Sleep Walking

dreamer2There’s a passage in one of Stephen King’s books where he talks about how his protagonist is avoiding life by burying himself in his writing. SK goes on to say that to the protagonist, the characters in the story he is writing are more real to him than the world and people in which he actually lives. I mention that because for a while I felt as if my life was that way.

I had been burying myself in a pretense of life to the exclusion of what was important. I went into work and I busied myself with how-to guides, indices and table of contents, images and tables. I scurried to meetings, and followed agendas, and answered phones, and all the time all I was really doing was avoiding life—real life.

Oh, I can see you going, “Whoa! Wait a minute; what you described is life.” But you’re so wrong. For me life has never been about creating a physical product or object, or going to meetings so I can listen to someone worry about whether deadlines will be met, or whether we should change the template of our how-to guides. For me life has always been more about why people act the way they do, care about what they do, or say what they do.

Seeing beneath the surface of the games and dramas that people participate in has always been easy for me. So easy, in fact, that I rarely got caught up in the dramas myself—at least not for any length of time. I think this is why, when I realized what I was doing, that it hit me so hard. Here I was, going through the motions of living every day and thinking that this was what it was all about, this was living; then suddenly realizing that what I was doing was really avoiding life.

I literally became a sleep walker during the days—I came into work, did my “thing” and then went home, never recognizing that what I was doing served little purpose but to occupy my mind and keep me from actually seeing beneath the surface to my real life.

I suddenly recognized just how much people do things out of habit. We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that if we don’t have gainful employment that we’ll starve, if we have nowhere to live, we’re failures. Yet, look at how many people manage to do what they want and still get by. How many people are painting, sculpting, selling poetry, hanging out at the beach riding surfboards and just enjoying life?

There’s nothing wrong with any of those options, just as there’s nothing wrong with “working” for a living. I think everyone needs to make their own choices. It’s just for me, I finally recognized that what I was calling “working for a living: was really “hiding” from life. While I want to write, and I want to make money enough to support myself and my husband, I also needed to unbury myself from this false life and continue my search for what’s real—for me. And what’s real for me is understanding the BIG picture—who we are, what we are, and where are we going.

So, although I still work writing how-to manuals, and I still participate in “normal life”, I’m also spending much more time in the astral plane. In the astral plane I can interact with others like myself who are ready to know, who are ready to see what lies beyond. Then during the day, rather than lull myself back into a walking sleep, I study the people around me. Not in a disinterested, mad-scientist way, but rather as stranger to a unique and extraordinary world that I need to understand and figure out.

I see the world through the eyes of someone new; and, like a child, I revel in the beauty and simplicity of a raindrop, or marvel at the sound of bird’s call. I enjoy the fragrance of fresh brewed coffee, or the sight of someone laughing.

Every day is a unique and marvelous occurrence just waiting for me to experience, and experience it, I do. I no longer sleep walk through life, but instead I try to make each day something joyous and positive, even if all I am doing is going to work. Every day is a wonder, and every moment a precious gem.

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Sliding Doors and Choosing a Path in Life

It's all good
It’s all good

Have you ever started out walking down a path, and then halfway round you see another path wandering off through the trees and decide to follow it and see where it goes? I think we all have. And we haven’t actually followed that meandering path, we’ve at least seen it and wondered about it.Most times (at least in my experience), that path eventually finds its way back to the main path that you started out on. However, following that side path usually made for an interesting, and (sometimes) a very memorable, side trip.

Life is very much like that, too, although most of us don’t recognize that fact. We all start out with a goal to our lives (sometimes we know what that goal is, and sometimes we don’t…but it’s there, all the same). Some of us follow a straight path right to the goal; some of us take a more circuitous route; and others do a little of both. Eventually though, we all manage to reach those goals that we set out towards (though, sometimes it may take more than one life if the route taken is extremely adventurous and full of wanderings).

Think about it…how many times have you been going about your day-to-day routine, ensconced in your little rut of everyday life, when something happens to change things. That something can be so small and seemingly insignificant that you don’t even take note of it, or it can be something more notable, something that leaves a more lasting impression.

For instance, your alarm fails to go off and you over sleep. When you awaken, you can decide to just call in and take the day off, or you end up racing around like a mad person trying to get ready to for work. By staying home, you avoid the large 4-car pile-up on the road you normally take to work, and you get to enjoy a splendid summer day hanging out in the woods following that strange intriguing path. The other choice of racing around and trying to get to the office as quickly as possible, causes you to misplace your cell phone, misplace your customer file, and get caught up in the traffic jam to the point that you miss your meetings and are unable to call and reschedule anything because you don’t have your phone with you. Your customers are angry, your boss is angry, and you’re this close to losing your job.

Sometimes when these incidents occur we don’t even realize that we’re making a choice. Many times it seems as if life, fate, or destiny is simply stepping in and we have no say in what happens. But we always have a “say” in what happens to us, even if we don’t realize it, because all the while we’re following our path, our rut, we’re laying the groundwork for other paths to occur.

Every day we make thousands upon millions of choices. Most of these choices are (to us) inconsequential and we make them without giving them a thought. But each of these choices joins up with the choices made before until… wham! We’re on a different path. Yet, because we’re not paying attention to most of the choices we make, it’s as if we arrived on this new path magically. One minute we’re happily ensconced in our lives following our little rut, and the next we’re in a life we don’t recognize at all. Then we look around and wonder “How did I get here?” or “What did I do to deserve this?”, while all along we’ve been pushing ourselves to this point through the choices we’ve been making.

One of the best examples I’ve ever seen of this concept is the movie Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth plays a young woman whose life is rather unremarkable. She works at PR firm in the UK, lives with her boyfriend of many years in a relationship that is as bland as her life. For the most part, she’s content with things, and those few things that bother her…well, that’s just the way life is (or so she believes).

Her day starts as all her days do, and then suddenly it takes a left turn. Based on her choices to a series of seemingly ordinary occurrences, her life changes dramatically…or continues as normal.SlidingDoors

The movie shows us both versions of her life—the one that changed and the one that remained relatively unchanged. The movie runs the versions concurrently, as if showing us two different characters…and, in a way, she is two characters, because the two versions of her are very different. Yet, eventually, as the lives progress and the choices are made, the two versions merge back together.

The goal of most people’s lives is on their main path, and eventually all the side paths guide you back to that main path so that the main life goal is reached.  This is what eventually happens in the movie, too.

The movie is an excellent depiction of how the same life goal is reached even when different paths are followed. It is also an excellent depiction of how small choices can make big impacts in your life.

Sliding Doors is a great reminder that no path you take in life is right or wrong, because all paths get you where you need to be, and make you who you are.