What is Your Great Work?

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Recently I was reading a book about glamour magic. I read a lot of books about paganism and mystical spiritual paths, because even though I consider myself an agnostic, I also believe there are many, many things we don’t understand and I enjoy delving into the mysteries and deeper meanings found in spirituality and mythology.

Overall, the book was a bit of a letdown, it seemed fairly shallow in some ways, but I guess I should have guessed that since glamour magic itself is generally about surface level changes. However, there was one meditative exercise in the book that I did find meaningful. This part of the book emphasized the importance of figuring out what your great work will be.

As the book went on to explain, in order to get anywhere in life, you have to know what you are aiming for. You have to know what is most important to you in terms of achievement and meaning. You have to figure out where your energy, passion, and hard work should be directed. So, I meditated on this subject for a while and here are the three things I came up with that I currently would consider my own “great work” in this life:

  1. My writing/blog. Guess what? You guys are all a BIG part of my great work! I write because my soul cries out to share my experiences, feelings, hopes, and dreams. Having people who actually want to read about those things is truly a magical gift in itself!
  2. My art. I often feel insecure in my artistic abilities. I feel like there are so many artists out there that are far more talented and definitely better trained than myself, but I LOVE art and sometimes I genuinely love the stuff I make. My art may not be top of the line, but I do think many of my creations are unique artworks that only I could make.
  3. Advocating for others like me. This kind of ties into #1 and #2, since I often use my art and my writing to advocate for others who have autism, mental illness, or chronic pain/illness. People like me are often marginalized, ignored, looked down upon, and mistreated. I want to help stop that. I want to help the world to become a kinder, more empathetic place for those who struggle.

Now that I have shared my own great works in life, why don’t you spend a little time figuring out your own? You can pick just one, or you can have several like I did. Think deeply about it and question your purpose in life. If you would like to share what you come up with in the comments on this post, I would love to hear it!

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Dark Thoughts Inspired by Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Undergound”

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I’m currently reading Dostoevsky’s novel “Notes from Underground”, which is a somewhat satirical, but also brutally honest look at the shadow side that exists within us all, whether we would like to admit it or not. As I have been reading, I have found many ways that I can see a glimmer of myself within the neurotic narrator.

For example, like the character telling the story in the book, I too have often considered myself more intelligent and consciously aware than much of humanity. This sounds like pure narcissism, and perhaps it is in a sense, although I have often thought that at least the “awareness” part of it is not something we are born with (like IQ), but something that can be cultivated. However, not many take the time to truly question their own beliefs, motives, philosophies, and the nature of reality itself. To be fair, I often wonder if those people who are more shallow or less intelligent aren’t actually more happy. Attempting to take an unbiased, penetrating look into yourself, the world, and others isn’t exactly always comforting.

Another commonality I share with the storyteller is that I can relate to his feelings of underachievement and difficulty rising to the standards he believes he should. When all your life you have been praised for your IQ, your talents, or your “potential”, it can feel like you are letting yourself and the world down when you settle for a seemingly “mediocre” or “average” life. Perhaps that results from the naive child in us who is told that they can achieve “anything”, and therefore, dreams of fame, wealth, and adoration…and then is horribly disappointed to see none of it come to fruition.

I can also relate to the narrator’s sheer spite in wanting to annoy or derail other people (especially certain people who are annoying themselves) and in taking a strange sort of pleasure in suffering. At times, do I moan and groan for my own satisfaction?  Is there not a perverse side of me that likes to “play” with the nerves of another, much like a cat plays with a mouse? Is it not fun sometimes to watch another explode in childish frustration and throw an adult tantrum? Are we not all ornery instigators at times?

Lastly, like the narrator, I have to ask myself, deep down, do I genuinely care for and about others? Sure, I don’t wish anyone harm or suffering, nor do I go out of my way to taunt others normally, but do I truly want to sacrifice for others? Am I willing to disrupt my own comfort to improve another’s lot, or would I more truthfully rather keep others at a distance to avoid the inconvenience humans always bring?

Many humans seem to be rather shallow in thought and reflection, but they are no different in basic selfishness. Perhaps to my own detriment, I do dig for the selfish roots within myself and expose them to scrutiny, which may be unusual behavior, but I am convinced that others have the same roots, just hiding far down in the shade and often not brought to light. From that, perhaps, stems my reluctance to sacrifice too much of myself for others who have seemingly cultivated no better character than I.

*I hope you enjoyed this foray into the dark side of the human psyche 🙂 I truly believe that before any of us can understand the darkness in the world, we first need to understand the darkness within ourselves!

A Female Aspie’s Thoughts On Jordan Peterson

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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of interviews and lectures with controversial thinker and psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson. This Canadian bloke is a rather interesting mix if you really listen to his thoughts and beliefs. Many on the left, especially those on the social justice warrior side seem to hate his guts and believe he is sexist, racist, abusive, and a number of other unpleasant adjectives. I don’t believe he is actually as far right wing as many seem to think, but he does definitely have some classical views on innate gender differences and he certainly has a hatred for what he sees as newfangled pronoun madness.

