New Year, New Challenges


2013 was a year where many things changed and many others didn’t. One thing that I had wanted to change, but didn’t, was my lack of time spent in Second Life.

The more time I spend away from SL the more I miss it. The more it evolves and moves on and when I do eventually return I feel left behind. Many friends have long since disappeared. The technologies get more advanced. The gap between me having the skill set of a newbie and my actual SL age of nearly 8 years gets more embarrassing. Seriously, how many 8 year old SL avies are there who still can’t build (or work out how many scripts they are running!). Yet I still feel the pull of Second Life, as a place of refuge for me.

I find escaping to Second Life very therapeutic. My life is always full of high drama and stress, no matter what I do to try and reduce this things (one of the bad things that didn’t change!) I have tried to pull myself away from bad old habits that helped numb my RL pain and keep me functioning in RL, vices that enabled me to keep going but were destructive in other ways. SL always seemed liek a positive “drug” that helped me recharge my emotional batteries but also stimulated parts of me that were yearning to be noticed and fed.

Anyway I find myself at the start of another year, and with high hopes of actually getting down to spending real quality time in SL. Regular time, where I can build up my skills and explore all those SIMs I landmarked to visit at a later date that never seems to come. Regular time where i can hopefully build up new, meaningful SL friendships, and maybe rekindle some old ones. I bought 2 plots of adjoining beach front land in SL at the end of last year, and that is the hook I;’m using to try and keep me linked into SL. It would be easy to leave and write it all off. Give up and give in to stressful, crushing RL.

Not yet though. No. 2014 must be the year of positive change. 2013 was the year I rediscovered my love of Doctor Who, another form of escapism that fires my imagination and makes me feel alive. 2014 will be the year I rediscover my love of SL.

 

SL Burn 2 2013


I always feel much better about RL when I have spent a lot of time in SL.

When you step back it seems strange that wandering around lots of imaginatively meshed together pixels using the up arrow key on your keyboard can have such a real and meaningful connection with you in RL but it can.

Whenever I visit a SIM that transports me fully to another world away from the stuffy confines of my claustrophobic study or connect with another very real person in SL I feel alive. I have always had an overactive imagination and as much as I have tried to suppress it, in order to conform to standards for a lifestyle I was supposed to follow according to those who brought me up, I never quite could. Letting my imagination get taken in a myriad of diverse directions by the wondrous creations SL has to offer fires me up. It makes me feel truly alive. Very few things in RL make me feel this way, and the more limited my RL options seems to get, the more open ended possibilities SL seems to offer.

SL is not perfect and I always worry about it ending like the best of my dreams always do, but as long as it is still going and being pushed further by creative and magical people I will always have somewhere to go and fill my cup of imagination hope.

That said, I have been visiting the Burn 2 2013 SIM this week and have so far managed to learn how to Dance whilst gyrating with a flaming Hula Hoop around my waist and I nearly got eaten by a large Luminescent Jelly Fish.

I highly recommend taking the Hot Air Balloon Tour in the SIM as there are so many wonderful things to see, it’s almost overwhelming. With the Tour you get a quick glimpse of things you can go and immerse yourself in later.

I’m planning to go back to day and check out the large Snake Temple and get myself some SL snakes to add to my flaming hula hoop.

Happy exploring!

Link to Burn 2 official website.

My Burn 2 visit Flickr Pics.

Official Burn 2 Flickr Page

Flying in my Flaming Hula Hoop at the Burn 2 2013 Greeter Gate

Flying in my Flaming Hula Hoop at the Burn 2 2013 Greeter Gate

View from the entrance to the Burn 2 2013 Temple

View from the entrance to the Burn 2 2013 Temple

The Jellyfish that wanted to eat me

The Jellyfish that wanted to eat me

SL 10B Community Celebration Pod Tour


Although I missed all the parties for Second Life’s 10th Birthday Celebrations (something I’m not particularly happy about) I have managed to make some time to at least visit the brilliant SL10B Community Celebration SIM.

