Saturday, December 31, 2011

SL/RL Synthesis Note (46): “Auld Lang Syne” Welcome 2012!

The song "Auld Lang Syne" has come a long way from its Scottish roots and is roughly translated as "old long since", or “for (the sake of) old times.”

Singing it as we bring in the New Year should remind us that times and experience past are good indicators to us of what things we should seek or avoid as we begin again, renewing another year.

Accepting change is probably one of life’s most difficult tasks. Even positive change sometimes produces in us feelings of grief and regret. However, it is the contrast of experiencing something new that allows us to grow …EVOLVE!...in heart, mind and spirit.

There have been things in my Second Life that no matter how many times I have thought, said, and believed that I let go, the memories always bring me back to where it felt I had begun. What I am appreciating NOW, is that it is the memories of the “joy and bliss” that keep me wanting. Each return, however, has provided a new opportunity to look back and review what had previously been a faulty understanding and allowed me to view it through a new, more enlightened lens. It is what forgiveness and healing look like in action.
"Mending a Broken Heart" by LaffyTaff247

The lyrics to this traditional song have new meaning for me as I enter the New Year. I am willing to accept the grief that comes with the loss of something…someone so dear to the heart you believe you can never move on. I resolve to find focus and contentment in connecting to the best and brightest in myself. I invite you to join me and let your light shine!

And should old acquaintances be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Of course not.

Keep old friends near, hold on to the pleasure of joyful memories of love, and allow them both to help you through the changes in your life that will produce miracles.

Peace and many blessings in 2012
Always and All Ways (RMD)

I Love You

Happy New Year! :)
Acu


Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;

The flames of Love extinguished,

and fully past and gone:

Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,

that loving Breast of thine;

That thou canst never once reflect
on
Old long syne.

CHORUS:
On Old long syne my Jo,
in Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
on Old long syne.

My Heart is ravisht with delight,
when thee I think upon;

All Grief and Sorrow takes the flight,

and speedily is gone;

The bright resemblance of thy Face,

so fills this, Heart of mine;

That Force nor Fate can me displease,
for Old long syne.
CHORUS
Since thoughts of thee doth banish grief,

when from thee I am gone;

will not thy presence yield relief,

to this sad Heart of mine:

Why doth thy presence me defeat,

with excellence divine?

Especially when I reflect
on Old long syne
CHORUS

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks Giving (2011)

You don't have to live in the United States to offer Thanksgiving today. Today and EVERYday, should be an opportunity to develop an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment RIGHT NOW, to be aware of the things in your life you can be grateful for, and GIVE THANKS!

If you are unsure, start with: the means to have a computer and access to the internet; the ability to connect with people from various cultures, backgrounds, religious & spiritual affiliations, and socioeconomic lifestyles; the ability interact with individuals at various stages of maturity and to teach, learn and grow; and for your  willingness to build relationships with REAL people, as they see themselves in their grandest visions. Be grateful for the ability to explore your deepest and innermost dreams and fantasies and growing in an understanding that you can manifest your destiny in both virtual and tangible worlds...

Today and everyday, I am grateful for the relationships that bring meaning to my life. I am grateful for the love that is abound. Always available... Always accessible... 

Today and EVERYday, I am grateful for YOU!

With Love Always...XOXO
Acu

Friday, November 18, 2011

SL/RL Synthesis Note (45): "…On Being Ambiguous…"



Song of the Moment: “Closer” by Shawn McDonald
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t16b2yMqME

Make Up Your MIND…
    Just say YES…

As simple as it sounds, when at a crossroad making a choice can be an overwhelming experience. More often than not, the stumble is in reflecting and realizing that we already know what choice must be made, but must find the courage to make it. Until we come to the place where we can say “no” to something that has not worked and “yes” to something other than that, we spin in circles sometimes spiraling into some of our darkest life periods. The goal of life is to say YES to those things in our path that call to the joy in our hearts,  and then accepting that it also means saying “No” to other paths available even when they may provide temporary relief to a choice we may be struggling with. We can only be in one place at one time, and so we must walk one path at a time.

Living a “Second Life” of course can complicate these matters because you can, in effect, walk two paths at once. The challenge though is that even with 2 lives (or 3 or 4 dependant upon how many alternate lives you may be living with various avatars) there is only one human operator and therefore you can only be “present” and be available as one “self” at a time. Trying to juggle several paths at once will never allow you to fully be “present” to one goal. To live and enjoy it; to contemplate it and discover new ways to navigate it; to move swiftly toward the fulfillment of it. Straddling two choices IS also a choice, akin to riding with one of each feet on two different tracks. Ultimately what works as a parallel ride will still bring you to a place of separation and you must decide which direction you want to go. Tangibly or spiritually two tracks are never intended to run parallel forever... why would there be a need for both?

We make choices all day, every day for the duration of our lives. Life IS but a series of choices, one after another, moving us toward more experiences, maturity and wisdom. In relationships, sometimes it is the choice another has made, that puts us in the precarious situation of then having to make a choice of our own. We sometimes get stuck, when we are unable to accept the choice another has made, and hold on to the hope that they will change their mind. The pain of waiting, then ensues sometimes moving us to do and be things we might never had considered, in hopes that the person will choose again … and say “yes” to you once more. What is it you are living in the meantime? What is it that you must say “No” to in your life, that might bring you to a happier place than you are experiencing while “in wait”. The reality is, whatever it is you are saying “yes” to precludes many other options. Conversely, when you do say “yes” to something, it creates a pathway toward that goal for you, and if you are saying “yes” to a closed door, there really isn’t must distance for the wear unless the person behind it chooses to open it. Do you really want a life that is lived contingent upon the actions of another? …I’m just sayin’… Coming to the realization that a choice must be made in and of itself can be an epiphany moment. Making the choice, however, can be a long, arduous process that puts our life on hold…and what a sad, isolated existence that can become!

When we are born, we leave that comfortable symbiotic space that is the womb, and are delivered into infinite possibilities. Life becomes a series of choices by which we are narrowing down the prospects into a series of paths that slowly converge into what we call life. Early on our caretakers give us the tools we will use to carve our lives into our personal existence. Our eulogy then becomes a recap of the paths we’ve chosen and our life’s hope that each road has led to happiness and fulfillment. Each choice brings us closer to a more clearly defined path shaping our sense of purpose and …our relationships.

Its time… NOW… CHOOSE …and LIVE … Stop procrastinating…

Just say “YES!”

XOXO
Acu

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Beginnings... (a poem)

Day makes way for night
Darkness emerges from the light
Flowers of midnight bloom
The petals slumber, fold to cocoon.

Creatures of night rejoice in song
Their voices familiar to those who belong
Exclusive of the spirits of day
The souls of twilight now guide the way.

