Monday, November 27, 2006

I've been in the desert... and the horse has a name...

28 November 2006 (Thai-bloggers- 28-11-2549)

This one is for Gobody, my blogger pal who is gracious enough to allow me to use his "comments" section as a chat room. :)

You asked about the desert and how I got from there to here.

I should make it clear that I am only half way "here", really. I am not entirely free of the desert yet. I will not be free until I see Thailand through my front window but it is something I process differently. I have grown to respect the cycles of our lives. Tide in/tide out. The fallow times aren't quite so fallow. I also have a clearer understanding of how and why it happened. When it does happen, it might be for a day or two ~ and then it kind of drifts away and things go back to normal. Whenever it comes though, I stand at attention because it means class is in session.

The desert is... complete invisibility. It means no invitations, no phone calls, no birthday cards in the mail, no holiday memories, no dates, no email, no interaction at all with other human beings with the exception of casual, focused conversations that have a goal or objective, usually at my expense. And it's not for lack of trying. It just means you make lots of effort for no return. It means no social support network. It means the possibility of ending up as one of those people who die in their apartment and no one knows it until the rent is due.

It means standing still and taking it when someone comes up and invites others to a gathering, right in front of you as though you are a potted plant.

It means being consistently abandoned and never knowing why.

It means having the feeling deep inside that there is something so intrinsically unacceptable about your very being that no one could possibly have any interest in knowing you. It is complete and utter self-loathing. It is hating who you are at the very core ~ and having no explanation why.

It means you can not depend on anyone, ever, for anything except more disappointment.

It means you just don't matter ~ to anyone.

And it also means that it is not because you are universally disliked or despised.That would be too easy. Living in the desert is like living an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. There are no answers, just feelings. Just desolation. It doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong or there is a cause-effect relationship that you can identify.

It's just.... invisibility.

I lived that way for more than ten years. And there are consequences.

So, fast forward to now ~ I am a reserved person and my friendships are deeply forged and long-lasting. They are not dependent on social conventions. The world is not a friendly or warm place to me but I have a knack for finding the cream of the crop and befriending those people. These days, I honestly believe I have the best friends the world has to offer, both American and Thai.

My first real friend, whom I nicknamed "Sage", is the one who held my hand while I emerged from the cave, shell-shocked and blinded by the light. She is the first person in my life who offered me unconditional love ~ and I do mean unconditional. She stood by me while I learned how to function in the world again and learned that I didn't have to be scared and defensive all the time. She stood by while I learned some very basic things about the social world. Like a mother, she would tell me when to send people cards and when to return phone calls. She guarded me like a Mama Bear, making sure no one could possibly undermine any progress I'd made. She answered all of my questions, no matter how silly, with patience and understanding. To this day, she is my most trusted friend and I will love her until I take my final breath. Even more importantly, I would trust her with my life. She is my family. And she has earned enough karmic merit for ten lifetimes, just for putting up with me. I wasn't always easy. I was angry, defensive, scared and prickly.

Time went along and change began. People took to me a bit more and I made a few more friends. Still, I am very cautious about who I call "friend" because once someone has won that place of trust in my life, they get my whole heart. Those are the people I would tear the shirt off my back for, give my last dime to or walk on coals for. They are the ones I would die for. (Bad sentence but I'm not changing it! :)

The logical question naturally is why I had to walk through the desert.

In my belief, it was karma. It was left-over stuff from a previous life. It was a life not lived well, during which I abused others, took advantage of them, was uncaring, lacked compassion and humanity. Something tells me that I was probably quite a selfish b*tch. In psychological terms, it would be called "sociopath". I was told by a past-life regression hypnotist some of the specifics but I am not going to blog that part of it. It's too private.

One of the primary laws of the cosmos is that actions have consequences. We might escape during this life, but we will not escape the consequences forever. There are certain lessons each soul must learn to go forward. The desert is a crash course. When I came to realize that, my final years in the desert took on a different turn. It became a time of intense learning and self-reflection. It became the time when I would grow leaps and bounds within a matter of weeks.

Some good things came out of the desert of the soul. I am easily able to love others unconditionally. I am very compassionate and empathetic, probably too much so. Judgement of others is something that totally escapes me. It doesn't even make sense to judge another person. It's not a moral issue, it is an intellectual one. My brain will not process judgement, racism or hatred. My needs are fairly minimal and I don't demand from others. In fact, I request nothing more than compassion, honesty and integrity. I offer nothing more than compassion, honesty and integrity.

I don't feel bound by social convention, aside from the conventions I have voluntarily adopted. If I don't like Christmas, I ignore it and don't feel at all odd about it. I do not issue guilt trips. I do not manipulate. Nor do I accept either of those. I'm a simple person. WYSIWYG.

There are some leftover remnants which I'm sure will heal as my life continues. The time in the desert was very traumatizing and I still feel bruising. I am not socially at ease and I'm hypersensitive to rejection. I will grow out of those eventually. Heck, I've only been in the daylight for twelve years. There is still much growing to be done, a lot of learning to be done. I'm looking forward to the process.