As far as the whole pronoun thing goes, I do agree with him in many ways. I have seen the charts of all the new pronouns that supposedly exist now and I just don’t see how using all of those in common vernacular will ever really catch on. How many people will bother to memorize such a chart as the lengthy ones I have seen online? I see no issue with people wanting to be referred to with particular existing pronouns (he, she, they, etc.) as long as they don’t expect people to be able to read their minds and know which pronoun they prefer. I believe if you ask people to call you a particular thing, most will agree and try to do so, as long as it isn’t too hard to remember or seemingly insulting.

Aside from that whole controversy, what I really find interesting about Peterson is his obsession with Nietzsche (one of my personal favorites), Jung, and his love of archetypes. He sees a story arc in everything apparently, and usually a metaphor-laden one at that. I do find it interesting how he likes to deconstruct pop culture favorites, be they movies, tv shows, books, or other works of art, using Jungian thought. I have heard complaints that he entirely misconstrues Nietzsche’s work, but I’m not sure I’ve seen too much of that personally. Sure, his personal views bleed into his interpretation, just as everyone’s does, but I’m not sure it is to any greater extent than most philosophical analysts.

I do think his latest book “12 Rules for Life” sounds fairly simplistic and seems to lack much deeper introspection, instead almost falling into the common self-help book market. “Clean your room”? “Stand up straight”? Thank you, Grandma. I hear his earlier book, “Maps of Meaning”, is far more thought-provoking and deep, so maybe I will give it a try at some point.

Lastly, I just want to comment a bit on Peterson’s personality and the impression I get from him. Dude does seem awfully angry and easily provoked over nothing at times. Maybe this is frustration at feeling constantly misunderstood and misrepresented, but it still makes him look a bit snowflakish himself, which I’m sure isn’t the impression he wants to give. I also often wonder if he ever appears happy or genuinely smiles? He almost seems very depressed to me…and I would know as I struggle with the same beast. He talks a good game about finding meaning in life, but there is a big part of me that thinks deep down he struggles constantly with the seeming meaninglessness and absurdity of life and is resentful of it. But perhaps I am projecting a bit there.

I have also heard him accused of using “word salad” or droning on and on without making much of a point. I’ve seen a bit of this myself, but I think part of the issue is how many tangents he seems to wander off on while making a point. I feel his lectures could definitely benefit from some streamlining and sticking more closely to each point until its conclusion.

Many have suggested that Peterson seems to have a bit of a “savior complex”, which I do see signs of now and then. My antenna especially went up when he talked about how if he went to prison for refusing to use someone’s pronouns and pay the fine, he would go on a hunger strike. Calm down a little! Is it really worth all that? Why not just set yourself on fire on Main Street? I think someone so famous going to prison over something so stupid would be enough in itself to garner attention.

*For an interesting look at the difference between a therapist and a psychologist, check out this article by BetterHelp!

Over 1 Million Views on YouTube!!!

I am not the type of person to typically “toot my own horn” or brag about my achievements, but my psychiatrist and psychologist both say I need to “become my own cheerleader” in a way and learn to celebrate small victories, so I figured I would take the time to mention that my YouTube channel, Maranda’s Toys & Books, just passed the 1 MILLION views mark! To me, this is huge!

I simply can’t believe that over 1 million people have wanted to watch something I created! That is simply crazy. I know for huge YouTubers, 1 million views is probably what they get on one single video, but for me, I am just so proud that I hit such a benchmark! So, just for today, I’ll say “Go me!!!” and do a little happy dance in my mind (since my body is too tired to do it with me)!

May 2018 My First Reading Club Subscription Box Review!

This month I did the May 2018 My First Reading Club unboxing and review on my YouTube channel (Maranda’s Toys & Books), so I figured I would post the video here in case anyone wanted to see which children’s books I got this month for only $9.99 plus S&H! This box is always SUCH a great deal! Definitely recommended for families!

 

Nighttime Dread and “Quiet Borderlines” Thoughts

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I slept in until after 2pm this afternoon. I hate when that happens. I feel like most of the day is already gone by the time I get out of bed. I must have slept at least around 12 hours last night, even though I had a bit of an emotional fest when I actually went to bed. For some reason, all the loneliness of the world seems to settle down on me when I try to go to sleep and all the horrible things that have and could happen come around to haunt me. It is often at these times that I feel absolutely alone and helpless in this world, even though logically I know I’m not…at least not right now. But I could be. I could be all alone very easily and that thought sends me into a kind of despair I can’t explain.

Recently I have been reading a book entitled “Beyond Borderline: True Stories of Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder”. Reading the book has been insightful and interesting, and made me realize I am definitely NOT a traditional borderline. I simply don’t have the acting out behaviors. I guess I could be what some people call “quiet borderlines”, although sometimes I wonder if they are really borderlines or not?

Perhaps some “quiet borderlines” are actually more along the lines of Avoidant Personality Disorder or another anxiety-related personality disorder? Who knows. I’m not a doctor so I can’t say, but I do find so many commonalities running through various personality disorders, that even if you have one, pinpointing which one might be difficult and many people have traits of more than one. For me personally, I think I definitely fit more into the cluster C “anxious and fearful clusters” than the cluster B “dramatic and overly emotional clusters”. In fact, the only time I am visibly overly emotional is when I am so anxious I pretty much panic. Unfortunately this almost always seems to happen in public, because social interaction in itself can easily set off the panic in me.