The Grand Delusion

A dialog exchange I heard recently:

“Do you think I’m delusional?”

“Only if delusional means seeing the world differently than most of the world sees it and differently than most of the world would like you to see it.” Followed by this statement, “I stand in the delusional place of mastery with all the greats.”

Me too.

As someone who is able not only to think out of the box but spent my entire life living and breathing out of the box, I appreciated that perspective. As someone with a mental illness who has heard “delusional” often associated with diagnosis and flawed perspective, I found it such a relief that it brought a smile to my face throughout the day every time I repeated it. You see, for as long as I can remember, the herd is not what I wanted to follow, the popular crowd has never been my destination and I don’t do trendy. Granted, there have been three weeks out of my life when my mental illness has brought me to the clinical diagnosis of “delusional.” But over my lifetime that leaves more than 2,541 weeks when I have been living it on my own terms.

This means finding alternatives when there are seemingly none. In my latest example, weary and discouraged from the traditional job search process, I told a friend that I am finding one-on-one networking and setting up my own marketing campaign to find employment because I just can’t bring myself to sign one more cover letter “Sincerely yours” when I’m not even close to meaning it, and nothing makes me feel more unproductive than hitting the “Submit” button on an online application for a job designed for hundreds and sending it into impersonal oblivion. She laughed and said she knew I would come up with a creative approach. And that I will succeed.

It is safe to say that somewhere along the line the brilliant minds of the past (Edison, Ford, Leonardo DiVinci, Newton, Goddard to name a few) must have had some level of delusion in order to manifest their ideas for the advances of mankind in such extraordinary ways. After that they were forever referred to as geniuses. When I was a child growing up in my neighborhood, we were delusional as well, only back then it was called imagination. Clouds were pictures painted just for us, back yards were campgrounds, picnic tables pushed together were pirate ships, we were whatever we wanted to be and no one could convince us otherwise. We were awesome.

I am blessed every day in my delusional state to see many things that others don’t.  Like St. Francis, another famous historical delusionist, I see hope in despair, light in darkness, joy in sadness, trust in the Universe which allows me to find alternate pathways to happiness, magic, miracles and a steadfast belief in unconditional love. And while my fellow human beings are enmeshed in drama, anger, gossip, mistrust, feeling victimized, complaining and negativity, I am busy being caught up in my delusion of inner peace and gratitude. That makes every day of my life worry, stress, doubt and anxiety free because what I see is seen through the eyes of my true heart; inner spirit, not clouded by exterior influences.

How’s your vision today?  May it be filled with joyful delusion.

 

Movin’ Out of Virtual Town

The For Sales sign is on the lawn; I’ve packed up am and leaving Virtual Land to head back to the small town of my custom made tech-reduced reality. I’ve enjoyed being with all of my digital neighbors for a bit, but it’s getting crowded, I’m bored with trying to keep up and the neighborhood is changing. Since moving here and trying to keep up with the online life, I’ve become aware of my behavior change from having an inclination to spend physical time with others to clicking along beside them. Facebook became addictive, the first thing I checked in the morning and the last I checked at night before I went to bed. Years ago I joined to connect with old friends; now participation has become shallow. And so has everything else app for me.

I’m returning to a low tech place that could be abandoned by now, yet that was thriving a mere five or six years ago when people were still communicating chiefly through voice and personal interaction, still having fun spending face to face (not screen) time together, enjoying activities and life and each other without the dependence and interruption of technology, videos and photos. A time when words, gestures, screen-free eye contact and real laughs out loud gave electricity to a room and helped people connect deeply, get to know each other, fall in love across a table.

Perhaps because I have a curiosity and background in human communication and psychology and I’m accustomed to observing people I am especially cognizant as to what has been happening to the way we relate. The more ways we have to communicate, the less we connect.   I remember the pre-phone obsession era, so it is somewhat unsettling to be a few feet away from someone who isn’t aware of my presence because they’re staring at their device or to be walking across the campus where I work and see dozens of individuals phone staring as opposed to groups walking and talking with each other.

