Thursday, 29 January 2009

Is Obama Who He Seems to Be?

I feel as if I'm coming out of a closet of sorts when I'm saying this. But I've been pretty concerned about the way American society has elevated Obama to the status of some form of saviour. My gutfeeling is that there are too many expectations on him, and that it will cloud his judgment. I see a man who also has a dark side that is not obvious to the naked eye. I see someone who fits into the society and its expectations with slickness - for instance, judging by the style and manner of the discourse. I think he has good intentions but I also sense something sordid. When the American society has been cheering, I've been feeling as if I had a hang over. Following how people have reacted on the internet (especially Twitter was interesting in this regard) I could see so much blind admiration that it chilled me to the bone. Even spiritually minded people seemed very angry at those who expressed worry and caution. Someone asked why some people want to spoil the joy the Americans were feeling. I feel sorry for the utter desperation that is at the bottom of such feelings and a need to believe in a saviour. Well, if you ask me, I find it hard to believe that the strong dichotomies in that society will be easily bridged. I see a stark, blinding light (which in other words is not pleasant to the eye) and sharp shadows. But I feel that it will be a case of "I told you so" when the difficult years ahead have been consummated.

I came across some predictions and visions yesterday. It was chilling to see that so many have had acopalyctic visions and not very optimistic visions of a president who has taken over with such unprecedented ease. Some have gone as far as to call him antichrist, others are more down-to-earth and only see a man who will not be able to make the right decisions, and there will be plenty of symptoms of a phenomenon you could call "the end of the world". Apparently, in four year's time things will change (we have all heard of the 2012 phenomenon, right?). Be it as it may, I was anyway interested to see that I'm not the only one with a feeling that things are not always what they seem and that most people who seem too good to be true, really are. We shall see. Of course I hope that my intuitions are correct for my own sake but I hope they aren't for the sake of this world and what we all may have to go through in the years to come. I probably have reasons to be grateful that I was not meant to stay in that part of the world.

Artwork: "Caught Forever", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

How One's Self-Esteem Can Be Systematically Undermined

Some issues of bad self-esteem may not stem from one's childhood.
It seems to me a fairly easy task to write a best selling self-help book on a continent where so many people share the language, marketing techniques have been refinded to a rather aggressive art, and people want fast results and a guidebook for each area in life. A book with at least a similar kind of content would in my country at best provide an author with bread on the table for a year or two. Is it any wonder, then, that one of the greatest avenues for getting rich in America is through writing a self-help book? I guess I'm pretty much repeating myself here because I am so up to my ears with a lot of the self-righteous talk that you have to listen to a lot of the time. I apologize to those who are reading my complaints and feel pinned down and trust that you understand that I am not picking on individuals. I am just weary of dominanant tendencies that are obviuosly unhealthy. Anyway, let me explain a bit if I may. I apologize if I sound whiney today though.

A book is something you can avoid. People can indeed avoid my blog too! But you can't avoid the marketing and the people on the internet who are only trying to make fast money. I find that there's a vast amount of people on the internet who are energy vampires, sucking you empty in no time if you don't immediately block their access to you. It's heavy to make so many decisions about others every day. One has to guard oneself a little against a lot of imperative statements and demands. When I opened the book that made Eckhart Tolle famous on Oprah I read that you shouldn't watch TV. I put it down straight away. I can't deal with that sort of imperative talk anymore. And anyway, why not talk about the internet just as well? It's just as ambiguous in its virtues and vices. I never understood people who didn't have a natural instinct to get away from something when there's an overload. I get that with TV, the internet, food; even with the making of art. I did in fact hear in a documentary that 60-70% of all addicted people get over their addictions all by themselves, when the time is right. To put everyone in the same junkie bag is not fair, but society does love generalizations.

Psychotherapy is still mostly concerned with childhood traumas and finding the reasons why someone's self-esteem is low in adult age. I come from a dysfunctional background so I'm aware that there are areas in me that are weaker than others. In general my self-esteem has been fairly good, though. I went through a lot of training in various areas because I believed in myself. When I had entered adulthood I also became aware that I had a lot of trust in my intuition and possible higher aspects of myself that would guide me to make choices that would be beneficial to my growth. The occasional set back in the arena of relationships was easy to understand, but I figured my mistakes were showing me what wounds to heal.

However, something happened when I was granted disability and also went through a bad burn out. The relationship I entered nearly killed me off, and I'm not joking. I looked anorectic though I was eating properly at the time, simply because I was using so much excess energy trying to manage the relationship to a choleric boyfriend and his troubled pre-pubertal son. When it ended I knew I was in for a crash-down. The anxiety of having to move out of a home and a life-style that had after all provided me with a sense of security and pre-occupied my mind in order to move into a completely different form of living in the middle of a forest, was among the worst sensations I've ever had. I was literally going through wave upon wave of ice cold ripples of shock. I knew I was in for something really bad. And I was. I was a complete wreck; traumatized, burned out and trapped. This was four years ago.

I suddenly had no sense of basic security. The house I was and am still living in was a cheap cardboard box type of construction and the electric heating forced me to apply for money every month from the social security. I used to live in old sturdy apartmentbuildings with central heating. The new arrangment proved fatal in every way: I felt very insecure living close to the ground with big windows, which I was not used to, and the social security did everything in their might to undermine my sense of self-worth. The doctors treated me like a junkie because I had insomnia and someone on whom physical rehabilitation would be wasted because my condition can't be cured. All in all, there was no real help to be gotten other than some supportive talks with a specialist nurse about once a month. I can understand that some of my ancient insecurities resurfaced during this time period but I am also wondering how much damage was being made to me by my ex who pushed me beyond my abilities, the circumstances, and the people who treated me like a second rate citizen with no rights other than to breathe the air of this town on the South coast of Finland.