From the bliss of joy to the depths of sorrow
Without the day, night could not bring tomorrow
The moon and his fiery bride entwined
Give birth to both darkness and sunshine.

by Acuminous (c) August 2009

written for the in-world Egbe Akowe Writing Group

He's Back...Yeah! (a poem)

Ding Ding! gasp, swallow
I feel so hollow
My heart races, I look down
Its not him… “Damn!”
   my smile fades to a frown

I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking ‘bout you
Maybe it’s the things you say, the way you do, what you do
When you’re away, thoughts of you relentlessly taunt my mind
I’m like a fiend searching for a drug I cannot find.

Ding Ding! gasp, swallow
Close my eyes and breath deep
“hey sista, girl how you been…”
Damn, how disappointing…
I respond “nothing much girlfriend.”


Minutes, hours, trying to pass the time away
Watching my screen closely for a sign you’ll log on today
Seems my only existence in this virtual space
  is planning, plotting, negotiating…feels like an endless chase.
Its a game, with no winner
These thoughts…desires…cravings, make me a sinner

Sapiosexuality at its finest…
Mmmm, pleasure for the mind
Lick my lips at each thought of you,
Each thought another bind

It’s all about you
Pixelated pleasure, virtual yet so real
It’s all about me
The way your words make me feel
It’s all about we
The fantasies so sweet
 like honey dripping from the keys
My eyes crave a treat.

Ding Ding! gasp, swallow
A flash across the screen
“hey, how you been”
I moan then startle, not knowing what to say.
I pause, breath a moment,
He’s back…yeah!
I smile, position myself, place my fingers on the keys
Time to play…


by Acuminous (c) April 2009
written for the in-world Egbe Akowe Writing Group

to LIVE (a poem)

Still in the darkness
I Am
Peace

A thought from within
To Be
Free to feel, to experience
To LIVE

In that moment awakened
I Am
Real
I wear the mask, a shell of my Self

Peace now pieces, the stillness forgotten
I birth
Duality

Living In Fearless Emotion
I feel the intangible
Perceive the imperceptible
Joy, pain
Courage, FEAR
Good and
EVIL, I LIVE

Until the darkness returns
The weakness underlying my strength
Transcendence
Brings sweet surrender
Each piece I re-collect
Remember
Remove the mask
and return…

by Acuminous (c) July 2009
written for the in-world Egbe Akowe Writing Group

One Enchanted Moment (a poem)

It feels as though a lifetime has passed.

Broken, bent and beatten
Like a child in the wilderness,
I searched the tree tops and river banks,
brush and meadow
mountain and valley
pieces of me, longing for you.

Guided by voices,
My mind a map of words,
I turned left and turned right – holding my breath
Hoping that soon… just a bit farther
Your arms would be waiting.

The days, months, the years passed by
Time so fast, yet so still
The wilderness no longer wild,
Became my solitude.
i am one with it
 but still feel the longing and struggle on,
seeking your grace, your comfort
…to at last find you.

Now
engulfed by the monotony
My heart weary and filled with fear.
The screams of my mind remind me
…i am not yet worthy.
Thoughts shrouding secrets of my heart.

No longer able, full of resentment and disgust,
I fall to my knees and cry out to you—
my arms reach desperately,
As I stare into nothingness
 through tear soaked eyelids
and call your name

“LOVE…why do you forsake me?
  I surrender…please release me!”

I close my eyes,
pressing my warm face
to the cool, moist ground
and in that moment
I Am
Still

My heart is filled with
The secrets of trees’ whispers… “now, yes Now”
The hidden words of birds singing “Now, yes Now”
The quiet release of the rivers’ babbling “Now, Yes NOW”

Pieces now One,
I Am One
Peace.

written for the in-world Egbe Akowe Writing Group (c) July 2009

Monday, October 3, 2011

ASK Acu: "Balancing 2 Loves and Lives"

Originally appeared in Teleport Magazine (2008) No Longer Published

Acu,
I believe I have found my soul mate, thanks to Second Life. J My SL girlfriend lives in another country and I don’t know how else we would have found each other! She and I have been at it non-stop for almost three months and it has been one of the best relationships I think I’ve ever had RL or SL. She and I have complicated situations in real life and enjoy unplugging from all that when we are together in-world. Logging in to see her is truly the highlight of my day. The problem is, Acu, that I spend a lot of time in-world, sometimes 8 to 10 hours a day. This is an improvement because there were times when we first started dating that I was in world 12 or more hours. We haven’t shared RL information and have kept our contact strictly in-world, so sometimes I am online exploring or other things until she logs on. It doesn’t seem like my time online has impacted my real life other than less sleep, but I guess I am wondering at this point where this is all headed. Is it possible to have a relationship like this online and still be productive in RL?  ~SL Stands for Sleep Lost

Thanks for writing Sleep Lost! Finding love in Second Life can be a wonderful thing. Relationships often move fast here because the anonymity allows us to be who we truly want to be and when we connect with another who accepts this ideal of ourselves (especially if you are exploring a part of yourself you would not otherwise real life), it can be intoxicating. In addition, the attraction we have for our partner is usually created when we discover something about them that is familiar. There are literally millions of possible connections, but we are drawn to people (both real life and second life) that remind us of something/one we know. The challenge with this is that sometimes as we attempt to grasp the identity of our partner, we fill in the unknowns with what we are familiar with (or greatly desire) and as a result, our perception of them can be that of the perfect partner. It is easy to project our ideals onto another person’s avatar. This ongoing process of creating and validating can generate some intense emotions around our relationships, and we feel that we have met that perfect someone. At some point, however, we begin to realize that the anonymity places limits on our ability to fully connect to our SL partner and it is usually at this point that one of two things happens: either you begin to integrate more RL into the relationship, or the connection begins to fade as we crave more evolution of the relationship.
It is absolutely possible to have a relationship online that is healthy and productive, but the reality is, although we can separate SL from RL, we cannot separate the human keyboardist from the in-world avatar. In relationships, it is unrealistic to expect that we can separate parts of ourselves and true evolution still occur. At some point it is important that the two lives are integrated so that we feel complete. The extended time you are spending online appears to be more related to wanting to expand your connection with your SL girlfriend, rather than an attempt to isolate yourself from RL, the later of which would be much less healthy. It sounds as though you and your partner are at a place where you should begin to dialogue about the direction the relationship is taking and what your expectations are long term. Once you are both clear about this, you’ll be in a better place to decide if the relationship is truly right for each of you.
With love, peace and blessings
Acu

ASK Acu: "Loving in 2 Lives"

Originally appeared in Teleport Magazine (2008) No Longer Published

Acu,
 
I am currently married real life (RL) and my husband is unaware of a relationship I have developed in Second Life (SL). I have been struggling with feelings of guilt around my SL Relationship and it is affecting my mood and social interactions in RL. Although my RL marriage is ok, these feelings I am having confuse me so much. I know I am only supposed to ask one question, but I’m hoping you can help me with a few. Traditional morality aside, what are the harms associated with SL relationships that are secret from RL relationships?   If no harm is done to the RL relationship is it a problem?  Is it possible for no harm to be done by SL affairs?  Is this any difference if there are affairs of the heart, secret from one another, in SL?  
 
