Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stories of Hope and Validation of Being: For Autistic/ Asperger's Birthdays: Odin (13) and Glenn (6) #OdinBirthday


I am always relieved that my son is not in school. I hear the tales of bullying for any child who doesn't seem to fit. A child who may struggle with conveying some emotions or does not always understand social etiquette is especially at risk. My child's circle of friends is very small. He has his brother and sister as his best friends and one other child who has been like a brother to him since he was born. Other than that we have a few kids who come in and out of his life, but the sticking power is not there. Some of it is because of his sensory issues. Some of it is because they are interested in things he is not interested in. Sometimes it can be chalked up to personality differences. At it's worst he has less friends because of a FEAR of difference or people unable to overcome the differences in communication.

When I hear stories like the two below links, I cry my eyes out with happy tears. In the news there are so many negative stories about Asperger's or Autism. I stopped reading the stories because they broke my heart. Often it felt that the articles were full of marginalization and misinformation about the Neurodiversity we possess and only perpetuated the greater population's fear of a difference that also has some beauty. My husband, however, pointed out these two articles to me because he knew they would help heal some of the damage that other news stories have created.

Odin:
http://www.ptbocanada.com/journal/2015/3/20/no-one-rsvp-ed-for-this-13-year-olds-birthday-so-lets-make-him-feel-loved

http://globalnews.ca/news/1895564/ontario-boy-has-awesome-party-after-odinbirthday-goes-viral/

Glenn:
http://metro.co.uk/2015/02/21/the-publics-response-when-nobody-turned-up-to-this-autistic-6-year-olds-birthday-was-incredible-5073081/

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/happy-ending-for-6-year-old-after-nobody-shows-up-111578010187.html

Happy birthday Odin! Happy birthday Glenn!

The stories of these boys bring healing. There are many children who are ignored, teased, bullied, or neglected by their peers who do not get their happy moment, but the lives of Odin, Glenn and their mothers are proof that love and effort can change this fact. My hope is with a little understanding, some educational changes in the system, and parental guidance on how to treat the Neurodiverse, this can change. I respect each celebrity that responded because a few minutes of their busy day was given to show a moment of recognition. We are all only human. A celebrity has more of a platform for this reach of humanity but they are still on the same level of beauty and worth as the child who is celebrating his own gift of life. This is especially impressive that someone who is busy with many connections used their platform to install worth. This validates the inherent hope embedded in the human experience. When we recognize a soul and acknowledge BEING we give the greatest gift; we validate a person's significance.

There are other ways we can contribute to the validation of Being. Installing confidence and worth usually creates a trickle effect of beauty for the world. We can create this change simply by reading perspectives by those who actually have the differences (see my side referrals to the blog Musings of An Aspie or my Labels on Asperger's/ Autism), or changing our perspectives of the stories we find ourselves in. We are largely influenced by our culture. We write our stories by living them and sharing our beauty and struggles.

Life is made up by little moments. If each of us gives a few of our moments that make up our lives to validate the worth of another Being we contribute to the positive changes in the world we help create. Let's be the change.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gasping for Oxygen~ Thoughts on Anemia, Depression, and the Comfort of The Closet.

~This picture was after a full day in ER (due to other reasons not in this post) and three recovery days after. I was still feeling awful but did not want that to define my life...so I decided to take the kids to my next medical appointment in the city, put on some false eyelashes and loads of make up and pretend I was fine. I still had to take breathing breaks in the mall and my husband had to carry my purse, but for my kids, they will look back on these pictures and not realize how crappy I was feeling because I look well. That matters sometimes in feeling well. It can't be done all the time, but sometimes when I force myself in moments when I feel moderately crappy, it works sort of! Sometimes faking to make it actually does work. Being an Aspie I am pretty good at masking...sometimes masking leads to living...but if done for prolonged periods of time will have the opposite effect so I am not saying to mask regularly. I lived that life once and it is NOT worth it but sometimes it has it's payoffs.~

Anemia
It's so hard for me to breathe. The air feels too light. The substance of it seems to be missing from my oxygen. I take gulping breaths through the window because cold air seems to have more of a bite. I have been craving rocks and ice and those comforting plastic nose things the hospital gives oxygen in.

I have been varied forms of Anemic since teenage hood. It started with my heavy menstrual cycles and has alarmed health professionals since. I have had the iron shots (*see post note), the constipating supplements, and the consistent blood tests until I can get my levels up. My mind forgets how absolutely awful it can feel.

