Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Retirement of a Cultural Dissident....

I've spent more than a few mornings on this balcony now. The smell of the air around me is invigorating and peaceful at the same time. The conversations with others have been flowing easily like a lazy river. The tea is wonderful! I love this place. I love everything about it.

And all that's good but part of the reason I took this trip is to make some decisions.

Just before leaving, my rage level was getting out of control. The slightest thing set me off. It seemed that ordinary irritations were amplified. I was haunted by memories that I'd rather forget.

I've been a warrior all my life. Injustice doesn't just bother me. It enrages me. The things I grew up with were too hard to simply accept as "human nature" and I mounted my wild pony, spear at the ready, and set out to right all the wrongs. I marched. I participated in social justice movements. I did all the things the civics teachers told us we should do.

I've come to realize there's a thin line between commitment and zealotry.

I fought and I fought hard. There have been negative consequences. I've been dismissed as a crackpot, kicked out of schools, put in jail and lost friends. I've been yelled at, shunned, called names and have had my life threatened. I became a zealot. Nothing could temper the fire in my belly.

People hold tight to their most cherished beliefs, even when they are not sure why they believe them.

I am included in that. This was never about fighting for Thai culture. Actually, it had nothing to do with Thai culture. The reality is that I fell in with a very traditional bunch of people here. Most Thais can't even handle the kind of "Thai culture" that I live. My dissidence started a long time before I knew anything about this place. I couldn't have found Thailand on a map.

But still, I had my cherished beliefs. The world was filled with corruption and conspiracy, ill-intent and brutality. And they had to be stopped. There was no exit strategy. No rebuilding plan. I pounded my fists against the prison walls until my hands bled. The chains rattled so hard that it was deafening.

I'm getting older now. The energy and vigor of youth is waining. I am older than my chronological age. I'm not as flexible and resilient as I once was and the bouncing back is much harder.

The reality is that it's time for me to lay the mantle down. It's time to pass it along to those who are younger and more energetic, those who aren't shell-shocked. In fact, that is what I am. Shell-shocked. Battle weary. I feel like I've been at war for 40 years.

I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to fight anymore. It's time to lay down arms.

It's time to relax into the life I have found here. Maybe there is some weird, cosmic system of punishment and reward and this place is my reward for all the years spent fighting in the belly of the beast. At this point, that is what I will do. Live here. Peacefully. Even though I do have to come back there for a while, I need to stay focused on this, my center. My foundation. Home.

I don't regret anything I've done. Maybe it has made a little bit of difference. Seeds planted. Watered and nurtured. Lives changed. Perhaps improved. It might have only been a scratch mark on the monolithic brick wall.. but it was my scratch mark.

There's still much that needs to be done. Carry on, warriors.

I've got your back.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Safely Safe....

This is just a quick check-in.

I did arrive safely, still have jet lag and haven't been shopping yet. :)

I'm looking forward to some shopping later this weekend.

As most know though, this isn't entirely a pleasure trip. I've been engaged in many necessary conversations, evaluating things, looking at things a new way and trying to get back in balance. It's happening, even though at times it feels a little painful.

It's like going to the chiropractor. It hurts like the devil during the treatment but feels so much better afterward.

Many things will be different when I get back. Not to detail all of it now but there are definite changes in my world.

Hope everyone is doing well. Let me know. Say something. I haven't been able to read blogs with the exception of a few things a friend has emailed to me. I gave her my password and she gets on my Google Reader, chooses a few and sends them to me. When I get back, I'll catch up.. and I promise to not make comments on old posts unless something really strikes me so much that I have to say something.

Be well! :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Well, it is getting really close to time for me to leave. A friend is coming to pick me up to take me to the airport tomorrow.

That means I won't be annoying ~ I mean visiting ~ all of you again until Friday or so. Even then, it will be questionable how much I will be able to visit and comment.

