(c)2010 Joan M. Newcomb
Insanity is believing your own thoughts. I think Byron Katie said that. I'd expand that to Insanity is believing your mental image pictures are real. Or believing others' pictures as reality, as well.
Just before Thanksgiving, I started musing about the subject of instanity. I'd come across a 1970's documentary, Grey Gardens, about the first cousins of Jackie Onassis. The elderly mother and middle aged daughter shared the same first name, Edie, and lived together in the family's 28 room home, which once had been quite grand. The home was now falling apart due to disrepair, and the women likewise.
It was disturbing to watch. Their lives were shaped (or warped) by their own distortions and that of society's. Their distortions were the stories they told about their lives and history. Society's distortions were interwoven - women should have husbands, not careers, women of social status and background should dress and behave only in certain ways, etc., etc.
The elder woman you could understand the limitations that had closed her life in. However the younger woman had been so affected that her body had manifested alopecia (her hair had fallen out so she was completely bald) and cataracts so she was nearly blind.
And later, I read about Randy Quaid and his wife, who apparently living out of their car in Canada. They are convinced that people are out to get them, but when you look at the actual details, it's their behavior that is bizarre. He's been banned for life from the Actor's Equity Union for raging at fellow actors.
These are extreme examples, people we can clearly point at and say 'they're insane'. But what about the little (and not so little) insanities that we live and interact with all the time?
The holidays are great times for feeling insane. We have commercials on TVs and displays everywhere trying to convince us that if we buy such and such, our children will love us and everyone will be happy. We have friends and relatives on one side with their assumptions and traditions, and friends and relatives on the other side with completely different requirements.
We make ourselves miserable by trying to live up to all the different expectations and then feel like something is wrong with us, because we're not feeling the "Christmas Spirit"!
The only thing that is wrong, is thinking that something is wrong with us.
It's hard to recognize the distortions when you're fully in the midst of them. When you're wearing them as glasses to see the world through, or accepting what seems to be projected at you.
When you can step away from the craziness, you can start to see how crazy it is.
When you give yourself a moment to be still, take a deep breath, and be in touch with your Essence, inside you know that all is very, very well. Everything else is just noise.
At your Essence, you are Light, you are Infinite, you are Awareness. In touch with the Essence of You, you can be amused by all the drama in the storyline. If someone is mad at you because you aren't meeting their expectations, you can feel compassionate towards them, because they're sharing their own pain.
From Essence, it becomes clear what decisions to make, what actions to take. Instead of doing something because 'what will the neighbors think', you'll do something because it feels good to do it. You do things because it gives you joy.
It's an entirely different way to measure and act on life. What's really important? Time with friends and family (that you like; you don't have relate to people just because you're related)! Inner serenity is more important than having the right decorations on your house.
When you start to feel nutty, notice if you've crossed over into someone else's experience. Are you living out your mother's dream for you? Are you behaving in ways to avoid criticism when it's really your Inner Critic that needs duct tape?
A couple clues when it's not your Infinite Self/Essence - if it's extremely emotional or if it's black and white thinking. Black and white, life or death, all are body/personality level projections. Infinite, Essence is relaxed, amused and expansive. Extreme emotions are body reactions, usually fear based. Bodies only know this lifetime's experience and take things very seriously because they're not going to make it out of this lifetime alive!
The Greater part of You is more than this personality and this lifetime, so storyline details don't phase it. From your Essence perspective, it's all a fun game to play.
This week, try bringing this into your everyday experience. Remember to breathe, and take breaks from the busy-ness. Choose to view what's going on through a more expanded lens is helpful as well. Step up from the noise and look down on the situation as if you were flying over it, or observing it from the outside.
Try this for the next 7 days, and see what happens!