Appreciating Las Vegas

My partner and I just spent a few days in Las Vegas.

The idea of this makes me chuckle, as I remember when I thought Las Vegas was tacky, tawdry, and a way to separate fools from their (our) money. The only reason I’d go was because our families thought Vegas was a great place to rendezvous. I’d spend the time trying to stay “above” it all, and couldn’t wait to leave.

Then I noticed something.

Las Vegas is an amazing example of human creativity.

Where else can you find a 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower, a roller coaster hanging 20 stories in the air, a pyramid, water cannons that are synced to beautiful music, and a volcano?

I know–it’s all a matter of perspective. What about the people who are gambling away their last dime, or smoking and drinking themselves to death, or are homeless? What about the natural resources that are being squandered just so people can have fun?

These days I notice that how I see the world is completely the outpicturing of my inner state. When I focus on what is wrong–with the world, with me, with Las Vegas–I know I’m in Reactive Brain. When I notice the beauty around me–and Lordy, the attention to detail in color, texture, form, feel goes on and on and on in Las Vegas–I feel the sense of expansiveness that I’ve grown to cherish.

The last night, it became clear to me what we were really doing there. I got it that, over and over, I was being challenged to stay in a higher vibration. Win at slots? Could I really pause and celebrate? How about when I lost? Could I keep breathing, stay connected to myself and a friendly universe? How about when I walked down the strip and was jostled or got a big whiff of cigarette smoke? Having the space that comes from being in a new place and having plenty of time became on ongoing opportunity to see how good I could feel.

I have a new memory to add to my “bliss moments” catalogue. Kathy and I sat together, playing a wonderful video slot machine. I was tired, bleary, and totally enjoying the music and imagery of the machine (also human-created). As the images whirred through and the crystalline music played, I could feel, in my cells, how human creation is simply another version of the best of nature.

1 thought on “Appreciating Las Vegas”

  1. After having visited Las Vegas with much the same attitude, I decided to appreciate it for this reason: Capitalism usually produces ugly, industrial, generic rows of boxy buildings containing orderly isles of products all shiny in their packages. Linoleum covered concrete floors and warehouse-styled ceilings with steel rafters and pipes painted white or black provide purely functional lighting in most places. In Las Vegas there are expansive rounded ceilings with hand painted clouds, in door forests of giant plaster mushrooms and giant coper ants, and wonderfully talented performers doing what they love as a real job. The highly imaginative interiors and architecture juxtaposed with real life people of the city struggling with demeaning jobs, addiction, and poverty offer an aesthetic fit for a Charles Dickens book. I think Las Vegas is a great example of unfettered American Capitalism at work–usually tacky, sometimes disgusting or morbid, but also irresistible to most.

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