Mousekeeping

I’m currently problem-free. Okay, not exactly. My son has his own room for the first time in his life, which seems to be affecting his ability to sleep — plus, he’s about to start attending school for the first time ever. In addition to that, my wife seems strained by her leadership position within the household — she recently moved us to a new state and into a new home, so I guess managing all that is taking its toll. My only issue right now, is that I have to watch two people I care about deal with stress.

Beyond that, I’m just along for the ride. I kinda wish I could help, but nobody wants my help. And frankly, I don’t know how to help. It seems like each is entering a new chapter of their life and they just have to figure out a way to appreciate it. As for me, I’ve been having a great time going to theme parks, bike-riding, walking to the bakery, shopping — I’ve just been appreciating the heck outta my current situation. Prior to this, my whole life has been self-inflicted stress and strain, but I’m done with that.

I really feel at home here, more than anywhere else I’ve lived. I AM an annual passholder dammit! — it’s just what I am. I know my way around Disney, the parks, the rides, the resorts, the restaurants — as well as the little town that Disney built down at the end of World Drive. I have no imposter syndrome here. When I came back, I knew it like I never left. Despite the intense heat and high humidity, I breathed a sigh of relief. Mickey, it’s good to see you again!

Every little life on Earth is a silly experience, that’s just the nature of being an embodied being. I’m realizing that, and I’m accepting the fact that I’m a silly little human that was born and bred to be a dedicated Disney fanatic, to pick up where my mom left off, and carry the Mouse-eared torch even further. Yeah that sounds Goofy, but so what. It’s all a Fantasyland upon this Small World, this Spaceship Earth that’s Soarin’ around the stars — might as well enjoy the ride… Ta ta for now!

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Wish Granted

If I were to receive 5 million dollars tomorrow, I wouldn’t change my current lifestyle. Whereas if I received 5 million dollars a few months ago, I would’ve changed a lot. What happened? How did I go from living a life I didn’t prefer, to living one that’s basically my childhood dream? Is it magic? Literally, how else are you going to explain it?

In the last few months I’ve done nothing except what I’m told to do. My friend says “jump” and I ask “how high”. Nowadays “Yes ma’am” (pronounced “Yes mum”) is a common phrase uttered by me. And by doing as I’m told, instead of fighting it tooth and nail like I always had, I’ve received so much to be grateful for.

Is my friend a genie? A faerie perhaps? Is she my guide in this gameworld? Is she here to make sure I stay on course, attaining all the good things life has to offer? Is she merely a manifestation of my own design? Or is she simply a good leader that makes good decisions? I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t overanalyze it, just keep my mouth shut and gratefully accept what I’m provided.

If you’re having a good dream it makes sense to go with the flow rather than interrupt it with fruitless analysis. Is everything perfect right now? No, and I suspect if it was, then it just wouldn’t feel right. I think the hiccups are probably part of the transition into my new role. I’d probably feel like an imposter if everything went perfectly — as it is now, I’m quite comfortable, like gradually wading into deeper water.

Throughout these last few months I’ve often been reminded of the archer Arjuna and Krishna his charioteer. Arjuna grew up thinking Krishna was merely his cousin, instead of God-incarnate. He wasn’t just Arjuna’s companion, Krishna was companionship itself. I waited two decades for my friend to enter my life and it literally felt like I was specifically waiting for her — I knew she’d show up eventually.

After her arrival, I spent the next two decades shutting down her suggestions and doing everything I could NOT to listen to her. Why would I do such a dumb thing? Gah. I guess I had a mind full of lack and trusted nothing. Now in the next twenty years, hopefully I’ll just listen and maintain an open mind. I’ve certainly proven my inability to direct my own life, whereas passively following along has been working out quite nicely.

Virtual Excitement

Imagine you’re playing a game, it’s a virtual world filled with little characters running around. They all wake up at sunrise, gather food, eat, gather more food, eat, then go to sleep at sunset. There’s nothing more to the game. Everything goes according to plan and everything is in perfect harmony. Is it a fun game? Of course not, it’s a boring waste of time.

Now imagine a similar game, a virtual world filled with little characters running around. But here, calamity often strikes, resource shortages occur, and characters quarrel. Little goes according to plan and harmony is a sought-after but never achieved state. Is it a fun game? Yeah, imbalance is the foundation of most games.

If life wasn’t a game, a smoothing balance would occur over time. Yet as it is, turbulence of shifting varieties keeps the boat rockin’. Life will never reach a balanced state, and we wouldn’t want it to. Do we desire boredom? No, never, it’s literally the worst feeling ever. We’d rather suffer the harshest pains than submit to boredom. We’ll scare ourselves silly rather than be bored.

