Monday, March 24, 2008

Into The Wild.....

I know I haven't had much to say here lately. There are reasons for that and I'd rather not go into all the specific reasons - but I've had some internal work to do that shouldn't involve others. So I filled this space with quotes and impersonal exercise ideas. It's just something very hard to communicate and I chose to silence myself.

One of the changes I've made here is to delete my sitemeter. It was depressing me. I will not be able to visit new visitors now unless you say something. I will have no way of knowing you were here. I miss a lot of the people who no longer drop by but know there is nothing I can do about that.

I've been watching movies. Yesterday I watched an interesting one that raised some interesting points as well as emphasizing some important truths.

It is called "Into The Wild" and involves a young man who decides to remove himself from the craziness of the world and go into the wilds of Alaska. He left after having graduated from college, wanting to avoid the typical mainstream traps of career and family.

Along the way, he met several people, all of whom seemed to like him very much. It didn't mean much to him which is incomprehensible to me since I am somewhat socially dependent. He enjoyed their company in the moment and moved on freely, no regrets. This isn't to say he was a "user" of others in any malignant way. He simply chose not to attach. At one point, he said "I think people make a mistake when they say the only meaning of life is in human relationships."

He continues to retreat more and more. He eventually ends up living in an abandoned bus in Alaska.

I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, but it did raise some interesting thoughts.

Is choosing not to attach the healthiest way to go?

I think he discovered that it is not. See the movie to get a sense of his final discovery. I will say here that the final entry in his journal said "Happiness is only real when it is shared."

Being one who used to believe it didn't matter, I've also discovered that it does. That is why I am putting more energy into finding local people to be involved with. One of my new activities is at the local Lao wat. (Yeah, it's not Thai - but any port in a storm! The traditions are similar.) They seem to be very nice people and it is a wonderful feeling to be around the happiness of others once again. My next trip out will be at the beginning of April for some weekend activities they are hosting.

This seems to be a logical step. While my ultimate goal is, of course, to go to Thailand, I am here for now and am not ashamed to admit that I need companionship. Ever since I came back from Thailand, I've been acutely aware of how lonely I've allowed myself to become.

And, yes, I allowed it. It doesn't happen outside of me. I've allowed it to go on way too long and get far too deep.

So I won't be around here as much. But I'm not going away entirely. Not at this point. I will only make that choice if everyone ultimately completely loses interest in me.

See you in a few days. May everyone be well and happy.



meno said...

Good for you for deleting the site meter.

I have purposefully not read that book or seen the movie, although i am familiar with the story. Too sad for me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I"m glad you deleted the site meter. Numbers can tyrannize.

I know about the movie and its making, and am of mixed feelings about whether to see or read it because ultimately, it is about the waste of a bright young life.

Let us know how your adventures at the Lao wat go. It sounds like a wonderful thing for you to be doing now since you still have to be here for awhile.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed a shift recently in most of the blogs I read - that feeling of "the regulars" wasn't there anywhere; a shift seemed to be occurring. A lot of people have been traveling or sick, but it just felt...wrong and not inclusive.

A couple of months ago I delved into the archives of a blog I read, and realized I didn't recognize any of the commenters there. Her entire readership had changed over a year. I wondered what had happened. I thought about how that would make me feel, and if it really mattered.

I deleted most (but not all) of my blog this weekend. I was ready to pack it in (yet again). I was reminded of a class on PMS offered by my doctor's office about twenty years ago. One thing I recall the nurse saying was that what you feel during PMS is really what you feel, without all the filters. So when I got the feeling that I should quit blogging right around the same time that my hormones were raging, I decided to listen more closely. I usually berate myself for wanting to withdraw when I'm in a blog-quitting mood, but perhaps I just need to tune into to something else more meaningful, in Real Life.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I think it's on my queue.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you stopped in to comment, I lost track of a lot of people after I changed url's.

I have my site meter still, but not for the numbers. I liek to see what google searches bring people to me.I have noticed some shift in readership - I think it is often people who stop blogging themselves, but I welcome old and new visitors - it's a interesting process.

Getting involved with folks locally sounds liek a good idea.

slouching mom said...

I read Into the Wild. I didn't see the movie. In the book, he comes across as pretty damaged. And I think his final conclusion -- to which you alluded -- was one of the healthier thoughts he had. Sad that it was too late for him.

I'm glad you're making local connections. That's always a good thing to do.

thailandchani said...

Meno, it was time to can the sitemeter.

As for the story, I didn't see it as sad. Look at what he is teaching through his journals and now the movie. I really value him for that. It was a good reminder of what's important.


Susan, see above about Christopher. Even though he died, he left an important message behind.