I'll try though. If anyone wants to get ahold of me for any reason, I will be on my yahoo account. Thailandchani at yahoo dot com.

Meanwhile, tell me something quirky, funny or interesting about yourself in the comments section. Anything you like. I have a reason for asking this which I will make clear when I get back.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week.. :)


Monday, January 21, 2008

Midnight In Our Souls...

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him"?

He can say it so much better... Hope you enjoy. :)



It is midnight within the social order. On the international horizon nations are engaged in a colossal and bitter contest for supremacy. Two world wars have been fought within a generation, and the clouds of another war are dangerously low. Man now has atomic and nuclear weapons that could within seconds completely destroy the major cities of the world. Yet the arms race continues and nuclear tests still explode in the atmosphere, with the grim prospect that the very air we breathe will be poisoned by radioactive fallout. Will these circumstances and weapons bring the annihilation of the human race?

When confronted by midnight in the social order we have in the past turned to science for help. And little wonder! On so many occasions science has saved us. When we were in the midnight of physical limitation and material inconvenience, science lifted us to the bright morning of physical and material comfort. When we were in the midnight of crippling ignorance and superstition, science brought us to the daybreak of the free and open mind. When we were in the midnight of dread plagues and diseases, science, through surgery, sanitation, and the wonder drugs, ushered in the bright day of physical health, thereby prolonging our lives and making for greater security and physical well-being. How naturally we turn to science in a day when the problems of the world are so ghastly and ominous.


This midnight in man’s external collective is paralleled by midnight in his internal individual life. It is midnight within the psychological order. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Deep clouds of anxiety and depression are suspended in our mental skies. More people are emotionally disturbed today than at any other time of human history. The psychopathic wards of our hospitals are crowded, and the most popular psychologists today are the psychoanalysts. Bestsellers in psychology are books such as Man Against Himself, The Neurotic Personality of Our Times, and Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Bestsellers in religion are such books as Peace of Mind and Peace of Soul. The popular clergyman preaches soothing sermons on "How to Be Happy" and "How to Relax." Some have been tempted to revise Jesus’ command to read, "Go ye into all the world, keep your blood pressure down, and, lo, I will make you a well-adjusted personality." All of this is indicative that it is midnight within the inner lives of men and women.

It is also midnight within the moral order. At midnight colors lose their distinctiveness and become a sullen shade of grey. Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes and the customs of a particular community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein’s theory of relativity, which properly described the physical universe, to the moral and ethical realm.

Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not get caught." According to the ethic of midnight, the cardinal sin is to be caught and the cardinal virtue is to get by. It is all right to lie, but one must lie with real finesse. It is all right to steal, if one is so dignified that, if caught, the charge becomes embezzlement, not robbery. It is permissible even to hate, if one so dresses his hating in the garments of love that hating appears to be loving. The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens.


The traveller asks for three loaves of bread. He wants the bread of faith. In a generation of so many colossal disappointments, men have lost faith in God, faith in man, and faith in the future. Many feel as did William Wilberforce, who in 1801 said, "I dare not marry—the future is so unsettled," or as did William Pitt, who in 1806 said, "There is scarcely anything round us but ruin and despair." In the midst of staggering disillusionment, many cry for the bread of faith.


But even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope.

And there is the deep longing for the bread of love. Everybody wishes to love and be loved. He who feels that he is not loved feels that he does not count. Much has happened in the modern world to make men feel that they do not belong. Living in a world which has become oppressively impersonal, many of us have come to feel that we are little more than numbers. [...] Bewildered by this tendency to reduce man to a card in a vast index, man desperately searches for the bread of love.

When the man in the parable knocked on his friend’s door and asked for the three loaves of bread, he received the impatient retort, "Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything." How often have men experienced a similar disappointment when at midnight they knock on the door of the church. Millions of Africans, patiently knocking on the door of the Christian church where they seek the bread of social justice, have either been altogether ignored or told to wait until later, which almost always means never. [...] One of the shameful tragedies of history is that the very institution which should remove man from the midnight of racial segregation participates in creating and perpetuating the midnight.


