On the other hand…
I read the discussion of “…can you hurt someone by helping too much,” and I marvel at the emotion in people’s words. Sometimes I think that our words and the way we say them are completely out of our control.
We say one thing, mean another, describe one thing, ask another. We rarely reread what we have said, or if we do our eyes play tricks on us and our minds, thinking that we have already read this fails to really see what it is we’re really saying…or in some cases, asking. The fact that we have chosen the words and say/write them as we do and this act creates a window into our person… conveniently escapes us.
But we’re visible.
The computer, the act of communicating by word through air doesn’t really remove our vulnerability or visibility. It just creates that illusion. An illusion that we mistakenly inerpret as strength. So ironic, that we try to experience ‘strength’ in the fantasy of a non-intrusive, non-intimate relationship.
So what are we looking for? When we say our ‘hellos’ and communicate our woes, write our headlines? What are we doing in this act of communication?
Trying o identify ourselves in terms of what we believe, know, have determined to be true?
However, we need someone there to communicate to and back with, someone in whom we can find ourselves, see ourselves mirrored beyond our standard humanoid features. Someone who is ‘like’ us. We like to memorialize our similarity by defining rules, rights, wrongs, what’s true, what isn’t, what’s acceptible, what isn’t. We take comfort in our similarity, we celebrate it by flying flags, singing songs, worshipping agreed upon deities. We take care to teach our children to do the same.
In the name of what? Peace, Love, Contentment….Heaven? And the thing that’s going to get us there is what? Our ability to recreate that which we believe to be true? Our ability to control our lives and teach our children to control theirs? There are rules and they must be adhered to or else the ‘big bogeyman’…Mr. Fear, is going to eat you alive, forever…eternal damnation.
We know that adherence to the ‘rules’ is something we can control, so ‘control’ becomes the optimum condition, or status, and is equated with security, comfort, nurturing…no fear, no fear, no fear.
The problem occurs when things happen that we can’t control, when our minds/egos are submitted to the naked horror that there are things that we can’t control.
Our first reaction, either conscious or sub-conscious may be to rationalize that the ‘idea’ of controlling everything is absurd; obviously one can’t control everything we generously admit to ourselves while secretly harboring the believe that if we hold tight enough onto the illusion of power thru control, immortality will be ours.
There is one little thing, though.
Yup. We’re powerless over that. Big problem. Our minds’ first reaction is to try harder and so we hone our skills, (which are considerable) of denial. We become so good at denial that we are even able to deny that we are in denial. Not everybody is in denial. Are they?Are they?
All of this thinking and over analying instead of just trusting what you’ve been told. Why complicate things? Not everybody has to see it your way. I don’t have to believe what you believe. Believe me, I know what I believe.
Remember that cousin to control; ‘belief?’ We seem to put more emphasis on ‘the act of believing,’ of commiting to ‘belief’ because we are told therein is our salvation, than to listening, really listening to our selves? Why?
Because if we really listen to ourselves, there are some questions that have no answer…and our minds/egos abhor not having an answer….or at least the promise of an answer. (Call that ‘faith?).’
The fear that visits us in our dreams and our very private moments, or more dramatically in catachlism is to be avoided at all costs, even if you have to deny that fear is there at all?
Why do we go to horror films? What is it that we are able to experience in the relative safety of a dark theatre that bears a striking resemblance to this deep-down primal fear within us?
However, outside the theatre, it’s daylight and other people are walking around getting somewhere and there’s no place for fear out here. Not in a safe, comfortable society, right?
Before we know it, we’re in a traffic jam, we’re late, one of the kids is coming down with a nasty cold…you shouldn’t have even brought him to the movie and now you can’t control that he’s getting sick and will likely get everybody in the family sick….and doctor’s bills, missed work…nothing that we have control over. Why? What’s wrong with us? Are we weak? Stupid?
So we get angry with ourselves, but we can’t bear looking at what we’re angry about, (no control), so we get angry at others; for reminding us that we are feeling out of control. Or we become envious, or jealous, spiteful, hurtful, lose our feelings of insufficiency in eating, drinking to much, collecting and exercising power, …there are so, so many intricate and subtle ways our minds continue to glue together the experiences of our lives to help us avoid our fear. There are whole studies, schools of thought, phd’s, licenses provided to identify those that have become a mainspring in our society’s quest to better itself.
So, along comes someone who basically says what the very first caravans meeting in the Euphrates valley at the onset of worldly communication said after the necessary inspection that each was indeed human and not out to eat the other…tonight: This is what I see, this is what I feel, this is what I think about, this is what my experience has meant to me, this is how I hurt, feel joy, feel pain and fear…what about you?
Well all’s fine as long as we stick to the rules. You can talk about all those other feelings with varying degrees of sensitivity as to who you show them to…however, fear …..we are very careful about how we even raise the issue. We have created whole mythologies built on belief that we can overcome fear. Our sports ethic is a test of how well we can maintain control, not succumb to your fear.
Talk about fear? Outside the accepted ways and means? Imply that because I feel fear that others must?
I’m not assuming that anybody has the same fears as I, except for one; fear of no control over mortality. That seems to be the human condition. A condition we all journey with.
And please know that I have no intention of claiming ‘the truth.’ I am claiming A truth…that I have experienced, and upon examination seems to emanate from all humans.
Agree with me, or disagree…please. I’d only ask that you maintain your curiosity about the way that you agree or disagree. It has nothing to do with how good or bad you or I may seem to the other. Even if we practice curiosity in the privacy of our minds, we may get a glimpse or two into how we really feel, or why we act as we do. Again, no judgment, because,whatever we find, we have the ability to remind ourselves that we are able to find it in others.
I am constantly astounded at the ways in which I go blind, in which denial has it’s way with me, or my mind’s protection against my fear of no control. Humbled beyond words.
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By jools, February 17, 2010 @ 2:36 pm
By sknash, February 17, 2010 @ 3:04 pm
Once again Paul, many thanks for sharing your thoughts. Death, a very difficult topic for most. I find it appropriate at this time in my life since I have lost 3 people who were dear to me in the last 8 weeks. I know you know the feeling. I won’t even try to match wits with others here. I tried once and gave myself a headache. I’m afraid some of it just doesn’t make sense. But I wanted you to know that I do read and appreciate all that you write and I thank you for taking the time to do it. You continue to bring light into my life and for that I am eternally grateful. Susan
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 17, 2010 @ 3:24 pm
dear Paul. I understand that everyone has their frustrations and fears impotenciapor not have everything under control, one writes experiences for the other to realize that to some extent every human being has all his troubles and fears we spend absolutely all problems equal or diferntes I particularly am writing to show my fears unburden my concerns is not easy to live in this world but not impossible, the experiences of each are not more important than the neighbor-many times we feel we are the navel of the world, I this I the other is more my problem than yours “or lying? if everyone heard and saw in their environment they would realize that absolutely everyone is united, as you say is my truth and my truth I say that’s not why I’m going to try, if you understand, when we understand that nothing is under our control-one can suggest or saybut the decision is on the other self or are we fools. we are weak? YES YES-sers are human, we were wrong. we fall, we rise and probably not return to the same thing we learn, we are selfish always thinking Ho my problem, my struggle, I fear what about the other? Love peace. “Donde esta? life hits but teaches you see as I said on another blog where we should fall into the deepest abyss to realize that we are just human beings? about light and darkness in the same good and evil live in peace war in a competitive field where you want to be more than the other. or have more power. because they think they have everything under control “to control?Today we know that tomorrow is not in our control plan you can live “I mean this as if it were the latter (doing things right to be free not debauchery) doing good to others and yourself and think about the future as if we were to live 100 years will I understand the point? there will always be a question in our lives the death of truth – if I say I’m having a tough time as 1 day and four did not receive the wage not “who would intereza? always tell you if someone happens to me but This does not listen. not help that 2 years ago not leave my house for having vertigo intereza “who would? and this is true not lying, man its essence is being selfishLife goes on and remain in it even against the current is like being in a tumultuous river paddling and paddling and have not picked up by others in my neighbor you were wondering like I am the complete opposite of what I wrote I’m always there when needed and therefore I deny not, we all have a mission in life — and live as I always love — GOD BLESS YOU GREATLY and I apologize DESAHOGO ME THANK YOU FOR THIS BLOG — Hilda Liporace (Argentina)
By Sammy, February 17, 2010 @ 3:53 pm
“The computer, the act of communicating by word through air doesn’t really remove our vulnerability or visibility. It just creates that illusion”
Very true Michael:
I can only comment through my own experiences- One time not so long ago I was playing a board games online with people I knew by screen-names. Oneday this person.. let me call her TTT (assuming that person was a female) sat at my ‘online game table’ and we struck up a conversation. She asked me whether I was a male or a female- I answered I can be whatever she wanted me to be… She asked me to be a guy.. I said OK… So that’s what I was for her. We played and chatted for 3 hours (I had never played for more than 1 hour before that day). I have never enjoyed a conversation that much. After sometime she said she wanted to tell me something she never was comfortable talking with other people… She had terminal cancer. I understood why she wanted to connect with someone whom she didn’t know. She asked me whether she could add me as a ‘friend’ so that she could play with me if I sign in. I said OK. We played at least 3 times a week starting from that day. We played, shared each other’s passions, all conversations were full of funny stories and just plain nonsense… We enjoyed each other’s company not knowing our true identities … For all I know TTT could be a guy. She does not play anymore… and I had to assume the worst. It was a “non intrusive relationship”. Yet I have to admit the connection I felt with her was as real as the sense of loss I felt in her absence. Who knows… we may not have enjoyed each other’s company if we had met for real… One would never know.
For most of us that blog in here we are screen names to others.. Our part is easy. We share only our thoughts.. not our identity…
But Michael… you share with us your whole self. You expose yourself knowing what can come back at you. Yet you are not afraid to share your thoughts. You are exceptional!Should I say more..?
By moncanzuba, February 17, 2010 @ 5:09 pm
Dear Mr. Glaser,
The timing of your post could not be more perfect regarding to the fear of “not having control of certain issues”.
In fact, no long ago I was telling my therapist how annoying is for me when I am not “in control” of some things.
Although I am perfectly aware that the ONLY thing we CAN control is ourselves, it still gets me on my nerve sometimes.
Then was when she helped me to understand that there are moments/things that we can control, but when it comes from outside us, the only way to “get in control” is to accept that we havo NO control at all.
Acceptance is a very good way to start dealing with those things we have no control of and in my case is working well. Of course it takes a lots of work and effort to face ourselves helpless in front of some situations, but we still have the power to choose a new corse and move on, and the acceptance of this fact makes us more compassionate with ourselves getting us the peace of mind we seek.
It is No easy at all, but it is a start, a good one that day by day gathers more wisdom for us.
Again, words are not enough to thank your generosity for sharing your own life experiences with us. It really is an honour and a pleasure to be part of this enlighting excersise.
Monica (from Argentina)
By Sue, February 17, 2010 @ 6:02 pm
Denial over my fear of death? Maybe. Probably. But I know I’ve had some interesting insights into it.
When I was a kid, my idol was my father’s youngest sister, who was an RN at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in their Infant ICU. She would tell me stories about all of the premature and malformed infants in her care and what she did to stave off death in even the most hopeless cases.
And I said to myself, “I’m going to be just like her, but *better*. I’m gonna *save* all those babies she couldn’t. I’m gonna *beat* death, and I’m gonna be Super Nurse!”
So that’s the course my life followed. I went to Villanova like she did, and got my first job at CHOP in their infant intensive care unit. And for the first year, that’s exactly what I did. I was Super Nurse, trying every thing at every turn to try and keep 18 week eight ounce infants alive. It was in the early eighties where the technology isn’t what it is today (not that today is all that much better), but I failed, time and time again.
And I came to the realization that there is only one thing that is my lord and master. Not a god I never believed in. No, it was death. No matter how good I was, no matter what I learned, what I did, how hard I hoped, or dreamed, or loved, or cried, those babies died. No, not all of them. I had a few successes, but most, yes, most of them just weren’t formed enough or strong enough, and I simply wasn’t *good* enough to beat death when it came to call.
My world was changed when I finally came to that admission. I knew that I couldn’t defeat so strong an enemy. Not with all my intelligence, my hope, my desire, my caring, my love, my skill. *Nothing* was going to stop it. Even in the children I managed to steal away from its hands will eventually come to it in the end. I’ve managed to give them who knows how long on the earth before the inevitable comes to visit in the end?
Some of the babies I proudly placed into parents’ joyful arms died a month later. Some a year. Some a decade. Some are still alive twenty years later. But no matter what I did, they will one day be exactly as are the ones I couldn’t stave off that final trip no matter what I tried.
And it will come for me one day. It could be a minute from now, it could be fifty years. I don’t know. But I DO know it will come. And *most* of the time, I tell myself I’m comfortable with that. It’s inevitable. Fighting does no good. It only delays the inevitable. I tell myself that the infant breathing her last is *exactly* as alive as I am, holding her in my arms and rocking her as she dies. She is no less alive, while breathing that last breath than I am alive. It’s only when she stops and I must go on that I wonder who’s better off. Her pain and worries are over.
I have no belief in a hereafter. I don’t need any. I have no desire to live in some paradise or live another life. That doesn’t mean I wish to die. I just know that no matter what I do, it’s going to come.
The only thread of control I like to believe I have is what I like to believe I give to those infants in my care. To make their death, when the doctors order the ventilator removed, as comfortable as I can. To be held in the arms of someone who loves them and sees them off to sleep. It’s the best I can offer most of the time. I hope it’s the same for me when it’s my time. I hope that with all my heart. But in the end, death is going to come, and it may come in agony, or it may come in the arms of someone who loves me, but it WILL come. And there’s not one thing that I will *ever* be able to do to stop it.
Fatalistic? Maybe. Denial? Maybe. But it’s what I’ve believed for over twenty five years now, and I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.
By eggnoggon, February 17, 2010 @ 7:03 pm
Perhaps until the end, fear is a friend on which to depend. For fear will never let you down, it will companion you throughout- from beginning to end, in good times and bad, in every dark alley, in every blinding light, in the screams of silence and in the silence of the screams, in laughter and in love. Fear is my friend, keeping me safe, calling on her friend courage, together helping me face the known and the unknown. Never alone, and for that I am grateful. That’s me and thanks for being you and you and you……
By Rachelle, February 17, 2010 @ 7:37 pm
Thanks Paul that was very nicely explained. You’re a bright light trying to help others!