I know the warning signs. A few months ago I knew I was Anemic again but since it was/is my normal, I tried to ignore the fact that stairs took the wind right out of me. I told myself it was because I was out of shape even though I am participating in rehabilitation Physio for severe Fibromyalgia issues. I told myself that panting after a walk could be from lack of being outside and the light heart pains were a 'healthy' sign of exertion. But I knew my own bullshit. I knew I would have to face myself and the blood work because I know when I am just lightly Anemic (my normal) and when it has crossed into affecting my whole system. The tip off usually comes from my Native/Hispanic Grandfather, "You are so pale missy. That is not how my granddaughter is supposed to look. Go get some sun missy. Are you sick?" This happens over and over again because he is cute and wants me to have my sun kissed look back, but also because it's my first warning sign that my levels are progressively going down. I pull out my fake bronzer to avoid the pale comments but sometimes I forget to put on my make up armour that hides the bruises under my eyes and the pallor of my skin.

I participate in denial because I don't like the monitoring. I don't love the poking, prodding and freak outs of potential bowel diseases or causes of inner bleeding. They never find anything. It's just my body and crazy cycles, but just in case I have developed something new, it has to be checked. I comfort myself with the fact that this has been happening for 21 years. If I had a weird cancer or bowel disease I would have already been dead from it. I am thankful for the advances in medical tests and professionals who genuinely DO care but medical tests are the ONLY thing in life that can drive me to borderline suicidal thoughts.

Depression
I have been severely depressed, in the past, with diagnosed PPD, PMDD and PTSD and NEVER have I answered 'Yes' to the suicidal tendency question. Not because I am somehow braver or strong than those that do, but because I love life too much. I love the small things like flowers and plants, the colour green, peach or nude coloured lipstick, the smell of books, my kids smiles, and my husband's eye crinkles. I have the mind of a poet in the sense that I live sensually and I soak up so much beauty...which is why hospitals put out the light. There is no beauty to see, hear or smell. I need beauty to live. It's my drug. I like being alive even when I am severely depressed. I still have the moments that transcend existence. I latch on to hope and bleed it dry. My husband has answered yes to THE question when he was in depression and I have thought about what the difference was in him and I, because frankly, my depression scores were always higher. Some of it is being Autistic. Being Autistic I had to constantly overcome being and feeling different, overwhelmed, and isolated. That builds resilience. I have been told I have resilience in spades and I bet I can thank being an undiagnosed child/teen in the educational system for that. Something good tends to come out of something bad and sometimes negative consequences come out of something positive. I have had different faiths in different stages of my life and I think it is petty to say that faith in God will get one through anything. It's not true. But faith DOES contribute to well being, even faith in hope or life or colour. Some of it is fear. I fear no longer hearing the voices of those I love, I fear the consequences of taking my energy out of the world before it is ready, I fear the consequences of what I would leave behind. That's just me, but if someone mentions a Colonoscopy I can almost answer yes to the suicide question when no other dire moment in my life has brought me close. I wonder why that is? Why would I rather die than do a medical procedure or take certain drugs? Perhaps it has been the prep I have done for a similar test before and will NEVER do again but I think there is something more to it. Maybe it is not meant for my specific journey. Sometimes we have intuitions for a reason, other times it is just fear. I have not figured out my line yet. I now can manage blood tests because I have had so many and request the Butterfly. If you are a bleeder or paranoid of blood or needles ALWAYS insist on having them use the Butterfly. It makes such a huge difference and I no longer bleed forever after a test. I hold up well under emotional and mental strain in general yet can not handle some bodily ills. At the same time, I have a high pain tolerance with some random pains yet very low with sensory overload pain. Perhaps this is part of being Autistic?

My life currently feels like an Air Supply song; floaty, airy and breathy. Yea, I see the irony. This last cycle has wiped me out to the point that after showering I have to sit down and take a few desperate breaths. I feel like a cancer patient which is not how one without cancer should feel. I feel empathy for anyone who has any condition that causes problems in breathing and then I take on their energy for a moment and sit with their grief, I send out warmth and light wishing there was something more I could do because I know I am in a good place. I know in a few months I will breathe fresh again and my blood cells will plump up. I have a wonderful doctor who has seen me two days in a row and will discuss my treatment plan again (I have had other health complications and my white cell count is also up.) I know the drill, the iron and Ferritin are extremely low, my Hemoglobin has gone steadily down since the steady stream of iron shots in 2007**. I'm cold, exhausted, out of breath, pale and irritable but more than that, I get depressed, because I am a mother. I am supposed to be able to do the dishes and minor responsibilities without being out of breath. I am not allowed to do "any form of exertion and definitely no running." That's funny for anyone who knows me. You will never see me run unless it is an emergency. My physiotherapist won't allow me to run either due to my muscles, alignment and spine anyway, so there is that... I already have to pace myself with Dyspraxia and Fibromyalgia, so having something additional to deal with in the day to day responsibilities can add up to me feeling like I fail. Especially when I am strict about my health, what is put in my body, what I do to manage stress and my overall dedication to  being a contributing member of my family. I feel depression sink in when I feel incapable. I fight so hard to be capable (see THIS post) so when an additional health complication comes up, I feel myself sinking and clawing my way up to hope and validation that I am worthy. My mantra is I am worthy because I EXIST. If I believe that of other people, I have to fight to believe it of myself first.

