4. Golden Rule #4: Don’t expect your reality to mirror anyone else’s.
We live in an unprecedented era of access. Thanks to reality TV (which is, ironically, anything but reality), tell-all books, Pinterest, Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 24 hour news and talk radio, webinars, podcasts, blog posts, vlogging, YouTube…we are immersed in whatever reality we choose to fashion. We truly can build our own reality out of a holographic shell of information that supports whatever we can dream up.
At least we think that’s what we’re doing. But is reality the shell? Or is reality the stuff we try to force into the shell? And if that’s what we’re doing, what happens to the stuff that just doesn’t fit?
If reality is based on things we know for sure, then it’s probably a lot less complicated than we’re making it out to be. Reality isn’t what might happen, or what we hope will happen, or what we’re afraid will happen. Reality is what IS happening while all those elusive maybe’s, hopes, and fears are swirling around refusing to be captured and pinned down. Reality isn’t something to just wait out or push aside. Reality is usually the last thing in the world we feel like celebrating or even acknowledging. We’re too busy focusing on the what if’s and maybe’s and I’m afraid that’s.
Copper lives for his twice-daily walks. Once in the morning, in the pre-dawn darkness, we zing around the block to settle his mind before I head out to work that day. And once in the evening, we choose a little longer route because the morning schedule doesn’t have us under its thumb. One of our favorite routes takes us through a neighborhood with only a few houses on the street. It’s normal to scare up a rabbit or two as we walk by, and there are lots of good smells for Copper to explore there.
I see there are some new houses being built, massive things with lovely Craftsman-like details inside and out. I must confess sometimes I think how much nicer life would be with gorgeous oiled soapstone counters and state-of-the-art appliances and wide plank wood floors and a bathroom about the size of my living room. Imagine the life I could live in a house like that!
And then I think, well, the people living there have bills and coffee slops and hangnails and laundry and mystery leftovers and relatives and vehicle issues and decisions hanging over their heads too. Maybe not the same ones I do, but still. I don’t know that casting my reality aside in exchange for theirs would be all that wonderful. In fact, thinking about it, I probably wouldn’t like their reality much at all. I may not always love my reality, but it’s the reality I know.
It’s hard to step back and deliberately choose to accept life just the way it is. We’re wired to forge ahead, change things, make things better or at least different. That is the message we’re being fed from every source imaginable, and it feels like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. We’ll get really, really wet, but chances are on the other side, we’re still going to be thirsty.
I don’t see Copper wringing his paws trying to figure out how to make his reality mirror anyone else’s. This dog…he has mastered the art of living immersively in the here and now. That is one of his greatest gifts, I think. Right now he’s curled up on the sofa, mind at ease, thirst quenched from a long drink in the bathtub, without a single thought of what’s next or what if. I do not see a to-do list anywhere near him. He’s a giant blob of Golden bliss. If my reality should mirror anyone’s, perhaps it should most mirror his.