Many other things happened during this time that were not beneficial to me, for instance some pretty awful attempts at dating and an attempt to go back to my old relationship. At one point when I got an adsl line I started to renew the connection with my spiritual side by taking part in internet sites dedicated to people like me. But when The Secret came out and people started to go all crazy about the law of attraction, I was made into an easy target for their own insecurities. Let me recap; I had finished several educations through the mere force of my will despite the fact that I was chronically fatigued and in terrible pain. I had spent years and years writing a journal in which I was attempting to sort out my issues. I was really doing a good job in both areas. But once I came to this small town and had to obey to the laws of social security, I lost any means of getting out of a bad financial situation. I was trapped. Then along came all these pseudo-spiritual people with their great advice about manifesting all the health, success and money that you could possibly ever want. Most of these people actually came from America... In my naivité I didn't realize that I shouldn't ever have even breathed about problems. However, honest and straightforward about myself as I am, I did try and talk to people in order to see more alternatives and solutions to my issues. Some were understanding but many labeled me as one who likes to victimize herself. Honestly, don't we all feel a bit sorry for ourselves sometimes? Come on, have mercy - I am perhaps having one of those days today. Anyhow, any talk about how hard it really is to get out of the social trap that disability in this country puts you in, was to no avail. There were also some sneaky argument that basically made me feel more disempowered and guility. These people had no time and interest for understanding and compassion, since they were so busy justifying their own choices in favour of joy and money, and persuading others about how happy they were. In short, they demanded that I perform as if I had the abilities of a normal person.
The main rhetoric is that we are all co-creators of the universe and thus responsible for our own happiness: there is abundance in this world and any situation of poverty and suffering is merely the result of our own faulty thinking and a sense of not deserving anything better. This was no news to me at all; my thesis at the university was about this kind of New Age dogmas. The trouble was, I could not completely disagree because I could see the logic in what was being said. Unfortunately I also felt that for many of these people, science was only a great tool when it was supporting the quest for money and success and that many ancient truths had been neatly repacked and simplified for the busy modern individual. Oneness was and is a great concept but I didn't see how it could come into life in this sort of ruthless environment. Whoever came up with the guide for dummies? I bet there's a guide for dummies about the great Law of Attraction that simplifies what has already been simplified...

I have a busy mind that attempts to see many options. It's called being creative. With creativity, however, you usually get a volatile personality. The reason is that you need periods of introspection in order to allow the subconscious mind to re-evaluate things, and question current beliefs. When you look around yourself with a perceptive mind, you see quite a lot of things that are not right with the world the way it is today. It's funny that despite all the talk about the importance of co-creation and the assumption that creativity has an ontological status in this world, people don't seem to take charge of their lives in creative and unique ways but prefer following the stale dogmatics of the self-help books. I know very well that New Age people don't consider their belief-system a religion because their approach is universalist (i.e. it's that famous smorgasbord where you pick what you feel to pick). Technically speaking, there's plenty enough evidence that it does rely on a certain set of dogmas that makes it into one from the point of view of systematic science. Though I have been inspired by some parts of it and have had a lot to do with people who believe in reincarnation and constant self-assessment for greater personal growth just like me, something has always bothered me. I have no doubt that it's due to the movements reinforcment of tendencies that are noticable on all levels of life today, i.e. "me first" and "I want it now". Compassion is often rationalized into the more abstract and (paradoxically) distant concept of unconditional love, which many believe they own but don't seem to have access to when someone trods a different path and has a nerve to question these beliefs. I noticed when I was on these sites that people bothered very little with the definition of the semantics they were using and so people were talking on top of each other without any regard for the exact meaning of the words that were being used. When on the one hand people loved to use words such as "I love you" to great excess there were also elements that were clearly menacing. Each takes care of him or herself and if you miss the ascension boat, it's your own fault for not having worked hard enough towards it. I also gave an example of this in my last blog. I still wonder how someone who pretends to be a loving spirit can insinuate that "some people" (very possibly you, in other words) have succumbed to the dark forces and are in fact hampering the evolutionary shift towards a better world. The only thing one can do, according to them, is to pray by an altar that you create for this particular purpose. Unique advice, eh..?

What has become clear to me during my years online is anyway the fact that instead of building me up as one expected them to, these groupings have helped undermine my own sense of self and my self-esteem. Not that anyone meant to on purpose, of course... but there's ignorance and its ugly head. I know that this statement can be met by plenty enough arguments. For instance: I'm resisting, I am not practicing spirituality the way it should be done, I'm not following any self-help methods, I am not positive enough, I focus on problems instead of the solutions, I am not disciplined enough to change my attitudes, I don't allow myself to be alone in silence and develop more love of self and God, and so on. But you know what? I am bloody tired! I have worked very hard all my life to succeed, to be a better person, to take the blame or the responsibility for my misfortunes, to open up my energies, to take care of my health as much as possible despite the poverty, to declutter every area in my life, to express abundance in everything I do (and this I actually do spontaneously), to overcome my shyness and social anxiety... I have tried being lonely and I have tried being in relationships. If someone sends me yet another link to some revolutionary self-help method I shall scream! I just can't anymore... Please, just allow me a little normality at least. What have I honestly done to deserve a lonely life in confinement? Well, to be honest I don't think it's a question of whether I've deserved it or not.

Shit happens. I'm sorry this is another lament on life's shittyness... I am mostly venting and sharing, not asking for pity. Sure I've asked for help too. But I know it's wrong to ask to be saved by anyone, so I've got to keep it general. If anything has come recently, it's been too subtle for me to take notice. Last year was especially trying. Dark, confusing and exhausting in every way. I can't make sense of things the way I used to. There's an oppressive feeling in the air. Or is it just me? Yet good things happen to people all the time, regardless whether someone actively tries to manifest them or not. How can anyone really know for sure that their power of manifestation was so great that it brought certain things into their lives? Where's the absolute evidence? Maybe a certain person had it all in store on a karmic level, for instance. Maybe they were even genetically disposed to (haha). I know that I would be in quite a different position if I didn't have a condition that cannot be cured. I also know that I could feel worse and that I could sit here without a degree or a career as an artist unless I had struggled to overcome certain obstacles. I also know that my chances of getting out of my current situation are slim, because society does not support it in any way and I am now out of willpower and motivation to make more efforts. Let's not even talk about what the three months in Kansas last year did to me, let alone the tedious after-math that is still without closure. This guy is not sending me my things back and I am seriously worried about some art and some items that are true heirlooms and that I should never have brought there in the first place. Stupid me!

The other day I spent a little time on Twitter but I'm not sure I fit in though I've tried to mimimize the amount of people I follow and protect my updates from unwanted comments. I'm struggling to fit in but in fact what happens is the exact opposite, which is that I am losing self-confidence. Exposure is a good method when facing fears, yet what I wanted to say in this blog is that there are times when exposure induces fears and that maybe some of them are new ones. This is not a good time in history; it's one of extreme chaos, menace and self-absorption. Beware!

I was invited to a kindness party on Twitter. The subpersonality in me who wants to be accepted exclaimed, hey, how nice! But another part of me started to rebel. Why do I have to be kind because someone institutionalized a day for it? No, no, no, no. I wonder why anyone feels the need to ask people to be kind though. Do people really need to be told that? I liked the rhymeday better, however no one commented on my rhymes.

Here are some of my humble and rather silly contributions that nonetheless felt like fun:

My life would be empty without my cats, all of my clothes would be hollow, including my hats.

The love of my life, is absolutely Robin, without his attention, I'd be constantly sobbin'.

Marius, is my pain in the ass, but in a funny sort of way, he has charm and some class.

Beatrice is dainty, the queen of the lot; her attitude is sweet but rather cooler than hot.

My computer's attraction is bigger than life; but without it my life would be akin to a strife.

How often is a rhymeday; I'm curious to hear? I'm taking a liking, and getting rid of some fear!

