Archives for category: Having a Vision

“To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish”

― Arthur Schopenhauer

REFLECTIONS

Shopping Mall as Cougar, Me as Prey!

AMBUSHED!

I heard a story the other day about a cougar taking down a moose. No easy feat, as a moose is huge and feisty. But the cougar is wily. He begins by assessing his prey as he stalks the herd, and when confident of success, he pounces, unexpectedly, when his chosen prey is vulnerable. I’ve come to accept that predators track, kill and devour their prey in the wilds of nature, but this shouldn’t happen to humans in a Shopping Mall. But it did to me! Within 7 seconds of entering a fancy Calgary Mall, my self-esteem was captured, killed and devoured. Contentedly on a mission to replace my daughter’s designer doorknob, I walked through the Mall doors into a mythical world of airbrushed perfection. Glistening floors, subtle notes from a string quartet, pastel shades of coral, turquoise and azure, and an unidentifiable, but alluring scent…Oh yes baby… the sweet smell of success! Errand forgotten, I found myself salivating over purses I did not need, and shoes that would not fit, and dresses designed exclusively for mannequins.  

Shopping Mall as Black Hole – Beautiful But Deadly

A Black Hole is a place in space whose gravitational pull is so great that even light, once seized by its magnetism, cannot escape. Shopping Malls have a similar effect on the light in my soul. Chinook Mall’s ‘high-end’ area, pulled the light from my day and in seconds I had descended into the dark hell of inadequacy. Catching a glimpse of myself in one of the many reflective surfaces, I suddenly felt dowdy, dated, dingy and drab. How did this happen? I was content when I drove up to the mall, happily doing something for someone else, in the hopes of brightening their day! Within seconds I felt derelict and dilapidated and became bewitched by the belief that new clothes, shoes, make-up, perfume, etc., would bring the light back into my life.

Feelings of Inadequacy Create Envy and Schadenfreude(the experience of malicious joy at someone’s misfortune)

As I glanced around at my fellow shoppers, I felt 2 of my least favourite emotions…envy followed by schadenfreude. Both emotions are triggered by an internalized voice of judgement…” You are not good enough. Look around the store and see for yourself.” And there she was…the woman who had life easy because she was graced with beauty…and I felt such envy. And as this emotion of envy activated the physical pain nodes in my brain’s cortex, my balancing system sought a positive experience. Unfortunately, when in the darkness of low self-esteem, this positive experience came at the expense of another…this is schadenfreude. My gaze was drawn towards a person whom I judged unattractive and I felt superior. This gave me a self-affirming, but inauthentic, ego boost. 

Applied Predictive Analysis- How Retailers Maximize Profit

Our behaviour is studied and tested while we shop. When we enter a store, cameras may be following our movements(body and eyeball). Our choices are then analyzed to determine the impact of product placement, product promotion, store temperature, number of sales staff etc. Studies have shown that:

1. Impulse shopping occurs due to influences outside of one’s conscious awareness(store ambience, advertising imagery), rather than a conscious calculation of need versus resources.

2. Low self-esteem is known to be a predictor of impulse shopping.

3. Impulse shoppers increase profits dramatically.

Through extensive and expensive analysis, retailers work to create an atmosphere of competition, winners and losers, the haves and the have-nots. Because of the vast array of materialism on display, occasionally everyone feels like a ‘have-not.’ If the Mall has done its job properly, inevitably there will be a product you are convinced you must own…

I NEED IT! I WANT IT!

I NEED IT! I WANT IT!

Rising Above the Heartlessness of Human Weakness

My Breath is Your Breath

I left the Mall at this point, disgruntled with myself. How had I succumbed to the manipulations of Mall Marketers so easily? As I sat in my car I was reminded of a meditation by Deepak Chopra, where I first came to believe that the physical realm, which we experience through our senses, gives us the illusion of separateness. I am here and you are there…separate from me. But the latest discoveries in Quantum Physics disprove this perception. We do not have the physical ability to see how humans are one entity, no more than we have the ability to see electricity move along a wire, or sound travel, or how ‘The Google” works. Realizing, though, that the air in my lungs today, may be the air in your lungs tomorrow, is a lovely illustration of connectedness. 

