V ~ is for Vicarious

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, t...

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, the first Trixie Belden mystery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If a movie is really working, you forget for two hours your Social Security number and where your car is parked. You are having a vicarious experience. You are identifying, in one way or another, with the people on the screen.” ~ Roger Ebert

I have a rather positive outlook on vicarious experiences. Though I may not have experienced something firsthand, that does not mean the experience is not worthy.  In fact vicarious experiences can be just as satisfying. Is that not what we do when we get lost in a good movie as Ebert so ably puts it, or better yet, when we read a book?

I remember as a young girl reading the adventures of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, and living them in my imagination. The things that they dealt with did not happen in my “real” life, but I was richer, as was my imagination, for having experienced them vicariously.

I sometimes live through the tales my friends tell of their adventures, their travels, and their creative acts. And by listening to them, my attention is rapt, and their memories become not my memories, but an open door to things I have not had the chance to do or create.

Some of the synonyms I found for vicarious are not at all how I define it.  The words second-hand, displaced, remote, indirect, removed or distanced do not play a part in my vicariousness.

To me, living vicariously opens up worlds that may not be available to me otherwise. It also provides an impetus to do the things that I find appealing. Sometimes living out something in your imagination translates itself into action.

I have lots of things on my life list (as opposed to my bucket list which sounds a little too final to me) that I want to do: travel, publish a book, learn to golf and play tennis, get involved in more community activities—and as I work on this list, I derive pleasure from those who do travel extensively, write books, play the games I want to play, and join the activities I want to take part in. It is part of the learning process—it is all part of my life research.

I think of  “living vicariously” as a practice run wherein I am identifying what it is I want to accomplish.

1966 cover of the revised version of The Secre...

Woo woo

English: Magic wand icon

English: Magic wand icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…….expand your horizons, dream….dreams filled with miracles and surprises.” ~ Andy Baggott

My nouveau mantra: make the best of what you have. Right now. My way of doing this may seem a little… what is the term my friends have coined of late—“woo-woo”. It is an all-encompassing term that covers all those things we do not understand, that maybe we are a little sceptical of, that we laugh at, but that we are not really sure there is not a grain of truth to.

For some reason I woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning, and because it did not seem in the cards for me to get back to sleep, I picked up a magazine I had at my bedside. It is an annual edition, called—wait for it—-the “Law of Attraction”. Now, my dear sceptics do not stop reading here—I will try to make it worth your while. I once belonged to the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” school of unrelenting and unforgiving thought. As the decades have gone by, I have softened my stance (no, I am not soft in the head—that is my story and I am sticking to it) and have become open to more ways of thinking than one.

The article I happened upon was called “Setting Your Day” written by Andy Baggott, author of the book “Blissology”. Apparently, Andy “helps people connect with their own inner wisdom to achieve health, happiness, and fulfillment.” As I am not so sure I have “inner wisdom” I read the article in order to find out how to unlock it. It seems my “inner wisdom” is being somewhat coy, so for now, I will have to be satisfied with learning how to “set my day”.

There are five simple steps to what Andy calls “The Practice”, but he says that the more you work with the technique the more your life will change for the better. He says that you might notice that people are nicer to you, that you don’t seem to attract conflicts, and you will “expand your horizons and dream bigger and better dreams filled with miracles and surprises.” I am all for a better life, less conflict,with a few miracles and surprises thrown in for good measure, so I thought I would give his practice steps a whirl. So for your illumination, and possible experimentation, here are steps:

1. Find a quiet place to sit and take three relaxing breaths.

2. Think about all the positive things in your life. Sit in appreciation of your amazing body, your friends, your home, or anything else in your life that makes you feel good.

3. Imagine your day unfolding in the very best possible way. Don’t hold back—think big. If you can imagine it, you have the power to make anything a reality. Whatever you have planned for that day, imagine everything unfolding perfectly.

4. Smile to yourself as you visualize having a day filled with consistently improving feelings.

5. Now go and enjoy your day.

There is no hokus pokus here. No magic wand (though if you come upon one tell me where you found it), no drawing on the spirit world. It is just a simple little exercise to get you ready for the day. While he may lose you a little in his statement that if you can imagine it, you have the power to make anything a reality—I think of it as just another way to have hope.

Maybe, just maybe, this little “practice” honed to suit your lifestyle will provide some much needed respite in a world sometimes gone mad.  That and the very fact that we are still able to take those first “three relaxing breaths” is something to celebrate and appreciate. And if all else fails, eat chocolate.

Published in: on May 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Comments (6)  
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