I apologize for my rude intrusion as a stranger, but English makes my heart beat faster and my mind gallop like a wilderness ranger.

As intriguing as paradoxes may be, sometimes the issue is that we don't know our motives or what we really see!

Creativity is a flow; it can be high;it can be low; but it is eternally there, for it is all that there is and it is everywhere.
Just as I wrote nice things about my cat Robin he peed on the floor. I had thought he'd gotten over it. That drop of pee was like the last drop...
Please read more about self-esteem on this blog.
Artwork: "Dereclict House", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Positive Versus Negative Thinking and Acting

I'm sure male readers will groan (my American male ex-friend did anyway) but I like to watch American Topmodel sometimes in order to study human behaviour. I also like the professional team and as an artist and the daughter of two professional photographers I like to follow their work. Anyway, last time all the American girls were picking on a girl whose parents were from France. They thought she was being negative because she was struck with fear and lost sight of her self-confidence for a moment. This was very typical of the kind of bickering that I have been involved with regarding the difference between Americans and Europeans. The French girl said in her defense that she thought she was merely expressing a mild form of realism. It made me smile, since that is how I'd describe my own attitude towards life. There are differences in between the European countries as well, for instance I have perceived the French as quite harsh and negative compared to the British. The Finnish attitude is more of a resigned depressive kind of attitude - a Senecan variety, perhaps. It's not always very healthy and often ends in suicide. However I do feel that if I have a bad day, no one will expect me to put on a forced smile. Discussing the difficult things in life has in general been easier here in Europe than it seems to be in America or online with American people.

Anyway, let me say this: picking on someone in the name of positivity because they are being perceived of as "negative" or something to that effect is not positive! There is also no evidence whatsoever that a society that holds onto what they think is a positive attitude is doing any better than one that has a more cautious approach to reality. In fact I saw a documentary which stated that people who are ever so slightly prone to depression are more diligent and observant workers than those who are overly optimistic. Last winter in the USA I was being indoctrinated about the wonderful ideals that American society rests upon by my ex-friend, and all I could say was that yes, it's all very nice but look at the country now. Right now we can only hope that America will find its way back to those beautiful ideals and overcome the strong dichotomies that seem to rule at the time being. Europe is in any case not doing worse whether we be more "negative" or not.
When I broke up from a relationship at Christmas 2006 I had a need to get back in touch with my spiritual self. During the relationship, I experienced some good things that had been lacking previously. I actually got to do things. Someone was there who took me places, and I had someone with whom to joke and be silly. I've been alone most of my life so this was a very welcome change. Unfortunately it didn't last and so I went looking for the one thing that had been set aside when I was preoccupied with living life out there in the real world. I joined a spiritual site online. It was exciting to dig into my reservoir of spiritual thoughts and exchange with others. It was no longer quite the same though. My thoughts felt a bit stale and rhetorical. The time I had spent living life on a very practical level had left its mark and it was hard for me to feel quite so confident about giving out spiritual advice or whatever it was I was doing. Another thing that happened was that as I stumbled upon other people's beliefs, I became more oppositional. A lot of American style positivity came into my living room and I didn't agree with it. I felt that people who were leaning in that direction were in denial of the shadow side of life. I felt that this was pretty much proven once I became the target of bullies who wanted to convert me to their beliefs and did not respect my right to think and be what I wanted. I had over 80 "friends" who I hardly knew. To me that was pointless. So when the site started to shift and become less intimate and friendly, I packed up and left. Similar things happened on the next site I joined. I stayed for a while, learned a lot about people, and finally left because of bullies and a nagging feeling that I didn't really belong there. After this, a third site called me and I at that particular moment it provided me with some form of comfort. I was a little worried though when no one but the administrator replied to my posts. I suspected that posting was not safe for me. I should have followed my gut feeling because in the end I became the target of a very forceful attack. I had really enjoyed some private conversations with the administrator so I was reluctant to leave, but there was one thing about all this that made me withdraw for good.

The woman who had attacked me was quite the drama queen who said several times she would leave but never did. After a while she posted a lavish, public apology. It was not directed towards me and another person who had been her target, but was more general. She also did say that she had been mislead by other people's egos. Not until the administrator wrote that she forgave this woman did I realize that the administrator acted as some kind of saviour who absolved this woman from her sins. I tried to let it go but I was really disturbed by this incident. Shoot me if I'm wrong but it seemed to me that these people stuck together because they were Americans, and the one who wasn't was not considered a part of the club. A club of mutual admiration, I can't help wondering. Bullies seem to get the upper hand everywhere, don't they? Sometimes you just don't feel like sticking around to see how it goes.

I received a newsletter from that last site today and in my emotionally vulnerable state of mind I found it menacing. It said that God's light is growing stronger with each day but so are the darker oppositional forces. Vulnerable people will succumb to this if they are not careful and will turn away from their deeper soul purpose. This happens either because dark forces are willingly interfering with someone's light work or because someone is susceptible and confused. Why did I feel that these words were directed towards me? Because I feel guilty.

I feel guilty because all this time spent online, I have been indoctrinated about the importance of positive thinking. So many people are rejoicing about the evolutionary shift and stating that you must be the change and so if you join the positive thinkers you will do your duty and help make the shift happen. The more I felt peer pressure to smile and be happy, the more defensive I became. I realized in another context the other day that feeling the acceptance from other people is a prerequisite to feeling positive about life. Or let's just say that it's way harder to remain positive when the support is not there. Here in my confinement these things become painfully obvious. Perhaps I really don't love myself enough or whatever. But putting a knife on my throat is obviously not going to make it happen.

I was told earlier by someone who claims to be a spiritual authority (the one who posted the newsletter today) that my life is a test of spiritual strength. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe my desire to be apologized to is ridiculous and a sign of weakness. Maybe I have lost touch with my higher self. Maybe I have joined the dark forces and am contributing to the sordid state of the world. Maybe I'm a white lamb turned black. Maybe my insomnia is preventing me from evolving spiritually speaking. Maybe, maybe, maybe. What I do know is that I am tired of religions that pretend to be "only" spiritual but still behave just like religious people always have. It's as if some people are scared that if i don't join them, the world will not change for the better. Seems as if they don't have much trust in life and the Universe. Someone bullied me about my need to be self-reliant the other day. I've thought about it a lot, because I always felt very strongly about having my own answers. Being in touch with other people's ideas has nothing to do with that. You read or listen, you reflect, you draw your own conclusions. There is nothing wrong with that. But there is certainly a line somewhere where things you read or hear become sermons on a mission to direct your mind in one way or another. Lectures must be agreed upon by all parties involved. You can even lecture a friend if there is the trust that nobody is trying to be manipulative, only stressing some viewpoints that seem relevant in the context.
I'm a little depressed because I gave my everything last year when I fled to the USA a year ago, and I knew that if I'd have to return, I'd probably have a hard time getting over it. I was right. Yes I am disappointed; I'm living such an anti-climax right now. The person that I put my trust in betrayed it. Of course my life situation is even worse now. I look at the photos from last winter and it hurts. It hurts to know that I was actually getting to do something. It wasn't much, but it was something. It was more than I have now. That's how it feels right now. Can anyone honestly expect me to just snap out of it and be happy? Maybe if I had been able to cut the cords in my own way I would have felt more empowered. The way things went was very detrimental to me and it will be much harder to repair the damage and stop the self-blame that started to nag at me. All I can do is try and stay out of the constellation of positive versus negative. Which is which has become so blurred and confused. And who knows, maybe that's precisely a sign to get people to realize that they are but constructions of the mind.

