Something New I am Wondering About

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Postby KyleM » Wed May 24, 2006 8:44 pm

Hi Rain Dove - I read a few of your other posts too, and I can't quite tell if you vascillate between accepting and enjoying your simple lifestyle, or are bored to tears? When you mention courage to travel and find a life partner, it sounds like there's some fear in there... but you also sound like you feel your chosen lifestyle fits you alright. Any thoughts on that? Not everyone has a big drive to do or be other things, or to get places. I'm curious where you might like to travel, if you ended up deciding to? The "lost in the forest" I referred to was not the pleasurable kind, I'm afraid - it's more the "dark night of the soul" type of thing. But at least I see some meaning and purpose to this particular midlife segment of the lostness, whereas before, as a younger gal, I couldn't. And I can "feel" light at the end of the tunnel, if that makes any sense! You refer to an article here:
the spiritual psychology article about how all of the senses are related to psychology and spirituality
Is this something you have a link to? Or something I could read elsewhere? Lastly, I am wondering about your Joan of Arc comment. Do you feel so close to nature and god/God that part of you is happy just being one with it/her/him and you don't need anything else? (Like a nun without the actual commitment and lifestyle.) Being consumed by flames, symbolically - rejoicing in "what is" and your love for it - is that enough? Or is your longing the type that Rumi speaks of:
    There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of Spirit on the body.
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Postby Rain Dove » Sat May 27, 2006 2:08 pm

Dear Kyle, You ask so many very wonderful questions! Do tell me in my private mail box if we can more privately keep in touch, as you are absolutely delightful! Your final quote, among so many other things, shows the depth of your thinking and your character, although my answering your last question would take lots of pondering for me! Finally I can answer you in a state of being well-rested, as this is Saturday morning, although I have lots of work to be done later on, so I am taking some extra time just to play and frolic a bit longer, as answering your query is really such a joy for me! At least trying to answer, as your thoughts are quite deep and may elude answers that may never come to me in a hurry, but that is what makes them so meaningfully challenging! Now I owe you an apology: As we all need heart-to-heart understanding of each other, I am sorry I so grossly misinterpreted your \"lost in the forest\" feelings. That will be a lesson for me that when I listen to others, I need to understand that my own idiosyncrasies don't necessarily apply to somebody else, and that what I think is gloriously mystical, for example, may be, in actuality, quite frightening to somebody else. For whatever reason and whatever this may be to you, I am glad you are now resolving this and finding it meaningful. I think that one way we may resolve some things is to treat our symbolic visions like they were dreams and then ask ourselves different questions while imagining we are literally in that either sleeping or waking dream kind of feeling. Like pretend you are actually still in that forest, ask yourself how you feel, what do you fear, what do you want, etc. Regarding my own idiosyncrasies, I think that I think so very symbolically lots of times that I lose track of realities: Like if I were really, really lost in the forest, I would be scared like anybody! Anyway, I will now try to at least begin to navigate those difficult (and fascinating) questions that you asked. You wanted to know if I were content with my life now or if I feel bored to tears. I will say right off the bat that I am almost never \"bored to tears.\" However, whenever I am faced with a task I may not like and in which I must focus all of my efforts and concentration, then I develop a huge fear of becoming \"bored to tears.\" The one unique exception to the above is when I am doing something so very repetitively mechanical I don't have to even think about what I am doing, and so then I take an extended mind vacation and mentally, emotionally, spiritually wander wherever I may like while I am doing this task. I have done this sort of thing all of my life. For example, in my childhood, I had very few tasks and chores required of me, but taking turns with my little sister in doing the dishes was one of them. I was told repeatedly how slow I am in doing the dishes. Why was this? Because while I worked, I took the opportunity to think about every fun and inspiring thing in creation, rather than merely racing to accomplish the task. In one of my jobs I was able to hold down for a few years, I had to type checks over and over again. This was potentially very boring, but my habit of dreaming about life, about my surroundings and otherwise, took over, like it was when I used to do the family dishes. At present, I have a very loving education teacher with whom I can occasionally exchange personal feelings. I recently commented on how much I admired her industrious work ethic. She stated to me in an e-mail that she feels she always has to be busy, as otherwise she \"thinks too much\", which evidently for her is a bit unpleasant. I responded to her that while I sometimes \"think too much\", I am a hybrid thinker and mystic dreamer. For her, keeping busy was the solution for not having to be