Following the spiral staircase of my mind

What is death? Is it a cessation of life, or simply a reality I will no longer visit? Even now I do not spend 100% of my time in this reality; so perhaps death is simply moving on to those other realities completely never to visit this one at all.

But what realities do you move on to? Some people call these other realities other planes of existence, such as the astral plane or the causal plane. Other people portray these other realities as dreamscapes created in our own minds. Some of these portrayals leave us wondering if the dreamscapes are real at all. After all, if our minds are part of our brains and our brains die, then do those other realities actually even exist past death?

I believe they do (exist). I also believe that we catch glimpses of these other worlds, these different realities in our dreams. Not that every dreamscape we see is real enough to actually exist within, but where else could reality come from if not from within us, from within our own ideas and concepts? If what I surmise is true, then I cannot wait for the opportunity to spend even more time in these worlds; time I can spend exploring and continuing my search for the reasons for our very existence.

This is what drives me…not money, glory, or personal possessions, but the real reason for our being here in this reality. Are we here because we thought ourselves into being, or are we merely figments of someone/something else’s imagination? And if this is real, then what is death? Is it just another reality? But what if this is someone else’s dream; then what is death…a nightmare?

If we are all players in each others dramas, then who is the playwright? And if we are each our own playwrights, then how many plays are we each participating in, and congratulations to us for learning all those scripts.

Life, and death, are intriguing mysteries; but death is the most intriguing (to me) simply because we have so little information available to us. Death is not a frightening thing to me, but rather is it a wonderous and mystical concept that calls to me. It offers new opportunities, as yet unknown concepts, and whole new worlds just waiting for me to explore.

Talk. Accept. Love.

Relationships. They’re probably one of the most difficult situations that people deal with in life. What makes them so difficult? Expectations.

Every time you enter into a relationship, especially a romantic one, you bring certain expectations with you. Maybe you’re expecting this person to be “the one”; maybe you expect this person to be the perfect lover; the perfect conversationalist; the boy next door; or some other descriptor. Whatever you’re expecting, you’re most likely going to be disappointed simply because you have expectations.

Expectations are the biggest cause of relationship malfunctions, because the moment someone doesn’t meet your expectations you’re hurt, angry, and frustrated; yet, rarely do we even understand why. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we have expectations, and since we don’t recognize them for what they are, we can’t communicate them to the person we have the expectations of. Yet still, the expectations are there, and when the person doesn’t meet these unstated demands, we become upset.

I can’t tell you how many times people tell me how upset they are with a spouse or significant other because this person didn’t get the reaction they expected from the spouse or significant other. When I ask them whether they told their spouse or significant other what they expected, they either shake their head or look at me blankly.

If you don’t tell someone what your expectations are, how can you be upset if they’re not met? It just makes no sense. And yet, you know what, I used to do the same thing myself.

How many times would I come home from work and expect that my husband had done some chore that needed doing, even though I hadn’t left a note, hadn’t emailed or phoned to let him know it needed doing. And how often did that expectation turn into anger? But how wrong is that? He didn’t know I expected him to do this chore, he had no idea I was expecting anything from him.

We all do it, and then we wonder why our relationships are so fraught with anger and upset.

Of course, then there are those who continue the same pattern of behavior with their spouse or significant other always expecting that the spouse’s or significant other’s reactions will change. To me that is the height of absurdity. It’s like looking in a mirror and expecting to see a super model even though you know you’re still you. Yet, people do it all the time. They’ll charge in nitpicking on the same topic, in the same manner, using the same tone and words that they always do, and then complain when the spouse or significant other reacts the same way as last time (usually with anger and defensiveness).

Expectations. Sometimes, you have to forget what you want, ignore what you’re expecting, and just accept what you have.

For example, if you wanted Orlando Bloom, but you married Travis Tritt, then stop expecting Travis to be or act like Orlando. If you married a dreamer, but you want to live like Rockefeller, well, guess what…it probably won’t happen unless you become the major breadwinner.

Expecting someone to change to suit your wants, is one of the worst expectations of all. People are what they are, and while we can all change, changing to meet someone else’s expectations of us, is not a good motivator. Expecting a dreamer to buckle down and dedicate themselves to making money so you can live like Pares Hilton is bound to lead to disappointment, both for you and for the dreamer. They won’t be happy doing the 9 – 5 thing working just to make money, and you won’t be happy when they fail to live up to your expectations.

Best to find someone whom you can accept for who and what they are, rather than creating a relationship based on expectations that will most likely never be met. Either that, or learn to tell each other what expectations you each have, so you can both decide whether they can be met. Communication is a wonderful thing, and sometimes knowing what someone expects of you can alleviate the disappointment for both of you.

Talk. Accept. Love.

What would you do?

I saw a movie the other day that made me wonder what I would do in a similar situation. In the movie, a plane gets hijacked and the passengers know that they are going to die, so many of them use their cell phones to call their loved ones. It’s the various reactions they showed of those calling and those receiving the calls that got me thinking.

