Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Answer as though you are not afraid....

This morning, I was searching around through various blogs and came upon Frida's site. She encourages everyone to answer 35 questions that were originally published in Vanity Fair.

I am always reluctant to answer these kinds of questions. It seems as though they presuppose certain answers. Those answers are not typically my answers. I'm always concerned that my answers will accentuate my eccentricity which is difficult for some people to deal with. They want and expect me to be more mainstream, more predictable, more "normal".

Lately, I've been coming to understand that I will never be a "normal" person. I will always be offbeat and unpredictable. The things I value and love are different than what most people who surround me value and love.

And that's okay.

I'd encourage everyone to answer these questions, too, and peel back a layer. Answer as though you are not afraid of what others will think.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being surrounded by geographic beauty. Being surrounded by people who know how to love. Peace. A world without competition, power-brokering and self-centeredness. I look forward to a world one day where differences will be embraced and celebrated.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Being abandoned and completely alone. I remember too vividly what that was like and it is the stuff of nightmares.

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Thich Nhat Hahn. The reason for that is that he is able to present universal truths that transcend religious views and cultural semantics. Everyone can relate to his message.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?


6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

"Hard working". Hitler was hard-working. It says nothing about integrity or kindness. "Cheerfulness" for the same reason.

7. On what occasion do you lie?

When the truth would be cruel or demeaning to another.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

I'm too heavy. It's not that I care what anyone else thinks about my weight but I am not happy with it. (Working on it. :)

9. What is your greatest regret?

I don't think regret is useful. It's a mental trick we play on ourselves but it is truly useless.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I don't think I have found that yet. Additionally, I have such a hard time weighing and measuring these things. At the moment I am loving someone or something, it is intense and complete.

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to write a book ~ a good book.

12. What is your current state of mind?

Currently, I am being plagued by a low-level dysthymia.

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a more joyful person.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Surviving and coming out the other side of a very difficult and vacant past without turning to bitterness or meanness as a means of coping. Sobriety. It would have been so easy to stay drunk.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

I believe I would come back as a monk. Seriously. I really am a rather monastic person now by nature. Most of the things "of the world" are not of much interest to me.

16. What is your most treasured possession?

The journals of a very wise former friend who is now on the Other Side.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

No longer recognizing the inherent good in other people or myself.

18. Where would you like to live?

Northern Thailand.

19. What is your most marked characteristic?

Stubbornness, eccentricity, persistence, a willingness to stand up for the things I believe most strongly. Compassion and empathy drive those qualities. I truly care about other human beings and animals. On the negative side, I can be very single-minded and rather judgemental.

20. Who are your favorite writers?

There are simply too many to narrow it down to a few.

21. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Anne of Green Gables. She was so wonderfully good-natured and resilient. She was joyful.

22. Who are your heroes in real life?

Of course, my first would be Ajahn S who was able to dig through all the crap in my life and point me in the right direction. I am alive today because of him. He has truly been my "angel". The remainder of my heroes include all of those who are overcomers.

23. What is it that you most dislike?

Meanness, self-centeredness, pettiness, competitiveness

24. What is your motto?

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

25. Favorite Journey?

Walking along a certain path in Khon Kaen with Ajahn S.

26. What do you value most in your friends?

Kindness, commitment, passion, reliability

27. Which words or phrases do you must overuse?

I can't think of any offhand.

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Joan of Arc. Okay. Go ahead and laugh. :)

29. What is your greatest extravagance?

Books, clothes

30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

That they would learn some of life's more critical lessons and choose to be more loving people.

31. What is your favorite occupation?


32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


33. What is the quality you most like in a man?


34. How would you like to die?

In my sleep.. in Thailand

35. If you could chose what to come back as, what would it be?

A person. I would like to come back as a person who can offer more to the world than I can in this incarnation.


Please let me know if you decide to answer these questions. I'd love to read your answers.

Others who have answered the questions:

Home in Kabul

Rickshaw Diaries

Guilty With An Explanation

Living Next Door To Alice


Madness, Madness I Say



Julie Pippert said...

Those are amazing answers.

#6 struck me. I have no idea if those would be the answers that occurred to me but they seem exactly how I wish I would answer, if that makes any sense.

#7 I lie to protect, which is not quite the same answer you gave. I will lie if I believe the truth endangers me. My perception of this is off because I have felt too unsafe too often.

#13 is great...you know, I think most feel this.

Bravo on 14 and 19, seriously. I admire 19.

I'll see about answering. They are interesting questions and I enjoyed reading your responses to them.

Using My Words

heartinsanfrancisco said...

These are wonderful questions, and I love your answers.