~2X the Love
 
 
Thanks for writing, 2X the Love, and being willing to explore this openly. Let me begin by saying that SL relationships, especially when you are already in a committed relationship RL, can become a challenge when they turn romantic. This is not uncommon, as many people who immerse themselves here, often do so because they are missing something in their real lives. It has been described to me as a  “hunger for something more,” that is fed here. The positive to this, is that Second Life gives each of us an opportunity to explore ourselves in ways that are sometimes unavailable or unrealistic in RL for a variety of reasons. The challenge, as we make new discoveries about who we are and/or want be, becomes how to balance that with our real lives. If the SL exploration experience involves a romantic relationship, and we are already committed RL, feelings of guilt often emerge as we place ourselves in an “either/or” scenario. Keeping the relationship a secret then becomes a good alternative to making that difficult decision.
 
In my opinion, secrets are rarely a good thing. Secrecy, by its very definition means that we are hiding something. Hiding it means that access to you is limited, not only to the person/people the secret is held from, but from ourselves as we are forced to withhold information or make excuses to cover ourselves. Beyond the obvious harm that can be caused to another, by not allowing them access to information that might ultimately impact their lives, the greatest harm is in the impact of the guilt that you feel. Morality is really more about the judgment of right and wrong as you see it. Traditionally, we have each been exposed to varied ways of living and as such, what might be viewed as “right” for you, may be viewed as “wrong” by me. Self judgment is far more harsh than the judgment others, as thoughts about ourselves are the only ones we control and therefore who we say we are to ourselves, manifests in the way we live our lives and interact with others. As a generally rule of thumb, when making judgments that impact another, I ask myself if the choice is made in love without intent to harm. This has not meant that 100% of the times things go in my favor, but more often that not, this has lead me to a choice that has ultimately only benefited and enriched my life. It is important to allow our feelings to be our guides. They tell us what is true for *us*.  Judge based upon whether or not it feels “right” for you, because, only you can define your truth and if it doesn’t “feel” right for you, it probably isn’t.
 
With love, peace and blessings…
Acu

ASK Acu: "Is s/he LISTENING to me?"

Originally appeared in Teleport Magazine (2009) No Longer Published


Acu,
 
My SL partner and I have been dating for about a month and things were going really well. His cultural background is different than mine, but I did not discover this until I was head over heels for him. I was surprised at this revelation because I would have never dated him in RL, but have learned that we have SO much in common. Recently, however, he seems distracted and irritable all the time and I am wondering if the honeymoon is over. When we are exploring the grid there are times when he suddenly becomes quiet and on more than one occasion I went to send him an offline message only to realize he was logged on already. This has been the source of much discontent in our relationship and I feel like things are breaking down. At this point, I feel like we should exchange RL contact information to avoid some of this, but I have been hesitant as I am unsure about whether it is the right time, or if I can truly trust him or not. What are the stories people have of taking it outside of the game?  (I suspect they are not all as bad as people say they are) When is it OK to IM, email, phone, meet? How do you know when it is OK to take the next step? Ready to Step UP or OFF
 
One of the things I enjoy most about SL is the removal of the barrier of space which allows us to connect to people and cultures all over the world in a way that is not possible in RL. We can teleport from New York to Italy in about 3 seconds (lag permitting) and meet people who are living there, exploring Milan through the eyes of residents there. In this way we are more quickly able to expand our cultural awareness and as a result develop our RL experience and personal growth! One of the barriers, however, is the connection. On the one hand there are the typical technical difficulties that interfere, such as computer problems, ISP challenges, and the ongoing SL improvements that sometimes are accompanied by bugs that affect our avatar functioning in-world. This can interfere with being together in the most innocent sense. Without RL contact, however, it is difficult to know why your partner is not around or is responding (or not) in a certain way. This lends to feelings of anxiety (worry), and frustration caused by the internal messages we hear, when attempting to make meaning of the unknown: he stopped talking in the middle of the conversation - is he in IM with that avie over there, or is it chat lag?..  she was scheduled to be here but has not logged on -is she avoiding me or is her computer down? The humans behind our avatars are meaning making machines! When faced with new and/or incomplete information, our natural tendency is to attempt to make meaning by comparing the situation to something we are familiar with (an untrustworthy ex-, an unreliable friend) accompanied with the pain and disappointment of those previous experiences.

Relationships afford us not only the opportunity to feel love, but also provide experiences which help us better understand what emotional barriers keep us apart. Our connection or disconnect with others tell us a lot about how we see ourselves. The things we tend to focus on...or ignore, many times are clues to the messages we tell ourselves about who we are. Integrating SL and RL is a healthy progression for any relationship (not just romantic ones). The decision to do so, however, should be based less upon a need to monitor your partner or to invalidate negative assumptions,  but more out of a desire for the relationship to evolve into something deeper, more fulfilling. All relationships evolve, we connect with one another, learn from each other and as a result, we grow. As long as two people continue to evolve and grow together, the relationship is fresh, exciting and enjoyable.
 
With love, peace and blessings XOXO
Acu

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ASK Acu: "Sleepless in SL"

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine (M2)



Dear Acu,

I am a RL married woman who has been in Second Life for over a year. In that time I have met a MUCH younger, single man who has helped me to see life from a totally new perspective. He lives in another country (which is good or I would have been in big trouble by now) so the time zone difference means I am on really late at night sometimes. When I finally make it to bed, I feel like I’ve been out sleeping around as I try to slip into bed without waking my husband. I feel embarrassed that I am coming to bed so late and hope he doesn’t realize how long I have been awake and online. I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I feel so much love for this young man. I also feel bad because I worry that the time he is spending with me keeps him from experiencing real life and finding someone in RL that he can share his life with, be intimate with, etc. I don’t know what to do, and feel so guilty sometimes. The only thing that seems to help the guilt, is being with him, if that makes any sense. Please tell me what to do!

Feeling Young Again

Hi Feeling Young,

Yes, you make perfect sense and it may help to know that you are not alone in your situation, or scenario. Guilt is only useful if it is helping to guide you toward behavior that brings your life into balance. It is your mind’s eye trying to show you that something you are doing is out of balance for you. I am asked very often if it is “wrong” to date in SL if you are committed in real life. In affect I am being asked to judge a person’s behavior without knowledge or consideration of all the variables that have brought someone into the circumstance in the first place. For many people, dating in SL feels adulterous relative to their relationship/marriage in real life. For others it is an experience that liberates them from oppressive and/or controlling relationships by exposing them to other experiences that cause them to question the health of their real life commitment. My “out”  in these situations is to remind people that every person, relationship and situation is unique and the best barometer for whether or not a given scenario/situation is “right or wrong,” is you! The deciding factor should be an honest evaluation of what you believe will give your life joy and balance, and then creating a life which allows that to manifest for you.

