Preferred Perception

to create reality is life's purpose – lessons from Nowheim

Introducing CM & CCC

First Episode

CM the Capricious Monkey and CCC the Carefree, Connected Cat, a perfect match, complementing and challenging each other.

Prologue – Interrupted

Isn’t it interesting how nothing would be worthwhile writing about if there weren’t some kind of conflict or contrast involved or at least some movement? Light couldn’t be recognized without dark. Tom wouldn’t be Tom without Jerry. Everything is defined by its relationship to its environment. If there were nothing but rock, we wouldn’t need a word for it. We wouldn’t even be here to call it rock. We would be rock.

What would life be like without contrast and diversity? If it weren’t for the recognition of what we don’t want, we wouldn’t know what we do want. We breathe because we don’t want to suffocate. We want more money when we think we don’t have enough. Some people, of course, see it the other way around, but they still choose by identifying what they do not want.

Humans navigate an additional relationship, and that’s to their inner environment, their invironment. Whether animals, plants and even rocks have their own invironments is a question people have been speculating about. Most accept that animals and maybe, just maybe, plants have emotions and intentions, but rocks? That might be an interesting topic for another story. The territory of our inner workings, beyond the physical, has not yet been fully charted by science. While consciousness was simply not acknowledged in Newtonian physics, quantum physics could no longer get around it. It is becoming clear that consciousness must be an important part of physics. What does this all have to do with CM and CCC?

 “That’s what I am wondering myself.” CM jumped up from her chair. “I thought this was about introducing CCC and me.”

“Give it a moment. I am sure it will get to us, CM.” CCC tried to soothe her. “And don’t you worry, I am sure you will not be overlooked.”

“We’ll see about that. I am so used to being ignored, and I still hate it.  How often have I said something in a conversation and nobody even listened?” She went back to her chair, turning her head away from CCC and quickly wiping her eyes. Both turned their attention back to the prologue.

Our relationship with the environment mirrors our relationship with the invironment. Any time we witness something around us, we have a choice how we perceive it and how we react. We have control over our personal impression. When we choose to focus on it, we assimilate our invironment and therefore confirm and even enforce the outer circumstances by attracting more of the same – good or bad. When we choose to shift our focus and thus alter our invironment, we also change our relationship to the physical environment and so attract different circumstances that better match our altered inner state. Our impressions translate into expressions which change our experiences – subjectively as well as objectively.

And now to CM and CCC. Humans in this physical life sift through infinite possibilities, constantly make choices and create their own reality. Without adversities or contrast, life would be stagnant and boring. But most people don’t realize that they make choices. They live their lives like CM. They ‘choose’ to accept what they perceive as reality and therefor experience more of the same. They are happy when good things happen, and they are unhappy when bad things happen. But they don’t look inside to see the connection between invironment and environment. That’s where CM got her name “Capricious Monkey”, re-acting instead of pro-acting, flickering between happy and unhappy. CCC, on the other hand, does not get frazzled about bad things. Actually, he doesn’t believe bad things exist. Anything that happens is an opportunity for him to evaluate his preferences and adjust his inner composition. This realization has made him feel free, powerful, safe and in love with life. He enjoys physical life like a ride on a rollercoaster. When CM calls him “Carefree, Connected Cat”, she seldom misses to draw quotation marks in the air. But CCC finds his name appropriate and certainly lives up to it.

Feeling Invisible

“Well, at last!” I am not too happy about the statement that I don’t look inside, but that’s OK. I think I have my head on my shoulders and not in the sand. Lucky for you! I am the realist around here.” She didn’t even expect a response and got up to get dressed.

“How formal is this going to be?” The bed was covered with clothes for different looks, from jeans to cocktail dress and everything in between. “Did you hear what I just asked?” CM held a long skirt to her waist and took a critical look in the mirror. “Hey, CCC! Are you listening? I was talking to you.”

“Yes, I am listening.”

“And why don’t you answer?”

“I don’t know how formal it is going to be. I can’t believe people will come to a baseball game all dressed up.”

“Yeah, but we are going to be in the corporate suite.”  She slammed the skirt back onto the bed and followed CCC to the kitchen. “Can you please talk to me? You never listen when I am talking.”

“Just wear what you feel comfortable with. No big deal.”

“And why can’t you answer when I talk to you? This is so hurtful. I never know whether you listen or not. At least grunt, so I know you are listening.” She was close to tears. That was just what she needed: a stuffy nose and red eyes. She was going to stick out like a sore thumb among all those women in business suits and flawless makeup.

CCC was looking forward to watch the game, catch up with his old colleagues and enjoy the comfort of the corporate suite at the top floor of the stadium. He figured CM would too; she appeared excited enough.

It was a mild summer afternoon. They took the scenic route to avoid a traffic jam on the freeway, and CM was able to forget for a moment where they were heading. She had to smile. CCC looked so handsome, and he was such a good driver. He had to concentrate on the road and didn’t notice her glance. The tight curves and the mild air through the open windows reminded CM of their first date when they went to the county fair and rode the old fashioned carousel. How long ago was that? It felt like they had known each other forever.

“You know what bugs me?” She grabbed the dashboard just before her head would have hit the windshield. “Geez! Those bicyclists must have a death wish. Good reaction, sweetheart.” She quickly fastened her seatbelt. “I was saying before that it bugs me that our introduction didn’t explain where we came from and how we met. I mean, wouldn’t that be important too? Or maybe not. Maybe we are not important enough.”