In the parable we notice that after the man’s initial disappointment, he continued to knock on his friend’s door. Because of his importunity—his persistence—he finally persuaded his friend to open the door. Many men continue to knock on the door of the church at midnight, even after the church has so bitterly disappointed them, because they know the bread of life is there.


Midnight is a confusing hour when it is difficult to be faithful. The most inspiring word that the church must speak is that no midnight long remains. The weary traveller by midnight who asks for bread is really seeking the dawn. Our eternal message of hope is that dawn will come.


The dawn will come. Disappointment, sorrow, and despair are born at midnight, but morning follows. "Weeping may endure for a night," says the Psalmist, "but joy cometh in the morning." This faith adjourns the assemblies of hopelessness and brings new light into the dark chambers of pessimism.

Published in
Strength to Love in 1963

Friday, January 18, 2008

Poison Ivy.....

One of the things that matters a lot here is that people can come by and speak their minds openly, even if they disagree with me.

Disagreeing with me is really okay. I'm a big girl and I can process the idea that people might think or live differently than I do.

However, I wonder about the mentality of people who would come by here (or anyone's site) and leave nasty comments that are intended only to insult, not discuss. I'm not even sure I want to understand someone like that. They're not worth the energy.

I decided some time back that I would protect this site as best I can for people who want to come by and say something. That includes the comments section. It's a short skip from insulting me to insulting other commenters. I want people to know they will be received with kindness and consideration. The only conflict I've ever had with anyone on this site is because the individual was insulting one of my regular commenters.

And last night I had a conflict with someone who intentionally insulted me.

It won't be happening anymore.

I've decided to disallow anonymous comments. It seems to be a better option than that wretched word verification thing. I really don't want to have to place any limits of anyone's ability to comment freely but apparently this site has drawn a few people who don't have the maturity to handle freedom. They see the ability to post without accountability as an invitation to behave badly and to make demeaning and diminishing comments about other people or leave thinly veiled advertisements for some kind of money-making scheme. It's unfortunate since I am someone who values the ability to speak freely - but responsibly. "Responsibly" means having the courage and the integrity to own your words.

Hopefully this will only be a temporary measure until the poison ivy that has invaded this site dies off.

Please let me know if you have any problems. Don't just go away. Let me know what is wrong and I'll do my best to correct it. The setting should be open at this point to anyone who has an ID through any of the various blogging applications.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thanks so much for the encouragement yesterday. It's hard to describe exactly why I feel as though I haven't been serving my readers well here. I like to write things that generate some sort of thought but I've come to realize that my own level of depletion is such, it's a wonder I'm getting out of bed in the morning, let alone intellectually stimulating other people!

Some evidence: Yesterday, I spent most of the day flat on my back because I heard a news story that so upset me that all my muscles tensed up and I was in pain. Not ache. Pain.

My patience level is nil. Whether it's someone talking too loud, minor things going wrong, my system response time being too slow or any other minor frustration, I get angry.

The things I've enjoyed doing on a daily basis are irritating me.

I really, really need this trip. It isn't frivolous or self-indulgent. It almost feels critical at this point. I need to go home. Like ET, I just want to go home.

It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't experience it what this environment does to me. And I'm not going to turn this post into a whinefest about it. (I'm out of cheese and crackers.) Those who know.. get it.

I'm hoping I will be able to access this blog from there. If I can, I will try to post a few times a week. Sometimes I will just offer a pretty picture and a quote. Other times, I'll tell all of you what's going on as my cup fills up and I am restored. The first few days will be reconnecting with S, eating and resting. I will be staying at his house.

I'll be erratic here for the next week or so. I'm leaving Tuesday night. Until then, I'm trying to get prepared which is actually rather simple since I'm taking very little.

