This piece was inspired by a conversation with a friend. It seems like we are both looking for the same thing, and interested in some type of coping mechanism to help deal with the world. But we both tend to lean too heavily towards fantasy and reality (respectively) to make sense of the world. So, I think it’s always important to have people in your life who see the world differently because then it helps keep our world view less biased and more balanced.
Are you more of a dreamer or realist? Let me know below! Enjoy.
I’m looking for magic, but don’t know where to find it.
Magic? As in an illusion? If you’re looking for fantasy, then you can always create it. But choosing fantasy over reality is tragic; it’s like praising a picture of a sunset, rather than ever experiencing it yourself on a beach with crashing waves within earshot, or from a mountaintop with the brushing wind. Or even outside your own house underneath the tree. Fantasy is created from what we know, and what we know is limited. But what you’re asking for is something new, right? Does that make sense?
I wasn’t looking for logic in the first place, so I’m not sure why you’re explaining it to me with reason?
Ah this is true. Perhaps there was a lesson for me as well; you’ve taught me the importance of listening. In my eagerness of helping to ease this tension of yours, I didn’t realize that you already told me you didn’t need my help. But now it seems that it wouldn’t be what you’d want. Complacency has already become a part of your identity, and the answer to most questions is often, in one way or another: more discomfort. A discomfort caused by casting away what you already know.
Today I found a tree that looked like a painting. Everything about it had a story, from the trail of ants navigating the chipped bark to the bees pollinating the flowers. Underneath the soil, there was plenty happening with micro-organisms. If we look at something long enough, we can begin to see how it is connected to everything. But the moment we start comparing the beauty of this tree to other more magnificent ones, we stop looking deeper and focus more on distinction rather than similarity. The same is true about ourselves when we begin comparing ourselves with the success and stories of others. As Theodore Roosevelt once famously said:
Is life truly so painful, that many of us seek to be sedated with things like food, music, poetry, alcohol and drugs? What about life makes it so painful, that escaping it seems like bliss? I wish I knew. Yet we pursue our poisons in excess until they kill us: our love of food becomes heart disease and diabetes, our love of alcohol becomes failed organs and relationships, our love of drugs dulls our awareness and make terrible things seem okay. And what about poetry and books, where we live the memories of the authors instead of creating our own? We need higher and higher doses for the same escape each time.
Is reality really too much information to take in? So overstimulating, that we need to dull our senses to enjoy the beauty of it in small pieces? Perhaps there is no escape from making the choice of which poison we choose to escape the normal discomfort of reality. It’s much easier to create our own world which makes us ignorant of everything around us.
Just like how when we look at a rose, we ignore everything around it in order to focus on the Christmas of its red petals and green leaves, the thorns and its fragrance. It seems like the flower itself has a universe of its own that becomes more apparent when we ignore our own. Maybe we are looking for our own roses.
We can always improve ourselves in small ways. But when we stop believing in our ability to make a change, we begin to suffer. If we try to live a life detached from reality (usually characterized by a false defeatist mantra of “life sucks”), this can translate into trying to live vicariously through others (i.e. parents’ expectation for their children, friends expectation of friends, etc.) because we relinquish accountability for ourselves. Sometimes, we expect so much more from people other than ourselves, that we forget that we are the only person that we have the most over. The foremost person we should expect anything from is ourselves, and the rest is just icing on the cake. We all have the infinite potential to create an inspired, joyful life; but only if we believe that there is more to life than our current difficulties.