Some of those on the plane were stoic and realistic about what was coming, which just seemed to make it that much harder on the people they had phoned. Meanwhile, some of those who had been phoned refused to accept what they were hearing and kept insisting that everything would be fine, which made it hard on the callers who were trying to reconcile some open issues.

After watching this, I began to ponder what my reactions might be. What if I were on the plane, would I call my husband? (Of course, even if I did, he probably wouldn’t answer—he’s notorious for ignoring ringing phones;-) Being on the plane, I think I’d like to hear my husband’s voice one last time, take one last moment to tell him that I love him, and have some small touch of loving humanity with me at the end. However, from his perspective of being the one called, would it be cruel of me to involve him in my death like that? Make him listen to me as the plane crashed all the while he would know that he couldn’t do anything to help me, that he couldn’t do anything to stop the disaster?

I think back to when my mother died, and my father insisted that we (my brothers and myself) be in the hospital room with her. I’ve never forgotten that cruelty—because to me, it was a cruel thing to make me watch my mother’s death throes.

Sure, I now understand what all those authors meant when they used the term “death throes”, but I think I could have gone my whole life without observing it first hand. To sit there and watch someone struggle against death, yet knowing that they can’t win, is horrible. Sitting there, watching, and knowing you can’t do anything to ease their suffering, or to help them live or die is a horror that I hope no one reading this ever suffers.

And if that is how I would make my husband feel by calling him as my plane nose dived into the ground, then I would rather not call him. It doesn’t matter how much comfort I might get out of the phone call, if it causes him an equal amount (or more) of stress and upset.

And what about afterwards—once the plane is crashed, and I’m gone? Then I’ve left him with all that guilt, as he wonders if he should have said more, or less, or done something (even though there was nothing for him to do). So, no, I don’t think I would, or could, do that to my husband.

I think after watching that movie, I would only call him if I needed to reconcile something with him—maybe apologize for something. Even then, I think I would try to make him think I was only call to apologize, and hang up before anything really happened. Why leave him feeling any more horrible than he has to?

* * *

Now, let’s take it from the other side. What if I were the one on the ground and it was husband in the plane. Would I want him to call me? I think I would, but not so I could listen to him crash, but so that I could at least tell him I loved him one last time.

I think if he called and just said, “I love you”, so I could say “I love you, too”, that would be enough for me. However, I wouldn’t really want to hear the final moments of those on the plane. I think that would be much too much to deal with.

Of course the odds of this type of situation occurring for me or my husband are slim, considering my abilities to perceive things before they happen. I think if either of us were planning a trip without the other, I’d be able to tell whether there was danger—I always have been before 😉

But even so, it still makes you think doesn’t it? I mean, really—what would you do? Would you call or not? Would you want your husband, wife, daughter, son to call or not?

Rock and Roll

It’s amazing how much more simple things seem when you stop trying to roll that stupid rock up the hill all the time. Yeah, I hear all the questions and the eyebrows raising. What rock? What are you talking about?

Sisyphus (yeah, how would you like that for a moniker all your life?) was a king who, according to Zeus, was presumptuous and arrogant. Therefore, as punishment, Sisyphus was forced to push this huge rock up a hill only to have it get away from him and roll back down. So, now whenever people do seemingly silly tasks over and over, it’s considered the equivalent to rolling a rock up hill. And it’s amazing how many of us do that and never realize it.

My particular rock was my constant and consistent battle against “rules”, especially those that I felt restricted my creative freedom. I was always pushing that rock of rules up the hill of change. All the while I’d be trying to get others to acknowledge how awful things were and how necessary it was to effect some changes. When they agreed with me, then they’d join in pushing on that rock. Eventually, I would have a whole group of people helping me push that rock of rules up the hill of change.

We’d struggle and endure, and occasionally we’d snipe at each other and argue. But for the most part, we persevered. We’d sometimes have to roll the rock laterally to avoid pitfalls, or we would make compromises that might entail a more circuitous route, but the closer we got to the top the more we were willing to bargain. Sometimes, we’d bargain so much, that by the time we reached the top, all we had accomplished was the moving of a rock.

But we were dedicated to our task. And once we got that rock to top, we’d celebrate. We’d all clap, cheer, and go wild with enthusiasm at how we finally got some changes made–whether we really made a difference or not. However, while our attention was turned toward celebrating our victory, that rock would quietly roll back down the hill, completely unnoticed. 

We’d all go back to our jobs, reveling in our new-found freedoms (usually more imagined than real). Soon though, we were again feeling stifled and limited. The grumblings would start, and shortly after that, the rock pushing would begin all over again.

This last time, though, I opted out. I’ve taken a solid look at my life and I’m tired of pushing that rock to nowhere. It’s pointless and inane. Especially, when I have finally realized that no matter what the rules state, I’m going to do whatever I want anyway. It’s what I’ve always done, and what I will always do. So, instead of pushing that rock of rules up the hill of change, I think I’ll just walk around the hill and ignore the whole thing.