alone with unpleasant thoughts. For me, however, I can avoid \"unpleasant thoughts\" not by keeping busy, but merely by utilizing extended right brain \"mind vacations\" for which I became adept since my earliest childhood! This can take an endless number of forms, including my cherished past memories, colorful travel fantasies, my favorite exotic and traditional music, my mystic love of nature and art forms, seeing everything around me as drama and poetry, etc. Or, it could even be just making a meal with a consciousness of the true origins of a grain of rice or a bean, a simple recipe, or perhaps just relishing the ability to feel nurtured by a small number of simple things with seasonings and flavorings that I have creatively combined. Before I forget, I have an expertise in writing poetry and poetic essay to an unusual level of perfection. (Not bragging, but I might as well mention something I am good at!) Now, Kyle, there is still your $64,000 question about whether I am content just to keep my life the way it is, or whether I am not because of my fears, or for whatever reason. First I will say that I don't feel that I am in any way like Joan of Arc. I see her as an ideal that is way far away above me! It is one thing to say, \"Thank you, God\" while on a pleasant walk and the warm wind is blowing in your hair, and quite another when you are literally consumed in the real flames of difficulties that are not merely symbolic, and you cannot exactly daydream your way away from a harsh tribunal that is about to condemn you to a painful death. But for Joan of Arc, that was so! What else I can say or make of the above, I don't know for sure, except that she truly lived what could be described \"the hero's journey.\" Among others, this was also very true and similar with a famous Jewish woman, a certain Hannah Senesch, whom while she endured the cruelest of fate for having done heroic deeds, there was also a very quiet and mystic side of her that loved writing poetry, which is remembered today and I think of this with great relish. If you can imagine that life is like a flight of stairs within the most marvelous castle, it is all so very beautiful and not conducive to any kind of boredom, but you can be on different levels of those stairs: You can be on the first couple of stairs always reveling in having a peak at the top skylights facing the heavens and thinking about what that can be, OR, you can be making progress in climbing up the ascending levels, maybe huffing and puffing in a way that is absolutely excruciating, but that sacrificial energy that gets you where you are going has a priceless mystical quality, not just of euphoria alone, but of a certain achievement level that must be priceless! Regarding the above, I think I always feel torn between fearing my future for very many reasons, but not wanting to miss out on my own version of \"the hero's journey\", whatever that might turn out to be. That is probably my greatest fear. Back to the stair-climbing analogy, however, I see so many people around me always chasing \"achievements\" with very little ability to personally internalize the joy of their accomplishments. I never want to find myself huffing and puffing toward the top of some staircase wherein I am too mentally stressed and exhausted to even still recognize the joy of where I am. (And I am very vulnerable to stressful challenges!) Also, that dear lovely woman who is my education teacher, I know she is nothing less than angelic in the sight of God, but I wouldn't want to turn into some kind of \"human doing\" for fear of being alone too much with my thoughts. (She is just one example, but I am sure there are millions of others like that in our society.) As far as all of my fears, so many of them seem like the lamest of excuses that they are ridiculous to the ears of most readers here. For example, when I contemplate moving anywhere, I have about 1,001 possessions that are so much like my very best friends that I grow upset and can spend a half a day looking for something if I misplaced even one of them. :? :twisted: Or, I still mentally hear my parents when I was young, particularly my mother, fearing I would be \"moving away\" -- And yet, despite my mother and sister living in Israel (where I don't want to move), my father having passed on long ago, having no family members here except for getting money from them to help sustain myself -- I could technically move or go anywhere in the world I wanted without anybody being able to do a thing! (I am also lacking financial resources for that, but that is another matter.) Well, the above are my lamest excuses, other than the no money part. The rest include that I am living in a relatively very safe and community-oriented neighborhood that most people cannot afford, but I lucked out because of very low rent conditions in my particular building that drastically differ from my other neighbors or potential neighbors and that is still another story. Needless to say, as well, I am always haunted by the saying of, \"just leave well enough alone!