The more I let it settle in, the more I am looking forward to the wat. There will be volunteer things to do.. plus talking with people who share my mindset.

It's a godsend - and yes I know that's a weird way to put it. :)


De, I've noticed the shift, too. Part of the reason I deleted the sitemeter is that it was troublesome to watch everything I've built over the past year withering away. Now I prefer ignorance.

There must come a point where we put all this blogging stuff in perspective. I'm not there yet. I do know it's not a really viable vehicle for community. It's too fluid and too political.


Citizen, I'm glad to have found you, too. :) I found you by following comment crumbs.


SM, he had his purpose.. and I honestly believe he fulfilled it.


QT said...

I have not read the book or seen the movie, but plan to do both. I read a long profile in the New Yorker some years ago and while it was sad, there was some morsel there that resonated with me.

I often crave being alone. The flip side seems to be that once I am done and ready for company SURPRISE no one is around. It is hard for me to reconcile those two halves of my personality sometimes. Usually I just accept that for me, it will mean less friends.

Kudos on dumping the sitemeter, sister!

Anvilcloud said...

You do know that some of us sometimes read without actually clicking in, eh? I seldom look at my meter, but there is something in me that likes to be notified of the total number weekly. It's not high, and it seldom changes, but I like to know at least that much.

Julie Pippert said...

I think that's a great (and important) question to ask.

Yes, I think it's important to not attach at times. If we attach to everything---even the things or people that aren't the right fit for us---it can create a skewed perspective.

Yes, I think it's important to attach at times. If we attach to the people and things that fit, it can be enriching.

I hope that is what the Lao wat is for you. Good for you seeking it.

My biggest mistake I make is going someplace I think of as my space and imagining everyone I meet there will be good for me (that's sounding way too selfish, sorry to oversimplify it so badly). I need to recall to keep my mindfulness on.

Oh and last week while I was away something much anticipated arrived. Going to send it along tomorrow so keep a watch out. :)

flutter said...

may you also be well

Julie Pippert said...

P.S. Also? I've been in several discussions recently about downward trends in traffic and a shift (as De mentioned) in community. I've noticed it too.

hele said...

I will always be back to read you*

I changed from someone who [believed she] needed no-one (why visit is your ultimate destination is back home - why not just stay home and save time) to someone who loves the warmth and feedback of others. However, I still feel the urge to cut those I love off at the slightest sign (or what I see as a sign) that there is no respect.

I am glad you are reaching out. What I love about coming here is reading you do what is true for you.

blooming desertpea said...

You're so right about the choice of word - ALLOWing. I'm allowing myself to get lonely, too. I don't know, times and times again I feel that I don't fit into this community and that's the reason why I'd rather be by myself - but maybe that's wrong ... you gave me something to think about ...

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think getting attached to a site meter can be a danger because it's too easy to slip into writing for an audience rather than for yourself.

That being said, I hope that you find some nice connections in your community. I wonder if there's some where you might think about volunteering your time as a conversation partner or something similar? We have a lot of opportunities for that sort of work here and it helps me be in touch with cultures that I miss or want to learn more about.

bella said...

Good for you for taking some time away, taking good care, creating only what you really want here on your blog. It can so quickly become a numbers game, a popularity contest, an activity that holds us hostage. :)
And I saw Into The Wild and read the book. It disturbed me, in the best sense of the word, raising some truly provocative questions.
May you continue to make connections wherever you go, wherever you are.

jen said...

The book was different in it's portrayal of Alex than the in the end the book disturbed me more and yet made it easier to understand. I was sad for him but i was also projecting how i'd feel if i was there (ha, i'd die the first day in case anyone had any illusions)

glad about the meter. i know it's been an albatross. i do miss hearing you here but at the same time, i know you are on your path.

we_be_toys said...

I'm glad you ditched the site meter too - they are insidious things.
I'm also trying to be more IN my life than in the blogosphere. I love writing,and reading other's thoughts, but there are definitely times where I need to disengage from it all.
Good luck with the Lao Wat - its good to have community!

RKK said...

Hi there...just wanted to let you know that I read your blog first thing every day.


MsLittlePea said...

I have sitemeter and I used to check it all the time but now I don't really bother. Whoever comes around, does. Whoever doesn't, doesn't.
I'm glad you found something to connect with. I think you are doing a good thing for yourself. Your family is in Thailand but you're here for right now, so at least you can find a little piece of happiness until you can go home.

I heard about the book and movie but haven't read or seen either. I'd like to. I know how it ends.
Choosing not to attach is ultimately not the healthiest way. Choosing to DETACH from those who hurt us is, of course, the healthy thing to do. But making a conscience decision to NOT let anyone in can't be healthy.

