Theoretical Influence

If life was created as a method of amusement, participants would require constant engagement lest they begin to sense the artificiality of it all. Stressors would be introduced regularly so as to force participation and maintain the attention of the observer within. But in life’s view it seems, any circumstance that engrosses is fair game — pleasant or unpleasant, it doesn’t appear to matter.

Something to consider then, is whether life takes suggestions for the content it serves up. Can our consciousness provide input so that life stimulates us with what’s pleasant instead of what’s unpleasant?

For instance, if we’re not putting any effort into life, looking bored, life will likely intervene and send drastic change our way. If we want to have control over such drastic intervention, then it’s probably best to not look bored. We would likely want to find something pleasant that interests us and dedicate ourselves to its pursuit.

Theoretically then, if we’re on a path to somewhere pleasant, life may attempt to help us along the way, so as to further engage us in the story. Whereas if we have nothing inspiring going on, life really has no way of helping, so it throws whatever it can at us, good or bad, just keeping us preoccupied. Therefore, we should seek a fulfilling path even if the path to find a fulfilling path is the only path we’re on.

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Acceptable Challenge

While it’s obvious that life sends us periodic challenges and stressors, it’s not so clear whether we can influence the types of challenges sent. In case life takes requests, I’d like to list the challenges I find acceptable and those I find unacceptable.

Acceptable:
Too many appealing choices to deal with
e.g. too many great shows to watch,
difficulty deciding on the perfect gift,
too many delicious dishes to select from,
too many fantastic toy/tool options.

The challenges associated with:
Reaching personal exercise goals.
Winning games.
Craft/art expression.
Procuring the most authentic foods.
Fixing minor issues.
Developing solutions for theoretical problems.
Understanding difficult theoretical concepts.
Deciding how best to allocate abundant funds i.e. budgeting.

Unacceptable:
Anything related to:
The legal realm or government or bureaucracy.
The medical realm or health.
Loss.
Physical violence.
Travel or transport.
Obtaining food or shelter or financial resources.
Scheduling or billing.
Weather and natural disasters.

Dear life, please be advised that these lists are not necessarily all inclusive but should at least represent a general direction of preferred stressors — also, these items should be adhered to in the spirit in which they are intended. If any unacceptable stressors are in the works, please see that they are cancelled. Thank you for your consideration in these matters.

Happy New Year

Yesterday she was on her way to one of the farther supermarkets, just because she likes to change it up now and again. It started snowing, so she called to say she’d divert to a closer one. I checked the weather radar and said it wasn’t bad, just a brief sprinkle of flakes. She said okay, I’ll continue to the farther one then.

On her way home, she was stopped by the police (first time ever), an expired registration she knew nothing about. It was so expired in fact, that instead of a ticket, she received a court summons. I’m typically in charge of all bills and due dates but this one slipped under the radar, they send no reminders or notices. So thanks to me, she’s to appear in court, early morning within the heart of the city, at the end of next month.

My character’s default is to feel persecuted and get angry at such events. In my more enlightened state, I still feel these things and even express them to a point. I watch though, and do what I can to keep it minimal. I typically try to zoom out, seeing life from a broader perspective until such events appear small and insignificant.

Oftentimes I imagine that life is screwing with me, introducing cute little stressors for me to deal with. They especially seem to appear during times of relative ease. Oh, your life is a bit too comfortable, you’re due for a challenge Rich, here ya go. Uh, thanks. But this regular introduction of turbulence seems too consistent to be anything but artificial — and once I realize that: poof, I’ve pierced the veil and life’s fiction becomes too obvious to stress over.

Cyclic Unrest

Life is unrest — in easy times, boredom — in hard times, stress. Things worsen, things improve. Even if we recognize the cycles, we must participate. Even if we understand the futility of life’s ongoings, we must engage. Ultimately we want to be here, that’s why we play this game, again and again. Life in its entirety is not meaningless, it’s entertainment.

Turn It Down

At some point, many of us perceive life with an uncomfortable intensity. And from this, we often end up distressed. But it’s not what’s happening around us that’s the problem, it’s the degree that we let life affect us.

Imagine you’re in a theater watching a horror movie, and it gets to the scariest part, and you’re starting to freak out — so much so, that you decide it’s time to relax, but you can’t leave or look away — what do you do?

One option is to expand your perspective: instead of placing your point of view within the movie, notice that you’re actually in a theater, watching a movie intended for entertainment purposes, made by actors wearing costumes, using fake blood and movie props, reciting lines written by some writer, shot with a camera, now projected on a large screen, with flashing patterns of colored light.

Your original perspective had you feeling as though you were actually in the movie, living the life of the character, but this wasn’t true. The more truthful perspective is as an observer in the theater — and this realization is the remedy to your anxiety.

Playful Pottery

Upon the wheel, we mold our life of clay, shaping our ideal. Not believing in dire consequences, we maintain an attitude of play. Tweaking our design, what doesn’t work, we try again — or at a different time, serenely moving to another facet. And when perfection eludes, we accept our medium’s inherent traits. Bending and manipulating only until we sense the strain, ceasing before a crack. Our goal, not the final product, but the enjoyment derived while sculpting.

Immovable Object

When we want things to be a certain way, and they won’t budge, but we keep pushing — we develop stress and dissatisfaction.

To relieve this stress and obtain satisfaction, stop pushing when something shows itself to be unmovable, then accept its position.

How do we know an object is currently unmovable or whether we just need to try harder? Measure it by the levels of strain and discontentment the pushing produces. If the effort is an enjoyable challenge, keep pushing, otherwise stop.