Admittedly, Facebook has given me the joy of watching the lives of my friends and families unfold. Births, accomplishments, announcements, deaths are posted every day. Yet what used to be moments to cherish are now split second scrolls, lost in volume and quickly replaced by the one below. There is no time to savor, feel the emotion or hold space for any in my heart for long. Meanwhile, in between there’s the mental work of filtering out the vindictiveness, opinions, judgments, politics and food plates. It is not lost on me how closely Facebook resembles my mental illness, the online version of bipolar disorder, reflecting the alternating manic and depressive thoughts that are part of the diagnosis and the world.

I’ve been a part of many conversations where it is unanimous that technology is taking over our lives and dumbing us down, always defended by the excuse that this is the direction the world is headed, so you must keep up. Intuitively, that’s not my world. So, I got rid of my television, cancelled my landline and gave myself a ten-minute per day Facebook limit. The external information clutter cleared from my life, I recovered my peace of mind and got my concentration back. Beautiful.

With Virtual Land behind me, I’m reaping the benefits of my tech-reduced life. It’s way easier on the budget. I’m planning face-to-face gatherings by sending out paper invitations and spontaneous get-togethers through calling (rediscovering voices) and emailing. I hear about my friends’ life events firsthand or through the grapevine; still giving all of them enthusiastic “Likes.” Only now it’s so much better because I have the precious time to revel in these in the much slower way that I prefer, I get to cherish the moments once again. Home sweet home.

 

 

 

Pensive Walk Last Fall

 

Feeling poetic tonight, so sharing this one from a walk last fall:

When the outside world’s chaos seems unforgivable and inescapable,
The stream still flows with its bubbles of foam skimming the top.
The redwing blackbirds still perch at the very top of the dead tree calling to each other.
The turkey vulture still soars high above in the clear blue sky.
The small birds still flit in the bushes.
Crickets and cicadas still call.
The ants still crawl one at a time over my skin.
The sunlight casts a lovely reflection off the banks downstream, contrasting with the adjacent white blooming asters and shimmering.
The willow branches still hover over the water, dangling all the way.
The green fauna, speckled with the occasional yellow flower, still decorates the barren rocks, brightening the landscape.
The bullfrog still croaks, interrupting, making me laugh out loud.

I still find love and Mother Nature’s stillness still stills me, filling me with joy.

Just Plane Cool

Just felt like plane old writing today. I live in close proximity to a major airport. The usual incoming traffic pattern brings the jets in view one by one outside of my living room window. In the wintertime when I am curled up on the corner of my couch on dark evenings with my notebook, I watch them. There are so many, starting out as small lights in the distance, then piercing the dark, getting bigger as they grow near.   In the summertime they are close and powerful overhead. I like that. Most head in via straight lines, yet some approach at such angles that I think the pilot and copilot must be engaged in some sort of a bet with one another or the control tower folks and that the passengers must be on top of each other sideways.

Whatever the situation, my overall thought when I watch them is how amazing it is that these instruments of wonder are transporting loved ones to loved ones all over the world in very short bursts of time. How cool is that. Make a decision to visit, click a few clicks, pick a date, head to the airport jump on board and you’re there. Nice. Even if your purpose is for business and less for fun, you’re benefiting your life by earning money through the convenience of getting from city to city quickly. No matter that many get aggravated by the inconvenience of long lines, delays and security.

During my lifetime I have been both fascinated by and phobic about traveling by plane. A few years ago my family and I took a trip (by car) to North Carolina where I insisted on visiting the place where the historic first flight took place. Risking nerdiness, I walked the path that the Wright brothers’ unstable airplane took, still feeling the energy and their excitement of the moment. It brought me chills, and gave me satisfaction as does every instance where someone has an “impossible” idea, becomes fixated on it, gets laughs at and bullied about it until they make it work. What an example of how the human potential is underestimated and underutilized. If we can take one small “hmmmmmm” and some canvas and wood and run with it (literally down a field) combine it with a few more thoughts and will to make it work and turn it into what air travel is today, just think of what else we can do.

