Dreams and Paradigm Shifts

I had an odd dream this morning. The details are very fuzzy; I remember I was speaking with someone in a very bright and fairly featureless room, but I couldn’t make out the features of the man due to the glare… yet there was no pain in my eyes from it being too bright, the light was soft and gentle. There was a definite sense of familiarity, and a feeling that he was a bit older than me; like a big brother or a mentor who was also a dear friend. We seemed to be talking about things I’d been talking to my mom about recently, about the nature of God and magic and energy and quantum physics and creation and Jesus Christ and love and how it all fit together seamlessly after all.

We seemed to also delve a bit into some thoughts I’d been having about how some famous quotes and concepts that are in various mediums throughout pop culture, such as Star Wars, seem to fit and resonate with this same truth. Almost as if God (for lack of a better name) wanted these concepts of hope and personal strength and unity to be with us so much that he placed them everywhere, like little seeds of truth, ready for us to find and cultivate within ourselves. It wasn’t as much a discussion in my dream but more like he was proud of me for solving another piece of the puzzle. I felt he acknowledged I still have a long way to go, but I was actually putting the pieces together better than they were hoping.

As we talked, though strangely there were no words physically spoken, I felt another “puzzle piece” fall into place and as it did, he seemed to smile warmly and nod. It was a thought  an idea, a concept, a way of looking at things:

Fear is not of the heart. Fear is of the mind, it forms from thoughts; those thoughts lead to fear and doubt that can take many forms and be of many things, including fear or doubt of trusting others, of our own ability, of actually succeeding, or of being actually happy. The heart is love in all it’s many forms and splendors.

We were given a heart and mind for good reason, and must learn to make them work and dance together in unison. The mind is easier for us to hear sometimes, simply because it’s so close to our ears and our heart is in our chests; yes, believe it or not, even the biology actually plays a part in it; that’s why our fears sometimes seem bigger than our goals. Never follow your mind; it can distract and lead you astray with doubts and fears and excuses. 

Follow your heart, and let your mind plot the safest route to get there.

If your mind says, “It’s too dangerous” or “it’s too hard” then just tell it, “That’s not your call and not your job; your job is to find the way to make it happen.” If you cannot find a path to the goal your heart knows is right for you, then ask others for help. Sometimes all we need is an alternate view or different vantage point of the ways there; others might see paths to our goals we don’t easily see for ourselves.

I awoke just as this concept was forming in my mind, and it’s been at the forefront of my thoughts all morning. It seems so…. truthfully simple. I’m not sure, but I think I had a paradigm shift. While we’re on the subject of paradigm-shifting dreams, I also had another thought the other day as well just as I was drifting into sleep:

The difference between feelings and thoughts is that feelings can be expressed with single words: afraid, anxious, happy, giddy. Thoughts, on the other hand, are sentences – EG: “I’m not good enough,” or “I deserve better.” Thoughts can inspire/cultivate feelings – the thought “I’m not good enough” inspires the  feelings “depressed, anxious, sad.” What we feel has more to do with what we think than the other way around.

By changing what thought we focus on, we can essentially guide how we feel. Some thoughts are conditioned into us over years, though, and it’s not so easy to just stop thinking them; they’ve become habits. Some say that breaking & replacing a habit can take an average of 90 days, and anyone with any kind of OCD or Autistic behaviors can take as much as 3 times longer than average to replace a habit. But this does not mean it’s impossible.

Words are important, especially the words we focus on in our thoughts. Where we get them from can also be important; negative thoughts can create negative emotions which can inspire more negative and self-destructive thoughts if left unchecked. Negative people will say words that become negative thoughts if we let them say them to us often enough. Whether we let our thoughts become habits is up to us, though – we can choose to practice better habits and better thoughts.

We are, every last one of us, special and amazing people – no exceptions. We all have the potential to change the world for the better; all we have to do is accept that God loves us for who we are, no matter what mistakes we’ve made, and He would never have given us life if we weren’t stronger and more capable of learning and growing than we might think. 

Suffice to say that I’ve been pondering these concepts a lot over these last few days. I’m not sure where they came from exactly, but I can’t deny how I feel about them – hopeful, positive, optimistic. They seem to ring with truth for me.

I’m curious to hear other people’s perspectives and thoughts on the concepts  (within reason, of course; if you’re of a differing religion or Atheist, please ignore the Christian overtones and focus on the core concepts in your replies. Anti-theist or Christian-bashing will be deleted and ignored.). Please leave comments ^_^

No such thing as coincidence

I just had an interesting experience today, but I think to best explain I will need to follow the chain of events a little.

I’m a gamer and a storyteller. I always have been. I love the way video games have become a new storytelling medium. I love making things and seeing people enjoy my creations. Being creative was rarely encouraged by most people, though, when I was growing up, despite my mom doing her best to be encouraging of it. I could go on about that part of my life for pages, but I’ll do that another time. Short is that I learned to repress my creativity and that it was only acceptable in certain careers that I was too dumb or disabled to be allowed to do.

