Reality Check Please!

Jun 8, 2010 by

(Dinner At the Reality Café)

By Lisa Campion

The other night I had a dream that I was sitting in the Reality Café. It’s this funky galactic dinner in a fashionable arm of the Milky Way. I had a seat in a booth with some of my best soul pals, but I didn’t like what I was eating.

I needed a Reality Check.

So I signaled the waitron, who was some funky angelic multidimensional being, all wings and eyes, feathers and flames and said, “Check please!”

“What kind of check?” This being looked like it was made up from some of my weirder back of the brain, nightmare spare parts. (This, by the way, is what angels always look like to me. I never get the pretty ladies with the wings.  I always see something that looks like it was glued together with the spare parts from the Freaky Factory.)

“I need a reality check. I am not sure what is real anymore and I am pretty sure this reality is NOT what I ordered. It wasn’t described right on the menu. It’s all chewy and hard to swallow and doesn’t taste like chocolate at all!  Can you take it back and just charge my karma card?”

“Gee, I am sorry your reality is not to your liking.” it said, with its many eyes flickering and fluttering in concern. “Is there anything we can do to adjust it more to your liking?  Perhaps a different perception?  We can change your perception filter with a few more years of therapy or meditation.  Or maybe an attitude adjustment or a side of gratitude would make it go down a little better?”

“Ugh!” I said, feeling queasy. “Do you have any Rolaids?  Or Pepto?  Hey, I know what I need to swallow this, just dowse it with some Fantasy and Illusion Sauce, you know, like to cover over all the scary parts of my Reality Experience and give it a nice flavor.”

One of my dinning companions chimed in at this moment, “I thought you were trying to cut back on that stuff, it’s so addicting! That is why we are at the Reality Café!”  Yes it was true, I was trying to let go of the Fantasy/Illusion meals (Twinkies and Coke…) for a more brown rice and veggies version of reality. Sigh.

I got the impression of a wing tip, bent in concentration. “I know!  You are about due for an epiphany! That always helps!”  It looked so hopeful, I began to have seconds thoughts about sending my reality back to its maker. (Who was, according to my dream, a short order cook named Bruce who was blue and sported five arms and two head.)

The Waitron winked a few of its hundreds of eyes and said coyly “Personally, I am big fan of a spoon full of honey to help it go down.”

Oh boy!

I woke up dazed and slightly confused, wondering about the nature of reality and illusion and what the heck goes on in my subconscious. And no I haven’t been smoking wacky tobaccy, although you’d think I did this nightly if you had the kind of dreams I do.  Chalk it up to getting ready to teach in the last class of the Energy Medicine Institute, where we are working on Chakra 6 (illusion vs. reality) and Chakra 7 (pure consciousness vs. unconsciousness).

Two lightweight topics, right there.

As always, I am getting real live, in my face lessons in Technicolor about reality vs. illusion.  It’s rather disconcerting, noticing how I drop in and out of reality constantly.  It’s the weirdest feeling.  Here I am,  thinking I am solidly in reality when suddenly I realize I left the Reality Map a while ago and I  am spinning my wheels in Fantasy World. I can actually feel my brain slide sideways as I leave the reality page and slip into some kind of illusion or fantasy. It’s like being able to feel yourself lose consciousness, which it basically is!

I have had a huge love affair with illusion and fantasy, it’s my favorite addiction. When I don’t like what is going on in my life, I just lose myself in a nice fantasy until I feel better.  Reality might be compared to a greasy spoon meal at the Reality Café, but it’s nice, warm and fluffy over in Fantasy World and you always get things just how you ordered them!

My mom tells me that when I was little I used to say that there had been a huge mistake and I was sorry but I was on the wrong planet and in the wrong body, wrong time frame and definitely the wrong family. At that age, I was having a little trouble loving what is.

My understanding mother, God love her, didn’t take it personally. I think she understood me very well.

I love fantasy movies and books and always have.  And I am not too picky about what kind of fantasy worlds I live in. The interior of my own psyche is the most compelling but when that falls short, I am happy in a multitude of alterative realities. I love the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. Terry Pratchet’s Discworld is a lark.  Dr. Who is the best cheesy, time traveling multiverse ever.  I like it when the good guys win, and the forces of Light conquer the Dark.

I also enjoy a good dark fantasy too. Those can sometimes be the most fun as long as they are sexy, exotic and powerful. Vampire world, the underworld in general is a nice place to visit although I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’ll even take history as a nice diversion, as I only have the fantasy version of it. I am pretty sure I would NOT like actual history since that is just plain old REALITY but with less soap, dental hygiene, antibiotics and Lord help me, birth control. (Time travelers tool kit right there!)  Nope, I will give actual history a wide birth and just stay with the fantasy version of it.

