate’, was learning about an entire subtext of ‘copy watches’. These weren’t knock-off watches that you could possibly mistake for the original; they were obvious fakes that bore the label of the high-end manufacturer. The watch I purchased, for about $20 US, might have approximated the quality of a Timex with a faux-leather band, but the logo on the watch face clearly said Rolex. The street-hawkers weren’t pretending that they were selling Rolex watches, they were very clear with their cries, “Copy Watch, Copy Watch, Copy Watch…”

So, why would anyone buy a knock-off that wasn’t even a believable knock-off? For me, it was a memory aide that connected me to this place that was on the one hand incredibly familiar, and on the other hand inconceivably foreign. For some, I imagine it was a way to thumb their noses at the economic aristocracy that felt compelled to flash their legitimate high-end watches and such. Singapore was such a cultural mixed bag. For me, my copy watch also served as a reminder of what is true, beautiful and powerful, and what is facade, imaginary, sheep-like behavior, or simply made up.

I was handed a book this week. Really, I was handed a book this week to pass on to someone else. It wasn’t meant for me. (Ha Ha!) That book, The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna, is a stunning, playful reminder that we continuously get to choose between following the crowd, doing what is respectable, or concurring with the ever-present shoulds and ought-tos, and actually acting on that deepest creative desire of our essential being. Even when we don’t choose, we choose by not choosing. I’ve always hated that part, because every time I try to shirk my responsibility for myself, it sticks like gum on the bottom of my sandals on a hot day.

Last night we began our 10-week foray into Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus II materials. For those of you who have participated in this activity before, you know it isn’t actually about collecting money for the center, or the dreaded “T” word — tithing. I won’t lie and say that tithing is not a component of the class, because it is. From the very first video Mary talks about conducting your own experiment of tithing, just for the duration of the class, to find out if choosing to share of your financial abundance increases your general, and specific, experience of abundance in your life. For many participants, it does. It is not too late to join the class. Just call or e-mail the office and we can order class materials for you. The full set of materials, 10 CDs and workbook, is priced at $50. If you have taken the class before and simply want a blank workbook to use in retaking the class, we can order that for you for $15.

So what does this have to do with copy watches? We can attempt to be a copy of someone else, try to blend in with the crowd, pretend to be invisible or inconsequential, or we can recognize our own gifts, desires and talents and be seen as the unique and magnificent expressions that are known by our own names. Scary, I know, and yet, I believe it is a game worth playing.

To act is to modify the shape of the world — Jean-Paul Sartre

During the month of April, we continue to talk about discovery, creation and re-creation. With the energies of the holidays of Easter and Passover upon us, why not make use of this inherently creative time to break out from your own bondage into freedom, and enjoy your own resurrection?

by Rev Janis Farmer

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