Why “Questions to 42”?

Those of you familiar with Douglas Adams’ Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will no doubt recognise the number ’42’ as “…the answer to the ultimate question, of life, the universe and everything”, and remember that the purpose of human existence is to search for the right question.

As the protagonist, Arthur Dent said: “You want questions?! I’ve got questions!…” So do I. I also sometimes have answers to those questions. Sometimes I don’t have the answer, but will ramble out my reasoning in discussing the question.  Socrates believed that only by questioning can higher thinking, and “truth” be achieved.

The ultimate aim here is to achieve ’42’ (the ultimate answer), by exploring a whole lot of possible questions (& topics). At some point, I hope that you join me in the Nirvana that is achieved through questioning existence, and striving to reach ’42’.

Perhaps it is inauspicious to quote Wikipedia in my inaugural post, but: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana)

“In the Buddhist context nirvana refers to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with Brahman, the divine ground of existence, and the experience of blissful egolessness. In Indian religions, the attainment of nirvana is moksha, liberation from samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.

So: for if you want to join me in exploring the meaning of life, the universe and everything, via a rather circuitous route, read some of my writing, on a topic that may interest you. You’ll never know until you find out.

Thanks for reading!

PS In the interests of acknowledging intellectual property, I’ve linked photos to their source URL, click on the photo to go to the source.

PPS Any advertising on this blog has nothing to do with me, and has been created by WordPress. If I’m wanting to endorse something, I’ll probably say so.

Sharing Stories

I have stories in my head, waiting to be written down.

They are not necessarily clever stories, or interesting stories, but they are stories nontheless.

They compose themselves as I go about my daily activities, and use up brain-space until they are written down. I think more clearly once they are finished with.

As a child, I had a pen-pal: a girl who had been a neighbour and playmate until we moved house. I think I probably wrote some stories to her. I remember that she wrote stories to me (although I no longer remember the detail).

As a young adult, I kept a series of journals. These were less storytelling, and more record-keeping.

Various of the influences in my life have encouraged people to share their stories with one another. People connect through telling each other their stories. Emotional connections between people build a healthy society.

With the advent of Facebook, I’ve been gradually trained to document daily events in succinct, pithy posts. (Whether they are actually pithy, is, of course, questionable!) But I don’t really want my stories on Facebook. Despite the many encouragements to “share this to your wall so that you can find it easily”, it’s actually quite difficult to retrieve old posts on Facebook, unless you want to download the entire content, then try to sift through it.

Previously, I’ve blogged about a few things that seemed important enough. Now I’m going to add the unimportant minutae: stories in all their randomness.

Some of these stories are true. Some of them were inspired by real events. Some of them are pure fiction. I’m not going to say which is which. You may be able to tell: the more bizarre and unbelievable ones are probably true!

I hope that you enjoy them. If not, I hope that you find something better to read somewhere else.

I also hope that sometimes there will even be inspiration, encouragement, realisation or even cameraderie from reading my stories.

Wishing you happiness every day 🙂

All things work together for good?

Sometimes, things work out for the best even when they weren’t intended to.

I find this really quite amusing.

I’ll give you an example:

In the early 1990’s, when I was still quite inexperienced in buying fabric, and sewing in general, I went to buy some fabric and interfacing/ fusible webbing.

The sales girl talked me into buying more than I needed, obviously being aware of my ignorance. I think the pattern required something like 20cm, and I bought 5metres.

This would not have been intended as a kindness to me, but just as a way to make a sale by, really, ripping me off.

Over 20 years later, I am still using up that interfacing.

Not really by intention, but despite it being stored in a variety of places, I must have kept it dry and not too hot, because the iron-on glue still works perfectly. I never have to think about buying it because I know it’s there.

The bonus that I realised just recently is: I bought it at the 1990’s price. This means that not only do I have a seemingly unending supply (for the amount of sewing that I do), but I also saved whatever the price increase would have been over 20 years. Most likely that will continue for another 20 years.

What was intended as something to take advantage of my ignorance has become a bonus, or blessing.

It’s not really a big deal, but it is one of the many small things that I have noticed, and am grateful for.

Psychology (and Christianity) tells us than being mindful of good things, and feeling grateful for them, is good for our mental health.

The internet holds many, many posts and images on the topic. I’ve pasted a couple of quotes below.

What small things have you noticed, that are worth feeling grateful about?

  

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Unearthing the past while creating a clearer future

I like to keep momentos.

When I was in high school I kept a scrapbook of pretty much everything that happened. I even remember taping in my bus tickets! After I bought a camera (110mm film – anyone remember that?) I also took photos of my friends, just doing ordinary things like walking around the school yard, & sitting chatting in groups. Perhaps I had a subconscious sense that these moments were precious and transient. Perhaps someone had outright told me that? I just remember that I wanted to capture those moments and keep them forever. I also kept all of my school books, which were sometimes handy to refer to in future years. (I really would not have managed Year 11 German without my Year 10 notes!)

I liked to be organised and orderly.

My school had required it. It was how I managed my workload and got good grades. It was how I managed my social life, and my personal habits. Mobile phones had not yet been invented, but my diary and address book were indispensable!

When I was older, my penchant for saving everything led to buying a filing cabinet and suspension files. Today I have 3 filing cabinets, and all my records, back to my first tax return when I was 18. (That was a long time ago.) This is despite living at numerous different addresses in 4 cities (3 States).