Human interaction is incredibly complicated. The internet provides with lessons that you may never get out in the real world where people are often more careful about what they say and express. In the real world, the context and the reactions of the other person are more obvious. I'm not saying this pertains to everybody, of course. I do have a longing for more real and substantial things. At the moment I'm confined to the virtual world for impulses and ideas. However, to be confined to that for the rest of my life seems like the cruelest destiny imaginable. But maybe if I am an outcast from the realms of light, then maybe that's all I deserve.

Artwork: "Wintermood", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008

Friday, 16 January 2009

Signs of a Narcisstic Society - When Spirituality Becomes Overwhelming

I don't read very much, for reasons that I don't feel like reporting here. However, when I do walk around in the large Academic Bookstore renowned for its variety of foreign publications, I can't help but notice that most foreign books are American. I won't go into the issue of fiction, because all I know is that the situation is a bit different. If I have time and energy when I'm in this bookstore, I check out the self-help and spirituality sections, and see books from America or books that have hit the best seller lists in America and have therefore been translated. Luckily, there is quite a bit of non-fictional Swedish literature imported for the Swedish-speaking population in Finland, and these are usually available in the libraries too. Even though all these American books are proficient enough and sometimes interesting, I can't help wonder what foreign thoughts pass unnoticed by the rest of the world simply because they don't catch on in a way that would help them become translated for us to read?

Most people educated in the human sciences would agree that narcissism is very much a sign of the times. In a child like way, people want to have the things they covet at once. Society is also highly competitive. Actually it all seems paradoxical. On the one hand people are very concerned with their individual selves and devour self-help books, on the other they yearn for more wholesome relationships and really love following fictional as well as real therapy sessions that deal with relationship issues in books and on TV. Of course, what they really want is not so much to become more altruistic than to have the love and attention that they crave. Surely it doesn't take much brains to realize that. On the other hand I admit that most people carry deep scars and that all this is probably part of the healing process. I just hope that we'll start to see signs of deeper compassion within a reasonable amount of time... this state of being, which is most likely intermediary, is painful to be part of. In the midst of everything there are a zillion voices that try and direct you towards the idea of unconditional love. While that's a very beautiful idea, I am not sure people in general are ready to open up to that just yet, in a real and full sense. My guess would be that only a tiny percentage can identify with that high an ideal in a true sense. On the contrary there's the danger that it creates undue pressure on people who are in a particular phase that they need to go through in their own time, at their own pace.

I saw a blog post today on a Chinese expression here. The expression apparently goes: "Do not remove the fly from your friend's forehead with an ax". Pretty nice, huh. That's exactly how I feel when people come onto me very strong with their belief systems and want me to do this or that. I feel that I have to run away from the ax!

The internet makes it oh so much easier to spread a belief system and people don't hesitate to use this medium in order to try and persuade others to follow their path. This is the thing that concerns me. Especially the American society is very marked by religion and alternative forms of spirituality, as well as a highly assertive and competitive way of communicating. I don't think anyone would deny that it's the real paradise for the growth of methods of self-help as well as the spreading of these ideas through books in a language that so many can read.

Take for instance the book on adult children to alcoholic parents (Janet Geringer Woitiz). Turns out, that this book was originally a best seller in the States and therefore translated into Swedish. Now I won't say it isn't an okay book for those who are still very unaware of the patterns inherited from their dysfunctional childhood. I recognized the very self-confident and assertive style as being translated from American even before I knew it was indeed an American book. Of course, self-help books are notably assertive in order to give the impression of real scientific research. I find it worrying, that there were many imperative statements and not that many sentences containing the word "probably". For instance, the impression was that if you received ambiguous messages as a child then you are very likely a proficient liar to date. Oh, rewind a bit - I just noticed on checking this out that there is one tiny paragraph stating that some children go against the pattern of lying that they learned at home. Well, truth to say I didn't feel there was much room in the book for a different point of view or reality. I personally received confusing messages as a child but I find it almost impossible to lie unless I truly have to. One should maybe also keep in mind that I am of a culture where honesty is a virtue by which Finns are reknowned abroad. I admit we could use a little more self-confidence though, but it's coming... If we try and apply all the presumptions about a culture's behaviour onto another, we run into trouble. It is tricky in the case of American culture because the more you are exposed to it, the more you might believe that you can identify with it. It's my own first hand experience that there are subtle differences that can be critical enough. I hasten to add, that I do have first hand knowledge of many of the good things about the USA as well! I do however wonder how Americans feel about the fact (and this I heard as a fact) that virtually no literature is being imported into their country from abroad?

The book in question did have a somewhat simplistic air about it, for instance I would really have thought the author would have raised the question of the perpetual disappointments children with alcoholic parents have to endure and how that marks their entire experience of life and people. It also seemed to make recovery into a piece of cake. For instance, people from a dysfunctional background are often over-conscientious and over-responsible, and therefore burn out very easily. Ok, so you rest a little and get over it, was the solution. Wow, I guess most people can't wait to get back to the rat race! My own experience is that once I burned out and let go of the control and self-discipline, I dived straight into chaos and have not recovered to date. There are a few defining moments like that in my life, and the response has been different each time, but the last one was the most difficult one simply because of my age and history. Now the book denies "normality" as a fact by which confused people can orientate themselves, yet talks about people as if everyone is healthy and normal enough to recover in the expected manner. Deviant people like myself are treated with nonchalance. According to the author, I am not "different" from anyone else, just unique. Well... As it happens I have a condition that can be derived from the dysfunctions in my family, and it greatly affects my ability to perform "like everyone else".