LOL Pam I must say that extra thick-double-chocolate-double-malt-malt from Cafe50’s does sound quite good. I’m just saying.*g* I also liked the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote it’s very nice! Thank you for sharing!
By fee, February 18, 2010 @ 12:58 am
I have re read and thought hard before replying to your latest blog Paul. Sammy is correct in saying that you have opened yourself completely to us in these blogs and I for one always enjoy reading what you share even when I haven’t completely understood the meaning of some of what you have shared with us.
My eyes have been opened to a new way of thinking about life and how we react to situations. It is so easy for us to judge and quite often come to the wrong judgement. It is something that I know for myself I am always trying to avoid.
I have always had the need to be around people in the jobs that I have had ie library. The love of books and the love of people have always been a strong influence. That is why I love this blog as it is bringing so many of us together from all walks of life and varying parts of the globe.
Those of you posting on here that know me will testify that I love to communicate!! Lol! I just get myself tongue tied at times.
Anyway I am in total agreement with what both Paul and Pam M have said.
PS Pammy! Double choc malt!! Sounds wickedly yummy! My downfall is chocolate covered marzipan!
Thanks again for sharing with us,
By Christine, February 18, 2010 @ 4:57 am
Its great to read your thoughts again!. It is always a positive and refreshing lesson I learn when I come on here.
The last few days I have spent most of my time sitting in intensive care with my best friend who was rushed into hospital suddenly. This man is normally fit and healthy, he cycles every where, he is the last person I would have thought would end up so ill.
I have remained totally positive with him, you know telling him he will be fine etc. Its what we do, in these situations almost as if the positive thinking in itself will make him well again. I have had many moments of terrible ‘fear’ when I have considered he may not make it, which is then pushed to one side by the mind saying ‘no he’ll be fine’
I haven’t cried so much in years because I feel like there is no control in this, I can’t make him better, and the feeling of being helpless, and totally unable to help drives me nuts!.In turn my patience is wearing thin and even waiting on a taxi back and forwards to the hospital has me stressed out lol.
Thank you for your insight into our ‘fear’ of death you have given me strengh and hope, you are as ever my inspiration. With love as always Christine. xx
By Rachelle, February 18, 2010 @ 7:17 am
I’m sorry to hear your best friend is ill and I hope he’ll be feeling better soon. I send many get well wishes and I’ll pray for him, too. It’s good that Paul’s shared thoughts are a comfort to you.
If you need to talk feel free to pm me.
By Christine, February 18, 2010 @ 7:44 am
Thank you for your caring and your prayers, I’ve done a lot of praying myself lately so finger’s crossed it will help!
Every time hard times hit Paul’s wisdom and positive attitude have helped me out. I am very grateful for that. You are a great support too Rach, thank you.
with love Christine xx
By hilly, February 18, 2010 @ 12:37 pm
(trying not to think of double chocolate malt)
Fee is right – Paul you seem to have completely opened yourself to us in these blogs but may I add (although this sounds like a contradiction)you still manage to hang on to your discretion (your intimacy in the truest meaning of the word).
There is so much to think about in what you have said…this fear of the ultimate loss of control that is death (even if we may be allowed to control our going if the doctors are honest and humane enough).
When I first read this I was listening to Crosby Stills Nash (and Young? I can never remember if he was on that album) singing “Teach your children”…how appropriate:
You who are on the road
must have a code that you can live by
and so become yourself
because the past is just a goodbye
Teach your children well
their father’s hell
will slowly go by
and feed them on your dreams
the one they pick
the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why
if they told you, you would cry
so just look at them and sigh
and know they love you.
And you, of tender years
can’t know the fears
that your elders grew by
and so please help them with your youth
they seek the truth
before they can die.
(Can you hear and do you care
and can’t you see we must be free
to teach our children what you believe in
make a world that we can believe in)
Teach your parents well
their children’s hell
will slowly go by
and feed them on your dreams
the one they picks
the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why
if they told you, you would cry
so just look at them and sigh
and know they love you.
By xtexan86, February 18, 2010 @ 6:38 pm
Talking about fear of death, I guess that’s why my ears always perk up when I hear people talk about their ‘near death’ experiences.
The first time I heard such a story was in high school, some 30+++ years ago. It wasn’t so much what the woman had to say, it was the look in her eyes. To this day, I have never seen so much peace reflected in someone’s eyes.
Not surprisingly, she wasn’t afraid of death anymore. I’ve also heard of others being very upset that they DIDN’T die…forced to come back to a life full of pain, turmoil and war.
Now, I know people might say the ‘white light’ experience is just the brain’s reaction to lack of oxygen and that also explains the crazy dreams and sensations these people claim they had. Maybe, possibly, certainly ‘sounds’ scientific. Who really knows for sure?
Even though I believe in an afterlife, I find myself with mixed feelings for those who don’t. One being…admiration! What keeps me trudging through life, is the belief that when it ends, there is a better place for people who have tried to live good lives and an ultimate judgement for those who have chosen more darker lives. So, for someone to believe that the here and now is all we will ever have, and to still live life in such a caring and giving way, I think that’s pretty amazing.
If I believed differently, I don’t think I’d have much of a conscience. I mean, what would be the purpose? The only entity I would be accountable to is myself. So I steal a little money from my employer, run like hell after hitting a parked car. As long as I’m not caught, what’s the harm? Certainly not to me.
And I’ve heard atheists and agnostics claim this theory of divine judgement was just something thought of eons ago so that mankind would behave themselves. Could be, but I don’t buy it.
So, those who have differing thoughts, I’d like to hear them. I don’t believe I have the right answer and like PMG said, I don’t claim to know ‘the truth.’ Also, I am NOT implying that those who believe in a religion or here-after, are in some way ‘better’ than those who don’t. There are probably just as many people that have been turned away from religion as those who have been converted, strictly due to questionable actions and behavior from those who have professed to be religious.
To end this post with what I started, I don’t think I’d want to have a near death experience, just so I can see what happens for myself. To me, that is what ‘faith’ is all about. The willingness to believe in something even though you have no proof that it exists.
Thanks for letting me share. (P.S. – I see the banished subject of ‘chocolate’ has reared its ugly head again!)
By Sarah Levy, February 18, 2010 @ 11:52 pm
The subject of whether a person can have a conscience, if they don’t believe in a supreme being or an afterlife, is an interesting one.
Over the past few years, I have come to believe that there is an afterlife. However, I do not believe in a god/a supreme being. I still have a conscience though. I did before I had any belief in an afterlife. I do not think that a person who is without religious beliefs does not have any moral code. Personally, I would not steal, would not intentionally harm someone, because I know it would be the wrong thing to do and that would be on my conscience. I would hate to cause suffering to anyone.
I hope that goes some way to answering your question.
By Softly, February 19, 2010 @ 2:02 am
Dear Mr Glaser,
So many questions, so many interesting things to think about, so many avenues to explore. Like a box of chocolates, where to begin, how to commune back?
Well first things first, I’ll create the illusion that these questions are not all rhetorical, that these questions are for me to think about and find my answer to, so from the top:
It didn’t escape me and I’m well aware that what I say and write opens me up for all to see, if they want to. What they see is up to them and depends on the window they are looking out off.
I read and reread, carefully removing my interpretation of your words as best I can. Merely skimming them will not make me find the charge. I write and rewrite until I can rewrite no more and what I say is as clear as I can make it, without losing me.
In doing so I learn to see me, but I’m forever wondering: “Am I even visible?”
Seeing you say I am visible makes my hart dance, for my biggest fear is being invisible. To discover that there is no one out there, no one looking in, and no one to connect with, that I am alone after all. So I’m happy to be seen and embrace my vulnerability in it.
This for me it is a quest of finding. Finding me, Finding you finding you. Finding you finding me. This process is intrusive and highly intimate and the relationship is there. To relate or not to relate is not the question. However airy, fleeting or profound, we relate. It is the human condition or so my illusion goes.
This quest is to see my core and strip away the canvases by which I and others want to identify me, and then shed that skin and strip away the next layer and the next and the next. In this uncovering I find my strength.
Within the dialogue I learn to see who you see when you see me, how I see me when you see me, who I see when you are not looking, who you are when you look back at me, how you see you and who you want me to see. It is in the to and fro that we grow.
It is a comfort to know we are all very alike, like it is very comforting to know that I’m not like you at all. We can blend and we can clash, from both we learn as long as we don’t armor ourselves in rules or build righteous towers of apartheid.
In the name of vulnerability I relinquish control and say my hello’s, please don’t be afraid. Like you I have no control over life and death, like you I have only control over my intent and the way I handle my lack of control.
I have loads of fears and some, or maybe all, have to do with control or lack thereof.
Where you might fear having no control over mortality, I fear having no control over life. Where I use my death as the ultimate mirror, you might use your life as the ultimate mirror.
Knowing my death is inevitable I don’t have to fear or fret about lack of control over that big event, that’s relatively easy. Like knowing you can’t control the sea or the wind, I’m no Don Quichotte when it comes to my mortality.
Then one day I realized that there is inevitability in life as well, so there should be no need to fear or vex. Slowly I’m learning to do away with rules, rights, wrongs and relinquish minds imaginary control over life’s events, I have to admit that for me that’s a fair bit harder.
Slowly I polish the mirror so I can see me. So I can see you and you and you. So I can see you seeing me. So I can see you being me, see me being you.
Can I sing a little while polishing? Have a celebration every now and then? Utter my frustration? Clash with yours? Do you dare to look? What will you say then?
Being of a stubborn nature it’s hard to trust what I’ve been told and follow meekly, I have to test, prod and poke, shake it good, turn it inside out and upside down, sink my teeth in it, test it against my flexibility and vulnerability, test my flexibility and vulnerability against it. I need to wrestle with it till neither knows who’s what any more and it gels or not.
I’m not much of a believer in salvation by something out there, although I’d sometimes wished I would believe. Cause sometimes I don’t want to know the solution and salvation lies within myself, it’s too hard. Too hard, you solve this, you Guru, you. You God, you. You Star, you. Not me, no…. too hard, too scary. But I never could give up that control, so I listen.
I listen to me, I listen to you listening to you, I listen to you listening to me, and I hear the questions to which ego has no answer and I hear the questions to which there are no answers at all.
“Just sit if you dare” my teacher once said “or are you scared of the immense silence that is yours when you fully accept you are you?” He knew how to challenge me, so I sat there for long time and fell into that immense silence, and you know, it wasn’t all that scary after all. The cacophony of the “comfortable” and “safe” society I find far more scary.
I have to dig deep to understand the longing for fear and the urge to go look for it in a movie theater or on the end of a bungee cord. Maybe then we feel save enough to experience fear as the powerful reminder of being alive it is. A legal dose of an uncontrollable serge of lifes force, a force we are not accustom to feeling here now behind this computer.
The question I keep asking myself is what’s holding me back feeling truly alive all the time. What strange exercise of control is that?
I marvel at the way we like to tell our ghost stories, listen to and look at the tragedies and despair of others. Fear by proxy? Why?
To understand I listen to the storytellers of Old and of digital.
I listen to their myths of fear, how to overcome, how to stare the boogeyman right in the eye and shoo him away, how fear can make you grow strong, how fear does not live under your bed but in you.
I listen to the myths they tell of love, how it can grow, how it can scare you when you look it right in the eye, how love doesn’t live in your bed but in you.
I listen and I learn, I tell the story and I learn. I learn my strengths is my vulnerability and to be visibly curios while unveiling me.
So here I’m, visible, vulnerable and curios, with my own experience and a forever expanding understanding, sharpening my focus and deepening my appreciation, with the clarity that I’ll never find the truth, humbled by the persistent changes and my impending death. For you to take it as you like and I’ll take it as I go along because I like.
Grateful for you offering up this “blogs of chocolates” and the opportunity to percent you some out of my box*
I remain forever learning, Softly
* No malice added
* Loss of control and fear guarantied
* These words can cause allergic reactions
* None of the above guaranties can be guarantied
p.s I don’t deny denial, although she tried to be denied, she is such a tricky thing. I just need some time alone with her, so I’ll come back on that one, that is if she doesn’t play one of her tricks on me and makes me forget she exists.
By Christine, February 19, 2010 @ 6:11 am
You know it never struck me to question my ‘faith’ until various things happened in life that I just can’t find answers to.
The power of prayer I’m now wondering after years of thinking it was the right thing to do in times of fear or in thanks for the good things that happen to us; is it ‘faith’ that brings us through or would things in life eventually work themselves out anyway? I really don’t mean to offend anyone or question any other’s ‘faith’ no I’m simply questioning my own personal views on it. I guess that’s all one can do. For a lot of year’s the Buddhist way of thinking has attracted me, reading up on it I found a lot of what they believe was what I had believed in for years. I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not to be honest.
Its like what you said Paul, that our minds can’t stand not having the answers all of the time. You were also right in the fact that we pass down to our children the same rules, the rights and wrongs which of course is needed; but then again they in turn will do the same to their children and the process starts over again. Questions and more questions but when do we ever find the right answer? Is there a right or wrong answer? or are we meant to individually make up our own minds and yet somehow stay connected? I often tell my daughter to stay true to herself, as long as you know you have done your best, if you can put your hand on your heart and say I really tried ( even if you fail miserably!) you know you gave your all. Thank you for the wise words Paul, you have my mind working overtime again! With love as always, Christine xx
By Sammy, February 19, 2010 @ 7:21 am
Well Michael.. To know what one believe is the greatest strength one can ever have. To openly announce it one needs more than just that strength.
Christine and xtexan86… I think I believe in something similar to that of yours.
Our minds and our acts are sharpened by what our parents taught us. With time you think for yourself and try to understand whether what we have been taught make sense. Most of them do and when it doesn’t you sought answers by yourself. That’s when the true learning begins.
I for one am a strong believer in Buddhist philosophy. Bear with me when I say most of us are Buddhists. We just don’t know it. Buddhism is not a religion… it is a way of living. I write what I believe – just what I believe to make me a better person. I see what I believe in every person… Everyone just sees it in a different way.