Guilt is that nagging voice with in us all that is like water upon a stone and says to us that there is a standard and we have fallen short, …but whose standard is it?
 Guilt is a safety valve for human behavior and seeing guilt in its proper light allows us to find resolution with it. Guilt offers a standard by which we measure what is good and what actions are worthy of deeper exploration. It calls upon us to examine our conduct and to work toward bringing it into alignment with what we have adopted as our valued behavior. Do our values change over time? Sure, as we mature and understand our life experiences better. Should you suppress guilt in favor of exploring alternate ways of living? Only you can be the judge and jury of that, because you are the only person in this world who can live YOUR life (and reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of those choices). Decide to do what feels RIGHT for you, and the clarity you seek around relationship in both lives will be yours.

With love, peace and blessings,
Acu

ASK Acu: "What's with the Drama??!?"

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine (M2)

Acu,

I have been in SL for about 9 months now. It seems to me that there is SO much drama around relationships here that I really don’ t understand why I have stayed this long.  From my SL friends to my SL boyfriend, everyone has these issues and every time I turn around someone has an attitude, or is leaving SL or whatever. It’s an emotional roller coaster. I feel like the only way to avoid drama is to isolate myself and that really doesn’t make sense since I come to SL to socialize and interact with people. Surely everyone doesn’t have this much drama in their second life. I’m wondering what I am doing wrong to keep finding myself in the middle of conflict, and it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t affecting my real life. I’ll log off after an argument with my SL boyfriend and be in the worse mood. The people in my house must think I am crazy. Save me from the dramatics so I can go back to enjoying both of my lives!

~Exit Stage Left

Thanks for writing Exit! (smile)

Let me begin by saying you are not alone in your “drama” experience in second life. I would guess if you thought more about it, you have experienced the same sorts of drama in your first life (FL) although it may not be as obvious right now because you are focused on what is going on in-world.  I actually love the word “drama” as it applies to our interactions in the world (virtual and non-virtual) because in reality, that is exactly what is happening. Each of us is writing the story as we go basing each scene on our own experiences and perceptions. If you think about the infinite number of possible paths and outcomes in our relationships, you’ll better appreciate that we can only focus on one or two at a time (Without going insane [winks]) . The paths we chose are usually those that validate the way we see the world. For example, if you tend to believe that women are shady and will take your man as soon as you turn your head, the filter you use in friendships with women will constantly scan for actions which validate your perception. Although your friend could be doing many things that contradict this view, your lack of focus on those actions will lead you almost precisely to the anticipated outcome. More often than not we write the script, with a less than desired outcome, play each scene over and over and only the characters seem to change. I attribute this old script to relationships where someone will come to me and say “why is it I keep falling in love with the same kind of person over and over.”

Its important to understand that YOU are writing the script and can choose to rewrite it at anytime. Although you can not control the actions of another person, you absolutely can change the way you interpret and respond to them. Frankly, there is no way to avoid the drama that is life. It’s these scripts that create the story that is our lives (first and second). We *do* have power over our actions however, and once you discover (and apply) THAT each NEW choice can bring us closer to the “happily ever after” we truly desire.

With love peace and blessings,
Acu XOXO

ASK Acu: "Infidelity?"

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine (M2)

Acu,

I am currently involved in a committed SL partnership that is beginning to break down. Before we got together, he was involved with other women. For that reason we kept the relationship “friendly” although we’d cuddle and kiss from time to time. Over time, my feelings for him began to grow and I felt that I needed him to commit to a monogamous relationship with me, or to move on, and I told him so. He was not ready to settle down at the time, and respected what I felt I needed and we stop talking for some time. Later, we reconnected and soon after he asked me to partner. I was somewhat apprehensive about it because of our history and felt jealous of the relationships he maintained with his ex-girlfriends. Despite this, I accepted his proposal and for a while things were absolutely wonderful.

Recently, however, his behavior had become suspicious. On one particularly “off” day, he explained he needed to talk with one of his ex.s and asked if it was ok. I told him he could, but then logged on an alt to see what he was doing. Long story short, he was with some other person who he first denied even knowing, but then later admitted was an alt of his ex-.  He said he didn’t want to be open about talking with her for fear of me becoming distrustful and/or upset. Acu, I have resorted to mapping him and am so paranoid about his where-a-bouts when we aren’t together. I  realize it is our past that impacts my trust in him, but I’m not sure if trust is possible in this virtual environment. Alt.s , IMs, can all make cheating so much easier. I feel like this whole experience has taught me something about the way I manage relationships. He seems to be trying to make things right, and  I really do love him, and want things to work, but are my expectations unrealistic?

~Control-Alt-Delete

Hi Control-Alt-Delete!

It certainly sounds like your relationship is complicated and I understand your concerns about fidelity, especially considering how your relationship began. Since you seem to be coming to a place of resolution, I won't delve deeper into the situation, but rather offer some thoughts for you to consider as you move forward in your partnership.

The first is development of trust. By definition trust is "belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence; loyalty or allegiance to a person or thing; esp. fidelity to a promise." For you to truly develop trust in your partner, I would suggest that the checking an snooping won't help matters much. The fact that he allows you to map him says a lot about his commitment to you, since it is a choice to give these permissions.

Secondly, more often than not, when we do not have "facts" to fill in a "blank" of information, our mind tends to create an "assumption" to fill the void. If the assumption is a positive one, the outcome within our relationship to the individual is usually positive, if the opposite is true, so is the reaction. The two of you have had a challenging past and the resulting "facts" may be significantly influencing your assumptions about who he is and what his intentions are. I would guess that your reactions, then, contribute to his choices in managing those situations that he perceives would upset you and may then appear defensive, and so the cycle continues.

Over time, this can breed resentment and more distrust which can gradually erode your connection to one another. Rather than seeking to "catch him in the act," it might be more productive to be as honest as you can about your concerns, feelings, desires so that he has the opportunity to respond in a way that helps you to better understand one another. If you are uncomfortable with something he has done or said, you have to TELL him. In that way, if there has been a misunderstanding, he is able to explain, rather than you guess away your doubts leaving you suspicious and feeling unsafe in the relationship. You must also be open to hearing HIS concerns and feelings about YOUR behavior/reactions. In this way you have created a healthy dialogue from which your relationship will develop out of your understanding and compromise.

The “reality” is, if he has an affair, you can not control that...nor prevent it. As hard as that may be to hear, it *Is* the truth. The same is true for you, he can not control whether you make efforts to hurt him “seeking revenge”. It is why it is called  "free will."  (smile) If you truly want to remain in the relationship, and honestly feel that you are reacting based more on past experiences than current actions, improve the likelihood that he will be honest with you, by demonstrating your investment in the relationship and developing trust in him and his commitment to you. After all, your reaction and choices based upon your own values (regardless of the actions of others)  *are* something that you can control and you can ALWAYS rely on the safety of that (winks).