The Closet:
In my world, behind the solid, closet door is my safe zone. I have found beauty in that deep, dark, small place. Under the clothes I sit in the dark. This is when I am at my worst. If my husband finds me there he knows. More importantly, if I am sitting there it means I recognize the signs of depression in myself. I know what to do, have wonderful support, know how to help others, and how to analyze the whole deal. With all that knowledge I am able too keep a tight lid on  most of my lighter depression. Most of the world does not even know when I am in it but when I am in the closet I can no longer deal with the outside. I just need the smell of our laundry detergent clinging to the clothes, the quiet wooshing of my heartbeat telling me that life goes on, and the dark caccooning my body from sensory overload. Often my children will join me in there. When they were little they would bring their flashlights and make hand puppet figures on the wall. It was one of their favourite times. "Oh look, mommy is sitting in the closet- it's time for campfire stories and puppets!" And suddenly my world became focused. I still felt the same, but I knew there would be an end to the dark feeling. There always is. Until the moment when I could rise again, I soaked up their innocence. I saw their perspective and knew that when they were older they would remember my walk in closet as the camp out place. I don't believe in shielding children completely from the broad spectrum of human emotion but I do believe in protecting them from a few mature facts. They didn't know that mommy was overwhelmed. They just felt safe. Somehow, from their feelings of safety, I felt safe too. My husband eventually coaxed us out in the world to live, but those moments of quiet reflection saved me from my tormented thoughts. The world  became MEANINGFUL because of closet doors, cozy clothes, sock puppets and flashlights.

And that is what depression is like. If it's not understood it's just a dark closet perceived as cold and scary. With a little light, a bit of empathy, a touch of innocence the closet is still a closet BUT  for a time it becomes a cozy haven.
Most of you probably perceived that the Walk in Closet is also a symbol of depression. A simple room in which the occupant will not stay in forever. One day the occupant will slowly step into the hallway to life. And eventually the closet will be full of stored clothes and distant memories. But the lessons will stay as understanding is developed. Instead of a scary place this symbol becomes a brief hiatus. It can be dark, it can be stuffy, dank, closed in with this feeling of ' I am never going to get a breath of fresh air again!' But it is only one room of life. Just one. Once it is conquered it becomes that camp out spot of both bad and good memories. New doors open, the hallway slowly melts into the entryway and with a final push the door to the sunny outside is once again re-opened. With a bit of help, life comes full circle. Clinical Depression doesn't have to be a home, it can remain a sizeable closet. In the fabric of the interior the closet will make itself known from time to time. Meanwhile the other rooms are beckoning. With understanding and empathy, those with depression will be able to live out of the closet in meaningful and wonderful ways. Judgement, misunderstanding and ignorance lock doors. Loving empathy, wisdom and understanding open doors, freeing the prisoners into a space of colour, warmth and faith...Depression does not have to last forever. Depression can also teach lessons and allow beauty. Depression can be managed. Please have hope and find the proper support to open the doors to the soothing colours of Joy.

Being Anemic is another reminder for me to breathe life. It's time for me to actively build up my blood. It is also time to gratefully take deep breaths, slow down, and practice the beauty of BEING. It's harder than it sounds. It's time to figuratively and physically take in life giving oxygen to revive the cells that make up ME.

Song choice (because I have a weird sense of humour and Air Supply kept surfacing in my mind during this post. Plus, I just love these songs!)


