Dots on a Screen
In my youth, my brother Bob, 7 years my senior, endured the task of babysitting me when our parents went out for the evening. Given the instructions to make sure I ate my dinner, he once chased me upstairs and under the bed where I hid from the dreaded canned peas which were part of my meal. Just following “orders” Bob tried to force me to eat the loathsome vegetables. We ended these donnybrooks in a standoff, and often stomped to our respective corners of the house to brood our positions. Bob also humored me by watching scary movies with me. When I’d get frightened by the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” or other such black and white horror films, he’d attempt to inject reality (to the extent a 6 year old could grasp reality), by pointing out that the images I saw on our Magnavox console TV were just dots of light projected on a screen – they weren’t real, and of course, there was nothing to fear. Now, I’m 50 years old. My brother’s direct but insightful and ultimately poignant lesson, still reminds me that life can indeed appear scary, but we must step back and recognize the source. By exposing the illusion, we vanquish the perception of fear
In motivational speeches, I’ve heard it said that “the strongest steel comes from the hottest flame.” Expanding on that, we know our strength derives from the intensity of our challenges and our creativity and capability to overcome them. The “dots on the screen” appearing as problems or mires of circumstance, remain open to interpretation, and ultimately, a reality check.
When we take a moment to step back, as adults, and see our situation for what it is, rather than how it appears separate from us, we see that in its granular form, the adversity lacks substance. In fact, what we see and experience, in full vision, effect and surround-sound, is merely a projection of our deepest fears, not reality. When we learn to interpret our experiences as a learning opportunity for greater growth, we resume our power in the present moment and turn off stark illusions.
Cover your eyes!
Ok, I admit it. When I’m watching a horror flick on my own DVD player, I’m tempted to hit fast-forward. Particularly lengthy and gruesome scenes with slow motion effects to dramatize the anguish, often receive my threat of “I’m zooming past this now,” to fellow viewers in my living room. And, as always, I’m met with detractions and contradictions, so I just cover my eyes. Unable to resist the adrenaline rush, I playfully peek through my fingers to see if its really that bad. Usually, it is, so I continue my own drama and suffer through my urge to hit the button on the remote.
In life, we cover our eyes and ignore our reality more often that we care to admit. Hoping, like ignoring a yellow-jacket wasp, our troubles will go away if we pay no attention. While sometimes this does work, however, I’m a proponent of giving energy to what I do want in my life, not to what I don’t want! But, like a toothache that never improves, when you ignore uncomfortable situations, most of life’s little bumps need a reality check. Peeking at them from time to time, trying to outlast the discomfort, doesn’t deny their truth.
The Thrill in the Chill
Oh, go ahead, scream! You rent the movie, watch it on TV, or drive yourself to the theatre to deliberately view a scary show. Sure, it’s a series of dots projected onto a screen, but hey, you paid good money to get scared out of your wits. So, letterrip and let out a blood-curdling eeek!
We take on life the same way. We deliberately put ourselves in situations in our own homes and relationships, or we seek fear outside of ourselves, which we fully know will give us a roller-coaster of emotions and anxiety. Don’t try to deny it – we all do it from time to time.
You are the director of the movie of your life. You cast yourself in various roles throughout your time on earth. You produce it, direct it and even edit out the parts you don’t like. And then you project all of who you are, out there for the world to see. You, too, are dots on the screen, befuddled by the energy you bought into your illusion when you picked up the camera of life.
If everything in our lives is an illusion, there is nothing to fear and nothing to expect. The breadth of what you observe and experience is open to interpretation, larger than life itself. You can choose to watch it in widescreen or peek through the fingers of your own limitations. But whatever you do, know that the movie of your life is just a projection of dots onto a screen that you, yourself created. I still watch scary movies, and life comes at me in full color and effect, but I remember the illusion and know that there’s really nothing to fear at all.