It has so much to offer the open minded explorer that at times it does feel a bit overwhelming. If I could spend all day everyday this week in Second Life, immersing myself in the user created exhibits, I would. Unfortunately I can’t, but i chanced upon a great way to see as much of the SIM as possible in a short amount of time.

Snapshot_018

Yes, hop onto a YavaScript Pod for an SL10B Pod Tour. You have to find a pod station and there are 2 pod tour lines, east and west.

The Western Line turns into a train journey for a short while, which I loved, reminding me of how much traveling in vehicles in SL can be. Anyway, going on the pod tour is a great way to see all that is on offer, albeit for quick flashes, but then you can go back and visit the areas you liked the look of best. I also find walking around SL quite clunky at times, so sitting back, relaxing and just soaking up the creativity on offer was a real pleasure.

Anyway Hope you manage to go on a pod tour this week, and if so, enjoy!

 

Snapshot_001

SL 10th Birthday Celebrations Links


Links to SL 10th Birthday Celebration Websites:

Raza in Bladerunner City 29/01/2013


Visiting Bladerunner City SIM:
bit.ly/WqqIAq

Wearing Graves Black & White Male Space/ Cat suit:
bit.ly/WcY6eO

Reconnecting with Myself using Second Life


At the start of the new year I promised myself, and this blog, that I would make more of an effort to visit Second Life and explore new SIMs that were on my ever growing list. I love Second Life and always enjoy my time immersed in the metaverse but as with many things I enjoy I seem unable to devote much time them. I resolved to remedy this by focussing more on my needs this month and have managed to log inworld most days.

Below (at the end of this post) are some pictures of a few of the wonderful places I have visited.

The more time I spent  inworld the more I felt connected to my true self (corny as it sounds and comes out when i type it!), so I thought I would share a few thoughts about that.

One of the many reasons I love Second Life, and keep coming back to it since I joined (an age ago) in March 2007, is that it helps me understand myself.

I have always loved creating and exploring places and things, ever since I was a child. I am curious and inquisitive by nature and a little bit quirky. Seeing all the mind blowing creations sprung from the diverse imaginations contributing to Second Life never ceases to inspire me and fires my own, often stifled, imagination. When I see a magical SIM with glowing mushrooms on top of a Jungle Tree floating in the sky I think wow, I never would have thought of that, but it looks great. It makes me feel that life is full of endless possibilities and other ways of doing things and living. It helps open my eyes, and keep them open. We should not be confined by rigid rules and a lack of imagination, as much as those who try to suppress any form of creative spirit try to confine us. Why does this matter to me? Why does it strike a chord in me?

Well for the most part of my life I have always been suffocated and held back by a cultural background, family and peers who have a narrow and limited view of the world and all it’s possibilities. This is basically down to their own unresolved insecurities and fragility, though I didn’t understand this until now.

When my naturally open minded and curious young self tried to push boundaries I came up against this rock hard iron wall of resistance to the preconceived norm. A sort of solid cage that claustrophobically moved ever closer to me as the insecure people who built this cage did everything they could to crush my independent spirit. They were scared I would take them down with me. Or that I would end up like them, and they hated themselves. So they forced me to conform to their ways of living and doing things, because their way was the right way and the only way to live. People who loved me and whose job it was to build up my own self confidence and faith in life merely ended up crushing my faith in myself and humanity. My imagination was a curse, a blot on myself, my family, my community, all society. It was a hindrance, liek an infectious virus that needed to be caught and killed early on.

Whatever I truly felt deep inside me, or however differently I saw the world and all it’s possibilities didn’t matter. I was wrong. I was always wrong. They were right, always, and I had to obey them and give up my true self and all it’s dangerous ideas and conform to their uniformity or else be made to.

