I have been thinking a lot about the way different humans process and experience and think about the world.
How many of you have ever had a leopard dress try to strangle you?
Or would you–perhaps more realistically–think that you had a little trouble taking your leopard-print dress off?
There seems to be at least two types of people in the world. The kind of people who try to truthfully and exactly relate what is happening. They are known as the practical folk, the serious folk. They look at the sun and see a sun. They look at a street and see a street. They look at a computer and see a computer.
Then there is the other type. We look at the sun and see a shining orb burning in the sky, perhaps mischievously attempting to chase renegade clouds away. Or muttering under his breath (you see, we often call the sun a “he”) “Where are you dear, Moon? It’s been too long since we crossed paths.” We see a street and think, “Ahhh, the path of life! The path upon which we travel to our adventurous destination, where angels and demons trod.” We see a computer and name her “Miss Ellie” because, of course, as anyone knows, computers have personalities and ought to be addressed politely.
We, of the second inclination, are often accused of exaggerating by the more steady truthful folks.
When someone–yes, it could have been me–tried on a leopard-print dress in Target a couple of hours ago–and couldn’t get it off–she suddenly began telling stories in her head. She suddenly thought perhaps the leopard was strangling her. And that created peals and peals and peals of quiet laughter that probably embarrassed her more serious reality-telling daughter who was waiting outside the dressing room.
“What’s happening?” she asked, sighing, because she’s convinced her mom is–well, certainly not a serious reality-telling personage.
“The leopard is attacking me!” I whispered amidst a fit of giggles.
She sighed. A long sigh that says she will never, ever, ever, fathom this mother of hers. (My mom is the same way. She and her granddaughter take after one another. They are probably kindred reincarnated souls. You see? I can’t just tell a simple story. I must elaborate. I must pretend, play, connect words, connect thoughts, connect disparate ideas, put together two seemingly opposing concepts.)
I started laughing about this again with so much delight in the hotel room (we are staying in the Landmark Inn in Marquette for two nights while Kiah is a maid-of-honor in her friend’s wedding) that my daughter shook her head and said, “You know, you could go crazy and we would never know.”
That, I am afraid dear reader, sent mama into another peal of laughter. Life is SO delightful! Life is filled with mystery and adventure and excitement and joy.
Spiritually mature folks say that we must grow up and let go of the stories of life. I disagree. We must, perhaps, let go of our attachment to the stories of life. If you label something a dress or a leopard–what is important (in my mind, that is)–is that the words and concepts and stories aren’t cemented. That they aren’t dead. They are alive and flowing and changing and moving.
That you can make a dress into anything creative you might dream. That infinite possibility exists in every moment. That your mind becomes like river-water flowing to the sea.
OK, OK, I suppose our minds could become too flowing. We all need to agree on a standard of reality in able to converse and write blogs and talk sanely and sensibly.
I like that a leopard dress can try to strangle you–and it feels like a grand joke, the funniest joke ever told, and yet you know it’s only a dress in Target and, heck, you really don’t like that leopard dress very much even though your daughter thinks you should buy it and wear it to the wedding and she’s a great fashion advisor. You know the difference between a leopard and a dress, darn it, but one is interpretion is funny, hysterical, delightful and drenched with joy. The other is…how can I put it politely?…a dress.
So, dear readers, of which type are you? Are you mostly creative and story-telling? Or do you look at reality very clearly and factually?
P.S. And I suspect that most of us are both–each of us probably has both sides in us. I know that when I’m doing taxes and journal entries I’m one of the most logical practical folks on the planet. No foolin’ around then!
Oh, by the way, guess what? There is a GHOST that haunts the Landmark Inn. She is a librarian. If I find her tonight or tomorrow tonight, you’ll be hearing the story. Just the facts, mind you. Just the facts.