So many people are in so much pain, sometimes I wonder how the world can still function. It seems to me like the world has not stopped functioning because while almost everyone on the planet is filled with pain, the population of the world is not paralyzed with pain at the same time. Thank goodness we take turns to suffer so we can step up for each other from time to time.
Recently, I reconnected with a childhood friend (from what I call Orbit 1 in my memoir, Changing Orbits) and our back and forth emails lead me to challenge myself to use present day (Orbit 5) consciousness to make sense of Orbit 1 events. Isn’t it bizarre that life has to be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards? Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 but I also have to rely on insight which is the best vision, they say.
This childhood friend of mine was sharing that she had developed into being quite the semi-recluse herself. So I wondered about what makes people reclusive. Then, my thoughts drifted over to the last year of my beloved Sharpei’s life. During the last year of Sharpei’s life, she at first tried to call my attention to the fact that she was unwell. She was trying to communicate to me that she needed my help to cope with whatever she had to cope with at the time. I didn’t get her urgent messages then so she was left to cope on her own. How did she do it? She became reclusive. The dog that was my shadow for all of her 12 years suddenly became reclusive. Reflecting on this, I realized I became reclusive myself when I couldn’t get the help I needed from the people around me and the wider community. I realized I had to depend on myself and so I went within. Now that my childhood friend is telling me she also tends to reclusion, I’m guessing that she couldn’t find the answers to her challenges/questions from society either. She had to also go within to find the answers.
My dogs teach me so much. They also teach me about boundaries. Jolly has his room in the house and Bubu has her resting place in the house. They do not intrude into each other’s resting place. When either of them feels sociable they will enter a neutral space and that is where they hang out and play together.
What reconnecting with my childhood friend reminded me about Orbit 1:
- I wore shades (dark sunglasses) in my mid-teens and heavy makeup in my late teens, as a means of hiding my insecurities.
- My first love was music.
- My natural career would have been in the Performing Arts (Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Actor, stand-up comic).
- Even as a teen, I ate for comfort. Was not too fat then as I was the athletic type. I have always loved exercising and this love remains with me till today.
- I suffered from real low self-esteem and low confidence then but masked it well enough to lead a gang of 12. We called ourselves “The Dirty Dozen.” Yes, I know; not very original. :)
- If life is a playground and the people we hang out with are our playmates, I was and still am that weird kid constantly on the lookout for people "my kind of weird." Mena can be pretty serious but Gwen is still in there somewhere.
- I hung out a lot with my gang and ate a lot at their parents’ houses. They were my substitute family as I was not feeling the love at home with my parents and siblings.
- Due to spending so much time in other people’s houses as a child, I was exposed to other lifestyles, values, habits, etc. at an early age. I saw how disadvantaged I was as a child compared to my friends. I saw a lot and took in a lot both on a conscious and subconscious level. I was soaking it all up like a sponge.
(My present) Orbit 5 consciousness:
- In childhood and in school, we have a lot of “friends.” There is not necessarily any special meaningful relationship or feelings or attachments there except that we share a common history and how we ourselves choose to interpret the past. That said, it doesn’t mean that some deep and meaningful friendships can’t begin in childhood. This depends on the soul affinities and I believe these affinity type match-ups have a more one-on-one intensity that goes beyond group friendships.
- I have since gone on to prefer quality, not quantity where friends are concerned. Nowadays, I feel I can get by with just ONE good friend. People are complicated. The more personalities we have to deal with, the more complications we have to deal with.
- In the same way, I wish I had only a single sibling instead of 5. I feel that if there was just the 2 of us, my sibling would have been as vested in getting along with me as I was in getting along with a sibling. As it is with friends, too many personalities tend to dilute the relationships. I feel only intense relationships can make a real difference in a life. As with any group situation, there is always some degree of “politics” going on in the background.
- What I share in my memoir (Changing Orbits) and Chi book (The Dance of the Chi is more intense than any "gossip" anyone can spread about me.
