Virtual World

For those of you who have been following along on my blog Heart of Dying, you know that I’m trying to establish a balance with my body. To do that, I’m trying to find a way to work within the ever shrinking boundaries that my body keeps giving me, and it’s not easy. However, it has made me very aware of my physicality, something that I’ve pretty much avoided my entire life. Instead, while I’ve always existed in the physical world, I’ve lived in my own head. It’s my own version of a virtual world.

I’m a person who has always lived within my head. I live through ideas, thoughts, concepts, and imaginings. At least 80% of my life has been cerebral activities rather than physical activities.

To me, a physical life is one where the person is aware of his/her surroundings and interacts with them—the people, places and things that make up reality. For instance, picture a room full of people, with lots of music and food available. A person rooted in physicality will at least try speaking with one or more of the persons in the room, and might even ask someone to dance. They would try some of the refreshments, and would most likely remember all the smells, sounds, and tastes from the evening.

However, I’m the type of person who would observe the activity, and then in my head invent dialog and scenarios for the different people, rather than actually interact with them. But, in my current situation, that of having a physical body that acts like a wayward toddler, I don’t really have the luxury of escaping to my virtual worlds anymore. Now, I’m actually existing and living in the physical world.

Because of this, I’m more aware of the people and their thoughts, activities, and needs; and I’m much more aware of smells, sights, sounds, and tastes. Granted, the greatest pull is to the needs of my own physical body, but even when it doesn’t need my immediate attention, it holds me in the present moment with its heaviness. So while I abide by this anchor, I use my time now to take notice of those around me. I’ve even tried reaching out to those nearby, which reinforces that link to the present physical reality moment. And, if there aren’t other people around, then I notice the flora and fauna, the insects, and other critters roaming around me.

I no longer isolate myself in my own version of a virtual world; for good or bad, I’m in this world and I’m finally letting myself live in it, not just exist.

Life Interrupted

“…but you’re too young to have that…” “They were so young…” “It’s such a pity; he/she was so young…”

I’ve never really understood what age has to do with how shocking, sad, or devastating it is to find out someone has died, is dying, or has a deadly disease or illness. Yet, you hear it all the time on the news, in person, in movies.

But why is it any more devastating for someone who is 4 to die than someone who is 44? Or 15 versus 76? Doesn’t everyone have something to contribute to the world no matter whether they’re 1 or 100?

Why do we believe that someone who is 90 is ready to ease out of life, while someone who is 4 is just getting going? Have you ever considered that the person who is 4 might actually be finishing up a previous life? It just might be that they had done a life where they accidentally died at 66, so they didn’t get to finish all the things they needed to. Therefore, they decided to come back just for those few years that it would take to do those things. Hence, for them, 4 years is more than enough time and they’re ready to move on and live a new life with different circumstances, different people, and a whole new set of lessons. While the 90 year old may feel as if they’re just getting started and the last thing on their mind is moving on from this life.

I’m one of those who’s completing a life interrupted. The last time I made it to age 18, but then circumstances that I didn’t foresee intervened and the life ended. This life has let me pick up where that one left off, so in my mind, I’m not so young. Add the two lives together and I’m really quite the senior citizen. So, I understand some of these “children” who came just to complete things carried over from the last life and who are ready to move on to something new.

That doesn’t mean that they (or I) have any less impact or importance in this world. I think every life and every person is extremely important. I believe everyone makes a difference in our lives; even those people we barely acknowledge or know, such as clerks at the store, or the neighbor 5 doors down that you only nod to when you see them out and about.

Maybe you’ve never met Sue Smith, but when you read about her in the paper or on the web, her story affects you emotionally. That’s because everyone matters; everyone has an impact on everyone else. Yet, does it really matter whether Sue is 14 or 40? It’s still the same struggle; it’s still the same pathos; and it’s still the same ending.

I think the real reason we say things like “…but they were so young…” is because of our own fear. We’re all so afraid of death and dying, that when we’re confronted with these types of situations, we try to push the reality of it away; we try to find ways of separating ourselves from the person who is ill or dead. However, a part of us recognizes that it could be us who is sick, dying, or dead, and so we blurt out what we fear. We’re not really saying that the other person is too young; we’re actually saying we are.

I don’t want us to become a society where life is taken lightly, but I think we need to lighten up a little and recognize that death, dying, and illnesses (severe, life-threatening illnesses) are part of life, too. And instead of trying to hide ourselves from this reality, we need to take another look, understand it, and embrace it as the opportunity it is—an opportunity to do and have all those things that you may not get to in this life.

