Thursday, December 21, 2006

On being a human being, not a human doing....

This is a copy of an email I sent to a friend last night. He suggested I post it here. Apparently, it spoke to him and he believes it might speak to others as well. I hope it does. :)


"I am not doing enough." This old belief plagued me all my entire life too and still does on occasion. It was terribly hard for me to grasp and internalize the concept that it was ok to be who and how I really am, even though how I naturally am is not what I was taught to be.

Well, I am finally understanding and embracing that I simply am not like a great majority of other people, values-wise or by nature. I was born a dreamer. I am an artist, a creative soul with a lot of non-mainstream values. I love solitude. I don't need a lot of people close up, only a few good friends. I feel trapped by the pressures to conform to any societal "norm" set for me. I don't know how I stayed in the work force for thirty years. (Yes, I do, too. I allowed myself to become so ground down, so dead inside, that I became suicidally depressed and wanted to take my life.)

And I spent far too much energy being angry at myself because I couldn't march to the common drum beats. More than being just angry, I condemned myself for not being able to be content with being like others. Had lots of help, too, from so called "professionals" whose sole purpose was to patch me up for the gerbil wheel and send me on my way as a properly socialized person with goals like everyone else's.

I'll dare to suggest it is worth taking a long look at this. How sick is it to be pissed off at ourselves ... for simply being the kind of person we naturally are?

This is knowledge to be accepted and embraced. Never mind what the rest of the western hemisphere thinks about it! This is not a place set up to nurture truly creative people. In fact, it almost seems designed to starve out those who do not conform.

There are many angry people and many are frustrated creatives like you and me. We just have to find each other and hang on to each other. We have to nurture each other when others won't. We have to encourage each other when others won't. We have to embrace each other when others won't.

It took me a long time to discover that the freedom of sheer creativity, unleashed and not dulled by unfulfilling conformity is sweeter that any high I ever got from drugs or booze. It is unadulerated and pure. It comes from that clear well deep down inside an artist's soul. It is the stream that feeds all of who we are. AS we are. As we were meant to be and meant to live these different lives of ours.

It means risk. It means we are unlikely to ever be a) rich, b) famous, or c) well respected, sought-after members of this market-centric society. We may spend more time in the "desert" than most. It means living consciously instead of on auto-pilot.

But it also means we are more likely to discover what Maslow really meant by that peak experience of self actualization. That painting, or piece of writing or sculpture created in that "other world" where everything is always perfect, where everything makes sense. Now that is freedom!

The more we allow ourselves to be who we are, the better life will get regardless of external circumstances, events or outcomes.

Peace to all ~



Pam said...

As I read your letter I realized it was a letter of mine, too. I have tried to convey what you said but lacked the eloquence. I will copy and paste it so that I can share your words when mine fail me.
Thank you.

Girlplustwo said...

beautifully written, chani. and being is very, very important.

A friend once told me that the greatest thing she can ever do is be at peace and wish for peace. That in that one gesture and state of being can allow for others to feel your peace, and in turn, find their own peace, and then it continues to multiply and radiate throughout the world, bird by bird.

I think she was right. And i think that is what you do every single day.

Anonymous said...

When you wrote something like this before, you really spoke to me. I appreciate hearing it. Even though my husband is very loving and often says, "it doesn't matter what you do, I want you to be happy," just as frequently he'll say, "You've hated every job you ever had," and I know he doesn't really understand.

KC said...

Well said.

I like Maslow's self-actualization model alot. It's very self-affirming and I think a useful way of constructing human development.

dmmgmfm said...

Beautifully said as always, Chani.

Cuppa said...

Ok, got it! Thank you. I am copying and pasting it in a note to my sister - right now!

Anvilcloud said...

I have previously said on my blog that I have often felt like a bit of a square peg in a round hole. I don't fit into many situations very well, not like normal people. So ... even though I'm going to stay here and not don a robe, I do get you to some extent at least.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You have spoken to my very soul, and for my soul.

I have come to the very same place as you, and am working hard at forgiving my original family for not accepting who I was and trying so hard to transform me into someone else. This caused so much misery for us all. Even more, I feel the need to forgive myself for allowing them to dictate to me from inside my own head for so long.

The only thing I have ever really valued is art. I was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC when I was 19. While I studied acting, my mother constantly urged me to learn dental hygiene so that when I failed at acting, I would have something to fall back on.

I grew ashamed of myself for presuming to be there. After a year, I lost heart and went back to college like a dutiful middle class daughter.

I apologize for this too-long comment. But you touched something in me that recognized a kindred spirit. Thank you so much for that.

isobella said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. I find it interesting to see someone who is so intense about Thailand and Thai culture.

When was the last time you were here?

Where did you stay?


I think the last question is the most important one. I think once we step away from it all, it all becomes so much more beautiful. But sometimes I wake up in the morning, and think....'shit. still in thailand.' Other times I am excited. I hate the traffic, and I have to admit, I get really miserable about some of the Thais I encounter on a daily basis. (that could be a book in itself.)

As a side note, I am a teacher. I am sitting here in bed with my Thai boyfriend watching the news, watching about a thai teacher who was shot and killed today in the south.

Thank you again, and please stay in touch. I am interested in your interest in Thailand.


Leann said...

I enjoyed your post and its true.we need to be our selves or we aren,t being the person God intended us to be.Iam and artist too.and we see things through eyes much diffrent then others.we are set up to hear a diffrent drummer and to dance our own tone.but some times we are miss understood by this old world.but God never ment us to be carbon copys of any one but our selves.we can,t be someone else, we can only be our selves.I tryed for years to to be some thing and some one I was, sent me to the waco ward for 3 weeks.and when I came out I knew I would let the Lord help me be the person he wanted me to be in the frist place.if you are who God intended ,you are able to help others he sends your way.if you are fony they move on for you have nothing to give.being your self helps you to it open you up to the peace you need.there is nothing harder then trying to be something your not.I tryed for years to please my mom.but she never was happy with the person I was.only with the person she wanted me to be.we spent alot of wasted years,and it hurts me to know we will never have those years back.but we will have better in heaven.the best you can do for you is to give your self the right to be you.thanks for the words and for the chance to see others know what I been feeling, but lacked the words to say it.