Aspirations for Week 40 of 52 

Shopping Marketer as Predator – Consumer as Prey

In my efforts to become more conscious, as The Other Woman Blogger, I realize I still have negative thoughts and emotions. But now I see that through the process of honest disclosure I can find a path to peace, interspersed with moments of Spiritual Bliss! By taking Step 1, admitting the truth, I improve my life and the lives of those I encounter.

In an ideal world, the notion of competition would be absent. We would buy what we needed for survival, attempting to ensure all 7 billion, interconnected humans, had just enough.

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I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life.

I don’t mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful towards recovery.

Christopher Reeve 

REFLECTIONS

I Didn't Want This!

I Didn’t Want This!

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS – the terrifying diagnosis

In 1983,  my Rheumatologist insisted I get a Handicapped Parking Permit for my car. She said I had to face facts. “You have a very serious disease that is chronic, debilitating and progressively degenerative.” She might as well have punched me in the heart with her fist. In fact, as I force myself to write these words, I feel a band of pain tightening around my head, and my blood pressure rising. My recollection of the rest of her speech that day and at most visits over the next 25 years went something like the following…”Ankylosing Spondylitis… that’s your disease. It’s a form of arthritis that can make joints swell to hideous sizes, while depositing calcium that eventually fuses the bones into an immobile, non-functioning joint.”  She then listed associated illnesses that can accompany AS! She said I may get: iritis, dactylitis, enthesitis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and a few other ‘itises’ (itis means inflammation). Shocked, I quit listening and began to fantasize about the sedating sugary junk I would eat when I left her office. To jolt me back to the ugly picture she was painting, she would pull out a few photographs, and lay them before me on her desk. 

Supposedly, my decline was predictable. She showed me a photo similar to the one below and said in 30 years, I would walk with a cane. Although she cautioned, a wheelchair was sometimes necessary.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

RECLAIMING MY PHYSICAL BODY

So here I am, 30 years later, daring to dream about climbing Wilcox Pass in late June, to celebrate the Summer Solstice. My joints are far from perfect, but I am not using a wheelchair or a cane and can finally walk up and down stairs like an adult, not a child learning to walk…right foot up on step, left foot up on same step…etc. The purpose  of The Other Woman Blog has been to reclaim my life; emotionally, spiritually and physically. 3/4 of the year completed and I feel ‘whole – hearted’ with a connection to God/Cosmic Consciousness/Unified Field. But I shudder with fear at the thought of reclaiming my physical life. So here is what I have done to help move me towards my dream!

1. On Thursday, March 21st, I allowed the desire to climb Wilcox Pass register in my heart, not dismissing it instantly as I would have done in the previous 30 years.

2. I then had 2 sleepless nights, as I registered the fear I felt in agreeing to participate in a hike well beyond my present physical ability.

3. At the Spring Equinox Workshop on Saturday, I created a doll symbolizing the rebirth of my physical self! She represents my deep desire to move with wild abandon, like a cougar in the woods. She is the life that resides within me already, waiting for the governing controls I have placed on her to be removed, SO SHE CAN DANCE!!

 WHY I’M NOT DISABLED

 I am not disabled because I never believed I would be. Admittedly, I came very, very close to being crippled, but at some deep level of ‘knowing’, I felt I would find my way out of illness. I just needed someone else who believed I could make a difference in my health by healing my heart and my spirit. Of course this true healer is my Herbalist, Annette Bossert. Doctors are not educated to give credence to the power of belief. They observe a symptom, for example, a swollen knee, diagnose a disease and then offer a series of drugs, hoping the symptoms will be suppressed. And after many years of drug ‘therapy’ they suggest replacing the now non – functioning knee with a metal joint. This is not healing. A knee cannot be thought of as a flat tire. Nor would a flat tire improve if the car as a whole learned to express its feelings, or found loving occupants. The human body is not analogous to a machine. Car parts do break down, and the car as a whole is improved by a discrete repair or replacement. But the body is part of a synergistic whole, where emotional and spiritual experiences affect it, positively and negatively. Symptoms are meant to get our attention, to alert us to an imbalance, whether it’s emotional, physical or spiritual. It’s only since the Industrial Revolution that parallels were drawn between humans and machines!

