Free Falling.

•July 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Change is always tough. Because it is such a frightful, uncomfortable place to be, many people avoid it like the plague, while others just fall apart. It is a wise man that learns to understand how he processes change and learns to adapt to the process.

As soon as we are poised for great things, tremendous opposition begins to take place. It is not the world conspiring against us but rather our own discomfort that leads us to the sense that everything that can go wrong is. Our ego is all about keeping us comfortable. Comfortable and numb. This is equilibrium and the longer we stay in that place, the harder it is to get moving again. SO, when something big is about to happen, that inner part of ourselves sees it, recognizes all the unspoken signs, and knows what is about to happen long before we ever kick our uninspired left brain into logically seeing what is happening. Our ego begins to fight, pulling back if you will, on the reins. The war within us rages. We want to hang onto what we have before we take the leap into new things. We want assurances and tangible evidence that all will be well. It quite literally can feel like you are standing on the edge of a cliff and being asked to jump.

You can look at the things you are fearing – this is the best opportunity for you to actually see the very thing you need to work on. And, it is amazing when you turn your fear into information and get to work … there isn’t much time to feel afraid. You can think of it more like transforming your life instead of letting go and leaping. What you are actually doing is dissolving what is old as the new reappears to replace it – sort of like the old Star Trek TV shows where the place they are standing dissolves away and they are transported to a new place that appears almost instantly molecule for molecule, replacing where they left. Suddenly they are standing on a beach instead of the ships floor where they just were.

During these times of great change when you are most stressed it is helpful to remember that you don’t always need to have all the answers and manage everything. You can support yourself to adapt and be ready. Get lots of rest, feed your soul with things that make you feel whole and calm, eat well, have fun. Ask for what you need from the universe and you will be surprised how answers come. Be gentle with yourself and others, and accept it is normal to feel off balance. Be excited for what is to come – when we get out of the managers chair for the universe – it is often a wonderful surprise what actually comes our way.

The Wonders of Second Life (and me) – In Case Anyone Forgets and Needs Reminding.

•July 4, 2011 • 1 Comment

Bliss the wonder goddess

I was at a very elegant dinner party the other night when the subject of Second Life came up. I think it went something like this. Someone was talking about how they had just scored one of the biggest sales their company had ever seen and someone else shared how they had just been promoted to president of the committee to oversee all things more important than anything the last person said ….and I stood up and tinkled my glass and said I had an announcement to make ….. I had been working undercover in a world unknown to most of them, a world where I had boldly gone and no I was not a man … Second Life!!

There was a hushed silence in the room as everyone looked at me in awe, wondering if the halo over my head had just become brighter or whether their eyes were trying to tell them they needed to make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible because the snow was gone and it certainly could not be blamed on snow blindness ….

And someone snorted in the back of the room and said that Second Life wasn’t real … and I said … “It is so real … it is scientifically real …. ” and someone asked how I figured that .. And I told them that the people who created it were an accredited scientific LAB … Hello .. Linden LAB???? People???

And then I announced that I could walk on water and fly … and I whipped out my lap top and logged into second life … boy was I glad that I had dismantled my underground BDSM slave dungeon and given all the slaves the night off AND put away my “special tools” cause everyone gathered around and I showed them.

They said, “but…that’s not you, that’s an avatar ,..” and I looked at them through narrowed eyes and pointing to the screen said … “THAT is the real me …. OMG you people are retarded. ”

I had to go home because I just don’t have time for people who do not get how important I think I am. I was going to show them how just being on Second Life had increased my abilities on so many levels .. Multi-tasking alone .. I mean I could be shopping, doing the banking, talking on the phone, having cyber sex and attending a board meeting all at once …. I mean we have gone to a whole new level here folks .. Simply because we can … and frequently do ….

I have signs above my head that say how busy I am and that I am a runner up in the 2005 Goddess of the Universe Contest. I have intitials above my head that I have no idea what they even mean.

I have peeps!! I belong to groups with chat monitors for crying out loud. They notify me when they need names for their designs, or money to help them build their business .. They are always asking me for input into what they should do next .. And gifts .. Pffft .. They shower me with gifts. I AM IMPORTANT PEOPLE!!!

