Experience

Contrast

After I took this photo, I was inspired to write about it. The contrast really stands out.

The blue of the sky, which only subtly fades a bit to the lower right, starkly contrasts the lower half of the photo. It is light, while most of the rest of the picture is darker. It’s texture is perfectly smooth. It represents the negative space since it, itself, is not really a thing.

The palm trees pop out of the blue background, as does the mountain top, each contrasting to other elements of the photo. In real life, the snow on the mountain is much more conspicuous than in this picture. In winter in Palm Springs, it is fascinating to be in one climate and be able to see the other. The city sits in the flat desert valley, and up above is a snowy, rocky, terrain covered in a vastly different set of trees. One year, it was in the 30s at the top of the mountain when I visited, and in the mid 80s down below.

In this scene, there is the contrast between the metal fence, the brick, the hedge, and the water. Each of these elements differ in texture even more than in color. The hedge is living, as are the cacti and palms planted below. The metal and the brick are examples of man having molded natural material.

I just know all of y’all are just waiting for me to mention the power-lines. These, one would likely say, ruin the photo. They distract from the beauty of the scene. Even if you don’t love that fence, or don’t prefer a desert scape, you would probably not say it ruins the picture, it’s just not your preference. Yet, in this photo, the power-lines are definitely a distraction.

This, in and of itself, is another stark contrast. Even though the style of the pool, fence, and landscape is modern, it doesn’t portray technology per se. And yet power-lines are an essential infrastructure to our lifestyle. We have become so dependent on electricity. We love what it facilitates for us. And we all could do without the above ground power-lines.

Contrast is absolutely necessary for vision. We are reminded of this at night when all of the lights are off. The same items are in the room, and yet it is much harder to separate out the furniture from the walls. We bump into things, we mistake items for other items. In low lighting, where we can see the boundaries of objects well enough, we can’t discern color very well. Have you ever seen a car in the dark that looks to be one color, and then drives into a source of light to suddenly reveal its actual color?

The purpose of my trip to Palm Springs was to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of a good friend, who I first met 22 years ago. 40 to 50 of us descended upon PS (as it is affectionately abbreviated) for the party.

Andy, my friend, is a true extrovert. He is the youngest of 8, most of which are the same. Nearly all of his family attended. Nearly all of his friends are like him: fun, social, funny…love a crowd and love having a good time.

In contrast, I, in my own mind, felt like the odd man out. These years, I am very introverted, contemplative, and a modern day hermit. Living in my cloister is me and my two cats.

When I left software and dove into metaphysical work, I became sensitive…very sensitive. This was a huge asset in my work, but was hard on the rest of my life. For a while, I was so sensitive to noise, I couldn’t go to bars any longer. Department stores drain me of all energy. And I can’t not feel the emotions of people around me. Even when looking at a photo of someone, I feel so much of what is going on within them.

In an attempt to balance against this, I pulled further and further out of the normal life I once lived. Travel went by the wayside.

In the last number of years, I have wanted to return, at least in part. I do think I have embarked the journey back.

Life in this physical realm feels quite defined and separate. Your skin forms a clear and obvious boundary between you and everything else. Yes, a doctor can cut through your skin and implant a device for your health, and then it gets blurred. Is that device now a part of you? Well, yes and no. The device is not living tissue, but it is a part of the community that is your body.

In truer reality, there is not this separation. If you ask a physicist or chemist, they’ll tell you. The atoms and molecules of your body are not unique in any way and freely flow into and out of your system through breathing, eating, perspiring, and the transferring of heat and energy. All of this is measurable and noticeable. I can cuddle up to you and feel your warmth adding to my own.

The most basic aspect of this realm—life, living—is contrast. There cannot be hot without cold. There cannot be sunny days without cloudy ones. There cannot be day without night.

Back in 1998, the year I met Andy, I received a clairaudient message from my guides. This sort of thing started happening back then. I had read something one wrote akin to what I just shared above: You can’t have hot without cold. What I next heard in my head was:

“Cold must exist for hot to exist, but you don’t need to live in the cold.”