Jana B said...

I haven't lost interest in you! I just FOUND interest in you LOL!!!

I don't believe that un-attachment is the way to go either... selective attachment maybe... some people are SO not worth attaching to! I can't imagine life with NO attachments! That sounds sad.

Mariposa said...

I've been quite absent lately...literally and figuratively! I also don't bother to check my sitemeter anymore, the numbers are there, yet, at the end of the day, it's what people I read and re-read comments, especially on post that are meaningful to me.

I'm not familiar with that book/ movie, but I'm glad you posted that last entry in this made me least, though I get a bumpy ride every now and then, I'm going to that direction. I'm not embarassed to say that I too long companionship, and they can vary in kind...I guess that explains why at certain moments in our lives, there is that specific person/persons we miss and wish to be around with us.

Anonymous said...

Watching my kids, it is so very clear to me that is is totally human to need people and friends. When we move, it throws them off totally until they have new friends, which ballasts them.

thailandchani said...

QT, I don't even miss the sitemeter. Yet. :)

Seriously though, I like my alone time as much as anyone - in fact, probably more. In his case, he seemed to be running "from" instead of "to" and that's where it seemed unhealthy. Just wanting to be alone is fine.. as long as it's for the right reasons.

His lesson was a hard one. But he left a good message for all of us, when we think about the same thing.


Anvil, I might get to a point where I can have a site meter.. but my behavior toward it was becoming rather addictive - and I would get upset when the numbers were too low.. and it really bothered me. So, for now anyway, I'll let it go.


Julie, I have a notoriously bad "picker" when it comes to other people. While I think I'm getting over that part of it, it's always a risk. On the other hand, we can't be without community either. Maybe we just become more discerning as we get older.


Flutter, thank you :)


Julie, I've been noticing it since I got back from T. Prior to that, it was all fairly consistent.


Hele, I resonate with what you are saying. It sounds very familiar. For a long time, I gave up on other people. Now it's getting much better.


Desertpea, I think we can isolate so much that it begins to perpetuate itself. As QT said, pretty soon even the few people we know drop away. It's important (I believe) to find likeminded people wherever we are.. and they certainly exist. It's just harder to find them. Even one or two others makes a big difference.

It's stopgap, for sure. Eventually we need to get to a place where we "fit" - but I see nothing good from remaining miserable until we get to that place.


thailandchani said...

JenA2, I do write for others. Writing for myself has no appeal. At the same time, it's easy to get caught up in numbers and not quality. That is one of my weaknesses. Taking the meter away just eliminates the ability.

I am placing a lot of hope on the Lao wat right now. It will be a good place to establish community and they can always use someone to help, too.


Bella, I'd love to hear your take on the book and the movie. It did bring up some really interesting considerations - even what obligation he might have had to his community, his sister - the other good people who came through his life. Did he have an obligation to them?

In some senses, I believe he did. When someone simply steps away, it leaves a hole.

The popularity stuff with blogs.. oh, geez. I just can't stand that!


Jen, how would you have felt if you were there? As for surviving it, I would have been dead the first day, too. :)


We-be, It's basically the same for me. I want this site to be a high quality site. That means I don't need to be yapping on here when I really have nothing to say.


RKK, thank you. I'm glad you're reading. :)


MsPea, that's the critical point. Not attaching is entirely different than detaching - and intent is always what defines it.


Jana, I've had a life without attachments - and it is almost numbing. Hard to describe it exactly.. but it's very, very hollow. I could never accept that now.


Mariposa, oddly, I don't miss anyone from the past. The fairly distant past, that is. They rarely hit my radar screen now.. but I do seem to need the here-and-now companionship. I know people come and go - and that's okay.. as long as they don't all go at once. :)


Emily, absolutely! We do have to have human contact.. I read your post today and I can certainly understand how your son felt. There's probably not a lot of reality for him that he will make new friends. It just feels empty and scary to him.




Dandelion seeds said...

I can't decide if I am more interested in seeing the movie or reading the your thoughts on the movie!

rock on for internal work-I think it's awesome you are getting involved with local communities.

Mel said...

Hi Chani,
Humans are social individuals, our differences could make us unique, bring us together or keep us apart, but at the end we need company.
Enjoy your journey, every step of it, you can learn and grow with everything.
Be happy, you deserve it! :)

thailandchani said...

Dandelion, I got more from the movie in this case. The book was very good.. but seeing it acted out had more of an impact.


Mel, what a gorgeous picture that is on your profile. :)

Anyway, yes.. we do need community and sooner or later, all cultures will realize that we are not separate - but together. Then the acceptance will come. That's the primary thing that drew me to my culture of choice.