I have given other groups demos … gathering them around the computer .. Shown them how I can sit down at the piano .. Surrounded by all my alts and take requests …YES since being in SL I have learned to play piano … and one of my alts makes the request .. And I begin .. Chopsticks in c minor .. Beautiful …I am even doing a video in machinima to go with it …

I think some of the people I live with are finally getting it though (like hubby and the kids) .. they have stopped interrupting me for ridiculous things like dinner and which college they should attend …

Have to go cause there is a bus full of people going by and I want to show them all the names on my friends list …

The Power of Words – Perhaps Why Cyberbullying is SO Damaging.

•July 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The written word is very powerful. We assign a substance to it that we do not necessarily assign to the spoken word. When we speak, we allow for emotions to take over. We can see a person losing control and angry words are said that we will accept were maybe not really meant. We can see eyes and body language that may contradict what someone is saying. Finally, there are often times where we are not really listening to every word that is said and we may miss some of what is said, or at least, miss the intent …

When we write something we take away all of the excuses that we allow to the spoken word. Because a person has to think about what they want to say and then take the time to write it, and because we can read it over and over, we can make it into anything we want it to say and often what it says, comes to us out of our own vulnerability and insecurities.

The internet puts a spotlight on all the dark corners of our human-ness. The cruel spoken taunts of children never seem to carry the same weight when a child relates them later. “She called me fat.” “He told me he was going to smash my face in…” It is easy to take second hand information, and miss the tone, the seriousness. It is easier for a parent to dismiss it. It always has been.

Today however, we can see the conversation. We can see the very cruel, relentless and sometimes startling threats made against our children and it cannot be ignored. We are uncomfortable that children could act with such hate towards one another and we are frightened for our children.

We have all been children. As much as we like to march into the schools and demand justice, we all know how it works. There are no written guarantees in life – the good person does not always win. Sometimes it is because people are overworked and just do not see the problem as important as we do as parents, sometimes it is because they are actually part of the problem and do not care for our child. The fact is, bullying is not always stopped and too many times the victim is singled out for further abuse after they come forward.

Children do not seem to hate the bullies as much as they do the victim who will not keep silent. It is an unspoken law that haunts society in many forms. Criminals will respect one another for almost anything … but be a snitch and you are scum. We see it in the army, we see it in business, we see it with social issues. We do not like the people who bring forward problems to be dealt with. Why? That is a very interesting question worth exploring but not in this blog post.

In my latest workshop, I spoke with some of the kids of the parents who have been participating and they confirmed that one of the fears that keeps them from speaking out – is the retaliation for doing so. They do not have a lot of confidence in their parents abilities to understand the situation, and then to effectively handle the solution. Kids are afraid that parents will over-react, share too much of their personal information with others, or even not believe them or blame them for the incident. Our children, it would seem are accepting of the fact that the world is not a safe place and they feel powerless. Oh they can reiterate all the phrases and teachings that are all over the internet. Give them a test on internet safety and they can probably pass with flying colours .. But strip away the rah rah and talk about what is really going on for them and it is a different story.

It is a different world that we live in today. We cannot protect our children from seeing the harder and the seamier side of life. They see it on the news, in their music videos, their movies, television and games. They are not any more prepared to deal with it than we were . .. they are children .. but for many of them .. they are numb to it. Kids that grow up where gangs are a way of life, know that life is cheap and they often do not count on living to a ripe old age … it is more important that they live in a blaze of glory, fearless, and without losing the honour of their gang. Kids today accept violence and death with resignation.

My first exposure to death was when a teacher died in a car accident and we went to her funeral. I was probably about 11. Movies about war and cowboys were not real. In the same way, the news did not seem real. Adults were concerned about how we were all coping with the loss. The community pulled together to help us heal. We were indeed a village raising our children. Today we are isolated as parents, restricted from how we can interact with our kids, obsessed with rights and freedoms and not so much with responsibilities and integrity. Life is cheap. Relationships are plastic take aways. Sex is about hooking up. We went from sex within marriage – honour and respect to making love to sleeping together to hooking up … most kids today have no idea that there is supposed to be anything else connected with sex other than physical release and pleasure. It is a bodily function – nothing more.

