Posted by: Kate | July 28, 2014

I’m not okay, but that’s okay

Yesterday I was chatting to a couple of friends on their deck and I was trying to get myself comfortable in the patio chair and I must have been grimacing pretty hard as I adjusted my legs because they asked if I was okay. I was surprised and said I was fine and one friend said I looked like I was suffering greatly from something and I quipped: “Oh no, just life”.

The look of pity they gave me was extraordinary, and I didn’t know what to do with it. There was an awkward silence before we moved the conversation on to unrelated things.

But of course a major truth lies in that joke. I am suffering from life. Most everyone does who are real with themselves and face the truth (the couple I was talking to gain a lot of comfort and joy from their Christianity, and good for them, but I can’t be religious, however much I yearn to have faith in something).

So here it is: I’m not okay and I never will be okay. But THAT is okay. Because the only way I can be okay is by ignoring everything about the world that upsets me. And, sure, I’m able to do that when I need to, I distract myself from what pains me, and about 70% of the time I live with an optimistic spirit because I don’t wish to be caught up in and dragged down by the cynicism of the world – it doesn’t serve me, just makes me more bitter and closed off and the less I open up to the world, the less it opens up to me in return. I know that the more I can open myself up and be vulnerable and compassionate and love the world and everything in it the better, because even if it is never reciprocated by the person or thing I direct it to, I know from experience that when you love in the right way, what goes around comes around.

But it’s hard sometimes to act like that when you think that humankind is generally a screwed up species and has really gone so far into the realm of screwing up the entire world that it might do well to just blow the whole thing up in one go, and let some other species have a go at being the leader.

When I am in a good place and experience the world as full of love and feel joyful and really alive, something always happens pretty soon to bring me down to earth again…

The last time I felt like that, I spent an hour lying on my bed, smiling, sending private wishes and prayers to all my loved ones for their specific pains to lessen and their wishes to be fulfilled. There was so much love in my heart for all of them, and for all the people who I had not had the chance to meet but who could maybe get something positive from some general good vibes being put into the atmosphere.

What happened the next day? A passenger plane was downed by a missile fired in a war that had nothing to do with anyone on that plane, everybody blamed each other, information was held back from the public as the people who did it covered their tracks…the real truth of what happened is unlikely ever to come out, then Israel invaded Gaza and it felt like basically the whole world had decided to have a meltdown.

And my heart broke at how fucked up the world can be and how little anyone can do about any of this on any practical scale. And even as I accepted that time flows and whatever is happening has to happen for the next bit to happen (whatever that is), I just was so saddened over the fact that we’re all basically just pawns in a game we have so very little control over.

So. When people ask me if I’m okay, on that nice superficial small-talk level, what am I to say? “Define okay?”. I know I should just say a simple “I’m fine,” so long as nothing in particular is bothering me personally in the situation I’m in at the moment that they ask. But I’m not and never will be okay so long as I care about other people and what’s happening on a global scale as much as I do about myself and my own little world.

And that is okay. It has to be okay. Because if my caring about other people’s lives ever completely stopped, I really would be so far from okay that it couldn’t be joked about.

Posted by: Kate | February 27, 2014

On Being Stuck in the Communication Box

I read this blog post yesterday, and it perfectly described some of the issues I still tend to struggle with, even though the person who wrote it is still in college:

I think I am too private. I think I hold too much in. Inside my mind is searching with ideas and speculations more complex than you would imagine, but when someone asks me a question, I say things like ”I don’t know.”

Because to say what I am thinking would be too much. How could they understand all that goes on in my head? That I hesitate because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, that I am afraid of asking for things because I feel like I am bothering people.

Someone told me I was considerate today, but they also said I was too considerate, and I think they’re right. I think too much. I hesitate too much. But is it a confidence issue? Because when I am alone I like who I am. I don’t stand by any of the pressures around me that tell me who I should try to be. I know who I am when it is just me. But when I have to share that with others, it’s like all those convictions fade away as I wrestle with what to admit and what to keep to myself.