I also read a spiritual view on insomnia and that alone was so depressing that I felt myself sinking into a state of defiance and distress. Apparently, if your deep sleep is disturbed, you cannot make the unconscious spiritual connections that you would otherwise. Mind you, I didn't really understand what was being said so I gather you can interpret it in many ways. Anyway, I got into this highly defensive mode where I felt that all I really care to do is go and hide from the axes. Too many voices, too much peer pressure... Although spirituality is such an integrated part of myself, I was ready to renounce it here and now. At that moment, I really hated my own spirituality, that prevents me from pursuing a more "normal" human life. I considered removing the "spiritual" part in the title of my blog. Someone had also just given me a thousand and one good reasons why I shouldn't covet a companion. It was quite the exposé of what all the famous gurus of today have said. I knew they were probably right but I felt like I had to take one of those axes and chop off a piece of myself in order to become liable for the higher spiritual ranks. "It's too much to ask!" I screamed within. I shrank, felt my heart close and got very anxious. It was like deciding to break up from a romantic relationship. In fact I am also still recovering from the unfortunately long and arduous break up from my previous attempt at a relationship - and yes, the hardest thing to get over is the disappointment. Oh yes, some things would definitely be better chopped off straight away, like amputating a gangreneous leg. I didn't have a clue as what to do next except to stay away from the voices and the axes.

Everyone is trying so hard to sell something or other, be it a new way of reaching spiritual bliss, how to learn a new language in ten days, or how to market your website in the most efficient way. The art of making money and becoming a success is definitely on top of the list of best selling services. When I meet people on the internet, I often wonder what they are going to try to sell me next. I think it's a shame that this "thing" has to be in the way of human interaction. Those who have read my previous blogs know that every once in a while I encounter people who try to convert me to their way of looking at things. These are people who are into the feel good movement and who get very nasty once someone pushes the right buttons so that all the denied aspects of their selves push through the gates. I recently witnessed the absolutely most outrageous and uninhibited outburst of all times on one forum where I had mistakenly opened up just a little. It didn't make much sense but it was clear that I was the target. I am not saying that there wasn't any learning or meaning in this for me, I'm just saying that it's pretty amazing what you sometimes have to take just because someone cannot bear the way you are. I am truly tired of this whole spiritual surgery that attempts to get you on a real guilt-trip. This reminds me that in the book I mentioned earlier it was also absolutely imperative that as a child in a dysfunctional family you must have blamed yourself and thought that everyone would have been better off without you. This makes me laugh. I have absolutely no conception of ever having thought such thoughts as a child. It's like when people are assuming that you must have been so sad when your parents divorced. Hell I wasn't! And I sure am not taken to guilt-tripping either.

In fact I really resent that New Age systems especially seem to want people to take the burden of all their own experiences as if all they have to blame are themselves. My hunch is, that we are dealing with a dichotomy of extremes within society, in which you have self-blame on the one hand and victimhood on the other. I think people are subconsconsciously trying to deal with these issues - on a large scale at that - and are therefore prone to projecting it onto anything that moves. This should be resolved when the intermediary is found. It's really good to look at the reasons why you have been drawn into a situation and what part you're playing in it. But there has got to be some rhyme and reason. Common sense, you know. Remember that one?

Artwork: "Crushed Chevrolet", digital photograph by authour, all rights reserved 2008

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Waiting in Confinement

This is not a philosophical blog, only one in which I'm venting some feelings and impressions on this dark midwinter day.

Back in the 90s, mysticism was part of my university studies as well as my private sphere of interests. I read all of Ken Wilber and felt the ground he covered was pretty penultimate. I purchased two more recent books while in the USA, but haven't had the ability to focus on them as yet. My condition, insomnia and a lot of stressful events prevent me from organizing my life in a way so that I could fit in some reading. In general I feel that it's hard to come by any new and informative points of view, that would really strike a cord. Nothing really pulls me. I was looking at a book about adults who had an alcoholic parent when they were kids, but the description of the personality disorders that occur didn't quite fit the bill either. The book is by Janet Geringer Woititz, and I will have to try and dedicate a moment to see if eventually there are any conclusions that would be helpful. The list goes as follows: Adult children to alcoholics...

  1. ... are trying to guess what is normal. Yes, I can relate to that. But it could just as well be due to other reasons, such as the fact that spirituality is more important to me than it is to normal people, and in an unorthodox way at that. I am also artistic, which normally places you straight into the category of outsiders.

  2. ....have trouble finishing projects. Nooo, not really. Or at least I didn't used to be that way.

  3. ... lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. No, that's not me at all!!!

  4. ... condemn themselves without mercy. No, that's not me. I'm hard on myself but I don't do self-blame very much. Perhaps it's a matter of how you put it.

  5. ... have a hard time having fun. Well that depends on many things, not least my company.

  6. ... take themselves very seriously. Well, again it depends how you look at it. I'm not so sure I take myself so seriously, though I certainly take life seriously. I have humour, though it's not always obvious when life feels demanding.

  7. ... have problems with close relationships. Yes... but who doesn't? Especially if you don't fit the norm.

  8. ... overreact to changes they cannot control. That's an odd statement. I usually embrace changes with great zeal, but I do have trouble with feeling out of control. Does that make me a control freak? Well, again, it depends on the context.

  9. ... are constantly looking for approval and acceptance. Yes, I guess so, quite often, but I can live without it too. I don't go fishing for it that much, I think. I'm not an ambitious person and so someone else's encouragment keeps me going. Is that a fault?

  10. .... see themselves as different. Well yeah... is that really only because of my childhood? Hm, I doubt it.

  11. ... are extremely loyal, even towards people who don't deserve it. Well I certainly am loyal but I drop those who don't deserve it! Ok, I admit that when in a close relationship, I do tend to persevere too long and accept too much. This I know to be a pathology.

  12. .... are impulsive to a point where they have a lot of dire consequences to deal with. Hm, I always thought a certain degree of risk taking was a way of getting experiences of life!

So, as you can see we have once again a list that attempts to pinpoint a category of people who do, after all, have very different ways of dealing with their traumas and have grown into different kinds of insight. Will have to see if these assumptions actually expand or if it continues the same (which books like these tend to do, I might add).

There are times when I get very depressed about the beginning of my life and wonder if we can ever truly heal without having to resort to 12 step programmes. I'm afraid I'm one of those who doesn't feel drawn to any 12 method way of dealing with things either. It's in my nature to be creative and free thinking. No critique intended for those who find it useful to structure they lives accordingly! The question is, how do we know that the way we are is really a question of pathology or just a consequence of us truly being different from the norm. Eileen Aaron did us a great favour when she published her research on highly sensitive people and found that up to 20-25 % of the population are that way and would even go and hide in a dark place at times because they are so overwhelmed with too much input. That was a step in the right direction for people who are more vulnerable on the outside than others. It doesn't mean we are weak people, though. Very often people like myself have to come up with a bunch of strategies for survival and though life is not easy, we wouldn't trade in our sensitivity for normality either. Even as it is, I get bored with myself. Though one could argue that it's my personality that makes me crave for changes and a more energetic life style.