Songs of the soul

Music has always been important to me, so I’ve always included it as part of my life in some form. In fact, it’s such a part of my soul, that I think I’d feel incomplete without it.

While most people enjoy music because they like the lyrics or they enjoy the beat, I relish the whole package—melody, harmonies, tempo, lyrics—it’s all important to me. You might think that I’d favor the lyrics since I work with words and each line of a well phrased poem or story is a melody in its own right. Yet, when combined with just the right tempo, notes, and harmonies, a wondrous symphony of sound is born.

Since receiving my diagnosis of congestive heart failure, I have found myself even more immersed in music, especially today’s music, contemporary music. I had, for awhile, fallen away from today’s music, finding it too raucous, too tribal and native, and too lacking in lyricism and soul.

But lately I find myself amazed at how rich most of today’s music is; how deep and moving the lyrics, and how complex the melodies and harmonies. Even the singers’ voices seem to be so different from those I grew up. As I was growing up, musical voices were supposed to be clear in tone and quality; smooth, blending easily with the instruments that played the melodies. They were counterpoints to the instruments, and not necessarily an interesting instrument all on their own. However, today’s voices are smooth, rough, rocky, choppy, sultry, and wonderfully diverse. Some sound as if they have gravel in their throats, and others have such a wide range of color and nuance that listening to them is a joy all by itself.

For me, part of the joy of music has always been the visions of dancers and dances that I see in my mind. While not a dancer myself (far from it, in fact), I’ve always loved movement, and so I see music in terms of movement—swaying, swirling, jumping, tapping, and wonderful movements.

Music is one part color, one part movement, and 100% beautiful. So, take a moment to turn on the radio, cruise through YouTube, or plug into your MP3 player and experience what some of these wonderful artists are trying to share with us. See your own visions or ballets as the artists help you create your own inner fantasies, or reach your own inner world.

Climbing the mountain

They came for me last night (they being the other members of my planing group). I didn’t go with them, though…instead I’ll be climbing the mountain on my own.

[for the whole story, see: Climbing the mountain.]

Just let your light shine

Your own light shines brightest when it shines for someone else.

I love that sentiment. It seems so true to me. When you care about someone else, your energies (auras) pulse outward, and that makes them more visible to those who care to notice.

But even if someone can’t literally see the aura shine, they can see you shine. Because when you care for and accept someone else, your inner glow shines through your eyes and your face, and sometimes even through your subsequent actions towards others. It makes us feel good to help and to care for others, and when we feel good, our whole being shines—the face smiles, the eyes shimmer and your whole being feels lighter, more buoyant.

Yet, so often, we let ourselves become so weighed down by our own concerns, our own worries, that our whole being becomes dull and dimmed. We close ourselves off and draw our energies inward, reducing our natural “glow”. I realize that it’s not easy to focus on others when you’re so weighed down with concerns about jobs, money, meetings, illnesses, or other troubles. But sometimes just the act of saying “Hi!” to someone you’ve never met before can pull some of that energy outward.

How simple is that? Just take a moment to look at the person standing next to you on the elevator or in line at the store. Maybe they feel tired and isolated, too. So, just say “Hi!”. It’s a little word, just 2 letters, but it can create a large bridge of caring. Just take the 2 seconds necessary to speak out, and that simple little bridge can help you both realize that you’re not alone, you’re not isolated, and your problems aren’t insurmountable.

Just try it. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t respond back? Then say “Hi!” to someone else. It doesn’t cost anything, and I know in this horrid economy with everyone worried about money that can be a big drawback. But it’s free! And just think of how bright you could be shining at the end of the day if you make it a habit to say “Hi!” to at least 4 strangers a day.

So, c’mon. Shall we all make the world shine today? All it takes is a little of caring; all it takes is a simple “Hi!”.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 109 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 142 posts. There were 167 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 46mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 16th with 343 views. The most popular post that day was The Book Store.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogsurfer.us, slowvelder.wordpress.com, google.com, facebook.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for aimee on the art of regaining wordpress.com ocean mist, veil between worlds, grim reaper, tricia anne sullivan, tdgallery, and truman show.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The Book Store June 2010
4 comments

2

Enjoying the journey April 2010
1 comment

3

Tas and the Time Warp April 2010
2 comments

4

The Light of Joy April 2010
4 comments

5

Shhhhh… June 2010
3 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,