I bring all this into the discussion of internet safety because if we are going to address this wonderful tool, and manage the problems it brings … I think we have to be clear about where these problems really come from. One of the things that I found with our research into unplanned pregnancies was that it was not a case of women getting pregnant because they lacked access to, or knowledge of birth control. In fact, it was not even the young girls that were the biggest offenders. We were looking at adult women, in a relationship, who knew what to do, how to do it and where to get birth control. We were looking at women who had more access and acceptability for that than any other generation and yet they were still ending up with “unplanned” pregnancies … so we had to ask the same question, “Why?” The answer led us in a completely different direction for answers than we ever thought we would go in.

I think we have to do the same here. Our children’s needs are not being met. We are stealing their childhoods from them and forcing them to deal with adult scary situations when they are really … emotionally unprepared. Despite their bravado, their intelligence, their technical savvy …. They are still little kids, in need of love and protection. Their monsters are no longer vaguely under the bed or maybe in the closet …. Their monsters are real and live next door, or go to school with them. Fueled by the images and glorification of violence, kids are prepared to kill and be killed. “It happens…” shrugged a 10 year old as he matter of factly discussed that a child might commit suicide from being bullied. There was no emotion, just a statement of fact and several nodded their heads. This has to stop.

We can’t just give them a checklist and hook them up to the internet. We can’t just pray for their safety. We have to reconnect parents and children. We have to support that effort, taking back parental rights, providing opportunities for those families with financial difficulties- to strengthen themselves. Rather than having a community run program so other adults can interact with our kids, while mom and/or dad earn a living … we need to find ways to put mom and/or dad back with the child. If we don’t see parenting as the most important job any of us will ever have we are only applying bandaids while our children are bleeding out.

Beneath The Surface.

•July 3, 2011 • 1 Comment

There are always layers in life. Layer one is simply the physical or the obvious. People can live very successfully at this level and find measures of happiness and fulfillment. BUT it you want to dig deeper, there are many other layers to explore and each one pushes and challenges us as it takes us places we might not ever have considered.

The part of ourselves that speaks to our hearts of all the possibilities, the part that pushes us towards deeper connections and understanding with self and life, is our soul. It requires a substance far more meaningful than just the “things” we acquire. It understands that you cannot simply think your way into happiness.

If we are only willing to focus on the positive, if we fear allowing negative emotions within ourselves then we are missing an opportunity that is key to our soul’s development. Our souls are fearless – they long to understand and embrace all of life, They urge us to wade in and face ourselves, to conquer and move forward. Pretending we do not feel negative emotions, or refusing to examine them allows them a power over us. We are stopping the natural flow of energy. There is never anything to fear from emotions, in fact, it is only when we refuse to allow them release that we can cause blockages that create illness and other difficulties. We stop emotions because we fear them, and fear is never a good thing.

My son told me once how he finally stopped his bad dreams. He said that for years he had dreams where he was being chased by nameless faceless monsters. He ran in fear throughout the night and often woke tired and afraid. One day he decided he had enough and instead of running he turned and faced the monster. Looking it squarely in the eye, he said “OK.” With that “OK” he had no idea what was about to happen – would he be killed? Eaten? Would he be forced to fight a long and drawn out battle? Would more monsters come, even angrier at him for having issued a challenge? He only knew that he was no longer prepared to run. So he stood and waited and to his surprise, the monster disappeared into the darkness from whence it came. It no longer had a purpose. It no longer had power BECAUSE he had taken it away. He did not know he always had that power BUT the moment he decided to turn and face it … it was gone.

It was a valuable lesson that applies to all fears in our life. Once the lesson has been learned the need for them is gone. They have been transformed and that transformation empowers YOU!!.

Ask Auntie Bliss – My Goldfish Died!!