I believe that the core teachings of all religions are the same. None of the religions believe in violence, crime, theft, infidelity, lies etc etc … It is us, human beings, people, who have interpreted, changed and twisted the teachings in a way to justify our way of living. I believe ‘high powers’ (or Gods) exist. But I do not believe any of those high powers created the world or any of us who live in it. I will believe a scientific explanation in how the world came to exist. For me high powers were once human beings but these human beings have been ‘elevated into another energy level’ due to the accumulation of immense energy levels by acts or sacrifices or ‘good deeds’ they have performed. They are in a higher plane than normal human beings.
I am not a very eloquent person … English is not my first language hence; I try to write and make sense what I believe with the little vocabulary I know.
I am a firm believer in reincarnation, after life, past lives…. I believe we have born in this world earlier and will be born again and again until we defeat death by not coming into existence at all. If you can stop being born, you will defeat death. Our physical body decays. Our ‘spirit’ keeps moving on and on forever from one physical entity to another of different shapes (Spirit= mind or whatever word one use to describe the non-physical part of us).
We are what we did. We are what we do. We live a way of life depending on what we have brought with us (karma- good and bad) from our past lives. When something bad happens we cannot believe or explain “why this happened to me when I have not done anything wrong to anyone’’….. For me I believe that I have no one else to blame but myself – my spirit (not my current physical body) … I in some life have failed to recognize right and wrong and had committed some bad deed that has now come back to me. Every action has a reaction.
A ‘good way’ of living increases our ‘good energy’ which will take us into a better place in our next life. Needless to say it will also help us move into a better life we already have. Doing ‘bad’ deeds will decrease our energy level and we would be pulled into ‘bad’ places… bad lives. Heaven and hell exist among us. This is what I believe.
To live a ‘complete’ life one needs to believe in something. It does not have to be a religion. Your beliefs can come from all religions or it can come from non-religious philosophical teachings… or it can be something you have come up with yourself. Where it comes from does not matter. What matters is what you really believe in. What is right to one person is wrong to someone else. There is no ‘one’ right way to live.
By Rachelle, February 19, 2010 @ 7:50 am
Thanks Christine (earlier post I’m responding to) and please keep me posted on your best friend. I will contuine to pray for him!!…..
On the topic of faith I do believe in God and salvation – that is when my biggest personal changes came. That’s me and I understand that we all have our own beliefs. As humans we should be respectful, kind and loving toward each other no matter the differences. It would make the world a much happier place! That’s what I get from the shared thoughts!
Happy Friday everyone, Rach
By PamT, February 19, 2010 @ 9:34 am
I found myself having to read Paul’s blog entry a few times – every sentence seems to cut right to the chase. I could have picked any number of aspects to comment on, but I suppose I’ve focused on those that have hit particularly close to home for me. I’d like to stress that my responses are emanating from a glimpse at my own reflection in the mirror – I hope as clear-sightedly as I’m capable of. Nothing is ‘aimed’ against any other poster(s).
“The problem occurs when things happen that we can’t control, when our minds/egos are submitted to the naked horror that there are things that we can’t control.
Our first reaction, either conscious or sub-conscious may be to rationalize that the ‘idea’ of controlling everything is absurd; obviously one can’t control everything we generously admit to ourselves while secretly harboring the believe that if we hold tight enough onto the illusion of power thru control, immortality will be ours.”
I found these paragraphs rather unnerving, but only because for me they hit the target with unerring accuracy – I almost felt like a kid being caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I think the ‘control effect’ might be further amplified by the tendency at such times for some of us to rein ourselves in – trying at any cost to ‘keep it together’. If we start to crumble and ‘lose control’, we are scared as to where it all might end?
“All of this thinking and over-analyzing instead of just trusting what you’ve been told. Why complicate things? Not everybody has to see it your way. I don’t have to believe what you believe. Believe me, I know what I believe.
Remember that cousin to control; ‘belief?’ We seem to put more emphasis on ‘the act of believing,’ of committing to ‘belief’ because we are told therein is our salvation, than to listening, really listening to our selves? Why?
Because if we really listen to ourselves, there are some questions that have no answer…and our minds/egos abhor not having an answer….or at least the promise of an answer. (Call that ‘faith?).’”
I wonder whether over-analysis and over-complication can sometimes be used as a diversionary tactic and something to hide behind, whether consciously or not. Because? Well, perhaps by drawing other issues/concerns into the equation and muddying the water, we can then side-step taking a really good long hard look at ourselves, and indeed, listening to what our feelings are telling us.
Are we sometimes afraid of what we may find if we do? I know I certainly have been on more than a few occasions. Sometimes fears of inadequacies and a myriad of other stuff, but also for me a very tangible fear of ‘the biggie’. Before starting to read this series of shared thoughts, the pivotal roles that helplessness played in all these other fears and anxieties had not occurred to me. Incidentally, I find keeping things simple can sometimes be one of the hardest things to accomplish in many avenues of life. When it comes to analysing, the mind cannot be faulted for its propensity and tenacity!
And trust – touched upon already in this context by Softly in what struck me as a fascinating post. Not an opposing view from me by any means, but I did pick up on the phrase ‘Being of a stubborn nature it’s hard to trust what I’ve been told and follow meekly’. I found that interesting because it was also my instinctive reaction. Then I got to wondering whether PMG has in fact requested anything of us – other than we accept that what he writes is a ‘truthful’ sharing (reflecting his experience and beliefs), consider it and in return have a ‘truthful’ awareness of why we might respond or react in the way we do? Might anything else be more of our own construction – springing from our personal reactions to his thoughts while we are considering where we stand now and where we might want to be? Is the issue of trust intertwined with the issue of fear and perhaps lying elsewhere – within ourselves, maybe? I don’t know.
Finally, I’d like to say how very touching I found parts of Sue’s post. I’ll leave it at that – anything else I write would be in danger of sounding completely inadequate. And I’ve very much enjoyed reading some of the other contributions on here too.
Sincere appreciation, Paul, for once again giving of yourself and your time. Thank you.
Not drowning but waving (for now)
By hilly, February 19, 2010 @ 1:54 pm
“Thanks for letting me share. (P.S. – I see the banished subject of ‘chocolate’ has reared its ugly head again!)
you can’t keep chocaholics down!
On near death experiences. So far so good – I haven’t come to that. But my mum did. Her appendix burst while the surgeon was looking to see what was casing her stomach pains, result toxemia…and a huge dose of penicillin to which she had a severe allergic reaction. She told me that she had a clear moment when she knew that if she didn’t make a conscious effort to hang on she was going to die. No bright light; no heavenly choirs…she remembers silence and darkness.
Like me, my mum rejected all ‘conventional’ notions of god a very long time ago. Perhaps that is why she didn’t have the kind of experience others do – she wasn’t expecting a heavenly flash.
Unlike my mum, I have come to question what I do believe (no, make that what I need to trust) and reading Paul’s thoughts, and the comments of other far more experienced travelers on the paths of Buddhism than I am, makes me realise how little I need “God” but how much I want to find a guide-book to the journey towards a concept of god. (that’s a big difference) And in that search I find myself confronting that same old fear; that unavoidable, you can’t escape it, it comes to us all in the end, bogey man…death. What do I fear in death? Pain and the lack of control mostly. I do not want to be helpless; without the help,the genuine help and guidance to face that final great step forward out of the known, off the beaten track and into…what?
And from that comes fear. It takes confidence to step forward into the unknown without fear.
And so as Paul points out there is a relationship between fear and belief and faith.
those who hold strongly to their beliefs need have no fear.
“Oh ye of little faith” The Jesuits used to counter questions and challenges by saying ‘you don’t need to believe just have faith’….sneaky!
But is faith a shelter or a cop-out? Have faith and you need not fear? Constantly confronting our questions can serve to reinforce faith…or undermine it. Can we believe something without having faith in it? I believe we can…I believe we should. It seems to me that as long as we confront our fear with questions and a search for the truth we are seeking (and we all have a different truth)we have to set faith aside. Faith – not trust. Trust your instincts; trust yourself not to step out into the void but to put one foot in front of the other on the road ahead. A little fear is the product of a healthy imagination and may protect you from stepping into the dragon’s cave without thinking about the risk. Trust your instincts – but don’t confuse that trust with blind faith.
And when we really feel that we can trust our instincts…we will overcome our fears.
By xtexan86, February 19, 2010 @ 2:26 pm
Popping in again,
I’m absolutely amazed at all of these posts, and it’s only from the desire to not take up so much space that I resist replying personally to all the comments I have found truely thought-provoking.
With one exception, I will quote Sammy -
“If you can stop being born, you will defeat death.”
One of the last meaningful things I got to hear from my dad before he had a stroke and lost his ability to speak, was of an experience he had that made him believe in reincarnation, or ‘recycling’ as he put it. To say this mildly, it was almost like hearing him say he’d switched from being a devout Christian to an atheist.
I feel there is some truth reincarnation, and Sammy’s comment certainly rang true with me.
To continue just a bit longer on my earlier thread, I was raised under the philosophy of ‘do good, be good’ so you will go to Heaven. Understandibly, I’m very curious how those who were raised differently, ie, ‘when we die, we die and that’s it’ still believe in this same ‘goodness factor’–’I do good because it makes me happy.’
Is that what makes us different from the animal kingdom? That we have a propensity to want to behave? If so, where does that desire come from? An animal eats to live. We seem to live to eat.
Hmmm, I think I need to go dwell on this more and eat some chocolate.
By xtexan86, February 19, 2010 @ 2:33 pm
Okay, one last thing.
PMG, thanks so much for this recent post. There’s so much here to take in, I’ll certainly need to reread it again and again.
But there was just one little section that didn’t quite sound like you…
“There is one little thing, though.
Yup. We’re powerless over that. Big problem.”
That was definitely “Starsky-speak.”
By Sammy, February 19, 2010 @ 2:52 pm
Haa haaa.. xtexan86.. I am 100% with you with your latest comment on Starsky – Yep!! I am still smiling!
By stonealbatross, February 19, 2010 @ 4:49 pm
I read Paul’s lastest blog just after it was posted when I was in a particularly good mood and it sent my mind off on a line of querky humour that made me laugh out loud. I re-read the blog now when going through some of those long dark hours of the soul and I find myself being dragged down to the deep, dark places I started using this web site to avoid.
It’s amazing how much our moods and experiences at any particular time can affect the way we interpret something.
Then I scrolled down and started re-reading the previous entry until I reach the phrase “..have another cupcake.” and that made me smile, for some reason it always does, I don’t know why, I’m not even particulary found of cupcakes. So now I feel a little less.. well let’s not go there, the important thing is that we look for these little moments of happiness, these flashes of light, and hold on to them, because these are the things that brighten the majority of our lives. The grand joyous times can carry us for a while, but they tend not to come too often; cupcakes however you can find everyday.
By Sue, February 19, 2010 @ 6:51 pm
I’ve heard the argument about those believing in an afterlife perhaps wondering if they didn’t, would they have a conscience?
And, absolutely no disrespect intended upon you, but that argument sometimes leaves me cold.
I think of it this way: In this life, the one you’re living here on earth, who would you rather trust:
Person A: Who does good because he 1. fears retribution if he doesn’t, or 2. anticipates a great reward as if he does
Person B: Someone who does good simply because it IS good. Someone who does good not because he expects or anticipates a reward for doing good, but simply because it IS good?
I’ll answer my own question. I trust person B.
I find myself not trusting a person who only does good because he’s afraid to get punished if he does bad, or anticipates something wonderful as long as he continues to do good.
I feel that type of person lacks a deep empathy. I believe in no afterlife. I do good because I know how I would feel if bad were done to me. I don’t NOT steal because I’m afraid of getting arrested, or going to some Hellfire and Brimstone place after I shuffle off this mortal coil. I do good because it’s good. Because stealing from my fellow man deprives him of something he has worked to receive. I do not murder my fellow man because I would deprive him of the life he was meant to live. I do not commit adultery because I would cause hurt to someone else.
I don’t NOT speed in my car because I’m afraid I’m going to get a ticket and points on my license. I don’t speed simply because if I do, I may cause an innocent to be hurt because of my selfishness.
It has nothing to do with some punishment/reward system. I’m a human being with a conscience and empathy for my fellow man. To use the overused cliche, I won’t do unto him what I don’t want done unto me.
Am I perfect? Hardly. I’m human and come hardwired to do things that cause me regret, but those regrets don’t come about because I’m afraid some vengeful God will cast me in a lake or fire, or I won’t get my promised harp in Heaven. I regret because I caused hurt to someone.
