Sleeve Notes 101: 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Magical Rose Gardens

Dale Carnegie once said that "all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon -- instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside of our windows today." I've been thinking a lot about that statement over the past few days and it kind of rings true for me. Being one of those dreamer types, I tend to believe in those "pie-in-the-sky" kind of things - lots of money, perfect family, perfect car, perfect house, perfect friends, big mansion in the afterlife where streets are paved with gold. Since none of those things exist right now in my life, it's easy to think that spend an inordinate amount of time in that "better" place.

A lot of energy goes into thinking about the afterlife. Perhaps that is because of the imperfections that are all around us or because we don't have the perfect life now, whatever the reason, we tend to wish for the "end-game" when all our "enemies" will be blown to smithereans and we'll get a spectacular mansion just down the street from god or at the very least a saint (mother tereasa would be nice). I can hear someone saying that is fatalistic thinking and I would agree. And yet, a little over 30 percent of the world engages in some form of this type of "fatalistic" thinking. When things get tough, we start to rely more heavily on our faith in a being that floats nebulously above our atmosphere who will one day right all the wrongs that exist in our little world. In the meantime, he/she is kept awfully busy chatting with a rather dim-witted man who is the current communication tool (I think tool is the operative word). This thinking has us believing in a rosy scenario in the "by-and-by" thereby allowing us to scrape by in our little hum-drum reality like we've been numbed by an overdose of Prozac.

Are we missing something in the here-and-now because we are too busy dreaming about our "mansion over the hilltop"? I'm fairly certain that the "pie-in-the-sky" dreams serve a purpose. I'm also fairly certain that living in a Prozac wonderland leaves us out of the enjoyment business today. We deny ourselves a real life today so we can enjoy a "magical rose garden" upon our death. I wonder how healthy this obsession is. Is living in fantasy land making us happier, healthier people? And doesn't it sound just a little bit like denial?

Please understand that I'm not suggesting that our reality is it...that there is no after-life. But I'm beginning to feel that to constantly live in that world deprives me of the enjoyment of the "roses that are blooming" right outside my window.

The other day a random thought occured to me - Live your best life now! But how can that be accomplished if all I can see is something that is just out of reach? If this world is the ultimate "master-planned community" and we are part of that master-plan, then doesn't it stand to reason that we are to enjoy our time here? Don't you think that the creator must be sad when he sees so many of his creation destroying our world or worse, choosing to ignore all the beauty around them because they are too caught up in their dreams of what life will be like when god sends the bad people to suffer and the good ones (aka the dreamers) get to live in that "magical rose garden just over the horizon"?

Some say that they are "heaven-minded" but I'm beginning to think it's just a coping mechanism because they can't, or won't, live in their current reality. As for me, I've made a determination to start looking for the roses that "are blooming outside" my window. It doesn't mean I'm going to forget all about that "magical rose garden over the horizon" because I'm still going to dream about it. Dreaming has it's place and purpose. But living in dream-land all the time has a tendancy to make reality look awfully drab.