Peace to all~



Ginnie said...

Oh, Chani, I'm so glad you're out of the desert...or at least on the journey. I love to be alone and have to be very careful that it doesn't turn into isolation, which it very easily can... and then I'm headed toward the desert too. I've had to learn to open myself to other people and the strange part is that my most fulfilling moments come when I do that. A hard lesson that I didn't learn until I was in my 50's !

Anvilcloud said...

IU wasn't think of you when I wrote it, but maybe adversity really is a teacher, and you've learned a lot because you've been through a lot.

Patricia said...

Yes. All that you say resonates in my depths as truth.

Funny you should bring up karma today. My mind had turned to a couple of our country's leaders and I found myself wondering how their karmic debt will be paid out. Ah well, it is not my business.

Desert times are on a continuum. You have been allowed to experience the extreme end of this continuum, but all of us have found ourselves somewhere along it at one time or other in our lives. For me it has the feeling of growing pains...and I mean pain. But necessary nonetheless.

You have obviously used the desert as a tool rather than an endpoint. I celebrate your forbearance, determination and strength.

And I'm grateful that you dare to share the truth of all that you have lived/are living. In so doing you benefit us all.

Thank you, dear Chani.

East of Oregon said...

very nice blog.. enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for continuing to share with, and teach, your readers.

Pam said...

Adversity gives us dimension...the desert is a necessary part of the journey.
Excellent blog!

Gobody said...

Chani, I am honored to have your post dedicated to me, but I am at a loss of what to say here fearing that I might sound too preachy, or too optimistic, which could be a sin sometimes ;)

My believes don’t include a karmic debt, but I believe in evolution. We evolve as individuals as much as a species and our evolution is dictated by the lessons we need to learn, based on our characters and depositions. Sometimes, we need to go through a severe time to learn a lesson that we have been ignoring or avoiding for a long time and that is essential for us to continue at the same time.

I needed such a strong pressure to learn my lessons, in a way I was also in the desert of the heart for a long time.

I wish I could recommend a book to you; it is my bible. But I don’t like to sound that I am pushing anyone to believe in any particular way. If you are interested though, leave a comment and I will email you.

jen said...

what a beautiful post. i so love coming here to read your words of wisdom and brilliance.

what a journey you've had, and what a gift to all of us that you've walked through the desert into the now.

MsLittlePea said...

Ha! Your post hit me on the head today--I was just having a similar conversation with an old friend of mine a few months ago. I was complaining that I constantly feel like I give more than I get in return to the people who I've called my "friends" for years-and is it even worth it? My dear friend said to me,"Honey don't worry about that-it just means you've had more to give. Stop giving and saying yes so much and see who's still around, those are who your friends are." That was one of my trips through the desert. Guess who's still around--just her, but I feel free-er because I know who my friends are.

Thailand Gal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thailand Gal said...

Ginnie, I really am a loner in so many ways. That's part of the reason I chose to move into a shared living situation. That forces me to avoid too much isolation. :)

Anvil, that was so interesting that we had the same kind of thought, even though it may have been around entirely different issues. Sometimes it seems things just go out into the energy pool and catch us.


Patricia, it was definitely a lesson. It was a lesson in humility. I really had to be willing to let go of ego to fix that situation. After all, no one reads minds. No one knew I was there because I invested so much in concealing it.


East of Oregon, thank you. :)


De, I will be very happy if something I have to say makes someone think. That is what this is all about, after all. We learn from each other.


Pam... thanks. :)


Gobody, we are not on the same page with some of this ~ but on the same page enough to make sense. Evolution of the soul comes from many sources. There are many paths.


Jen... words of wisdom? Compared to you, I'm a piker. :)


Ms Pea, reciprocity is important. I'm not talking about keeping score or looking at percentages.. but it is important that we give to others who are capable of giving. Even if they don't give to us directly, we know whether they give to others. Pay it forward. It's not ego to keep users out of our lives. It's only sensible.


Peace everyone! Thank you so much for comments. You guys all continue to be my teachers. :)


QT said...

I'm late, but I just wanted to say I really like this post. I don't know if I have been through the desert, but I did go through a difficult & painful time in my life where I accumulated a lot of "karmic debt" and as a result, I had to sever my relationships with many people and start over from zero.

I also enjoy being alone and I have to be careful that it doesn't turn into isolation, like ginnie.

KC said...

This post is enlightening. What a wonderful friend in Sage. What a journey you've made.

I'm in awe of what you've been through. Thank you for sharing this.

Bob said...

It takes me a while sometimes for a comment to form about something I've read. You've said so much with this post I still haven't much to say, except: I deeply respect anyone who has taken the journey you have to learn themselves and to then use that knowledge to improve themselves. I really admire the strength of character you exhibit here and in the various comments of yours I come across in blogland.