Note I’m not saying to give up your hope for an afterlife. If it provides comfort, it’s all good. But I do say: trust yourself. You’re better than you know, and you don’t need some proctor in the sky looking over your shoulder to keep you on the straight and narrow. You do that all by yourself every day of your life.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 19, 2010 @ 11:33 pm
QUERIDO PAUL -QUERIDOS Y AMADOS TODOS ME GUSTA LEER Y LEER TODO LO QUE USTED ESCRIBE Y COMO ESPLICA SUS PENSAMIENTOS HAY VARIOS TEMAS POR TRATAR EL AMOR .LA FE .LA MUERTE .LA IMPOTENCIA .YO FUI CRIADA CON MUCHO AMOR- RESPETO Y LIBERTAD ME ENSEÑARON A NO MENTIR Y ESE ES UN PUNTO IMPORANTE EN MI VIDA .LA RESPONSABILIDAD EL TRATO RESPETUOSO HACIA EL OTRO ,PERO REALMENTE UNO TOMA LA DECICION DE TOMAR LO ENSEÑADO GRACIAS A DIOS APRENDI -DIOS -YO TENGO FE CADA UNO TIENE SUS CREENCIAS LAS RESPETO YO CREO QUE NADIE SE SALVA POR OBRAS SI POR FE EN LA VIDA HAY QUE HACER EL BIEN SIN PEDIR NADA A CAMBIO O SERIA HIPOCRECIA SER INCONDICIONAL -LA IMPOTENCIA YO PUEDO TENER IMPOTENCIA POR VARIOS MOTIVOS O CIRCUSTANCIAS NO TODOS PENSARAN COMO YO TODOS SOMOS IGUALES PERO CON VIVENCIAS SIMILARES IGUALES O DIFERENTES ES LA VIDA A UNO LE DUELE MAS A OTRO MENOS PARA MI LA IMPOTENCIA ES VER CUANDO LE PEGAN A LOS NIÑOS YO LE PUEDO DECIR A ESA PERSONA QUE NO LO REALICE MAS PERO ESA PERSONA TIENE LA DECICION DE HACERLO O NO ES AHI DONDE SIENTO IMPOTENCIA NO PUEDO HACER NADA O VER EL HAMBRE LA POBREZA LAS GUERRAS LOS ATENTADOS ESO ME DA IMPOTENCIA NO TENGO CONTROL SOBRE ESO ,UNO PUEDE TENER CONTROL ¿CONTROL? EN LAS DECICIONES EN EL DIARIO VIVIR ¡ME COMO O NO ME COMO EL PASTELITO ¡¡ PERO SI UNO FUE CRIADO BIEN CON RESPETO AMOR Y LIBERTAD YA NUESTRO SER ESTA CAPASITADO PARA AMAR -MUCHOS ME HAN DICHO QUE SOY TONTA O….. PERO NO ME INTEREZA YO SOY COMOP SOY DOY SIN PEDIR NADA A CAMBIO ,SI TODOS PONDRIAMOS UN POCO .UN POCO DE AMOR EN LO QUE HACEMOS DECIMOS ¡¡TODO SERIA TAN FACIL ¡¡ PERO NO UNO DA AMOR Y MUCHAS VECES NO HAY RESPUESTA -NO HAY COMPRENCION —AMARAS A TU PROJIMO COMO A TI MISMO — CREO QUE ESA ES LA BASE PARA ESTAR EN ARMONIA CON EL OTRO Y CON UNO MISMO ,TENGO FE MUCHA FE SIEMPRE DIOS ESTA A MI LADO Y EN MI CORAZON NO SE TERMINAN LOS PROBLEMAS SE TOMAN DE DISTINTA MANERA CON PAZ DE DIOS .LEI QUE EL BUDISMO ES UNA FORMA DE VIDA –EL CRISTIANISMO TAMBIEN –¡¡ MUCHAS VECES VE EN EL OTRO NUESTROS ERRORES COMO EN UN ESPEJO .SI ES ASI -EN EL TRASCURRIR DE LA VIDA CADA UNO APRENDE A SER MEJOR PERSONA O PEOR CADA UNO TIENE EL LIBRE ALBEDRIO -TRATAMOS EN DAR LO MEJOR DE NOSOTROS MISMOS ,MUCHAS VECES NOS EQUIVOCAMOS Y OTRAS NO -SON LAS 4.00 AM ME GUSTARIA COMER UN PASTELITO DE CHOCOLATE — NO TIENEN UNO POR AHI — YA PARA TERMINAR -RESPETEMOS AL PROJIMO ,A NOSOTROS MISMO Y AMEMOS QUE EL AMOR TODO LO PUEDE ES EL PODER MAS GRANDE QUE TENEMOS PARA EL OTRO Y PARA UNO MISMO QUE DIOS NOS BENDIGA A TODOS ME INVOLUCRO YO TAMBIEN QUIERO LA BENDICION — PABLO GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR SUS PENSAMIENTOS ES UNA HERMOSA FORMA DE CONOCERLO ES MUY AGRADABLE ESTAR AQUI COMPARTIENDO CON TODOS MIS PENSAMIENTOS Y ASI VAMOS APRENDIENDO UNO DE OTROS MUCHAS GRACIAS —PAM DIOS TE BENDIGA —HILDA LIPORACE (ARGENTINA )FORGIVENESS TO ALL THAT WILL USE THE TRANSLATOR-DAWN WAS TOO LATE FOR THAT IS WHY I wrote in my TADUCI ONLY LANGUAGE THAT-GOD BLESS –
By xtexan86, February 20, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
Oh, I totally get your point and I would also agree with you in that I would tend to trust person B more. The main point I was trying to make was, given that you and me would prefer to live side by side with ‘B’ people, what gives us that propensity? What internal force drives us to be ‘good’? Animals…dogs, for instance, are one of the most loving creatures we know, but even though they may act appreciatively, I don’t think they own or knowingly display the concept of ‘good behavior.’
So, I appreciate your insights and thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. xt
By hilly, February 20, 2010 @ 1:36 pm
Person B every time Sue!
I find the attitude that if you don’t have a religion you can’t have a conscience…or even a moral code…highly offensive. It is the result of the same willful ignorance that has produced the venomous diatribes against atheism and evolution in recent years.
there are religious groups (as you know so well, Sarah) that prefer to stand by and allow someone to die rather than allow them to have access to the correct medical treatment. If the patient is an adult – the choice is theirs; but where is the morality in allowing a child to die through criminal negligence? Here in France members of those religious groups are regularly taken to the courts under a law about ‘non-assistance to someone in danger’.
What too many people forget …and Paul illustrated it so well at La Sierra…is that all the religious guidebooks (10 commandments; 8 beatitudes, 3 jewels, 4 thoughts; 5-fold way etc etc…)are the result of that need to explain and deal with the world around us. They offer us a handhold on the unsteady paths that we choose to take us closer to our chosen ‘heaven’
Our post-christian society has the arrogance to refer to older morality stories as ‘mythology’; but those ‘myths’ are the basis from which the later systems grew.
Once again trust and faith play their parts.
Consider this: man(kind) likes to think itself superior to the other members of the animal kingdom because we have learned to use language. We speak, read write and think.
But how can we be so sure of that?
Apes have been taught to use sign language and in one study they were observed communicating to one another using the signs.
We know that dolphins and whales have complex communication systems.
Have you ever seen a horse look at you out of the corner of its eye after it has kicked out? Or a cat when it slinks back into the living room after stealing all the prawns that were defrosting in the kitchen? Don’t tell me they don’t have a conscience. They know they did something wrong.
What about animal groups that expel a trouble maker? (elephants do this in the wild)
And what about the mass communication that makes sheep follow one another – even over the precipice? blind faith/trust in their leader?
…at the risk of upsetting those who can’t think outside the box…where does that leave ‘the good shepherd’ and his ‘flock’?
By Christine, February 20, 2010 @ 2:08 pm
Re-reading your comments and how we hate not having control over things in our life; I was wondering where does ‘fate’ come into play?
I personally believe in ‘fate or destiny’ and that no matter what; we don’t always have any control over parts of our lives.
I know that everyone will have their own opinions on this but I find it possible that we really don’t have the control in life that we think we do.
Yes, as other’s have said it is our personal choice in life how we treat other’s, its our conscience that gives us that sense of right and wrong with regards to our actions, and how we respect other’s but still do we really have any control how things eventually turn out?
I find it an interesting thought that maybe our life is infact mapped out for us. Is that why some people are rich, famous, intelligent, or wise? because they were meant to be that way? I mean I can read up on things. I can at least try to learn but there is always some one out there that will be a better person than I am or a smarter more intelligent person.
Are people destined to be that way?
If this is so, are we not always struggling to be something or someone we cannot be? Is there ever a time when we are just happy to be us?
From a personal point of view; I always feel I can do better, be better, or at least strive to do these things but the bottom line is, is it all destined anyway?
With some confusion (lol)
Love as always, Christine xx
By Sue, February 20, 2010 @ 3:16 pm
I think that internal force is empathy. Our ability, as humans, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, as it were.
As for dogs, which I adore, I don’t think they are good, as such, or even loving, at least as we understand it. They are pack animals driven by instinct to live, and they will do whatever they have to do to do that, whether it be to submit to the pack leader, or to take over the pack if they think the leader isn’t capable of leading them.
I currently own a pure bred Rottweiler. At only nine months, he’s already ten pounds heavier than I am, and about ten times as strong. He is also the most intelligent and headstrong dog I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned (or been with) dogs since the day I was born. He is person A. He does ‘good’ because if he does, he will get a reward. If he does ‘bad’, he will receive a punishment. He would give his life to protect me because I am the pack leader and must be protected at all costs. Not because he loves me as I understand love, but because I am the one who supplies him with food, exercise, interesting things to do, and a place to sleep. He continually tests me in small ways to see if I am up to the job. If I’m not, I’m well aware that he’ll have no choice but to take over leadership of the pack even though he would likely die. As a dog, he has no way of knowing that, of course.
He doesn’t *not* bite me because he knows–or thinks he knows–how it would feel if he himself was bitten. He doesn’t bite me because he’s afraid of the consequences of doing so.
And I don’t use pain as a punishment. He’s 135 pounds of solid muscle. There’s nothing I could do short of using a gun that would hurt him. No, I do what is to some, the definition of Hell…I turn the face of “God” (me) away from him. He hates that more than anything in the world. He will do anything to get back in my good graces as long as I don’t turn my face away from him.
As a human, I have no need for that. As a child, perhaps. But not as an adult. If someone turns their face from me, I figure it’s their loss and go on. I have no need to prostrate myself before them to get back in their good graces.
That, of course, doesn’t mean I don’t apologize if I’ve done something wrong, but the apology comes from my empathy, my realization that I’ve hurt someone rather than my fear that they will “turn their face from me” if I don’t.
Empathy can both be a blessing and a burden. But because I have it, I have no need for an authority figure to promise either reward for my good behavior, or eternal damnation for my bad.
That’s where I think the difference lies.
By Rachelle, February 20, 2010 @ 4:56 pm
I understand your point of view for sure. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts as someone who does believe in God. I don’t base my decisions on works or rewards and I’ve been very lucky with the friends that I have who share my beliefs who are the most caring, compassionate human beings. I can honestly say that I work at being Person B. I say “work” because life is work in progress.*g*
The word Empathy for me is something that has to come from our experiences and it’s when we go through life’s toughest of lessons we learn compassion and understanding for our fellow man. That’s what empathy is to me and I’m speaking from experience.
Congrats on your 9 month Rottweiler. I remember those puppy stages with my Lab!!
Have a great weekend, Rach
By Sue, February 20, 2010 @ 5:35 pm
I never have any problem with anyone talking about their belief in any system that brings them comfort. The only time I shut a conversation down is when I’m being preached to or someone is trying to convert me.
Atheism/Agnosticism is definitely a minority belief system in the world as it exists, so almost all of my friends, and definitely all of my family believe in God in one form or another. I say if it brings you comfort and a feeling of well being, then go for it, as long as I am just as respected for my lack of belief.
And yes, empathy is a learning process in many ways. I just think that with our abilities of complex thinking, we are able to access it within ourselves when we are taught that it exists. Not all of us, of course. But most of us.
My thoughts on religion, or more accurately, religious figures, are often very strange indeed. For instance, I believe that many Christians aren’t Christians at all, but rather what I call Paulists (named for the Apostle Paul and not for the fine author of this blog) who follow the more restrictive teachings of Paul over the teachings of Jesus.
I believe that if there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth walking around some two thousand years ago, he was much more of a secular humanist than books written generations after his death would lead folks to believe.
All of his parables, all of his works, in one way or another, speak directly toward empathy, loving your neighbor as yourself. And I believe that when he says (if he ever did) that the Kingdom of God (Heaven) is within you, he genuinely meant it in the most human of senses.
If the Kingdom of God is Heaven, what is heaven? Of course, it’s different for everyone, but aside from the children’s pictures of it, is it not a place where the beggars will be fed and clothed, the last shall be first, the poor shall be rich and the weak strong?
By following those teachings, with the Kingdom of Heaven within us, WE are heaven to those people if we treat our neighbor as ourself. When we feed the hungry, when we clothe the naked, when we cure the sick, when we break bread with the ostracized, we are giving to them exactly what heaven is.
When Jesus sat with the tax collectors and the prostitutes and the insane and the lepers, he, a healthy “normal” man was sitting with people who had been shunned away from society all of their lives. His very presence in their lives gave them self worth and made them feel like human beings again. THAT is the power we have, all by ourselves, a power we can grant freely if we only choose to look beyond ourselves and share what we are, what we have, with others.
Not because some father figure commands it of us. But because it is good. And just. And right.
By Rachelle, February 20, 2010 @ 5:58 pm
I understand and I agree people should never feel that they are being converted. Everyone has the right to believe in their own beliefs. I have many friends who believe diffently than I.
By Sue, February 20, 2010 @ 6:06 pm
It’s weird for me, because I was raised a Roman Catholic in a very Roman Catholic area, and then moved to very northern NJ to a town that was 95% Jewish. On the first day of school, I remember coming home and asking my mom when I could go to Hebrew School. That’s how sheltered I was. LOL! But aside from a running battle of the “pulpits” between one of the local Rabbis and the local parish Priest, everyone kept their religion to themselves.
I move down south to the Bible Belt, and I’m swarmed with religious tracts, bumper stickers, billboards and all the rest everywhere I look. At two places of employment, I’ve had to go to my boss after my repeated requests to have religious tracts NOT dropped into my chair went unheeded.
I don’t like it at all.
By Sarah Levy, February 20, 2010 @ 8:25 pm
There are so many parts of this blog that I would like to comment on, but for now I would like to comment on the following paragraph:
“I’m not assuming that anybody has the same fears as I, except for one; fear of no control over mortality. That seems to be the human condition. A condition we all journey with.”
For me, how I view my own mortality has changed several times. As Hilly has already mentioned, I was involved with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but not through my own choice. I was raised as one. The JW’s do not believe in heaven. They believe that Armageddon will someday come and some will be saved, some will not. The ones who will not be saved are the non-believers, and the ones who have turned their backs on the religion. Even as a young child, I did not believe in their teachings. That scared me because if I did not believe, I had no chance of ‘everlasting life’. My own mortality was something I dwelled on a great deal as a child.
At 16, I was able to break away from the religion completely. I didn’t care that I would someday die, and that, as I saw it then, I would cease to be. At that age, I felt there was probably going to be so many years ahead of me that it would feel like living forever anyway. So, I pushed any worries about my mortality to the back of my mind.
Then, at the age of 26 my first child was born. Mortality scared me again. I could not bear the thought that one day I would die and leave my child behind. Several years later, my second child came along, and still I worried.
However, a few years ago, a couple of things happened which made me believe that there is an afterlife. I still do not believe there is a god or gods. I just think that we carry on somehow, even though our bodies have stopped working. That belief has given me peace. In the back of mind though, I cannot wonder if I had to find that belief because by doing so, I feel I am controlling my own mortality.
Finally, I want to say, thank you so much for this blog. Your thoughts and the thoughts of some many others on here have been so very thought provoking.
By Sarah Levy, February 20, 2010 @ 8:31 pm
To Pam T,
When I read the following part of your post, I found myself nodding in agreement.
