We tend to think of illusion or illusions as things that are professionally practiced and that we novices can enjoy as a novelty. We look at the grand gestures and the bold claims made by the illusionists or magicians with envy, since we never think of expressing ourselves so blatantly or merrily. But we, all of us, are likely the best illusionists of all because we tend to live in our own shadows, believing that our shadow is the true measure us and encompasses all that we are. We are certainly extremely talented at hiding under our shadows pretending that there is nothing out there that can hurt us or that will get to us. Because this is so we are always surprised when something does not go or end the way we expected it to. If we were to peek out from our most convenient shelter we might find that we would like taking charge of our own lives; we might like making our shadow follow us instead of huddling in its dubious comfort. The real trick is not an illusion, it is learning to invite other people past your shadow and into your world, keeping your shadow as a well-loved adjunct. Isn’t it more comfortable to be ourselves than only act that way?
Some people exhibit an enviable style of carrying themselves that projects a such confidence and assurance that we assume they are, indeed, confident and assured. If we looked at ourselves and dissected our own behavior we most likely would find that the times we purposely dressed, walked, and held our features in that confident and assured way were the times we felt least sure of ourselves and most in need of a burst of the courage of our convictions and the will to carry it out. It is curious that we are quick to recognize positive and admirable characteristics in others, whether they are true or not, and slow, sometimes denying, those same characteristics in ourselves. If we do display admirable characteristics, we are seldom aware that we are doing so, and the moment we do recognize that, we tend to become self-conscious our behavior or looks and lose the effect and the integrity of the effect very shortly after its detection. The embarrassment many people feel at their positive behaviors is unfortunately too prevalent among admirable people. What is wrong with being an admirable person that behaves in admirable way?
Water is ubiquitous and it has been presented as the staff of life, necessary for any carbon-based creatures’ very existences. Water has been worshipped, demonized, blamed for drought, celebrated for plenty, and has had intent, positive or negative attributed to it. We know, really know, when we are thinking rationally, that water is an inanimate object and that there are no living cells, aside from those in solution, that are a part of water. Yet we persist in anthropomorphizing it and virtually every other inanimate object, along with the living ones. It is understandable that we create characters out of living things; they can at least be construed to have a brain, whether they have one or not, however giving something non-living sentience serves to point out that we must personalize anything that has any kind of power over us to be able to try to understand its power and its mechanics. When we humanize something, including ourselves and others, we are more able to understand it and predict its actions and deduct its motives. We try that with water, wind, fire, and more – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But would you really like it to?
At the end of the day we may tend to feel all washed up; that our potential and talents have been used to their utmost but we haven’t seemed to accomplish much – and we know we have to start again and do it all over again, to the best of our abilities, tomorrow. We can end up feeling used, even by ourselves, and that life’s lustre has become dull; that life itself is dull. We’ve been tossed to and fro, with no apparent control of the situations where find ourselves and left immobile and unable to put a coherent thought together. It is possible to avoid at least some of these feelings, though a good wallow in woe can be valuable at times, through our own self-directed thoughts, that can lead to action, that leads to more thinking and planning. Instead of letting circumstances toss us like a salad, we can look around to see where we are, choose a direction, and go. Instead of abrogating all responsibility for ourselves we can choose to speak up about how we feel and what we want. Instead of lying empty and used like a shell on a beach we can choose interest in the world around us and make a specific place for ourselves. Shouldn’t we be making our own choices for our own selves?
Like everything else, trash has its positive and negative sides: some trash can be recycled, but some can’t; some trash can be useful, but some can be toxic; some trash can be evocative and beautiful, but some can be evocative and ugly. There are two kinds of garbage that wash up on a beach, one kind we see as natural, but can be unpleasant to look at; the other is human produced garbage, and in general, it seen as unsightly and damaging to the original environment. What is important to remember is that we are guests on the planet and soiling our own home, or anybody else’s for that matter, makes living in our home dangerous and potentially fatal to us and to others around us. Yes, the planet, its inhabitants, and its environment have the ability to recover and regenerate, but that power is limited, not infinite. Garbage can be looked at as having a use if it is re-used, recycled, or other uses are found for it, but it is unlikely to be re-gifted in this way if it is randomly scattered around and if most people look at it say, “oh, how awful, someone should do something.” Reclaiming our planet is our responsibility and we should begin by being responsible with our own refuse, don’t you think?
Occasionally we feel the approach impending danger and a visceral dread overtakes us. But often we have no idea when life is preparing to fall in on us with terrible and awful events. We should take note of any sense of doom we feel; even if nothing of notable distress occurs, it encourages us to be more observant of your surroundings and to be sure we are prepared for any predictable eventualities. We must be careful not to leap to dire conclusions with every twinge of discomfort or even at anything that startles us; living in a constant state of anticipation of the worst is not healthy and does not lead to a life of contentment or satisfaction. A healthy appreciation of the possibilities of disaster or fearful circumstances is valuable; to be aware is to be sensible and practical. Very seldom do we feel an impending sense of joy or happiness; we don’t feel that someone looming behind us to rush up and hand us everything we’ve ever wanted, or sense that success is looming and has actually arrived along with fame and fortune..Why do you suppose that we are more attuned to a sense of danger than to happiness?
We tend to think that there is safety in numbers, and there is to a certain extent. Groups are less likely to get attacked than a single person; it is easier for a group to find needed sustenance than an individual; it is easier for a group to solve a problem than one person. However the same things that being part of group can provide can also be accomplished by the individual. A single person can avoid attack through stealth and hiding; an individual can procure more and save more sustenance since it does not need to be shared; one individual can take more time and be less distracted when solving a problem. What it comes down to are individual characteristics, motivations, and needs. Each individual must make choices and decisions about how the intend to arrange their lives. There will always be loners and joiners who pretty much keep to those lifestyles. Most of us will tend to land somewhere in the middle with a mixture of group and solitary activities. None of us should be castigated for the choices we make and we must tell ourselves that once we’ve made a choice we are not locked into that choice forever. We should be able to make our own choices about being alone or in a group, don’t you think?