My favorite story about Joan of Arc is one in which she was setting off to do battle, and one of her generals said, "Joan, if you do this thing, not one man will follow you."

She replied, "I will not look back to see if anyone is following."

For that, she has always been one of my greatest heroes.

If I decide to do this quiz, you will be the first to know.

painted maypole said...

what a great and revealing set of answers.

Joan of Arc most certainly stood up against the world around her, stood firm in her convictions and fought for change. I see why you would identify with her.

Anonymous said...
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Janet said...

I love these kinds of posts where you get to "know" someone a little better.

I love Anne of Green Gables too.

storyteller said...

You always challenge us to think and that’s a good thing :)
So … I've copied the questions from Frieda’s blog, but resisted reading your answers or Frieda's because I'd rather answer for myself first and then return to see what answers the two of you gave (if that makes any sense) ... so I'll let you know when I've done so and published my responses so you can read them. Once that's accomplished, I'll return to read yours, Frieda's, and anyone else who leaves a link. :)
Hugs and blessings,

Anonymous said...

I've got my answers posted.

I had originally intended to take my time and answer them carefully, but I decided that over-thinking and over-editing would probably make them less honest.

Liv said...

love it. will do this asap to drag me out of blogging block. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I just did this Q&A, and as promised, you are the first to know.

Be gentle. It's my first time.

flutter said...

I love this, Chani I will snag it as well, I think it might be a good exercise.

Jen said...

Lovely answers. Your blog is inspiring me to continue some readings that I haven't worked with in a while. Thank you.

Girlplustwo said...

this is really lovely. if i wasn't getting ready to leave i would want to answer it. i loved your answer on love - made me hopeful, and on dying, and traits.

very lovely, Chani.

Mary said...


You are complex, honest, and very interesting. I loved this post. I made a note to remind myself to answer these questions on a future post.

It will take me hours to think on it but I'll do it. I just don't have "hours" for a while...


Christine said...

i so liked reading this and learning things things about you. and anne of green gables--wonderful choice!

Liz Dwyer said...

I so enjoyed reading this. As said by someone else, #14 is quite an achievement.

Each of these questions are things that are so important to answer but we shy away from the responses because just maybe we'll discover that the way we live our lives is not aligned with our answers.

hele said...

I'm with you on number thirteen - it is my greatest challenge. To stop grumbling and start singing.

Carla said...

Beautiful answers. You are truly a very beautiful person. This was a most enjoyable read.

Anonymous said...

I love Anne of Green Gables too! :)


Lucia said...

Truth be told, I do feel afraid of taking on these questions head on. I'm just not sure where they would take me.

Anonymous said...

Oh so very wise. A much as I would love to have similar answers as you, I fear I am not as strong in such revelations. I admire and respect the wisdom that runs through your list. My hat is off to you for peeling back those layers and revealing yourself in such a way.

#13 is extremely telling. I wish you much joy.

mitzh said...

I love all your answers, Chani so very true and very honest.

Angela said...


I think we find out so much about ourselves when we do an exercise like this. I'll do it later this week on my blog. Thank you for posting your answers.

LittlePea said...

Loved reading this. I'll definitely snag it for a post this week. I'll tell you when I get them up.

I loved your very first answer. So true!

QT said...

Oh, Anne of Green Gables - love her.

I am especially touched by the last question and answer - if only, right?

rebecca said...

#24 - "Be the change you want to see in this world"....beautiful...my new motto.

I will post these questions tomorrow on my site.

Thanks for the peek into your uniqueness...and, believe me, 'tis better to be original than to be a follower. I say bravo to all interpretations of originality!

Sienna said...

TC I have been reading your blog for a while, just quietly and thinking about stuff.

I love Thailand very much, I love the people even more...their outlook on life and people and living things is something I can only aspire to; I sincerely believe Buddhism helps them on their life's journey

I totally get Thailand and the Land of Smiles...in a land of so much poverty (in parts-a lot of my time was in poorer areas of Bangkok)...challenges for their everyday life they shone, Thai people shine. They are forever in my heart.

Visiting you is like visiting them.


Anonymous said...

I liked your answers and have answered these as well. It took me longer than I thought - whoops.

S said...
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S said...

i'm just so happy that you trusted yourself enough to write these answers, and us enough to let us read them.

beautiful, beautiful answers.

AmyTree said...

Hi Chani,
Thought I would visit your blog as you visited mine...Thanks for stopping by - I love to meet new people! Looks like we need to have an archive swap - I am intrigued.. Beautiful answers to these questions - if I decide to answer them too I will let you know!

Steve Berke said...

I enjoyed reading your article. Please make more interesting topics like this on.
I'll come back for more :)

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