Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Know This Much Is True...or DIY: B****Slap-"The Truth! You Can't Handle The Truth!"

I know that what I believe and what is true are not always one and the same. Sometimes, not often, the two converge and they might even travel alongside one another for a while, but eventually they always diverge, because what is true and what is real always depends upon perspective and my perspective is definitely skewed. Some issues ( and people) you can't take at face value or you can't face at all because they are too personal, too intimate, too connected to the way we see ourselves and the way we want to see the world. The world is what it is, but some of us choose to believe that, like Schrodinger's cat - if I don't open the box , nothing will change. (Poor kitty- what kind of guy thinks of experiments where you trap cats and radioactive materials, together, in a box!?

What I mean is- that while I know that reality is flexible, and I believe that thoughts create action, reality does have rules which cannot be refuted. There is an underlying structure or measure against which human ideas, and  will must be tested.  It's kinda like a beach head- if your belief were a stranded whale. If you're strong enough, maybe you can get over it, but most of us just drown in the surf of ordinary life. You can believe in magic, and still know that you will never see it because in this reality it doesn't exist. But that's not so important as long as you believe that it exists somewhere. That can be your truth, even if it's never acknowledged or proven by anyone or anywhere else.  You can believe that you are ordinary if that's your truth- even though you are not. By virtue of being human, we are extraordinary...but, you can downplay it if you want.  You can believe that this universe, this life, this experience, is all there is -if you want.  And when you depart- life, the universe and everything will keep right on truckin'. (And boy, won't you be surprised when you take your next trip around the wheel!)  

The rules are there to give reality structure- but they're also there to be overcome.

What I believe is not pure or right- not the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth-it's just what I believe.  And it can change- from year to year, day to day and minute to minute. I can eke out evidence for the craziest of theories from the most miniscule of clues and be depressed, happy and philosophical more times in a day than some people experience in a month. I can believe that someone dislikes me easier than I can that they they respect or admire me. I can believe that someone is judging me, when the truth is I am my own harshest critic- (but won't deny, I'm judgmental of other people too. I'm such a terrible person!)
[note: see what I mean?]

I can believe many things and most of them will have barely, a glancing resemblance to the truth. The truth is, Truth Is- that's all. But, if you want a clearer (and just as probably wrong) definition, then here it is:
These Things I Believe-
 that truth is, like reality, 
deeper than we think, 
more fluid than we know 
and ultimately, 
determined by each of us alone. 

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple."
Oscar Wilde *  **

*Ain't that the gospel truth!

**The truth is, my friend P wanted me to name a blog B****slap- 
     she supplied the title, I supplied the text. 
    This one's for you, P!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Random Numbers

I have never understood what goes on in some people's heads. Or my head. Really, anyone's head.  I know that I am a (supposedly) conscious, rational being, but there are days when I don't really understand how I remember to walk, let alone feed or clothe myself.  At some points there are so many thoughts rushing through my head that I feel physically dizzy, and sometimes the nothingness in my head rivals that of the nearest black hole. Think I'm being reflective when I nod during our conversation? Yeaaah, no. Probably thinking absolutely nothing...maybe with a soundtrack- Come Sail Away or Up, Up and Away-( I love the Fourth Dimension).  At any rate, for those of you who already believe that I write airy nothings here, you're (occasionally) right. (But don't get cocky.) 

Because when I sit down to write, I usually have no idea what's going to come out on the keyboard. When I make major life decisions I sometimes have no clue about which direction to take, unless off a cliff is a direction. There's a scientific theory that states that humans are rational  only in that we rationalize decisions. We don't really make decisions in the first place. We choose emotionally - and then we create reasons  why we chose as we did. It all has to do with the ego-we're more likely to do things or take  actions that make us feel good- for good or ill. Why do we eat cake when we know its bad for us? Because it tastes good. And we shouldn't let it go to waste. (No, really. You should never let cake go to waste.) Why do we like people we know aren't good for us? Because we like challenge.  Why do we buy things we don't need? Because it makes us feel special. Every choice we make has to do with satiating the ego. Screw the rest of the world-we want to feel good, and if we can justify our behavior by saying we're doing the right thing, that makes it even sweeter. (Sorry, cake on the brain.) 

