Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sometimes we all need a refuge....


Some of you might recall when I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the wat and the wonderful day I had at the New Years Celebration.

I don't think I could have been more complimentary. And I don't think people could have been any kinder.

Now two weeks past the event, I realize they are not going to be my port in a storm.

This past few days have been rough on me for reasons I don't need to chronicle here. It has to do with moving and trying to communicate with others, not getting promised return phone calls, not being able to make any headway on any level to a point where I reached critical mass last night. My blood pressure was so high, I was afraid of stroking out.

It shouldn't be so f***ing hard to simply communicate with people! I'm a simple girl. If you say you're going to do something, do it. If I say I'm going to do something, I do it. That's what makes my little world spin around.

I wanted to make contact with the wat. I wanted to know when or if they were having any classes or activities because, dammit, I want my refuge.

It is not going to be them.

I sent emails shortly after the celebration which went without response. This morning, in an overly frustrated state, I sent a rather biting email, asking why it is that I can't communicate with them, why I can't get a simple answer to a simple question. I told them that if they don't want newcomers around, perhaps they should password-protect their website so we won't bother them. I went on to tell them that I would be more than willing to help them drive newcomers away. I'd be willing to blog it.

Before I turn you off completely with what might seem rather vengeful and mean, let me qualify it by saying that I think righteous anger is just that. Righteous. And when we are really angry about something, we have a right to say it. In an ideal world, we'd never get angry but this isn't an ideal world. Granted, I could have said it better - but at that point I believed if I didn't state it strongly, I would just be ignored again.

That's my history with them.

Late this afternoon, I got a response back to my older email telling me that classes have been cancelled due to lack of facilities. The man, woman or Unix script that answered my email went on to say, "Let me check if the head monk is willing to set something up in the near future."

Now would that have been so hard to tell me two weeks ago?

One of the things that so few people understand (or care about perhaps) is that this whole world is full of vulnerable people. When someone reaches out to a spiritual community, s/he shouldn't have to fight and threaten in order to be acknowledged. I was harsh and unkind - and if I hadn't been, I'd still be waiting for their response. I had to be discourteous to fight for courtesy.

How absurd is that?

Spiritual communities should be our refuge. Whether it's a church, a temple, a wat or a Wiccan circle, it should be the one place we are assured acceptance and love. That's where we feel safe and cared for. That is where we should be able to go for guidance and comfort.

I was fully prepared to get involved with them, to volunteer my time and occasionally contribute financially, even though I am on a fixed income. It mattered. They mattered.

I go into things with an open heart. I always default to accepting others.

And often end up disappointed.

That's my ultimate downfall. I can't seem to muster up the cynical suspicion that overlies most social interactions in this culture which are based on self-interest and advantage. Like Janet Jackson sang, "what have you done for me lately"?

Chances are I haven't done much of anything that will further anyone's material advantage or career opportunities. If that's what someone wants, I'm not your girl.

I'm still angry. Angry and hurt.

With time that will go away. There's got to be a central lesson here though. A message. Otherwise it all becomes so useless.

For me, I guess the central message is simple. Be kind. Keep your word. Don't be a disappointment to others.

Please.

~*

33 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm so sorry. I hope it is all a misunderstanding or mere carelessness, which is no excuse for rudeness ever, but it IS a reason why your messages might have been ignored.

And perhaps your connection is with Thai people especially, and not with Southeast Asians in general.

Please keep in mind that although your feelings are hurt, whoever was careless about responding to your queries probably meant no harm and had no intention to hurt you.

QT said...

I agree with hearts - maybe they were inundated with requests right after their event? Two weeks IS a long time to wait, tho.

crazymumma said...

It is hard when we are in need. Everything is sharper, clearer. I hope you find a refuge.

Olivia said...

I too agree with the three comments above me.

In addition, I have very very low expectations about everyone. I've been through a lot. I expect little to nothing from others, and feel as though I must depend upon myself---just me---and no one else. It's a hard and cold attitude, but one that helps me to cope.

Then, if someone does respond lovingly, I'm delighted. If they show integrity, I'm pleasingly surprised. If they seem to care, I'm thrilled.

I'm pretty cynical, and don't expect much from people, period.

I would like to have other people that I can reliably depend upon, but at this point in my life I'm slow to trust, even slower to believe in anyone, especially any group of people (which just multiplies the probability of being let down). Even Hawaiians. Anyone.

I'm not suggesting that you be like me (because I don't even know if it's healthy), but just letting you know how I cope with the frustration and hurt.