Sometimes I just wish it was easier. Sometimes I just wish I could write everything out instead. But life’s not that simple. I have to break out of this box if I want people to see me, even if it feels like I’ll never be able to climb these walls.

But I have to try.

In person, when people ask me to voice my opinions there’s just this complete disconnect between what’s in my head and what I can make come out of my mouth. Some of it is because I often don’t know what I’m thinking before I can talk it out – explore it out loud – and you can’t do that in conversation like you can in writing because of time constraints and not being able to pour out a load of junk and then edit it down to something that makes sense to yourself and the person you’re talking to. People just don’t have the patience to listen to you as you try to reach your point, and often get upset at/misunderstand something you’ve thrown out randomly in mid-thought-process and focus on judging that and you never get to the end of your line of thought. Some of it is being overly considerate of my audience and not knowing how to put my very personal perspective on things in a way I know that they will properly understand. And some of it is just because so much of what is inside of me is purely abstract and/or a variety of feeling tones that it’s pretty much impossible to put into words that properly convey it anyway. How do you verbalise the invisible connections/relationships between things and the meanings behind things in concrete terms? There’s a reason I think and write in metaphors. It doesn’t really work when speaking.

So it’s far easier just to say something like “I dunno, stuff” when someone asks me what I’m thinking or throw out a few (to them) seemingly unrelated keywords in their direction and hope that they get the gist. To be honest that kind of generalisation is often more accurate than any full concrete explanation I’d be able to give anyway. When you’re trying to express what is ultimately inexpressible in all it’s intricacy, where the chuffing hell do you even start?

 

Posted by: Kate | February 25, 2014

On (over)Thinking

Sitting in my daughter’s bedroom this morning, watching her about to knock down the seventh tower of blocks she’d built in fifteen minutes, I stifled a bored yawn and wondered to myself why exactly this pointless game kept her occupied, entertained and delighted for so long.

That’s when it occurred to me that I pretty much play the same game, only with thoughts: I build up an idea, bringing in various elements, some of which fit, some of which don’t, then when I’ve taken it as far as I want to or I get distracted by something else, I “knock it down” and start over, creating a new set of thoughts. I don’t often record my ideas, even the good ones, so I’m not doing it to any real purpose – just to keep my mind active and occupied.

Which is fine. The only thing that’s not fine is when I make the mistake of taking it all too seriously, investing myself too heavily in a particular set of thoughts and obsessing over finding meaning in them, rather than thinking just for the joy of thinking. Which I’ve done FAR too much of recently. It’s essentially like the difference between dancing because the music I’m listening to makes me feel like moving my body, and dancing for the sake of winning a competition (even if, most of the time, the competition is only with myself.)

But then it’s the very fact that I invest a part of myself into my thoughts that enables me to be interested in them enough in the first place. If I wasn’t personally engaged in the process to some extent then, just like with the tower building, I’d find myself bored and wanting to be doing something else with my time.

So I’ve made a little pact with myself to better monitor what I’m thinking about so that I can make sure that I’m enjoying my thinking time and not just doing it out of habit or compulsion. I need to make sure that I invest myself fully but only temporarily in a particular thought process before moving on to doing/thinking something completely different, and that way I can keep things fresh and fun and properly interesting for myself and I’m less likely to find myself spiralling into a heavy thought process that (usually) ultimately gets me nowhere, other than creating thirty different possible versions of the same thing… a thing that never needed to be thought about anyway, and then stressing that I’ve still somehow overlooked the real truth/meaning, which I know deep down doesn’t actually exist but, having spent so much time on it, has to exist, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

(Answer: no, it really doesn’t.)