So.. until next week when I'll "see" you from Thailand, I want to wish all of you a wonderful few weeks. Thank you so much for continually supporting me, trying to understand me and for encouraging me to keep the site. :)

แลวเจอกัน - May you be well and happy.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I have really fallen down on the job here. At this site.

I can't remember the last time I wrote anything significant, anything idea-based or anything that is enriching or fulfilling for the people who come to read. It seems this site is barely worth the page load, let alone reading it.

This isn't going to be forever and it's not a permanent change. The site itself is designed for something specific and I just haven't had it to give for the past several weeks. I'm hollow and empty, understimulated, so consequently that is what is reflecting here.

I miss the interaction we had for so long, the exchange of ideas. And promise to bring it back.


Next week, I am leaving for Thailand for almost eleven days. When I get back refreshed and renewed, I will have something to say.

So.. this.. an open plea. Stick with me just a bit longer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When we know better, we do better...

I want to thank all of you who came through for me yesterday. I have pulled the post because the person I am talking about lurks around the Internet enough that I am concerned about her finding it. All she'd have to do is plug in "th@i1@ndch@ni" and she might find it.. and this blog.

The comments are archived for me to look at more closely. All of you made such good points and I want to be able to read them more than once, to really take them in, to think about them some more.

It's totally true that if we can't feel special with our friends, where are we supposed to feel it at all? And this isn't about ego.. or selfishness. It's about being human. I guess I do need a degree of closeness with my friends. It doesn't mean I need to be glued to them.. but I need to know I can count on them being there, being respectful and being kind.

The person in question reminded me too much of people I used to attract, those who were emotionally unavailable for friendship. I was often feeling "shorted" as I would want to think of pleasant things for us to share, to talk about deeper subjects, to really share ourselves with each other, to include her in my community. For many years, I drew people with that kind of unavailability but didn't have the option of turning them away because it was that or nothing. It was a crappy way to be - and not one I care to revisit.

I've accepted that she is not capable of a close friendship with me. Just this morning, I had to fight for a response to a question I'd asked and finally decided I would not be doing that again. She had a habit of frequently ignoring what I said and only came around when I would have to fight for it or make a stink. I don't want that. Really. There are too many good people surrounding me now. Even though many of you only know me on this site, that doesn't diminish the good feelings I have about all of you. Some of you have gotten to know me better privately and I value you so much also. There are a few good people who surround me here in "3D" as well. This is where I need to keep my focus and share my energy.

We teach others how to treat us.

Maya Angelou's voice is in my head. It's true. We do. We teach people what is okay and what is not.

I guess I needed a reminder of what it used to be like. It certainly does remind me to remain grateful.

When we know better, we do better.

Thank you so much for giving me your thoughts. I needed to hear everything that was said.

(palms together)


Friday, January 11, 2008

Heah Come Da Judge....

I just got back from Small Claims Court.

What an experience! Most people who know me are very aware of the fact that I avoid all systems like a pandemic but in this case, I agreed to go along with someone. We went to the Folsom Rd "Justice Center". It was cloudy outside and the inside of the building matched the weather. The absence of color was astounding!

As we walked in, we had to go through a metal detector and put our packages through an x-ray machine. As you can imagine with all my Thai finery, I kept setting the machine off. "Beep Beep Beep". I'd have to take off one bunch of jewelry after another until the offending item was removed. By this time, I'm drawing a crowd.

Next time, I'll go naked! Then they'll have a valid reason to think I'm a terrorist. Me naked. Yes. That would terrify even Osama bin Laden.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

The room itself was a dingy little cubbyhole with pale maroon chairs and grey walls. Again, no color. We listened to endless pairs of people trying to settle their disputes in front of a judge who reminded me of Judge Judy without the attitude. They quibbled and fussed, trying to tell their side of the story, usually talking over each other. The bailiff would say "One at a time! One at a time!"