\" Like noting when I have life relatively good and fearing it could get worse! Now partnering and relationship issues are still another story with which I don't want to make this post endlessly long. It will just suffice to say I have had lifelong issues with feeling extremely uncomfortable with any kind of prolonged physical intimacy. In general, also, since my earliest childhood, I relish a sense of timelessness, but the down side is that I also always tend to lose track of time in such wise that I never stop seeing the future as something that is endless and infinite, and I think this has dearly cost me a realistic sense of making plans and goals, knowing that time here on earth is actually finite. But then I also often think of my father who was just like some kind of army drill sergeant in demanding from himself and me and all of us that we achieve our marching orders without wasting a moment of time! What comes to mind is that that kind of behavior merely got him three heart attacks that proved deadly, and I have never wanted particularly to follow that same route! (It was never my nature to do so, anyway, but that sort of reinforced those feelings.) Well, now. Where would I like to go? I have travel photos from all over the internet in my slide show screensaver, and particularly, I relish all of the photos from the Eastern, third world and indigenous cultures. I have spent most of my time dreaming about the Indian sub-continent. Recently, however, i have wondered if India is really a realistic goal for me, given how progressively more and more sensitive I will be becoming to heat, light and tropical conditions as I age. Some signs of this have already become manifest, but that is yet another discussion. Oh, about the spiritual psychology article on the 12 senses. Next time I find that and get the authors, I will have to let you know. Other than that, it is just something that our education teacher happened to have passed out among dozens of other handouts, so at the moment, I am not aware of any place or magazine wherein you may find that. Now, as you know, I am taking an education class. I am aware that for the most part now, the stresses of most teacher jobs and positions would be overwhelming for me, but I am in career exploration mode and aiming just to experience a whole lot of things so I can eliminate everything I know I don't want. For example, I already eliminated a special education class because I was bored silly or \"bored to tears\" as you put it, and my current educxation class has demanded I observe a very great variety of actual classroom situations, so this has helped me get further in touch with those things and environments I love and feel comfortable with and those things and environments I know I could not tolerate. I tend to gravitate toward either the Humanities or the Arts, and even then, I would need a very non-bureaucratic environment in which to function. For example, I prefer teaching and instructing roles where I can informally circulate among individuals rather than officially speak from a podium, (unless it was similar to just a cozy 15 student workshop type of thing), and just lots of noise, chaos, paperwork and potentially very cramped or crowded quarters is not my thing at all. Just very recently, I spent the day observing a Waldorf school in a kind of woodsy area not far from the city where I live. Some of what I learned and observed do not necessarily exactly match all of my values, but there was a unique, homey, spiritual and back-to-nature simplicity that presented a whole different world and a unique stress-free environment. Last night I did further research on the internet on this subject and I learned there were more of a variety of jobs and positions than I had ever imagined! This included even just hanging out in sustainable agriculture, farming and gardening communities, even independent of how much time, if any, you were actually engaged in specific Waldorf teaching activities! It doesn't feel that many of these environments are as multi-cultural as I would hope, but otherwise there is much similarity to my \"ideal day\" exercise in Barbara Sher's book than I wouled ever have hoped for. Some of this whole anthroposophy movement have some strange teachings and origins that conflict with my own Faith for which I want to stay centered and not compromise, but there is otherwise much similarity between that and who I am. Also, this career is available only to those who can somehow foot the bill for the cost of training. In addition, I have been wanting to be able to observe and compare this with the Montessori education and training, but I was readily invited and welcome to observe the Waldorf school, while it was like pulling teeth to receive an invitation to observe the Montessori school. So I have not received this opportunity. However, my research on the internet reveals there is a very great lack of uniformity in Montessori training, such that paying for one type of teacher training could still disqualify you for many if not most of the existing Montessori schools. Also, it seemed that you had to consistently settle for learning to teach kindergartners and first graders above all else. This could be true also for a beginning full-time Waldorf teacher, but it seemed also that ultimately there was a greater variety of options. Anybody have any knowledge or opinions on Montessori schools? My second ultimate dream or goal in addition to any of this would be Expressive or Creative Arts Therapy. This also costs a fortune of money that I do not have. Also, I also get the feeling there are currently few jobs in this, except if you can add this training to something else that you are doing, being a psychologist or a teacher, for example. I would say, in summary, that regarding my current life, it is not so much about being grossly unhappy or about being \"bored to tears\", so much as, perhaps, a lifelong tendency to avoid my fears and settle into a second-best comfort zone. Thanks for all of your feedback, Kyle, Jezycka and all of you others!