Disclaimers and Websites:
*Be careful what you take being Anemic. I would no longer recommend the shots due to severe anaphylactic reactions in many people as well as other dangers. Read up on posts like this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/anemia-drug-made-billions-but-at-what-cost/2012/07/19/gJQAX5yqwW_story.html
I only take iron supplements when it's very bad...or the liquid form and I am very careful about my diet.
**THIS POST IS NOT A MEDICAL OPINION AND YOU NEED TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ANY COMPLICATIONS YOU HAVE regarding Depression or Anemia. Anemia can be serious. ESPECIALLY DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANEMIA MORE SERIOUS THAN MINE. See your doctor but also engage in your own health research. Depression is also serious and if you can answer yes to the suicide question you need to see a professional who cares.
*** Websites for Grief or Depression:  http://griefnet.org/ http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm

Friday, March 13, 2015

What If I Already Enjoy and am Content with My Quality of Life? Thoughts of a Happy Hermit and Introvert in Relationships and Life.



 Anxiety "specialists" or Depression experts or any other sort of clinical assessment sites often have statements like this, "If you take this antidepressant you will want to go outside more and enjoy your life more." Or "If you understand your anxiety you will no longer be stuck indoors in a life that is not fully lived." This implies that someone who loves being inside is unhealthy. Our culture celebrates extroverts. Some of this stems from religion. Particularly, Evangelical or Mission Orientated Christianity. The revered or considered healthy participants of these populations are those who are in positions of power, can convert many with their witness and "bear the fruits of the Spirit" (which in reality everyone has) but those who are admired for these fruits are often the ones who can show some sort of service the most outwardly. They are often people who secretly thrive on power but instead believe they are offering up a life in service. Although many of them do participate in this with whole heartedness and good intents. Extroverts in our culture are praised, looked up to, and held up as the person hood to aspire to. Busyness is also on the same god like level. When the majority rules, the minority is claimed as a clinical sign of ill health or unstable minds. *

Some of our greatest minds in Literature and Science, heck, even history's better advisory roles, were Hermits of some sort. Some people fare better inside and alone. Since I think I qualify as a moderate Hermit I would like to give my inside perspective, because besides Susan Cain's book, the diversity of perspectives from Introverts and the rare Hermits are sadly lacking.

I LOVE being indoors. I love the outdoors too but only enough to be inspired by them and get ideas to bring them indoors. My yard is large enough to soak up the fresh air and my home is full of plants, greenery and inspiring artwork. I am a Hermit and happy with it. In fact, any personality test I get, whether the day I am born (which is the sign of the Hermit) or my INFJ type, states that I need the maximum time alone in a comfortable environment in order to thrive. Being socialized and being sociable are two completely different principles.

I am often mistaken for an Extrovert. If I feel I am helping someone or contributing to their lives, I will be a prominent fixture initially, until I am either too drained to go on or until (in most cases) I have set them up with people, books or information they need to move forward in life without me. This scares people. Perhaps I trigger abandonment issues? I try to ease out of lives without them even considering that I helped or enhanced. Optimally, I don't want to be missed too much. I find most people gently leave my life because I either mirror something they would prefer not to see so they distance from me or I slowly distance myself by setting them up with their new connections. It is so much easier on them if they feel in control. There have been a few times in my life when I have not been ready for someone to leave, but they have because life was calling them excitedly to new ideas or paths...working on letting go and boundaries helped me see that even if they are not present in my life, I am still allowed to care from the sidelines.

I love the concept of people, even darkness in them or messiness, but BEING with people on a regular or DAILY basis, even with my best intents, can eventually cause hospital trips. I can actually take on their physical or emotional issues. I love to help heal and counsel. I love to see people balanced or whole or embracing their messy humanness. This means I do not want to contribute to a sense of harm nor a feeling that they were not enough. I have no problems giving versions of truthful insight if that is what needed, but even truth is relative and I tell them only to take what feels true to them, and sometimes this is enough for them to leave me. Who wants to face their demons other than Idealists?

Many of my relationships gave me so many new perspectives on life. I find I am best long distance or for short spurts of closeness followed by long months of absence. The friends who have managed to stay in my life have some easy flow of this sort of existence. Sometimes people know what they wanted to see FROM me but never really who I am. People prefer those like them. True colours can be ignored, corrected or misunderstood even if a person is truly giving understanding, compassion and thoughtful advice back. Very few people know who I am in all my forms. I am known for what I was to them or what role I played in their life. Nothing is wrong with relationships that work this way but I DO need time away from this and to hold close the few people in my life who actually KNOW me (my children, husband and best friend are the core. But I also have a small core beyond this intimacy with a few others that work with a little less input but not less value.) My own parents only know facets of me and in childhood it was easy to be misunderstood with Autism, sensory issues, undiagnosed Dyspraxia and my personality.  I mirror what is chosen to see. I have found I can induce fear..of life, of life with a lack of conventions and rules, of the way I genuinely live, of who I am deep down...my beliefs, my reasons for choices...most of it scares people. I know simply because I used to make the error of trying to explain or expose and it was always misunderstood because of fear or a boxed mind. Thus, I took a step away from most people in boundaries not because I am anxious or depressed but because I know they probably can not handle who I am or my beliefs (people tend to prefer people who have lots of black and white ethics and belief patterns) and I no longer can handle trying to shield or explain all the time. It's one of my many weaknesses and I just am not a place in my life where I have that energy I did in my twenties to sustain that tenacity.