Love and warmth tonight,

O

jen said...

it's sad, isn't it. that at the end of the day we can only really count on ourselves.

it's sad, isn't it.

Defiantmuse said...

ah. I often feel the same way. Disappointed with others....feeling let down. It's difficult when you put yourself out there and are left hanging or are straight out rejected. It definitely tends to harden one over the years. Luckily (or maybe not?) I don't learn from past experiences and remain open, always hoping for the best.

Anvilcloud said...

I'm sure that this has been difficult and frustrating for you.

Sober Briquette said...

That's a real bummer. I completely understand your reaction...but...

One thing I have to keep learning is that email is NOT the most effective way to communicate, despite the fact that it is my preferred method.

There are a lot of organizations out there with email access that really don't use it, and that leads to the lack of response and frustration that you ran into, in my experience.

I don't think they intended to be a disappointment to you. I don't think they were withholding because you didn't have anything to put on the table.

Forging new connections is a lot of work. Don't give up.

meno said...

Keep your word.

Why does everyone find that so hard?

I strive to do this in all things, but it is not uncommon for me to be disappointed when other people don't.

I'm sorry.

thailandchani said...

Susan, it's very true that it wasn't intentional. I do know that. At the same time, I can't get beyond thinking they've shirked their responsibility to the community. As we've established, it's not just about me. What about the next person who comes along?

~*

QT, I do think it was irresponsibly too long. When they establish a "contract" with the community, they need to live up to it.

~*

Anne, yes.. that's true.. and I'm concerned that I am just one of many.

~*

Olivia, I can understand how living in this place.. and with this way of life.. it could become necessary to adopt that attitude. I seem to be congenitally incapable of it. A life like that, to me, simply isn't worth living.

~*

Jen, it doesn't happen outside of "us". It *is* us.. and it's a choice.

~*

Defiant, I am the same way.. and in looking at it a bit more closely, I'm not sure how it can be any different. To adopt another way would be somehow compromising the essence of who I am - and how I see the world and our place in it.

~*

Anvil, yes.. it has. And it's making me very, very weary.

~*

De, I think it's a matter of learning to recognize fate and serendipity - and where they intersect. I am sometimes weak in that area.

~*

Meno, thanks. It is a disappointment because I know.. really know because I've experienced it.. that it can be different.

~!*

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

There is nothing more soul crushing than to be let down by someome or something you depend on for comfort or solace. Im sorry you had to go through all that, particuarly when hopes and expectations were so high.

I suppose we humans are flawed, even those who are supposed to be a little more enlightened than the rest of us.

I hope your week gets better.

Ian Lidster said...

Hold firm to your final message and you can't go wrong, even if they have. I hate it when such things happen, too.

thailandchani said...

Chanda, yes.. it is soul-crushing and there must be some point at which we realize when something isn't going to work out. In my case, I need to recognize it sooner so that I can let go before I get hurt.

~*

Ian, I'll definitely stick with my final statement. I don't want to live any other way. Anything else seems too... wrong.

~*

Olivia said...

Chani, This discussion is so provocative, and your response made me think. I've posted something on my site that contains an expansion of my comment and some questions as well. Thanks for opening yourself up here. It's been good for me to delve into why I'm living the way I am. Peace, O

thailandchani said...

Olivia, my response is on your site. :)

~*

Christine said...

oh that is a bummer. i'm sorry it didn't work out for you, chani.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Peace, my friend. May tomorrow bring something better.

flutter said...

I think a lot of our disappointment comes in expecting people to communicate in a certain way.

I know this from experience. Not everyone knows or understands what we need, and we owe it to ourselves and others to explain our needs and expectations up front, so there is no confusion

thailandchani said...

Christine, thanks. There has been a minor breakthrough and I'll blog about that in the next few days.

~*~

Nick, thank you :)

~*

Flutter, that's where it all begins, doesn't it?

~*

Mariposa said...

I know the feeling...it can really be so frustrating. I do hope though everything will turn out fine.

Btw, I did your Top 40 Things... ;)

blooming desertpea said...

Keeping your word/answering a question is as basic as saying hello when you meet someone and goodbye when you leave. We shouldn't have to force people to answer a question, it should come naturally. Like you, I don't understand why it is so difficult for some people ...

I'm sorry that the one thing you wanted most for the meantime is flowing down the drain. Like you said, there must be a reason. Maybe there is a better solution than one you thought ... just an idea.

the psycho therapist said...

"May all beings be free from the tyranny of my expectations.", said the text on the left side of her blog.

