Category Archives: Love

Reality-craft

What do The Matrix, mass media, a glass-bottle-base, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and our brains’ way of functioning have in common?  They all relate to and raise the question: what’s distorted, and what truly is reality?

Hence, reality-craft… as in crafting something and thinking it is a reality.  Apparently our brains are experts at it, using processes of generalization (“You never listen to me!!“), deletion (“That pedestrian came out of nowhere!“), and distortion (“S/he hates me!“).  These are survival skills, so even if we could stop them, we shouldn’t (anyone thinking otherwise should see “It’s a wonderful life“), but without being aware of what’s happening, we jump to conclusions of what the “TRUTH” is, and decide/ act/ behave accordingly, often to our own and others’ detriment. 

So once in a while, perhaps as we party into the new year (as some suspect this humble writer to be doing, which I am happy to leave unconfirmed and undenied – a silent homage to the popular response used in any topic of potential controversy), it might be at the very least interesting to catch some of our reality-crafting in progress.

And if we notice ourselves going “Of course it was a deliberate snub – how rude! I’m SO not talking to them ever again“, we can:

a) finally take up that salsa-dancing class we’ve been drooling over to fill up the extra time we now have, since there’s one less relationship to manage;

or…

b) remember this anecdote from Stephen Covey about “The Power of a Paradigm Shift” in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (reproduced here for the work-shy that still might not get there, from a chapter provided on Amazon for the patient few who scroll down far enough):
I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly — some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene.

Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.

The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”

Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.

Salsa, anyone?

Advertisements

Age is wasted on the not-so-young

An homage to Bernard Shaw’s “Youth is wasted on the young”, there’s something to think about when a nine year old boy is giving advice on relationships, which is selling AND being made into a movie.  Points to note:

  • It’s a boy
  • … talking about relationships
  • … giving advice
  • … about stuff that continues to be out there (that is, it’s not new or ground breaking knowledge)
  • … which adults continue to ignore!

Hmmm.

The kid observed other kids and provided advice for kids.  I observe adults.  Now of course I generalize and hypothesize (so much fun and entirely liberating), but I’d say I wouldn’t give my pet fish (if I had one) juggling sticks to keep itself amused.  Or take a 5 yr old child to see a political commentary monologue on stage (unless s/he was truly interested, in which case I’d say a special prayer for their well-being and take them to a psychologist instead).  And yet I see in relationships people speaking different love languages; in essence, not giving the other what is important to them, rather what is convenient for us.  And we then are surprised, baffled and upset that things don’t work out.

Apparently we tried to do it to pandas too (i.e. give them something they didn’t need or want) – hoping to increase their population by feeding them viagra or showing panda adult videos (not kidding).  Didn’t prove effective there either.  Eventually the pandas worked it out themselves and therefore haven’t become extinct yet.

The moral of the story?  Humans also have to stop watching adult videos to save themselves from becoming extinct.

Singled-out

I recently got asked one of the most intelligent questions in a while:  why do you want to get married.  My answer is irrelevant (to all but me and maybe the poor soul that might become my spouse).  The question is SO important. 

There’s no doubt about the practicalities of being in a marriage (it applies to common law partners just as well, but for my discussion I choose to keep it to marriage – it’s my discussion folks):  Tax benefits.  Social parity with peers (e.g. being at the same life stage with your friends, and therefore having common activities).  Always having a companion whose schedule you can completely know and manipulate.  Someone else to do the dishes.  (Database whirring away searching for other examples).

But while important, should these be the key driving forces for such a critical life decision?  The frequency of “oh you’re lucky you have such freedom” comments makes one wonder how many of these folks actually did marry for (only) such reasons.  Would it not be part of a healthy relationship to encourage and support individual needs, as well as the joint goals?  To have an attitude of service and truly enjoy making the other happy?  To have less of the eye-rolls and more of the love-rushes?

It could very well be that this only happens in my non-existent ideal world.  The same place where the social harm of debt-on-interest is understood, and parents can carry their kids’ pictures without being arrested, and young kids/adults do not go on a killing spree including themselves, and politicians’ lack of integrity is not acceptable, and food is not wasted while poverty claims millions every year.  And where no one eats baked beans on a paratha.

So how did we get here?  Oh!  (non-existent) Ideal worlds.  I remember when I was a kid (that is *certainly* not even 4 decades yet), I heard fairy tales of lights being turned on with a clap in magical lands.  It happens today effortlessly.  Because someone believed in magic.  Enough to make it happen.  While everyone else said it’s a fantasy, let it go.

I still believe.