Our personal environments such as homes, desks and cars can reflect what our interior selves are like, whether it be our minds, moods, energy systems or some combination of them. Some organizational and de-cluttering professionals point out that much of our excess stuff is “aspirational”. We aspire to be the kind of person who’s into fine wine or the kind of person who productively writes or the kind of person who consistently takes care of our body with exercise and physical movement.
A dictionary definition of “aspriational” is rather limited, indicating a social climbing focus. Since we’re all so diverse, we all aspire to different things for different reasons, which may not appear to be social climbing to others at all.
The metaverse can be a playground and canvas for us to explore aspirational aspects. The above photo reflects how I’d like to have my interior self organized sometimes. I wouldn’t want to literally live in a place like this in first life for very long; my inner processing would quickly alter it.
This is my London skybox apartment in Second Life. It’s very tidy, serene, spacious and everything is in it’s place. It has little in common with my first life except for the white walls with lots of art. Tomorrow, I’ll show a photo that much better reflects the landscape of my mind at times. I’ve been sitting on it and three others for several months now and I wasn’t going to share because I feel it’s very revealing of aspects of myself, some that are often misunderstood and unappealing to others.
But what the hell; now I find it rather amusing. If you happen to read this post, maybe it will bring you to some reflection of your own life. And if you want to share, whether it be something about your first or Second Life, this is an invitation to do so.
“Vampyre No More”. Pearl laughs!
The new communications hub for the Second Life Viewer was released less than a week ago and I was a little upset at yet another change to deal with. My main concern was being overwhelmed during roleplay. Things are amping up in my real life, I’m not getting enough sleep, I feel impatient with the rate of social and evolutionary change and the part of my brain that shifts from the cosmic into “mouselook” to deal with changes in how stuff works was not happy.
I’m excited to be involved in a new roleplay sim, Pandemonium, and I’ve had an opportunity to play using the CHUI about four times. Last night I attended an Aristocrat’s Ball there and maybe eleven other people were in attendance at one point. Only once have I posted a private IM into the In-Character local chat and it wasn’t too bad. I do get distracted when too many conversations are going on for me but it was like that before. I’ve usually had difficulty in keeping up.
Last week I had my first pro photoshoot for my profile and several picks. The photographer was Peep Sideshow (not to be confused with the Victorian Freak Show roleplay photo above) and the whole experience went very well; I got the finished photos the day before the CHUI was released and I was relieved about the timing; I’ve since calmed down. I’m using my profile photo as my new Gravitar and I really like it. The new roleplay has been rich with writing and story so far and the excellent roleplayers have been including me to an appropriate degree, staying out of my IM box, not being nosy and even the bad guys are witty and amusing. So far.
I’ve also moved into a skybox. All the other places I’ve lived in have been roleplay homes in different time periods–Medieval/Fantasy, Victorian or Cyber-Grunge. I’ve made time to read blogs and have a growing list going of places I want to visit when I’m less busy. I’ve also read many of the pet peeve meme posts and have since turned off my shoe sound. I don’t miss it, although I felt comforted by it when I could hear the sound as I was walking around inworld. No one ever complained to me about it although I did see shoe clicking mentioned in profiles that were otherwise so pissy and whiney about so many things that I didn’t care.
This blog was born out of the frustration and downtime of my Second Life not going so well and it isn’t my main priority. Engagement with others is a priority for me, wherever that’s happening, although I do want a record of my Second Life. I have drafts with photos; posts will be published when I find time to write, in a lag-like way.
Lately I haven’t been examining and philosophizing my Second Life so closely; I feel much more clear about my focus there as I do in my first life and that’s wonderful. I feel like I’ve moved to a different level and am not in a review cycle right now; instead I’m in a creating/exploring part of the cycle. It all works better when I don’t struggle with where I’m at or compare it to where others are.
Life is good.
The Seven SL Facts About Me meme posts have been interesting for me to read. I would have liked to participate but I’ve had an attack of real life keeping me busy lately. Fortunately, I had a bunch of posts about the Meta_Body II scheduled so I didn’t feel that my blog was floating into oblivion.
I take the time to read a lot of blogs about SL. I really appreciate the diversity of paths for people to take, whether in the real or virtual world. The posts about “this is how it is for me now” are great . Suggestions and ideas about how SL can be a better experience for us all are great. But when someone writes about what we all “should” be doing, I lose interest quickly. Being told what’s right and what’s wrong seems so old-age, last millennium and boring to me. These messages are everywhere in our media and certainly don’t bring out a feeling of compliance in me. But hey, if you think it’s working for you, go for it.
One area in which people have opinions about what we “should” do is in regard to our profiles. No matter what I do, someone eventually comes along to critique my profile. The most recent being that my profile is harsh. From my point of view, it was a kindness to give a head’s up that I would walk away from drama and rudeness. Some of the people I’ve met seem to have no idea about social skills or possibly how to be pleasant enough to spend a little time with. Life can’t be easy for them, whether real or virtual.
