Chani of Thailand Gal has given me five questions. This meme has been making the rounds, and I finally found the courage to ask her to interview me.
Here are Chani's questions:
1) I just got off the plane from Thailand and have no idea where to go. I understand and speak fluent English. I am over 50. What do you think it is most important for me to know about San Francisco, something that will make me rave about it when I get home?
I don't know enough about Thai culture to guess what would appeal to Thai tourists, so I will have to fall back on several of San Francisco's attractions that I most enjoy: The Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, and a cable car ride.
I would show them the different areas that make this city great and diverse: North Beach, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Marina, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Castro and Cow Hollow, and describe the outstanding characteristics of each. I would take them to wonderful restaurants with wondrous views, and to performances of the ballet and symphony. We would visit art museums, of which there are several, and stroll in beautiful parks with gorgeous plantings, lakes, and wildlife. We would walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, and then relax in a charming cafe. And I would photograph them in front of all the famous tourist sites so they would be able to peruse their memories in full color forever.
2) What is the number one principle that governs your life?
Compassion. I am an empath and when I witness suffering, whether human or animal, I feel it to some degree as well. Since I believe that we are all connected energetically, I do not kill creatures of any kind nor purposely hurt other people, for in doing so, I would only be hurting myself.
It is not about selflessness, however. I realized one day that I could not reasonably care less for myself than for others while endorsing such a concept, and I began to treat myself better. It has made life much easier for me, and possibly for others because they know that if I do something for them, it is because I really want to and not because I think I have to.
I consider compassion to be a basic human quality, even though it seems to be displaced increasingly by anger and aggression, which are destructive. If we could practice more compassion as a society, we would all be happier and healthier. When people help each other, they are able to accomplish things that individuals cannot which benefit all. Societies are collapsing around the world because there is not enough compassion among their citizens, many of whom fear that kindness and concern for others are signs of weakness.
Compassion is our birthright. It is time to claim it if we are to continue as a people, and a species.
3) You have mentioned an affinity for Native American culture. What do you think about the concept of soul retrieval?
I don't know much about Native American practice of soul retrieval, but have read some of Sandra Ingerman's and Michael Harner's books on the subject, and it makes sense. I believe that we all have lost or given away parts of ourselves, and that shamanism might be more successful than psychotherapy in their retrieval.
The training courses these people offer are very expensive, though, which makes them unavailable to most of us.
I believe that there are pivotal points in every life, specific events that change the course of our lives and that can be identified with skilled help or our own recollections. Sometimes the latter is not possible, however, because when traumatic events occur, we tend to develop amnesia so that we can physically survive them.
It stands to reason that a pivotal point might involve the loss of parts of our souls, our self-esteem, our joy, our trust, our ability to learn.
Perhaps the common feeling that something is missing relates to parts of ourselves that we have lost. Often, we try to find in others what we sense missing in ourselves, but this is never successful because no one else can provide our own missing parts. Furthermore, the responsibility they are expected to assume can put too much strain on a relationship and cause it to fail.
4) Presuming there is a God with individual consciousness (not addressing whether or not that exists), what would be the question you would most like to ask?
Why am I here? What lessons did I come to learn, and how can I best learn them? What is my purpose, my place in the grand scheme of things? Was I born simply to be a link in the chain of humanity that produced my children, or is there something more that I am meant to do with my time on earth?
5) What do you think would be the answer?
"You are here, like everyone, to perfect yourself, to become your very best self, to utilize your particular gifts of spirit, of genetics, of experience, to make a difference to others as only you are able to do. You and everyone else on this planet are uniquely talented in certain areas. Your mission in life is to discover what they are and to use them to the best of your abilities.
One of your greatest gifts is to relate to many different kinds of people, to find a common ground and to engage their hearts. You are a force for unity. You have sought unity among people your whole life, and have tried to become a bridge that connects people. Writing is one of the ways in which you express that part of yourself, and when you are better at this, you will be able to channel my intentions for all you meet: That they behave as one people regardless of small differences like color, religion, nationality, status, intelligence, economic level, all the things that presently divide people but which do not matter to me. You are meant to be a force for good.
I have been very patient with you because I love you and all your fellow humans. I have not given up on your species yet. Do not disappoint me.
I do not need or desire to see people holding hands and singing "Kumbaya" to show me how sincere they are. I am not convinced by such performances, no matter how prettily they sing and dance. What I want to see is genuine respect, understanding and kindness among mankind. I want to see all the artificial boundaries that have been erected to create feelings of superiority eliminated. I want the people I made to begin to really see one another, and to recognize the great beauty of my handiwork.
I want an end to war, both wars among nations and wars among individuals. I want the riches of this planet divided more evenly. I want to see love and kindness in all human interactions and less aggressive driving in San Francisco.
Remember that I created you, and I can destroy you whenever I choose. Armageddon is nothing to me. Don't make me get ugly."
1. If you would like to participate, leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. Update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions.
If you request questions from me, please give me a few days so that I can personalize them.