“over-analysis and over-complication can sometimes be used as a diversionary tactic and something to hide behind, whether consciously or not”
By Raffy, February 21, 2010 @ 1:49 am
We all struggle so much in order to find “the truth”, it exists. In my opinion there is something true in all points of view, inside each of them there is something of the apparent opposite. Even if we perceive them as
potential “dangers”, the same they attract us, whatever our reactions can be, because we all keep a piece of the truth which doesn’t appear clear to our fellow human beings. We also realize that even our own thoughts are constantly changing. All is impermanent, and our thinking often becomes an attempt to stop this process which is unacceptable to our ego. Yet we are able…sometimes… to “codify” what we really feel and turn it into “thoughts”, and then fulfill that need to share them, even if most times this “thinking” and “sharing” is a mere exercise of our mind afraid to lose some of its “power” and “control”. Fear is there, whether we are conscious or not, and while we could see it somewhere, then it moves to somewhere else. It is a call for us, a chance to focus our attention on it and just and only (in my opinion) while doing it we become aware of the existence of another “place”within ourselves, a place of pure “stillness”, of clarity, of peace, despite any “turmoil”. I think this is our heart becoming one with that greater heart, that we perceive someway even through the walls of our thinking.
As Paul says, we don’t listen, we are afraid to listen. We should find the strength, the courage…we should choose to sit and humbly listen..and listen…and listen…to the silence, deeply down within us…moment by moment. I think it keeps the “answers”…who we are, why we exist, what death is…what love is.
PS: Sammy said
Yes, I’m sure it is someway easier to “share” for people whose names don’t “identify” the real person “behind”. Less “risky” for sure, if I can say so. For sure the experience is different for the ones of us who know each other even personally in some cases, and especially being aware that many people who know us but are not participating in the blog could anycase read our “shared thoughts”. Of course it was a choice, since we had a choice, the fact of using our own real names..and we could ask ourselves whether it was more a choice in order to get us “visible” for whatever reason, or in order to “share” and have a more intimate relationship with people we know…or what?…
It would be also interesting to know what sharing means to those who can do it in complete anonymity…
By Raffy, February 21, 2010 @ 1:55 am
My PS came out incomplete, don’t know why, I try again:
PS: Sammy said “For most of us that blog in here we are we are sceen names to others…our part is easy. We share only our thoughts..not our identity…”
Yes, I’m sure it is someway easier to “share” for people whose names don’t “identify” the real person “behind”. Less “risky” for sure, if I can say so. For sure the experience is different for the ones of us who know each other even personally in some cases, and especially being aware that many people who know us but are not participating in the blog could anycase read our “shared thoughts”…. Of course it was a choice, since we had a choice, the fact of using our own real names..and we could ask ourselves whether it was more a choice in order to get us “visible” for whatever reasons, or in order to “share” and have a more intimate relationship with people we know…or what?…
It would be also interesting to know what sharing means to those who can do it in complete anonymity…
By marly, February 21, 2010 @ 3:52 am
My best friend is slowly but surely dying of cancer.
When she was first diagnosed, two years ago, she was being told right from the start that there was no cure for the kind of cancer she has. Delaying the disease in the form of chemo and radiation therapy was all the doctors could offer. My friend, full of life and strong willed, was very motivated to fight in order to hopefully gain some more time.
Her first few rounds of chemo were tough, she felt sick all the time, ended up in hospital several times because of hydration symptoms and, of course, she lost all of her hair.
During all that time we never talked about death or dying, no way! My friend was 100% focusing on survival and even mentioning death would have been out of the question, no time for that!
Looking back I think that this “one tracked mind” attitude enabled her to fight so hard.
During all that time I was very aware of the fact that , in spite of her tremendous efforts to survive, I could lose my friend and at the same time I became very much aware of my own mortality. This could happen to me, this could be me lying in that hospital bed trying to fight off death…..
So, here I was, providing my friend with “pep talk”, being supportive and helpful, acting like I was completely in control while in truth I felt helpless, scared and completely out of control.
For the past two years the cancer, with the help of chemo and radiation therapy, was forced to a halt three times but sadly returned again after a short while.
Now, my strong, brave friend is in hospital again and I’ve never seen her so physically weak and ill before. She looks so very frail.
Two weeks ago I sat at her bedside and I witnessed her struggle to drink half a glass of yogurt. She knew she had to try to eat/drink something to keep up her strength in order to start off a new round of chemo, but a tumor in her bowel makes it more or less impossible for her to eat/drink without getting sick.
She told me that sometimes she felt like giving up because she could hardly find the strength to carry on. To hear her saying that out loud came unexpected to me but also felt like a relief.
For two years I often felt uncomfortable near my friend who always managed to uphold that tough exterior of hers. She was like that before she got cancer and it probably became her shield when she started her fight against the disease.
At first (looking back now I see it more clearly than before), that shield of hers served me fine, I guess.
Before my friend got cancer I never dealt with someone so close to me being so seriously ill before.
It forced me to face my own mortality, my own fear of death like never before although I didn’t realize (or simply denied it!) that at the time.
I willed myself into believing what my friend kept telling me; that the chemo would delay the onset of cancer and that she would be able to live for at least a couple of years or even longer.
But sometimes I dared to asked myself ,“what if the chemo doesn’t do the trick, what if…..? “
I talked about this fear with mutual friends of ours and indeed, each and every one reacted differently according to ones faith or/and ones outlook on life and death.
We tried to identify with our friend ,how would we feel if we had to struggle to survive cancer?
When would we give in/up? How far would we go? A lot was being said but, in my case anyway, much was left unsaid as well.
Fear sometimes unexpectedly flared/flares up inside my chest like a monster trying to claw its way out.
Fear for myself…….
The chemo did the trick but the cancer returned after only six months………
My strong friend started to battle again but with less physical strength and a little less hopeful than the first time.
She began to let her shield down more often and gave me rare glimpses of how she really felt.
I gradually learned to listen instead of wracking my brain in order to find uplifting words to say to her. I couldn’t/wouldn’t burden her with my own fears but I felt like being more truthful to her and to myself my just being there, listening.
This is what I still do, up to this very day, just listening without judging, without offering advice, etc.
It’s not always easy to do and sometimes I fail but I keep on trying to do the best I can for my friend and for myself.
In the meantime I visit this blog and read books about how to deal( and make sense of) with everything that has been (and still is) happening in my life lately.
Cancer or any other life threatening disease can grab each and every one of us in its claws.
We can’t control this.
Yet, to me it’s sheer horror walking down the corridors of the cancer ward and sensing that behind each and every door I pass fellow human beings are suffering and fighting…..
Being on the sixth floor of this hospital is like being on the threshold between life and death.
I’m trying hard to come to terms with the simple fact that dying of, for instance, a cruel, painful disease is something that just happens…..it’s not “unfair” ,”wrong” or whatever we feel like labeling it in order to make some sense of it.
Each time I catch myself fleeing from that ward like death is on my heels and each time when I go there to visit my friend I feel guilty for feeling so uptight and scared.
Thanks to science we often manage to survive and it’s wonderful that there’s so much science can do nowadays.
In the case of my friend I sometimes wonder though whether all the possibilities of prolonging our lives medically do actually makes it harder to accept that in spite of it all we aren’t really in control of our mortality.
Why do I feel the need to share all of this with you?
The act of writing it all down is therapeutic and indeed creates a window (or maybe just a small crack in the glass to peep through) into myself.
How socially acceptable is it to admit to myself, let alone to others, that the suffering of my best friend scares the hell out of me?
That I often just wish to get away from her in order to escape facing my own fear.
Writing it all down doesn’t cure the fear but reliefs me to some extent of my burden.
My books about Buddhist philosophy remind me of the fact that we can find compassion for ourselves ánd for each other through acknowledging that we’re all the same, we’re are one.
As Paul writes:”……. ,whatever we find, we have the ability to remind ourselves that we are able to find it in others.”
Therefore I find the need to post this comment and humbly share it with you.
I don’t feel the need to start up a discussion but I truly hope that my “confession” helps at least some of you to unburden yourselves a little.
You’re not alone.
By sknash, February 21, 2010 @ 4:18 am
Marly, My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your friend and their family. I know the sting from cancer way too much, having lost a dear friend just a year ago with malignant melanoma. I have had three deaths in my life just these past eight weeks. Death and cancer, I have learned to hate to those words. I do not fear death, it makes me sad, for those of us left behind. Death used to paralyze me but now it just makes me sad. I detest cancer, its an ugly disease whose only goal it seemingly to toruture its victims until they have nothing left to give. Your friend is blessed to have you beside her and I know I’m preaching to the choir, live in the moments you both had together, this time its okay to look back, the memories, because is what is going to sustain you thru these days. Soon the tears will dry, come less frequently. The sting will ease, the hole in your heart will never close, but will get smaller. Like I said, been there, done that way too many times. NO one can ever take those memories from you. They will live on forever as will your friend in your heart. Blessings-Susan
By marly, February 21, 2010 @ 5:40 am
Thank you for your kind words.
By Christine, February 21, 2010 @ 5:42 am
Reading your post this morning; hit the nail right on the head!
I am sorry you are having a tough time, I will pray for your friend.
I have felt ashamed this last week for feeling like I wanted to run away from my best friend who is very ill. I too go to the hospital and for whatever reason feel uncomfortable and scared. I want to be there with him but theres another part of me just wants to run. It is awful when you have to admit to yourself that you may lose someone you love. I admire your honesty, it is comforting to know that other people feel the same as I do!.
I have lost count of the times this week I have had to apologize to those around me for snapping or yelling at them; where have my manners gone? Its as if someone has to be screamed at because I can’t handle being helpless.
I wish you well Marly.
With best wishes Christine.
By Sarah Levy, February 21, 2010 @ 5:44 am
I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I would imagine that knowing you are there to listen and support her, must be a huge comfort to her.
By hilly, February 21, 2010 @ 6:32 am
interesting question about fate and destiny.
‘We can make it happen’: we can do our best to make something happen. I do not think that our lives are mapped out ahead for us. Catholics believe in predestination…and globally-speaking protestants believe in self-determination.
To me hiding behind ‘it’s my fate’ is a cop out. BUT I think that there is some kind of pre-mapping in our lives. Not created by a greater power but by our environment and our capacities. When someone says ‘thank god for X surviving an illness’ I say ‘no, thank the doctors.’ A friend who is a committed christian countered that with ‘but god gave the doctors the powers they have.’ I disagree. a doctor gets where s/he is by hard work and study not because some divine power is pulling the strings. The pre-mapping comes from the intellectual capacities that we inherit; the educational choices that our parents make for us when we are young and that we make when we are old enough to choose. Whether we choose the right path is our decision and no-one else’s. Standing at the junction in the woods…we choose a path. We have a choice and we make that choice based on our feelings, emotions, instincts, capacities and ambitions. We may make a wrong turn; we may arrive at our chosen destination.
“Some enchanted evening, you will see a stranger…and fly to her side…”
We’ve all been there. At the party (or wherever) and seen ‘the right one’. We say ‘s/he is the one I’ve been waiting for.’ ‘This is the one for me’.
OK hands up; hand on your heart, how many of us can really say that this only happened once in our lives? How many times did you fly to his/her side only to discover days, months, years later that you cant live with him/her any longer. You were notfated for one another after all.
So where does that leave the fate/destiny question? For me it proves that we can work to achieve what we want – we may not always get it; but there are so many factors at play it seems to me to be simplistic to blame some “divine” puppet master for what happens in our lives.
Our behaviour, our acts not only shape our own ‘fate’ but that of those around us. If there were only one ‘fate’ for each of them the cosmos would be echoing to the deafening roar of the clash of titans.
And if I die and find out that there was someone mapping out all the mistakes and heartbreaks and difficulties that I’ve had to confront in my life…I’ll kick him where it hurts the most!
By hilly, February 21, 2010 @ 6:40 am
PS Raffy and Sammy: on anonymity.
I’m using my name here despite the risks I know that involves. I could have signed in a provencepuss – but TBH the risks are the same. I’ve clashed with a few people on the web; I’ve been tracked by ‘trolls’ who have gone out of their way to hurt me and a few of my friends – people who are posting here with their ‘real’ names. Maybe it is because I trust this forum to be a meeting place for people who really care about what is discussed – and who respect each other for their individual ideas; all this as a reflection of Paul’s openness and wisdom.
Of course this means that some of us chatter away knowing that the others will know what we are blathering on about. We nudge and wink at each other like characters in a Monty Python sketch. We sometimes refer to things that others may not ‘get’. But we aren’t a clique – anyone can join.
Because of what I (and those others) went through, I understand why some people prefer to blog with an anonymous ID. Each to their own.
By hilly, February 21, 2010 @ 6:43 am
Christine: don’t feel guilty. Better to stay away than to communicate your sadness and unease. When you feel you can be of comfort and support to your friend you will be there for her.
Marly: you are a true friend; how lucky you friend is to have you.
By Softly, February 21, 2010 @ 7:37 am
It is truth we blog here in relative anonymity, with is to say, I don’t know your face and history and you don’t know mine. Somehow this gives us the freedom to share things we wouldn’t share with others we do see face to face, but like Mr Glaser said “we’re visible” maybe more so than we realize.
So we use a handle, a title, a stage name or a wish to channel our thoughts and discoveries through to others on this blog. My thoughts and discoveries and writings would not be any different if I would use my real name, for you don’t know my face or history. I imagine this is very different for Mr. Glaser, we all know his face and some of his history and we all painted on his canvas. It would be a good exercise in empathy for all of us to let that canvas go.
So why do I us a stage name? Is it something to hide behind? Well for me it is a way to become more visible, more transparent. Let me explain. Some 20+ years ago, after loads of things happening in me, I decided to change my name, the old canvas just didn’t fit anymore. I went away for awhile, and ended up picking grapes. There I used my new name, the people there didn’t know my history and accepted the me I was at that time. Without them being able to judge me for who I once was, I had the freedom to shed the old skin and try out the new one.
When I came back I had to tell my mum I had a new name, I dreaded that moment knowing that she picked my name when she was nigh years old. Funny enough she wasn’t upset at all and told me how she had wanted to change her name once and how my grandmother had changed her name when she was my age. Relieved I went to my friends to tell then about my new name, at that time some of them had gotten new names by their Guru, so I had great hopes the would celebrate this confirmation of change and was dumbfounded that they could not accept my new name and some still can’t. They rather saw me as the person I once was and not as the person I was becoming. It was in this strange time that I came to realize that even tough people know my face and history for some I’m just a picture in their head, anonymous, invisible, wallpaper. Mind you these were people who said the loved me and who I believed.
