Thursday, September 22, 2011

A moment of Zen with Brad Pitt? What do you think?


This morning, I was working in the office when I happened to overhear Matt Lauer’s interview with Brad Pitt. And something he said made me stop and think. In fact, I rewound the interview and gazed at the screen.

Yes. Brad Pitt, the hunky, talented actor and activist who was being interviewed about his latest movie, “Moneyball,” spoke words that deserve repeating.

First however, to appreciate his words, we must first context the latest over-blown controversy swirling around Pitt; he has recently angered those curious “Jen-Team” followers by some comments he made about his life during the nineties, comments about his “uninteresting” life, in which he alluded that his marriage with Aniston seemed lacking in substance. Nothing shocking to the average person. In fact, it sounded to me like the utterances of a maturing man trying to make sense of his past, looking back with some unflinching honesty.

Which is true, except for one tiny fact. Apparently if you’re Brad Pitt reflecting on a life that included Jennifer Aniston, EVERYONE pays attention. And most women seem to have a strong opinion about this now repetitive scenario. Was he dissing Jen or not? This seems to be the singular touchy point in all the dramas that follow Brad Pitt. Only it seems that your answer to this question depends on your vantage point.


Jen vs. Angelina

Do you see Jennifer Aniston as the poor victim, the archetypal “good girl” who had her husband stolen by the seductive, plotting “other” woman? A reasonable point of view to many. Or do you see Aniston as a Hollywood starlet who grew apart from her husband because he wanted a family years before she was ready to give up a work-filled, glamorous lifestyle? The point is, relationships are complex experiences and from the outside, rarely are things the way they appear.

So here I am, listening to Brad Pitt being questioned by Matt Lauer. And Matt wants to bring up this juicy drama. After all, it’s the latest dirt. It’s a hot story. People want to hear more details in order to dissect this man’s intentions.

And Matt Lauer begins to read back Brad Pitt’s controversial words, looking for more reaction.

And this is what Brad Pitt says.

 “No, please don’t read it. Because I don’t read these things…by choice, I don’t want to be encumbered by any of that. I know my intentions and I know what I believe and I know things get misconstrued and I…I live outside of THAT…and it’s a much healthier place to be…”

And just like that, Brad Pitt took back his sense of control over the latest, gossip-fueled controversy waiting to drain every last bit of bright, positive energy from his mental outlook.

He made a choice right there, in the face of inquiring, demanding questions to avoid diving into the negative pool of gossip. He made a decision to avoid flirting with the kind of negative energy that weighs on our minds, and distorts our lives by making us spend precious moments of our day worrying; wondering what other people are thinking. And defending ourselves against dark, imaginary words that suck all our positive energy.

Whether you like Brad Pitt or not, this is a teaching moment.

At any moment in our lives…

We all have a choice. At any moment in our lives, we can allocate our energies toward positive places; we can choose what thoughts we allow to luxuriate in our mind’s living room. We can say “No” to those provoking questions from others, that often lead us into our own unnecessary personal dramas; because the truth is, a lot of negative things are tempting. Yes, it’s enticing when someone calls us a jerk, and of course we want to respond immediately, but a wiser person realizes that we have limited resources. We don’t have to engage in all life’s temptations, especially those that destroy the quality of our lives.

When Brad Pitt said, “I live outside all that, and it’s a much healthier place to be…,”  he was also taking a detour around an seductive option. Oh, how good it might have felt to offer more self analysis, to over-explain from a bully pulpit and instantly create more tabloid headlines. Ironically, his refusal to indulge in more explanations will continue to make the headlines.

When you have the choice, do you wallow deeper into dramas?

But a relevant question for us plain folks is, “Would we have done the same? Given a chance to have an audience hanging on our every word, would we have stopped Matt Lauer from reading our words back to us? Would we have halted the dialogue or would we have continued to stay Negative-Negative-Negative? Do we continue to wallow deeper into dramas when given the chance? Because each time we talk about a depleting issue, without offering a problem-solving action, we’re stuck in an unhealthy place. Each time we’re embroiled in our latest conflict we have a choice.  Toward which direction do we turn our lives?

It’s worth thinking about. The idea is that the world will always be hurling negative words, gossip and emotional dramas our way, and we can choose to live outside of all that. As usual, life is about choices. And in the face of a challenging situation, or a angry person, we can remember who we are and we can choose sensible, quieter words. Or, we can choose the powerful sound of silence.

Because sometimes detachment is the healthiest option you have.


What do you think about Brad Pitt’s comments?  Do you agree?  I’d love to know your viewpoint, just leave a comment here or email me at

Thanks for visiting!





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