Reflections

Flights of Fancy…

Dreams…  Fantasies…  Illusions…  Visions…

Hallucinations…

So many variations on a theme, yet a consistent one nonetheless.  For all name experiences we have alone, that we cannot share with Others except through words, art, music… Communication of some sort.

I was at work last night, and there was a quiet moment when I could actually hear the “retail-acceptable” radio station playing in the background.  For some reason, I tuned it in and actually listened for a change, and what I heard was this: “the brain can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination, so it responds to all stimuli as though it were actually happening.”  (The DJ was discussing why creative visualization works, apparently.)  It was an interesting point, and one that tagged into several different exploratory thought trips I’ve been taking lately…

Like how is it possible to know something (with certainty) your entire life, only to discover you’ve actually been wrong?  And how does that change things for you, when it’s so much a part of your “foundational” knowledge?

Or how do you distinguish between hallucinations and reality?  Especially if you’ve developed a tendency (strong and growing stronger) to experience things out of order in time?

Or, for that matter, how do you know whether such “out of time” phenomena are memory, visionary or illusory?

Or how can you use that power of imagination, and the brain’s inability to distinguish mere thought from reality, to create actual change in the physical universe?

(Yes, I actually do spend quite a bit of time thinking of these kinds of things…  🙂  )

I watched a tv show recently that dealt with these themes.  (I won’t mention the name to avoid any spoilers.)  The characters were at a workshop, and the teacher was trying to convince them they could change anything in the world with the power of their mind and will.  The students stared at a white wall, while the speaker encouraged them to change its color to whatever they wanted it to be.  With joyous enthusiasm, they shouted out their colors, revelling in this newfound power of mind, while the camera shifted between their rapturous faces and the still-white wall.  One “doubter” among them never saw anything “for real” except that white wall, and he was disturbed enough by that to question his entire faith…

Which kind of brings me to my point in a roundabout sort of way…

A recent discussion with a friend and fellow seeker led me back to the theory vs. practice dichotomy that has haunted my entire life.  For I believe in the power of mind to alter reality; I have experienced it first-hand.  Being schizophrenic allowed me to live this dichotomy in a very personal way, every day, as I traversed the bridge between things of my world, and things of the world.  And as a writer, I know that all things creative – words, art, music, dance – do actually change the world I live in, both in my own personal reality, and in the reality I share with Others.

But when someone succeeds in creating a miracle, it “feels” different.  It is the difference between altering how one perceives the world, and actually altering what there is to perceive in the world.  And the two are not the same…

So today I ponder those differences, and look for ways to make One into an’Other, and vice versa.  I seek a deeper understanding of a dichotomy that cannot truly exist, except in my mind.  For creation is creation, and change is change, and there should be no great leap required (of faith or logic) to span the distance between theory and practice.  And if there were ever a time when actual miracles were needed, I think this time certainly qualifies…

** stretching my wings **

Yep…  I think it’s time for me to fly…

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Uncategorized

Survival Guide: Keeping Your Sanity Intact

I’m way behind on reading blogs, but this one struck a chord with me. I simply had to share it! 🙂

heroicallybadwriter

As we know in this day and age in the light of events recent and not so-recent you cannot help but wonder…..’WHAAAAAAAAT!’

Now I know most readers will think I’m going down the road of the USA Presidential Elections or the UK British Brexit referendum, which would be rational, however they are but two examples.

Let me just cite a few in my recent experience both personal and witnessed.

The ‘religious forum’ I gave up on. The fundamentalist atheist who argued I had no business believing in science and a God and had a closed mind for doing so (no kidding…It’s E=MC2 or nothing in his world)

The british comic who in his temper-tantrum (no satire, just a foul-mouthed tirade) over the US elections (his followers thought he was being witty) ranted “Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Americans. I like overweight mass-killers as much as anyone” (The…

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Poetry, Reflections, Visions

“Networking…”

This is offered unedited, just as it came to me today.  Thought I should clarify that for some reason… lol!

 

There is a network beneath the ground

Tangled, tight and strong

Where messages travel faster than light

From anywhere to everywhere

In the awareness of a thought.

There is a global awakening happening

Though it may not be with us…

Silly humans, trussed up and selfish

Convinced we are the better Beings.

But beneath the ground there is no light

To compare our color, size or speed

There is only our strength

And willingness to embrace

All other living beings…

So if you find yourself awakening

In a world that doesn’t feel right

Look down, not up, for what you seek,

And embrace your true community.