I could ignore everything that goes on around me, letting circumstances sail-by like water off a duck’s back, never absorbing — but I don’t. Instead I intently watch, waiting to be triggered. THERE!!! Aha! Now I’m scared! Now I’m angry! Frustrated in fact!! Good! Goooood! I’m energized by these little dramas that keep coming into view!

And that’s it. That’s life in a nutshell. Now you understand why things are the way they are. But games are not only meant to be engaging, but fun — if you’re not enjoying yourself then you’re taking it too seriously, perhaps too personally — lighten up. If flickering pixels make you cry then step back a bit and find another part to focus on.

In a way, you’re at a buffet. Select the stuff you want, and stop getting the stuff that grosses you out. Don’t even look at it, just stick to the stuff that delights your palate. Develop an appreciation for the nicer things in life or you’ll be stuck with the worst stuff possible. Fear and frustration are the easiest ways to get your heart racing, but they’re low-quality options that should be avoided.

Role-model Mom

Speaking of wishes, it turns out that my mother had been wishing for me to move back down to Florida, specifically back to the town I had left ten years ago. Her wish came true, here I am. She also insisted on buying us some furniture. Last time I lived here she insisted the same thing — I had said no but relented a little and got some lower-cost light-weight wicker furniture for the living room and accepted some used patio furniture for the balcony. I didn’t want to anchor myself down with a whole bunch of heavy furniture. It didn’t feel right to settle down in case my work dried up — which it eventually did.

To me, it feels like she’s trying to lock me down with furniture — but of course that’s just my naturally suspicious mind. A few days ago we met over at the furniture store and she bought us a whole bunch of stuff — beds, couches, end-tables, lamps — real heavy stuff too. As I’ve been trying to do lately, I just said “yes”. Even though it goes against my lack-minded thinking, I said yes to a whole condo-full of furniture. When she insisted on buying the entire set of living-room furniture instead of a couple items, I just said “okay”.

But Rich, aren’t you always concerned about budgets, logistics, exit-strategies, etc? Who me? Nah, that’s the old Rich you’re thinkin’ of. I’m Good-Times Rich. Party-central starts here! All aboard!! WOO!! WOO!! Listen, my mother made it seventy-plus years buyin’ whatever she damn-well pleased. She loves it and her strategy seems to work. And for all I know, her power-source is derived from furniture — maybe she’s just trying to impart some of her power unto me.

When I was growing up, I always thought my mom was kinda dumb — no offense. She smoked and drank, was always on a fad-diet, yelled a bunch, worried constantly, applied more make-up than a Ringling Brothers clown, spent money like a sailor on leave, worked at a shoe company answering phones, and didn’t seem to understand complex concepts. In a way she seemed very childlike. But as it turns out, I think she was simply playing the game — and Life is merely a giant game of pretend after all.

She’s been successfully entertaining herself for the past seventy-plus years whereas I’ve been frozen still like a deer caught in the headlights. I’ve been overwhelmed by the simplest things while she’s chuggin’ along doin’ her thing. So who’s the dummy? That’s why, at least for this year, my mom is my new role-model. She’s relentlessly herself and doesn’t break character or engage in any meta-game nonsense. She’s a hardcore gamer that plows through whatever’s thrown at her.

My mom has been helping me deal with shelter-related stuff for several decades already. I’ve always relied on her and she’s typically been there to help out in her own particular way. She used to say, “you better learn to do stuff on your own because one day I won’t be around.” Yet here we are, decades later and she’s still around helping me out. And as far as sons go, I’m literally one of the worst — I’m an entitled taker that shows little appreciation — I’m not affectionate and I complain a lot.

But on the plus side, she gets to use her power to help her kid — as a parent myself, I know that’s a nice feeling. When your child is confronted by circumstances beyond your control, you feel horribly useless — yet during those times when they’re struggling, and you’re able to effortlessly ease their struggle, you feel needed and useful. So basically, “you’re welcome mom!” I’m glad I could be so inept at life that you have plenty of reason to keep on keepin’ on.

Have a Role

So what is the role with which I most identify? Obviously I’ve most identified with my inner-observer. I so often sit still watching life go by. But I don’t mind that, I don’t lament my inactivity, I’m more freaked out when life tries to engage with me. I’m like a tourist inside of a safari vehicle driving through the savannah watching all the action safely from my seat. But if the tour-guide stops the vehicle and asks me to step outside, then that’s a no for me dawg.

I can understand that in order to relate to life, I kinda have to live it a bit. But a bit is enough, just a taste is all it takes. In other words, to enjoy the performance, it’s best if I can connect to the material in some way. Beyond that, I actually do feel confined by certain limitations. For example, whenever I try to do stuff, it doesn’t really work out the way I want it to — so maybe life doesn’t even want me doing things on my own. Maybe I really am supposed to sit still in the audience.

