Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thinking Out Loud in Response to Your Comments

Indeed, I have the most thoughtful and wise blog readers in the blogosphere! I took all of my comments from yesterday and just really let them simmer. They were my quiet time today. I decided to make a blog post about them today and respond to them here instead of in the comment section.

Chani, whose post started off this discussion, shared details of her personal situation. We are similar in ages (I'm 50, Chani) and I have also had a challenging personal life for many years. I have also lived an amazing, joy-filled, and grounded life for periods of time when I've lived in a place and in a culture congruent with my values (Hawaii). I struggle to recreate much of that here.

It's interesting that peace can be so place-based. I know that I can find peace at other times, but it takes great work and inspiration; in Hawaii it was there by default. I am touched that you wish more for me; honestly, I wish more for myself as well. I feel the same way about you and have grown much from our parallel journeys.

Kate I gives some perspective. I agree with you, Kate, that we are all doing what is right for us, the best we can, right now. This could change at any time. I, too, wonder if accepting people as they are is the same as having low expectations of people.

I love people who expect the best from everyone. They expect wonderful things to happen and they do. Not in a striving, driving way but in a simple way. I think this is far to be preferred over expecting nothing (which is what I do). There is some kind of balance between the two, some kind of dance, a way that is more positive than what I'm doing that results in more positive results. A way that I suspect wouldn't leave me with so much of the low moods. It is this dance that I'm thinking I would like to learn to do.

Maybe you're right, Kate, and the answer is to expect the best and accept the reality. What if it was "expect the best and love the reality"? Now this feels right. Because even if people treat you poorly, you can learn from this, grow from this, and move onward and upward. This is also pretty idealistic. And I'm not sure it's human to love love love poor treatment. So maybe graciously acceptance is even better. And realistic.

I really appreciate what you say Kate about there being no right or wrong way to heal. And that we need a strong core of self-love to even really see others as they are. I'm taking all of these things to heart.

Self-love is not my strong suit.

But I can keep working on this!

Jessie, I miss you, too, dear. Every single day we need to practice being brave. The days that I don't I regress. We learned how to Be Brave together! You are off on your life being brave...and floundering here. Trying...up and down...all I lack is that strong core of self-love and self-belief that Kate I wrote about. I can do this though. I am learning to do this with baby steps.

I like what you wrote about your dad. It's a tough, tough decision to know when estrangement is best, or walking away, separation (in the case of marriage), or just limiting contact (say to emails). I think it depends upon what we need to heal. And upon how destructive the person is. How much support we have. So many factors.

You help keep me brave, too, Jessie. You all do, actually. I've never felt like I've had support before for being my best self, for being brave, for "living big" instead of "playing small" until this past year or so in my life. Thank God for each of you. If you're reading this, I thank the Universe for you.

Rick. I love your description of me keeping my house closed until I see the light of someone who comes with love. You got it. That's it.

We do all feel the same way. We're all in this together.

And on hurt versus suffering. The stories we tell ourselves and what we place our attention on. So important to how we experience our day.

Patti, I love your quoting Eileen about how expectations are just premeditated resentments. It's funny, because from your blog I'd have no idea that you'd ever had serious challenges in your past. You seem very, very grounded and it is encouraging to me that you've come so far to live a fairly drama-free life.

You're right about my shaky central core of self-love. Very shaky. But getting stronger.

Thank you all for your continuing encouragement and thoughtful musings on my post. I am blessed, not least by having very wise and loving blog friends. Today, I feel Grateful!

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark, editted several different ways by Me


thailandchani said...

Olivia, I'm not sure whether to call it place-based or culture-based. Maybe some of both?

As for self-love, I have a thought for you on that:

In this culture, self-love is a rather perverted definition. It indicates that we are supposed to have warm and fuzzy feelings about ourselves, that we are supposed to proclaim with "pride" (think about that one) that we "love ourselves."

In my culture of choice which is based on Buddhist thought, the self-love concept is different.

It comes from the root belief that we are not separate, that we are part of a whole. To love others is to love ourselves is to love others is to love ourselves.

