I’ve been reading ‘A Course in Miracles’, which is a bit hard going and much of which goes over the top of my head. There is a workbook to go alongside it, which is basically a statement a day which you ponder upon. One of which was ‘I have invented the world I see’. Like most days my initial thought was ‘don’t be so daft, of course I haven’t invented the world I see’.
But as the day wore on, I had moments of ‘oh, perhaps I have’.
- Like my dad, I have an Olympic standard ability to spot the negative in everything that I see, so it’s highly unlikely that I will ever see a positive version of the world. Why go with the positive when you can glean a negative out of a situation. I assume the worst in every situation which means you don’t often get disappointed! Likewise, I very rarely get excited by anything.
- I also have a habit of projecting into the future – of how things might turn out – sometimes in technicolour and mostly with a negative flourish. Oddly, things never quite pan out like I envision and I certainly haven’t won the lottery and believe you me I know what that would look like, and, how different situations will play out.
Until fairly recently I was mildly terrified of the world due to my anxiety, but I never let that stop me from doing things. I rarely think, I just do which is how I found myself on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean about to go para-sailing. Clearly, if I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t be doing it, but where’s the fun in that!
- Despite being so negative I do have an unfailing belief in people and their ability to be nice and do the right thing. Often, I am disappointed, but my default is always that there is good in everybody.
All of these are factors which influence the world I see, or the world I have invented. My initial reaction also went along the lines of ‘as if I’d invent living in lockdown’, but realised it’s not necessarily about Covid and other events beyond my control, it’s as much about how you deal with those events
I think I might be overthinking and getting carried away, but also thought about how choices in my life have led to this point and how that has enabled me to invent the world I see. How many choices do we make in life that lead us down a path and that path is a version of the world and influences how we view that world?
So, I am currently coming out of lockdown in Portugal. In an apartment near the ocean. An apartment that husband and I chose after looking at several. In a town that we chose after coming on holiday here. As a consequence of that choice when I finished teaching, we were able to spend more time here and as a consequence of Covid we decided to try spending even more time here. This is just one of many choices I have made in life, some very good, some not so good, a few that were downright ropey, but they have all led me to this point and the version of the world I see. I read a book ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz, one part in particular really struck home:
“We only see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. We don’t perceive things the way they are. We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality. We literally dream things up in our imaginations” (Ruiz, p64)
All of us have a different version of the world we see, and our choices have created that version, some deliberate choices, some choices that have been forced upon us. For example, I didn’t choose not to have children, but as a consequence of that I made other choices: to go into teaching, to move back to Stoke-on-Trent for a while. If I’d had a child, it’s unlikely I would have met my current husband and if I’d not met him, we wouldn’t now be sitting out Covid in an apartment in Portugal.
It’s not very often we think about the choices we made. I was chatting to my sister recently and I was telling her about my latest degree. I signed up with the Open University to study a degree in Classics but might swap to English Literature. The thought of either made my sister’s toes curl – but for me the thought of studying science and maths makes me weep – and this goes right back to school. I chose essay based, flouncy subjects at A level in particular, she chose maths and science. It follows on then that she qualified as a physiotherapist and I did a degree in History and Politics. She lives in the countryside, I am a city girl. We’re from the same family, but due to choices we’ve made our versions of the world are very different.
Then off we go down the rabbit hole of life. But I found it quite fascinating. How many people there are on this planet and each one sees the world differently. That’s a lot of inventing.