I know when I am anxious or depressed. I am well trained in all of the signs, as most of my sensory overload my entire life was treated mistakenly as either anxiety or depression. Plus, I have experienced legitimate depression and anxiety, and one who has gone through it KNOWS the difference. Both Depression and Anxiety need to be taken seriously and I do not minimize them. (Please see side labels for different posts on PTSD, PPD, and PMDD or Anxiety) but I do want to challenge the mentality that a happy life is lived outside the home or in social contexts.

I am as Introverted as they come. Reading Susan Cain's book was a validation but nothing was new to me. I KNOW I do better with less people in my life or at least less physical presence of people. I prefer my friends in email, online or with visitation spurts. There are only 5 people in my life I can see constantly and those are my husband, kids and best friend. Even then, I need a break. This is not to say that I devalue people. My INFJ personality loves to heal, to counsel and to bring forth new ideas and inspiration into the world, and especially to friends that I love. I don't love them any less simply because I am fine seeing them once or twice a year with some emails in between.

I am not unhappy or depressed because I stay in my house for much of my life. My home is my haven. It's my canvas, my art, my inspiration, my sanctuary, my garden, my dream, and the place where I become simply by being. I find that when I am around too many other voices I lose sight of my purpose. Some people need others to bring out their purpose...I need myself within my own realizations. I am enlightened, inspired and hope filled within my walls. I find The Source, or God or the Universe or  Energy, or whatever name you want to put on it, most tangible when I am creatively living my purpose inside my home. I home school my children because I also believe they need this environment even if a couple of them are light extroverts whom I concede to feed their need for more people by having friends in our home. I prefer most play dates at our house but we do go out also.

None of this is unhealthy. None of these factors mean I give less to the world. None of these factors play into the types of depression I have had in the past. Depression in the past has accompanied these factors: too many people speaking into my life, feeling out of control due to hormonal fluctuations, traumatic experiences or lack of sleep. Disclaimer: I am NOT saying that shutting oneself in a home is not a sign of depression because some extroverts or those who thrive on being alive outdoors will have this as a significant sign of depression. But for myself, I could live almost 100 percent happy in my home forever.

I go outside. I love to visit my parent's, grandparent's and best friend in their cozy havens, and I love trips to nearby cities, but even these have to be spread out in moderation. This is because I get immensely drained by sensory overload, other people's energies and moods, and the world in general. My theory is that if women were considered equal back in the day as the seers, monks, advisers to the court or whatever without being mistaken for a Witch, I would have been respected. Women who were most often the Natural healers with herbs ect, the Douala's or Midwifes, the women who spoke up or were different or had incredible insight were subject to death simply because they were women. If I was a male monk during those moments, I would have never been pushed to go beyond what I do in normal circumstances without a clinical label being slapped on it. In fact, people would have admired my seclusion. I would have been praised for my bravery to be alone. I would have been revered for the capability to be able to have such quiet. This does not mean I do not value the beauty of actively going out into community or being in nature. I take these exercises in humanity seriously enough to give of myself even when it drains me at times, or to be revived in nature when there is a change of pace needed. However, outside is full of sensory drains for an Autistic Introvert. Being with people is full of colourful energies and emotions for an INFP/INFJ/ Scorpio.

I am often told from the more enlightened people who understand depths, that I am a mirror. People who get frustrated with me do not understand whom they are really frustrated with: themselves. I am a mirror who shows what people want or whom they are . I absorb their energies and emotions and while with them, become what they are, while knowing where I begin and where they start. Often this is not seen or this difference is not understood. That does not make them any less. It is completely understandable. My personality type is rare in all it's manifestations (including Autism) and it is not meant to be understood by most.