Blessings XOXO

Acu

ASK Acu: "Keeping It Real in SL"

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine(M2)

Hey Acu,

I’m not really looking for advice, I just want to vent. I really don’t get this whole idea of integrating SL with RL and relationships. I mean its Second Life, not eHarmony or Match.com. I keep hearing people talk about how they feel so lost because SL affects their real life, blah-blah-blah. My second life is just that a SECOND (and separate) life. I am not my avatar, they are separate and apart from one another. I have a REAL life and when I come to SL, it’s to live out fantasies and experiment with things I might not be as willing to explore in real life. I could always try these things in real life of course, but I DON’T WANT to. SL is much easier to access and is a lot cheaper to build my dreams in. I guess I am different than most people as I am intelligent and creative enough to keep SL & RL separate. I don’t take this game seriously and don’t trust most of the people I encounter in-world. After all, they are living their fantasies too. Although there are a few people I’ve encountered who I have felt worthy of knowing me in my first life, I have no interest or desire to have people in my SL also in my RL. SL will never be a substitute for real life, so if you don’t have one you need to log off and find one.

~Keeping it Real

Blessings Keeping It Real!

Thanks for writing and being open to sharing your thoughts and feelings so expressively. You may be surprised to hear this, but I think we agree on a few things here. SL is never a substitute for real life, although it can certainly provide a platform to explore things we might not have access to (physically, emotionally, financially) in our first lives. We can not “live” in-world and all must log off to return to our first lives ultimately. If we are neglecting RL, however, we won’t be logging off to much, and the cycle begins making SL the most attractive of the two lives we are living. Escaping RL is when our SL adventures can become problematic, which is why I believe many struggle with their relationships in-world. Why their relationships? Because unlike other MMORPGs, Second Life is a social grid. The roles we play, unlike in other platforms like WoW or EVE are more like real life. Sure there are the Furries and Nekos and such, but there are by far more “human” avatars than any other form in Second Life. It is here that we fulfill fantasies relative to other people (who happen to be in avatar skins). We are not here to battle them, win a goal or advance a level. We are here to connect to others who are like us. In that regard, maybe SL is a game, the same we play in our real lives. Trying to discern other’s intentions and motives and responding to them in a way that creates a desired response. Griefers want drama, Artists want accolades, DJs want crowd cheers, and some want loving, reciprocal (not always, but often romantic) relationships. This is especially true when relationships in real life don’t provide this.

“Enhancing” rather than escaping RL is a much better prospective use of our SL energies, which is where the whole integration idea comes in. Keeping your SL separate from your RL is completely possible. In real life we tend to compartmentalize all of our social relationships (business from personal for example). We cannot, however, separate the person from the avatar. Without the human behind the screen, our avatar has no life. If we are exploring things in SL that we wouldn’t in RL those fantasies belong to the human operator, not the avatar. Although the pixels on the screen don’t have feelings, the operator behind it does. It is the human who seeks and provides responses to what he or she sees on screen. It’s amazing the emotions those pixels can produce in us: love, pain, fear, hate. Hmmm, just like people in RL (grin).

Integration of SL and RL is more about finding balance than it is exposing your privacy or inviting people into your world.  It’s about creating experiences based upon our perceptions and current level of understanding, and having those ideas challenged and matured as a result. It’s about allowing what we learn about ourselves as we explore our relationships in one aspect of our life and having the lessons learned trickle into our other experiences. It’s about knowing who we are in both lives and developing healthy habits and relationships which allow us to grow: mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Wishing you Peace in the pieces of your journey…
Acu
XOXO

ASK Acu: Living After 2nd Life Romance Ends

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine (M2)

Acu,

I have recently left a long-term relationship that started in SL, but ended in RL. In SL our relationship was wonderful. Our connection was completely unexpected. I entered SL to explore virtual real estate opportunities and he to explore ways to bring his RL business into SL. We enjoyed spending time together exploring and pose ball hoping (wink) Within a few months we were collaborating on more than just a business partnership, but a real life commitment. We started chatting via messenger, then cam-ing and calls via skype. We partnered in SL and held a beautiful wedding ceremony. After 10 months of a wonderfully romantic online union, we decided to move in together RL. He moved from the UK to my apartment on the East Coast. He could not work initially due to immigration issues, but we were making a descent income with our SL businesses so I was comfortable with supporting us via income from my RL work. After 3 months however, the stress of work and supporting the household began to take its toll, I think. He was uncomfortable with not being able to support himself and needing to come to me for money. I also felt frustrated with constantly having to console his feelings of inadequacy, which he seemed to be managing by degrading me constantly. My feelings of self worth began to suffer as a result and after 6 months, the relationship had really broken down. Our last night together, a heated argument became physical. I knew that the relationship had become unhealthy and I needed to get out. Now over a year later, my relationship is gone, my SL businesses dissolved and I feel like I have nothing left. To make matters worse, I really miss him and what we shared. We still correspond from time to time, and he agrees that we need some space between us now, but it hurts so badly Acu, that I wonder if my life will ever be the same without him. I am beginning to realize that a romantic relationship is not right for us, but am wondering if we could ever really be friends? Can I ever go back to the 2nd life I once knew before him?
~ 1st and 2nd Lifeless

Lifeless,

My sincere condolences as you grieve this devastating loss. I respect that you acknowledge it was not only the relationship that you lost, but also your second life, which had become a part of you. The pain you feel is natural and is something we all experience as part of the grieving process. A confounding issue, however, is that there is often a feeling of isolation when grieving SL experiences and events because people who are not connected to the online social community the way SL residents (and M/MORP gamers) have, have a hard time understanding this journey and are unsure how to help. I am glad that you are seeking answers as you work toward finding closure and evolution to this path you have chosen. There are resources within SL (such as our discussion group, professional counselors and support communities) should you decide to explore this more fully with others in-world. There are also Internet resources (web sites, blogs and mental health professionals with online clinics) if you feel it is healthier for you to explore your feelings outside of the grid. In my experience, people rarely leave SL permanently, however, some restructure their SL time in a way that demonstrates their healthy evolution with the experience of being immersed here.

In the same way, your relationship with your SL/RL partner is becoming redefined. If the two of you are able to interact with one another in a way that is healthy and promotes your emotional growth, you certainly should be friends. The challenge immediately following a break-up, however, is that interactions usually continue in much the same way they did when you were romantically involved. Prior to the break up, the two of you were more than partners. You were confidants. You shared the daily joys and disappointments with one another as a routine part of living together online and in RL. Once the relationship ends, you lose that source of daily support and it is often that emptiness of turning to the screen or pillow and realizing the person is not there to share with that, feels so heavy. It’s important that you first began to establish a new routine of support…someone (or ones) you call or visit to share with so that you don’t feel so alone. In time a new pattern is established and at that point it may feel less weighty to introduce a friendship with the ex into the relationship. It is the essence of what “space” should mean. Establishing alternate sources of support creates a relational bridge that should allow you to interact with him in a healthier and more fulfilling way.