Humans are disappointing creatures. And I like the statement above about how particularly painful it is when disappointment comes from those we feel the need to receive the most unconditional love and acceptance.

So much here is illusion and projection, thus, for me, the need to be real (true to my self) regardless of external feedback. I'm probably a solipsist at heart. (lol)

Reality bites.
With you on the resistance and seeking to transcend same. *sigh*

--

we_be_toys said...

What's up with the wat? That does seem counter-intuitive to what you would expect from a place of communion and community.
Maybe its time to shop around again?

I agree with you - promises shouldn't be made if they aren't going to be kept.

Here's hoping things look up :)

thailandchani said...

Mariposa, great! I'll be by to check it out. :)

~*

Desertpea, it's good to see you again. When will you be posting? :)

Anyway, on to what you said - I think this laziness has become permissible, mostly because my generation tore all social convention down and didn't replace it with a new ethic. I can see the threads of that running through a lot of things.

Doesn't make it right though.

~*

Wendy, I think it's important to not become steeped in expectations. Definitely. At the same time, none of us would do anything if we didn't depend on an outcome. That, I do believe. We'd be like Ayn Rand sitting in her chair at the end of life, figuring there was no reason to get up.

I can't live in the world by myself. I'm probably just more socially dependent than you are. :)

~*

We-be, that's the bottom line for me - and the perfect way to end this post. Breaking promises or breaking faith is not okay. Ever. There are real people involved, not figments of our imaginations.

~*

Angela said...

I find myself struggling with similar disappointments and similar feelings of anger all too often. Only I am typically more suspiscious and cynical than I think you might be. Go figure.

slouching mom said...

I find that too many people try to make excuses for impolite behavior by claiming disorganization. As if disorganization gives them a pass.

It doesn't.

thailandchani said...

Angela, each time something like this happens, I *try* to become more cynical, more suspicious... just a harder person - but I can't. It's not the kind of world I want to live in and can't contribute to it any further.

What I can do though is verbally kick some ass now and then. :)

~*

Sarah, no.. it doesn't. If one is entrusted with serving others, either do it... or find another outlet. But this has become another cultural characteristic: excuse-making.

And any excuse is to be accepted.

~*

Carla said...

They should have contacted you back and they should have been honest and up front. I agree, do what you say you will and if for some reason you can't, let the other person know. I recently had an incident with someone close who promised something three times and let me down three times. I was angry, but mainly because he didn't bother to let me know that he couldn't or had decided he wouldn't follow through. If he would have just let me know, I would have been fine with the situation, but in the end, he just couldn't be bothered and there wasn't any excuse. I'm still angry and hurt too, so I know what you mean.

Say It said...

I feel this. Years ago I went to the local rabbi to look for familiar community. He told me that since I married a catholic and my kids were attending church, I shouldn't bother with the temple. It was HUGE to realize that since I had nothing to offer, they were not willing to give.

Dandelion seeds said...

I hear hurt and anger in this post and I totally respect and honor your feelings.

and I am reminded of the quote-forgot who it's from-the one that say's 'be gentle to everyone you meet for they are fighting a great battle'.

we never know what's going on with people, I think. And I think that's true for you and for me and for them too, I think.

sending you light~

citizen of the world said...

How very frustrating, and I'm sorry it didn't go as you'd hoped. Here's hoping another door soon opens as that one is shutting.

citizen of the world said...

How very frustrating, and I'm sorry it didn't go as you'd hoped. Here's hoping another door soon opens as that one is shutting.

Angela said...

I had a friend send me something yesterday that included the line "we judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their actions," and it's been sitting with me today and I was reminded of it again with this post. I have spent a good part of my life trying to make sure that I *never* let anyone down. The last couple of years, I've let down quite a few because my reserves have been low and I have pulled away in my pain. It's not that I *didn't* want to be all those things for people (including keeping my word, which seems to have lost a lot of its potency); I just fell flat. Perhaps that's what they're doing? That as much as they might not *want* to disappoint, they can't help it . . . ? I don't know -- just talking as I feel like I've been the person disappointing more people than I'd ever want to disappoint. But I am kind. In everything I've gone through, I haven't lost my kindness. My trouble is that I now seem to just distance myself from everyone so that there will be no expectations and hence no disappointment. Thanks for the thoughts, Chani. I so want to be a woman of my word -- the trouble is lately that I feel like I can't *give* my word because I don't feel capable of fulfilling it. More layers to work through, for sure. Peace and love, Angela