The judge sat there, passively taking in all the details of these cases, most of them tangential to the real issue that brought people in. I honestly don't know how she does that job, day in and day out, listening to people gripe and complain about how they were wronged in one fashion or another.

Finally, it was our turn. The case itself is a landlord/tenant dispute. The tenants broke the lease and wanted their deposit back. Under the terms of the lease, they would not get it back if they broke the lease.

Easy, right?

No. You'd think it was the Scopes Monkey Trial!

It was half an hour of back and forth quibbling, tangential complaints and shady logic. (From our side, too, unfortunately.) There was nothing I could do to derail any of it since I am not officially listed in any capacity and have no stake in the outcome. That silenced me for all intents and purposes. I sat in my chair as quietly as possible, tolerating the stink eyes of the bailiff every time my bracelets made noise.

(And, no, I don't look like a bloody temple dancer! No need to even go there.. but I do wear a bit of jewelry.)

So I watched this train wreck waiting to happen, knowing which side would win. The tenants would get their deposit back because of the disconnected and unrelated issues that clouded the issue. Each side accused the other of various infractions, from "I cleaned the carpets before I left" to "her son yelled at me and he was drunk."

The other side said, "if they would have stayed, I wouldn't have squatters in my house right now."

The judge said, "They are not responsible for who you rented to after they were gone."

True enough.

This really confirmed for me a few different things.

I would never want to be a judge.

And in my older age, I have no desire to be involved in anyone else's squabbles.

That's not to mention my complete lack of desire to go into any building where I have to go through a metal detector.

Peace and quiet. Yes. That's my thing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hot flashes of red and yellow....

Last night, I got furious with someone.

Knock down, drag-out, clouds parting.. rage.

It doesn't matter why or to whom. It only matters that apparently there is still a store of rage within me and whenever it gets tapped, I have physical and emotional consequences. That kind of rage releases all sorts of toxins into our bodies.

It was ugly. I was ugly. I was a foul-mouthed shrew and can't even remember now the majority of what I said.

The person with whom I got so angry was asked for forgiveness and gave it.

The point is that today I have no energy. I've been entertaining myself on Yahoo Answers, mindlessly answering one right after the other, anything to distract myself from the ugliness I manifested, knowing that it came from the bowels of my being. I'm not a kid anymore and these are the kinds of things that bring about heart attacks and strokes. At one point, I could only see white spots, black and white. I thought I was a goner. I couldn't catch my breath.

I thought I'd evolved beyond this, that no one and nothing could possibly bring it out again.

And today I am spent. There's nothing left. Just the remnants. Inside of me is a war zone.. broken pieces scattered around on the landscape of who I thought I had become.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Into the Mystic....

It's been a long time since I've written about this and sometimes it occurs to me that I must seem rather heartless. Many people take much longer to heal than I do, for a variety of reasons. My spiritual beliefs have a lot to do with it. I don't hang on to things very much because I have a strong sense of how transitory most things are.

Most people know the backstory on this so it will make sense. For those who don't, go here.

My father and I certainly didn't have a warm and loving relationship. There is nothing I miss about him personally. There are no memories that I cling to for dear life because without them, there is nothing. We are like two people who passed through the same place at the same time.

That doesn't negate the fact though that I have certain obligations to him as a daughter which is also part of my spiritual belief system.

For the past several months, I've been nagged by some thoughts buried way in the back of my mind. I grew up believing that anyone who commits suicide is condemned for all eternity. Since I don't believe that intellectually, that did provide some buffer. You know, I wasn't flipping out about the issue. At the same time though, I really wanted to know. If that was true, so many things, so many beliefs, so much of everything would crumble for me. My belief in the inherent goodness in the world and my belief in a loving and forgiving deity.

Talk about an existential crisis!

I intellectualized with myself a lot, telling myself that belief was a lot of nonsense that I need to put out of my head.

It kept nagging me.

Really. Nagging.

I also had to deal with the possibility that it may not have been suicide. It might have been homicide.