I haven’t really ascribed to the “clutter-free is better” philosophy. I have previously found that getting rid of something just because you haven’t used it for a while is sometimes a mistake. (I’d thrown out favourite clothes and even a medical certificate!)

My own philosophy is that you should keep only the things that you actually like and want.

There may be things that you have to “make do” with for a while, until you are able to get what you really want, but once you have what you want, getting rid of the “make do” provides benefits in itself.

I have lived in my current residence for over 12 years. I came here because my husband wanted to. Arriving here was an enormous rush accompanied by multiple traumas that I won’t discuss today. I arrived with a husband, a toddler and a baby, from interstate, with only about half my belongings. We moved in on the Sunday, without even having the electricity & gas connected, and I started a new job on the Monday.

Yes, there is lots more to that story.

During the following years, my husband caused a remarkable number of difficulties, including randomly stuffing items into plastic bags and storing them in the garage. On later investigation, some of these collections included clean clothes, dirty clothes, plastic wrappers, random papers, one earring from a pair, toys, some hairclips etc. This explains, to some extent, why I was often looking for items that seemed to have mysteriously vanished.

After about 18 months of living here, my husband went overseas for 2 years. After only a few weeks, I told him I didn’t want him back. During those 2 years, though, he randomly came back and stayed in my house while studying at University. It seems that he had arranged this as part of his job overseas, and I was still a ridiculous pushover where he was concerned. After the 2 years, I foolishly reconciled with him. It lasted 6 weeks, before he resumed his nastiness. We separated again, and divorced. I don’t know where he is now, but am glad it is some great distance away.

Yes, there is lots more to that story, too.

What I want to talk about today, though, is the here and now:

Unearthing the past

Today I’ve been going through some of the boxes and bags of random items which have accumulated in my garage. I have been doing this very gradually for several years. The most exhausting part of it is dealing with the emotional impact of the memories that are triggered by each photo, each letter and card, each object. Everything has some meaning. The physical sorting of items is monotonous, but the emotional sorting is far more exhausting.

Among the many items that I sorted today were: a patronising, bitchy “love letter” from my ex-husband, a pile of ‘Order of Service’s (programme) from my wedding, and the Order of Service from a younger friend of mine’s wedding – she is also divorced, but has remarried, and had a baby just this week.

Reading these reinforces several things to me:

  1. Things change. Circumstances change, feelings change. People seem to change, but they don’t really: they just show you who they were all along.
  2. Time really does heal. While the memories are still there, the intensity of the feeling has dissipated, and my interpretation of the events has changed. I think I am more circumspect.
  3. Complimentary to point 2 above, time also provides more information and a new perspective on events. Knowing what I know now, I can read the letter from my ex-husband and see it far more clearly than the original confusion created by his contradictory statements and actions.

The main thing that I have gained from today is the deeply felt recognition that doing this is really hard.

I have berated myself for years for not getting all this rubbish sorted. I have wondered what on earth was wrong with me, because I have been a “head-on” kind of person most of my life.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” had been a mantra I’d picked up in high school, along with: “The anticipation is worse than the event”, and “Just Do It!”

With the distance that I now have, I realise how incredibly intense my emotional reactions were before. It all MATTERED so much. Even today, when I can comfortably throw out a portion of material, knowing that I won’t regret it later, I feel deeply tired after only an hour and a half. Tired in my muscles and bones, as though I’d spent a day working outdoors. No wonder it has taken me so long to clear away the debris of my life. I have forgiven myself for taking so long, and that, in itself is a healing.

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I am grateful that I recently cleared some larger items from the house: giving away things that I no longer need nor want. Having those things out of the way has created space, both physical and emotional. This buoys my flagging spirits: I know that the end is worth achieving.

My sorting and clearing is restoring order to my life. Doing so is restoring peace to my spirit.

It’s not the only thing that has nourished my soul, but it is a part of the journey.

I’ve been blogging elsewhere :s

I’ve been blogging on other pages, instead of this one.

Perhaps I felt that this one was “too good”, and am waiting to write something “worthy”.

I also realised that I was trying to put too many topics onto one blog.

This Got My Attention Today” possibly contains what should have gone here. The topics are random, but not as random as an improbability drive. I may even hazard a guess that over time a theme will emerge.

Similarly, “Socio-Political Opinions” is about social issues.

I have relocated my writing about George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to www.asoaifanalysis.wordpress.com

The first 13 posts are summaries of the chapters of Jon in A Dance with Dragons.

I hope that you enjoy them 🙂

Thanks for joining me on the journey! 🙂

Image from Pinterest. Not sure of original owner.

These people sound interesting:

Transbelief Dialogue & Nature Walk 42: “Life, The Universe, & Everything?”

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014, 2:00 PM

Minnehaha Parkway at the Bronze Bunny
East Minnehaha Parkway and Portland Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN

6 Plurationalists Went

Welcome to our 42nd Transbelief Dialogue, where we follow Aristotle’s path of peripatetically discussing our differences. It’s been called “Mindwalk + My Dinner with Andre!” This time, we’ll meetup at The Bronze Bunny sculpture on Minnehaha Pkwy & Portland Ave., to stroll downstream during our transbelief dialogue, and after our stroll, we’ll walk …

Check out this Meetup →