Additionally, according to Buddhism, we are to love and respect all life. All life. That means ourselves, too..

.. because we're not separate.

Circular presentation but.. you know what I mean? :)

Patti said...

I have had some big challenges Olivia. They have taught me so much and luckily I'm a grounded, practical person, a great believer in moving on, not dwelling on and nursing old hurts. I take care of me.

I mentioned it only so you would know that it is possible to find happiness within yourself, not relying on other people so much. I really liked Rick's idea of keeping your house closed until the light of love comes along. That seems to be exactly what you are doing.

It will happen, but we need to let people in and trust. It is a two way street.

Thanks for your heartfelt post and your response today.

Olivia said...


I hear you. For me, place and culture are entertwined. I ignore the part of Hawaii that Americans bring in and look at the rest. It is so beautiful that I really don't see the other.

I agree with you about not being separate. I see myself in so many others. In everyone. Even in the shadow side of people. I feel an empathy with people who I even don't like.

I have much less trouble loving others and even inanimate life than I do myself.

But I know what you mean, I think. If I really believed I was not separate from anyone, I'd love myself more. Just overcoming years of...well...abuse is the only word that really describes it. It's how I was raised. And how I picked my partners. But...that's the past, and I'm turning this around.

Love to you today, Chani! I am truly enjoying this interaction about this topic, and getting to know you better,

Peace and love,


Olivia said...

Thank YOU, Patti, for your constancy in encouragment and for your transparency and willingness to share yourself...



Rick Hamrick said...

O--Chani has a marvelously circuitous way of getting to the same place I would love to come from all the time.

I'm not there yet, though, so as I progress and grow in that direction, I also need to be me today. And, it is not one perfectly straight path, the one toward becoming a soul who loves without distinction, just loves as the sun shines: in every direction with the very-same intensity for all within range of its light.

Instead, it is some days of magical inspiration, and some days of wallowing in the forgetfulness we fall into when we lose sight of the ALL we are.

Right now, I'm fine with where I am, and I know I am part of a majestic manifestation. Tomorrow, I need to go to work and deal with 600 people who are not so sure of all of that.

Just as you seek the dance of balance between expectation and acceptance, I seek some sanity in the gap between heaven work.

There is no question of one thing, though: what we are talking about and considering in our own hearts and minds as we bat this topic around is a really big part of why we are all here. It is, in that sense, a sacred conundrum.

Olivia said...


I wallow in forgetfulness too---lots of the time!

You know one of my favorite things to do (I'm thinking of your 600 co-workers) is to interact with people who are relatively unconscious (a judgment, of course...people who just seem to me to be sort of asleep). It takes so little effort to just smile or to say hello and it seems to be very well-received. I love dealing with strangers, like people in grocery lines, or clerks in stores. To look at people when you ask them how they are and really listen. It's probably because most people just blow off such interactions, so it's easy as pie to make a difference and contribute something positive to someone's life.

Fantastic Friday, and lots of fun,



Rick Hamrick said...

You are exactly right, Olivia, that it is generally an easy thing to make a simple, human connection, and everyone benefits. The first smile might feel a bit forced, but it can get easy as the smiles are returned and the person who started it out intentionally also feels the warmth of interaction, as well.

My only problem is, my team will have to create a new team motto. For some reason, "Technical Services: where the customer is always an inconvenience" might not fit if we started being nice to everyone! (grinning)

Olivia said...




Love, O

Angela said...


It's so wonderful to get back and read your posts. Your courage to ask and answer the hard questions is always appreciated. I think many of us are seeking another "culture". Consider yourself lucky if you've even found it.

Olivia said...

It's good to see you back, too Angela. I can't wait to hear the details of your trip.

Since for now I'm not in Hawaii, the best thing to do is to create the culture I want here. I just call it "cultural withdrawal"---I withdraw from my culture and don't participate in things that are not congruent with my values. Like consumerism. Like celebrity worship. And vanity for older women. Stuff like that.

I do consider myself lucky.

Blessings and welcomes, O