People are, by and large, still controlled by the little reptile brain that our forefathers had, wrapped in layers of rationalization, and societal conditioning. We believe things because that's what we've been taught, (but which, usually,  we haven't actually observed). We act in certain ways because we believe that they will help us fit in (with all the other lemmings).  We work so that we can have - (not because working is good or because working together is valuable.) At heart, many of us are still that caveman who wants the biggest piece of meat, the warmest part of the fire, and the biggest animal skin all for himself.  

That was all to explain why sometimes, (most of the time) I have no idea what is going on in my head or yours or anyone else's I meet. I know that I have deep thoughts (ahem) , but sometimes they're so deep they take a while before they surface and I notice them.  It can be days before I realize I'm angry with what someone said or how they treated me.  I think I rightly fear looking too deeply into my own heart, for fear of seeing the blazing hell pit it must really be. Or how soft and wounded it is.  In many ways, I think I don't want to accept how I really feel because then I have to be responsible for my actions, spurred on by those feelings. I want to have plausible deniability in the court of my own thoughts.  I want to believe that my decisions are not always my own, that my will is the equivalent of a pair of dice rolling out random numbers. Roll a six- eat the cake, sleep with that guy, quit your job. I rolled the dice, but fate gave me the snake eyes.

 But if I did that... believed that- I would have to believe that I am a puppet of the universe. And while I believe the universe finds me vastly amusing- I don't believe it takes that personal a hand in my mistakes. I do perfectly well in that area  all on my own. So at some point, I have to take a stand, and then take responsibility for the thoughts which lead to the actions which direct my life. No more random numbers, but a distinct pattern of choices will lead me to glory or to my demise. I cannot afford to not know myself, to not judge myself-not if I want to live a life that isn't meaningless. So into the rabbit hole I go- to find my center, myself. If you see me looking off into the distance, don't be too concerned. I may be lost in my thoughts, but I'll find my way back eventually. 

  We all know, from what we experience with and within ourselves, that our conscious acts spring from our desires and our fears. Intuition tells us that that is true also of our fellows and of the higher animals. We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant. We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organised that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race. Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easi ly described in words, are the springs of man's actions. All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us. Though our conduct seems so very different from that of the higher animals, the primary instincts are much aloke in them and in us. The most evident difference springs from the important part which is played in man by a relatively strong power of imagination and by the capacity to think, aided as it is by language and other symbolical devices. Thought is the organising factor in man, intersected between the causal primary instincts and the resulting actions. In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts. But their intervention makes our acts to serve ever less merely the immediate claims of our instincts.

Whew! - long quote.
That could really have replaced this post couldn't it? Hmmm....something to think on!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Red Thread of Fate or Tangled Up in You

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,

regardless of time, place, or circumstance.

The thread may stretch or tangle,

but it will never break."