Posted by: Kate | February 11, 2014

Seven Habits of Incredibly Happy People

These are some pretty good basic rules for a more content and fulfilled life:

1. Be Busy, But Not Rushed

2. Have 5 Close Relationships

3. Don’t Tie Your Happiness to External Events

4. Exercise

5. Embrace Discomfort for Mastery

6. Spend More Money on Experiences

7. Don’t Ignore Your Itches

Full article here.

Posted by: Kate | February 6, 2014

Life lessons I’ve learned from my three-year-old

  • She wants her way ALL the time: she will demand something, then try asking nicely, then be charming, then tantrum, then act like we’ve said yes and she has the thing she wants, then try demanding again, then sulk and/or say things she doesn’t really mean, or only means in the moment  to try to get it.
  • Most of the time when she doesn’t get what she wants she gets distracted by something else just as easily. She doesn’t want anything THAT much, rather the wish to impose her will is stronger than any other desire.
  • A lot of what she desires is not good for her or will be of little or limited use to her. Trying to reason with her doesn’t work.
  • Threats work, as do bribes, but only when used sporadically.
  • She doesn’t hold grudges. If she dislikes/hates me for punishing her or not giving her what she wants she forgets it as soon as the punishment is over or she’s distracted. But while she is in the moment her emotions are very real and need to be acknowledged.
  • She is totally in the moment. If you try to talk to her about something that is not going on right now she doesn’t understand why you’re saying it and will try to bring your attention to what is going on right in the moment, even if that’s totally boring or unimportant. Therefore it is futile to talk about an incident that is past and try to analyse how it happened and how she felt during and after and to try to get her to understand how you felt and why you did what you did. She was pissed, now she’s not, she hated me, now she doesn’t – move on Mum, for god’s sake and let’s stop rehashing this.
  • However, she does enjoy living in her imagination and rehashing things that have happened/what she has learned during the day. Usually she does a day review in her head before going to sleep (she used to talk this out loud). She’d rather be doing things in reality though – the imagination stuff often only happens when she is bored of occupying herself with real things and everyone is ignoring her.
Posted by: Kate | November 11, 2013

Conversation with God (#3)

God: God is as committed to you as you are to Him. It is a private, personal and mutual relationship. He will not be in your life if you do not want him to be. He will not guide you if you want your independence and don’t truly want to be guided.

Do you want to be given a path to follow, or do you want to find your own way? You can’t have it both ways…

Me: Why? You see THAT is my problem…why is it not possible to have constant counsel, to have a guide show me the way, what he wants from me, and then for me to say “Thanks ever so much, but I’ve decided not to take your advice on this issue and I’m going to do it my way instead.”? Maybe it won’t turn out better for me or the world in the long run but, having made me an individual, how is it fair to then expect me not to be one, and instead to be completely selfless and serve your agenda all the time? 

People who have vision, who know what they want and go after it, they’re normally compelled to do so by an outside force…I see that now…they are in more direct contact with the collective unconscious, they are carrying out God’s will and they know that it is the right thing to do. People who question this…question whether “the right thing to do” is in actual fact the right thing to do suffer from procrastination and from doubt, but at least they are not blindly following some external prompt that they’ve mistaken for coming from within them. They are trying to think things through, to weigh their moral worth, to apply some logic and rationality and objectivity.

Unfortunately, being the individual beings we are, we cannot see enough of the big picture to make properly logical and rational decisions – our individuality causes us to always be self-serving first, whether consciously or unconsciously, and so we will always skew reality in order to make it make the most sense to us personally…in essence by trying to make logical and rational choices for ourselves we will 99% of the time act the wrong way for the world, imposing more irrationality upon it.