It was upsetting to realize this and I felt extremely alone. I have physically felt how harmful it is to not be allowed to change, how incredibly painful it is when someone sets you apart and closes the door and how confusing it is for others to see you change and accept that they have to change to in order to See you.
It did however make me work hard to See and Hear others not through my glasses but through there eyes. I made me shed more and more layers of skin and had me exercise empathy on a grand scale. I made huge mistakes along the way and had concepts of trust, faith, fate, fear, destiny, love, empathy, good, bad, me, you, shredded and rebuild and shredded again
And now I’m here and named myself Softly as an exercise to become even more subtle, sensitive, aware, understanding of my fears and denials, to learn from your story and see you and me for the persons we are becoming.
(To quote Mr Glasers questions)
In the name of what? I don’t know
And the thing that’s going to get us there is what? I don’t know
Are we able to recreate that which we believe to be true? I don’t know
All I know is that this is the way I have to go.
Forever learning Softly
By Sue, February 21, 2010 @ 8:45 am
I post with my real name because…why not? There’s nothing that I write that can hurt me in my offline life. I’m out to my family, my friends, my employers. No one will hurt me by saying “Hey, your daughter/friend/employee is a lesbian” or “an atheist” or whatever. If I choose a certain screenname for a certain thing, I always sign with my real name.
Online communication has advantages and disadvantages to face to face communication. In face to face, you get those visual cues that let you know if the person you’re talking to isn’t understanding what you’re saying and you can make an attempt to rectify that quickly instead of coming back an hour later to a “Huh?” post. But at the same time, you also know that in face to face conversation, you are in some way being evaluated. Your looks, your mannerisms, your way of speaking, your beliefs, your thoughts. And if it turns out badly, well, no one likes to be ridiculed to their face.
Online, if we post our deepest thoughts and someone laughs at us, well…so what? We can’t hear the laughter or see the derision in their eyes. And they wouldn’t know us if they ran over us in the street, so the risks of self exposure are a lot lower posting on a medium where you don’t see, or in most cases know, who you’re talking to.
It also many times tends to get rid of that self-censor most of us have. After all, you wouldn’t go to a stranger on the street and start pouring out all your woes. Or slam your boss. Or discuss your position on any number of subjects. But here, that censor tends to be at least muted a bit. It sort of does what alcohol or drugs do…serves to put a layer of space between us and the person we’re talking to.
By Christine, February 21, 2010 @ 9:09 am
Thank you for the advice. My friend is unaware of me feeling helpless/scared; each time I go to hospital I am the most positive I can be for his benefit, because that’s all I can do for him at the moment. I do however feel guilty for not feeling as strong as I ought to, and find it hard to forgive myself for not being stronger. Best Wishes Christine.
By Rachelle, February 21, 2010 @ 9:42 am
My dear friend you just being there for your best friend is what matters. Your strength comes from your caring and you’re so much stronger than you know.
I’m here if you ever need to talk. I know how important best friendship is and they’re our family.
Hugs to you, Rach
By Raffy, February 21, 2010 @ 10:01 am
Looking back at my life maybe two of the most difficult things I had to deal with occurred when I was 20 and I had to “communicate” to my mother that she really had a malignant tumour, as soon as she opened her eyes and asked me about it, after a surgery had confirmed the suspect… and then when about 10 years later I instead kept the “secret” within myself when she became ill again with cancer, and this time without any hope to survive it. And of course the time in between was not easy. The first time I couldn’t choose not to talk, the second time I could. I still ask myself sometimes whether “not to talk” was a good choice, for me, for her, for both. I was not given from life enough time to reflect and choose, and of course I myself was faced so hard and all of a sudden with this definitive reality that it was difficult to really do it consciously. So I don’t know whether it would have been better to live the same situation with my mother fully aware of the truth. Questions that never had an “answer” in my heart. Also all that happened in a moment when I was going through other troubles and I knew that after her death I would be alone to face that “absence”.
It was one of those situations where you can’t even have the illusion that things could go in another way, so your helplessness is complete. And you can’t run away. Yet strangely I experienced some energy that you can find only in this kind of situations. You are a surprise to yourself, because you can’t know how you are before being really faced with them, despite how many times in life you could figure yourself involved in those situations. I someway accepted the reality (for sure it was more “in the right order of things” than other kinds of losses), and I didn’t get too angry, although I would have liked sometimes to feel comforted directly by her “presence”, as many say they feel from their loved ones, but maybe it came the same through other ways I can’t comprehend.
It was a hard time…and the most difficult thing to hold was in effect that “silence” about what was happening. What did she know in reality about it? What did she feel? I was lying…she was lying too for me, for making things easier to me? Or in a sense she was someway “selfish” towards me? Or I was selfish towards her? Or instead she was really hoping and believing what I was telling her? For what I really feel, she felt death coming. She was not that person who doesn’t want “to know”, but the same never put me too much in that situation of losing my difficult balance. In a sense I’m grateful of it, if this was what happened. Maybe I’ll know a day!
I was able to make only one choice during that time. I experienced beyond words that life lasts till the very last moment, the very last breath… Till we are on this earth we have to experience ourselves, our humanity. We have to live in the present even when we are aware that we are dying…and we are dying all the time, if we look better. Not because we can’t lose even a moment of our life, but because we honour our being human, our fear, our being with our fear, as Paul says…and the process is more clear to me now than it was in that moment. Paradoxically it seems easier to do it more when we know we are really approaching death than before in our life. We become more present when death is coming, more than others around us. It is as if something is preparing us to the transition. And then something of our being dies, but there is really death if at the same moment something of us keeps living in another dimension? I had this impression looking at my mother on her last moment. So maybe our fear is really our friend during our life because we need to feel afraid in order to reach the depths of our heart. Then we don’t need it anymore. The choice I made was the one to let my mother live the present, moment by moment, till the end, as if she was not going to die. It was a richness someway. It was hard because of her terrible pain and many other things, but I know that we were participating in “life” till her last conscious moment, as if there would be a natural continuation… today here, tomorrow elsewhere.
Maybe the fact of not clearly sharing the certainty of her coming death helped this process…and above all helped me going on with it. On the other hand for sure I missed so much those acts and words that remained in her and my heart. A big part of our feeling and sharing…but sometimes we share even if we are not well aware we are doing it. I only hope that I didn’t misunderstand her needs…that she didn’t expect something different, because I’m glad enough, despite all, that at least I let her be “here” till the last moment and then let her fly away without craving too much for her to come back…the most difficult thing though.
By marly, February 21, 2010 @ 11:04 am
I ‘m moved by your story.
It’s about love, fear, death and love….
Losing your mother must be incredibly hard.
You’re asking yourself so many questions (while at the same time you’re providing some very insightful answers too).
Don’t doubt yourself, you did the best you could manage at the time, instinctively and full of love for your mom.
You were there for her and being there must have helped her to make the end of her journey easier.
Thank you for sharing your story,
By marly, February 21, 2010 @ 12:25 pm
So sorry to read about your friend.
I hope you’re not going to lose him.
It’s also a comfort to me to know someone out there experiences the same emotions as I am.
I shouldn’t be surprised after all we’re both human!
I admire your honesty too, Christine!
But at the same time it occurs to me that it’s kind of sad to find it’s so hard for us to be honest about feeling scared and uncomfortable in the face of suffering and possible death of someone who is close to us.
We shouldn’t need to admire each other for our honesty about a matter that is such an integral part of being human….fear of losing control.
Instead of sharing our fear with each other (like we try to do over here) we suffer on our own and feel ashamed of being scared instead of acting strong and brave.
You say that you have been snapping and yelling to those around you because you can’t handle being helpless.
My own helplessness often translates itself in tantrums, blaming others for my own frustrations. Apologizing afterwards isn’t easy but still more socially acceptable than admitting that I’m scared sh.tless.
Who wants to be a cry baby……Not me, mam….I’m a tough cookie!
I’ll stick to the rules and try to be a good girl.
But late at night, in the safety of my bedroom, I put off my mask and cry.
I wish you strength, Christine
Thank you for sharing your story.
All my best to you and everyone else out there,
By Nadine, February 21, 2010 @ 1:37 pm
La VIE…..Ma vie à moi des parents merveilleux nous étions 7 freres et soeurs je dis nous etions car 5 d’entre eux ne me parlent plus ils ne font plus partie de ma vie je ne sais pas pourquoi ils en sont arrives a m’exclure il est vrai qu’ils me consideraient tous comme ” le vilain petit canard ” de la famille ” POURQUOI ? ” c’est une question que je me pose encore je sais que je n’aurai jamais la reponse la vie m’a appris le mot RANCUNE je leur en veux j’ai de la haine pour eux ils m’ont rendus malheureuse , mon mari et mes enfants ont beaucoup souffert de cette situation
J’en arrive à la MORT….. ! je voulais mourrir je ne comprenais et ne comprend toujours pas pourquoi des êtres qui m’etaient chers sont faches contre moi !
J’ai la chance d’avoir encore mes parents papa est très malade il a frole la mort deux fois , j’ai eu peur tres peur je ne veux pas affronter ce moment ! je ne veux pas vivre ce moment avec les etres que j’aime ! ma maman a 88 ans je ne veux pas penser qu’un jour je ne la verrai plus ! mon mari je n’imagine pas la vie sans lui , mes enfants sont toute ma vie , mes AMOURS il n’est pas question qu’il leur arrive quoi que ce soit de mal !
Vous devez penser que je ne suis pas tres courageuse je l’admet mais je vous avoue que ce mot ” MORT ” me fait peur ! Je suis comme toi Marly la nuit je pleure , j’ai peur ! je me gache la VIE en pensant a la MORT !
By Christine, February 21, 2010 @ 2:02 pm
Thank you my friend for the support! You are right our best friends are our ‘family’
I hope you have had a good weekend Rach, xx
Thank you for your thoughts. Its interesting to me how alike we all are; how at any given time there is someone out there feeling like we do! Funny how one can feel so alone in this world, when in reality we all have our share of heartache/problems.
I wish you well Marly, thank you for your support, all the best Christine.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 21, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
Dear Friend – Faith – is thus faith the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen – But if I ask for God is our father have to have faith that will be granted this request but is not in my time, if God’s time, often is not the time to receive that request, but I still have faith even as not seeing the results, one lives by faith, and also works, making good helping understanding …. etc. is useless if we do not love. it’s like falling into a bag with holes, is lost on the road is so important why I love AD I respect all faiths, I’ve learned over time-everyone has free will, each one has the power to choose to do good or not, be in the light or the dark-we all have our experiences of our daily struggles, and spiritual struggles, we are human beings that the majority seeks to be a better person (toward the mark) is the daily life and lived what gives us wisdom. learner-lived moments that there are neither good nor bad each one has a message for our lives, a learner. where life itself brings everything. fears, accomplishments-missed loved ones ….. and the experience really brings our own life-I have my own teaching as everyone in this blog is “the important thing is how to face life and proceed -we can choose the light, we have that ability as thinkers, we can make mistakes. and sometimes we’re wrong we will have to learn not to fall again. if we have offended or hurt a person or oneself. you can correct what happened, this pardon, forgive, seek forgiveness and pardon is of no problem being tied to a past or present any solution is “Love is patient and kind, love does not envy, love is not easily provoked jactancioso.no does nothing indevido.no seek its own. rencor.no gurda irrita.no not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres Love never longer …… thanks everyone and thank you very much you dear Paul for all his learner’s life that gave thanks for letting us share their thoughts and ours-is a return all learn from everyone thanks for all contributors to this blog thanks Pam for your feedback Mr. Glaser, thanks for your spark for his intelligence – I think it’s a beautiful gift that God gave his life. and can share “God continue to bless you — man is a being of light – and will continue learning day by day thanks again – Hilda Liporace (Argentina)
By noia29, February 21, 2010 @ 6:59 pm
I have a question. It’s both on topic and off the subject, depending on what you think the subject is. If this is P.M. Glaser’s blog, why do so few of the comments have so little to do with what he says?
The reason I don’t often write anything in response is because I don’t understand that. Usually he posts a topic, and it confuses me because he starts on one subject and just when that topic starts to make sense, he jumps into something else then something else! I can tell the different components are meant to be related somehow. But it seems wrong to try to guess and piece them together myself because that would undermine what he is attempting to say. My first response is usually to ask P.M. Glaser for clarity: “Could you please break down the subtopics then explain to me how they all fit together?”
But before I can, things erupt into the same pattern. Someone comes on and praises him for his beautiful word or whatever, and (not meaning to be mean) I agree with the person who said it just sounds like kissing up because afterwards, people rush to say how much they learned from it, but nobody says specifically what thy learned from what he said. Instead they launch into some completely unrelated subject or question but use bits and pieces of the original blog to substantiate their own views, and I’m still left trying to figure out what the original blog was supposed to mean. And it seems to me that for all the lavish praise P.M.G. gets, other people must be just as lost as I am since the discussions segue into everything but his original post! And it does so to the extent that I find myself wondering if most of the people who write in are doing it to get their own views discussed instead of discussing his.
So getting back to my question….
If this is supposed to be, as Ms. Meserve repeats over and over and over again, about “Shared Thoughts with Paul Michael Glaser,” why are so few of the “thoughts” that people “share” and discuss about his posts? It’s understandable that really indepth discussions or a really good conversation will lead to spinoff discussions, but most of the time, the discussions start off by somebody bringing up something totally unrelated and others logging in to talk about that. From what I read the main reason P.M.G. is brought into it or quoted is when someone wants to validate their own point, and even then it seems like the way the quotes or references are used have little if any connection to the way he originally introduced them.
So where does that leave those of us who actually want to discuss or understand P.M.G.’s thoughts and not everybody else’s?
By cherylcrowe, February 21, 2010 @ 8:03 pm
We are not to fear death, as death is inevitable. We must believe that our loved ones passed before us will greet us when we die. I believe that a bond as strong as love cannot be severed even by death. That is what I believe.
By Softly, February 22, 2010 @ 1:30 am
I get where you are coming from. The original posts, especially this one, are filled with subjects that lend themselves for “spinoffs”. In those “spinoffs” only a fraction of the original post is discussed and the treat and overall relation is lost.
Mr. Glaser states in another post (excuse me for quoting) “Not all of what I study and share is ‘understandable’ in the traditional way of wrapping one’s mind around it.” “because it is the ‘un’-known and the only way to ‘know’ it is to experience it, feel it.”