I never get myself confused with another person nor do I find myself EVER wanting to be someone else. I did however, make this mistake often in my twenties (wanting to be something I wasn't) and that in itself revved up anxiety and depression. I am who I am and am happy with it. Would I love to trade in some Dyspraxic traits? YES! But sometimes we have to come to 70 percent peace with our flaws. The other 30 percent is healthy anger or frustration inspiring what we can change (or blog posts to help those who also struggle!:)

Another difference in this way of Being is my loyalty. I go in and out of people's lives quite fast in most cases, and inevitably after a few years with everyone else, but it does not mean I do not think of them. Once someone takes up either a brief or long residence in my heart, there is a spot reserved for them if ever they need me again or if I need them. A remembrance of their beauty. Just because I see their struggles does not mean I judge them.

There are a few closed doors from people who misused their presence in my life but it takes a lot to get me to the point to ever fully close a door. Understanding happens once individual emotions are worked through. Because I need to find the beauty in myself when most people do not see it, I will find the beauty in them when they cannot see it themselves. This way of life can hurt but it is not meant to be hurtful. It is simply allowing life to take it's course of ebb and flow. I have made the mistake of trying to explain this to ease hurt but have found it only amplifies it. I WILL be there for a smile if we bump into each other and I will eagerly hear about their lives. There is a difference between not being friends and not being present if life demands a presence. If life demands it- I will be there and I will always love.

Sometimes we need to close doors. Not because someone was bad or wrong for us but because life is asking us to take a new journey that needs alone time or a new acquaintance. Sometimes we have simply gone as far as we can go without repetitive or unchanging behaviours which can trigger unhealthy states. We can't stay stagnant without ill health. The trick is allowing this to happen without being wounded to our core. I used to feel wounded when someone moved on either physically or in spirit but now I celebrate it after the initial (and natural) sadness. They have a new journey and I was lucky to be part of theirs for awhile.

I am a happy hermit. I see the frenzy, stress and disease of many who claim to love busyness or tons of people. Some extroverts genuinely do, but the rest? I think it's partially conditioned...especially if they are not content in at least 70 percent of themselves. But for me, I take this a step further because I do not thrive or need the identification of busyness or participation to have value. Nor do I believe I am less compassionate or human by being more isolated. I am balanced except when I am not...and I am okay with that too. I love my home and beautify it regularly. I am inspired, hopeful and part of the world we all create. I am no less because I decide to spend less time outside my home...and if there are any other fellow Hermits and their less isolated cousins, the Introverts, I want you to know that you are fine if you enjoy the content and quality of your life in quiet. You bring beauty.

I look at all the unique souls in my life I have been blessed to have different types of relationships with and my heart swells with gratitude. Relatives or nemesis who challenged me by misunderstanding or being cruel forced me to face myself in these circumstances because I could not change them, and learned how to grow in my own boundaries. I can honestly say that the amount of true wrong relationships in my entire life equals less than two hands. The rest of the people have been a variety of relationship depths that took up permanent residence in my heart. My heart is full of spots that stretch to fill if they enter back in, and comfortably fill in whenever they are not around. I do believe my life is fully lived. I ADORE my existence about 97 percent of each day. Most of it has been formed by hard choices and counter cultural ways of existing which are definitely not easy but for me, they have been rewarding. I do not look at anyone with envy. I have my own set of problems and joys and I regret none of them. Envy is not something I take with me. I do take the pain of others and myself and I take doses of anger and definitely impatience, but gratitude is a gift that keeps my perspective a little more healthy. I do believe this is because of my Hermit existence. I wish I could be a fully realized Hermit but in my circumstances this would not be possible. I have kids to raise and a place in society that DOES demand a bit of extroverted participation, but I like to have a certain amount of isolation because it enables me to realize higher levels of intuition, knowledge, wisdom, and truthful awareness. This also reflects soul searching and truth. The secrets of a Hermit existence or pattern of person hood would take too many posts to unlock. This is just a facet. Being a Hermit is not greater than being an Extrovert, but it is not less either as so much of our cultural authority suggests. It is simply different. A way of Being that benefits from solitude and rest.

May you find your way of Being in the world and follow it avidly without apology and with greater compassion.


*I have written about the concept of unstable minds and perspective in prior posts and it is too complex of a subject to cover here.
** Understanding through and WITH other people in person, books and art forms, and still contribute to society and have society help shape you are still legitimate to a degree and very important in at least one of the forms. Being a true Hermit would be impossible for me and I do not want to be one fully realized but I do have tendencies and I do not think it makes me unhealthy...that is what I was saying in essence but I was very social for the first 30 years of my life to get to this point...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Beautiful Film about Being. "Being in The World" (Or Why I am a Risk Taker in my life Choices.)