It’s not really about trust and doubt, whether I trust the path that God or the collective unconscious would prefer I follow, it’s about autonomy. Why have you given us autonomy if you don’t want us to use it? Was it a mistake? I think you gave it to us in order to separate us from you, so that you could see yourself from an outside perspective – you wanted to know yourself, perhaps it was even narcissism, creating us as a mirror to preen in front of, but in doing so you gave us the will to live as individuals, to only see what we want to see, think what we want to think, do what we want to do. You lost control of us. You lost us. Like a parent who has to let their child go into the world and make their own way, make their own mistakes, you know you shouldn’t interfere unless asked but you can’t help trying to manipulate things behind the scenes in order to help the child, to help them not to suffer, to try to make them what YOU wanted them to become, to live vicariously through them, have them live your own dreams, rather than leaving them completely to their own devices.

Here’s the thing: If you didn’t err in giving us autonomy, then it’s the natural way of things for us to want to take our own path, to fight against outside influence, to execute our free will at all costs, sometimes just out of principle…which may not be “right” and may end in our destruction and may end in the destruction of our planet, but it’s the way things have to be. You may be right and we may be wrong but it’s the human way to try things out, make the mistakes and hopefully learn from them. We like learning and experimenting and we can’t learn things for ourselves if we just do what we are told all the time – there is no sense of growth, or accomplishment that way, and we need that to give meaning to our lives, because we need to have that sense of meaning and self-defined purpose…we do not want to be robots, however happy and at peace we might be if we were.

If you did err in giving us autonomy, then you’re not perfect. To err is human, right? If you ever were perfect, then you fell from grace the moment you made that mistake and gave us autonomy. You may have spent the rest of the time since trying to make up for that mistake, trying to fix it but it cannot be. It’s too late. The only way to fix it is to go back in time and not do it next time around. If you’re not doing that (or can’t) then you have to leave things the way they are and forgive yourself, adapt to the new way of things, stop wishing that things were back the way they were, because it is not possible. Learn to work together with us, play by the new rules, stop being angry at us for wanting to do our own thing and try to work out a way of using that to the advantage of the world, and guide us towards that. Stop relying on hypnosis, start explaining, give us reasons why we should do the things you want us to do, form an alliance with us, a partnership, an equal relationship where we can dialogue with each other, not just receive instructions one-way which we can ignore or pretend we didn’t hear.

God: Stop telling me what to do! I don’t need your counsel! I know what’s best for me, for everyone, you dumbass!

Me: Ha ha! See? It’s annoying isn’t it, even though you know I’m making complete sense.

*God goes off in a huff*

Posted by: Kate | November 9, 2013

Possession: ideas inspired by Jung

Kate:

Very long but incredibly important read which touches upon what I have been experiencing/working through the past couple of years.

Originally posted on Beyond Meds:

Artwork by Carl Jung

Artwork by Carl Jung

This piece is from Awaken in the Dream Published with Paul’s permission.

ARE WE POSSESSED?

by Paul Levy

C. G. Jung, the great doctor of the soul and one of the most inspired psychologists of the twentieth century, had incredible insight into what is currently playing out, both individually and collectively, in our modern-day world. He writes, “If, for a moment, we look at mankind as one individual, we see that it is like a man carried away by unconscious powers.” We are a species carried away — “possessed” by — and acting out, the unconscious. Jung elaborates, “Possession, though old-fashioned, has by no means become obsolete; only the name has changed. Formerly they spoke of ‘evil spirits,’ now we call them ‘neurosis’ or ‘unconscious complexes.’” To condescendingly think that we, as modern-day, rational people, are too sophisticated to believe in something as primitive as demons…

View original 11,173 more words

Posted by: Kate | October 11, 2013

The Game of Creation

You know, it’s quite possible that we started out as a living puzzle to keep God occupied. He was playing regular Sims and it got a bit boring, so to throw in the ultimate challenge for himself he imbued his Sims with consciousness and intelligence so that they were unpredictable and the playing field would be forever moving. Could he steer the world to its intended goal through all the new challenges that would be created by his creations, all the obstacles they’d throw in his way?

Of course, it all got out of hand very rapidly, the consequences of each decision made by each Sim multiplying exponentially until in no time at all the universe resembled complete, unmanageable chaos.