There is a belief here in Japan that everyone is tied to someone else, someone important in their lives, by a red thread of fate. A bond that exists whether you are aware of it or not, and will eventually draw the two of you together- for good or bad. Tied to your smallest finger, this blood red cord connects you, ties you intimately with someone else and while it can be broken, it is dangerous to do so. Defying fate is a treacherous business. I don’t know if I am tied to anyone- I don’t know if the hand of Fate is upon me, but lately I have begun to feel that I am desperately in need of some direction.  From on high? Perhaps. From friends and family-thanks, but no. You’d have me spinning like a needle in a compass. From my own thoughts-? Maybe- if I could ever get them straight. At times like this I feel the need of something to tell me where to go, what to do. Something that would pull me toward my goal, like two magnets, pulled together through the power of attraction. But there is no one who can make my choices for me but me. And indecision is still a decision in and of itself. At some point, whether sooner or later, I will be leaving this place, this time. And I don’t know what I will be going to. I’ve traveled halfway across the world, cut all sorts of ties, cast myself loose....and I’ve experienced great things. Times of great beauty and terrible loneliness, and the awakening of my own inner strength. I needed to live this adventure- to be taken outside myself, to live a life bigger than what I was before. But now...where do I go? It’s one thing to travel away from something- to leave a too small chrysalis behind and to move forward. But what’s the next step? Where do I go from here? Who am I still becoming? A needle needs a lodestone to find a direction. A sailor needs a star to find the shore. I know the future is out there waiting, that something new, someone new is waiting too. I choose to believe that my red thread is real, connected to someone in a new place, waiting for me to be ready for a new life. It’s a tangled skein and I don’t know how long it will take to unravel, but when I do, I’ll be in the place I belong, living the joyful life I have dreamed of endlessly. I believe that. I believe that. So I won’t lose faith. Just, if I forget for a little while...if I get stuck and don’t know where to turn next,  I ask the universe, my family, my friends...don’t give up on me. We too, are connected by that precious thread.   I know. Just, every now and then...give me a little tug. I might be lost, but I’ll still be there, waiting to make my way to you. 

“Accept the things to which fate binds you,
and love the people with whom fate brings you together, 
[and] do so with all your heart.”

Marcus Aurelius quotes

Friday, March 12, 2010

Relationship 101-They're Just Not That Into You or DIY: Relationship Reality Check

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they're trying to find someone who's going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” Anthony Robbins

Why is it that when we see a guy approaching we either assume he’s interested or worse, assume he’s not? Why isn’t he neutral? Why do we assume anything about the person approaching us at all? (And yes, I know I’m using the royal we, and yes, I’m speaking from a girl’s perspective- but this means you [guys] too!)

Ahem. Because. We’ve been trained to believe that how others respond to us is important. Men should be admiring, women should be bitchy- (which secretly means they’re admiring) if you’re a girl. If you’re a guy- other guys should want to be you or at least be your friend, and women should be throwing themselves at you. If we aren’t admired, it means we’re not worthy. If others don’t care, it’s because we’re not worth caring about. Has there ever been a truly neutral relationship between the sexes? Isn’t every girl-guy friendship just a tacit battle in the war between the sexes? If a guy and a girl are friends, the conventional wisdom says, it’s only because one of them is trying to get into the other’s pants. And how about the rest of your friends? Your BFFs- your “boyz” (for guys), your b*****s in friend’s clothing? Think they’re not in it to get something? While every relationship has its give and take, how many of us are in relationships where we give more than we take, but are afraid to leave because “they’ll talk about you”, or “you’ll be alone?” Relationships define us as human beings- who we know, who knows us- who acknowledges us and by their acknowledgement, gives us status. Relationships are about connections, and power...or are they?

I don’t know how many relationships I’ve sabotaged for myself, by second guessing myself. I didn’t know what I was offering to someone else- I didn’t know that in myself I was valuable, and that people might just want to know me- not take something from me. I thought they wanted what I could do, what I knew, who I knew- but it honestly never occurred to me that some of them just wanted to know me. I don’t even know me. I have not yet begun to plumb the dark depths of my psyche (nice use of alliteration, huh?) and couldn’t understand why anyone else would want to take the journey.

But there is a light in all of us that draws us to each other. We learn lessons from everyone whose life we touch. And sometimes we just want to be close to one another’s warmth when we feel most alone. And sometimes we just want to be close to one another’s light, because "joy shared is multiplied."  (Spider Robinson)

It can be hard to find someone you want to be close to, when you can’t understand why they would want to be close to you. But like all relationships, sometimes it just takes a leap of faith. It takes believing that another soul can see your light and want to come close to it, and admire it, without taking anything away. Now, don’t get me wrong- there are light suckers out there (suckers-“smirk”) who will come close and try to drain your light and joy away. The only way to get rid of these parasites is to burn them away with more light than they can handle. Don’t let Debbie Downer make you sad- be happier than you were before. Find something that makes you happy on a bad day, and do it until you feel better...then keep doing it. While bitter people are attracted to happiness like moths to a flame, they burn just like moths and they won’t, can’t trouble you for long, if you keep being happy. Recognize the poisonous people and relationships in your life- recognize that your own assumptions may be keeping you in those relationships and away from happy ones. Recognize that the relationships in your life should only define you if they are making you better, healthier and happier.

