Focus Part 2

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

In the not so distant future:

So the windfall came in. I’m a lottery winner. You’ll laugh of course, thinking I’m joking. And I will be, but not in the way you think. When you finally do believe me, you’ll laugh again, this time about how unbelievably lazy I am: first in my unwillingness to put forth any external effort, and then in my lack of creativity in devising a means to make money. But I’ll remind you that I did play the game, I entered into an ancient covenant by moving into a trailer-park several years ago thus aligning my fate with a lottery win. You’ll laugh again at my silly antics, at the stubbornly offbeat way I choose to go about my journey through life.

You’ll wonder where I’m going next, then like after a Super Bowl win, I’ll declare: “I’m going to Disney World!!”. And I will. I’ll stay at several of the deluxe resorts, a few nights each, as well as the new Four Seasons from where I’ll make an appointment to browse some properties over at Golden Oak. Just think, they developed an actual residential neighborhood literally right down the street from Fort Wilderness, my childhood dream home. It would be downright disrespectful of me not to look. You’ll laugh again about what a goofball I am for wanting to live with Mickey and the gang. But the puzzle piece fits — why else does such a place exist?

Who knows though, I like having options, I’ll live where ever it feels right. But Disney World has always felt like home. Just walking into the lobby at the Grand Floridian feels right, especially at night when the band’s playing. A bunch of years ago, we had a vow-renewal at the Wedding Pavilion right next door. Although I’ve visited the Grand Flo many times, I’ve never actually stayed overnight — so perhaps that’ll be the first stop. And I think my wife always wanted to try the large guest-only pool at the Beach Club, so that’ll be another stop. I always enjoy walking around the Boardwalk area and going through the International Gateway into the France pavilion, now it’ll be right next door.

And when I tire of pastries from the Boulangerie-Patisserie, maybe then we’ll go stay at the Four Seasons and tour the houses I mentioned. I reckon I’ll be able to stop over for a day-visit to Fort Wilderness next-door too. You have to keep in mind that some people’s lives are dedicated to creating these magical places — and what good would that devotion be if there was no one to appreciate it? Imagine you develop an awesome thing but nobody gets it. With Disney, I get it. I want to be there. I appreciate the spectacle, the show that’s put on by cast members each and every day.

There’s all sorts of roles in this grand play we call life, somebody’s gotta be the wealthy patron. I know that’s my role, I feel it. When my undemanding ever-appreciative over-tipping family shows up, it’s gonna make people’s day. “Gosh, what a nice family that was!”, “Hey Rich! Wow, nice to see you back! What can I get for you today?”, “Of course I’ll get you a refill, it’s my pleasure!”, “Don’t worry Rich, your reservation is all set!” I’m no longer going to be embarrassed about my silly dreams. This whole world is an amusement park, and I should be doing what amuses me — that’s how you live life right!

P.S. Of course I haven’t forgoten about you, Celebration. I’ll go and visit, heck I’ll probably check out some homes there too.

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Focus Focus Focus

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

When I was a boy, most times I was either in the classroom or in my bedroom. But when we went camping, boy it was a whole other story. As soon as we parked, I was out the door and barely returned until our trip was over. I was free, ridin’ my bike, meetin’ other kids, money in my pocket, goin’ to the arcade, grabbin’ a bite to eat, explorin’ everywhere I could. Life was a vacation, the days were the perfect weather with perfect temperatures. What were authority figures? Responsibilities? Twernt nothin’ but distant memories soon outweighed by fun and freedom.

Now mind you, I do enjoy the good life — make no mistake. Although some nights I slept in a tent, it was sittin’ but feet from a large motor-home with all the comforts of home. One of my favorite places to visit was a Yogi-Bear themed campground. You could see me tearin’ down those dirt roads on my bike on the way to play mini-golf and grab a slushy at the snack-bar. And once in awhile you’d catch me swimmin’, canoein’, or even fishin’ in the river that flowed lazily alongside the campground.

But my most favoritest place? Well shoot, you know it has to be Fort Wilderness in Disney World. If I coulda lived there I woulda. Just a kid ridin’ my bike down to grab some french toast for breakfast at Trail’s End! Mmm just thinkin’ ’bout it makes me remember how much I loved it. Just hand ’em my card and it was all paid. There weren’t no stoppin’ me there, I was out and about livin’ however I pleased. Heck, one time me an’ my friend grabbed a bunch of newspapers from the dispenser and delivered them to campsites just to be paperboys for the day.

My favorite excursion while there was always boardin’ the Magic Kingdom boat from Fort Wilderness. Twas a magical journey from the frontier to a realm of pure imagination. My second favorite excursion was the Monorail to Epcot, it was like travelin’ into the future, a world of tomorrow. Boy, did I love Spaceship Earth. And nighttime twernt nothin to come in from, why that’s when the light-shows and fireworks would be in full-effect. Transportation ran the same either way. And the rides in the parks, why those would be walk-on at that point.