Is he still playing, obsessively trying to win the game, impose order, altering his strategy each yoctosecond? How skilled a player is he? Just how big has the big picture gotten? I imagine it’s more likely that he gave up on his original goal long ago as he become more and more enthralled by passively watching everything unfold in front of him…

That’s entertainment. Creation at its finest: take something existing, give it a couple of brand new features, let it take on a life of its own, sit back and enjoy the show.

Posted by: Kate | October 8, 2013

Consciousness and consequences

What if the sun and rain and sea became conscious? They’d start feeling all conflicted, like: “Ah man, I can’t keep shining down on these people, I’m burning them and causing a drought that’s going to kill all the crops and lead to thousands of people starving.” or “Ah man, I can’t rain so damned hard on this city, I’m causing the rivers to flood and the entire city’s going to be underwater. I’m so destructive!” or “Ah man, I shouldn’t wave so high, I’m going to wreck this ship and cause all these people to drown.”

So they’d start acting against their nature, in order to not hurt people (or to hurt people more if they were of the more sadistic ilk), and a different kind of hell would break loose.

Consciousness and free will is, in essence, the ability to say no to your nature, to neutralise or act against your natural inclinations. But doing that causes its own problems. Who can really say what the long-term effects of your actions are? You might stop yourself from doing one thing because you think it’s for the best, and that might lead to something worse happening later down the line that wouldn’t have happened if you’d acted according to your true nature. A simple overblown example: what if you didn’t want to go out one night – you really wanted to just sit down with a glass of wine and a good book, but your partner kept insisting that they’d like to go out but wouldn’t go without you, and you thought it’d be better going than disappointing them and making your relationship a bit strained over the weekend… but during that night out on the town a fight breaks out and in trying to diffuse the situation YOU inadvertently kick off an even bigger fight that leads to many injuries, two people being killed and the beginning of a cycle of revenge that plagues the town for the next decade?

It’s fate, and fate is not your fault, right? But I think that I believe that there is REAL fate (that which happens when everybody acts according to their true selves and feelings) and ENGINEERED fate. One is natural, one is the result of trying to control ourselves as we control the environment. We just don’t have the brain processing power to follow the consequences of each decision that every conscious being chooses, so we can’t know which version of the world would be better overall for everybody, but I’m inclined to believe that the natural way of things is better. In the very least it probably, ultimately, doesn’t do any MORE harm than the engineered way, and would generally make for much happier lives (even if they’re shorter) if everyone would stop feeling so guilty and conflicted and anxious all the time.

In brief, consequences are going to happen regardless if you act or not on your nature, and once your decision is made – your binary yes or no choice to your subconsciousness’ suggestion of how to act in the moment – everything is pretty much out of your hands. Thus you really shouldn’t feel so responsible for everything that happens as a result of your actions – it’s all part of a vast program that you have next to zero control over.

Perhaps it’s time we stopped feeling so damned anxious and stopped analysing every little thing we do and just let things be what they are and concentrate on enjoying the ride more?

Yeah, right.

Posted by: Kate | September 20, 2013

The comfort zone and depression

Depression would rather have you stick to your comfort zone and make life easy on it rather than have you deal with anxiety. But anxiety should be embraced, because anxiety turned on its head is excitement, which leads to a burst of passion/creativity and energy that will lift you out of the depression and propel you forward. Anxiety conquered is growth, movement, change, regardless of whether the consequences turn out to be good or bad for you.

Depression hates growth. Depression wants you to stay put in your cosy cocoon. It whispers in your ear: “Why the fuck would you want to be a butterfly and fly around out there in full view, drawing the attention of everything in this world that can cause you harm? No one can hurt what you don’t expose. You’ve got everything you could ever want from life right here, right now, if you just use your imagination.”

And it’s probably right. Except that if you crave a bit of spontaneity or status-quo-subversion, you can’t have it without exposing yourself to the whims of society and other people’s agendas.

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