It so easy to slip into that fantasy world and want to stay there. I am too afraid to get into games like World of Warcraft, because I know I might never come out.  I could be one of those pale, shadowy people who emerge from the darkness of their parent’s basements only to buy more Mountain Dew and Cheetos before diving back into Fantasy World.

I totally understand why people go live at Renaissance Faire’s and do historical reenactments. I get the lure of the Society for Creative Anachronisms.  I happily lose myself into alternate worlds, and the longer I can stay there the better. 18th Centuray Scotland? Bring it on! Especially with seven books at 1000 pages each. And Jamie Fraser on every page to sweeten the pot. Heaven!

I am a master at fantasizing about perfect relationships and am defiantly hip to why ladies read romance novels. And why men love porn, each to his/her own fantasy, right?  It cracks me up that all the best men I have ever “known” are fantasy creations that have come out directly of the minds of women!  In fantasy world, men love designing the perfect women for them (porn!) and women design the prefect men for them (the swashbuckling heroes from romance novel) and ne’re the twain shall meet! Ok, maybe they meet in some soft-core overlap universe, like say Hollywood and TV Land.

It’s sad, really and I think explains quite a lot about all the relationship unhappiness there is in the world. There is that pesky gap between the reality in our heads and the actual reality, which is far trickier. When we are addicted to fantasy, then reality pales in comparison, which I quickly figured out after having to deal with actual people rather then their fantasy counter parts. Including myself, BTW!

I move in and out of reality all the time. I do it 100 times in an hour!  Mostly because I am not sure I LIKE reality very much. It’s always so much better in head, whatever it is.  I will say how ever that reality is starting to grow on me. (Kind of like mold…)

My mind is a slippery little bugger, and most of the time I feel like I have no control over it. It does what it does and I just go along for the ride. This time through the chakra dance, I am having more awareness of my journey in and out of reality, but I can’t seem to stop the process, only observe it.

It reminds me a little of falling asleep and waking up over and over again. You fall asleep so gradually you don’t even know you did until you are suddenly awake again.

Here is an example. I am driving in the car and feeling like I am in reality, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. BLAM. Something triggers me, I don’t even know what, and I am driving off the Reality Map and traveling backwards into the past, asleep at the wheel again.

I am thinking about who said what and nursing hurt feelings and  some unresolved anger. I think about what I should have said, and done, the perfect retort finally making an appearance.  I chew it over in my mind, like a cow chewing cud, and ten minutes later, I arrive at my destination having no idea how I got there. I was asleep at the wheel, on autopilot, lost in the unreality of the my perception of the past.

I get tired of the past and then zoom into the future where I live in Southern France and am a famous, loved and respected writer. Usually there are butlers and housekeepers and trips to wonderful places, since when I get bored with the Riviera, it only takes a split second to relocate to Maui.

And then I snap to, back in my car. Back in reality.

Ack! I missed ten whole minutes of my actual reality! Ten minutes I can’t get back, on a perfectly beautiful spring day.  Ten minutes I might have enjoyed had I been present in them, since they were great!  Nothing bad was happening. Everything was peaceful and lovely. Too bad I wasn’t there.

The funny thing is, when I STAY in reality, everything is fine. I can deal with whatever is happening in the moment and 99% of the time I actually really like what I am doing and I like my life.  I find it takes a certain amount of discipline to stay present in the moment, since that is what I am really talking about.

Mindfulness is the cure for our current insanity. When we stay present in reality, we can do and be amazing things, but we so often abdicate our power of the now and go bye-bye. Don’t’ like the helpless feeling you get when you watch the news?  American Idol looks pretty good and it doesn’t bring up any uncomfortable feelings.

What works for me, is having a little faith that I can deal with my feelings whatever they are in the moment. And life sure keeps throwing me some curve balls to practice with. I am so far out of my comfort zone in most of my life that I can hear the siren call of fantasy/illusion calling to me. And yet I keep exercising that discipline and staying present and my life feels richer.

Staying in reality makes a life that is juicy and tasty as a meal. It’s totally fulfilling too, even if it doesn’t often meet my expectations.  It’s like a nice three course meal, with a few little surprises thrown in for good measure.  It’s the Chef’s Surprise otherwise known as the Blue Plate Special.

“Maybe I’ll stick with my reality choice after all,” I told the waitron.  My dinning companions all nodded their heads.

“You did order the Blue Plate Special because you like surprises,” My angelic server said. “You always order the same thing, every time you come in!”

And I do. Give me a big plate of wonder, surprise, yummy relationships, good work to do, with a hint of uncertainty, a dash of the unknowable. And a good swallow of lessons well learned as a chaser. And if it’s chocolate flavored, even better!

My reality is a feast.  How about yours?

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