I called the police department in the city where he died and the detectives were not very responsive. Polite, yes. Respectful, yes. Responsive, no.

I believe in the spirit world. I believe that when we die, we return to the spirit world. Additionally, I believe that a violent death of any kind can leave a spirit earthbound. They don't quite get that they're dead.

Shortly after my father's death, I awoke to distinct moaning. I knew who.. and why... said, "You're dead now. You need to go home" and promptly went back to sleep.

Earlier this week, I was in the Middle Place, that semi-conscious state between waking and sleeping when my father walked into my consciousness. He hugged me. (This is something that never occurred when he was alive.) He said something I can't quite recall... but very clearly said, "It's just that I found out that I was very, very sick." He said something else I don't recall, something about being okay and hugged me again. I wished him well in his next incarnation.

He was very thin. Boney. I came fully awake but could still feel the touch on my skin. I realized that he had come from the Other Side to let me know that he was not condemned and also that he did not die as a result of homicide.

Some of you reading will undoubtedly dismiss this as more eccentric weirdness from Eccentric Chani. I can assure you .. it was just as real as this monitor in front of my eyes or the keyboard beneath my fingers. It's as real as the sound of the radio in the background or my butt in the chair.

I'm a believer.

I feel very much at peace with all of this. I can now let go, knowing that he is at peace, that he is being healed and loved back to wholeness by a gentle and kind spirit world. We have finished the lesson, whatever it was, that brought us together in this lifetime.

We are both free.


Monday Mission: Thank You....

This is my first time trying a Monday Mission. Fortunately, it is a "roll your own" process, with everyone choosing how to use a general theme. This week, it is a "thank you" letter.

This is truly freeform for me. I will start typing and see where it goes. :)


My letter to Life Itself:

Thank you for the beautiful surroundings in which I am able to live this incarnation. The trees, the plants, the sky, the ocean, lakes and rivers, the mountains and, yes, even the desert,

Thank you for being flexible enough to allow me to come out of the desert with a soul still capable of love and forgiveness,

Thank you for the fact that I am not bitter and brittle, unable to recognize the beauty in my fellow human beings,

Thank you for my growing ability to trust.

Thank you for the sound of rain on my roof,

Thank you for the freedom to make choices,

Thank you for the people who surround me, who sustain me and who make this life feel worth living after all,

Thank you for always providing everything I need, even when I don't get everything I want,

Thank you for this incarnation, one that has been incredibly difficult but ultimately so satisfying and full,

Thank you for the animals who surround me. My little dog. The neighbor's cat. The birds that make a home in my garden. They remind me that nature is, in the final analysis, kind and reliable,

Thank you for my Homeland that consistently envelopes me in its splendor and makes me smile from the core of my being,

Thank you for everything.

I love being alive on this plane ~ and I'd even be willing to do it again.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stormy Weather....

Yesterday was a wild day! Most of the day, we were without power since a storm came through the area. Winds up to 67 MPH in some places, heavy rain and flooding. It was a real mess.

While I sat in the dark, I thought quite a bit about the people who didn't have anywhere to go, to escape that. When I went out to survey the damage to the house (which was fairly extensive but not irreparable), the wind was blowing me around ~ and I'm not a small girl. I can't imagine how they fared. Where did they hide to get away from it? Where did they stay warm? Where did they eat? The power was out nearly all over the entire city.

I also thought of something else far less socially conscious.

The storm reminded me of Thailand. I sat through a storm there one night that blew the windows open, blew motor scooters down the street and blanketed us in a thick hard rain that was like nothing I'd ever experienced.

It was a bit scary because we simply had no defenses against it. The storm was going to do what it was going to do. We were powerless against it.

And I'd be willing to go through that again .. to be there.

I came to the conclusion that I do need to touch base there again.

ET Wants To Go Home.

