Posted by: Kate | January 11, 2015

On “Fixing” Things

History is filled with brilliant people who wanted to fix things and just made them worse.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

This statement seems spot on, and I think it’s because naked reality (which we can never perceive) is ordered at a far higher level than our own level of perception where things appear chaotic or broken. Whatever you do to try to control or “fix” chaos, to make things a certain way over the way they already are, you only succeed in adding to the overall chaos. For every wilful action taken, there is a compensatory reaction, nullification, balance of it somewhere, even if that isn’t perceptible from where you’re standing.

Life is the manifestation of a constant flux and balance between myriad on/off polarities all entwined with, and continuously affecting, each other. It would not exist if things were all one or the other, absolute “on” or absolute “off” – both of those scenarios would mean a death of sorts, because experience is the perception of a dynamic contrast, without which everything is indistinguishable. This dynamism is constant – an action or event will swing things one way, affect a myriad of things, then swing back, affecting a myriad other things that have already become something else entirely.

What I’m trying to say is that the universe will work to balance itself out with or without human intervention, so there can be no successful fixing because there is nothing to fix.

Or so it seems to me.

Posted by: Kate | January 7, 2015

Oh, Inverted World

Does nobody else get that adhering strictly to an ideal such as Freedom of Speech no matter how much hurt and chaos it breeds is really just as fundamentalist and intolerant as the actions of those following the Fundamentalist religious ideals that the Freedom-of-speech supporters condemn, or e.g. adhering strictly to the ideal of a Right to Bear Arms no matter how many innocent people are killed because of that right, accidentally or on purpose?

Obviously I do not condone any terrorist action, and never ever will, but look: if you’re going to be insensitive to a person in a way that hurts them physically, mentally or emotionally, and deliberately continue to do so when it is clear that you are causing that person pain or mental anguish – even if you believe you have every moral and constitutional right to do so, even if you believe that you are ultimately doing it for their own good, that you are trying to help them to see that they are misguided in their way of approaching the world, trying to free them from a wrong way of thinking or undo behavioural chains that have been wrongfully applied to them – then human nature usually dictates that there will be reactionary behaviour.

Most of the time either the insulted person – who GENUINELY FEELS THAT THEY ARE A VICTIM OF ABUSE no matter how many people think that they are just being fundamentalist/oversensitive/ignorant and should get their shit together and get with the program and just change their beliefs to something more sensible and historically and culturally appropriate already – hurts themselves or hurts their perceived bully or hurts someone else. They way too rarely turn the other cheek and assume that the person so radically attacking their belief is just doing so because they are a product of a different kind of upbringing and cultural influence, blah, blah, blah, and just leave them to it thinking “Oh, well, whatever, each to their own.” No, what happens is that they feel judged, so they feel justified in judging in return. And if they don’t have recourse to express themselves intellectually/creatively or a big enough audience to do so to, then they are likely going to act out their hurt and aggression physically. And shit – what do you know – they’re going to use whatever means and force available to deliver their retribution.

Power, power, power. Will, will, will. I’m rather sick of it all, aren’t you? Bottom line is that everyone – yes, including me, right now as I’m writing this – does what they do and says what they say thinking that they are in the right, that anyone else who doesn’t think like they do is in the wrong, and should be advised of the error of their ways by whatever means necessary until they change their mind or, much more rarely, agree to disagree.

Oh god, the hypocrisy is insanity-inducing. Meanwhile innocent people get hurt, or worse die all over the place as the result of all these power struggles. But, actually, none of us are innocent. Because we’re all guilty of foisting our beliefs onto others and wishing they would just stop being so much trouble and agree with us so we can play nicely, it’s just that for a lot of us those beliefs aren’t religious, but secular, which is currently more socially acceptable, so we think that we are so much more enlightened.

But that’s not true. None of us is enlightened. There is no truth, no set way of living that needs to be adhered to. No one knows what’s really going on. Everything just is. And whether we let it be, or don’t let it be, we seem to end up in the same mess, only by different roads.

I’m going to put this out here, but I’m not going to engage in any debates. I’m not going to support any one side over another anymore, or condemn one side or another, no matter how much that might be taken as strange or ignorant or…whatever by anyone else. It’s not that I don’t care; quite the contrary: I don’t like to see people killed or get hurt for any reason, full stop, and I don’t like to be the cause of anyone’s pain, and I don’t like the fact that EVERY HUMAN’S negative reaction to an attack on anything that they hold dear results in this cycle of retribution and violence and intolerance continuing.

It’s just that I know I can’t change anything by having any opinion. Diversity is a cherished ideal, but it’s not a functional one, because everybody insists on their right to believe what they want and act in accordance with that which they believe whilst not tolerating other people’s right to the same when it contradicts theirs. A stable society of peacefully co-existing humans can only exist if we all agree to NOT be diverse, and to follow basic rulesets, and to agree that if we don’t like the agreed-upon rules, we should go live somewhere that we do. Then we need a bajillion separate societies living in a bajillion separate world states (with open borders so that people can live where they feel they belong best) that agree to let each other live as they please so long as they don’t involve themselves in any way in any other state’s affairs.

But since that isn’t going to happen, all I can and should do is behave in the way that I believe is the right way for me without trying to enforce it on anyone else, whilst trying to ignore everyone else’s opinion as to how I should behave or react to – or what to believe or think about – anything.

“Oh, Inverted World
If every moment of our lives
Were cradled softly in the hands of some strange and gentle child
I’d not roll my eyes so.” — The Shins

Posted by: Kate | January 3, 2015

Universe As Metaphor

Sometimes I am certain that our universe is a metaphor for reality. That one multi-dimensional being has asked another what its perception of reality is like, and that multi-dimensional being created our known universe in order to try to communicate it.