To relate fragments of Mr Glasers post to your own experience is a way to wrap your mind around the big picture he is trying to put across. We want to wrap our minds around it so bad that we forget we can’t,… ever!
Now here in lays the difficulty, to talk about or discus the fragments while you try to experience the whole.
It’s like solving the world’s biggest jig-saw puzzle with only one piece. You are so focused on placing that one piece, clinging on to that piece you feel you nearly understand. You forget that that one piece only gets it’s true meaning when it is placed in the big picture.
But then again we have to start somewhere.
Don’t ever let our ramblings on hold you back from finding the big picture and I sincerely thank you for reeling me back in again.
By hilly, February 22, 2010 @ 1:18 pm
Noia; I think one of the answers to your question lies in the title of this blog…”shared thoughts”. Paul shares a thought, an idea, and we all go off on a tangent exploring what his words mean to us and how we interpret them in our own lives.
You say that it seems to you that people bring PMG into the discussion to validate their remarks – but isn’t that a compliment to his original post? the fact that his thinking (here or in early writings/speeches) has made such a mark on our thinking on a subject?
I regret that Paul no longer returns to the discussion itself…his input might help to refocus us a little.
I forget where (Pam help me out if you can remember) but in one talk/interview he gave (was it La Sierra or Mike Douglas?) Paul remarked on his own ability to go off on a shaggy dog trail. I prefer a shaggy cat…but off I go wherever the trail leads me. These discussions are like a maze…you think you have found a path that will lead you to a conclusion; an answer and whoops here’s another hedge to get round…and another thought to discuss. Each of us does our best to navigate.
As Softly says – it is all part of trying to put together the jigsaw that makes the big picture.
I freely admit that I think so far outside the box sometimes I can’t even find a way to climb back into it. But for me that is part of the value of these discussions – as Pam says, they are a tool…a GPS to help us find the path in our individual journey that is life.
“It’s the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind”.
By hilly, February 22, 2010 @ 1:20 pm
Nadine ma chère copine…tiens bon. Tu es si douce et gentille anvers es autres. ne laiss pas ta famille te pourri la vie.
On ne choisit pas sa famille, mais on choisit ses amie(e)s.
By Christine, February 22, 2010 @ 2:00 pm
I guess it depends how you view this ‘shared thoughts’ blog.
Personally, I always find it a learning experience, to read how we all ‘share’ the same emotions at one time or another.
I would say that the majority of people who come on here have a lot of respect and admiration for PMG; I don’t think anyone would intentionally want to twist his words.
I’m not claiming that I understand everything that is written but is it not more important to at least try to understand.
I love this blog, there are some great people on here, who reach out to one another and try to support or really try to see another’s point of view.
Sometimes you have to agree to disagree as we all won’t see eye to eye on all things.
But this is bringing us together, and in a world so full of problems, this is a lovely place to be. Thank you Paul, and fellow bloggers. Christine.
By Raffy, February 23, 2010 @ 2:32 am
even if I understand what you mean and you could be right about something you shared here, the same I think you should try yourself to write down your feeling and thinking on the topics. It would be a richness for all. Maybe you could find yourself “lost” sometimes and also unknown to yourself. But taking the risk is a good choice. Maybe walking we can find the “right way” to our heart.
In my humble opinion, you first should ask yourself if this is a fact (the “jumps”) or just something you perceive… Not all get this impression reading Paul’s messages. Maybe they can’t meet everyone’s expectations for “clarity”, but each of us can’t be clear to all, even to ourselves sometimes, especially while writing from the heart and on this kinds of subjects. It is up to each of us to make the effort to see the whole instead of “subtopics”, since the whole is there…
By Raffy, February 23, 2010 @ 2:35 am
the second part was incomplete!
You said: “Usually he posts a topic, and it confuses me because he starts on one subject and just when that topic starts to make sense, he jumps into something else then something else!”
“My first response is usually to ask P.M. Glaser for clarity: “Could you please break down the subtopics then explain to me how they all fit together?”
In my humble opinion, you first should ask yourself if this is a fact (the “jumps”) or just something you perceive… Not all get this impression reading Paul’s messages. Maybe they can’t meet everyone’s expectations for “clarity”, but each of us can’t be clear to all, even to ourselves sometimes, especially while writing from the heart and on this kinds of subjects. It is up to each of us to make the effort to see the whole instead of “subtopics”, since the whole is there….
By Rachelle, February 23, 2010 @ 10:25 am
His “Shared Thoughts” are always a postive learning experience for myself.
I agree with Christine that we respect and appreciate Paul’s thoughts. He’s a natural teacher!
Pam I love what your wrote : “Read it, think about it, apply it to your own journey”. That sums it up!
By Terri, February 23, 2010 @ 10:41 am
Hello Paul, This set of thoughts was very enjoyable for me to read. An occasional smile as I could see a lot of me in these words. I don’t put a lot of thoughts of mine in print because when I reread I don’t seem to explain a topic as well as I had hoped. I’m better at speaking to someone face to face. However, I so enjoy reading your words. They always give me something to think about or smile about or even apply to my life. I thank you for this and look forward for the next while still contemplating this writing. Happiness and love always, Terri
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 23, 2010 @ 11:29 am
DEAR PAUL-HILDA really caught LIPORACE NOT SEE THE SENSE OF WELL NOW MY ANONYMOUS-THOUGHT-THAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR OUR PROBLEMS When you type-ES QUEQUEN COMMUNICATE WITH MORE CLARITY AND SEE OUR PROBLEMS, ESPECIALLY I write a lot to vent-EVERY ONE MUST TO LIVE THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE, THAT’S PART OF GROWTH TO MY DAUGHTER I COULD TEACH YOU, RULES AND BEHAVIOR, BUT SHE IS AN INDIVIDUAL TO BE FREE TO TAKE YOUR PROPIASDECISIONES, WE AGREE OR NOT, BUT IT IS HER LIFE AND I HAVE TO RESPECTING-ALL THAT WE HAVE NOT UNDER OUR CONTROL This is where we have the problem-HUMANS ALWAYS WANT TO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL, AND REALLY IS NOT POSSIBLE-WORD “DEATH” WE HAVE NO CONTROL, SHE ESTAAHÍ, we will all That experience, one can think HOW WILL BE MY DEATH? I’m not afraid, if those of my loved ones. Currently, we feel sad YEGOÍSTAS Why do not we see more You will not have at our side. WE HAVE NO CONTROL ON IT is where we feel powerless PAUL LEO-THANK YOUR THOUGHTS AND OTHER COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS AND IS GOOD FOR ME, SE sheds light of my life, AND NOW YOU WANT TO GIVE A WOMAN WHO HAS A WONDERFUL INTELLIGENCE SPARK, hope you enjoy
MIRROR OF THE SOUL
YOUR EYES MIRROR OF THE SOUL
AS THE SEA IN THE DAWN
Momentum with the waves
BLUE EYES, EYES OF PEACE
In the vast sea
BLUE EYES REFLECTING YOUR SOUL
Countless AS REFLECTED IN THEM
BLUE EYES, WHO’LL BE IN YOUR EYES
Eyes as blue as the sea calm, stormy, tumultuous, open, deep
BLUE EYES WHO’LL UNDERSTAND YOUR LOOK
TU MIRADA DE MAR
LORD HAVE YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL GLASER IS WHY WE WROTE THIS POETRY — THANKS GOD BLESS
By Felicia, February 23, 2010 @ 8:44 pm
“I’m not assuming that anybody has the same fears as I, except for one; fear of no control over mortality. That seems to be the human condition. A condition we all journey with.”
That’s funny… thinking that I don’t have control over mortality is what soothes me when I do fear going forward in life. Accepting that, ultimately, it’s out of my hands – it’s out of all of our hands (yet inevitable) makes me feel at peace in the world.
Is that strange? It must be.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 23, 2010 @ 9:02 pm
dear Paul, this poetry is for you:
“Mirror of soul”
Your ayes mirror of soul
like a sea in the dawn
impetuous whith your waves
blue ayes, eyes of peace
in the greatness of sea
blue ayes can see your soul
the countless thing is reflected in then
blue ayes, who like be in your look
blue eyes like a sea in peace, enraged, energetic, open, deep.
Blue eyes, who have to deal your look?
Your look of sea.
Mrs Glaser: you have a look so beautiful, for this i wrote this poetry.
Thank you. Good bless you
I wrote this becouse the traduction was wrong.
Sorry! i`m gonna try to write better the next time, the last leters was wrong to.
Thank you so much
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 23, 2010 @ 9:57 pm
Darling Paul. I do not have problems of saying my name am called really hilda liporace, do not see the anonymity felt-Now I write my thought, really we write our problems, to relax, and to see with mas clarity on them.
- Each one has to live through his proper experiences, this is a part of the thought.
I, could teach procedure and conducts to my daughter, but she is a free, individual being who takes her own decisions.
We can agree or not, but it is her life, and I have to respect her.
- Everything what we cannot have under control, is there where we have the problem.
- The human being always wants to have any low control, and really it is not possible.
There is a word “death”, of this one we do not have control, we all will happen for this experience, one person its say: how do been see?
I am not afraid to the death, if to that of my dear beings.
In these moments, one feels impotence, egoism, and sadness. Because we will not have them more to our side
- The death its not under our control, is there where we feel impotent or badly.
Thank you paul for sharing your thoughts, and the commentaries of other persons, it is good for me and clear very duds of my life.
Mr Glaser, you have a bigger energy and inteligent mind.
It`s for this my present (the poetry) before (up).
My friend, you have a beautiful look- Thank so much- I love you and I hope the lord bless you a lot.
Hilda Liporace (Argentina)
SORRY FOR OTHERS COMMENTS I SAY BEFORE, THERE IS NOT WELL. OR WAS WRONG, I DON`T KNOW, WAS WRONG THE TRADUCTION.
By Sarah Levy, February 24, 2010 @ 7:52 am
I don’t think your feelings about mortality are at all strange. Although I don’t feel the same way about it, I can understand where you are coming from. In fact, I wish I felt that way too.
As humans, we all have our thoughts, feelings about certain aspects of life and death. I don’t think that any one belief/feeling is less or more strange than the other.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 24, 2010 @ 9:18 am
All in moment of our life, probably before an adverse situation or contemplating a beautiful dawn, we look in for recondite mas of our inside possible answers to big questions that .Any do to the human existence there presents for mas superficially that is, at least once he(she) has wondered brings over of the sense of the life that is really this so wonderful and fleeting miracle? Since(as,like) this mystery, this God’s gift explain.
I have for my that the life is like a rose which interlaced petals represent the unbreakable affective links that us reduce to the persons that we love. All his(her,your) being radiates with incomparable luminosity the beauty of the amos. It(he,she) burns as fire, which sparks illuminate which(who) you star since(as,like) it(he,she) is in contour with light that it(he,she) does not bewilder but it(he,she) cools the heart. This rose perfumes of happiness and prudence, in such a way that his(her,your) aroma lies in everything what touches. This way, in our soul we preserve something of each one of the persons that we are finding along the way and also in them it remain something of us
His(Her,Your) leaves(sheets) have the color of the hope, his(her,your) petals the smoothness and sweetness of the good things that happen to us, in which our soul is glad. But the rose has thorns(bones) of adversity, of that one that costs us, of despondency, of weariness, of goals that we do not achieve to reach….
Anyone who contemplates a rose that has to look? The beauty of his(her,your) being or the thorns(bones) that him(her) are necessary? Precisely on our way of seeing the life our happiness depends ……
Sorry for the translation-Paul God blesses you
By Terri, February 24, 2010 @ 10:55 am
Felicia, I feel a lot like you do. I’ve become better able to cope with life. I also feel a little different on the subject of helping. I make my choices by past lessons learned. If it’s a new request, a new situation I simply help and hope for the best. I don’t beat myself up wondering if I’m doing the right thing. I’ll know when it’s over and learn for it. Terri
By Softly, February 25, 2010 @ 12:55 am
Dear Mr Glaser,
While doing research for an article for children about the difference and similarities between fantasy and reality I came across this “diagram” I thought you might like it.
The diagram below is not a diagram, but only an indication: the existence of the line itself is merely theoretical.
Above that line, the absolute is actual
and the world of distinctions only theoretical
THERE IS A LINE DRAWN IN EMPTY SPACE
Below that line, the world of distinctions is actual
and the absolute only theoretical
Zen and the ways
By Josie, February 25, 2010 @ 5:39 am
Of course. I agree, Mr Glaser.
By hilly, February 25, 2010 @ 1:35 pm
Those two passages have been with me since I had to learn them at school (more years ago than I care to admit LOL)
they have always seemed to me to be a perfect starting point from which to look at how we approach our short passage on earth and what may or may not come after we have ‘shuffled off our mortal coil”
We sleep…we dream and we are such stuff as dreams are made of…and in our dreams we either confront our fears (nightmares?) or we move towards something that we desire – peace of mind. Our passage on this earth can be totally insignificant – or we can make a mark, whether it be through fame or through one kind word or deed.
