Is this all there is?

I have an image in my head from the movie “The Truman Show.” It is when Truman tries to leave his ‘world’ (the movie is about a character who is unknowingly filmed 24/7 as a TV show) by sailing away. He is on a little boat, sailing into the blue sky, when he bumps up against the edge of the sky/set. I often think of this image. It is my visual representation of the thought: is this all there is?


I have had some horrible and very violent dreams lately. People were physically attacking each other, I’m being chased by monsters, or horrible crimes were committed. My brain is spewing out anger. I don’t like horror movies. I don’t like slasher flicks or thrillers. I am still debating whether I am scarred for watching Poltergeist in Grade 2 when I was at a friend’s house for a sleep-over. That was my first and only one of two horror films I’ve ever watched. I like to keep my world under control; I don’t need that stimulus or fear added in.

I’ve struggled lately. I’m frustrated, lacking motivation. I am emotionally tired.

I don’t think I am the only one. I have read blogs and talked to others about this very thing. People are struggling, but it also means people are changing. It is not the same-old, same-old – even if we can’t identify it or see the end – because things are not the same. There is a shift going on, and we are not isolated in our experience.

I wonder if I knew how things would end if I would relax more along the way. If I knew that whatever I did it was always the right choice: I would get to where I needed no matter what, would I feel more trusting and safe and content?  The obvious answer is yes. The more obvious question is why I can’t allow myself to trust and believe in this perspective.

The reason is that no one likes bad news. Even if I knew I could prepare for something that was unwanted, I would always choose avoidance and pick a happier/easier distraction. If I knew that something that I resisted was for the greater good of my being and everyone’s experience, then would I choose it? I may be hard pressed to convince my rational, logical, and earthy mind of this.

Viola ocellata Western Heart's-ease

I think we crave and strive for ease, but maybe the problem is that we don’t know what this really is. Buddhist philosophy believes that “all life is suffering.” If I could also believe this, I could also appreciate and accept that anything that came my way was just a part of life. There may not be as many highs and lows in my perspective on what I was experiencing .

This week I have felt a shift. My running has gotten easier, I have relaxed a little more, and I am more present. Maybe the phase of the moon has shifted or maybe I have let go of something. My perspective shifted a little and even if I don’t know the reason, it is worth noticing.

(Photo credit: davidhofmann08)


27 thoughts on “Is this all there is?

  1. My days get so busy that I don’t always have time for angst. This is a good thing, for sure, but like you, I often have nightmares, so I figure that angst is catching me when it can. 😉

    Nice post.

  2. Buddhist philosophy also says “everything changes.” I’m glad you’re working through your slump and are coming out the other side. I feel the shift that you speak of as well, and I think many others do, too. I sense a feeling of people wanting to get back to a simpler life, one that values meaning over materialism. Things just feel out of whack, don’t they? Other than totally opting out and becoming homeless, there has to be a better way.

    • It’s about finding balance, but even that word/concept/idea seems out of whack now. We’ve totally recreated a sense of balance to mean something completely different: it’s like we value what we earn more than our personal relationships.
      I’m glad you are feeling better too. And you are so right: everything changes!

  3. I seem to always find February a challenging month, at least up here in Toronto where it’s grey, cold and the days are short. I long for Spring and the illusion at least of new beginnings.

    • Denmother,
      I didn’t realize you were in TO. I’m on the wet West Coast. While we have flowers poking out of the ground, we also have wet, wet, wet, and windy. It still feels grey and I could use a new page on the calendar. It will also bring new shoots, and then leaves!

  4. Something is definitely up with the shifting taking place. And the only time change takes place is when we are uncomfortable. So welcome it, keep running, this is IT. THIS. Right now. and OMG – I loved the Truman Show so much. It rocked my world when I first saw it. Very profound to me at the time. I will never forget that movie. For that very scene you spoke of. : ) And if you remember, he walked through that door after he hit that wall.

  5. Still waiting for the shift but then I’m on the other side of the world so maybe it’s just a time lag? I love that you posted this because that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling just lately. I nearly withdrew my Honours Degree application (which starts next week) because I felt so unready for another blast of full on study and hard work and life juggling…..I need to use your mantra and start moving my arse again…run and breathe, run and breathe, focus on the breath and get a bloody grip on my life again! xx

    • Nanna,
      Changes also happen that we are unaware of — time lag not included! So sometimes we feel like things are beyond our control, but I often struggle with knowing *what* is beyond my control. Sometimes we don’t need to know– we feel this way and we work to help ourselves create balance.
      Yes, run and breathe!