With our pre-frontal cortex development, we are evolving to become more and more individualised, driven to execute our individual will rather than be part of the undifferentiated mass, but I’m starting to believe that this evolution is not for our own benefit, but rather for the benefit of our creator – essentially the more individualised we become the more highly-defined and detailed the expression of the metaphor, allowing for others to see it in more depth and appreciate the beauty of its intracacies, leading to a greater understanding.

I get the feeling that every thought we have – every attempt we have made to define our inner experience of the world and communicate that to another being through whichever mode of expression we choose – creates its own universe in another dimension. So in effect there are infinite universes, populated by inhabitants creating ever more infinite universes into infinity. There is no purpose to anything within those universes other than to illustrate the original theoretical concept or subjective experience that the creator wanted to express – to be a physical manifestation of the invisible inner reality that it wanted to share with a separate being.

And I don’t think we can transcend the metaphor we were born into. We can only create metaphorical mini-universes of our own. We can “escape” down into those – immerse ourselves in our own creations – but not up beyond our creator’s creation. We have our set place in the hierarchy of nested metaphors, and there we shall stay until we die and are absorbed back into the primordial soup of our creator, who will in turn be absorbed into ITS creator at its own death, and so on.

I guess for this to be true, there had to be an original originator who brought the first universe into being by trying to define itself to itself, via the means of explaining itself to an imaginary other. I suppose we can borrow from various theological traditions and name that the Source or the Absolute or God. But I doubt it has knowledge of most of what has since emanated from that first emanation, let alone the will to guide or control it, let alone the need to judge and to choose what parts of the creation to interfere with and what to leave alone.

Posted by: Kate | January 2, 2015

Grace

I get so frustrated with human nature sometimes. The more someone loves us unconditionally, the more we take them for granted and the less attention and gratitude we pay them. We’re a stupid species. Our children do it to us, we do it to our parents, and we all do it to the universe. We ignore what is known and familiar as much as possible in order to reach out to the unknown, to find something that will awe us, and if we can’t find that something awesome out there then we create something new. We evolve but as we do so we get further from the source, further from the Truth.

But if we stop this incessant need to keep growing outwardly, if we just become still and pay proper attention to what already IS as opposed to what could be, then we begin to see the depths, the intricacies of what we had assumed was simple and known. We begin to see just how much we don’t know about the things we think we do know. We begin to stop forming patterns about people and things and holding them to those patterns and instead see them for how they truly manifest in each moment – how different they are from one hour to the next! We begin to find the wonder in the very things right under our noses.

And that, I think, is to be touched by grace. All we really need to do then is align ourselves with that energy and all the anxiety, the analysis paralysis, just drops away. And this experience is available to every single person on this planet, because all we need to do is properly focus on the world as it becomes manifest around us, and allow ourselves to unfold along with it.

Posted by: Kate | September 2, 2014

On Growth

I am not special.

Nor is anyone else.

But everyone is essential. Everything we do in our dimension has to have happened based on what has happened before, and what happens now dictates what will happen in future. But thought interferes with that, because we can think/imagine things that haven’t happened or won’t happen, and in that way we kind of bring them into semi-existence, semi-manifestation in this dimension. Does that in some way stop them from being made completely manifest in one of the other dimensions? Or does it just allow us a glimpse of other dimensions that we don’t inhabit in our earthly form?

I’m digressing already…

Meaning is derived solely from what we decide to focus upon, combined with the narrative we tell ourselves to explain the actions which we carry out – actions which are dictated largely, if not solely, by our unconscious, the potential innately contained in our bud.

I exist. I am essential. But I don’t need to be noticed. It is the striving to be noticed, and the analysis of whether or not one is being noticed and appreciated, that causes so much stress in life. If I just live my life as I want, I will have a certain effect on everyone I come across. Whether that effect is good or bad, acknowledged by them or not, is completely besides the point…the point is that the influence has happened. I don’t need feedback from others – either praise or complaint – for doing what I do, so long as what I do is congruent with my nature. If I get feedback, I don’t need to listen to it, but neither do I need to ignore it out of some stubborn knee-jerk need for independence. If it makes some sense, will improve me in some way, bring me to worthwhile experiences, then I should consider it. 

A lot of the time, my self-growth has consisted of growing away from my natural self because of the influence of others, rather than growing into what I was born to be. I don’t live in a vacuum, so that’s not surprising. These outside influences do allow for me to grow beyond my potential, but what I can never tell is whether beyond my potential in all those different directions is any better or worse than staying within my innate potential. It probably doesn’t even matter, and I guess I don’t have much of a choice, in reality, much like a tree doesn’t choose what environment it grows in, and in which direction its roots and branches grow in order to compete for the nutrients it needs. 

But most of the time I should consider that when feedback is given, the other person is giving it based on their best interests first. I’m not a competitive person so I don’t like taking up someone else’s space in pursuit of my own aims, but that’s the way of the world, isn’t it? When you have to share space, you have to compete, else you end up giving way for them to grow at the expense of your own growth.

But then, what does it really matter? What does it matter in the greater scheme of things which tree grows the tallest and healthiest, so long as one of them does? Nature doesn’t play favourites. It’s not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most keen to survive and thrive. In which case the ultimate mark of fitness is the will to grow into the biggest, strongest, best version of yourself, whatever the circumstances you find yourself in. It’s about not allowing your vulnerabilities to make you weak, but instead accepting them and trying to find a way of using them to make yourself even stronger. 

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”

I think that’s the point. I need to be less self-conscious about however I happen to grow…doesn’t matter if the direction of growth is coming from within or from influences outside of me, so long as I survive and grow as strong and healthy as I can manage given the circumstances.

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.

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