Give the stranger on the street a fair shot- give the people in your life a hard look, and give yourself a little credit. There’s more to you, and them, than meets the eye.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Everything There is a Season, Turn, Turn, Turn or DIY: Getting Off The Wheel...Of...Fortune!

"I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time." —Walt Whitman

Someone told me recently that they thought I must be an old soul - which flabbergasted me, since I’ve always felt like a new soul, albeit one that is sometimes incredibly tired. If the purpose of life is to live, and to learn, to grow in wisdom in each phase of our lives, then I am forced to believe that this is my first turn on the wheel, since life continues to awe and terrify me with its constant changes. I constantly feel like I don’t understand what is going on, and I can only hope, pitifully, that life will be kind to me as I learn and stumble on the way. And for the most part, it has. I have learned lessons that have broken other people’s hearts, but I’m still here. I have learned both how insignificant I can feel, and how powerful my connections with other people are. I am amazed that people from my past remember me completely differently than I remember being, and that people in my present see me more positively than I can understand. I know I’m f*cked up- so it constantly amazes me that people want to know me. (And yes, I know that ‘s a self esteem problem. Come on, anyone who writes to the world about their private life knows they have a self esteem problem. My only consolation is that mine seems to at least be amusing you folks. And, this is cheaper than therapy.)

Some days I believe in reincarnation- if only because I cannot believe that this is my only chance to make a big impression on the cosmos – and I’m well aware of how perilously close I come most of the time to blowing it. I want to live an inspiring life, if only to me, but I sometimes get the impression that in this life at least, my job is more to observe than to participate, as it were. If you believe in reincarnation, or past lives or anything like that- you’ll know that there are lots of theories about our roles in life. Each experience is meant to teach us something new about ourselves. For women, we play the usual three roles- maiden, mother, crone, or sometimes warrior, matron, wise woman. Or sometimes, lover, martyr, goddess. ( Sorry guys, I don’t know anything for you! Future research perhaps? Ehh, never mind. Let’s get back to me.)

I sometimes feel I’m in my martyr stage- feeling sacrificed on an altar –to what I don’t know. I can’t help but feel estranged from the rest of humanity, who is constantly bustling, boiling over with emotion, falling in love, falling out of love, hating, being passionate- and I just don’t understand you. I watch, and observe, and sometimes offer “wisdom”- but I never quite feel that I feel what the rest of the world feels. (Too many feels? I don’t know- can you say it any better?)

What I want is to evolve into my lover stage, or goddess stage- to feel passionate about something, or someone, to feel powerful, to feel connected. It is a powerful thing to love others, but let’s face it- it is also a powerful feeling to have others reach out to you, to acknowledge you, to want you, to love you. (Anyone a Grey’s Anatomy fan- “Choose me, love me!” Oh, well. ) It’s a feeling I think a lot of women (people) have- and if there is anything useful I’ve learned from this particular phase of my existence , it is that wanting to be loved is universal. Being loved is not. And people are willing to do an awful lot of stupid, and dangerous things to be loved. After watching people for so long, I think that I may finally be learning the lessons I was meant to. It may be that I’m almost ready to be loved the way I want to, and deserve to be, having watched other’s mistakes and having made my own. Maybe I can finally stop being a martyr, stop feeling attacked, and insignificant and begin to feel loved. Instead of waiting for the wheel to turn, maybe I’ll spin it myself. Maybe I’ll get off the wheel entirely...and go for a journey all on my own. New soul or old, as far as I know, I’ve only got this one chance. I think it’s time I make the most of it. If you want to feel passion, you have to be passionate. If you want to feel loved, you have to love. If you want to be exciting, you have to be excited. I can see this. Now I just have to apply it. To everything, there is a season. It’s time for me to step into mine. Maybe I’ll see you next lifetime-wiser, a lot more loving, and ready for the next phase.

