ophe's promise

something akin to a sketch pad

moon phases
Location: Hawaii, United States

one of my favorite quotes: Be Humble for you are made of earth; Be Noble for you are made of stars.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Interview Game

Here is how the blogging “Interview Game” is played:
1) Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.
2) I will respond by asking you five questions.
3) You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4) You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

I received my questions from Phil Ledgerwood, a gentleman I am only beginning to become acquainted with via his blog, which you can find at:
Phil's questions for me are:

1) People have said things like “Life is a bowl of cherries,” or “Life is like a box of chocolates.” What do you think is a good simile or metaphor for life and why?

Perhaps life is a like a liquid mirror; (at times it may even seem a carnival fun-house mirror, distorting and surreal.) When we gaze into the mirror it may appear that life is simply happening to us as though we are mere witnesses (like picking a random chocolate from the box - we get what we get); I've come to believe that our own vision and attitudes greatly shape our experience of life, we actually impress that "image" and participate in the creation (or distortion?) of our experience. (We create the prism that the mirror is viewed through?) Life so very often reflects back exactly what we expect, or what our personality traits and inherited characteristics have "pre-ordained" as our "fate". What is behind the mirror, what is the true reality? I believe that there IS a reality behind the illusions of our experience of life and that one of my tasks as a human being is to get past the "mirror" and see clearly. I suspect that God (or Allah) may be known there.

2) What single decision has had the greatest impact on your life and its direction?

My decision (or was it fate?) to marry has likely had the greatest impact on my life. We spent 21 years together, we raised four children. The growing-up years of my children provided me with my most fulfilling "task" thus far - my best career "choice". The long-term development of a relationship takes unexpected directions, but in retrospect, I can see the seeds that were sown from the very beginning. My initial tendency towards passivity and submission allowed a situation to grow into an uncomfortable imbalance; it took many years and real effort to regain my sense of personal will and responsibility. The struggle for freedom, and for truth and integrity, at times sustained only by a vague sense of self-worth, initiated a long and deep spiritual quest. I think when I’m truly old and gray, I may see that marriage relationship as the largest challenge I faced in life, and hence, the largest benefit……time will tell.

This is at first glance, an easy question, and then I contemplate how we can ever fully know the consequences of our choices; in fact, we likely don't understand what influences our decisions in the first place ......I begin to think we are mostly programmed and predictable.

3) What advice would you give to American society in general?

As a mother of four young-adult children, I sometimes reflect back and wonder if I might have done things any differently, if given the chance to start again. In retrospect, I would NOT be more critical or demanding, NOT stricter in creating and enforcing rules; rather, I would try to INCREASE my expressions of love, appreciation and acceptance of the unique capabilities and characteristics of my children. My advice to American society is the same; how much sweeter our lives together would be if we could embody more of the attributes of a good mother with one another, as well as to our fellow "earthlings". We are, I believe, in actual fact, one family. We share this little island called Earth and should begin to treat our home and each other as family rather than as competing interests. I often view the current political dialogues as an exasperated parent might (okay, you children stop arguing and work it out! We’ve more important things to attend to than your bickering, for goodness sake!) In other words, we might show tolerance, understanding and compassion to one another. We nurture and support one another, encourage individual responsibility, lead by example, and choose gentle persuasion over force and strength whenever possible. In conflicts, we seek to understand first, and then seek a solution that considers the needs of all. We realize that our actions bear consequence for the entire family, and that the health of the family in large part determines our own health..... we share more and care more .... and.....oh yes, please "love your mother" ....(smile)

4) What things does living in Hawaii give to you that we mainlanders are missing out on?

I can't speak about life for everyone on the mainland; I can only speak about the advantages the Big Island of Hawaii offers me, in comparison to my former life on the Mid-Atlantic East Coast. I'm sure that life can be wonderful just about anywhere, depending upon one's attitude and adaptation to the environment. For my life, though, Hawaii has been a miracle. On one fairly small island (about the size of the state of Connecticut) we have something like 10 different climate zones. We have the ocean, we have mountains, we have forests and deserts. We have live volcanos! We have clear skies (discounting the vog sometimes created by the volcano) in order to view the stars each night. An incredible diversity of plant and animal life, all to be found within a short driving distances. For me, the weather is perfect; cool evenings and warm days. I spend a good part of each day outdoors. Closeness to nature was something that was missing in my former life; I try to take full advantage of the natural environment here. Something happens to us when we pay attention to the natural world. We become more natural ourselves, more human, perhaps. The senses become refined and intuition grows. One begins to feel closer to creation (God) and to understand our part in it, even.

Culturally, the Big Island is very diverse, too. Hawaiians and other Polynesians (such as Samoans, Marshallese, Tongans), Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Europeans, Australians, Native Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Black Americans, Indians, Iranians - they are all here in differing numbers. I'm not sure there is a majority race or ethnic group; the attitude is generally inclusive, welcoming and tolerant. If there is any racism here, it is more likely perhaps directed at "haoles" or whites (literally meaning "without breath'); though I've certainly not suffered any racism other than a kind of "stink-eye" stare on rare occasion. I believe that if there is a dislike for haoles, it is more a dislike for a certain arrogant attitude rather than a race. Our population is small (somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000) so it is very easy to remove oneself to a secluded beach or park if one is seeking solitude.

The traditional Hawaiian culture and its influence is felt here still. I'm sure that everyone knows the word, "Aloha", but wonder if all know that it means both Hello and Goodbye, and also that it means Love. Imagine a society where people greet one another with the word Love on a regular basis.....that society is found here. Western and modern influences are here, as well, we do have all the modern conveniences but they seem to have less importance (at least to me). A full spectrum of livelihoods can be found here as well; we have geologists, oceanographers, astronomers, philosophers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, merchants and bankers, psychologists, policemen, fishermen, farmers, entertainers and athletes. I don't want to forget to mention a diverse choice in religious traditions, too. (Again, the attitude seems to be one of inclusion and tolerance - all are welcome and noone appears to claim the only keys to the kingdom)

At times, it seems to me that the whole world exists on this little island in microcosm; there is so much diversity.

For me, the move to Hawaii was like beginning life anew. It presented a rare opportunity for a woman in her mid-life. Virtually all the plants, birds, fish and animals were new to me, a new language, a new community. A place for discovery and in short, a wonderful learning adventure. I even find a new appreciation for the place of my origin. I see with new eyes the beauty of the East Coast lands and ocean.

All this being said, I do think that mainlanders are not truly missing out, if hearts and eyes are open to the beauty surrounding them. My heaven probably exists everywhere. Anyone can find wonder in their environs, anyone can appreciate and enjoy a diverse society.....it is probably all in the attitude and vision with which one views his/her world.

5) What are some lyrics to a song that is particularly meaningful for you and why?

FROM THE MOVIE, “BABE” - (Farmer Hoggett sings this to Babe)





I chose this because it is a pure and simple song of love. (I also loved the film, “Babe”; watched it numerous times. Farmer Hoggett reminds me of my grandfather; little did I know how much my life would be influenced by that film)

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