The Muppets Within.

Via Karl Saliter
on Feb 10, 2012
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Statler and Waldorph, World Class Critics, from a YouTube appearance.

Regarding Hafiz, The Muppet Show, and Hitting Yourself On The Head With A Hammer, let me say the following.

I once saw a line written on a bathroom wall. It said “I have given up my search for the truth, and am now looking for a good fantasy.” I loved it. There is a lot to be said for giving up. Not long ago, I gave up my search for purity, and am now shooting for roughly cleanish. The results are in: recent studies have shown that I am less pious, and more sufferable.

I have two jobs: circus comic (like a stand up with tricks.) and sculptor. In one, I am constantly attempting to draw people’s minds to the funny and the unlikely. In the other, I work to make rocks float. Both endeavors provide challenges, most of them from my inner critics.

My inner critics are not a force to be dealt with, a foe to vanquish, or a comment to be deleted. They are as inseperable from me as the brightness from the dawn. Instead of deleting, I have to dance with these rascals, and guess what? They are funny! They traffic in irony, and if allowed, can laugh right with me. I spent some fruitless time trying to shut them up. Now I listen for the funny aspects in their negative chatter.

Statler and Waldorph from the Muppet Show are the last word in delicious criticism. They shoot down everything that comes their way, and invariably wind up laughing at it. I’ve completely stopped trying to silence my inner critics, and am instead repeatedly asking them to have a laugh with me while they are at it. Can we enjoy the voices of our internal critics, and make them a form of entertainment, rather than another mosquito, to be frightened off or killed?

by Leszek.Leszczynski

It comes from giving up, for me. I’ve simply had no luck silencing them, so I’m exploring the alternatives.

   When I hear “You’re not good enough” and just press “shush” again and again, the resulting silence gives way to understated whispers. When I make some attempt, any attempt, at dialogue or play, direction changes without ensuing murmers.

Reading “The Gift”, poems by Hafiz translated by Ladinsky, I came across something for you on the topic of letting go, and wearing life loosely.

                     The Vintage Man 




Between a good artist

And a great one


The novice

Will often lay down his tool

Or brush

Then pick up an invisible club

On the mind’s table

And helplessly smash the easles and


Whereas the vintage man

No longer hurts himself or anyone

And keeps on



    Hafiz is onto something there, the “No longer hurts himself or anyone” rings true as a goal for me. There used to be some hostility in my relationship to negative self talk, a guardedness, and an insistence on gratitude and positivity which simply grew old.

by rahego. Because when shit is old, its old.

 Engaging with a

foregone trajectory

is fine as wine, but

forced positivity

and feeding-tube

om shanti shanti, no

bad thoughts allowed

here, tastes of


So great, how do we access playfulness? If I knew that, you think I’d be wasting my time writing? I’d be out playing, like the cool kids! I do suspect the answer lives and laughs somewhere where Hafiz spent a lot of time, in silence and meditation.  Sometimes, when all that quiet, the lack of stimulation, and well, the boredom, surrounds us, we can see the voices from a different vantage point, and unmask them. It’s as easy as regarding thoughts as mild entertainment.

They are just our muppets, out for a laugh.


Hafiz poems and excerpts are from Daniel Ladinsky’s  Penguin publications The Gift, Poems by Hafiz © copyright 1999, and I Heard God Laughing, Poems of Hope and Joy © copyright 1996 & 2006. Reprinted by permission of the author.




About Karl Saliter

Karl is a circus artist sculptor writer miscreant gypsy, living in Mexico. He has written two novels, "Compassion's Bitch," and "Breakfast In A Cloud," and has published neither. He often feels as if he was born under a silver whale of a frisbee moon in the back of a red cartoon pickup truck. That careening down route 66 at speed, he leapt up into the cab, took the wheel, stuck his baby elbow out the rolled-down window, and that though the truck had awesome chrome mirrors, he never looked back. He hopes you frequently feel the same.


26 Responses to “The Muppets Within.”

  1. yoga freedom says:

    Interesting perspective! Thanks for sharing. Great title, too, by the way — I just had to click on it.

  2. Ha!! Me too!!
    (who doesn't like the Muppets 🙂

  3. karlsaliter says:

    BWAA HAA HA! My diabolical scheme to get you two to click has WORKED!

