Monday, September 15, 2008

Days 27 and 28 ( early on ). Recap and a bit of enlightenment.

It finally dawned on me.

Below you will find pieces of blog response conversation between myself and a friend, one which stemmed over my first blog insert for the 29 Gifts project, though some time after I initially posted it.

I will leave her name out of the text, but anyone who reads / has read my MySpace blog can see the conversation in its entiriety.

"I just got in on this blog of yours, just had a chance to see what this is all about. I know you can't see me, but in my home you're getting a standing ovation. Even without these confessions and affirmations I never saw you as anything but kind, generous, and self-aware. Of course I see the attitude, but it's all part of the charm and attraction that is you. Just the fact that you would undertake this self-challenge and examination is confirmation of what I already know is in your heart and head. I bet you've learned a Hell of a lot about yourself and others on this ride."

"Indeed, I have.
I'm almost through my first run, and I know that I'm not finished.

I don't know how soon, but I feel like I need to do it again. There's a something that I need to do, but I'm not quite at the point where I can bring myself to do it, and for that, there will at least be a round 2 to the 29 Gifts project ( for me. Some are on Round 4 ).

Giving isn't difficult. It's doing it without remorse, contingencies, or a need for self gratification - that's the hard part.
I am not, by nature, a kind person. I readily accept that I am selfish and shallow, short tempered and cruel. But there are worse things, and worse people and in spite of my flaws I feel like there's a universal way to treat others ( and it's not 'how you want to be treated' ), and even when I am at my worst, I do my best to keep that in mind.Some days it's easiers than others."

"I'm sure that you are your own harshest critic.
Every act can be considered selfish by nature, even breathing, if you think about it.
Please don't judge yourself too cruelly. Your road is no less rocky than anyone else's; some of the path you can choose, some of it was already laid when you got there.

A philosophy of life such as the one you're working with/towards in 29 day increments can be yours all the time, without counting at all. Maybe this practice is something that you'll make into your life.The practice you're indulging in is kind, generous and introspective. I can't imagine anyone expects you to be a Buddhist Monk or Mother Teresa. I wonder what end you're demanding of yourself and why. You don't owe penance for any unspeakable horrors.Have you run over a neighbor's pet and laughed about it or something? ;)

Go read the Tao, it's a great book with great answers that only you can provide.

And I'll sabotage it all by saying that life for everyone would be a lot less difficult if we all weren't constantly surrounded by a**holes!"

"Really, it's not penance. It's just a need to detox.

I have a lot of *quizzical brow furrow* .. I don't want to say 'anger issues' because that isn't quite it... but something... and cleaning out the closet seems to be helping.

I've read the Tao. Have had a tattered copy for ages. Used to carry it with me everywhere I went. Found solace in some of the Dalai Lama's works as well. How so much serene goodness and wisdom can be deposited into one person... well, it just amazes me.

My dislike for society as a whole increases with the passing of each day. I'm sure that underneath it all, that's where the drive to do this lies. My subconscious mind searching for an iota of goodness and gratitude left in humanity.

The disappointing part is that there seems to be less than two thousand people who get it.

I know that there are others going unnoticed in the world, but to a greater degree we - myself included - have become a congolmeration of self absorbed know it alls who cannot see any further than the tips of our noses most of the time, and an arm's reach on a good day.
Unable to give without complaint but quick to hold out our hands in anticipation of whatever someone else has to offer.

Freecycle is a prime example of that.

Someone will post an offer, say a pair of yellow slippers, size 8. All the details will be included, ladies slippers, their size, traction. Whatever.There will inevitibly be thirty or better people who are either men who have no wives, children, mothers or friends for whom they wish to claim the item, women who wear a six, seven, nine or ten shoe, and others who already have multiple pair of slippers, some of them yellow as well, but they just feel a need to have one more pair.

It's pathetic. An easy way to make a quick buck or amass a pile of stuff that isn't really needed."


And that's it. That's what I've been looking for.

Every day I come home from my job, and every day I hate it a little bit more. The work should be rewarding, and it is, but not the way that it should be.

Not the way that I want it to be.

Gratitude is non-existent. I'm not looking for a thank you. I get those all the time, be they half-hearted or truly sincere. Rather, a genuine sense of gratitude - that someone will walk away from the encounter we've had, take what they've learned and gained and pass it on to someone else.

Pay it forward, for crissakes. It's not that hard.

I've hit a point where I am absolutely fed up with the sense of selfish arrogance carried around by the average individual. What people don't see is how much harm it is truly doing them. All that bottled up anger, the lack of spiritual well being... and trying to explain it, through simple acts of goodwill, or simply saying "you'l get a whole lot further by being nice to your neighbor" is like talking to a brick wall.

When I landed in the non-profit sector, I felt like there was a divine reason behind it. It couldn't be further from what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I started out giving my all and then some to the task at hand. As time went on, I realized that I'd burn out and break down if I did that for too long, so I started 'leaving work at work' as best as I possibly could.
But the calls come in like roaches on my day off, residents knock on my door, and the people with whom I work can't seem to function for a day without me. All of this further fueling my disdain.

I need to learn to say no. To establish firm boundaries and adhere to them. I don't have to answer my phone ( and I don't always do it, but it's that one time that I do that keeps them coming back ) to be good at my job. Whatever it is, it CAN wait until tomorrow.

That doesn't change the caliber of people that I am dealing with, but it may change how I deal with them, even if only a little bit.

I know that my expectations aren't unrealistic. What I don't know is what to do about it.

I can't go on day after day, generally hating society as a whole. It isn't good for me. I have enough Irish grudge bearing and angst on reserve from my youth, and quite frankly, most of the people I interact with are not going to change because of anything that I impart upon them.

Where to go and what to do next lie upon my shoulders alone, and I have a pretty good idea where to start.