- When driving, we use the rear view mirror to see what's behind us but if we look there too much, we will fail to see what's in front of us. Sure, the past has its place in a life story and it's fine if looking back is for the perspective and lessons the past can offer. But the past has no more power, at least it shouldn't have. We have to keep moving forward. Just keep moving and moving forward. Don't look back; we're not going that way!
- It’s amazing how much I can recall from Orbit 1. My friend says I have a “photographic” memory but no, I don’t. I have asked myself before what quality I would like to have if I could choose and I have decided I would like to have a photographic memory if I could. Imagine how much easier my life would have been. For one thing, passing exams require that we have a great retentive memory so we can regurgitate all that are in the books. And being able to remember all the stuff that I do not necessarily have to read but just glaze through would truly make a huge difference in my life. As it would any body’s life.
- Emotional support wise, my gang was more of a family than my birth family. Kind of like ghetto gangs I suppose only I needed them more than they needed me. While I prioritized them, I was only an option to each of them. We were all children in need of adult supervision, direction and wisdom. We each needed a go-to adult to complete the support structure but that was missing for me and as we grew up, I grew apart and away from the group as I was unable to rely on the group for the support that I needed to take me (and the group) to the next level.
- 40 years later, each of the “Dirty Dozen” (minus one who died in her 20’s) is the same river but the waters that run through us are not the same.
- They remember Gwen as being ahead of her time. As Mena today, I still feel ahead of my time.
- My parents thought my friends were a “bad influence” and the 16-year-old Gwen said to her father: Do you realize that my friends’ parents could be thinking I am a bad influence on their kids? Today, my old gang confirms that I was right. Even at that age, I was insightful. Troubled but still insightful.
- Gwen was seemingly an extrovert (seemingly getting energized by company). Mena is an introvert (needing time alone to recharge; company drains me). That can be confusing to people who have seen both the Gwen and the Mena side.
- I think extroverts who grow to like solitude over time have "encountered more on the disillusioned side." They start to believe that company is a waste of time. In my opinion, solitude has more to offer than socializing unless of course one is in marketing then the more a people person one is, the better for creating income. If one is on the creative side, then all the inspiration and ideas come about when one is alone and “in the zone.”
- I like to say if one is not depressed, one is not paying attention. :) As far as I'm concerned, this planet is the "penal colony of the universe" and no one is spared their share of depression.
- Good company doesn't always have to be good conversation. Sometimes just knowing that someone is there if you need them to hold space for you is enough.
- Are you familiar with the quote I paraphrase: "The person who likes his/her own company makes very good company?" This is true in the sense that if people don't spend time alone reflecting, reading, listening to music, observing nature, whatever, they tend to run out of interesting things to talk about when in company. They tend to be boring.
- People like to ask in greeting: How are u? As if it's that easy to answer with any degree of meaning. I just take it that everybody (animals included) is suffering. By default of being in the physical state. By default of having to live within 3-dimensional limitations/structures on the planet. When I see a happy face, I know that's only fleeting.
- That said, I don't mean to suggest that it's ok for us to let ourselves sink into a state of depression. Of course, we have to help ourselves not sink. What works for me is to not take life so personally. It just is what it is.
- I am happiest when I am able to count my blessings. Being grateful for the basic things in life (knowing that things could be much worse) and keeping the lifestyle simple has always been the open secret.
- Age should give us healing and some understanding which leads to a kind of wisdom. Acceptance of what is not within our control is wisdom.
- People are like onions. The longer you’ve been around them, the more layers come off and the more you know them.
- My writing is not about passion. It's love-hate and it's more about therapy. I've been a victim of circumstances for almost all my 60 years and I'll be spending the rest of my life in healing mode.
- While it’s nice to get compliments for my efforts, it's what I think of myself at the end of the day that counts. I am the one who has to wake up to myself and to my life on a daily basis and I am doing what I do to cope and deal. Even my social media activities are all about the therapy; healing and doing something meaningful and purposeful with my life.
