Thursday, November 27, 2008

Living Life in Reverse - A Tale for Thanksgiving

Living Life in Reverse by Elizabeth Alraune
If you want to share this story,
provide a link to this blog,
and credit the author, Elizabeth Alraune


Once upon a time, life ended on earth before it began.
To live life in the direction of birth was considered
the way to go because youth and infancy would be
the gift for living a long and prosperous life.

The elders of the community were revered for all knew
that without them there would be no society. They
had the wisdom of their age to know what would work,
and what wouldn’t. They knew they needed to
appreciate the gifts of life because over time
their lives would transition.
They knew that nothing was permanent.

But, over the years, as the generations continued
to move in this direction, many began to fear birth
and conception. Along the way, they perceived
their life slipping away, as they were losing their freedoms,
and they were required to attend school and
unlearn everything that they had ever learned.

As they grew younger still, and drew closer to birth,
they lost their ability to eat, as they had –
often remembering the delicious foods they used to eat.
As they remembered how they used to
be able to feed themselves,
they didn’t appreciate others feeding them.

Often people would become disillusioned by the losses
in their life as they got to the birthing point
of their dreams and relationships. By the time
they reached their late teens, many were cynical
and sarcastic…mourning the fact that they didn’t
appreciate what they had when they had it. Often
one could be heard to say, “Seniors have no idea
how good they have it. The wisdom of old age is
wasted on them.”

They also noted that the parts of them that
they admired changed with youth. They lost
their personality often looking at the
seniors with jealousy. If only they could
be that way again.

One day, the universe wondered if it should
reconsider the order in which life was lived.
It held a forum, heard opinion, and then
a vote was taken. By an overwhelming majority
it was felt life was meant to be lived
in the other direction. It seemed to be
the preference, as many feared birth,
and there had been numerous complaints.

The universe wasn’t convinced but,
listening to those who live life,
decided to change everything
– and let life be lived backwards –
to let people live in the
joy of their accomplishments,
to be able to build on them.

Many now felt that people in their
senior years would be able to
reflect on a life well lived,
and be able to come to the point
of death peacefully – there would be
no more kicking and screaming
at the time of departure.
Death would be welcome,
as they would have accomplished
all that they had come to do.

At first, people seemed to enjoy
the fact that they could live life “backward”.
It had been what they had been wanting all along.
It would be so great.
The first few generations died peacefully,
knowing what it had been like to
live life in the other direction.
They appreciated the universe’s change of heart.

The thing was, though, that as new generations
were being born, the awareness of the
earth’s previous inhabitants was beginning
to fade into nothingness.
There were tales and stories,
but no one seemed to take them seriously.

Youth became a troubling time because every child
was in a hurry to grow up. Youth wanted to
get on with its life. The appreciation of having
needs taken care of, and the appreciation of the
leisure of youth was lost.

Adulthood became one challenge after another.
People were more stressed than they
ever had been in the history of mankind.
If it wasn’t one thing, it was another…
and to make matters worse, they watched as
their parents became seniors and wrinkled
and then passed on, in mourning,
because they had felt that they had not done
all that they could, or should have.

Seniors began to leave kicking and screaming.

Death began to be feared. It was no longer
a peaceful passing from one existence to another.
It had become another reluctant
choice that people were making.

Seniors could often be heard to say,
“Youth is wasted on the young,” and
conversations ensued about what it would be like
to live life in reverse – wouldn’t it be great?

The universe just listened, but this time
did nothing to change the order of life.
“These humans! They don’t seem to get it.
Life is meant to be lived, period.
It doesn’t matter if it’s death first,
and then birth, or birth first and then death.
It’s what’s in the middle that counts.”

The universe always looked for
opportunities for people to realize this simple truth.
It worked on creating a focus on
something outside of the immediate human self,
for it seemed that while humans
were focused on one another,
they couldn’t focus on their death, or
the things that concerned them about the process of life.

The universe recognizing that fear and Love
were unable to co-exist, created many opportunities
for the expression of Love so that people
could be distracted from their fears.

People had seemed to have forgotten
in the middle of all of their concerns
about how their lives were being lived –
why exactly they were living
their lives in the first place.

When Love was ignored,
the universe got creative,
and provided humans with
opportunities to rediscover
why exactly they were here.
It didn’t always occur as pleasant,
but during these times,
as well as at all times,
there was always
an opportunity for Love to show up
and confirm the purpose of life.

The universe noted that while
humans had much to divert them,
they had the ability to focus on
only one thing at any given moment.
The one thing that people
could count on to feel good
with each and every moment that
their focus was on was Love.
It was this thing that would,
when focused on, would
give a human his purpose.

