Friday, August 8, 2008

True View Friday Open Thread

We've done a lot of talking this week and now it's your turn to give us a glimpse into your world. Every Friday we will ask you to start the conversation by asking you two questions:

What do you believe?
What have you observed or noticed this week as you've walked through your world?

Your thoughts can either reflect inward, stating something you believe strongly or is commentary on your own experience or your thoughts can move outward, retelling something you've noticed or observed (a particular interaction with another person, the way you resolved a conflict, a wonderful connection) as you went through your week. You can also ask a question that is either directed towards all people or something you truly wish to understand about a community.

I like to think of this open thread similar to a two-dimensional Christmas advent calendar (so says the Jewish lady) where you peel back the little windows and you get a glimpse of the house underneath. Each comment is a small window in a world that is uniquely and wonderfully your own. And if you notice something amazing inside a comment, connect with the writer and let them know.

If you are stuck, try beginning your sentence with "I believe..." and then explain your reasons behind the thought.

In addition to providing a view into your world, please respond to a thought that someone else threw into the conversation by adding a (+) before the commentor's sign-off name and then adding your thoughts. In other words, when you open a new comment box, write

+lollipop goldstein--

and then your comment (eg. +lollipop goldstein--in asking us to present what we believed has opened a huge, messy can of worms*).

As I've already stated in the comment manifesto, all thoughts should be respectful. Points-of-view are, by definition, very personal and one person's thoughts are not meant to reflect everyone's thoughts within a community. Comments that attack another person, are hateful in nature, or are seen as simply picking a fight and not starting a conversation will be deleted.

So give us a glimpse into your world and teach us something new about your corner of the blogosphere. What do you believe? What have you observed? What do you want to ask? In other words, how do you view the world?

* This is probably true, but if we're not willing to talk out the hard topics, open our hearts to another person's world, listen, and build that bridge, there is little point to this site.


Kristin said...

+lollipop goldstein--is brilliant, works too hard, and is making me think too much this early in the morning.

As for what I think...after watching the ALI panel video, I have realized that not only do people feel like they can say whatever they want about your pregnancy, they also feel free to say whatever they want about ANY way you chose to build your family.
IMHO, family building is an intensely personal decision and I can't understand why people feel free to comment like this.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

One of my biggest regrets within Judaism is not going to the mikveh* each cycle (though I do nothing to remedy this!). I've been three times in my life--once before my wedding, once when we started trying to conceive, and once when we started treatments. When I was in the water, I felt such a huge sense of peace and connection to all of the other women who came before me. And yet I can't seem to return to the mikveh even though I should go once a month.

*the mikveh is a ritual bath in Judaism.

Delenn said...

I have always loved listening to "This I believe" on NPR, so this is so neat!! :-)

I believe in "paying forward". The weird thing is that I did not know this phrase until recently, but have been doing it my whole life. I just thought of it as being kind and generous when I could. Whenever I have had good fortune, I try to help someone else. After our successful IVF cycle, I donated my left over medicine to someone in need of it. I try to send "care" packages to my friends in the Braces Bunch. We have recently had some good fortune financially, and I have helped some of our friends get out of some of their debt. I do not do these things for the "thank you" quotient. Its because I feel that if I was in that situation, I would love someone to come by and help me out. I guess a corallary to this is that I believe in community and everyone helping everyone else. (which is interesting because I am generally a very cynical person)

mama o' the matrices said...

I've been musing this week over the post about God from here:

Take a look. Do you live in the world where a deity makes healthy children for the ones S/He loves, and ignores the lesser ones? Julia would rather not.

Neither would I.

Kate said...

To expand on what Delenn said....I believe that community can transcend geography. I have found a wonderful community through blogs and I am always surprised by the kindness that is shown when someone is in pain or in need.

m de p said...

I believe that people are inherently good, and want to do good in the world. I believe that people generally do the best they can given their circumstrances. Coming back to this belief really helps me when I encounter people who I find "difficult" or who hold beliefs that are so fundamentally different than my own.

As I've walked around in my world this past week I realize how much I love my city (NYC) and how much of a part of me it is.

+delenn - I LOVE "this I believe" from NPR. I thought of that, too, when I saw this post!

Julia said...

+Lollipop-- do you think going more often would change what mikveh did for you when you went? I have never been the one partaking, but I went as a witness with a friend who was converting once, and I went with my sister before her wedding. I have issues with it for the family purity reasons. One is because the monthly ritual looks to me like a bit of "you didn't get pregnant last month, tsk, tsk. Go fix that now" thing. When I think of all the IF Jewish women through the ages going every month, it breaks my heart. Two, and this is even bigger, is that I think of a hypothetical observant couple who have lost their baby, and are now not allowed to comfort each other through touch until she has been to mikveh, weeks down the road. And that just seems so damn cruel.

Though, to be fair. When I went with my friend for conversion, it was at a dingy small place where there was no room to sit, think, talk. When I went with my sister, it was in the new place that opened recently and was designed to offer space for all of that. It's a mikveh and community center. I felt a lot better there than that first place I went.