- So many people are living with so much unresolved pain; I know what it's like. That people become recluses, I can also guess the reasons. When someone is in a kind of "prison," he/she has to focus on surviving that “prison” lifestyle. He/she can't have a foot in prison and another out of prison. Better to embrace/accept/deal with the reality inside than to be distracted by influences coming at you from the outside. The Chinese have a saying: If you have one foot in two boats when the boats move, you will end up in the water. Now, if people outside are actually trying to break you out of your prison and you trust them enough to cooperate with them ... that's a totally different scenario ... in that case, the prisoner might engage with hopes of having the chance to live a life outside the prison.
- It’s normal for people to do what they are good at and to keep on doing what they are good at. That is their mode of soul expression.
- People who don't observe personal boundaries make me uncomfortable.
- "No expectations" -- If we're honest with ourselves, it's very hard not to have expectations when we invest in relationships. Either we hope for the best outcome or we don't invest ourselves too much for self-preservation. Life is so tough that we all more or less have to reserve our resources to help ourselves get through our days. When I am able to reach out to others it means I have strength to spare. When others are reaching out to me, it means they have strength to spare. When we respond to overtures it means we have faith and trust to spare.
- Because of my weak ties with birth family, my choice of friends has always needed to be of the supportive variety. I have always needed to replace my birth family with a "family of supportive friends."
- Meeting up with old friends after a long period of detachment, the old friends have to build trust and friendship all over again. They can’t borrow these from the past. Whether old friends are able to take the reconnection to the next level will depend on present day trust and camaraderie, not the trust and camaraderie of decades ago.
- In life, timing is everything. When the tide is missed, the tide is missed. That said, one can always wait for the next tide to come in. :)
- As relationships go, I tend to visualize how I want a relationship to go. It's like I write the script starting from the end of the story and work my way backward. I try to say and do the things that will "create" that reality for me. So when the other party doesn't have the same script (not on the same page) they will not co-create that reality with me and yes that can be disappointing; even painful and a waste of resources. This works both ways. I can disappoint others too if I’m not responding according to their “script.” So we all have to be careful with our choice of friends. We have to use our time prudently.
- What is the alternative? Not to plan? Not to have a vision? Not to expect anything? How do we expect the Universe to cooperate with us if we don’t know what we want? How do we manifest/create our realities?
- I can relate easily to people who have had hard times the likes of which bring them to their knees in despair and surrender. I have been there myself, many times and I feel a kinship with such journeys.
- Society everywhere is such that one must be able to show the outer trappings of "success" in order to gain respect. This is what is known metaphysically as "3-dimensional structures." I still have a lot to prove especially to myself that I did not waste my life chance. I don’t expect to win this kind of conventional “respect” from society (I’m aware I’m too much of an outlier); I am aiming for self-respect and peace of mind.
- I was interested in astrology and metaphysics even in my teens.
- To quote my friend: “People need saving. What or how to save is a question that's an enigma because each individual has a personal path. Everyone has to go through a cathartic journey of their interiors before they can heal. “
- To quote my friend: “What's the vision for humanity? Well, whatever means or ways, the goal must be to come up with a lesson plan for living with full attention and self-awareness, with self-control and responsibility, with empathy and compassion -- in other words, with skills that allow people to overcome their own destructive emotions. “
- Many people think they or their lives are not “normal.” What’s “normal” anyway?
- Everyone has a life story. Not everyone can write, not everyone can or want to share.
- The computer is my life. I don't have much of a life outside of it. It meets almost all of my needs. The dogs offer a balance as I have to shut down the pc to be with them. PC-related activities, dogs plus Yoga and Tai Chi are my soul's expression. I need them like I need oxygen.
- Breathing is life. Life is breathing. In the moment that we focus on the breathing, we focus on the now. And the now is all there is.
- For my survival and healing, I need to be solution and peace oriented.