"The soul is born old but grows young- that is the comedy of life."
Oscar Wilde

Thursday, March 4, 2010

God Is An Iron

If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, 
and a person who commits a felony is a felon,
 then God is an iron." Spider Robinson

Throughout my time writing this blog, I have been in turn, depressed, excited, lovelorn, sarcastic, punny and witty (at least in my own estimation. You can keep your estimations to yourselves.) It is supremely ironic that this journal has turned me into what I once most wanted to be and most feared- a writer. A writer who must write- because, damn your eyes, you people keep reading! And... you know.... it feels kinda cool to have an audience. For most of my life I have felt like I didn't have a voice- or at least not one that anyone wanted to listen to. In fact, I often literally, (though subconsciously), lowered my voice in conversation to the point that people usually told me to speak up-which because I'm shy and stubborn, didn't work.  It must be confessed though,  that sometimes,  I  didn't really have anything to say. Or at least what I wanted to say wasn't something I could say in words.  I still have dreams where my mouth is full of tuna fish, or oatmeal, whatever the dream demands- and yes, I know the symbolism there, folks. I wanted to say something important. I wanted to say something that would force the world to pay attention to me, even though I didn't know if I was ready for that attention. I was young and stupid, and while I am now old (sometimes still stupid, but ok with it), in age I have discovered that, there is indeed, wisdom or at least irony. 
The things I have to say in this blog have already been said by countless others more worldly and wise than me- Khalil Gibran, Gandhi, Matt Groening- (Hey, I think the Simpsons is full of timeless wisdom! If you don't, get your own blog!), but they have never been said by me. And if I have learned one thing in writing, it is that my own understanding and experience is own.  While you can learn at the feet of the masters, at some point you have to get on your own feet and really experience life. When I couldn't speak, it was because I didn't have anything to say. Now that I can, I have a whole (virtual) world to speak to. I'm living a new life here abroad, but more important is that I'm living life- mentally, physically, and spiritually. In a lot of ways, I was oblivious before. I drifted through life, through relationships, through the years,  and I was never happy about where I was going, but I never chose my own direction.  There is a saying that even a bad decision is better than indecision. At some point in my life, I decided to choose something different- and I can't tell if it will be for better or worse, but at least I've found a direction, a North Star if you will, to follow.   It's not that I'm now happy every day, comes more often than it used to. I speak more forcefully than I used to, assured that I have something worth saying. I think just as deeply as I used to, but I also act more spontaneously. I am not afraid (or at least, less afraid) to give myself over to things I can't control. I am less afraid to love, knowing that even if that love is not returned, it does not mean my efforts were wasted. I have learned to be just so- a steady point in a gyrating world, without losing my direction or focus. I have learned to write just so- a single voice in a babble, speaking a truth, my truth, if not The Truth. I have learned that irony can be a good substitute for wisdom- which I sometimes pretend to have, but which I am, just like you, still acquiring. One thing about  both irony and wisdom, is that they require a sense of humor. But that,  like love; like time, we have in abundance. I hope I will continue to grow in all those things, and that you'll continue to come along with me on the ride. So, thanks for putting up with the snark and giving me a place to write and someone to write to. Oh, and a brief shout out to God, who gave me my troubled years just to see what I'd get up to. God's got a great sense of humor and the joke's been good so far.   Can't wait to see the punchline to my life!

Irony is wasted on the stupid*

*No, that doesn't mean you. You're brilliant- I mean, you read this blog right? ;>


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