I suppose what I loved was the limitlessness to engage. Pickin’ and choosin’ from the buffet that was laid before me. There were no thoughts of complaints or “I can’ts”. It was paradise made manifest before my eyes.

P.S. You’ll have to forgive my drawl y’all, but I’m originally from southern Massachusetts — so sometimes my heritage peeks through. Been readin’ a bit of Tom Sawyer recently too, probably had an influence….

Improvisational Dreams

If you take life too seriously, you’re gonna have a bad time. Life is more like a dream mixed with a game-of-pretend. In a dream, absurd stuff happens, odd characters appear, and unpredictability is the most predictable aspect. And in a game of pretend, you pick a role and playfully act it out.

In pretend, you have to go with the flow, accepting premises as they roll in — rejection just gums up the works. You say “yes” and then contribute your own spin to the narrative (just keep it positive). Be mindful of others and work as a team to develop the fun.

Like a dream, life will regularly suggest stimulating premises upon which to build and adapt your story and character. Although with some persistence and creativity, a premise can probably be altered to suit your tastes. Don’t outright reject circumstances, just morph them into something preferable.

In a game-of-pretend, a good player is one that has fun while facilitating the fun of others. A poor player is one that shuns participation in the frivolity, casting a shadow of gloom upon others. How do you get better at anything? Practice.

Dreamlike Days

Every day is a brand new day.
Imagination paints in the details.
Focusing on a particular fills in its blanks.

Continuity comes from chosen themes.

Ignore vague remembrances,
develop a preferred theme,
focus on details that delight.

Make each day the one you want.
Inspiration suggests a course,
but customize the path to please the palate.

Satisfying Dream

At first I believed the world a random place, my life ruled by chance. But such a scary philosophy, I could not maintain. Then a passive existence I believed, a pathway predetermined, unalterable. But such submissiveness I could not bear. Then I began to see life as a lucid dream, my mind’s designs manifesting in every moment. This was satisfying.

The mind must find a resting place, a foundation upon which to build. If it sits in shifting sand, nothing lasting can be built. This bedrock comes from a firm idea in which to place one’s faith. I had faith in randomness, but its nature was unstable. I had faith in predestination, but it did not suit. So now I invest in dreams, a nebulous source that’s surprisingly solid.

A hazy nature provides strength as it conforms to each situation. Anything unpleasant simply serves as reminder to mind my thoughts. Whatever happens is my own fault, but in a funny way. I work at shaping rumination lest I get what I don’t desire. What I wish should come to be, but if not, I’ve merely more minding to do.

Whether true it matters not, it simply serves as satisfying base from which to run. A mind must have easy answers to complex questions else it go round and round in constant quandary. What ease it is to explain every scene as mere mirage. And with haunting angst now exorcised, the joys of life reveal themselves. Nightmares become delightmares.

Lucid Life

I’m dreaming.
I am the dreamer, both source and subject.
As source, I am one with all.
As subject, I play a role like any other.
Through existential amnesia, I am an audience to this creation.
This is a dreamworld, a virtuality, a place of pure imagination.
It’s but a dream, a fictional tale.
There’s no need to wake up, just remain aware.
Once lucid I can influence the mood, setting the tone.
No longer lost I orchestrate harmony.
Shadows of fear dissolve from my illumination.
I am free to have fun, enjoy, delight.
I’m dreaming, now in the light.

Dreamer of Dreams

I’ve begun to think of life as a dream. I am therefore the creator as well as experiencer of my existence. My wandering mind sets the stage while introducing a cavalcade of characters. This is a lucid dream, one in which I’m aware and able to influence. Yet I’m more often lost to the narrative before me, allowing the story to meander as it will.

But this directionlessness isn’t always satisfying. My mind wants to be constantly entertained, so in a pinch it’ll select a cheap thrill to rouse itself, living by the motto: anything is better than boredom. My mind regrets these low-quality selections of course, getting the equivalent of a tummy-ache from the lack of nutritiousness.

What I need instead, is to fill my head with wholesomeness. One such mental-vegetable is the concept of oneness, the deconstruction of my sense-of-self, egolessness. It’s stepping back a bit from my character, seeing him as just part of the show, not some super fragile shell that needs constant protection from imagined calamity.

To perform this deconstruction, I’ll have to remove the border I perceive between myself and existence. I’ll need to reinforce the idea that “I” and everything are one. To tear down the wall of “me”, I can regularly imagine my body dispersing into particles, flowing through the aether, formless yet present, a costume to be discarded at will — for I am a dreamer of dreams.