Acknowledging the struggle with redefining your second life is a good starting point and suggests you are on the right track to making a decision that is right for you.

With love, peace and blessings XOXO
Acu

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memorial - September 11, 2001 (prayer)


Loving God ... we are so grateful for your presence in around and through us
We can feel the love of those lost 10 years ago this day, as their bodies have left us, but their souls never die. We pray for peace in the hearts of their families, especially their children so that they are better able to understand your Divine Grace and Will.
We are knowing and affirming your Love is with us always and that although we do not always know the greater plan, that it is your love that provides what is needed for the greater good of mankind.
We pray for Divine Wisdom in the hearts and minds of the leaders of the world that they are open and receptive to hearing your voice
and we pray that they are guided and lead by that Wisdom and that your Divine Will be done
And so we release any feelings of anxiety or fear that may linger in our minds and allow that space to be filled with your Love and Peace.
Thank you God for this life
Thank you God for our living soul
…and thank you for your essence with connects and binds us together in your love.
and so it is... Amen (Ra)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The "Meet" Market (Synthesis Note [44])


I was having a conversation recently with an SL resident who was essentially saying that she does not understand why people take relationships in Second Life so seriously. Her relationship in world is strictly sexual as she enjoys the delights of intellectual dialogue and the excitement that is experienced when another person describes in great detail the way the sexual fantasy makes them feel in the tangible world. She appreciates living her SL without the messy details of being in a committed relationship. She firmly declared “Its role play, not Match.com!

I don’t know that I agree with that. When newcomers to the grid visit the Second Life website, they are greeted by a video montage that includes a virtual couple enjoying a romantic date together that ends with them embracing at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I would say Linden Labs is on board with the idea that sex sells and people are coming to SL for more than business meetings or combat role play. 2010 statistics indicate that 17% of all partners who got married in the past year met over the internet. That’s A LOT of couples. Its par for the course that some of that match making would have occurred on gaming platforms.

Unlike sites like “Match.com” Second Life offers two things 1) the ability to create yourself in your grandest vision and to “live” within that ideal; and 2) the ability to remain completely anonymous while actively engaging others socially. Unlike other virtual gaming platforms, it is strictly a social grid. No levels to achieve, no PVPing or battles to win. Although it may not always be the intention of people visiting SL to fall in love “with an avatar,” It happens thousands of times a day. Its hard to resist being pursued in your perfection and having the ideal you’ve held in mind and translated digitally, be validated by another person. Even better, it allows someone to really get to know YOU, appreciating that most people accept that the human behind the screen is not likely to be an identical match to his or her avatar.

The tricky part is being open enough with your partner to be clear about expectations of the relationship...because as my counterpart asserted, for her SL is for role play, not a true love connection. If you find yourself looking for that, and are not clear that it is role play for your partner, you are inevitably set up for heartbreak and lots of disappointment.

The key is going into relationships with your eyes WIDE open and to have expectations CLEAR in your mind…clear enough that you can convey them to another person and clear enough that you can excuse yourself from potential relationships that do not meet that. After all, if you ARE seeking a love connection in a virtual world there are many MANY possibilities, and why settle or take time and opportunity away from the person you truly desire? It is unfair to blame someone else for your disappointment if you failed to inquire about another person’s expectations or worse, never communicated your own.

The diversity of Second Life extends beyond anything we can experience in the tangible world, which in some ways may make it seem more appealing than life lived amongst the breathing. Any ideal you fantasize about for yourself or a partner, assuredly exists. As you explore all the possibilities, don’t lose touch with who you truly are, and that which will bring both lives happiness and fulfillment. In short, don’t become “meat” in the market. (grin)

Love, peace and blessings XO
Acu

Monday, July 4, 2011

Joining the Illuminati: ...on "One" Conspiracy

Let me begin by saying that as I offer my opinions about the veracity of the Illuminati, it is surely tainted by my own spiritual beliefs. I am not supposing that I am the end all be all on any subject and would never tell you what to think. I will however give you some things to think about and hope that if you are moved to strongly invest in ideas in favor of or against what you are about to read, that you will take the time to read or/and or listen to what is out there and come to your own opinion. Accepting what someone else has identified as “truth” is sort of what got us into this mess. We need to be more proactive in thinking for ourselves. With the access we have to people around the world , via the internet and social media, there is no reason to accept any one postulate as “truth.”

With that being said, let me add that I am what I am, with regard to spiritual beliefs, largely because of where I was born and raised. Any good sociological study (and some good old fashioned common sense) will confirm that people born in the United States are statistical likely to be Christians, as natives of India tend to be Hindus, and those of Saudi Arabia are typically Muslims. Although I claim no specific religious affiliation and enjoy learning from various teachings, inevitably, my Christian roots tend to serve as a foundation from which I make sense of most of what I have learned spiritually.

In a world where 30 years of oppressive rule can be brought down in 3 weeks, using social media and the internet (see overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, January 2011), we are realizing that there is power in having control over how information is disseminated and are thus empowered to ask questions the answers to which might have previously been tremendously difficult to find. A similar phenomenon occurred when the Bible, (a text whose teachings had previously only been privileged to religious leaders who were then responsible for disseminating and teaching it to the masses in a manner dictated by the leaders of the time), was put into print for the lay person to read for themselves. It opened the door for new understanding, interpretation and MISinterpretation, at least to the degree it was written and then printed for mass consumption.

Centuries later, we all seem to be searching for new answers to our spiritual questions and understanding of the world and how we function in it.

Enter, the Illuminati.

Conspiracy theorists have speculated about secret orders and mystical control over the masses using a variety of means for centuries. Recently however, with speculations about the end of the world, One World Government and One World Religion people have become more receptive to the idea of  “inner workings” of some great group of ridiculously rich and powerful people who are using the media and control of the economy to corral the masses to live under their complete control. Their goal? Ruling the world with slavery and dictatorship. Proof given to validate these claims are “secret symbols” that once interpreted, demonstrate this villainous plan. Secondarily, several governmental leaders mentioning the words “New World Order” in their speeches solidify that their previously unseen plan for world domination has been exposed.


Let me pause for one moment to ask you to breath and think. If the symbolism is secret and you know about it and have an interpretation, is it still a secret? …and if these leaders, who are operating under some mysticism which will work to corral the masses have done so for centuries, did they somehow forget how to keep it secret all of a sudden? Alzhiemers maybe? (grins)

If you google “Illuminati” you will turn up all means of articles, blogs, videos, etc., that are prepared to inform and enlighten you about this New World Order. Not only that, but every successful celebrity or athlete is most certainly a part of the Illuminati, or that is what many of the posters would have you to believe. They have all “signed deals with the devil” but its no secret, because any recognizable international figure is part of the clan, at least according to your google results. 