For our answers are no longer above us

Shining in the Light

But hidden below, in warm, friendly shadow

Where individuals strengthen the whole.

And I am not just a human today

Frail, futile and faulty…

Today I embrace my deeper connections

And name myself

A Tree!

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Reflections

“Just Unplug, dammit! Do it!”

I had a dream the Monday before yesterday of which I recall very little.  All I remember is a feeling of frustration as I struggled to make sense of what someone was telling me, and a voice yelling at me as I woke up: “just unplug, dammit!  Do it!”

I don’t know about all of you, but when I hear the term “unplug” in this context, I interpret it to mean get off the internet; take a break from all things electronic, including email, cell phone, games, tv, even blogging.  I wondered at the purpose of unplugging, and figured it had to do with tuning in more to my natural self and the rhythms of nature.

Two days later (on Wednesday) a massive windstorm blew through my city (winds of change, perhaps?), taking down trees and power lines and leaving some 200,000 households (including my own) without electric.  For those of us with forced air gas furnaces, that also meant no heat.  And, of course, no internet or tv…  Unplugged, indeed…

Luckily for me, our house has a woodburning stove, functional and useful, though usually only used for “fun”.  In addition, I have quite a stash of candles (because I love them) and flashlights (from my camping days), so it seemed we might fare better than some.  After all, they were going to be out repairing the damage, right?  And I could easily live without the internet and social media for a day or two, so I was eager to prove I could “survive” this test.

My only concern, really, was my phone and keeping it charged, because we don’t have a landline.  But my workplace never lost power, and they allowed me to recharge there.  I also have a car charger for backup, and a friend lent me a portable charging unit just in case.  All was well…  At first, anyway.

But who knew it would take the power company two and a half days just to assess the damage and develop a plan for restoring power?  And that it would then take several more days, and the helpful intervention of crews from multiple other cities and provinces of Canada to actually make the repairs?  Or that the weather would snap back from “early spring” to “dead of winter,” with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees?

For the first full day and a half, my roommate was here to keep the woodstove burning, and though cold, it was survivable here.  I missed my electronics that first night, but then hardly thought of them again, except for keeping my phone charged for emergencies.  By Friday morning, her asthma (aggravated by the fire) forced her to leave, seeking shelter for her and her dogs at her daughter’s.  And while I received many such offers of shelter, none could accomodate my cat, so I chose to stick it out here, with him.  After all, how long could it take with all these extra crews on site?  And I could surely survive another day… or two.

How blindly optimistic of me to assume I had the necessary survival skills, and supplies, to make it through…  Repairs didn’t even begin until Saturday, and it was late on Monday before our power would be restored.  Just in time for the blizzard blowing into town last night, keeping us holed up for the next three days supposedly…

I share all this with you for two reasons.  First to explain my absence and lack of response to comments and emails; being off the grid has left me way behind, and I may, or may not, catch up.  My apologies to you if I don’t get around to acknowledging you here.

Second, I want to share a few things I learned over the last few days of being totally, and literally, unplugged…

*  Frontier style living is hard work!

I know… “Duh!”  But it looks so easy when other people do it.  Yes, I expected it to be physically challenging, especially with my disabilities (severe joint pain in my lower spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet).  But I had no idea how challenging!

Take hauling wood, for an example.  How easy it looks to pile up a few pieces in your arms, carry it in, and stack it neatly by the stove.  The truth, though, is that it is incredibly dense and heavy, with sharp, uneven edges, and the bending, lifting,  and carrying it upstairs taxed me to my limits.  I thought my job was painful on my body, but this was a whole new level of pain…

And when you order wood, and tell them your stove can only handle pieces 12-14″ long, and you mostly use your woodstove for fun, you tend to be content just eyeballing the delivery, and saying, “yeah, that looks pretty good.”  But when your survival depends on it, and you discover that every 3rd piece is too long to fit in the stove, suddenly you wish you’d actually checked before accepting delivery…

Ditto on the tendency to be lax in protecting said wood.  When fire is just for pleasure, maybe you don’t regularly check to make sure the tarp covering it is in place.  But that’s one of the first things you notice when hauling wood for survival; wet wood doesn’t burn well…

Speaking of which…

Starting (and maintaining) a fire is not as easy as it seems, even with modern tools available.  It is a skill that must be learned, and a survival situation is not the best time to start learning how…

I received a quick how-to lesson before my roommate left Friday morning, and I thought to myself, “simple enough!”  It’s about the proper ratio of fuel, air and flame, she told me, and I, being a strong, intelligent, independent woman, thought I could figure it out; sure I might fail at first, but I learn quickly.  Usually…

But I failed to get the fire really going on Friday night, and finally had to give up and sleep, trusting my blankets and cat would keep me warm enough.  They did not.  Freezing, I had difficulty sleeping, and more difficulty getting up.  It was 40 degrees in my house (I will likely never complain again that 68 degrees is too cold…lol!)  Getting that fire going was essential to my survival.  So taking the lessons I learned the night before, I headed out for supplies and a hot meal before tackling it again.

