Monday, December 11, 2006

Creating a village....


Well, gosh! After half an hour of arguing with Blogger about uploading a photo and getting the cursor back to the template, I've forgotten entirely what I wanted to post about! I'm beginning to kind of enjoy my morning tussle with the service. Can't upload photos in Internet Explorer but can in Firefox. Can not type text into Firefox but can in Internet Explorer. Then comes the tango with the spacing and paragraphs. Gee, I don't know whether to laugh or throw my computer out the window!

Jai yen yen! Jai yen yen! Calm heart! Calm heart!

It's hard when I feel like taking a mallet to this whole thing! :)

Anyway, last night I began giving some thought to how we create community. This is more complicated than just "meeting other people and doing something." It is a process that begins from the inside and manifests outward. For those of us who were planted in the wrong garden, that can take some examination. Since I didn't discover "my" community until I was post-50 years old, there are some very distinct challenges. In many ways, I'm like a feral cat who has been taken in by kind strangers who give me a safe place to sleep, food and nurturing. There are times when I have to be very careful to not "scratch" these kind people as a result of my own past experiences. One of the primary blocks I find to community-building is .... me. My preconceived notions about people, my expectations and my past.

Around 8PM last night, I heard from my Target friend again. He asked if I was done being angry with him.

"Angry?"

"Yeahm. You sounded really mad."

I was surprised to hear him say that because I didn't feel angry. I felt disappointed.

It took a while but the time comes when we do have to look at other people's perceptions and evaluate the correctness of them. Big gifts can be disguised in sentences. Listening is how we receive. No one is "right" all the time. Not even me. (That's a joke... )

P. and I continued our conversation and it was enlightening, to say the least.

He was right and I was wrong.

I was responding to him with my "old stuff". My feral stuff. My claws came out and I scratched. In my attempts to create community over the years, I've been disappointed so many times that I've come to expect it. And that's how I respond. At the first sign of potential rejection, I buck up and get ready for flight. Like the proverbial puppy that's been kicked too many times, I run as soon as it looks like it might possibly happen again. It's a small wonder that anyone can put up with this. Good grief! The friends I have are going to heaven for sure! Ghod bless 'em all! I'm just an extremely fortunate woman. There are people who see value in me, even when my behavior doesn't justify it.

This is something I've tried to fix over the years. I've tried therapy, New Age thought, NLP, affirmations and every other thing that might break the programming. Now it occurs to me that I owe it to others to break the pattern and begin to give them some credit for decency. In reality, there are very few people who intentionally harm others. Sometimes that's the real key to change. It stops being about us ~ and starts being about others.

And from now on, I will make the conscious effort to remember that. I don't want to be a prisoner of old patterns, old ways of thinking, especially those that no longer serve anyone.

P. and I continued our conversation for two hours. (!! Two hours on the phone is a long, long time!) We found so many things we have in common. Our political views are similar, our values are similar, our general worldviews are similar.

And to think... I almost missed out on a wonderful new friend because of old fears.

It's criminal.

He says he has the solution for me. (I was just as honest with him as I have been here this morning. In fact, I gave him the URL to the blog.) He wants me to go with him to some events, specifically Asian events. He says "you'll fit right in." I laughed and said, "yeahm. My whole oversized British self, eh?"

"Oh, crap," he said, "you're more Asian than I am!" (Interesting coming from a guy with a Cantonese accent so thick that can be sliced with a knife!)

But.. he's probably right. Sometimes we have to go in search of community that fits our shape and size. My evolution to *TBC (Thai By Choice) has opened doors that were never open before. That's something I want to explore a bit more in a general sense. There are so many people who can not find community. We live in a culture that idolizes self-sufficiency and independence. Truthfully, no one is completely self-sufficient, nor are we all that independent. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Yet we continue doing it.

So.. thanks to all who know me and have put up with this rather distasteful aspect of my being. Thanks for the times you coaxed the scared little puppy out of the hole in the wall.. and accepted me anyway. I commit to you.. and to me.. that I will fix this.

Thanks, P. You said what I needed to hear. I owe you a lunch.

May all beings be free from the tyranny of my expectations.


Peace all ~

~Chani

12 comments:

Melissa said...

I'm totally like that as well...lay my baggage on other people. It's so easy to do. But you have the right attitude...you're being honest with yourself and open with others, that's the best way to make the change. Hope you find some great community there!

Anvilcloud said...

You do seem to lead an interesting life, and I'm sure that you keep the people around you on their toes. :)

I don't know what's up with your Blogger problems. I use Firefox and I can edit in it although I usually type elsewhere and paste it in.

jen said...

i feel like i should say hello to
P the Target Man...welcome!

isn't it wonderful when we have some light shed in old corners, and even more, when we are brave enough to look.

bravo.

Meno said...

Kudos to you for really listening instead of stalking off in high dudgeon.
I will have to try and emulate you more often.

KC said...

Chani, you are so reflective and have such insight. It really amazes me.

QT said...

Chani -what patience you have with yourself! I need to be that way more often. And I am so glad that your chance meeting at Target has turned into some common ground for you.

If you are reading P the Target Man - welcome to Chani's world :)

Thailand Gal said...

Melissa, I am doing my absolute best to STOP laying my baggage at other people's feet. It's not their responsibility that I had a weird life. Sometimes I just have to remind myself. LOL

~*

Anvil, yes... I am not boring. LOL. Seriously though, people I know kind of like my history ~ not meaning they wish me any ill-will ~ but just that it has been the antithesis of most.. so they accept my quirks. As I said, Ghod bless 'em! I work on all this stuff a lot... for them! They deserve that from me.

~*

Jen, yes.. it is always good when sunlight gets in the dark corners. It is how we really achieve freedom. We can move, we can run.. but the dark corners stay until we shed light on them.

~*

Meno, thanks. That is one thing I know I do right. I always own my own shit.

~*

KC, thank you, too. There really wasn't any choice. With my odd history, it was either do the work or end up bitter and miserable. I'd rather be content and peaceful ~ so, you know, I walk over the coals now and then.

~*

Thanks to all of you.. and I promise to stop all this personal stuff for a while. I'm probably boring the **** out of everyone. Thanks for tolerating it. It's kind of necessary to put context to my *TBC decision though. LOL

Peace,


~Chani

Thailand Gal said...

QT, we were typing at the same time. Yes, please be very patient with yourself. You are perfect as you are.. even in imperfection. wahbi sahbi. We all deserve patience. :)

Peace to you :)

~Chani

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Chani,

You always amaze me. You are beautiful, and a wonderful reminder that we must all live consciously because our time is finite. What we have to show for it is our responsibility and cannot be put off on others.

You make me think of Adlai Stevenson's eulogy for Eleanor Roosevelt: "She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness."

Dan said...

Great post Chani. I couldn't agree more with your statement "In reality, there are very few people who intentionally harm others".

Even if we don't want to believe it, why not try, right? At least our vision of the world improves because of it.

Thailand Gal said...

Heart, wow... thank you! :) I'm left a bit speechless by that one.

~*

Dan, I truly believe this. Most people are far too busy and self-involved to sit around thinking about harming someone else. Perhaps that is a bit cynical ~ but it feels right. :)

~*

Peace,


~Chani

gobody said...

I have come to terms at last with the fact that I cannot create a like-minded community around me; I am too crazy I guess. The internet have made it possible though to meet similar minds. That’s how I got to view myself as a nomad; it could be hard sometimes to always carry your home on your shoulders.

So you can understand why I consider you a lucky woman that you have around you friends who you can relate to.