Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday in a Manner of Speaking....

I always feel a bit deceptive when I label a post as "Sacred Life Sunday" because the truth is that I don't particularly like weekends.

Never have.

This is another part of living the kind of life I do, one that is separate from the mainstream.

Over the past week or so, I've been making actual progress toward getting the things done that I need to do to move. The main thing, of course, was dealing with the systems enough to get legal again with my drivers license. (It was expired and I had to renew it. The clerk was astounded that I could get along as long as I did without legal ID. Actually, it was quite simple. Nearly everything in my life is automated. My bills are automatically paid. I don't write checks. My funding comes in a monthly direct deposit. It's simple to live off the grid, thanks to the Internet.)

Anyway, I am making a lot of calls and filling out lots of forms, trying to find housing in either Berkeley or Humboldt County. Some of that requires phone calls, faxing or express mailing. I can't do that on weekends.

Weekends leave me feeling cut off. Another drawback is that most of the people I know are in family units who typically spend their weekends together. During the week, I am more engaged. The people I know usually call during the week because their family members are at work, school or doing something else.

So.. there's nothing sacred to report about my Sundays. My life is freeform enough that my sacredness depends on the day I happen to focus on it - which may or may not be on Sundays. The idea of scheduling sacredness is rather absurd.

This past few days, I've been thinking about Sister Kathryn's comment to my past post. She writes of being a nun for 43 years and how they've created a supportive, almost socialistic, community. In really pondering the comment, I can almost grab the thread, realizing that is how I would have liked to live. It's a missing piece. An idea without form. If I'd known that when I was 20, I might have made some very different choices.

Instead, I wasted a lot of energy and too many years fighting against the tides of the mainstream. No salmon-like moves here. It was always very hard and alienating.

I kept thinking that if I uttered the right password or knew the secret handshake, I would unlock the door and the mainstream would open wide. It would embrace me. The light would stream in and the stars would sparkle.

It never did.

So... looking from this vantage point, that of a nearly senior citizen, I'm aware of how much time I wasted. I wandered from this to that, never connecting to anything, because I couldn't find the secret that would unlock the door.

Not that I regret it. Well, maybe a little. My choices were my choices ~ and I'm sure I've gotten something important from the life I ended up living. Still, I would never encourage anyone else to take my path. My belief now is that if you have a passion, honor it! Don't let anything else get in the way, especially someone else's expectations. I wasted far too many years trying to please people who wouldn't have been pleased, even if I'd walked on water and turned water into wine.

At the root, we all know who we are. Denying it doesn't make sense - and before you know it, a 57-year-old face is staring back at you in the mirror.

What I do know is that it will be very different in the future. Berkeley is a pit stop. When I get to my heart's home, I will be spending a lot of time at the wat. If possible, I might even take a year and live a monastic life. The draw is becoming stronger all the time as I let my mainstream fantasies fade to grey.

I'll write a bit more about what a monastic life in Thailand will look like for a woman. It's different than for a man (obviously). In the interests of keeping this post a reasonable length, I'll save that for a few days from now.

Hope everyone is having a peaceful Sunday evening.



jen said...

i look forward to hearing more about your life once you get to Thailand. this post resonated for a lot of reasons.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have always believed that life was more interesting away from the crowds.

Eventually, we all must arrive at the conclusion that our worth is not dependent upon the approval or acceptance of others, nice as that undoubtedly is, but on whether or not we are able to consistently be our best selves and uphold the ideals we believe in.

There is also something to be said for making a good and reasonably satisfying life with the cards we are dealt, which also depends in part upon being true to ourselves.

FranIAm said...

I am sorry that I have not been around much- as always, my heart is touched by just being here Thani.

There is not much that I can say to your post other than that I offer you my own prayers and my heart as you make your way to who you are... which is your heart and your home.

Your words really touch me and I thank you, I wish you peace.

Anvilcloud said...

At one time you were thinking of moving to Arizona. What happened to that idea?

Border Explorer said...

What a beautiful post! Weekends are hard for many. Swimming against the stream is such hard work. Life in exile from your true home is simply trudging. Looking back with regret--painful. Although our "almost 60" lives (and our goals) are different, Chani, I connect with your struggles. I'm grateful that I've found--if not "a home"--at least an "oasis" here on your blog.

Carol said...

Oh, I relate a lot to what you wrote here!

I look forward to reading more of your plans.

Cecilieaux said...

To me, the key to your post is your declaration that "there's nothing sacred to report about my Sundays. My life is freeform enough that my sacredness depends on the day I happen to focus on it"

I wonder whether it's the freeformness of your life that impinges on weekends and your Sundays. Indeed, is Sunday even traditionally religious to you?

I say this because I am reminded that all monastic traditions of which I am aware put great stock on giving form to life: waking up a certain time, praying or meditating at a certain other, working, being active and inactive in some cyclical way, like seasons.

So, without intending criticism (except in the sense of engaging in critical thinking), I wonder whether it might help to develop a form, a ritual for the days in which what you need to do to live cannot be done. In this way, you accept being on Sunday for what it is.

I always had huge problems with Sunday evenings in a household getting ready for the first school day of the week. Now that I live alone it's much, much better.


Say It said...

sound advice and I look forward to more

Leann said...

I can relate to being outside the crowd. I look forward to hearing more within the next few days.

Mark said...

So many choices, so many paths, all which lead to the same source. Thanks for sharing.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I always felt that weekends, New Years, and other "holiday" times were somewhat isolating and false celebrations. I'd be much happier if we'd take down time/meditative time as needed.

I'm greatly looking forward to learning more about Thai monastic life for women.

thailandchani said...

Jen, thanks for saying that. I really wasn't sure whether I'd blog from Thailand. It's one of those unknowns right now.

Will you be blogging from Belize?


Susan, my reaction was almost textbook typical of an abuse survivor. We often give years and years of our lives to our abusers, thinking that if the stars are in the perfect configuration, everything will be okay.

Of course, it's not. So eventually we have to move on and grow out of it. I was just a bit slower than some.


Fran, I appreciate your prayers very much. :) I was in a particularly low spot when I wrote this post... and your response means a lot. :)


Anvil, I had to change those plans because some of the things that are very relevant to me weren't available in Payson - which is the only place in Arizona that would work at all. It's in the forest.


BE, thanks. It's not that I get consumed by regret - but very now and then, I just wish I'd made some different choices. Of course regret is useless. All we can do is learn from it and move on.


Carol, stay tuned :) I'm doing a lot of changing right now, making many plans.. and they will begin to take place fairly soon.


C, you have given me an "aha" moment here. Sundays are not traditionally spiritual to me. My tradition does have specific holidays, rituals and "holy days" - but they are not weekly.

The part of your comment that made the lightbulb come on though is that freeform isn't always the best way to go. We do need ritual and structure - which is why I adopted a culture to begin with! I chose a culture that "fit" for me because I knew I needed the structure. Your comment reminds me that I need some reinforcement, too.

You are right. I need to get back to that. I've gotten off-track. Not good!


Say It, thanks. I'm glad to see you around here again! :)


Leann, thanks. I am going to keep writing on this theme for a while. There's a lot to be explored.


Mark, yes.. they do all lead to the same source. Sometimes we just make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be.


Jen, yes... we need to find our own rhythm.. but as C. mentioned above, structure of some sort probably is important. Not too much... but enough to make us feel grounded.


painted maypole said...

ooh... I would love to read about life in a wat!