Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hello Everyone! :)

I was asked to start this blog by a few email list friends who have found my rather unusual lifestyle interesting. Who knows why? However, I am flattered and honored so I will give it a good try.

There are so many things I must learn to do this well. For one thing, I have to buy and learn to use a digital camera because sharing photos will be important.

For now, I will start with an introduction for those who are not already familiar.

I've had an unusual life. For more than 50 years, I have lived in a place and culture that never felt right to the inside of me. People would talk about their hopes, their dreams, their way of life and it never made sense. There was no common root to link us. That led to a lot of isolation and even a period of substance abuse, during which I drank myself silly every day. After I got sober many years ago, the feeling of isolation and "apartness" remained and there didn't seem to be any solution. I wasn't awake enough internally to know that there were many possibilities. There was a whole world outside of my self-imposed one-room prison. In AA, they call it a "dry drunk". A more accurate description in my view is that my soul was withering away. I wanted connection so badly but didn't have the skills or knowledge to create that for myself. For reasons I will not be blogging about, I became alienated from my family of origin and wasn't too great at creating a family of choice. I was like a weed, growing in a garden that wasn't watered or nurtured. That is an experience I will try to describe at some point but may not have the words.

I began to read. I took in ideas the way a thirsty person takes in fresh water. I was hungry for ideas beyond my immediate reach, for things that would link me somehow to this odd world which I perceived as being so unreachable. Where were others like me, others who had a non-aggressive, non-competitive approach to life? Where were those for whom western culture was little more than soul-sucking? Where could I go that wasn't reduced to a glorified marketplace? The religions I investigated wanted to either pick my pocket or force me into a box that wouldn't fit. Inevitably, parts of me would begin falling out the sides and I would lose my new community.

Books became my closest friends as I soaked in the ideas of people ancient and contemporary, religious and atheist, conservative and liberal, western and eastern. My first "AHA" moment occurred with the discovery of Voluntary Simplicity. Writers of these books provided me with validation that others existed who thought there was more to life than hunting and gathering, power-over and soul-searing competition. These writers showed me that a life could be rich and full without lots of "stuff" or even craving for "stuff". I'm hardly a die-hard "back to the earth" person. I like gadgets. Still, the overall philosophy resonates deeply with me. To this day, I live simply. Everything I own will fit into the back of my compact car - and I like it that way!

The second awakening for me was discovering Buddhism. Never before had anything so gently reached to the depths of my soul and brought out the loveliness I knew was within all of us. The practical philosophy resonated with the left-brain and the art, chants, the history and the study of the Noble Truths fed the right side. My soul began to blossom.

Then ~ I found Thailand. That little corner of Southeast Asia completed the picture of who I would become. I am not naive and am certainly aware of the problems there. At times in this blog, I will be very open about my feelings regarding Thai politics. That aside though, the culture feeds my soul to the core of who I am. If there is indeed reincarnation, I have lived in Thailand a significant number of times. It is my spirit's home.

Okay. Now for the eccentricity that has appealed to my email list friends: I am unable to move to Thailand for another few years due to some financial restrictions. I live on a small pension and the Thai government requires a certain amount of money in a Thai bank account before allowing a retirement visa. Right now, that amount is beyond my reach. This is creating a deep hole in my life. Having tried so very hard to discover where I "fit" and having finally found it, I feel a deep yearning to be there. In order to maintain my well-being which was hard-won over many years, I had to do something to bridge my connection and fill this vacancy.

I decided to bring Thailand to me. I live in a small unit which I slowly began to furnish with Thai silk accessories. I cook with beautiful Thai cookware. I have many beautiful pictures from friends in Thailand or ones I've discovered elsewhere. I often can be found sitting quietly in my garden, playing mor lam music while I read or tend to the many things which grow beautifully outside my door. I wear Thai jewelry. My clothing is nearly all Thai. I am learning the language.

Most importantly, I live the culture. The gentle manners, the food (Yes, J. I've lost weight! :), the respect - all of those things that make life smoother, kinder and more harmonious have been incorporated into my daily existence.

On the other hand, I am still very western in the respect that I am passionate about politics and social responsibility. I can often be found at events where we gather to raise awareness on issues such as human rights, peace, health care, economic equality and helping in any way I can to exile BushCo and predatory capitalism to the ashheap of history.

Now that winter is coming, the gatherings at Cesar Chavez Park will not be quite so frequent. However, if you are in this area and happen to come by any gatherings, look for the short, stocky, eccentric-looking woman in Thai clothes with a little dog named Shanti. Say hi. I would be thrilled to meet. For those who can not, I welcome your comments and input to the blog.

May all beings be free from the causes of suffering ~

Thailand Gal


Wacky Jack said...

Good morning, little munchkin! You're a hoot! Are you coming to the conference in October? I'll be lookin for ya.

Bonnie said...

Got your notice. I'm glad you started a blog. You're a character. I mean that in a good way of course. I want to know where you get those clothes! LOL I want some! Write to me. Have a good day, Girlfriend. Good luck with your roommate.

Thailand Gal said...


I'm convinced no one will read it but will try anyway. (laugh) I order the clothes from Thailand. Would you like the site? Thank you for good wishes about V. Right now, we can not get him out of bed. Talk to you soon. Have a wonderful, peaceful day!

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