Life In My Turtle Shell

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”              ~Siddhartha Gautama

I don’t understand people. I really don’t. For a while, trying to puzzle them out was a source of some amusement for my overactive mind. But, the more I started to figure them out, the more cynical I became about them and the less interesting they became to me. Nowadays, I go out of my way not to become involved with trying to understand them or wondering about them at all. I prefer to remain ignorant because the truth about them is, more often than not, more than I can bear. True story.

A friend asked me tonight about our HOA. The vast majority of homes in Denver are in neighborhoods controlled by Homeowner’s Associations. While I understand the purpose of them and why they can be helpful, I also know they can be an incredibly expensive nuisance. We have a Facebook page for our HOA, and I’m able to access conversations between folks in our neighborhood. I used to receive updates when people posted there, but I had to opt of that because I was getting depressed reading the commentary. The pettiness, whining, and finger pointing, while perhaps amusing to some, became abhorrent to me. I swear I lost IQ points reading some of the conversations there.

I had to go back onto our HOA page tonight to look up something for a friend, and I was immediately reminded of why I stopped visiting that page. I used to volunteer in our neighborhood. Yes. Volunteer. As in work for free. I did this on both the Communications Committee (ie…newsletter) and the Social Committee (think Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos). After three years of volunteering and working for free for my neighbors, I finally reached my tolerance level and quit. The people drove me crazy.

Perhaps that is partially the reason I’ve become something of an isolationist. I prefer to live in my own little world. I hardly watch the news (preferring, instead, to read it from different sources) because I can’t stand the sensationalism. I stopped following politics because it seemed to be the same story with different faces. And, now I’ve stopped paying attention within the confines of our neighborhood because I despise the conversations. In my case, ignorance truly is bliss. I’m a much happier person when I don’t think about the things that I see are wrong with the world. If I focus instead on myself and my family and making our small space better, my attitude improves greatly.

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty for unplugging and for not being more involved with things around me. I’m a smart woman, and it’s honestly sad that I would prefer to remain ignorant to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of peace about my surroundings. Still, part of finding zen is understanding which things to let go and which things never to take on in the first place. If peace comes from within, then I might be on the right track.

1 comment

  1. The more I know of people, the more I like my dog.
    I think this is credited to Mark Twain.
    Nothing wrong with detaching from that which is not reality.
    HOA’s, newsletters, petty people and even Easter egg hunts are not reality.
    The true goal of zen is to detach from EVERYTHING!
    “Zen mind is satisfied by a sunset and a thimble full of tea.”
    Sorry-can’t quote the name of the author sage.
    For some time I used to think and worry about others and dream that we’d all be better off if we were all unplugged and we all sought zen mind.
    The light does come from within, and not from without. The rest of the world, you included, are as shipwrecked souls on the sea. If they near my lighthouse I will call out to them. If they are of sound mind and seek shore and safety, I will reach out to them.
    If they are delirious and irrational (such as the preponderance of people that make sensationalized news television and HOA arguments work), they are dangerous, and will only take me down with them.
    I must let them sink or swim on their own.

    Be at Peace,


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