We talk about love and happiness, but what we mean, can vary.
Love can be an act, the process of tapping someone with kindness, smiling to say everything that needs to be said, or it can be simply not hitting someone who just bit you.
For me separating love into “connection” and “care” helps. My father cared for me so much but didn’t connect with me ever. I am grateful for the care. I remember him brushing a huge knott out of the hair hidden behind my other back of the head hair (that looking back probably should have always been thinned or cut), I remember him stroking my painful stomach all night as I lay in pain one night, even though he had to go to work the next day. He picked up dinner on the way home, and it was great, he made sure I had everything I needed most of my life and that was great, but it wasn’t connection. He gave me everything he could, I understand, I’m okay with that. But I had to learn connection, these past few years, to give my kids, what I feel is right to give them. Connection means knowing someone else’s hopes and dreams, fears, and preferences a little bit, keeping it current instead of just substituting outdated information… It means more, but I just wanted to distinguish between connection love and duty love.
I believe it isn’t an either-or, but a gradient, meaning too much in, either way, is worse than a mix.
I believe imagination and sanity are like that too. I define sanity as being able to recognize and accept the world as it is. If you stick your hand in a fire, it burns, no matter if you are attracting positive or negative ideas in your mind. The power of attitude and the power of the mind are amazing, they have some control over life, I don’t know how much, maybe 30%, maybe 99%, but I don’t believe it’s 100%.
If you 100% don’t believe in AIDS, and get HIV, please don’t test that on other people. If you 100% think you can drive drunk, please don’t. A positive attitude is no substitute for contraceptive or food or a healthy living situation. But on the other hand, it can change the world, the key is balance.
Without imagination, we would live in the world the same way each day, or as close as we could. We wouldn’t be able to be a better person over time before we improve it takes some sanity to see our flaws honestly and heal from that pain, but it also takes some imagination to dream of something that isn’t yet in existence, then make it so.
I have stayed away from existentialism, the idea we make ourselves with our own minds, because I am a stoic. I believe in things outside and inside our control, but there is a value to being able to imagine a better future than the one in which we were or are living.
I’ve been thinking about what makes a good life, lately I’ve also been living it and I decided to share because I know I didn’t find my own formula very easily.
Some people said service (duty), others said love (connection), others that everything was in your head (imagination), but what I have found from my life so far is that there is excess possible for anything good.
Eating is super esential to life, but the excess is obviously harmful in extremes. Another excess is caring for children alone, we weren’t meant to do it, it is possible, but it’s extreme an extreme I live through, but I remember being raised with my grandmother able to help my parents and my aunts as well, and even spending the summer with my grandfather.
I was lucky in that my grandfather never molested me or did anything wrong to me, he had molested his children very often, so looking back, I find it surprising my mom sent me to live with him in the summers, even though I did enjoy the forest. It was strange, he was a good cook and helped me with algebra (previous NASA engineer), but my mother and her siblings were so damaged by his abuse that I had heard about hundreds of times. In general, I don’t choose to associate with any people who abuse children, but as a child, I didn’t get to choose where my mother took me or where I lived. The courts gave her full custody, so if my dad wanted to see me at all, he had to stay on my mother’s better side. But it was weird having such a mixed picture of my grandfather, someone who was fine financially and intellectually but so broken mentally. I think it was the beginning of me knowing that you can fail at life with every outward appearance being “normal”. That only you really know how you are doing, short or long term.
I kind of idealized my father’s family, because “no pedophiles” was like “the perfect family” compared to a family with pretty much all pedophiles. I still love my father’s family more (actually, my mother’s family doesn’t even exist anymore, a small family that fragmented even further and dissolved). But my father’s family isn’t perfect, we were multigenerational hoarders (at least 3, but maybe more).
So, I’m from a comically messed up family, as many people are, and finding out how to live the good life I promised myself I would find when I left my mother took longer than I thought it would.
I have it now, I’m very lucky and very grateful, it was part opportunity, part work and a large part mental.
It wasn’t only mental, but it was very mental.
I wouldn’t have expected my mom, being raped often, starting at age 5, to use her mental power to enjoy her life then or find balance despite the hard circumstances. Whatever she someday is able to do is probably a good job considering her opportunities, but I refuse to set the bar low for myself because of what she believed the bar was for her.
Often people tell you what you want or are isn’t possible, because it isn’t possible for them. They may want you to fail or may want you not to get hurt trying.
I got a cup cover I love, it says “don’t be afraid to fail, the moments I spend with you are the best moments in my life.”
Sure, it would be nice to hear from a spouse, but I’ll take it from a plastic cup cover.
If we want things in life and they come, it’s best to take them from where they come (of course not immorally).
I always find the chakra system interesting, but I think just like Traditional Chinese Medicine (eating human flesh and pangolins), there are thousands of years of bad ideas mixed into thousands of years of truths.
The Chakra system is a life balance system though, it says your life and body/mind can be divided into 7 areas to make it easier to understand life and life balance. The idea a chakra, like love – the heart chakra – can be too open or too closed is not new, but what I find true for me is that the over balances directly affect another “axis”, meaning that being over imaginative doesn’t happen at the same time as being overly sane, being overly concerned for getting the check list done doesn’t happen at the same time as being open to a heart to heart conversation.
I propose a mind and heart axis that when they meet in moderation, produce a very fine life quality.
Right now I’m living in that balance and it feels great, it may not be anything new to you the reader, but for me it was new and if it isn’t your life balance formula, perhaps it’s a tool to help you discover yours.
Thank you for entertaining the ideas, I’m sorry if the past of my family disturbs your day I appologize for the vulgarity of it, it’s the past of a lot of families and even disturbing as it is, if the world changes to a place it can be talked about, 1. victims won’t need to be ashamed and 2. victimizers will think just a bit more about not doing what they already should be as to not be publicly shamed.