At the moment I feel very confined, but this is not a new issue. I have always felt limited as if I had had to squeeze in a limitless being into a tiny human mould. Which I probably had to. All I have really, are my intuitions. There are no books that would pertain to my situation, at least not as far as I know. I guess I have to finish my own... Some people would say it's a blessing when your work is your hobby, in other words, that you get to do what you like the most. But everything has two sides. My situation is such that I don't get to have vacations. I sit in isolation day in and day out. Is it really that odd that I feel bored with my own company and have trouble motivating myself? I'm not a complete introvert, so I crave interaction with other people in order to get the needed stimulation. I want to write and make art based on my life and not just theories made up in my armchair. It's funny how this point of view is readily accepted by normal people but spiritual people feel that you must be happy to be alone in order to realize your higher potential. Other people cannot fill that void in you, and so on. I understand that. But we were also created to move around and interact with each other. Again I am happier thinking in terms of a paradox where we need both solitude and company. Too much of either is detrimental. It's all about the happy medium as usual.

A friend of mine who also is not into the feel good spiritual way of thinking because we need to clear out emotional blocks before we can be truly authentic people lists some methods here.

They say this full moon is exceptionally strong and marked by the sign of Cancer, which is my sign and one that stands for emotions. Great. It probably means a roller coaster for me... Maybe I'm supposed to go through every human emotion there is because I've felt stuff in recent years that I never associated with my personality at all. Feelings such as rage, envy, being riduculed, feeling judgmental, even sordid revengefulness... Yikes! Though most quickly pass, I hasten to add, and don't seem to come back. It's so easy to say, chill out, let go, don't worry. Right now I feel, that the only way I could do that would be by giving up life altogether. Which in fact you can do if you reach enlightenment, so you don't necessarily have to take your life! But what has never been clear to me is the prerequisites for this. There are many paths and many stories of people who got their great insight. I also take into account the possibility that some people are already enlightened when they were born, but have chosen to take a tour among human beings in order to understand more about dualism (good and evil to boil it down) and to assist the world in its attempt to disengage from the fetters of the subconcsious mind and animal-like instincts.

I'm trying to work on a collage for Valentine's day, but it's hard to come up with ideas that don't support the sleezy and over-romantic view that all there is in life is the love of a companion. My thoughts are so foggy... I seem to have lost the little ability I had of thinking up something straightforwardly symbolic. I hope this is a sign of improvement and not degeneration! Who is to say! Indeed, romantic love can only take you that far.

Artwork: "The Mask", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008

Friday, 9 January 2009

Beauty, Truth and Art

Yesterday was the opening of my first one woman show of photos, in a real gallery founded for photography only. I've been feeling tired and disconnected from everything so it was a somewhat arduous undertaking. When I left the house a snow blizzard suddenly hit me hard and all my make up ran down my cheeks. Needless to say I wasn't terribly happy when I reached the train where my mother waited for me.

The photos were all taken a year ago in Kansas where there was little else to do but visit a big manmade lake and research all the quirky details that the creation of this lake had caused in the landscape. During that long period of cold winter months I also got to witness the land as it changed depending on the very unusual weather circumstances. The photos can be seen on my website or on Flickr. Just before the opening a journalist was asking me about it all, and all I could think of saying was that during this time, I went through an inner process as a photographer while nature went through its own processes. I mumbled something about the way abstract photography is fascinating because you know that it has reality as its base, and how the digital era allows you more easily than before to make a simple photo into something that extends into the arena of art. I'm not sure this really came across right. Another journalist called me today and I still didn't have the presence of mind to simply say: it's about the process of discovering beauty in unexpected places.

It does indeed require a special state of mind to notice something that you can capture or turn into a piece of art. First of all you have to be mindful. My cat Marius has now forgiven me so when I pet him he starts to pur. It reminds me how terribly important it is for me to witness my cats' happiness every day, and every time they come to me to spend quality time I make an effort to switch off my absentmindedness and be truly present to them. There is no knowing if I will still have this kind of moment tomorrow or next week... These moments make life worth living even when you feel disconnected and tired. Mindfulness is thus what makes life meaningful. Without it you have nothing. It may not make you into an artist, but you can at least appreciate the beauty inherent in all natural things.

I read and responded to an interesting topic about an experiment conducted in Washington D.C. Joshua Bell, who is a famous and talented violinist, played in the subway like any other street musician. The point was to see whether busy people running off to work would recognize the beauty in his performance and whether context creates art. You can read more about it here. The comments are also well worth reading. Some people did feel that the context was a bit unfair to those who didn't pay attention to the music - how much can you really ask of the poor Americans who are so busy making a living in a country where this is especially accentuated!

Anyhow, I personally think that context is always present in everything we do - perhaps I might even go as far as to say that context cannot be separated from the product because everything we ever do is dependent on a whole bunch of elements to do with time and space and things that are meaningful in relation to these.

It seemed to me that people confused beauty with art. I do not think beauty necessarily equals art. There is ugly art that provokes and helps people re-evaluate their lives. The object of art is to awaken people to something, and this can be about aesthetic values as well as concepts. However, I think beauty is inherent in life, it equals truth. Untruth, denial and deception cause ugliness unless this ugliness becomes intentional through the filter of an artist. I also think that people have more and more trouble being mindful about life, because of all the trivial obligations that we have been programmed to put our minds into. You have to clear your mind of preconceptions, theories and any other form of mind clutter in order to really look and hear. People are not educated to do this. The brain does get programmed into certain tracks very easily. Even I as an artist have to remind myself at times to be present to something really lovely, for instance the happiness of my cats when they come and want to spend time with me. I remind myself, that I may not get to see that beauty tomorrow, so I must not waste the moment. I am lucky to have time and education to do this, but how many people do?

I think that to some extent context helps to wire people’s minds into appreciating art, because they know to expect it. They are then more able to de-clutter their minds and pay attention. I think it’s obvious that the beauty in L’Enfant Plaza where the performance took place was there whether anyone saw it or not. The reference to the koan about whether or not a tree makes a sound when it’s falling if there is no one there to hear it is interesting. The beauty was there in the reality as we know it, though maybe in a deeper ontological way it existed only to the extent that someone was able to pick it up. (Ontology is the basic nature of reality). Let me extend this thought a bit to embrace ideas surrounding the nature of personal truths. But before I go on, let me just say this: stop running around making money like crazy and reconnect with what is truly essential in life! But it’s up to each and everyone to decide if they want to, of course… Perhaps experiments like this help people realize they may have a choice in this regard.

I think serious methaphysical studies and as far as I understand quantum physics and the like also agree that there really is no objective truth. In other words, there are only subjective filters of our subjective minds. We can agree on certain things and that makes them "objective", but ARE they really objective? What is the real nature of these things we can measure? Quantum theory tells us ultimately there is nothing but a field of potentiality. You could argue that science has proven this or that. Well... sure, there are measurable things. But there are also things that are still measured very badly if even at all due to a lack of proper tools. We are surely not at the height of human evolution (that was a Victorian idea, haha...). I'm not one to read much anymore so I can't say what the latest findings are, but it was pretty clear to me back during my student's days that there is no absolute unarguable proof of the existance of an objective reality. It would then mean that truth is relative to each human being.

