Today’s handy dandy reading begins with this quote:
A relationship can’t be healthier than the people in it.”
Wow. Is this true or what? If you have repeated mistakes over and over with your relationships, perhaps your model is faulty. In some homes, anger isn’t expressed verbally. Silence reigns supreme. And if you have a major player who slams doors, cupboards, drawers, etc., it plays out as a rather noisy display. No one argues out loud. The kids learn to avoid confrontation but to be noisy with objects under certain circumstances. Not healthy when you learn what all that means.
Next door, you may find a household where they yell and throw things and the whole neighborhood witnesses the anger and it’s results. There may or may not be physical bruises on one of the adults and/or the children. This is an extreme, but it’s real for some folks. Sometimes, an adult or child has bruises on their spirit. Those are hardest to see and heal. It may take a lifetime.
In the book, “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz talks about what he calls, “Domestication and the Dream of the Planet.” In this chapter, he says everything we experience is a dream. While we are awake and while we sleep. When we are awake, time becomes the material frame that makes us perceive things in the order they occur. While sleeping, we do not have a frame, and dreams change constantly within the subconscious. Often, we do not remember the dreams we make while sleeping.
Ruiz further speculates before we were born, all of society through the ages combined their collective dreams into one mass dream which he calls the dream of the planet. Within this structure is the dream of family, community, society’s rules, beliefs, laws, cultures, school structures, events, holidays, etc.
As humans, we’re made to dream. What happens when we’re born is we become part of the dream of others. They dutifully teach us all that is in their dreams for us, along with what society deems necessary. Wow. That’s heavy!
As children, we learn to follow what catches our attention. It could be the soothing voice we heard before birth, which we learn to call Mama. For some children, it is the yelling heard before birth, which they learn later is their Mama. Both children will behave differently with their Mama because of this early conditioning.
We discuss attention a lot in these times. I think a lot of outside influences alters length of attention span. You cannot give a kid a video game on your phone constantly as a calming device and expect them to have a long memory or attention span. Again, they behave differently because of this early experience. Other influences include school, religion, and other groups which are repeated over and over. They become part of the child’s dream, without him or her accepting or rejecting them.
Just think, we have learned how to behave in public, at school, in church, and at the local amusement park all because we watch and mimic those around us who have given us our dreams. Not everyone likes the same things, yet we all believed Disney World is truly the “happiest place on earth.” All it takes is a walk through the giant cafeteria areas at meal time to see all the upset children, angry parents, and over-tired babies to make me question if that statement is true. I question that.
Hooking the attention of others is a major marketing plan. Our teachers hooked our attention to learn; our pastor or priest hooked our attention to worship God; Mom & Dad, Sisters or Brothers, all hooked our attention to soothe us, teach us, correct us, and believe. If our attention isn’t hooked, we don’t store the information they offer. As kids, we believe everything adults say.
Ruiz calls this the domestication of humans. Just as our pets, domesticated by humans hooking their attention, babies and young children are also. The difference? Your pets don’t (usually) question the truths they learn during the process. The outside dream teaches us how to behave. Reward vs. Punishment becomes the driving force. In school, if we don’t keep quiet while the teacher is speaking, we are punished. If we do what we were told, are rewarded with a good grade.
We (hopefully) learn to keep the law, obey our elders, obey the police, and everyone around us
We are also taught how to judge others. Do they follow our training? No? Why not? A different belief? Oh wow. Mind blown.
As we grow up, we learn to judge others. Michael M. was a smart alec in 8th grade. Got in a lot of trouble because he smiled all the time. The other kids labeled him a troublemaker. We didn’t want to be like him. We didn’t want to be in trouble. I remember once I stated my mind in an essay for school. I used the term, “No matter who doesn’t like it,” when stating my choice in music. The principal called my mom and told me I disrespected her. I learned to keep quiet.
We pay for our mistakes repeatedly in our lives. In a world where true justice exists, we’re found guilty once and serve our time. But humans have the terrible trait of holding a mistake over someone’s head forever. I remember, for about 35 years after divorcing my children’s father, Mom reminded me constantly, “I never wanted you to marry him in the first place!” Yes, Mother, we heard you the first 300 times you told me. R
When a two-year-old says, “NO!” through the balky teenager, to the one who doesn’t feel as if they belong in a family (and there are many of us) sometimes there are those who question things. Their parents, other adults they admire, and society. Some never do. They go along and get along fine.
Ruiz takes time to tell how the definition of hell can be all around us. It’s an idea which could make many depressed. He suggests we are only alive when we risk, take a chance. Risky behavior aside, starting a business at 69 years of age is my risk for last year. Publishing my first book will happen while I’m 70 years old. I am so excited about this part of life on the horizon! The biggest risk I ever took was at 30, divorcing my husband. I had three kids, no full-time job yet, but I knew I had to do it. It all worked out better than I could have ever planned and plotted. I truly believe God timed all those events out in His plan for me and the kids. I was living in hell. It ended when I acted outside the box, the rules, the limitations of my upbringing. That isn’t a slam against my parents. It just didn’t work for me.
Yes, I was the black sheep for a long time. But so what? Yes, it was lonely. Some of us can live without the vast network other people need. Being unconventional is now an asset. You want people in your life. You know darned good and well you can live without them. Some friendships work out, some don’t.
Of course, the Babe and I have talked about when one of us passes away. It will be awful. Because we’ve both lived a long time, we know we won’t die from it. We know we have to keep living. I can only speculate what that will look like. I can just pray to God to guide us when that happens, as will the Babe. Faith takes us a long way in life. And sometimes we have to rely on that alone to go through life’s trials.
Ruiz continues and suggests we need a new dream. That makes sense to me. It is what I learned when I accepted change is inevitable in life and we must change as we learn and live. My life turned out so different than I expected. It’s full of living, love, and resembles nothing I could has dreamed of as a child. Once I took that enormous risk in 1982. It’s been a great ride. I’m grateful and ready for much more.
Tomorrow, I’ll begin my 70s. I look forward to them and having you journey with me. This is going to be some kind of fun. See you tomorrow!