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Postby KyleM » Sun May 28, 2006 5:13 pm

HI Rain Dove - I'll send a private message to you as soon as I digest this! Cheers, Kyle
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Postby Rain Dove » Sun May 28, 2006 7:22 pm

Kyle, Given all of the readership for this topic, I must be a real sucker for public scrutiny, so most of your next message to me can still be here. :wink: As for what you said about digesting: Bon Appetit! 8)
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Postby KyleM » Mon May 29, 2006 10:00 pm

Rain Dove, it is interesting to read about your life! I don't feel in any great position to give feedback on much of what you have said, and especially have little knowledge of teaching careers or expressive arts jobs. But one thing seems clear to me: you must have your freedom above all else. Perhaps I am projecting, because this is a big issue for me, but I sense an unwillingless to compromise beyond a certain point that is not entirely about fear, but about keeping a hold on a primary value. I don't feel this is quite the same as keeping one's options open to avoid the discomfort of committing to a path. I do think we all could stand to learn how to handle many kinds of discomfort better, because being alive is full of that and if we want to step out the front door or engage with people, we risk it. I think, though, that there's a fine line between fearfulness that is not in one's best interests, and protectiveness about one's most important values. It then becomes a balancing act - how much can I give up my love of freedom, or of being at the bottom of the staircase looking at the possibilities in the heavens, in order to grow and learn signficiantly? Can I combine the two and not feel too compromised? Is growing and learning essential to happiness? Or are some of us blessed with being relatively happy no matter where we are or what we are doing? I get the sense that you might need a certain routine in order to feel comfortable. With your things around you, just so you know where they are, and everything is reliable and manageable and won't throw you off by being intimate or moving somewhere you didn't put it! It seems paradoxical with freedom, really, but I guess setting life up to be predictable is freedom from.... what? Feeling unable to handle what comes up? Feeling stuck, overwhelmed? I myself get overwhelmed easily. Some of it is from being energetically sensitive to so much. So there are some good reasons to make life predictable. We all have good reasons. And there's really no reason to change it unless the part of us that needs to grow gets louder because we're stifling it. Until that happens, why would most people want to change? When it gets loud enough, we either do something to feed it, or placate it with a poor substitute, or ignore it at our peril. Because it will come back if we don't feed it, only louder and often in a crisis-making mood. So maybe it's not time to rock the boat until it's time. You know, the old Anais Nin quote:
And the day came when the risk it took to remain closed in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
At first glance, this implies that blossoming is better than not blossoming. But as they say, to everything there is a season, and a purpose. It would seem to me a person would have some version of the hero's journey no matter what they choose to do, no matter what part of the staircase they're on. Even those who struggle and stress without truly enjoying life are on the journey, albeit unconsciously. They will either reach the moment of truth at midlife, or perhaps on their deathbed looking back, or perhaps if you believe in mystical things, the hero's journey in some cases is the soul's, not the individual human's, and the journey spans over lifetimes. The Beatles were right: the Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take us away! :lol:
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Postby Rain Dove » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:37 pm

Hi Kyle! Please know I haven't forgotten or ignored you! It is just that the thought provoking complexities in your post require a lot of time for sifting through, which sometimes I don't have because it is competing with other projects and goals. Nonetheless, I really needed to tell you at some point how very brilliant you are, especially in the psychological and metaphysical realms, not to mention your ease and comfort also, in the realms of language and literature. You must be highly intuitive, imaginative and well-educated all at once. I don't know if I have anything brilliant with which to respond in unravelling all of the mysteries you have posed. You are right on the money as far as having guessed I have strived to maintain my freedom and independence at all cost, and that has been a rather high price, indeed. I won't rehash any of that right now. I will just mention here that the other day I spent another few hours over at Barnes and Noble. As usual, I became mesmerized by some reading that wouldn't let me go.:wink: For one thing, I purposely stopped in there because I wanted to find Barbara's new book, and I finally found it for the first time: According to the book, I am definitely a Sybil cyclic scanner. Sybil is like a group of interests that have definitely captured one's heart for life, although exactly how and when to pursue all these interests always remains slightly elusive, and one's house is cluttered with remnants of all the ghosts of these past interests, although one never feels they have much to show for them. For me, these are a lifelong interest in religion, philosophy and spirituality, people and cultures around the world, especially the Eastern and indigenous cultures, very traditional, especially Eastern music, wishing I could experience more of India, spiritual solutions for world peace and harmony, love of poetry, poetic essays and the poetry of traditional storytelling and myth, jungian psychology, the arts for healing purposes, the simplicity of a lifestyle dealing with farming, community, basic foods and natural health. Well, that is all very wordy, and contrary to what it looks like, I have finally learned to synthesize all of this into just a handful of interests I want to pursue. I know that one day soon I will have to get started on Barbara's scanner daybook idea. Now the other book I just happened to pick up was the one about Highly Sensitive People (HSP). I no longer remember the author and title. While I have been with the department of rehabilitation for some time regarding job search issues, I don't think I have really