If you click on the white sentence that follows, you will see an incredible 5 minute clip of Viktor Frankl describing the impact of our beliefs on an individual’s behaviourViktor Frankl talks about the power of belief!

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 38 OF 52

WILCOX PASS – DARE AN ARTHRITIC DREAM?

As I connect with my physical self, accepting my deep desire to move in sport, dance and play, I imagine I will begin to experience new levels of physical joy. I imagine I will ride my bike again, kayak in the ocean again, and hike in the hills and mountains again! As I remove the mental and emotional barriers to this dream, opening my heart to any hurdles, my body will respond accordingly!

 And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

REFLECTIONS

I am in a quiet place…at a loss for words. Or maybe I’ve used up my word allotment for this month! I feel as though I have to give some time to adjust to the shift that is occurring within my core. The internal driver that has raised me from the bed each day, for decades, has fizzled out. Some new source of power, a new sense of spirit, is coming to life.

During my road trip on March 17th and 18th, from Vancouver Island, through the Canadian Rockies, to Calgary, I had 12 hours to be silent. I scaled 2 mountain passes, and kept just ahead of the snowstorms. During this drive, I came to the realization that I no longer felt disappointed or dissatisfied in my life. I no longer felt lost, lonely or afraid. For the first time, I feel a part of my world, not apart from it and everyone.

Being in alignment with my soul and therefore the Unified Field/Cosmic Consciousness, I have purpose. I don’t feel I am marking time until my life REALLY begins or marking time until I die. My life is satisfying now, because I feel aligned with my soul, spirit and the Universe. The tricky part is trying to describe the experiential difference between living life in alignment with Cosmic Consciousness and living life from the material realm, the mind, alone. To an observer, I would seem exactly the same, doing similar activities….but if you could enter my experiential self, you too would be left speechless. Before I bid you adieux today, I will leave one example.

“Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question– ‘Is this all?”
― Betty FriedanThe Feminine Mystique

 When I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, in the ’80s, I believed the road to happiness lay in balancing family and career…having it all. But ‘having it all’ felt as hollow as having nothing. I am only beginning to realize that the structures I imposed on myself, missed one essential ingredient…my heartfelt self. This is The Other Woman I have been searching for! 

This is a picture of me, in my new life as The Other Woman, ready for take-off!

New Life-Ready for Takeoff!

New Life-Ready for Takeoff!

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.

-Barbara De Angelis

REFLECTIONS

For decades I have been living a prosperous life…

Yesterday, I spent 10 hours writing 800 more words, which you will never read because I just deleted all but the above sentence without reading a word of it. 10 hours of writing, and I never once got into that place of bliss, the writer’s groove. Horribly frustrated I gave up writing at 8pm and escaped to a movie. In the previous 35 posts, I have never had this happen. Usually I get my premise together on Sundays and then on Mondays I edit, add photos and colours, hoping to ‘publish’ by 3pm. But not this week…UH-UH no way…there may not be a post at all…certainly not what I wrote yesterday…Select all, then hit Delete and poof! 800 words vanish into a cyber graveyard, where all bad writing spends eternity.

Cyber Graveyard

Cyber Graveyard

Today, Monday March 11, began with me waking up knowing I had to face the crap I wrote yesterday. Stalling, I drank 2 cups of coffee and then finished watching last evenings’s  movie.  By 8:30, I decided to ‘face the music’. I opened my WordPress Blog and began to re-read yesterday’s schlock!

Prosperous VS Preposterous

And it happened again, same as yesterday… each time I read the opening line …’For decades I have been living a prosperous life’… I read instead…’For decades I have been living a preposterous life!’