The more they pushed me to change myself to what they wanted me to be, the more i pushed back. But they were stronger. they were my parents, my family, my peers, my community, my ethnic background, people of my inherited faith, my society. Be it my ideas or questions on anything from religion to economics to politics to art to careers or even food, any desires i had that they didn’t like were always knocked out of me.

When you are a child your parents are like Gods to you. I only really understand this know, and how powerful it is, having become a father myself 5 years ago and also going through years of psychological therapy. I always thought that as much as i ended up having my true self, confidence and hope stripped away from me, I still had a lot of independence inside me. It seems I was mistaken.

It turns out that many of the decisions i ended up making, even in my 20’s and early 30’s were basically what my parents or society wanted me to do. I never really wanted to do these things myself. Examples include my career choices. My parents wanted me to become a doctor and do Medicine at University. I never really wanted to, but I still went for it. Then they wanted me to become an accountant. Me, a wildly creative and imaginative lover of films, art, fiction and all things eclectic and eccentric, become a staid, rule following, dull accountant (no offense to any accountants out there!). I caved. I gave up dreams of being a musician, a film maker, a fiction writer, an astronaut, a historian, whatever else i really was or wanted to be. I am naturally a bit left wing and liberal, a fan of charities and change, not corporations and tradition. Yet I “chose” to live and become part of a world that was nevr right for the true me, one of rigidity, material obsession, greedy tax avoiding corporations and insecure traditionalists”.

Even when I thought I was outgrowing and overcoming all the years of brainwashing and being pushed around, i was still really living other peoples lives. I had forgotten who i really was. I bought a house and took on loads of debt when i didn’t want to, realizing it was too big a commitment. If I bought this house then I would have to work in high pressured, highly demanding, corporate, soulless jobs forever, and I never once thought I had a choice to say no. I went to work for a large global multinational corporate giant, a psychopathic entity that was even more corrupt and wrong for the world than i had ever thought possible, deep in the hidden recesses of my forgotten true self. The list goes on.

I essentially got in so deep  into this world that others wanted me to live in that i forgot who i really was and wanted to be. I became a walking pod, on automatic pilot, a pale shadow of my natural, youthful, imaginative self.

However, through a combination of good fortune and perseverance i have managed to get to the stage where i no longer accept that I can’t make choices that are my own and that I have to live the life that others want me to live. No matter how powerful a pull they have on me, i am determined to overcome their brainwashing and holding me back and I am doing all i can to reconnect with my true self. The calm, patient, warm, tolerant, accepting, passive yet strong, creative, open minded, film loving weirdo that i am. I am not the ruthless, aggressive, permanently angry money grabbing, greedy capitalist the modern world, my parents, peers and many in wider society want me to be.

Happiness is a complex difficult thing to understand, let alone attain, but it does not come from material wealth or power. It certainly does not come from living the life other’s want you to live, at the expense of the life you feel you truly want to live. The more you try to deny your true self, the unhappier you become. That much i have learnt so far. It seems to hold true for me at least. And that is the point. What matters is what seems true and relevant to me, What makes sense to me. What fires me and my imagination, not my parents or others around me.

That is where Second Life comes in. Trying to reconnect with a self that has been battered and pushed deep down and who in many ways i am still deeply suspicious off, is a very hard task. It is a painful journey of self discovery. Yet deep down I always knew who i really was and what i really wanted from life. It is just about reconnecting with that again. Second Life helps me do this.

When i see a SIM or an Avie that makes me tingle with excitement or when i hear virtual water flowing over virtual rocks in a Zen garden and i feel taken to another place that chimes with me, these are all examples of little ways in which i am reconnecting with the real me. In my real life i was always limited by the insecurities and anxieties of others. Those who held sway over me. In my imagination the possibilities seem endless and hopeful. In Second Life I can see the boundaries of what is possible to create being challenged, and limit’s being pushed. Our creativity and imagination should be the only limits to what we can do.