•July 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

fish bliss mmhmm

Dear Auntie Bliss;

My son had a goldfish that died and he asked me about death and I am not sure what to say to him. Should I be encouraging him to believe in an afterlife at this point or is that setting him up for religious indoctrination? I am really afraid I will say and do the wrong thing and scar him for life. What should I do? (oh btw he is 32)

Well forget about scarring him .. that is your job and you must do your part. Someone has to support the psychiatric community, the jails, and the street culture. In fact, you might as well start a little “hope chest” if you will and start buying your blame t-shirts and underwear now so you will have them later on when you will be bankrupt cause your kids moved out and back in and out and back in again and one of those outs was to the county jail – and then you might not be able to afford them … the underwear …. or the kids …

I know for me, when my sons little birdy died that he tried to save ( and yes I refrained from saying I told you he would not live when you brought him home. And then I said “YOU will not live,” when he insisted on using the blender to grind up all those caterpillars and bugs… but I am not bitter and I forgive him. I refrained because I am a swell mom … and well he was crying …) well when the birdy died …. We took it out and put it in a shoe box and had a burial …. All the kids were there … we all cried and said a prayer that sounded more like a valentine .. “Roses are red, violets are blue, you are now dead, but we still love you. Amen.” And sang birdy songs …. They were completely random and made up but my son led the music and we all sang along making up our own words and in the end … I swear we sounded just like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir … without the organ of course …or a bunch of drunks in a bar on Saturday night .. I get those two confused all the time. So we buried the bird and walked back to the house and my son was like …

“So the birdy is in heaven now right mom?”
“Uh – huh.”
“And it is flying now cause it is all perfect and has all its feathers right mom?”
“Uh-huh.”
“And God will look after it now and nothing bad will ever happen to it right mom?” And he sniffled a little right then and wiped a tear from his eye and my heart just about broke …

We walked along in silence .. Just sort of sharing the tenderness of the moment … and the family cat joined up … we all walked along, my sons hand in mine, the other children quietly following…. and the cat ….. with the little bird in it’s mouth …

It’s true what they say … God comes in mysterious forms….

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of the fear of the death .. It keeps a lot of us living each day … and it keeps many people in line. I say use the tools you have!

You Can’t Play in MY Yard!!!!

•July 2, 2011 • 3 Comments

Acting like you are in junior high was pretty stupid when you were in Junior High and is even more ridiculous now that you are an adult. EXCEPT – when you are the victim of juvenile activity and you get to finally use some of the lines that came to you months after you scraped yourself up off the bottom of someone’s shoe – things that you wish you would have said. Although I must warn you … “Mary you are ugly and your mother dresses you funny!” may have slayed “Mary” back then but with your new boss .. maybe not so much ….

I always thought it ridiculous when girls tried to dictate to you what your place was … like they were mad at you and wanted nothing to do with you (for something they did) and no-one else was supposed to do anything with you either. “Go to your corner, sit on the shelf, and if I decide I want you or need you for anything .. I will let you know .. You just be there waiting for me.” The stupid thing is .. many of us dutifully went to the corner.

I first saw this when I was about 4 and we were at the lake where our family summered every year. There we were hanging out with all our friends, having a great time, had been there for about a month …. when a new girl came. She waded into the water and turned and faced all of us who were playing around the shore line and announced that none of us could come in unless she said so. 1 little girl against about a dozen of us and we all stood there and kicked at the sand as she picked one or two to join her. When it was evident the rest of us were not getting in, we dispersed, one by one back to our tents …. waiting to hear if we would be allowed in.

I laugh now .. It was painful then. It was painful in junior high to watch the games that were played and to be on the receiving end of unkindness. I resented people trying to tell others where their place was and where they should sit on the bus. I didn’t much abide by the rules and of course that only made it worse. We all have people in our lives that leave us out, put us on the shelf like we are a library book or something and “tell us” to stay there until they are ready to “use us” again. The little girl in the lake knew none of us. She was not qualified to walk into the lake and determine who would be best in there with her, or even which of us would be loyal to her. She was just a bully, who, rather than joining in with the rest of us and playing by the rules decided to write her own where she was in charge of who was in. She did it to exclude anyone else she chose … as long as it was not her. She probably did it because she had experience at being excluded herself.