Can we trust other people's perception of reality? What can we really say about other people's intuitions? I think, that many times other people are really off course: sometimes other people's intuitions are not intuitions at all but delusions and misconceptions that they and possibly a whole bunch of people take for "truth". So it's a tricky thing but it seems to me that truth is really relative most of the time and that absolute truth is forever beyond our reach until we have some experience of enlightment or something of the sort. In my opinion we are really in the dark here but I think we can know more, it's just a matter of learning, intuiting, being open, maybe the time period we live in...

However, who is to really judge that someone else is wrong? You may encounter a person who is totally intolerable from your point of view, who wants to convert you to their beliefs etc. And it may definitely be detrimental to you (and to them I may add) and a community could agree (though often doesn't) that it is not morally sound to try and convert others by way of superiority, authority, manipulation and the like. So the result is there is some kind of truth in that situation that is agreed upon by many but it may be far from the truth of who that person really is in a much deeper, wider or even ontological sense. (Ontology = the basic nature of reality).

Art is thus to a great extent about people's ideas as well as their deeper intuitions and perceptions about life. I think other people's intuitions can show us "something", and that it is often very valuable to our understanding of things as well as enjoyment of life and the creation. In this world, pondering, speculating and feeling is quite central to our existance and it's all very well and fun for many of us, but it doesn't mean it's the same in some other possible world. These intuitions also vary, so cannot be taken for "truths" in my opinion.

It's certainly a question of paths to the truth but that still doesn't make the "ultimate truth" that someone might arrive upon exactly the same as that of someone else. C.f. the idea of enlightment! As far as I know mystical experiences have similarities but they are not always the same. Who knows, really? There are many theories about how we are co-creators of the world through the subjective filters of our individual selves, and that is how "God" expresses him/her/itself. I've looked into it and personally don't see any contradiction there. I do think that we are truly all in it together in a fuller sense than what appears to be. I do think something can be real and unreal at the same time, but it depends what level we're talking about. If we're talking about the physical reality that we all perceive similarly (not quite the same, only similarly) things are more solid (compared to realms of a different type of frequencies or whatever you want to name it). The laws of nature make dualism have a strong hold. But what do we know about higher spheres - provided you believe there are any? Again, many report that they know of these higher spheres. If someone doesn't perceive them it obviously doesn't mean that they don't exist. We know that from history already! The same goes for both art and beauty. Just because people don't notice them or perceive them as such, it doesn't mean they don't exist. So in a paradoxical sense I'd say that even if reality is dependent on a subjective perception and we live in a reality that is agreed upon and in which we collectively contribute to the space of art, philosophy and scientific innovations, there are ways of seeing that are not available to all.

Artwork: "The Freak", digital photograph by authour, all rights reserved 2008
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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Look Beyond Dualism

Ok, so where was I again... my previous blog was about conflicting choices. I mean, come on, who seriously wants a knife on the throat and an ominous voice interrogating you about your deeper desires: "Do you wish to live in a modern apartment in a downtown area or in a big manor house in the countryside?!" Eeeek! Heck do I know! I want both... and besides, it all depends, you know... like contemporary modern in a brand new house, modern minimalist, modern taken from "Living Etc" design magazine, or just an old apartment but nicely updated with smart solutions and sleek furbishing? And is the manor house perfectly renovated or falling apart... does it have grounds to go with it... is it in Lapland or in Sussex... Anyway, I don't want to answer that kind of question!

People seriously believe that you have to choose between two things. Otherwise they wouldn't create tests like that that accompany such big, money making sites. And life certainly does often present us with difficult choices. Should I leave him or should I stay? Should I write my book or should I avoid it for yet another day? Should I brush my cat and make him hate me or should I just leave him as he is and have all his love for me instead? And so on... you know how it is. Decisions... hard to think at times. Especially when you haven't slept well and you have no one to ask for help.

Yes, we do live in a dualist world. There are extremes and we tend to move back and forth like pendulums. Sometimes we stick to an extreme for ages. But just like the yin/yang symbol, the extreme will eventually change shape. No one knows when or where. But it will happen. Because this, as far as I understand it, is the basic nature of change. And without change there is no evolution. When thesis meets anti-thesis, we get synthesis. Check out the philospher Hegel for more in-depth views on this concept.

I just did another test online. This one was about how to train yourself to see auras. The idea of the most important exercise was to have two figures become one. To me, this actually exemplifies an attitude to life that can be developed and mastered. How can we start to understand reality as being One? In some way, it seems as tricky and incomprehensible as seeing auras if you don't have a natural knack for it. There are excellent books to study, for instance those that promote integral philosphy. In the hope of highlighting this topic a little I will quote some of my own musings. For more, see my early blogs. When I have time, I will also look for other material that I haven't posted yet.
"If you don't understand the idea of paradoxes as the basic nature of reality, then you don't know the abc of life. Any talk of oneness is useless if this is the case. Try and think in terms of "both-and" rather than "either-or", and see what happens!"
"The point about the paradox as a rule of thumb in one's life: moderation is simply the way in which we can gain the balance between extreme ways and attitudes. When you're able to see the truth of two opposites and inhabit the space between them, you are getting somewhere! Compare this with the Hegelian idea of thesis contra anti-thesis and the birth of the third conjoint force, the antithesis. This would be applicable to any level of life."
"The Taoists spoke of that which you cannot name, for as soon as you do, you are no longer speaking of 'it'. Ah, I love their sense of paradoxes! That to me is where we get closer to the real essence of 'this thing called God' (said with a smile). To me, talk about God promptly sucks me right into the issue of dualism, where opposites reign. Ok, so we live in a dualist world where contrasts provide experience (it's hard to appreciate good if you do not know of evil etc.). To me the Almighty is "above" these constellations. Note, however, that even the word "above" creates a dualist constellation but what can you do?! Language is this way! In fact I'd rather refer to "it" as 'Spirit', 'the Source' or 'the One'. 'The Universe' is okay too in some instances when you want to stress the interaction between the parts of the space we inhabit and bring God into it all. I guess humans need to talk in terms of God being this or that but my hunch is, we're all a bit off course because we're using words invented by humans. All in all I think that the word God carries too many heavy connotations no matter what the intention behind using it is."
"People who live with a fundamentally dualistic worldview simply cannot concieve of a world where paradoxes are closer to the truth than an either-or constellation. It's terrible how facts can be twisted so easily, well; that's why religion is such a terribly controversial subject of course. That makes me more pessimistic than the idea of Lucifer and his gang... If only people could see that everything we do and project and attract stems from our own minds, but how do you teach people like this that sort of thing? Not that there's a lack of information, only a lack of willingness to broaden the perspective and get out of the box of conventions."
"I know this sounds confusing but I'll give it a shot: The whole concept of saving or rescuing others or the world implies dualist thinking and especially a case of hierarchy. Somebody or something has to be higher on a ladder of sorts in order to "save" someone or something. Contrary to many, I don't think it's up to us to save anything at all since that would give us a lot of power within the framework of dualism. I think our small selves are less in charge of anything than we think. I think that only that which is in touch with Oneness can "save" anything, though it wouldn't really be 'saving' at all. It would just BECOME. I think that when we're in touch with Oneness our small selves are no longer ruling. We can then speak of our 'higher selves' being in charge. This is why it's tricky when people talk of being guided to say things to others. There is no way of being really sure that the source of information truly is from a higher aspect of ourselves or from somewhere else. Making assumptions about others is simply not respectful, and it can never be spiritual to want to make yourself appear higher on a ladder than someone else. It seems to me that only very few beings are enlightened enough to see the totality of what a person is all about."
Artwork: "The Veil", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved 2008