For a long time, I've tried to make it here as much as possible. The truth is though that the clothes, the furniture, the jewelry, the art, the food.. It isn't enough. There's something about being where I am understood without effort, being where I feel as though my daily life is satisfying and full, being where everything seems to fit, strongly drawing me back. Being a stranger in a strange land, even though people are certainly very nice to me and my life is hardly wretched, still takes its toll.

Balanced against the obligations I've voluntarily taken on here, I know I need to come back. And I will.

But I need that dirt beneath my feet, that air in my lungs, those people around me. I really need it. I'm hungry for it.

So.. credit cards be damned. I'm going. I'm not exactly sure of the dates yet but it will be reasonably soon.

Thanks for all your input yesterday.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Taste of Honey...

I am thinking about taking a restorative trip to Thailand. More and more, I am feeling the need to touch base there, to feel connected again, to get a break from the things that are difficult for me here.

The thing is that I will have to put it on a credit card. Then I will have to at least pay some of it off before leaving permanently.

One person says it sounds like a good idea. Another says it will just make it twice as hard to come back. There are elements of truth in both views.

I will come back because my integrity matters and there are things to finish up here. It won't be easy or pleasant but my personal honor matters too much to leave loose ends here.

On the other hand, it will take every ounce of determination to get on the return flight.

So what do you think? Is a taste of honey worse than none at all?


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Obligation and Balance...

We always travel along a precipice. Our truest obligation is to keep our balance.

(Jose Ortega Gasset - PC alliteration mine)


One day last week, I was remembering what it was like to get up each morning, drive to a job, take the same lunch time each day and drive home at the same time each day.

The job itself wasn't bad. I was making decent money as a system administrator for a health insurance company. My boss was awesome and I did have a personal friendship with him. I could always count on him to "get" me, even when it wasn't necessarily in the best interests of the company. He allowed me a degree of freedom that some others were not allowed, mostly because he knew I would do what I said I'd do. If an application was due for release on a certain date, he knew I'd get it done. The software updates would be complete and the application would be tested. On time.

This was around the same time I was emailing back and forth with R, the guy who invited me to visit his place in Thailand.

One day I left work at 3.oo PM, as usual. I drove on I-50 and it had the usual number of cars. I turned off on Watt Ave and there were the usual number of cars waiting to merge. I got the same stoplight at Watt and Fair Oaks at the same time and my car was, as usual, in the same place.

Right there at that stoplight, I began crying. Not little pesky tears that just made it hard to see but wracking sobs.

"I might as well be f***ing dead," I said to no one in particular.

The left-turn lane at that particular intersection typically took at least 3 iterations of the red light/green light routine, so I was okay to drive by the time it was my turn.

But in that moment I decided to take R up on his offer. I needed to get the hell away from my life and everything associated with it. I felt like Babbit on speed.

I got home, called my boss Joe who, bless him a thousand times, tried to talk some sense into me, tried to convince me that there were better ways to do this than to simply call up and quit, to tell him I was going to Southeast Asia to visit a friend and to completely trash my life over what would ultimately seem like a minor upset.

It didn't work. I made my plans and I left. A week later, I was walking through the night market with R. It was hotter'n'hell and yet, I'd found my home. I was very, very happy.

For me.. personally.. it was the best decision I ever made. Yes, there were consequences. I had one pissed off landlord and Joe wasn't really too happy when I failed to reappear for nine months. But those fences can be mended with a sincere apology and in the case of the landlord, financial reparations. I'm clean enough with that.

This got me thinking though about obligation and balance. Where does obligation end and how far can we go to find our own balance, even if it hurts other people? Can we be true to ourselves, even in that light?

I believe we can. In fact, I will go so far as to say we have an obligation to do so. After all, what can we offer anyone or anything else from an empty well? "Hurting other people" is not the same as inconveniencing them. What I did was not actually harmful. It was careless, yes. It was inconsiderate, yes. It was not "harmful".

At what point would you be willing to do something similar to find your own balance, even at the risk of disappointing others?