I hate it even more now … adults telling others what they should do… They talk as if they know how people feel and what they are thinking. The things is with Second Life – we don’t know how vulnerable people are – especially strangers. It may be fun to kick sand in someone’s eyes – to laugh and point fingers at the way someone blogs or designs – to tell them they have no right to be doing it, they do it all wrong … and we may feel good about that in our groups of “the popular kids” who are all nodding and egging us on. But what if you could see that the person doing that blog r design was learning to use the computer – with their toes? What if you knew that they had Parkinsons? Would it be so funny, so important to point fingers at how or what they do?

Do you know how many women I have worked with over the years who stopped caring what they looked like, gave up on ever thinking themselves beautiful, surrendered everything for their families or for a man? Who KNOW they are useless and pointless because their lives tell them that every day? Do you know how many women wear their nicest dress they ever owned to their own funeral? So if a woman comes on here and has a pretty avatar and starts to feel good about herself and bravely puts herself in a blog and tries some things out … I am not going to jump up and down and tell her it is not good enough. If she finds a voice to start putting words together and communicating with the world .. I am going to applaud her efforts. Not everyone is comfortable with, or even knows how to find friends.

I believe Second Life is a great healer, a viable alternative to mental health care for many people. When the world has passed you by, rejected you, or your personal circumstances isolate you from being able to go out there and push your way back in …. Second Life provides a safe way to reconnect, to find friendship, love, meaning, purpose, meaningful and creative outlets …..People spend years in therapy trying to do what Second Life does in a completely non-threatening way.

I think it is important to consider “do no harm” policy when it comes to how we treat our fellow Second Life people. We don’t know the physical or emotional state of the person we are dealing with. Getting them shunned from a community, or giving up on what they are trying to do may seem like a victory for us ….it may be enough to push them right over the edge. The issue of people who abuse designers is for designers to deal with on a case by case basis or by setting up a blogger/customer policy that works for them. The issue of bloggers who do not blog like we do or think it should be done, is up to the reader to decide to read or move on to someone they enjoy. As for the rest, we can choose not to read, not to buy, not to friend, people that do not do things the same as us (if that is your criteria for friendship and associations).

The History of ARC and a Timely Timely Reminder.

•July 2, 2011 • 5 Comments

Another big fair and another timely reminder from someone with 2 (two) watches … making me a virtual expert on mixed reality time and reminders. PLUS you should know .. my report cards ALWAYS said that, “Blissy is a lovely girl but she tends to be a bit bossy…” I was MADE to REMIND people.

OK .. fair .. ARC!!! What is ARC? In Second Life it is when someone comes into a space and sucks all the life and bejesus out of everyone and everything so that we all stand their naked and unable to move or speak while they sparkle, emote, and take over the world. I am not exaggerating. Death to ARCers.

Arc is very very bad. There is a reason we call people our ARCh enemies. Because there are so many people asking me everyday … “Bliss, you beautiful fashionista you, could you just tell me a little bit more about ARC?”…. I decided to tell. Ok we are going to get very technical here so please be upstanding and insert pocket protectors.

History of ARC (OR The Story of “A” – as I like to call it): Even in the beginning when no-one believed it existed .. It did … and owing to its evil evil nature it tried to hide behind spellings (ark)and pronunciations (ars) but I have a university degree in ARCing and spent years in solitary study (hall – well technically I was in there to reflect upon my bad behaviour with all the other kids in detention but we couldn’t talk so it was kinda like being alone) Early religious texts tell us there was light and there was dARK. DARK is not good. It is scary and allows for monsters to get under the bed. ARC was a dark ominous cloud looming over the world … just look at Noah and his ARK – probably the earliest recorded encounter of how ARK can sneak up on you unawares. ARK causes rain … lots and lots of rain.

And then God tried to confuse everyone by making a rainbow ARC and I think that was the beginning of bling and people ignoring the danger of ARC. Certainly skittles were born then and of course the whole gay movement. And who does not love the gays and candy? See how it got confusing?

Then the angels started to sing and hARK all over the place and it is no wonder those that know have been warning us about the dangers of music and how it plays with our minds – even the angels were sucked in. ARC controls our minds and when played backwards has subliminal messages in it.