  4. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Very poetic! Loved it! Ooohh – who are we in the dark??

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

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  5. sherimccord says:

    My inner critics now sound like Statler and Walforf! Thanks….no, really! Thanks!
    (And sometimes the Swedish Chef takes over.)

  6. unoynot says:

    Hell yes! Inspiration, talk back to the voices in my head and find the point of humor, it leads to a bigger picture. Great read, thanks

  7. maru says:

    beautiful article, I relate to the inner critics. Great title.

  8. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks for that, Tanya! Good question there.

  9. karlsaliter says:

    Thank you, Sheri. The Swedish Chef was the one we all loved to imitate.

  10. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Unuynot. I am enjoying the experiment, and hope you do too. The other approach just wasn't working.

  11. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Maru. The inner critics are always there for us, aren't they?

  12. you coulda just emailed me….


  13. I did a chapter in my book that starts with the theme from the Muppets. I have no idea why.

  14. mysticriverlinda says:

    Currently in the work of Julia Cameron's "The Artist Way" unblocking my artist soul. Recommend it highly, not that YOU are blocked but that you seek to laugh even harder at the inner critic. Last weeks exercise was reading deprivation so I've been off my Elephant Feed, but back again for my daily fix. BTW, did you know elephants eat a fruit called Marula to get drunk? Trusting you are getting your fill of Maru's distilled spirits! Sipping from the chalice of Love myself lately. Yummmmm!

  15. joel schapira says:

    did i give you hafiz for channukah? i hope i did cause it sounds so good. the chuh and the huh. that hafiz poem i stumbled on at the poet's center in nyc..browsing while waiting for a reading. two(?)thoughts about the inner critics. who are those guys really? and why are they inner? meaning , in both cases, are they invited guests??? i don't think they are. their irrepressibilty is testament to their power but not to their legitimacy. i grant that trying to shove them under the rug only makes them ruder. but i hold onto the belief that hey are not our true inheritance and we would do well to (politely?) show them the door.

  16. maru says:

    love this: their irrepressibilty is testament to their power but not to their legitimacy (thanks Joel).

  17. karlsaliter says:

    I did not know that elephact, and am glad to read of it. I wonder if I were to eat a bunch of it… well, never mind. Glad to be part of your re-emergence into reading. I enjoy Julia Cameron, and read her book as a course with friends some time ago. Though I was already a full time performer, and showing my stone work in galleries, reading The Artists Way was enormously helpful to me as an artist. She rocks, and her "God Is No Laughing Matter" (ironically, considering this article on laughing) is strong work too.… I am getting good solid doses of Maru love lately, and am thriving, gracias.

  18. karlsaliter says:

    It is a good message, isn't it, Maru? Laughing and lingering with Statler and Waldorph has its own set of potential pitfalls. I like where the discussion is leading me.

  19. hilby says:

    My Inner critics are also my inner cheerleaders and there happen to wear all gold sparkly sequence . What a delightful read on any Sunday morning.

  20. karlsaliter says:

    And yes, in point of fact, "The Gift" was from you for channukah. I love that book, you should see it now. Dog-eared, penned, highlighted, commented on. It drew three friends to itself, other Ladinsky translations of Hafiz. I go to the book often, and am uplifted. Probably the best gift ever.

  21. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks Hilby! "Best Dressed" will have to go to your inner critics today. Mine often emerge in chain mail. (How Do you spell that?)

  22. karlsaliter says:

    Next time for sure.

  23. karlsaliter says:

    I'm looking forward to this book, Braja. Maybe you chose the theme because it is most sensational.

  24. Margo Pfleger says:

    Beautiful topic, Karl. Thanks for a a great read and honesty. I like the part about quietness bringing a new perspective. Elephant and we are lucky to have you!!!

  25. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks for that, Margo! Just read it now. Hope everything is rocking at the Yoga Farm. I love you and miss you.

  26. thiagodaluz7 says:

    That's an awesome perspective. I don't think we should, by any means, abandon reality, but it never hurts to find the fantasy in life. That fantastic aspect can be hard to find behind all the work and responsibilities. Thiago |