Sunday, 4 January 2009

When You Have Two Bad Case Scenarios... What Will You Choose?

"Just show him who's the boss, hold him tight and just do it. He'll be sulking for a couple of days but he'll come around eventually". This was my mother's advice. And no, it was not advice regarding a new boyfriend. All I have still are my cats. This was about getting the fur sorted out on one of my kitties, Marius. This kitty, however, is enormous and his poop is almost as big as that of a human being. I finally got to see it the other day when he couldn't be bothered to go out in the cold one day to take a crap. I've noticed that his fur has been getting knottier and knottier but I never wanted to take out the scissors when he came all loving and gooey to spend quality time with me on the sofa. When he sees them, he knows it's going to be nasty. Or at least that's what he believes. And that's enough to make him take off.

Anyway, I lifted him (with difficulty, I might add) from the bed to the sofa and started brushing him. It wasn't long before he started to growl and hiss. I thought to just put up with it and turned him over a few times while he was making sure that I knew that he meant serious business and was soon going to go for my throat. He sounded like a slaughtered pig and my little lady cat Beatrice who normally doesn't care much for the boys came and looked at Marius with great concern. What was going on? She couldn't figure out if I had suddenly gone bullocks and was torturing Marius or if Marius had lost it. Well, let's just say the whole thing wasn't really worth it because Marius looked just as scrubby after some brushing and combing as he did before. I guess it's just the way his winter fur is. He finally had enough, hit me hard with his paw, and managed to slip out of my grip.

After the session, Marius was obviously conflicted. In the night time he came to sleep with me and I took the opportunity to pamper him a little in the hope of forgiveness. He put up with it for a few minutes while staring meanly into thin air, then growled and got up to lie down at my feet. That's when I noticed he was limping. I have no idea if he had something wrong with his paw before the session or if he hurt himself while struggling with me. He has, however, been sulking all day long. I feel terribly distressed about it. The poor guy is a really sensitive fellow who doesn't open up to people that easily. What if I had betrayed his trust for all eternity? I resolved never to put him through this kind of ordeal ever again. I'll just have to try and cut the knotty hair off when he's not looking... Obviously, I rather have a happy cat that looks like a stray cat than one that avoids me out of fear and suspiscion. I've been trying to give him loads of my guilty love and I guess he's coming around, but I really miss his cheerful and trusting allure and hope he won't take too long to forget about all this. Yes, I really, really miss him!

This is what my life is like. I feel such concern in my heart over my only life companions - my cats. Only one other human gets that kind of attention from me and that's my mother, but I have a lot of trouble showing it. Our relationship has changed recently because she's tried very hard to be there for me and has obviously felt that we need to show each other that we care. Of course, she's the one from whom I inherited my issues with showing love. I don't know... lately a lot of feelings have been running amok in my heart. I've been thinking a lot about the guy that I tried to have a relationship with a year ago. A photoshow featuring some of the photos I took on our outings together is coming up soon, and that has naturally triggered a lot of feelings. However, remembering what Christmas and New Year's Eve was like last year in his company also brings to mind how incredibly insensitive he was to my needs. I think that I never wanted to believe that he was as selfish a person as I intuitively felt that he was. He totally upset me almost every day. Back then I thought I was just being intolerant. Now I realize that I did have a reason to suspect his sincerety and sense of realism. I was in a very difficult situation because I thought I must give this a chance and so I didn't want to be a quitter and run away at once. I also felt genuine compassion for his past traumas, and there was a lot of them (too many, I now realize). I also thought that beggars are not choosers. Now I know better... Still I went ahead and checked out a dating site last night.

The dating site claimed to be partly free of charge, but you really don't get much without paying. For instance, you can send messages but they can only be read if you have paid. Gone are the days when there were pretty nice sites that offered free service - at least I got to try out some dating at that time. The method of these guys is to ask you to take a test and determine your personality. I truly hate tests like that. They always give you too few options and in one section they asked you to choose your preference in a case of two bad case scenarios. For instance, which is better; a person who tries desperately to please others or someone who is completely untrustworthy? Brr, sounds like my ex-friend - both options! God, I don't know! Both are terrible options. I tell you, as it continued like that I started to feel as if I was being interrogated by the SS. It was all very stressful. Also, I thought I knew myself and would be able to pinpoint my characteristics. But I'm not at all! I'm trying to console myself by thinking that I must have such an expansive and ever-changing personality that it's impossible to ever squeeze it into a simple test that functions on the concepts of "normality"! The thing is, if I did something a certain way last time I was in a relationship, I probably won't do it the same way again. Come on, we're not robots for heaven's sakes! Or is that what we're supposed to be? Another really embarrassing question is how I would react if I saw the man of my dreams walk towards me on the street. How on earth would I know that?! It has never happened to me... I've never even had a crush on anyone. No, I had better stay away from anything that forces me into a category of sorts. And I certainly need to stay away from places where I risk being hit upon by men who are too "normal" themselves. Those who actually fit into the personality tests.

As for the man of my life, well, if I didn't believe in the workings of destiny and the higher purpose of things, I would surely go mad. I must not be desperate or cynical and rush into another disastrous relationship based on my gullible belief that love comes to me eventually when I allow a man to love me first. I truly hate that we are asked to have patience and put up with so much collective disturbance that isn't even directly related to the self during this time in history, but what choice do we have? We've got to be patient with our own growth as well as the collective evolutionary changes and people in general. It's hard for me to breathe and relax, but I cannot go chasing the rainbows again. God damn it, finding company is not something I should force simply because I cannot deal with the feelings of loneliness, disappoinment and loss. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about... I for one think that out of two bad alternatives I rather choose the one that allows the Universe to take care of my needs.
P.S. Someone just claimed that there are usually not only two options anyway. What do you think?
Artwork: Digital photograph "Marius in My Lap" by author, all rights reserved 2008