In other words, contrast is and always will be. We cannot eradicate it. We can choose which parts of it we want to experience most often.

That message helped me allow myself to move to San Diego from San Francisco. San Diego was warmer, and that was what I desired. [Apparently, I desired it strong enough to eventually end up in Austin!]

This past weekend was filled with contrast. Most of it was quite nice. I enjoyed all of the extroverts. I appreciated all of the fun they had. It permeated the space and tickled. I had time with the party and time apart from it.

A second close friend of mine flew down from San Francisco. We rented a house together. He is more like me. He didn’t know any of the others. We spent time in the house: cooking, chatting, lying around, sitting in the spa. It was more my general preference. I’ve known John for nearly as long as I’ve known Andy. We all lived in San Diego for a time, but John and Andy never met.

Sharing a space with John, as we did, allowed me to see further inside of him. [Looking at his birth chart facilitated that for sure.] The more information that came through, the greater the contrast. John and I are similar is some ways and different in others. He is in a very different phase in his life than I am in mine.

Again, I was left with appreciation and inspiration.

There was contrast between my time with Andy and my time with John. There was strong contrast to the personality I think of as me, and each of them. Their lifestyle is filled with travel, while mine is home-based. They have active careers, while mine is minimal at best.

The weekend changed me. The city of Palm Springs alone did that. The travel, the socializing, all of it was out of my rut, and some of it will certainly stay with me.

I get to choose. I can decide to return to my hermitage as my daily life. Or, I can continue to open it up some. I can, when I’m ready, embark another trip. Or, I can simply bask in the appreciation of the beautiful people in my life: no matter how extroverted or introverted they may be.

My fiftieth was spent with four others here in Austin. We had a few drinks out in one place, then some food in another. No big party…no out of town guests…no travel. I think a party like Andy’s would have been too stressful for me…even if I didn’t have to organize it. And yet, what an amazing event it was. So many people enjoying themselves. So many people who love and adore this amazing man. The event was partly Andy’s creation for sure. I am not sure who’s idea it was, but he was all in. But he did it as much (or more) for all those he loves than for himself.

In 2020, contrast will continue. The rough will get rougher and the smooth will get smoother. The sweet will be sweet and will make you smile. The sour will be sour and inspire a grimace.

Spirit (at least the part I pay most attention to) has for a while now been recommending this: allow the contrast…and choose. Spend less time pushing against what you do not like and spend more time appreciating what you do. Remind yourself over and over again: you get to choose. You are the creator of your reality, but it is within the context of a diverse fabric.

Tension will exist. Disease, war, racism, sexism, discrimination, waste, destruction, different styles of eating, different styles of living. Life will never conform to a single person’s or group’s preferences. It won’t and it is not supposed to.

Sure, promote the lifestyle you value. Share your ideas with others. But don’t expend the effort to convert those who are not interested.

Surround yourself with the temperatures YOU desire. You will naturally find yourself surrounded with those that prefer as you do. The others will still exist, just over there.

You can be, do, and have as you desire. But you cannot choose for anyone else. And you don’t need to. What they are, what they do, what they have matters not in your Universe. If it pleases you, gaze upon it with appreciation. Allow it to inspire your journey. If you don’t like it, pushing against it will only draw it closer. Is that really what you want to do?

And for those who feel called upon to save the world, protect others, and heal and feed everyone: these desires are noble. They are beautiful. It is a wonderful thing to experience something nice and want the whole rest of the world to have that too. But that is not our mission nor our journey. We may have the power to shift the whole planet, but we cannot do it by pushing against all that we don’t agree with.

We can fill our own lives with as much ease and joy and comfort and health and wealth as we can, then share that with anyone we bump up against. They will see it. They may want to have it for themselves. And they can find their way to it. Their greatest joy will come from creating (allowing) it for themselves. If we simply give it to them, it won’t be as sweet or last as long.

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