“Why do you say that? You were the one who was in a hurry. The prologue wasn’t finished when you stormed out of the room.”

“My fault again. What did it say?”

“Something like this: you and I were introduced as metaphors in the novel Nowheim. Remember when the narrator took this trip to learn about the law of attraction? We represented her varying states of mind, but she pretended we were her pets. I guess that’s how we got our names. In reality, we had lived in her head long before that. After her return from Nowheim, you and I decided to try a physical life of our own. And here we are. Simple as that.”

“I was thinking about our first date a minute ago. When exactly was that?”

“I am not sure. Must have been when she was a child. I remember how much you enjoyed that carousel ride until you realized that it had to end at some point. Instead of enjoying the moment, you moaned that it would end too soon.”

“Yeah. Like this drive. I wish we could just go on. But eventually we would have to turn around anyway. Nothing lasts forever, and that takes a lot away from the fun.”

“No, it doesn’t. Your focus on the end does. But we have talked about this a thousand times. You suit yourself.”

The suite was already crowded. Nobody took notice when CM and CCC entered. People flocked around the buffet with finger food and drinks, chatting and laughing. CM saw jeans, dresses, even shorts. She would try her best to mingle and find somebody to talk to. There had to be somebody in that crowd with whom she could converse. She couldn’t count on CCC to introduce her. He already headed towards a group of people she had never seen before. The baseball game had already started. The speakers in the suite were turned off, but the announcements came loud and clear through the closed, large windows, despite the hissing air condition. To CM’s surprise, nobody was even near the windows. Most people were eating, chatting and watching a football game on a big overhead television set. Where could she start? A woman, sitting all by herself in a corner, was looking her way and gave her an inviting smile. Thank goodness! Somebody to talk to! She was probably a stranger in the group herself, and she probably felt left out too.

“Hi. Come on. Sit down. Isn’t it a gorgeous day?” What a nice person! CM didn’t need CCC to introduce her to anybody. She was doing just fine and didn’t have to prove herself worthy of his colleagues’ company. “I haven’t seen you in the office. In which building do you work?” CM’s heart sank.

“I don’t work here. My …”

“… Oh.” CM’s chin dropped as she watched the nice person get up, take a drink from the buffet and join another group. What did she expect?

CCC looked over to CM. She didn’t follow him to the table when they came in. Apparently she found company. He saw her sitting with a woman he didn’t recognize. Maybe she was hired after he left. CM looked nice in her summer dress. When he looked over again, she was moving about the room with a plate of food and a glass of wine. She fit right in with this informal group. This was a nice way to reconnect with former colleagues. Every once in a while, he dashed to the window to watch a particular player or when an exciting development on the field was imminent. Or he would look up at the TV’s when the reporter’s voice became loud and agitated.

CM was willing to try one more time. Clutching a glass of wine in her hand, she walked up to a group of men and said “Hi” as casually as she could manage. They stopped their conversation for a moment to make room in their circle and then continued talking about some business related subject she didn’t know anything to contribute to. Had it been rude to interrupt? She tried to look interested. Would it be appropriate to just walk away from the group?

“You don’t work here, do you?” CM almost spilled her wine. She tried her friendliest smile and shook her head. Would that be the end of the interaction?

“What do you do when you are not at a baseball game?”

“Oh, nothing anybody else would find exciting. Artsy stuff.” They waited for more information, and when she didn’t offer any, they exchanged a few more kind remarks with her and resumed their conversation. At least they were more polite than the nice person earlier, but were they really interested in what she did?

As she walked back to the table to refill her glass, she heard one of them call after her: “It was nice to meet you.” She turned around with one more forced smile and saw that CCC stood in the exact spot where she had stood seconds earlier. “What is that ‘artsy’ stuff she is doing? She wasn’t going to volunteer any more information. Pretty secretive, isn’t she?” CCC pulled out photos of CM’s paintings and sculptures. He loved showing her work off. The guys passed the photos around and seemed impressed. One of them mentioned that he had a friend who arranged exhibitions for local artists in his restaurant. He would tell him about CM’s work. They continued to talk about cultural events in the community and art in general. CCC’s cheeks glowed with enthusiasm. He didn’t even notice the nice person who had stepped next to him and tried to get the groups’ attention with some snide remarks about the value of art to society.

CM spent the rest of the time at the window, watching the game or at least staring at the field and hoping nobody else would come-on- sit-down her again. Every time she checked the big clock over the door, its hand had hardly moved. And every time she looked for CCC, she saw him in a different spot, engaged in a conversation with a different person or group. If she stared at him long enough, maybe he would notice her.

CCC couldn’t believe how fast time had gone by. Their team didn’t win, but that was OK.  He went to get CM who was sitting at the window, watching people gathering their things and saying good bye to one another. On the way to the door, they ran into the man who had been particularly interested in CM’s artwork. He probed her for more information and asked if he could see her paintings someday. Was he really interested, or did he just make conversation? She was still not sure about it. But CCC kept nudging and encouraging her. They arrived at their parked cars, and she regretted that she hadn’t recognized his genuine interest earlier. She really should have more confidence and care less about what other people thought of her. She could learn a thing or two from CCC, but she wasn’t going to try to jump over her own shadow. He was a little too carefree for her taste. And he had even admitted on occasion that he was inspired by her. Sometimes she gave him great ideas, and sometimes she showed him by example what he did not want to experience. How he managed to always come out on top, was beyond her.

© 2011 Wilma Reiber