There are very few artificial divisions, although there are certainly a few. They're just not of the same nature.


Hel said...

Hi Chani,

I don't know if you would even be interested in a job as a nursery teacher but I saw this position advertised in Thailand and thought of you:

Mary said...

Of course happiness is meant to be shared. Chani, enjoy yourself while you blog less frequently but remember I'd miss you (and many others)...I look forward to seeing what you've been up to and what's getting you fired up!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, there is much I want to say and so little time. Perhaps this is best.

Chani, I am grateful for all you have put out into the ethers. You are strong and your presence is easily felt.

Best to you on your travels outside the cave. (smile) I will keep reading here. Please keep my reservation, table for one, by the window and next to the fire, eh?


Christine said...

i should SO get rid of my site meter. there are good people who don't come around my place anymore and i need to stop checking that. . .

but i do think that life is best shared with others.

do what you need to do to find happiness here before your move to thailand, chani.


Running on empty

Janet said...

I have the book on my mantle just waiting for me to open the cover.

Sitemeter can be toxic. I was reading on someone's site about the ebb and flow of blogging. I feel that acutely in my own life. I hope that you find the right blogging flow for you.

thailandchani said...

Hel, I wish! Nope. I'll be there on a retirement visa. No working allowed.


Mary, thanks. :) I'll still be around. It's just the manufacturing of posts that has to go. When I have something definite to say, it will be here.

Other than that, I can just comment to other people's stuff.


Wendy, I like that... the corner table. That's my usual spot as well. LOL


Christine, I don't miss the site meter. I had visions of going through some kind of site meter detox.. but it's really been good.


Janet.. it's a good book. And, yes, there is that normal flow.. but I was finding that I kept checking the meter and feeling rather desperate about the numbers declining. There isn't anything I can do about it since I'm not going to network and promote this site. It will have to find its own natural level.


Amy Y said...

I've been wanting to see that movie but haven't had a chance yet... it sounds great!

I think it's awesome that you are taking some positive steps to ease the lonliness until you can go back home. Very proud of you! I hope it's a great experience for you and can't wait to hear more...

Oh, and re: the site meter ~ I know it's gone now, I'm behind a bit... But keep in mind with the readers out there, people can read your blog without actually clicking on your site. You might be getting more hits than you realize! I usually only click when I want to leave a comment... but if I have nothing of interest to say, I just read.

Hope you are well...

Thailand Musings said...

Funny you should post about Into the Wild today...I was at Blockbuster last night and picked it up and then put it back again deciding that it would be too sad. Yes I can agree that the final message is a good one and useful to us in retrospect, however I still feel that this was such a waste of what could have been a much more useful life.

Humans are very much social creatures and the best we have to offer comes when we are able to collaborate with others. Just imagine your blog without any comments. It would be somewhat empty and meaningless wouldn't it?

Glad too that you got rid of the sitemeter if it was causing you so much angst.

Have a great time connecting with the people at the Lao Wat. That sounds like a very good move and who knows, it may give you even more to write about here (hint hint).

Ian Lidster said...

I think there is a fundamental human need for attachment. I think the story you recounted proves that. Utter isolation is deadly in the long run. It matters not what sort of attachments we have, but I am convinced we need them.

thailandchani said...

Amy, it's the only thing that makes sense. It's not that I am going to be here forever - but a happier time would be a better option than what I have going now.


Steve, that is the way most people would think about it. They think in terms of longevity and usefulness. I just don't see it that way. It's probably a belief system thing - but he had a message. It's just a question of whether people will get it.

Next time you're at Blockbuster, give it a shot. :)

Yes, the blog without comments, without interaction, wouldn't hold my interest.

We all need each other - but many people seem to forget that.


Ian, absolutely!


Carla said...

Chani, I wish you the best. It really sounds like you are making some very positive changes. It's not always easy...I've been there as many of us have. But it really sounds like you have a clear mind with lots of insight. Good luck.

Angela said...

Hi Chani ~ I wasn't able to post a comment for a while -- apparently because I was using Firefox? Who knew?! All that to say that I feel your questions. I wonder about it too. My gut tells me there should be a balance, and I'm trying to learn the difference between unhealthy attachments (mainly where I put a portion of the expectations for my happiness on another fallible person) and healthy attachments where I am not just letting someone walk over me (by not having boundaries/expectations) but where they are free to just be who they are. I know I'm not there yet. I'd like to be. Someday. Many blessings to you.

Journey Through Life said...

I watched this movie yesterday! The ending was so disturbing for me. Even more so when I discovered it was a real story. It haunted me all night.

Defiantmuse said...

I read "Into the Wild" when I was 19, followed up by Kerouac's "On the Road".

it changed my life.