This time I did get it going, and kept it going, and I felt a renewed sense of confidence and competence.  But after about 15 hours of a strong, steady fire, it was still only 46 degrees in my house.  I had thought that, once going, I could sit by the fire and relax.  Maybe meditate or something similar to take advantage of this down time…

But no…  I had to boil water for dishes and bathing, haul more wood, try and feed myself, and prepare for when darkness settled once again.  And when I did sit in front of the fire, I was fraught with worry every time it faltered.  Not exactly the relaxing time I expected.  And eventually I had to sleep, which meant trusting I could restart the fire on Sunday…

I woke on Sunday to a bed of hot coals, and the fire roared to life when I added fuel and air…  Then it faltered on the wet wood.  I would not succeed in getting the fire truly going again.  Period.  Not Sunday morning before work, nor Sunday night, nor Monday morning.  And, as the temperature in my house continued to drop, and the estimated time of restoration of power kept getting pushed back (until it passed the expected start time of the incoming blizzard), I genuinely started considering other survival plans…  It was no longer a joke or a vacation from the grid…

* Stubbornness is both a curse and a gift…

It was stubbornness that allowed me to haul wood when my body said “you can’t do this!”  It was stubbornness that allowed me to linger on, against hope, believing that I was not meant to die this way.  It was stubbornness that got me to actually use the bathroom when I could no longer hold out (because it was too cold to face), and stubbornness that allowed me to dress and undress.

It was also stubbornness that convinced me it was better to avoid eating and drinking, than to face those dreaded bathroom runs, which allowed me to weaken and become dehydrated.  It was stubbornness that kept me here in survival mode, rather than abandon my cat to seek shelter elsewhere; I abolutely refused to do so.  And it was stubbornness that cut me off from my loving “community,” as they became more vocal and vehement about my leaving the house.

Stubbornness is a double-edged sword…

Philosophy, politics, economics, even spiritual practices (like meditation, yoga, or going to church) have no place in survival mode, but the need to believe in some higher-order Other does…

As the situation developed from bad, to worse, to sometimes seeming hopeless, I found my interest in all things non-essential wavering, and finally dying off.  I no longer cared what Trump and his cronies were doing, or what new disasters were befalling the planet and its inhabitants.  I didn’t meditate, or remember my dreams; only focused on how unrested I felt, as the cold made sleeping difficult, and I desperately needed rest to continue.  I no longer worried about the long-term damage being done abroad, or who was responsible for it; I could only focus on the next thing I needed to do to survive, on what had to be done before the long night, and its bitter cold arrived…

And as my confidence in my own competency wavered, I found myself reaching out in prayer to elementals and the Universe, seeking help and strength to survive.  And it did help, much to my surprise.  Maybe these spiritual beings did not directly intervene, but the asking gave me the strength to carry on…

***  ***  ***

So I’m sitting here today, snuggled with my cat and multiple blankets with the heat working, yet still unable to feel warm.  I ache deeply, not just in the usual places, but in my shoulders, arms, hands and head; and I’m dealing with muscle cramping from dehydration, yet am still unwilling to drink a lot (lol!).  I am trying to take this momentary reprieve to consider what I’ve “learned” from being unplugged, and discovering that much of what drove me before still feels irrelevant.

I’m so far behind in emails and reading, not to mention catching up on others’ blogs and comments, but it doesn’t seem to motivate me.  Instead, I’m staring out the window, contemplating the increasing snow and wind, wondering what I need to do to prepare in case the power goes out again.  So laundry is going while it can.  And I’m trying to talk my way out of the pain I feel, knowing that the arduous task of shovelling out is looming…

And keeping my phone charged, of course…

And it occurs to me that survival trumps all other motivations, and renders everything outside my immediate world irrelevant.  And I wonder if all my sense of self – my confidence and independence, my compassion for others, my “enlightenment” and understanding of the world, even my ethics and morality – aren’t just distractions, “false flags,” perpetuated by my own ignorance of what truly matters.  For I have discovered that, as survival gains primacy in my life, all else falls to the wayside…