I want to make the world a better place. I’ve struggles for years in how best to do that. After the messeI’ve had with girlfriends and other people labeled as disabled, once I finally stopped denying the fact that I am highly intelligent (I am not saying that arrogantly, and it’s more of a curse than a blessing), I had thought the best way to make a difference was by going after a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. I’d toyed with the ideas of Joinery/Construction, a BBA, and even computer programming; Joinery was discouraged because of how expensive materials are and people think I’m too clumsy. A BBA was fascinating, but the cutthroat nature of business people just feels wrong to me. Computer programming of any kind was discouraged because of lots of reasons – too much competitiom in the industry, not enough jobs, not enouh pay, it’s not a respectable career…. Etc. So I thought a Ph.D. in Psycholigy was good, and people seemed to find that idea something they could at least respect a little. Moving to Vancouver put that 10-year plan into a full stop, though.

These days I’ve been fighting depression, anxiety attacks, and their resulting lethargy for months now. Somehow, the Arts Institute of Vancouver got my contact info; I don’t remember how, though I know I did give it to them willingly on a whim when I saw they had game development courses. I was sure I’d never be accepted and was sure no one would be happy if I was. After the Arts Institute called me a few times, about once a month, I asked them to remove me from their call list, thinking I’d never hear from them again. Apparently, I was wrong, as almost 2 months ago, I got a call from Ali, one of their admissions officers. I was about to dismiss it when something inside me said, “Why not go see? What do you have to lose? Just go ahead and do it, you know you want to. Do it for you, to hell with other people’s approuval.” So I did.

Despite how hard it was, I actually mannaged enough “bravery” and energy to get off my butt and, surprise surprise, was accepted into the Arts Institute of Vancouver. I was able to get unofficially accepted into the Visual and Game Programming diploma program. And you know what? It’s not only the right thing for me, it’s just simply what I want. I plan to live to 120 years old at least, lots of time yet to figure out how to change the world. Who knows? Maybe somehow, somewhere, I might find a way to use my programming skills and previous knowledge of psychology and leaening disabilities to help people. It’s just been a matter of clearing my old loans at TRU out of default and waiting for the official acceptance.

Today the official acceptance letter arrived (I really wanna frame it) and I got a call from Ali to come in and finish the paperwork. They need me in before 2pm and yet, despite the urge in me to not be late on this, something in me held me back a bit longer than I think I would have otherwise. I was feeling lethargic and mildly depressed, so ended up dawdling longer than I probably should have. I already have my own ideas as to why I felt this way, but this entry won’t be for going into that. I finally told myself I was being too lazy and needed to get this done, so went and caught the bus.

As I was on he bus, an East Indian man wearing headphones and carrying a box of pizza started talking to the lady bus driver right beside where I was sitting. He started what sounded like a polite conversation, but I immediately picked up on the signals that he was trying to convince her that it was ok for him to eat his pizza on the bus, because she could just go ahead and be ok with it. It was a pathetically weak argument, especially when taking into account the reasons why the transit company has the rule of no eating on the bus. Something inside me urged me to join into the conversation and politely ask if he understood why the “no eating” policy even existed. Turns out he did not, so I very politely and mildly enthusiastically explained the safety reasoning and cleaning reasoning behind it. It was clear he was not pleased at having simple and irrefutable logic shut down jis desire to just eat his pizza anywhere he wanted, and he got off at rhe next stop.

The driver and I had a chucke about it and started talking, having a very enjoyable conversation about jerk passengers and jerk drivers, both being in full agreement. There came a few moments where I had trouble hearing her, though, so I moved closer and (out of respect for her personal space) politely informed her I was doing so because my Auditory Processing Dissorder (APD) made it difficult tomake out her words from the distance I was at. She was unfamilliar with APD, which is understandable; it’s not a hugely common disorder. I explained it simply and clearly, as I’ve learned to do over the years. She understood easily, but that’s where things became interesting. A lady sitting where I had been just before I got up to chat with the East Indian fellow overheard my explination but apparently missed hearing me say before the explination what the disorder was called… And she asked me if I’d ever heard of Auditory Processing Disorder. It was a bit difficult to keep from chuckling.

It turns out that the lady’s daughter has Auditory Processing Disorder, and is even recieving treatments to help improve. I honestly had no idea that any treatments even existed; there weren’t any known to exist in Kamloops, and I had been told that the few that were experimental were expensive and not covered by basic or PWD medical. We got to chatting and she told me that her daughter’s treatment was expensive indeed, and part of the treatment was, as she described it, an incredibly ugly and boring video game.

My first though immediately was, “I can make it better.”

There are no such things as coincidences. The bad events in our lives are not just random events in a shitty world or merely punishments for wrongdoings we assume we deserve. The bad happens to teach us how strong we really are, and nudge us towards the place and time in our lives we need to be to reach our truly greatest potential, and to change the world for the better, in our own way rather than in the ways that others dictate is “acceptable.” Just because it seems like the world may seem against you, listen to that still small voice of defiance inside you, and find the voices of encouragement that echo that decent. Rise up and say to those who would quash your strenghts, “Not today. Today is my day.”

Ali, when you read this, I want to say thank you for being that echoing voice of defiance I needed right at the moment I needed it. I am in your debt.