Arguing and drama in a virtual reality is a waste of time and energy and isn’t worth bothering with for me. In the real world, I’m a grown up; I stand up, deal and take responsibility on a daily basis. By the time I log on, I’m in no condition to be a therapist or referee or dumping ground. I certainly don’t want to go along with anyone else’s dictates about how much attention I should give to drama. Is it efficient to keep that a big mystery and let people find that out after time and attention has been invested?
I tend to like the up front approach instead of the big silence approach. Some of the places I go have lots of residents around and I do get IM’s; I’m shy, but friendly. Often the other person goes suddenly silent after a sort of interview and I no longer wonder why that happens. I don’t know the secret handshake or give them the magic word, maybe. It’s always someone who’s approached me first. A conversation or friendship has to be a two way street for me and I let people go when they seem too ambivalent. When people honestly communicate what’s going on, I respect and appreciate it but I don’t like to make assumptions.
In this post, I’m making liberal use of “for me” and “I”, which may not be good writing but whatever it’s like in your shoes and seeing from your perspective is something I can’t claim any authority on. How could I presume to tell you what you “should” do and be?
A few weeks ago, I was changing Pearl’s outfit yet again in the Linden Home of a friend. The phone rang and I left the room for a few minutes. When I returned to my laptop I had an IM from a resident, (who’s also a blogger!), telling me to “get the hell out of here”. Maybe the account was hacked? There’s a few other possibilities that flitted through my mind, none of which I took personally or thought was any of my business. Some other day I might have felt differently.
That kind of thing is tedious and I simply went on with what I’d been doing; the account has since been banned from my friend’s Linden Home even though we have no idea if the resident was actually in the home or even nearby at all.
Someone has just given me a Flight Feather that I found easy and fun to use. I’m delighted when people give me little gifts (except for red roses which tend to make me feel awkwardness and dread). In the photo above, Cyber-Grunge Pearl flew up to a previously unreachable area of the Victorian Steampunk roleplay sim where she resides part-time.
The person behind the avatar carried on with choosing for herself what to pay attention to and how to play this game of being human on planet Earth.
Million Satisfactory Resolutions
My human certainly isn’t going to change the name of our blog since she’s aware of the mess it’s caused some others who’ve done so. She had a purpose besides fun and escape when we became residents in SL, began blogging and named this blog Million Happy Endings. Recently she read this quote by way of Pinterest:
“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
and a very happy start.” —Shel Silverstein
We don’t always get to choose our starts. We can learn from happiness but most of our growth seems to come from challenges and finding solutions, discovering higher levels of truth, learning to make better choices and such. Finding resolution and closure.
Higher Awareness and Growth can be quite painful
It’s often been said that you can’t solve a problem at the level it was created. When I reach a higher level of clarity and truth, of course I appreciate it. But it takes a lot of work to get focused on the facts of what was, what was incorrect and then to choose a better way without getting freaked out with who or what to blame. Life can appear to be very unfair and I’m one of those overly ambitious souls who loaded this lifetime with extreme challenges and apparent unfairness.
Most of my fellow humans struggle with this too. Crying over spilled milk, repining, grieving over losses, betrayal, manipulations and being lied to and cheated by the institutions we’ve given power and resources to in order for all of humanity to be served. Each one of us has different skill levels at moving through this so we can get to the part where we have the equanimity to take effective action and move on. Some never make that journey in this lifetime.
It can be quite shocking to learn that much of what you’ve been taught is wrong as the illusions fall away. Not a journey for the faint of heart.
In the rush and noise of the world, I need to remember to pause and acknowledge the little healings, clearings and the satisfactory resolutions that are for right now.
There are changes and progress in Lost Paradise since I last entered that virtual world. Taking a tour, there were new buildings and some new shops under construction. I like the architectural details the best.
It appears to be a calm and orderly world, someone’s plan and vision that they’ve followed through on and are maintaining. My vision is quite different; I’m not planning or following through though.
Judgement and Value
Living in the culture I do and spending a fair amount of attention online it seems typical when everyone’s a critic and everyone supposedly gets to have an opinion, that I can give an automatically jaded and hurried glance over someone else’s creativity.
Lately as I’m gaining more clarity about what interests and nourishes my soul, I’ve been able to pay attention to my ego’s first response to things. Instead of censoring myself immediately, because my response is unkind, envious, disgusted or whatever, I look at it simply as information.
Does my response mean the thing or idea is something I’d like to explore further? Or that it isn’t for me although it’s fine that exists in the world? Or that it isn’t for me right now?
I actually practice considering these things and re-frame my criticism/judgement in my mind to a more inclusive and tolerant wording and feeling. How silly and human of me to look down on stuff that other people bring into the world when I’m not even doing something similar. I know for a fact that almost everything I attempt is a lot more difficult, takes longer and costs more than I’d imagined.
Hopefully I’ll be paying attention enough to wear a little groove in my new way of looking at things before this gets lost in the immensity of life’s details.
“Katia continues with her writing and the dishes remain soaking, the sheets remain unchanged and the time moves on. She actually has to remind herself that this is not a failure; she really cannot be in more than one place at one time. The horrors of taking on the energy of others, the horrors of people who felt overwhelmed by duties making her feel a failure because they focused on what she hadn’t done instead of what she had accomplished for them. It’s in her cells and nervous system now. Whatever choice she has made, a part of her could say that it was the wrong one; she has been programmed.