For this most part we take air travel for granted these days until occasional tragic accidents happen and the media brings them to our attention. That did happen here a few years back and two miles from my house when a commuter plane crashed with all on board losing their lives. Those are events that bring about grief, awareness to policies ways to improve other lives. Devastation sometimes brings good.

Through time I have become friendly and comfortable with air travel, taking pleasure in the serenity of the cramped space and quiet time, now always seeking a window seat, even if it is near a wing. That way I can be on the lookout for the moon or special sunrise or sunset (no longer the hairy monster of the movies that I used to see). So line them up, plane by plane by plane big and small down from the sky and onto the runways and back up again. It’s a constant cycle of people meeting, corporate partners shaking hands and making deals, relationships being established, reunited and restored. Even if one is traveling to a funeral, without the need to focus on the drive, potential thought-provoking time is able to take place to process grief, consider amends or happy memory therapy if need be. Watching them from my house makes me smile, understanding that these are no longer just the giant hunks of suspended metal that I watched overhead in my youth, but family connectors.

A Season for Giving; A Season Forgiving

To prepare for an upcoming call with my life coach I followed my usual routine, preparing written notes on what was weighing heaviest on my mind. Note: Yes I do use a life coach. I find that the combination of her wisdom, daily journaling and the occasional glass of wine keep me moving on my path of joy and positivity. I’m not quite sure whether this time of year factored in at all, but my topic was forgiveness. I needed to forgive some people in my life for the perceived wrongs they had committed against me. Since I did not have the opportunity to do so one on one, I role played with my coach. Visualizing my “offenders” sitting across from me in my living room, I began with the most recent, rattling off a list items and scratching them off line by line. It was cleansing to think them, write them down and read them. When all were expressed, I firmly declared, “I forgive you.” It was more powerfully immediately healing than I imagined it would be.

For the next person, I did the same thing. Her list was much smaller, consisting of only one item, but that had invoked a feeling of trauma within me. While I was writing it out, a strange thing happened. A conscious thought came to my mind about how after she did what she did I had behaved pretty badly myself, dragging her name through the mud by reporting the story to whomever would listen, and many people did. It was an eye-opening moment, which resulted in my remorse. Despite her behavior, I wasn’t proud to act that way; it wasn’t at all in line with the compassionate person I strive to be. After I wrote “I forgive you” under her entry, I added “and I ask for forgiveness. I am sorry for what I did.” An amazing feeling of calm overcame me (it wasn’t the wine) and I wished that these two people were standing in front of me right there and then.

I found this forgiveness activity so successful that I grabbed a fresh piece of paper from my notebook and visualized my life’s worst “offender” (my ghost of Christmas past perhaps?) and bravely began to write. I completed an entire side of the page before I was mentally exhausted and he was forgiven. Woah. In that moment I was thinking that sometimes the best of the written word isn’t reserved for the New York Times bestseller list, but in my own damn journal.

I’m glad I took the time to do that clearing of my heart Chakra. I feel like I shed every Holiday pound in the process. I learned so much. First of all, that I’m grateful to have so few people in my life that I feel I need to make amends with. Next, I gained an understanding that each of us has a different interpretation of what is necessary to receive or give forgiveness for. I am only able to understand those concepts according to my own values and beliefs, not other’s. Which is why it pays to communicate responsibly more in the moment when I have been hurt.  Otherwise the other person walks around clueless. If anyone needs to forgive me for something, visualize me in the living room, or better yet, step forward, let’s talk. We all will work better if we learn to share the love. Time and relationships are too precious to hold grudges, and forgiveness is a mighty elixir.

To All for 2017: Good Tidings of Comfort and Joy with lots of Love thrown in.

Photo Credit:  Megan Rose

Greetings and Inflatable Penguins of Joy

 

 

 

I have to write in the language of beauty and love, nature, life. Some call this fluff, I define it as the wonderful things that happen every day. I don’t know much about the scientific perspective of nature. I’m not a botanical expert by any means and I have a difficult time identifying flora and fauna, especially by their Latin names but I am able to describe to you the awe I experience when strolling beneath a canopy in a forest or walking through a grove of palm trees or down the shores of my favorite beach as the shells wash between and beneath my toes. I can tell you about the excitement of a toad as he becomes startled and jumps out of a leaf pile, and I sense the feeling of the creek bed as the stream of water runs along it. I believe all of these things are here for us to notice.

