The Universal Question: "So?"

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I've been reading Martha Beck this morning. Who knew she was into martial arts, like me? The following links have to do with things that matter. Thanks to SWOT's thread about how it is that site activity is down (and FOO Chronicles activity non-freaking existent), I really thought about those who commented that the site was too personal, and about those who'd commented they'd felt excluded. I thought about whether any of that mattered to me.

I thought about Child of Mine's grandmother's comment: Worry is a fast getaway on a wooden horse.

So, I decided to stop riding that particular merry go round and come down to Earth and here I am, this morning.


Please stop feeling excluded. You may have been able to provide insight or comfort, but even that is not required. None of us knows how to do this right. What we do know is that we are doing our best that we know, today. We are here to address whatever it is it turns out we wish we felt differently about regarding self concept. For me, there were reasons I chose to address shaming imagery from my past here on FOO Chronicles. I would do it again in a minute. I am better. I am no longer afraid to know what I know and that has changed everything about who I believe myself to be. For those who felt excluded from FOO Chronicles, please believe: There is no exclusion. If we were already perfect, and perfectly content with everything that happens to us ~ well, wherever I was going with that thinking. What I mean to say is please post if you feel any smallest inclination to do so.

I found FOO Chronicles explosively helpful. Through it, I have been able to ferret out things about my past that were shaming and therefore, weakening me.

My perspective has changed.

And that has changed everything.

So, I am going to post what I find valuable to me. I invite you to do the same. We will go on as long as we find value in what we do.

RB, I am forever grateful for this opportunity to heal and I took full advantage of it.

Thank you.


Regarding cliques: It would be natural for cliques to form. If you find something of value here, post anyway. Those healing the wounds you have chosen to address will appear.

Or, ask a question. Just make a post and ask a question.


Here are some of the links that, shame based as I am, I found of value this morning. Again, if we refuse to acknowledge where we wish to change our thinking about ourselves, then nothing will change for us. If we decide to address old belief systems, the price of admission is having a look at what they are. If you have been, or if you are are being, abused, there is a way to get free of that mindset that was hurt into you and that is the only thing keeping you imprisoned in those old belief systems, now. That mindset telling you these people somehow see a truth you do not see is wrong thinking. All we need to do to heal is look, and to decide for ourselves: Who is the Liar, here. Then, we find out what is really probably true about the way we grew up or even, about the way we are living, now. And about what is wrong and maybe, even dead wrong, about the way we are living, and what we believe about ourselves. Or our children.

And again, that changes everything.

This link has to do with the Universal Question: "So?"

The following quote is also Martha Beck. It has to do with attaining, and keeping, emotional stability.

Who knew Martha was so cool?

Here is the quote:

Either you really did provoke the attack, or you're operating under the misconception that you deserved it. Return immediately to emo-do code: Stop causing suffering for yourself by thinking you deserved victimization; correct any behaviors that might have triggered the mugging and, finally, forgive yourself for the whole misadventure.

Martha Beck



Well-Known Member
The question here is suffering. And where does it reside. And does its origin lie within us or outside us or both. I do not think these questions have easy answers.

One complication is that perception of anything is selective. Even pain is complex this way. There are disciplines that teach how to ignore pain. Think fire eaters or nail walkers, for example. Is the average Joe expected to walk through his universe like a fire eater, or can he or she reasonably expect responsibility from others?

Where do we draw the line there? What expectations can we have of others? Is it reasonable to expect anything at all, or do we have responsibility to create that which we expect, by instructing others of our expectations and our needs?

How do we define self and other? Are we responsible only for what we feel inside of us or are we responsible for the effects we create by our behavior?

I studied a perspective for a long time in addressing ones life, where it was taught that we were one hundred percent responsible, each of us, for everything in our universe. How we interpreted everything, and what we got from everybody. And nobody else was responsible. Except us. Now that can be seen in terms of your quote, thinking I deserve suffering, and seeking it, for example, or in the other sense, of being responsible for setting a limit, to limit suffering imposed by others?. Is one more right than the other?

Is it misguided to believe that others can or should be held responsible? Do I act poorly or well when I believe this and act upon it? By holding this belief am I letting myself off the hook or stepping up to the plate?

So from the perspective I learned long ago, I would be responsible for my pain if somebody hurt me. Either in my perception of it, or because I tolerated it, or because I did not educate the person so that he or she knew what I needed or did not want. What we call limit-setting and boundaries.

Does this mean it works both ways? That I am responsible for both the taking responsibility for my beliefs and actions, and cleaning them up? And at the same time, responsible for those who act upon me, too? Or not?