Yesterday, I thought this constant error was due to momentary verbal dyslexia, but today, even with a freshly caffeinated brain, I made the same slip of the tongue. I read no further, but deleted everything else, without reading a word. I sat with that one sentence and decided to commune with God…my Higher Self… Cosmic Consciousness(I haven’t settled on a name).

“Okay God…what’s with the Freudian Slip? Huh? Why do I keep reading preposterous instead of prosperous?? What is my lesson this time?” And then it happened, a beauteous ‘aha’ moment…an ecstatic experience delivered upon me in a state of grace.

Ego Experiences Pain When Soul feels Bliss

Ego Experiences Pain When Soul feels Bliss

I was humbled and brought to my knees yet again, as I acknowledged and surrendered to a force greater than my will. My EGO consciousness wanted to write about my prosperous life, while my COSMIC consciousness wanted me to acknowledge how preposterous my prosperous life had been…I spent 10 hours battling between these 2 forces yesterday. I love the above image of the hand. Bliss is juxtaposed with barbed wire, illustrating my experience. I got to a state of grace through the crucible of psychic pain.

My ego driven ‘self’ had a plan. I just put my mind to it. I yanked each and every word by the ear and demanded it stand exactly where I placed it. I closed my ears to any complaints of over-use or misuse and refused to acknowledge feelings of being misunderstood. I was writing about the most important of subjects, my burgeoning spirituality… and I had a deadline, so there would be no breaks. There would be no walk on the lovely beach in the warm sunlight with my friends –  until my work was done.

Yesterday's Writing

Yesterday’s Writing

This writing experience is analogous to my entire approach to spirituality. Yesterday, as I was DOING my Blog on Spirituality, I got stuck in the pomposity of my words. I needed someone or something to break the stalemate I was experiencing in my writing. Enter the Cosmic Trickster. He kept introducing an energy that was the opposite of my self-righteousness, by having me mix up ‘prosperous life’ with ‘preposterous life’. When I finally stopped to ponder this, the standoff ended and I had an inspirational moment. 

Blissful Consciousness

Blissful Consciousness

I have been trying to have a Spiritual Experience for 30 years. I earnestly read many of the well known Spiritual texts, practised Transcendental Meditation and Chi Kung regularly and visited sacred sites. This approach to Spirituality is what a materialistic consumer believes Spirituality to be. But when materialism dominates, the Spirit is quashed. This is why we need the Cosmic Trickster to bring mishap, misadventure and mayhem in to our perfect little lives. We need the creation of tension, unease or disaster to force us out of our materialistic complacency. I will speak for myself, rather than the ‘royal we’. It seems I would rather experience the temporary pleasures of a prosperous life than the eternal bliss of a Spiritual Life. Illustrating the need for Cosmic Tricksters creating chaos!

Cosmic Trickster – mishap, misadventure and mayhem

Cosmic Trickster

Cosmic Trickster

30 years ago I was instructed in Transcendental Meditation. I spent a weekend listening to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi videos. I’m embarrassed now, to admit that I spent the next years imitating his voice and message. In my humble and amenable state today, I remembered this and searched for a YouTube video of the Maharishi. He is gracing beautiful Lake Louise with his presence. Listening to him, I burst into tears, realizing I finally understood his message…

 Aspirations for Week 36 of 52 

Doing Versus Being Spiritual – The Humble Journey

I am 2/3 of the way through the year of The Other Woman Blog. To be honest, which is what I vowed to be, I am a little disappointed. I thought, through the process of transformation via The Other Woman Blog, I would ‘turn into’ a sultry, sexy woman, who would finally ‘get’ her illusive man. But ‘The Other Woman” seems to be more of a Spiritual entity than I had bargained for. Maybe sultry and spiritual are not mutually exclusive, but the Cosmic Trickster is not going to condone any more of my materialistic proclivities, and have me find sultry before I found spiritual!

So for Week 36 of 52, I will thank that force, which is greater than my will, for giving me a chance to experience the bliss of Cosmic Consciousness.

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