There are people and organizations she can finally see clearly as her oppressors, those she wanted to please and could be easily manipulated by with the withholding of appreciation and approval. They’d wrung everything out of her that they could because it was the way the world worked in places. They thought that they deserved it to make up for what had been done to them, for their losses and for their conditioning of overwhelm, for Katia’s stupidity for actually caring and mostly because they didn’t have the blessing and curse of feeling what it’s like to be someone or something else.
They give her nothing now; they do nothing for her but make noise in her life. She no longer cares what they think of her; she thinks of them rarely at all. What of value can they withhold from her now, when she turns and walks away?”
“Right now it is shining more than the enormous amount of frightening, yet also dull information and the distractions and the conflicting opinions bouncing around her world. She can look at it and put it in a simple, beautiful container in her mind and practice—next step, next step, next step– and then move to play with the simplicity of another beautiful container that holds what is her own chosen priority.
Almost everything she’s been taught about living has been wrong. She has to write her own manual now and it is a great responsibility and a great adventure. It is clunky and awkward work. Many mistakes are made. It is like having to transform into another species with no appropriate elder to explain the process and the signs and gently point out the wheat from the chaff. She moves between feeling the trembling of her hands working with the material of the moment and pausing to listen to the soft voice amongst the cacophony and babble of the world. Sometimes, for a brief moment she can attend to both. It takes a lot of energy yet it appears to look like nothing is being accomplished to those mostly focused in the third dimension. There’s no more time to try to explain.
She has been saved by her ego many times; she can see that now. That ego that has been pointed out with head shaking and frowning scorn by the well-meaning when she didn’t stay in the line, get with the program, keep up with the pace, do it the way it worked for them in their shoes and on their path with their resources. Only one reality, they seemed to think, and the one belonging to the most intimidating, the most rich, the most confident, arrogant, complacent and smooth is the one that wins. Sometimes that looked like the only game in town.”
Last Friday I went to see Samsara, a film by the creators of Baraka which you might have heard of. Our real, human world looks more amazing and unusual that the virtual world of Second Life sometimes.
I loved this film. It was about an hour and half and seemed longer, in a good way. There’s no narrative with the original music and shows stunning images from all over the globe. It was shot with 65mm film according to the actual movie; the website says 70mm. Shot in twenty five countries over a period of five years, it screened at Sundance last year and is in select theaters now. I saw it in a small art house theater; it must be even more awesome on a bigger screen.
There were unusual things I found beautiful, things I was surprised that I wasn’t disturbed by and I had to examine my feelings about quite a lot of it. It isn’t judgmental and while everything looks artistic it isn’t all pretty.
The natural world shown is beautiful, of course. Some of the areas of civilization that have been affected by natural disasters some time ago and have not been reclaimed are eerily beautiful, interiors frozen in time. I was particularly moved by an old house that was partially filled with silt and sand.
There are people in the film, often staring right at the camera for a long time, mostly unblinking and unsmiling. I don’t know how the creators were allowed to film some of what is shown. There are amazing shots of ancient, sacred places with modern buildings having satellite dishes nearby. There are shots of crowded, poverty stricken areas with luxury high rise condos next to them, pools on each balcony.
Many of the beginning scenes have a timeless feel and then there are more images of modern humanity rushing about in a very patterned and creative way, all set to music that is kind of hypnotic. I noticed that I wasn’t feeling too awful about that but the people were beginning to seem….less human. The life-like Asian robots were a little creepy and I began to be on guard somewhat. Then came the scenes in modern factories, food production in poultry, dairy and other meat plants, all looking choreographed and set to music.
There ares scenes of workers in what looks to be a sulfur mine, ladyboys in Thailand and poor, young children sorting through mountains and mountains of disgusting trash, all non-narrated and with the wonderful, original music. Responsibility and awareness regarding interpretation seem to be required of the viewer, which I like.
One of the most amazing scenes to me was a huge group of prison inmates doing a dance routine in the yard. Another was of African villagers that looked as though they’re from another time with traditional huts, all the paint and body modifications yet some are posed with guns–men, women and children.
The military scenes are sobering as are young men on guard duty with clenched fists.
The cinematography is amazing and I was reminded of the wide diversity of expression in this world. Humans seemed to be more fragile and temporary in these settings yet I wasn’t really disturbed or feeling burdened by the time the film was over. A woman near me said that we’re doomed but I didn’t see it that way at all. Likely everyone will have a different perceptions and I can see that this isn’t for everyone. I’m pleased that I got to see this.
A neighbor and I were talking this weekend about the film Cloud Atlas. He made a remark about how intelligent and deep I must be (he didn’t seem to be sarcastic) because I get something other than confusion from these kinds of films. There are many kinds of intelligence and tastes in the world and since I’m trying to not be overly critical of myself I didn’t tell him about how hard it was for me to figure out how to clean the different filters on my new vacuum cleaner.