  6. Enjoyed reading your thoughts today about mortality, courage, suffering and balance. We all need each other in this life, and need each other to be on a path of elevation despite age.

    • Life doesn’t stop because we want to give up. We do our best to deal with what we encounter, but knowing that others feel this way -or have similar experiences- is comforting.
      Thanks for your comments.

  7. I have felt that things are changing as well – I wonder if it’s this act of writing and reflection that is continually happening in this process that puts us in an ‘ever changing’ mode? Writing a book by yourself is different – posting tidbits and having people read and respond and then you respond keeps your brain whirling — or something of that nature.

    • Getting feedback and comments on what you write/post brings you back to those feelings and ideas. You may reassess or reflect more. Maybe we process differently when we make our feelings more ‘public’.
      Writing a book would certainly be different: definitely a solo hike with no external distraction or stimulus on your ideas.

  8. I often have the craziest dreams. Or dreams where the following day I find myself at work thinking I’ve had a conversation with someone and actually it was in my sleep! I also have some great screaming matches with people while I’m asleep but I always feel ok when I wake up!

    • I think it’s great to process things while we sleep. Safer, less public humiliation, and your brain does wonderful things when your conscious parameters step out of the way.
      I have also assumed entire conversations/events have happened only to realize that I dreamt it.

  9. it is hard to read all that is above and not think of a million things i wanna say. Definitely a shift. i feel that this ‘shift’ has been moving itself going a While now. It is definitely becoming more apparent & is more noticeable. I feel this is partially because of each of ours note taking of others around our own ‘self’s. ~The shift is outwardly knocking up against enough lives to make some noise so that it is heard. I think it is most much much very important that we listen. (now) i do tho believe the rattling is not always an offensive noise… mine definitely has been horrid and more than definitely screeching in my ears seemingly endlessly (& down my throat)! ..but then there mine has begun to softly hum a pretty song in the back beat. And it truly has moments (just enough to keep me moving…) that feel like the song is gonna break out in a beautiful beat. But only if i set my intentions. only if i hold them. i think that sky/set is there- but it is not what we are meant to bump into~
    (sorry if that was too long- exactly why i started a blog!)

    • Flutterby,
      A great comment about listening to the sounds (probably both external and internal) around us. When we hear the knock of change, we can pay attention and listen to what it says to us.
      Glad you started a blog — I’m sure you have lots more to say on this. Thanks for your comments.

  10. I’ve ended up writing about my struggles and for that very reason, while I’m boring the heck out of readers, I have started sleeping better. Wow – that’s a shift I could really use. It literally changes my perception overnight. Great, timely post!

    • Michelle,
      Glad the shift has been so noticeable for you. I have been reading your posts — and haven’t found them boring. Perhaps I just relate very well, but I also think it’s that your written words are easy to digest.
      A good night’s sleep is priceless!

  11. I’m so glad you wrote this because I too feel a shift. I’m not doing my “normal” things and it’s making me frustrated and uncomfortable. But if we don’t allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, then it is harder to grow and learn life’s lessons. I have a friend who recently quit her job. She was doing something she didn’t have a passion for so she made the decision to leave. Right now, she is trying to find what she really wants to do and doing a lot of yoga and meditation in the meantime. She came over for dinner a few nights ago and was talking about how the uncertainty was really uncomfortable but she had learned to trust that it will all be okay. It’s really awesome to see this inner peace that she has found and I admire her desire to “do” her passion.

    Life is crazy but it’s like Mario’s dad always told him… Life is like the sin wave. It goes up and it goes down, and then it does it over and over again.

    Sending you peaceful dreams and happy thoughts!

    • Wow. Leaving stability and security and our built-up comforts is a big step. Sometimes walking into the unknown and being willing to sit with it for a while is a huge breakthrough. It may not be comfortable or usual or feel good, but it’s also all okay. Being in that place and just allowing it to be around you is tremendous growth. I admire your friend’s willingness and tenacity and trust! A fabulous example for those of us who are a wee bit more rigid.

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