seen the larger picture of that all until just lately. I have always known I am uniquely clumsy at various kinds of detailed tasks, such as those wherein all sorts of things regarding hand and brain coordination should come automatically, but it never has with me. Anything with detailed multiple steps and instructions get uniquely lost with me, especially when the goal is to do these in a hurry rather than slowly. Very many years ago, I was with one of those rehab counselors who stated my diagnosis was emotional, but until lately, I have been in complete denial of that. What I understand now, though, is that this issue has been confusing even to myself, as the vast majority of \"emotional symptoms\" prevalent in the population, substance abuse, sleep and eating disorders, longstanding depression, bipolar, suicidal thoughts -- you name it, I have been an essentially happy tempered person free of these symptoms or any mood disorders. So here is the deal: Depending on whether or not I take on a lot of challenges or I am simply living my typical laid-back way of life, I am sort of like Jekyll and Hyde: I can feel gloriously contented and smile at people 80% of the time, but as soon as I am confronted with any complex challenges, I am easily subject to feeling overwhelmed, and it is like my whole sense of order and feeling in control rapidly melts into oblivion wherein I can no longer easily handle my environment. Now I cannot pretend that before yesterday at Barnes and Noble, I never heard about the Highly Sensitive People phenomenon. After all, I went to one of the Learning Annex seminars along time ago dealing with this issue. However, I finally realized that all my \"situational stress\" traumas did not fit in with the typical \"mental illness\" or \"emotional disorders\", because if one is highly sensitive, it is precisely that condition that would predispose somebody to always be turning \"emotional disorders\" on and off, depending on the demands of any particular situation! And, for me, it is a \"no-brainer\" that \"highly sensitive\" is who I have been from the time of my infant-hood and childhood, anxious, colicky, sleepless and yet full of endless wonderment about every thought and everything around me are some of those symptoms, just for starters. It is a given here that everybody is complex and we see that in every individual story and posting. I think, though, that one can still tend to forget that our \"scanner\" personalities become even more complex when we add other prominent issues, such as also being highly sensitive. I think that if instead of just having too many interests, we are also facing our personality traits that make us fearful of severe disapproval of our relatives and authority figures, fearful of feeling overwhelmed and confused, fearful of social rejection, etc., then we are having to work on facing our demons and feeling powerful to do so, as well as just the dilemma of too many decisions. I also just spent many hours reading a book called \"Stumbling on Happiness\", and this is going to take a separate post to review all my findings here, but a couple of points that were mentioned by the author, Daniel Gilbert, were that although we cannot even predict our futures or even how we would feel with the realization of those predictions or future events, we always regret inaction over action, even with bad or unsatisfactory outcomes, and that we as human beings actually thrive more on our very worst experiences rather than on those that are merely moderately bad and annoying. What this all means to me is that I have to try to undo all of my upbringing programming by thinking of the above, instead of giving in to all of my memories of being discouraged from challenges in which I was never allowed to face my life with grown-up sink or swim responsibilities, or worse, totally discouraged from attempting anything at all. Now the above can happen to anybody, and my \"highly sensitive\" nature is not the fault of my parents. (My non-highly sensitive sister is something of a rage-a-holic tyrant who always liked to negatively critique every flaw of my manners and behaviors.) :evil: :roll: So nobody could have ever predicted all my little sensitivities and anxieties when I came into this world, let alone control them, but although I had some really great and enriching childhood experiences, I did not grow up in much of a child-centered household: That is, \"needs\" were pretty much something I had to fulfil for others; that any transactions or interactions toward me should be modified to meet any of my own needs, that was pretty much a non-existent concept. Pretty much, to assume I was someone who \"can't\" do something or shouldn't try to if I didn't, was about as \"child-focused\" as my parents got. As one poignant example, when I was 16 to 17 years old and took high school driver's education, I was fearful of driving, my mother was fearful to teach me and I didn't trust my father's lack of patience. Nobody ever even made the suggestion, \"Why don't you try.\" As a result, to this day, I am over 55 and have navigated my whole life only with public transportation and depending on rides from others. I think because of my needs to be free and independent, this has greatly restricted my relationships and I am more isolated than is normally comfortable to Highly Sensitive people. (HSP people need lots of boundaries to a point, but they also need anchoring relationships for support.) One of the ironies is that while I do have one very long-time special friend who has always lived in another city, she and her husband are so \"highly sensitive\" also, that I don't have as much contact with her as most people would want from a best friend, although she is otherwise very extremely supportive of me and just like a twin sister. There was a time I could hardly ever call her because at work she answered the phones and she felt terribly annoyed by the sound of phones. Now, however, that she is so frustrated with her time-consuming computer, I can no longer send her e-mails, but I can, in fact, call her on her cell phone when I like! Ironically, however, the tables are now turned wherein I don't really call her as much as she would allow me to, as I am thus far used to being an introvert who is not used to spontaneously calling anybody. When the people you know are either highly sensitive or, just highly annoying to the highly sensitive person that you are, (like my mother), OR, none of these, but you always just fear disapproval, this behavior is somewhat of a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.
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