Humans were offered times to
be reminded of their purpose,
and to be reminded that it was
this purpose that was important,
not their life itself.
For the purpose is what
links one human to another,
and transcends each individual’s experience.

If humans remembered that
they were a part of the ever-present Love,
their struggle would be over because
they would recognize that the
experience of life comes through the body,
and that life is not itself the body.
Having this perspective would allow them to
experience the infinite and to
see and feel Love and beauty
in everyone and everything.

In its infinite wisdom, the universe realized
that there was no way it could make humans happy.
Only through the choice of a human’s focus
could a human be,
and truly feel,

At each moment,

if you listen,

you might just hear

the universe whispering,

“What are you choosing to focus on?”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Pale Blue Dot - Carl Sagan - A Worldly Perspective

This is extraordinary.

Talk about perspective.

The part that got me the most was
"The Earth is a very small stage
in a vast cosmic arena.
Think of the rivers of blood spilled
by all those generals and emperors so that,
in glory and triumph, they could
become the momentary masters
of a fraction of a dot. Think of the
endless cruelties visited by the
inhabitants of one corner of this pixel
on the scarcely distinguishable
inhabitants of some other corner,
how frequent their misunderstandings,
how eager they are to kill one another,
how fervent their hatreds."

If you would like to see the
total text of this video,
you can click here.

When we are being so focused on
our own little fraction of this dot,
everything might seem like a big deal.
Presented in this light,
it is all microscopic.

Definitely gives me something
to think about.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is that "W-A-L-R-U-S"? - a Perspective on Words & Communication

Is that "W-A-L-R-U-S"? by Elizabeth Alraune
If you want to share this article,
provide a link to this blog,
and credit the author, Elizabeth Alraune

A few years back, I went to London, England. I needed to get a passport-like photo taken, but the machine I wanted to use was out of order. When I called the company that owned the machine, I asked where they had another location. I was told, “Walrus.” “Walrus?” I confirmed. “Walrus,” was the response. I should have asked for the spelling, but the person had said, “Walrus.” I asked around, and no one knew where there was a “Walrus” until, that is, someone realized that “Walrus” was “Woolworths.” Apparently, the person I spoke with and I both thought we were saying the same thing – but boy, were we not!

Similarly, while I was there, I learned that elevators are called “lifts,” escalators are called “elevators,” what we would call subways are underground walkways for them, and what we would call subways in the US, are called “tubes” in the UK.

We speak the same language, don’t we? And yet, as you have probably realized, there is a great potential for misunderstanding.

In this case, it is quite easy to see how there would be an error. However if one did not know these differences, and did not know that there WAS a difference, can you imagine the frustration?

Asking around for “Walrus” was quite frustrating!

In a case like the above, it would probably be fairly easy to forgive a misunderstanding – and even define the differences. After all, most would recognize that it’s a different culture, and the differences are to be expected.

However, most people who live in a similar place would not be as likely to expect these types of misunderstandings from words. As a result, they would have expectations from a conversation, not realizing that they may define things, or hear something, differently than how the person who spoke it meant it.

What happens in those times when someone tells another “Woolworths", and the other hears “Walrus,” and neither knows what the other thinks they’ve said? Quite possibly there could be conflict, argument, upset. And neither would know how to fix it. After all, weren’t they both saying the same thing?

Hmmm. Does this sound like anything you’ve experienced?

My example is quite humorous in retrospect. But oftentimes when this happens it is not – especially not in the context of close or intimate relationships. We want, and expect, those closest to us to the person we need, do the things we want, and say all the right things. In some cases, this person may think they are, but how you hear, see, or experience it, has you feel otherwise.

The next time you have a disagreement, consider this: Words were just the beginning of your conversation.

- Ask the other person to tell you what they think was said – the words, and the meaning behind the words. Listen carefully for differences in “accent” and meaning.

- Ask for spellings. Is that “W-A-L-R-U-S?” In other words, “THIS is what I have heard, am I hearing your correctly?"

- Ask for pictures, “Can you show me a picture of the elevator, or describe it to me?” In other words, “How does (THE THING YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT) look, feel, sound to you?” How do you know what it “looks” like? How will you know it when you are it, experience it, or see it?

- Take no meaning, or word, for granted. If anything, consider that all that you “know” means something other than what you think.

It’s important to remember that we don’t all hear things the same way, and we don’t have the same experiences. Words are only the starting place for our communications. How someone experiences what we say will have greater impact on our conversation - and its effectiveness - than what we meant, or what we said.