On the other hand, life might just be throwing obstacles in my way in order to provide a challenging experience. That’s what games do, isn’t it — provide hurdles between the start and finish lines. A game without challenge isn’t fun. Competing in a contest and feeling the eventual triumph is always a good time. Maybe I’m just being a baby about it, “Boohoo, life is hard!”. Maybe I just have to accept the challenge and keep pushing forward with what I want to do.

But that’s the question isn’t it — what do I want to do? Frankly, not much.

[Fast forward to the next day…]

In that previous moment of contemplation while considering how uninspired I was, I was struck with an idea to go to Disney with my son. And so that’s what we did. It was an epic adventure too. We explored a newly built area, we took a boat to another park, we got FastPasses and rode rides, as a team we ordered popcorn and paid, we strolled the streets of far-off lands, we ate French pastries, we walked to resorts — it was just an overall good time.

In many ways I’m like a fish in water at Disney. And with a little-boy in tow to wonder at the sights and sounds, we’re the perfect duo to have a Magical Day. Maybe life really is meant for living.

Fresh-baked Roles

It’s often said: Fake it till you make it. Yet being who I am, I’ve always had a hard time “lying” or saying anything that I didn’t perceive as completely true. Well as it turns out, since this is a fictional existence, nothing is true. That means I’ve been lying this whole time. Oops. I’ve been trying to be my authentic inner-self, but you see, the inner-self has no authenticity in this world, this world is for embodied beings only. Sorry spirits, ghosts, and apparitions — not for you.

If you’re on stage as an actor, then putting your inner-self on display is a dumb idea — you’re supposed to speak and act as a character, not as the actual underlying actor. The inner-self is an unscripted non-entity, there’s literally nothing to play and nothing to say. And if you’re not playing your part, then you’re doing it wrong. When people say “just be yourself”, they don’t mean your actual inner-self, they mean the character that feels most natural to play. Be your character and play your role.

For example, I went to a 4-year college. I readily saw through the charade of the knowledge-impartation process — they don’t really teach you everything you need to know as a professional, that’s not the point. The point is to convince you that you’re the particular role you selected. That’s why people are so riddled with imposter-syndrome, they know they don’t exit college as masters of their craft, they’re not actually qualified, they’re mere actors playing their parts.

I never wanted to play a role because it felt like a lie. But if everything’s fiction, then it’s even more of a lie to pretend to know truth. Because words and definitions are messy, oftentimes speaking a lie is closer to the truth than speaking the truth. And to be in this world, playing your part as the character you most identify with is closer to the truth than being your true inner-bodiless-self. In other words, while you’re on the stage known as Earth, be an earthling.

Solid Conspiracy

My friend was wondering aloud why people tend to attack Mandela-Effect believers. I offered her the suggestion that it’s for the same reason people don’t readily accept Simulation Theory.

Because this world tries to portray itself as a physical reality, there’s a system-wide conspiracy authored by the simulation itself, to downplay any talk of virtuality. And to be honest, as players within the game, we should want it that way. A movie for example, is best experienced when fully immersed in the experience, not when you’re constantly losing focus due to non-plot related distractions.

My own goal with spirituality for instance, is to allow myself to become fully immersed in the world. As it is, I’ve always been way too distracted by the meta-game. I overanalyze everything to the point that I barely engage in actual gameplay. I think it’s fine to be an observer or commentator on life, but it’s not fine when you sit on the sidelines due to fear/anxiety.

But back to the point. If true, the Mandela-Effect demonstrates a malleable reality, a concept contrary to the idea of a solid physical reality, thus the system will attempt to shut-down proponents. I think there’s a similar trend when any theory purporting a malleable reality is presented.

For instance, the Law of Attraction or even the miraculous nature of Christianity is often outright denied. In a virtual world, of course you can manifest whatever you want, of course the sick can be instantaneously healed — yet you’ll find yourself generally unpopular if you spout that stuff too often. If you recall, Jesus wasn’t particularly liked by all either.

“You need to work hard within the confines of society’s rules! No wishing allowed!” or “You can only be healed by the prescribed method that’s customary within our particular time-period! No miracles!” Whatever scene we find ourselves in, we’re generally not supposed to use cheat-codes.

But we must also consider the possibility that the world couldn’t care less about maintaining the illusion of a solid physical reality. Quite possibly, it’s the players themselves that maintain this restriction. Perhaps we’re allowed to shape the world any way we want — yet we don’t, simply because we believe we can’t. But when that self-imposed barrier is removed for some reason, that’s when the magic happens….