And another question to arise in terms of defining self and other, is the extent to which we are responsible in protecting others besides ourselves. That would come up in terms of the environment, or taking certain stances about one's society, believing one is or is not responsible in any way for the little guy, for children, for elders, for civility generally, that each of us has potentially the responsibility to speak up. Is this an absolute responsibility or not?

None of these things is straightforward.

Am I responsible for the suffering of others, if I do not do anything to alleviate it? Are you?

Who is the "other"? Who am I? Are we a we? What does that mean in terms of voice?

What is allowed and what is not allowed? Who decides? Is it fair to dialog about that in a relationship? Is a public forum a relationship? Is it just or fair or respectful to cut slack? Or is it patronizing? Who decides?
you're operating under the misconception that you deserved it.
Did the fire eater deserve the pain before he taught himself to tolerate it?

Is pain and suffering neutral, until it is owned by one of us? Where is the responsibility, if people cause pain? Is pain and suffering caused by people to other people like the wind, or is it different?

Fire and wind and cold are elements that do not seek us out because we deserve them. With human beings, who hurt other people, and who are hurt, can we be neutral in the same way?

It is clearly wrong to me to hold others responsible for hurt and suffering that we attract, that I may attract, or to which I answer. But is it just and right to cause suffering, and to not own that causing?

I do not know the answer. At least not in a clear enough way such that I do not suffer over the answering of it.
Either you really did provoke the attack
Did I provoke the wind? On the other hand, is it a responsible thing to ignore something that is hurtful that can be stopped? But again, who decides? Is the expression of a subjective truth responsible or not? Who decides?

If a human being causes suffering, causes me to suffer, and with me, others, is neutrality the correct, and enlightened response? I do not know. Do you?
Stop causing suffering for yourself by thinking you deserved victimization
This would be the mindset of the teachings I learned so long ago.What we called a private conversation. An often unacknowledged belief system that acts to take away personal power and to distort perceptions.

Mostly these private conversations involve some variation of making ourselves right, others wrong, knowing answers and validating what we think we know, which is really not much. Especially about the important stuff.

The idea behind this teaching was to create public conversations. That would be first, to understand and to take responsibility for private and regressive assumptions, and second, to identify ways to achieve and obtain the results one wishes.

Many times, perhaps most times, we do not know really what we are after. And we do not know what we do not know.

From these teachings life is lived well in the clarification. And the clarification is achieved by dialog. Honest dialog. Because we never really can know inside of ourselves, all by ourselves. We show up only in relation to other people.

I know with myself I on purpose keep repeating certain things in posts. That over and over again elicit predictable responses. Negative ones. For example, I speak about how I have felt angry at my child and have felt the desire to lash out. I confess I have had lapses in self-control. I am consistently told by others that this is wrong. And told why and how to do better. (I have not asked for this coaching. But it is offered, nonetheless.)

I know full well my behavior is wrong. In my conscious mind I confess this weakness because I believe I am not the only parent with this failing. I tell myself that my honesty can serve others, in that they will feel less alone and moderate their self-blame, and in this way lessen the guilt and shame they feel for failing themselves and their child. In this way, I believe, they will be better able to control their behavior.

It seems clear to me that my confessions also serve to call for others to punish me, by their comments, others willing to do so. It also is a way to allow for others who might wish to feel superior. That this happens, is my responsibility. All of it. But is it not theirs, too. Or is this another facet of the symptom. That I can watch them fall into a trap. The trap that I have set. Not consciously, perhaps but there.

Put this way, my confession is a classic symptom in the Freudian sense. A symptom both expresses something about which one feels conflicted, gratifies a desire that one cannot own directly, and provides punishment, for the same.

So looked at the micro-level all of this "confession" fits Martha's analysis.

But we are back to responsibility, and what can be expected of others. There is both personal responsibility and the responsibility for voice. Voice has to be heard in order to be true. It cannot be silent and true at the same time, I think. But voice requires an answer, does it not? Dialog.

And there is the expectation of support. Is that fair, to expect support?

I believe that in many of our private conversations--about deserve, for example, or anger, or confessions--there are unspoken needs. Do each of us have responsibility to others, to have sensitivity to what might lie beneath the spoken words, or not?

By speaking the manifest words, are each of us asking for an unspoken answer, for a chance to expose the truth? Is it worth it to take this risk or not? All of these questions are implicit in this post. All of these questions are on the table, really, always, while hardly ever spoken at all, except in all but the most intimate of relationships if then.

In a forum such as this, where pain and suffering are the ticket to ride, is it valid to have expectations of others that they would hear us in such a way? Or not?
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