I think I may actually be “unplugged” now.   Dammit!  😀

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Dreams, Reflections

A Dream: “Deciphering Code”

I had a dream this morning…

In it I was in the final stages of my education there, part of an ongoing series of dreams.  It’s been like attending Dream University, pursuing a degree of some unknown nature, with classes, and projects, and tests; successes and failures and learning that later translates somehow into my daily life.  And now, at Dream U, I am completing that process, undergoing some final testing to “prove” readiness for graduation…

Last night’s dream involved such a test; a final exam for a class.  I was working with two other people to decipher and translate codes, and we had several massive bodies of work to transcribe.  But first we had to decipher the languages they were written in, and figure out how to translate that into the language our teacher wanted it in. It was a tedious labor, and though I recognized its importance in the overall picture, I dreaded the actual work of it, being boring, restricted, and massively time consuming.  I felt certain we would succeed eventually, completing our task within the expected time frame of the test, but it would require an enormous amount of self-discipline.

While half-heartedly complaining about the nature of the work, and how I usually enjoy cryptography tests, but this one being too huge to enjoy, my two partners (being techies unlike me) glanced at each other excitedly, and one spoke the thought they both seemed to share:

“That’s it!  Of course!  It’s code!…”

Not understanding their revelation, I asked them to explain…

“It’s code,” the other said, turning toward a bank of computers containing the works we were to translate.  Typing rapidly, he continued to speak.  “If we can decipher this and turn it into a binary code, all 1’s and 0’s, then the computers can do the bulk of the translating for us!  It would get done quicker that way.”

Realizing this was not technically cheating the test, though certainly not in the spirit of it, I looked at the third person doubtfully…

“There’s nothing illegal about it.  In essence, we would be creating a rubber stamp of sorts which would do the bulk of the tedious transcribing for us, freeing up our time to do whatever else we want…”

“But would it be accurate?,” I asked skeptically.

“Depends on how accurate the deciphering is.  You get us the right code, we can transcribe the works!”

Tempted by the possibility we might not be stuck in this place for the entirety of the test, I continued to question…

“So…  If we did this, how long would the transcribing part take?  Roughly…”

My two partners looked at each other.  One shrugged unenthusiastically, while the other answered…  “Maybe 40 days or so…?”  Both glanced down at the floor to avoid my gaze.

“Saving us a whole 2-4 days, maybe,” I responded, feeling the disappointment deeply.  “During which time my other self remains not free…”

They nodded, acknowledging my assessment, while I pondered the situation…  A heavy price to pay, indeed, to shave a couple of days off the task at hand.  Was it worth it?  And would it violate the spirit of the test enough to nullify its purpose and results?

Suddenly, I realized what I had actually said!

“… during which time my other self would remain not free…”!

A new excitement rushed into my mind as I realized my whole perspective (on something!) had just shifted a degree or so, but knowing it changed everything!!

I woke suddenly, repeating that last line over and over again…

“… during which time my other self would remain not free…”

 

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Essay, Reflections

The Ethics of Empathy…

So…  I’m feeling an urge to lecture today.  Not because I believe you need to learn something, or because I believe I’m uniquely qualified to teach it, but because, apparently, there is something going on in my subconscious that is looking for a way out.  And The Otherhood of One has certainly been successful (this time anyway) in that one regard – it has given me a forum for exploring and expressing the diverse and evolving “me.”

I learned through various venues in my life that sometimes the best way to “learn” something is by “teaching” it.  From tutoring, to peer counseling, to actively teaching courses in college and private settings, to writing textbooks on topics that interested me or not, the end result is the same:  teaching forces one to organize material into a learning format, allowing both student and teacher to better grasp it.  So… I feel a need to lecture today, because clearly there is something I’m trying to learn…

And today, I want to explore ethics…

Such a broad topic to consider, and yet I know there is something specific calling me, if I could only narrow it down.  Bear with me while I wander through this vast and imposing landscape.  Two recent touchstones keep claiming my attention, so let me begin there.

