A man with a four day “shadow” stared out at me from my mirror this morning.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.  There I stood, quite the specimen, with hair disheveled, evidently trying to escape from my head in all directions like so many desperate passengers aboard a sinking ship.  I Sported my oh-so-attractive ”porcupine” face that always elicits a painful grimace from my lady whenever I catch her off guard with a morning kiss.  The perfect caveman.

Some months ago there was a terrific program on TV about early man with a focus on Neanderthals, or Homo neanderthalensis to be precise. These people were VERY tough.  They could run barefoot through a frozen tundra with impunity. They were strong.  According to this program, a Neanderthal women would shame most men today in a contest of strength.  They had enough intelligence to make tools and other skills that would have served their race well – had they survived!

The question becomes WHY didn't Neanderthals survive? In a nutshell it appears as though they lost the competition for survival to modern day man because they couldn’t adapt and change as well as the new kids on the block; Homo Sapiens. At some point, roughly 35,000 years ago, modern humans began to compete with Neanderthals for food, shelter, hunting rights, resources and whatever else folks skirmished about way back “when.” If you're not exactly sure of the outcome of this not-so-friendly competition, look around and count how many Neanderthals you see. (Hint: your boss is NOT a Neanderthal despite evidence to the contrary!)

Is this all ancient history?  Yes and no.  The Neanderthals are long dead and gone.  They exist as little more than the butt of a joke. But human nature still craves comfy-cozy familiarity and finds change more or less repulsive.  Who can blame us for shying away from transformation and change? It is scary, uncomfortable and hard to do.  This puts you and me in the unenviable position of having to answer these questions everyday: will we cling to comfortable stagnation or do we choose to live outside the comfort zone where growth and progress happens?

Life challenges us to grow above and beyond old prejudices, be they sexual, racial, cultural, religious or socioeconomic. Are you willing to face your fears, dismiss guilt and reject self-pity? As a species we are rather versatile, but what about you personally? What about me? Can I change old thought patterns, habits and belief systems? Do I even want to? Speaking for myself alone it is a daily struggle. I can hardly pass a mirror without taking a quick sidewards glance to see if a caveman is glancing back! Most days it feels like my Homo Sapein side is wrestling with Neanderthals. The jury is still out but my humanity is holding its own pretty well. I like the odds!

Armed with an ultra-sharp razor glinting in the light and a colorful ergonomically correct tooth brush I stare down the scruffy beast in the bathroom mirror. I'm quite confident that thirty minutes of major image repair will render me quite suitable for public display. But who knows what bone-headed choices I will make once I venture forth outside of my electronic, LED wide screened equipped, internet capable, climate controlled 21st century cave dwelling? So what must Qumran do to create the life he most desires? I must embrace change, get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself to do better, reach farther, push the envelope of my potential and never, NEVER stop growing. Sure, it is easier to say it than to do it. Still, we are human beings and we have filled the planet with the products of our ingenuity, We even found ways to leave our planet and safely return. This is something no other species on earth has been able to accomplish. With all we have done to distinguish ourselves amongst earth's many, many indigenous life forms, we can honestly say 'we're just getting warmed up!'

Author's Bio: 

Author, teacher and psychic, Qumran Taj is a recognized authority on magick, Witchcraft, psychic and paranormal phenomena. His quotes, interviews and articles have been published in numerous respected New York publications such as New York Magazine, Newsday, The Long Island Press, Creations magazine, The Village, etc. In addition to radio and television interviews he also appeared as an expert interview in the full length feature film "The Montauk Chronicles" directed by Christopher Garetano. Qumran is author of "Tarot Cards: A Reader's Workbook." His poems and vignettes have also been published in various anthologies over the years. He lives with his family on Long Island where he writes and lectures. For more info: www.qumrantaj.com