I’m not adept at Search Engine Optimization or keywording to lift my content to the top of a Google list, but I can tell you what it feels like to witness the smile of a child as he receives a gift from a loved one or two people in love as they gaze into each other’s eyes or smile in connection. There is so much love here on this planet, so much kindness, so much giving, yet there is so little time and so many barriers in the way. Somehow I am drawn to point it out and write about it, love it, live it.

Today on the commute home I took a moment at a red light to notice my surroundings. The falling snow was shimmering in the glow of the streetlights with the black sky as a backdrop. That, coupled with the house displays brightened the night. Some were intricate and precise while others consisted of a single strand of lights randomly tossed over a small tree and an ornament propped up on a porch light; possibly a lame attempt by a teenager to appease his nagging mother. I am intrigued by the row of inflatables on one front lawn with a penguin situated behind a drum set in the middle. He waddles back and forth swinging his green vinyl sticks. He is silly and amuses me. It makes me happy that so many people still take the time and make the effort to decorate.

And so flows the humor of life, wrapped up between all the beauty. Like beauty, humor is found daily, also worthy of the writing. It is offered everywhere and a gift to all willing to receive it. It is easy to miss, overshadowed by the distraction of screens. But they are all there, nature, beauty, love, kindness, humor, waiting to be noticed by onlookers like me and you, and enjoyed. Have fun.

 

Sharing my calendar today: Kisses and hugs forgive and love

A little meditative humor for the holidays: take a deep breath and stay in the “present” moment

Peace and Joy everyone!

Impeccable Me

I just finished reading a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Excellent read by the way. The first agreement is “be impeccable with your word”.  As a writer, I found that statement really made an impression on me.   Words are very powerful.  You can choose the wrong one and alter the meaning of something important or say the wrong thing and change someone’s life forever.  I choose the words I use very carefully when I am writing.  Not so much when speaking because of the spontaneity of the moment and tendency to respond on a quicker basis. To know my truth, to live it and to speak it every day in every situation is whom I strive to be and worth the challenge. Claiming to live under the pretense of joy, love and compassion, I’d better put my money where my mouth is.

I am grateful to have a gift to put words together in a meaningful, constructive and entertaining way when some people struggle to assemble even a sentence.  I feel a responsibility to be a woman of my word and stick to it.  I need to be better at that, and spend less time passing judgment on others and situations.  I will start in my thoughts first, long before they become my words, especially on paper.  I often wrongly pass judgment on myself, so I must start a great big campaign to toss out words of encouragement and kindness to myself.  If I don’t matter to me, how can I possibly matter to others.  And I will be conscious of practicing that theme of joy, love and compassion until it’s expressed every time I speak, write or think.  I’ll be impeccable.

Culture and social media make it easy for us to throw our opinions out quickly without thought. Surveys, comments, reviews on everything imaginable. Life rated. Very few opportunities exist for us to just stand back, watch and listen without distraction of phone or computer. I’m taking every chance I get to slow myself down to the point where I’m ready to remember the importance of my word. To think before I speak. People often pay me compliments on my writing, calling me inspirational and funny.  Before I am any of that, I’d like to be known as someone who is impeccable with my word, for this by default can only result in natural transition to speaking and writing the language of love. And I want to make it my purpose to do that loud and clear and consistently. I can only imagine how satisfying that will be in the effort to being at peace with myself. What a goal.

 

And now, sharing a Little Joy:
Waking up and hearing a lawyer commercial: “We have all of the extensive resources you need.” And thinking I just heard, “We have all of the expensive resources you need.”

Going out for lunch when it is 20 degrees outside and returning to the bonus of a second row parking space, only to forget after work and doubling your walk backtracking when you remembered!