First is an article I published today on bayart.org about empathy.  Maybe you can find it here ;):

http://bayart.org/on-empathy-today/

The other results from a recent meditation experience I had, and the dichotomy of interpretation that resulted when I shared it.  The vision was simple enough: I was at the docks seeking something of value for myself when I discovered a small child hidden in a 50 gallon drum.  I rescued the child without hesitation, while acknowledging there would be a “cost” for doing so.  It literally didn’t occur to me to NOT rescue the child, regardless of personal cost, and I was perfectly at peace with that decision…

Until I mentioned that experience to a friend, who responded by saying, “See?  There’s your problem, Lisa!  Maybe you should have simply let things be, and chosen what was best for you instead.  It’s not your place, or your responsibility, to ‘save’ everyone!  You need to learn to be more selfish…”

You know, that thought never even occurred to me…  And while I can’t bring myself to actually agree with my friend, it did get me questioning things.  What if my automatic responses to situations are part of my problem?  What if I’m stuck in this rut of my own creation because I can’t even imagine another response?  What if…?  Well, you get the drift…

And what do these two events share?  They both touch on ethics, particularly the ethics of empathy.  Hence, this current attempt to further explore the topic by lecturing on it…

While I was writing my article today, it struck me what an incredibly invasive process true empathy is.  I mean, think about it!  People love privacy, and nothing is more private or personal than their emotional states.  But as an empath, I am constantly in that space, intentionally or not.  When you consider that empathic connections tend to flow in both directions it gets even more so.

All my life I’ve heard complaints (jokingly, usually, but there is always some underlying truth to jokes that make them “work”) about my invasion of such personal space.  People complain that they can never surprise me, for example, because I always sense it coming; whether I pick up on their excitement, or the anxiety that comes with “breaking my heart,” I always know in advance when something big is imminent.  Then there’s the frequent admonishment to “get out of my head!” when I respond appropriately to someone’s unspoken (as yet) request.  And while I welcome offhand compliments about how my presence can “light up” a room, I cannot conscientiously dismiss those complaints of the “dark clouds” that sometimes follow me around, dragging everyone near me down…

As for the little boy I rescued in my vision, I doubt I would ever choose not to; it’s simply not who I am. Self-sacrifice to aid another, friend or stranger, is simply part of my nature.  I don’t consider myself a martyr, nor do I do such things to feel better about myself.  My self-worth does not depend upon the numbers of others I help, nor what I must give up to do so, but rather about how “true” I am to my own nature.  So yes, I would have felt “bad” walking away from that boy, I would have felt guilty, so much so that it would have prevented me from enjoying whatever I gained by doing so.  But it would have been because I betrayed my own values and integrity, not because I betrayed the boy and whatever he represents.

So what is significant about these two scenarios is not what actually happens in them, so much as the “unquestioning” nature of them; I won’t turn off my empathic scanning, even if it’s invasive, any more than I would walk away from that child.  But now that I’ve stumbled onto the unquestioning nature of my behavior, the rebel within me naturally begins to question…

Hmm…  Interesting…

Apparently, I have nothing more to say on this topic, at least for now.  I’ve been staring at this screen for some time without any useful thoughts occurring.  I am aware that I’m hungry; my tummy is growling.  Actually, I think I forgot to eat today.  That often happens when I’m writing a lot… lol!

I am aware of time passing, and am looking ahead to what happens next.  It’s 11:07pm EST, and I have work tomorrow.  What do I need to accomplish before then?  How much sleep do I actually need?  Yeah, that kind of mental chatter…

But nothing on the topic at hand…

I feel a “calling,” a pulling away of my attention, but I cannot yet identify its source.  Message or need(?); I can’t even distinguish that much at this point.  But I feel it.  Pressing, though not yet urgent.  Even my cat is acting restless…

Sorry, all…  I hoped that a little free association, some automatic writing, might shake loose some thoughts of value.  Instead, this post is rapidly deteriorating into something more appropriately put in journal form.  While I am always fascinated to discover how people think and feel, I forget that not everyone shares that with me.  And while the workings of my own thoughts certainly intrigue me, it occurs to me that may be peculiar to me, which seems fair and appropriate, after all… lol!

And so I think I’ll say goodnight, fully aware that this post is incomplete…

Or is it?

It is at least possible that I’ve already written what I needed to read, in which case it IS finished.  I merely await your responses to help me zero in on the point…

Oh yay! for the Otherhood…  😉

 

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Poetry, Reflections

“I Hear You…”

I hear your voice in the wind

calling me…

And I cannot help but follow the sound.

There is no fear in me

nor doubt…

Nor any question of why or when.

It’s automatic; my response, that is.

You call.  I come…

For that’s what it means to be friends.

And if our paths do not physically cross today,

it hardly matters on the whole…

For distance can never truly separate us;

only our inner walls.

And I have nothing to hide from you today.

I see clearly through your pain…

“You are not alone anymore…

… in your grief, your sorrow, your shame.

I am with you, dear One.”

That’s all I wanted to say…

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