With the break down of religion and questions about the nature of good and evil, could it be we are looking for something to be our new devil …to be our new dark? Every generation gets the evil monster it deserves based on the societal fears of the time. When we bring these “demons or conspirators” to the light, they often reveal our deepest fears and desires about everything from sex and death to celebrity, immortality and class warfare. As long as humans have fears to confront, we will find something “out there” onto which we may project those fears so that we can point at something other than what is really going on inside of us.

If you look long enough you will find the actually definition of the word “illuminati” as  (a group of ) “people claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something.” I would invite you to embrace THAT as a group worth being a part of. Not the influential intellectuals and progressive politicians of the current pop phenomenon, but part of a group of enlightened persons invested in the idea of Unity of mankind. After all, all humans are “people” but not all will buy into this idea as “true”. Besides, our world sure could use some new ordering. Its quite a mess! What if we could all coexist and accept one another as is, without the need to “change” anyone? What if we all embraced the one truth that we are much more the same than we are different, in our humanness, and in our belief in the existence of something great than ourselves operating within and around us (i.e., God, Spirit, Science, etc) ? What if we all lived cooperatively and in support of the physical, emotional, and spiritual growth of one another? If that process is guided by the truly enlightened or the true Illuminati, ...especially given the power to connect to people and share information… perhaps One government and One religion is something worth working toward…not fighting against.

…In the name of Unity... One Blood, One People, One God…

One Love :)
Acu

p.s. will this new proclamation of joining the  Illuminati add my signature to the increasing names popping up on google searches? If so, I hope it increase hits to my blog! I need to monetize that bad boy (chuckles)

"Keep It Moving" (a poem)

He comes in the night
She draws back her curtain
His words are convincing
Still she feels uncertain

He says "No drama"
and has no shame
"Don't hate the player
Hate the game.."

What she does not see 
Behind the screen
A human typist
and low self esteem

His ego is grand
When his face is hidden
and he'll go to places
That were once forbidden

His philosphy of life
Reveals his true weakness
His time in life spent
With little achievement

His friends list revealed
He reads like a book
If she is fast and easy
He drops the hook

but a Man, proudly certain
will sets his sights high
and will not settle
for a quickly raised thigh

Great effort produces
The highest aquisition
His desire aroused
By his soul's intuition

To conquer the woman
He most admires
Affirms to his soul
Worth of all he aspires

Perhaps in time
He will know his value
Look for depth in his life
and the Love he is due

Until then he'll continue
The pseudo expert of seduction
With the women in his path 
Victims of his destruction

Take heed willing lady
If His worth is left unproven
Save yourself the heartbreak
and  tell him... "keep it moving..."

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Struggle Ain't No Sleepin' Dog" a poem


i am finally saved, i declare outright
of course that's if you forget last night
two steps forward, three steps back
indecision keeps my binds intact

i forget about you every day
fighting the need to stay away
wasting time like a vagabond
turning back, the inevitable prolonged

emptier than a hollow tree
chasm of loneliness inside of me
the voices argue
a critical debate
am i coming or going
is this really our fate

i ask AGAIN,  "do you want More?"
quite aware of what is in store
out of stock
out of time
wounded heart
broken bind

stop, no, leave, stay
please take the pain away
memories crying "i love him so"
heart longing for healing pleads...
Let Go...

© 2011 Acuminous Watanabe

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayer for Tornado Victims (Southern United States)


Divine Spirit, One of Life source and supply, I am humbled by your awesome presence. I am grateful for the challenges that serve as spiritual teachings and lessons allowing us to grow closer in our understanding of Divine Purpose. I call upon Divine Order for those affected by the Tornados in the Southern US recently and pray they are open and receptive to hearing your guidance as they move forward in restoring their lives. I call upon Divine Courage and pray for healing of the mind, body and spirit of those recovering as they gather the strength to being the process of renewal. Remind them Sweet Spirit that when things fall apart it offers an opportunity to pick up only the pieces you truly need, leaving behind what no longer serves...and to begin again. I release this prayer to You Mother/Father God knowing your Will is ALWAYS done, even as these words are spoken...and so it IS. Amen (Ra)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SL/RL Synthesis Note (43): Finding Satisfaction

Someone once told me, when a person is showing (or telling) you who they truly are, you need to listen. In a world of fantasy, where we are seeking connection to something other than what we what we are used to, the line between what is real and what is only in our mind is blurred. Its like living in a lucid dream where things seem real, but aren’t quite right …and that “not right-ness” is what helps us to remember we are dreaming. Sometimes we want something so badly, that we shape this reality into something it is not, as though trying to carve an idol from papier-mâché’. It may stand up initially; however, as it is exposed... the fragile nature of its consistency reveals its true durability and begins to rip and fade away unable to withstand the harsh reality of time. Even in a place where your reality is seemingly validated, because there are "others” there with you living, dreaming, experiencing at the same time, it is still our ideas and perceptions that shape what that is for us. …and sometimes it seems so real, so palpable that we believe in it so deeply... with hope it IS real, despite the “not right-ness” that is there to remind us.

If you want to believe in something, believe in your Self. If you need to trust in someone, trust your Self. If you want to be loved by someone, love your Self. It is the one thing in the universe you can be certain of. Self is real, true, tangible, magnificent and with you always. Self will not hurt you, abandon you, lie to you, take advantage of you.  Perceptions are not real. Ideas are not real. It is only what you allow those thoughts to manifest in your life that give them life. What is it you are bringing to life? or what previous life are you resurrecting? What is manifesting in your life? 

Is what you are carving durable enough to withstand the reality to which you must return?
…Waking Up…
Acu
XOXO

...Singed... (a poem)

Broken wings
Cause my unrest
Ever lower
Forever falling
…Fearfully

Resting upon Infinite Ocean
Drifting upon the waves
In the darkness
The tides carry me
…Aimlessly

Each day a stagnant shifting
Watching tides wash ashore
No storm in these waters
So quiet their turning stale
…Agony

Though water abound
My thirst unquenched
I am restless
I am sinking
…Slowly


And then he arrives
He is the sun
Vibrant and hot…forbidden
Rays caressing each crest
Drawing his light
…Upon Me



As he fades into the dark
The night brings cold
Darkness replaces his warmth
Thoughts of his heat
…Ecstasy

The ache boils over me
Brings new life to these wings
The attention gives new meaning
…To each day

Here
Where I slowly stir the water
And every day is the same
Now
I am warm, I am wet
Didn’t know it could be
..this way

Thrashing about,
The waters swell
Thick with current
I feel my Self moving
Stirring about
Boiling
“I am yours.”
…I say