It seems to baffle some people, that I have incredible meaning in my life, despite the fact that my religious beliefs are not always able to be pinned down, or despite the fact that to them, I should have a lesser quality of life, because I am different or choose very different ways of Being. I understand that paradoxical ways could be confusing. I validate the confusion. However, I also deeply feel for that bafflement because it can not be explained...my way of BEING...unless one was to LIVE my complete way of Being. We each have a way of being in the world that is unexplainable. On the plus side, we also have a human connectedness and innate sense of community that can also be felt. So in this way, even if there is not full understanding, there is a place of soul that discovers a mutual partaking.

One of my passions is to help others discover that their beauty is BEING. Being does not mean continual peace but it does GIVE meaning. This film below helps give a bit of understanding into this philosophy of life. I had never heard of it before, but I had coffee last night and my husband put this on to help me fall asleep. I was captivated by the fact that while, of course, my philosophy in life has been shaped by books, people and environment, I have never actually studied any particular philosopher. While I know about many philosophers and find reading bits of each an essential part of my living, I had not constructed nor will I ever construct my reality around one particular philosophy, however, I enjoyed this film because it aids in connecting the concept of BEING to creating and the love of life for life's sake. That is something I can fully support even if it does source one philosopher more than others.

I feel the title YouTube put on this film is misleading. It is titled, "A Film about Martin Heidegger's Philosophy" but the original name for the film is "Being in the World." Even though the film occasionally references Heidegger, the film is more about BEING. It takes to the half way mark to start feeling inspired (during the introduction and first little bits I drifted in and out.) But the beginning sets the foundation for the rest of the film by giving a brief history of foundational philosophers and why our age has transcended Plato or Aristotle. This age is more about BEING and I feel this simple explanation of historical collective meanings and beliefs is also an important part of the film.

I am a risk taker in my personal decisions. I may not be a risk taker physically but I am completely a risk taker in how I engage with the world around me. I can be a rule follower in some things and completely break free in a similar realm. To many this seems contradictory but to me it's a fluid way of Being. I can conform to the rules of society that are crucial to belonging but still be individual and connected to that which gives specific meaning. This phenomenon is put under the light around the forty minute mark of this film.

If you find yourself wondering how to incorporate technology in your life but still honouring community and individualism...or if you find yourself 'missing' or in general feel a discontent or discontinuity between your space of belonging or meaning, this film is going to be a validation of hopeful aspiration and calm inspiration.

Enjoy your unique way of BEING. You are a fellow artist of being alive. Embrace that.




(Personal Note: I found the jazz background music distracting and a tad overloading at the very beginning but it ends around the nine minute mark. I left highlights below the film link.)


A Film About "Being in the World"


Highlights:

"A tool isn't an instrument you focus on, a tool is literally a way the carpenter has of engaging with the world." (10:24)

"When you've got the skill the last thing you want is thinking about or rationalizing or stepping back from the activity you are involved in...thought about the domain will typically get in the way of." (10:57)

"The really important ends of human life, are ends that are only perceptible if you allow yourself to be within the human condition totally. For example take love. What is it to have a really loving relationship?  What is it to have real communion? What is it to have meaningful music?...you can go on and on...nobody can loose touch with that aspect of being human entirely but they always denatured it so of course people were moved by music, they were moved by art, moved by love, so they invented various ways of describing that...the profound truth you can find in a great work of art. The profound truth of human beings." (21: ish?)

"Moods don't happen without our heads but that doesn't mean they happen in our heads. The analogy I like to use is a radio. Right? A Radio gets tuned in to different radio stations as you turn the dial you get different songs playing on the radio. That doesn't mean the stations are all inside the radio. It just means that without the radio getting tuned to them you are not in a position to pick them up." (23:50)

"We talk about the mood in the room...there was a happy mood when we walked into the party or the mood of the nation is depressed right now...it lines up in particular ways, it's illuminated in particular ways and when we get in the right mood it's a way of getting in tune with the world so it can so shown certain features to us. SO when you are happy the world looks different and it is not just interpreting the world through a different filter but that your happiness tunes you into the world and features that you were not paying attention to."(25:43)

"Just as skills allow things to show themselves, they also allow people to show themselves ...they start to see things that someone without those skills doesn't see. They become someone who inhabits the world differently."(26:46)