We all need tools to help us in life, and as a tech lover I’m happy to still have Second Life to help me on my journey.  Seeing other people build worlds, people and places they want to see come to life, unhindered by preconceptions or outdated “norms” is refreshing and empowering to my own quest to challenge the norms holding me back.

The only problem is that the more i delve back into the world of wonder and creativity the more time i want to spend there, and time is a luxury i don’t have.

Anyway, enough of my psycho-babble and internal musings. Here are some pictures of a few great SIMs that took my breath away and fired my imagination:

Dryland SIM

SLURL

My Flickr Pics

(More pictures to come in further posts)

Raza in Dryland 1Raza in Dryland 2

Basilique Private Members Club Island SIM

(More pictures to come in further posts)

SLURL

My Flickr Pics

Raza in Basilique Private Members Island 1Raza in Basilique Private Members Island 2

Pacifique SIM

Visit this SIM quickly as it will be moving on February 2nd 2013!
(More pictures to come in further posts)

Official SL Page

My Flickr Pics

Raza in Pacifique 1Raza in Pacifique 2

2013 Pacifique Photos


Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013
Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013
Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013
Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013Pacifique 24/01/2013

2013 Pacifique, a set on Flickr.

Snapshots from my 1st visit to the very magical Pacifique SIM in second life. It has a beach, beach club, floating jungles, underground forest, Pirate cove and much more.
Worth visiting.
SLURL: http://bit.ly/10TMLnS

Dryland SIM 21_01_2013


Dryland SIM 21_01_2013 by Raza Lane
Dryland SIM 21_01_2013, a photo by Raza Lane on Flickr.

Cowboy Raza scoping out Dryland SIM in Second Life at sunrise on 21/01/2013:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Mado/124/176/38

1st SL Motorbike 17 Jan 2013


Me and my first ever virtual motorbike purchase, the JFC Lexei from JFC (Jayra’s Fantasy Creations): https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/30220

Order and disorder


This is my first post of 2013, so Happy New Year (14 days late!) to anyone who is still reading my blog!

It has been a logn time since I updated this blog, and even longer since I have been in Second Life.

I logged back in last week, for the first time this year, and my avatar was dressed as Frankenstein and was bumping into all the mess left scattered on the floor of my small virtual home. I’m trying to introduce some tidiness and order into my real life and it seems time to do the same for my second life.

Realising that the last time I was inworld must have been Halloween made me feel sad and disappointed. Second Life has so much to offer and I always enjoy my travels and time inworld, but the firefighting disordered way my life seems to exist in has meant I rarely get the opportunity to spend time inworld. When I do find myself inworld, it often seems I end up wasting a lot of that precious time.

I tell myself that Efficiency is the key, though I also think being too efficient takes the soul and sense of excitement and adventure out of a lot of life. There are lots of places in SL I am desperate to visit. The main idea of this blog was to be an archive of lists of destinations i came across and wanted to visit. That way, having them listed online in a central place, I thought i’d traverse the metaverse like Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise, boldly going where i had never been before inworld. That doesn’t seem to have happened.

So my cunning plan is to allocate 1 hour every day, in the morning before work, to log into Second Life and visit somewhere new. An hour is not a long time, especially if the SIM is as exotic and creatively built as most I have had the luck to visit. Yet I hope the breadth of my travels inworld will help me reconnect to Second Life and the sens eof wonder and imaginative stimulation it has always given me.

Staring out of my study window here in London, UK, it is dark, grey, damp and cold. On a day liek this, surrounded by concrete highways and boring Tudor style brick houses that all look the same and make me feel claustrophobic, I yearn to be in a meadow or watch the sunset on a wide open beach. SL really does inspire me and help me get through the long dark days and I think I need to accept that and make more effort to jump back in.

Hopefully I’ll have some cool picture of my travels to share on this blog too! And hopefully my plan won’t get pushed aside by the tumult of real life again.

Wish me luck.

 

FrakenRaza

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