“As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
(Shakespeare: Prospero’s last speech in “The Tempest”)
and to take it further: (Hamlet)
“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause:”
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 26, 2010 @ 6:21 pm
Querido Paul – ESTOY ATRAVESANDO UN MOMENTO DE TRISTEZA DONDE SIENTO IMPOTENCIA DE ALGO QUE NO ESTA BAJO MI CONTROL , MI GENTE EN EL NORTE SE ESTA MURIENDO DE HAMBRE . LOS VERDADEROS ARGENTINOS NUESTROS NATIVOS,LOS NIÑOS Y ADULTOS ESTÁN EN COMPLETA DESNUTRICIÓN ,EL GOBIERNO NO REALIZA NADA AL RESPECTO NO TIENEN COBERTURA MEDICA Y SI VAN A LOS HOSPITALES PUBLICOS NO LOS ATIENDEN POR SER ABORÍGENES ,ESTO YA LO SE QUE ES MUNDIAL ,EN CADA RINCÓN DEL MUNDO ESTA PASANDO LO MISMO ,ESO ME DA IMPOTENCIA ,YA QUE UNO PUEDE AYUDAR PERO NO ALCANZA ,YA QUE ESA DECISIÓN LA TIENE QUE TOMAR LOS GOBERNANTES ,DONDE DAN VUELTA LA CARA COMO SI NO PASARA NADA ,UNO PUEDE ESTAR BIEN CON UNO MISMO . PERO COMO TOMAR DENTRO DE NUESTRO CORAZÓN , ESTO QUE ESTA PASANDO . NO QUIERO JUZGAR , PERO LAMENTABLEMENTE UNO SE SIENTE IMPOTENTE ANTE ESTA SITUACIÓN -AMAR -SI PERO COMO AYUDAR SI LOS GOBERNANTES NO NOS DEJAN ,AQUÍ EN LAS GRANDES CIUDADES HAY PROTESTAS DE DISTINTAS ÍNDOLES .SALUD,SUELDOS ,ENSEÑANZA ES UN CAOS TOTAL ,COMO HACER PARA AYUDAR SI NOSOTROS NO PODEMOS -SE QUE HAY EGOÍSMO ,NO TODAS LAS PERSONAS SON IGUALES -LOS ARTISTAS GRACIAS A DIOS ESTÁN AYUDANDO POR QUE SON ESCUCHADOS .Y MUCHAS VECES TIENEN QUE SACAR DINERO DE SUS BOLSILLOS PARA AYUDAR,- COMO HACER ,COMO ,? SUS ENSEÑANZAS DE VIDA SON MUY BUENAS ,PERO YO ESTOY EN LA INCERTIDUMBRE EN MI PAÍS DONDE SE MUEREN TODOS LOS DÍAS “-__-DE HAMBRE”—– ESTO ES MI SENTIR Y MI PENSAMIENTO GRACIAS ES UN DESAHOGO ,NO SE SI LO LEERÁN YA QUE LO ESCRIBÍ EN ESPAÑOL , PERO ES LA ÚNICA FORMA QUE PUDE Y QUE YO ME ENTIENDA Y QUE ME ENTIENDAN ,CUANDO UTILIZO EL TRADUCTOR -TRADUCE OTRA COSA DE LO QUE QUIERO DECIR ,NO ME QUEDARA OTRA ALTERNATIVA DE ESTUDIAR INGLES .GRACIAS PAUL GRACIAS PAM DIOS LOS BENDIGA GRANDEMENTE A USTEDES Y A TODOS LOS COLABORADORES Y A TODOS LOS QUE DEJAN SUS PENSAMIENTOS –HILDA LIPORACE –ARGENTINA —
By Christine, February 27, 2010 @ 3:03 pm
What a difference almost two weeks can make. My best friend is out of intensive care (woo hoo!) they say he is doing fine thank goodness hes still with us!
Reading your blog last week was like reading my situation, I was so scared he might die.
Funny how you were talking about rules, rights wrongs etc?
All week different hospital staff have asked either him or me how long have we been together? Every single time either one of has laughed and said its not like that; we are just best friends, simple, why does society always think a man and woman can’t be just friends?
Another question just came into my mind why do I care so much? Does it really matter that they got it wrong? Yet still I feel like I need to justify myself? Maybe because we all feel the need to be understood at all times? The truth factor comes into it.
If a person is ‘sensitive’ or caring in this world we are then accused of being too emotional, so okay you find another person that keeps their emotions under tight control, they will then be accused of being cold or uncaring, it seems that we will never strike a happy medium.
Society will always judge us. Going off topic here for just a second I would hate to be famous. When the media report things, write things etc that you know have no truth in them, or personal things that they really ought to stay out of, I would be constantly trying to correct everyone……. I guess you are so used to the attention now that you can rise above it; but it would drive me mad.
Anyway, thank you to those that wished my friend well and thank you for the prayers.
With love as always Christine xx
By sknash, February 27, 2010 @ 4:25 pm
Christine, glad your friend is doing better. Thanks for letting us know. Hope he continues to improve. Blessings, Susan
By Rachelle, February 27, 2010 @ 5:54 pm
I’m so happy that your BFF is doing better and I hope he contuines to be on the mend! Awesome news! I’m sure your best friend is family – a brother. My best friend is my sister so I can relate. That’s all that matters!
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 28, 2010 @ 12:09 am
dear Paul, I need prayer for my country Argentina, the real native Argentina are starving. malnourished, neglected, marginalized – not are in hospitals because they are aboriginal natives this was written in Spanish but I think no one read — this situation in my country gives me powerlessness, helplessness at the death of my people – and help – it’s a great sadness in my heart, I am ashamed that the rulers do not make anything, more helpless, more pain. this was what I communicate – where is the love the compassion of the rulers “God bless you – Hilda Liporace-Argentina
By hilly, February 28, 2010 @ 5:07 am
Great news Christine.
I know what you mean – why should you explain your relationship? but we have to ‘justify ourselves’ all the time in a world where the ‘normal’ is the couple!
By Christine, February 28, 2010 @ 10:47 am
Thank you for your good wishes for my friend, they are appreciated!
Thank you, Yes it is great news hes much better than he was. xx
Thank you. Being a ‘couple’ is great while it lasts! lol I divorced my husband but you never know Mr Right may be out there some where.
By Christine, February 28, 2010 @ 11:13 am
Sorry I have gone off topic just a touch! My apologies everyone!
By hilly, February 28, 2010 @ 1:10 pm
My Mr Rights always seemed ti turn into Mr Wrong (ah well)
And staying off topic….hope those of you who celebrate(d) had a great Purim
By Christine, February 28, 2010 @ 2:45 pm
I know the feeling!. Not many people seem to have long marriages/relationships compared to how it used to be in my late grandma’s day. Society has changed so much, in her day when you married it was for life, in her case she lost my grandad while they we still quite young, I don’t really remember him at all, just heard the stories of how much she had loved this man.
She lived a full life, but she never fell in love again, in her mind her heart was always with my grandad. She travelled the world, she was an amazing woman then at 91 she was taken ill and decided she had maybe had enough, she showed no fear of death, in her eyes she was going onto a better place, she was one step away from meeting up with the love of her life, and my mother, who I know she missed terribly. I hope she got the things she yearned for so much, it was a comfort at the time to know she felt unafraid. I was thinking about her today, she was a big PMG fan as was my mother. Engelbert (oh, please excuse me I can’t remember his surname at this moment) but he had massive hit records,’ please release me let me go’ was one of them it came on the radio today and it made me smile, thinking of her singing along with it!. The thing about death is they are gone from sight, but never ever leave your heart, thoughts, and memories.
Best wishes, Christine.
By Sammy, February 28, 2010 @ 8:57 pm
I have not been able to join in any conversation for about a week – We just bought our first home and moved in. In all that chaos I still couldn’t help but think of all what might be going on in shared thoughts… No Kidding!
After a day full of ‘housework’ I had a chance to read all comments since February 19th or so… Didn’t want to go back to a previous conversation but just wanted to share some thoughts.
From Sue “Person A” and Person B” Personalities: Oh Boy… Yes I have seen many “A type” people.
I believe that the result of ones deeds depends on his/her true/ sincere/ real objective. If someone is doing something good ‘unwillingly’ or solely expecting that he/she will get a reward back, (like thinking that this will bring fame to me, or this will help me go to heaven or a better life, or this will save me from going to hell or etc etc ) I think that reward is never going to come. When you want to do something good (say you want to give a meal to someone who has no means of getting one) you should feel good about it before doing it, while doing it, and after doing it. You should truly feel it! Key point: Objective!
Also wanted to share some thing about being “anonymous” in this (or other blogs)
Quoting Raffy “It would be also interesting to know what sharing means to those who can do it in complete anonymity…”
I think that depends on the person again… Ok- I will talk about what I feel… When it comes to “Sharing Thoughts” for me it won’t make a difference whether I use my real name or not. For me I have no problem what so ever to write what I think or what I believe with my real name I can share my “thoughts” 100% with anyone.. with people I know or do not know. Then why do I use a ‘derived’ name?
This blog is shared thoughts but we also tend to share some of our life experiences when we write about our thoughts and beliefs…
If I am going to write about some life experience of mine, I will have to think more than twice if I am going to write that with my real name with it. I will have to think about (1) What kind of problems may arise if people know me see what I have written (2) what will happen to other people who were involved in a situation I am writing (3) and then of course what will happen to me if my family /relatives /friends see this…
I think the real problem is that I am afraid that someone in my family or a relative would know what I didn’t want them to know. Maybe I am a coward… but for me I am just avoiding unwanted problems. Then one could ask why you want to write about something like that anyway… But we all know how therapeutic it is get something off your chest.
Well… Although I don’t know any of you, personally, after some time I sort of have an ‘image’ of everyone or at least of some of you who are posting here. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear what someone who doesn’t know you think of you after reading a blog?
Oh.. well… time to go to bed.. Have to go to work tomorrow! Ahhh Monday!
By HILDA LIPRACE, March 1, 2010 @ 12:05 am
CHRISTINE -HILLY – RACHELLE-SKNASH-SOFTLY-TERRI-
MARLY-SARA- FELICIA- PAM- RAFFY-SUE-MONICA-
HONORARIOS-MONTAÑOSA-XTEXAN 86- SAMMY PAM T-
GOD BLESSES THEM
DEAR PAUL -GOD BLESS YOU -
By Softly, March 1, 2010 @ 7:02 am
Dear Mr. Glaser,
As promised in my earlier post, here my discoveries on denial so far.
I can’t deny denial, although the nature of denial is to deny. If I would let her have her way she would deny everything, even her own existence. She is a cunning one; she is a master of trickery and skillfully plays with mirrors and veils.
So who is she, what is her purpose?
Denial is my ego’s over protective mother trying to shield it from painful sights and harmful thoughts. Her purpose is to keep my ones so carefully constructed ego intact. She came into existence when I needed a security blanket, a place to hide in times when the world became too scary and confusing. Over the years I’ve learned to recognize her as the uncomfortable feeling of being smothered, as an allergic reaction to her injustice towards my authentic self.
I must admit she still comes in handy when I need some time to think. But I try to shed her veil as soon as possible how ever painful that might be; although her injustice is always more painful than the naked truth about myself.
I do wonder will I always feel her presence, or is she cunning enough to hide even from the mirror?
I wonder is my allergic reaction towards others when they are in obvious denial not just recognition of a denial within me?
Lifting veils and forever learning,
By Christine, March 1, 2010 @ 7:52 am
You are so right, it would be nice to know what other’s think of us after reading our blogs! I guess we all read each other’s experiences and we will all form some sort of opinion on one another. Is that the same as judging? No, I think there is a slight difference in trying to work out what makes a person tick and judging them to be right/wrong etc.
When Paul commented on how we are still visible even on here; to me I find it easier to discuss things on here than I do face to face at times.
For instance, standing at a bus stop I would not turn to the nearest person to me and tell them my worries. Why? What is the difference between discussing it with him/her than writing it on here? To me the answer is simple. I always get the feeling that either Paul or another blogger will understand, theres a trust here.Hopefully then I/we can try in turn to help other’s. Not because I think that I won’t get to heaven etc if I don’t do some good, just a basic human need to want to connect and share.
I guess we all value our privacy, there are things none of us would discuss on here, because its just too personal; these are the things our husband/wife best friends know; we have that important trust.There is no ‘fear’ they might let us down.
I guess we all give as much or as little of ourselves on here depending on how much we want people to know, judge? us. While still holding on tight to our all important privacy.
With love as always Christine. xx
By Sammy, March 1, 2010 @ 10:43 am
Right on target- I believe you when you say that one develops a kind of trust in here. I haven’t felt comfortable in writing anything on a blog or other related web forum before this. I have to thank Michael (I mean Paul.. I keep on mentioning his second name all the time), Pam, and rest of the bloggers who are in here for that feeling of security. Ofcourse you never can tell about those who read the blog but never join in any conversations but that ‘unknown factor’ is unavoidable not just in a blog but anywhere else too.
By Rachelle, March 1, 2010 @ 12:34 pm
Yes I agree there is a really great group of people on this shared thoughts blog. I’ve been lucky to make some nice friends on here!
Sammy – I have to agree with your “Ahhh Monday” comment.*g* You’re so right!!
Hilda – Thanks for the kind wishes for us.
By hilly, March 1, 2010 @ 12:39 pm
Some others here know what I’m referring to (and we’ll leave it at that)when I say that the feeling of ‘safety’ here is important to many of us.
I admit that the responses on some of Paul’s earlier thoughts made me sniff the air like a cat and wonder if the trolls were coming out from under their rocks. It seems now that if they were they lost interest. Maybe they weren’t there at all and I was just scared of shadows.
Or maybe they were testing the water and decided to leave when they realised what sincerity there is on these threads.
I think that this is because there is a solidarity amongst those of us who are genuinely interested in developing our approach and our paths on the journey that is life. And maybe it is a great compliment to Paul that under his influence we feel safe and are ready to talk about what is going on in that strange borderland between our hearts and out minds.
Softly: I’m going to write this out and tack it on my wall:
I can’t deny denial, although the nature of denial is to deny.
By Christine, March 1, 2010 @ 3:22 pm
Thank you and God bless you too.
Hi Sammy, Isn’t it nice to feel that trust?
Hi Rach, I agree, theres some lovely people on here. xx
It is a compliment to a caring, compassionate man, we trust Paul; then trust each other! Aren’t we enjoying it too!
By marly, March 2, 2010 @ 8:14 am
Thank you so much.
All the best to you!
By Sammy, March 2, 2010 @ 10:56 am
Talk about spin offs.. Started off with death, life, fear, and deviated to anonymity and ended up with blog security, friendship, trust … Still there is a lot more to say in all these matters. This is the beauty of a discussion as I see it.
One cannot build walls around one topic and limit his/herself just to that because we are human. Our thoughts wonder from one to another but yet everything is connected in some way. I am not saying that focusing on one point is bad; however, it is also more educational, fun and vivid when you consider all other aspects that tag along with it. I always enjoy and learn more when there are differences among ideas, thoughts. While you always feel connected to someone with the same ideology when someone with a different view comes along that make the discussion all more interesting and fun. Afterall … the world would have been a very dull place to live if all of us had the same views or thoughts and liked the same things
I am definitely enjoying it Christine. The sense of acceptance and friendship are two of the most important aspects in life.
Thank you so much for the kind wishes Hilda.
Work work work- got to go! Lunch break (10min is all what it takes for me) is over.
By marly, March 3, 2010 @ 10:21 am
So glad to hear that your friend is doing so much better!
By Christine, March 3, 2010 @ 11:52 am
Thank you, your support is appreciated, you take care too.