"Our bodies, our ways of Being get attuned to the world. There is a kind of  understanding there that we can not explain. We are very poor at articulating. Rules work by ignoring details. What anyone who is very skilled in a domain knows that being very skilled means responding not just in general terms but in responding very specifically to what the situation demands." (28:40)

"You know, cooking is like religion. Rules don't no more make a cook than sermons make a saint... You can all have the rules you want...and take the same recipe and maybe you can't do the same things I do." (29:27)

"Risks are very important in becoming a master or  acquiring any skills at all because you have to leave the rules behind and stop doing what one generally does and doing the standard thing and push out into your own version of the world." (30:00)

"So the willingness to take risks is a very important stage of moving beyond just competence and following the rules and doing whatever everyone else does, to getting to the position where you learn what you are supposed to be responding to." (31:20)

"What distinguishes the kind of risks we're interested in from just bravado is whether the risks are taken in the interest of what someone is committed to and what they have defined themselves in terms of and what makes the meaningful differences in their lives. That kind of risk is a special kind of risk and is necessary part of becoming a master of anything." (31:38)

"Being willing to embrace a particular type of possibility and let other possibilities die off."(32:08)

"In addition to the fact that you can't ever get beyond a rule governed behaviour without taking risks there is also a kind of exhilaration or joy in the human existence leaving the rules behind, going out on the edge, letting the world show something new to them.The risk takers are the ones who disclose new worlds, disclose new ways to be human and new ways to behave. Discover new things about the world." (33: 34)

"You commit yourself and suddenly the world is organized in terms of things that are meaningful and  things that are irrelevant to do." (34:23)

"What happens when you have this commitment to a particular something that is finite and that you could lose and is risky and you hold yourself open to it completely. What happens in that situation is that you get a sort of meaningful existence and the meaningful existence is the one that identifies who you are to YOUR meaningful existence. It is the one that picks you out as an individual because nobody else understands the particular hierarchy of meaningful differences the way you do." (34:57)

"What is it to be the best version of us? When we are operating at our best we are precisely not detached from the situation that we are involved in rather we are opening ourselves up to being called to act a certain way in a situation." (35:47)

"The most amazing thing about Bradley when he is taking the ball down the court is his vision. He doesn't seem to be looking at anything rather he's a glaze of pan optic attention... He's not focused at anything but he is ready to be drawn into whatever it is that is calling him to act in the moment."  (36:20)

"Authenticity means owning up to the situation you are in, confronting the situation and doing what needs to be done...when you are authentic you are resolute... you are confronting the situation you are in."(36:52)

"There is a real tension in societies between conformism and individualism. In order for society to function there has to be a certain  amount of regularity in human behaviour." (40:00)

"There is a sense that mindless conformism is dehumanizing and destroys what is great about us and unique about us, so we value individuality as well but there is a tension there, if everyone is individual then we loose the benefits that come from shared adherence to rules, shared norms and values so there is always a tension going on there." (42:20)

"We are thoroughly conditioned in the world we are in." (43:28)

"A real innovator changes the way the game is played, and the game takes on a new style and people start playing it differently even though they are playing by the same rules." (44: 43)

( Now)"Everything is interconnected, everything is exchangeable and all meaningful distinctions have been gotten rid of except for this one empty distinction of being efficient and optimized. And you see it all over the place, we are so used to it that we don't even notice it." (54:17)

"You have these frightening subdivisions where all the houses on the side of the hill are the same shape and same colour...and everyone manages to live that way so everything is totally standardized."

Honestly, from 54:17 onward is the part I am most passionate about and would highlight the rest of this conversation! However, do not skip the beginning that sets you up for it!

"In a certain way that is terrific if you use it in the right way...but if that's just what it's all about everything get's levelled...it's all reduced just to more information."

"What it is doing is making us look at time that is infinitely usable and accessible... as against that we are forced back to understanding that there are times that are just different, that has a different quality and it is not appropriate to use them in this way." (59:08)

"The problem is how to respect technology and use technology to get rid of all the dumb stuff we used to have to do and yet not let it get rid of what matters and what is local and what is unique and what is significant and meaningful for us." (103:44)

"Affirm four propositions: 1.) There is no place I'd rather be 2.) There is no one I'd rather be with 3.) There is nothing I would rather be doing and 4.) This I will remember well." (?)

"Being in the world is a unified phenomenon when people are at their best and most absorbed in doing a skillful thing, they lose themselves into their absorption and the distinction between the master and the world disappears....everybody in their way can bring out what's best in themselves and in their world we can re- experience what people call the sacred."  (1:17:20)