ARC spread forth on the land and became frozen and grew polar bears, ate people’s fingers, toes and faces, and sheltered bad people who came to club seals. It forced cute little birds in little tuxedos to march endless miles just to get laid …. ARCtic and antARCtica spread their icy fingers of ARCiness. It tried to hide but Darwin found it – a strange land with big lizards and something about his relatives the monkeys and then a bunch of nuns and him fighting which later my grandfather joined in on even though no-one asked him to … ARChipelago. ARC causes strife and fighting.

We had various MonARChies – like one that created his own religion, had sex with a bunch of women and then had them killed. Today we call that “psychopathic serial killer.” Today we have a MonARCh that is always stern, wears strange hats and has a son that wears a skirt. It then evolved into AnARChy and I would explain it but I am just confused …… ARC does that to you … makes you insane, disordered, and confused. (not necesssarily in that order)

ARC evolved over the years, creating willy nilly damage and taking prisoners along the way. Today we see it in many things:

Parallel PARKing – ever tried it – ARC makes you drive over curbs and flunk tests.

StARChes – makes you get fat, but pulls you in cause it tastes good .. seductive little bastard … ARC is a dress that does make your ass look big.

ScARCe – almost fooled you right? Different pronunciation – same smarmy thing though – that is not having enough … cause Arc has a big warehouse – probably in the ARCtic with all our stuff in it .. that we deserve and don’t have …. ARC does not share nicely.

BARK – may not be worse than a bite unless it is all night, all day , 7 days a week and in your neighbours house. ARC makes you buy poison and dial community numbers and report things.

SnARKy – this is when the bark becomes bite and someone takes your head off or says something so mean it makes you cry. ARC is a bully and abusive.

ShARKs – eat you with big teeth when you least expect it. They wreck your surfboards too and make reallly bad movies. ARC is a c-grade actor in a fish costume in a cheesy summer flick.

TelemARKeting – random people phone your house and pretend they are your friend so they can lure you into seductive conversations about rates and holidays you just won … a trip to the ARCtic for you and your loved ones, for just 300,000.00, you pay the airfare and your drinks are free.(one way only) You get a free tour of the seal clubbing and a souvenir club to take home. Now if that caller was sitting in front of his computer somewhere in his underwear and calling you to ask such intimate questions we would call him a “pervert.” ARC is perverted.

Then came SL and people started adorning themselves with ARC and going forth amongst the crowds and pouring jello everywhere that we had to wade through. They ruined our hunts and hurt our eyes. Well folks I am tired of sitting in my little space in SL and randomly trying on clothes I can never show anyone because when I go out to play I have to either be a puff of smoke or look like “Condom girl” in some kind of body suit that you pull over your head, paint green and paint sparkles on so you feel “special.” just to counteract the AardvARKs out there. SHE is out there dressed to the nines sparkling and poofing and emoting and dancing with chickens hanging off her butt … how is that fair? I paid for all these beautiful clothes and now I have to look like Condom girl???? That’s like going to an ice-cream store and ordering lowfat, non-dairy, sugarless, artificially flavoured vanilla with liver. What’s the point? It’s all a bunch of malARKy to me.

What can we do?

Encourage the thieves to be environmentally conscious in their work .. If they would just agree to only copy and duplicate only those items with low ARC .. we would be a long way in our fight against the dreaded stuff/thing . …. whatever …

Have a “low-ARC-looks like a condom pulled over my head – suit” burning in your neighbourhood. Get everyone to brink their cloud hairs and eyes, their condome suits and BURN BURN BURN!!! Organize a protest, invite all the SL important people (they are the ones with the signs over their heads saying how important they are, or they say “busy” or “don’t IM me.”) and burn the suits. Be free …. wear your nice things.

And finally, the most important step, start a blog naming the ARC violators … target their homes with protests and demonstrations. Write nasty messages on bathroom walls about them. Gather mobs to bash them up when you see them. This is serious folks. Don’t worry about sufficient facts to back up your accusations – SL has a long track record of acceptable behaviour on this – just name whoever – ex partners you hate, competition, that bitch that stole your boyfriend .. Name them all … might as well do a through house cleaning … and we will all feel sooooo much better.

End of reel (please remove pocket protectors, be down-sitting, and resume your normal activities ….)OH … and go to the hair fair .. I have been banned but there is no reason you should not go and have a good time ….