Wings spread eagle
And when he rises
His rays like fire
I am drawn into him
…Willingly

The attention keeps me
Hanging on each day
Each wound cauterized
Each ember authorized
I cling to him
…feebly


It is a dance
Forbidden
Fire against Water
Against Fire
Evaporate … condensate
Into tears
…repeatedly

Ascertain my wings are singed
Playing with fire, burned by sin
Become still and I let go
and I Am
Set Free…

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Thirst" (a poem)


What is it that I want from him
I question over and over again
I know I’m not the only one
And we agreed “its just for fun”

But this now is more than just play
I fell for him and lost my way
Forgot of what I’m truly made
And watched my inhibitions fade

Not knowing what I truly seek
I got caught up and in too deep
My heart’s desire to be his choice
Although this need I could not voice

I feared that he would turn away
Bound by my flesh, asked him to stay
He learned my needs and met them well
The longing in my chest he’d quell
As long as I could wait my turn
He’s not the first, I’ll never learn

What is it that I want from him
I question over and over again
I thirst for love, hunger for peace
He fills the void, the aching ceased
Then I awake, realize he’s gone
The ache returns, for him I long

I wait in pain for his return
Pray for the peace my heart doth yearn
In comes the echo, “you’re not the only one..
...and you agreed 'its just for fun'”

Then from inside a 
...Still
...Small 
...Voice
Speaks into me “you have a choice!”

My mind now quieted by the Love I seek
Open my heart as it continues to  speak
"You've done this before, haven't you learned
You are gift that should be earned?'
You must be still and you will know"

and in the silence, I let him go
Replaced by a love like no other
My love of Self, not from another
An endless stream to quench my thirst
Constant reminder of who comes first...

   …Be Still and Know I Am…

Saturday, April 2, 2011

SL/RL Synthesis Note (42): "Going Home"


I can’t sleep. Its 5:30AM and my mind is racing so I decided I might as well get up. I have been restless since yesterday. I met someone, a very nice person who is reengaging after having left Second Life a few years ago. He had deleted his avatar at that time, appreciating that he “had to” because his “real life” depended upon it. Pretty drastic, but not unusual. Like so many others, the allure of this place called to him again and he is back, ready for a second round of immersion in this virtual space.

I meet lots of people, on regular basis. It’s one aspect of Second Life that I truly enjoy. I love people, and when I found the grid, I was at a point in my life when I had all but completely closed myself off to the world, relationally. I had begun to isolate myself having felt betrayed, unappreciated, unvalued….unloved.

Second Life seemed like Heaven. I could be anyone I wanted to be and hide behind my avatar. This prospect was exhilarating, because I’d lead such a “vanilla, appropriate, socially acceptable” life. I loved the idea of being and doing something else. Over the course of 2 years, I proceeded to explore every possible curiosity to include the darker, more repressed aspects of myself. I’d done the whole “squeaky clean thing” and my existence boiled to a head with me feeling like my life had no meaning. Over and over I met with my understanding about life and myself crossing new ideas and perceptions that challenged my understanding about what was good, bad, real or unreal. I became frustrated about some of those crossroads deciding that those who had guided me were delusive and had left out some really important stuff. I began to realize, everything that I understood as “bad” was not…only subjectively evaluated as such… although some things still, I decided really WERE bad *for me* but not necessarily for all.

I’ve formed some very intense relationships as a result of my life on the grid. Challenging judgments opened the way for me to allow people into my life, I might have avoided in the tangible world. Relationships are TREMENDOUSLY important in this process because it allows us to actually “test” these ideas about “being” via the reactions, experiences and connections we create with others while in this new skin. All relationships, of various kinds are important and we are drawn to them, in an almost hypnotic way, sometimes seeking the same painful experiences over and over trying to make sense of this urging we feel.

..and then in 2009, the wall came crumbling down and I realized that my second life was seeping into my first one and my core was rocked in a way, I can not explain. So I began asking different questions, and looking for others who felt the same. I needed to know I was not loosing my mind and that someone else knew exactly what it was I was talking about. …and a group of 500 members; a friends list of over 700 and nearly 100 live discussions later I realized this experience is prevalent and calling to many MANY people as technology and social networking evolves the way people of the world relate to one another.

People come to Second Life for a myriad of reasons…business, education, research…There is a special population of us, however, who are here to discover who we truly are. We are the residents… generally people who heard about Second Life somewhere in the media or via recounts of another resident fully immersed and were so intrigued by what we heard that we came to see for ourselves…and moved in.

As I reflect, I have redefined my understand of “purgatory” the place in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” between hell and paradise where the souls “purge” their thoughts and ideas about themselves and the way they lived their life. Most say it’s a place of punishment… but a deeper understanding reveals it is a place of purification… where a “burning off” of these thoughts allows the soul to become “free and pure” of those ideas that no longer serve it and over time guides the soul toward paradise…and paradise isn’t even “Heaven” the mystical place of golden streets and angels, eternal peace…as most religions describe… it is Eden… a place on EARTH where the soul continues its ascension toward something all encompassing but with a more “serving and meaningful” existence on the next plane.

This is the soul’s journey… one that happens for everyone over the course of a lifetime. The Internet, social networking and especially virtual worlds have provided a space where this process of liberation happens at a tremendously hyper rate… it is unprecedented…we are connecting, growing and exploring in a way never seen before.

I don’t know where this journey is leading me now, there is a new longing in my chest that is urging me to ask, and I wait patiently for an answer. Under every challenge is an opportunity to ask… the really hard question, and find redemption and release in the answer.

In less than a week I will be 40….40 years in the wilderness…I am asking…and praying for a renewal of my mind…and a place in Paradise.

Peace and blessings XO
Acu

Friday, March 18, 2011

"The Chasm" a poem

The chasm
Nearly swallowed me
It was so dark
I could not see

My eyes were closed
My conscious shifted
I felt your presence
I nearly drifted

Into a cold and weary end
My heart was broken
It would not mend

But in the wind
I heard you say
“There is a gap
So I will stay

‘til you are ready
to leave this place
I’ll stand in this gap
And keep you safe.”

I felt alone
‘though alone I’m not
I could not make
The intense pain stop

Your hand extended
I could not see
Though it was
Right in front of me

I felt afraid
The hurt so deep
I could not eat
I could not sleep

Slowly began
To fall away
Into the gap
“Take me...” I pray

and then I saw a silhouette
Ahazy vision
Interrupts regret

This gentle light
I could not see
Begins to grow
Envelopes me

And from within
There is a feeling
Familiar but distant
It is a healing

So from the chasm
I turn to You
Feel Your embrace
Finally a breakthrough

Love’s never lost
But sometimes displaced
It leaves path
That can be retraced

The light now glowing
I clearly see
The arms of Love
…have set me free…

 ©Acuminous Watanabe

 
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