+mama o'-- thank you so much.

Mer said...

Mama O' and Julia -- as a Jew, I don't believe it either. I can't fathom a G-d that would purposefully choose certain children to suffer or die over others.

As for what I think, I think that reading the blogs of the IF community have made me ever more mindful of people's struggles. I was very fortunate to get pregnant after my first IVF, and had no idea what others go through. I am now much more cognizant of how fortunate we are (though NOT because G-d likes us more), and will work that much harder to be compassionate to those who are in the trenches.

PS - I also think Lollipop Goldstein has a huge heart, and that what she does for this community is a mitzvah.

luna said...

+ kristin: I also can't understand why others feel free to comment on people's family building decisions when it takes a less traditional route. why is that? is it just because of their own views, or because they feel that once babymaking leaves the bedroom it becomes fair game for comment?

+ lollipop and julia: very interesting about the mikveh rites. I love me a good ritual, especially for the sacred space and connection (as lollipop said she got). yet I can see how the meaning could change based on what julia said. hmm...

+ delenn: I believe you have some good karma.

+mama o the matrices: I also was intrigued by julia's post. in fact I think it's part of a conversation I've had several times in my life.

+ m de p and mer: I'm so glad you feel that way. that is the whole point of bridges! thanks for reading.

-> I think this is a really cool idea.

Kami said...

+ Mama o' I jumped over and read that post and skimmed the comments. As one commenter said - for some people it a great comfort to believe god is in control. If her child would have died she would have also created a reason for that which would have given her god a starring role.

Personally, I believe in no god. The world is wholly natural with no controlling force and when we die we no longer exist. It is not comforting, but I think it is true.

I can understand wanting (needing?) to believe in something that creates order out of chaos.

Joanne Verkuilen said...

I believe in the power of the mind. We have possession of the keys to open ourselves to absolutely anything we want. I don't just mean outward successes or goals; by changing our thoughts towards our bodies, thinking that we can turn things around, can have the pregnancy we so want and deserve, think in terms of abundance and gratitude for what we have now - then our cells, endocrine system and reproductive health begins to listen. There's no right or wrong way, it's just paying attention to your thoughts. Acceptance and love for yourself will go a long way.
Peace, Joanne
p.s. just getting into this blogging thing; have PCOS but have two gorgeous kids (very very very fortunate).

luna said...

+joanne: I'm sorry to say that the most powerful healing thoughts filled with abundance and gratitude towards myself and my future child have not resulted in a successful pregnancy and living child. I believe that sometimes it just takes more than that.

Julia said...

+Joanne Verkuilen-- I am sorry to tell you this, Joanne, but for some of us, this is an incredibly hurtful thing to hear. It sounds like if we don't have the things we want, it's because we didn't properly open ourselves up to them, i.e. it's our own damned fault. The purpose of this site is to gain understanding of each other's realities, so I hope you can see how a statement like this can be hurtful to people who don't have the things they hope for and work hard for every day, how it can sound like judgment from someone who got very lucky and scored the things they wanted.

Some things can't be fixed. Blocked fallopian tubes will not open with the power of thought. Blood that clots dangerously fast isn't going to become thinner because you want it to (but it will if you use giant needles and shoot up some heparin), and blood that is too thin isn't going to clot because you are open to it (but will with judicious application of factor). I am also willing to bet anaphylactic allergies are not going to go away.

Oh, and in my particular case, I don't think I could've been any more open to my son living than I was. And yet, bacteria got into his sac, and the two true knots on his cord got pulled shot. Likewise, I doubt anyone is as committed to the son I carry now making it as I am. And yet, it's not my mind or my body I rely on to get me through. I will take the steroids for his lung development and two days of magnesium to let the steroids work any day over being open to not progressing through labor. Any day.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

+Julia--that is an interesting question and now I think I may actually dive into this for an individual post. I wonder if going more would take the enormous emotions out of the few times I do go. I think you can get used to anything.

+Joanne--it's an interesting thought and certainly Christian Science promotes a similar idea about healing through controlling thoughts. But, I think in the end, some of these books such as the Secret have a blamest agenda and a shoddy safety net (if it doesn't work, it just means that the person didn't try or think or wish hard enough).

I always think about that scene in Leap of Faith (yes, the movie with Steve Martin) where the sister explains to the con artist how much hurt the person feels on the receiving end of that philosophy and how her brother has gone through life thinking that either G-d hasn't blessed him (in the case of religious healers) or that he hasn't wanted to walk badly enough or that he hasn't prayed hard enough, wished hard enough. And how destructive the philosophy is when sent to the wrong person (after all, one philosophy cannot fit all people).

I'd actually like to hear more if you're open to talking about how this philosophy has helped you, how you've put it into practice, and how far you would take it (for example, if diagnosed with cancer, would you try to turn it around by turning around your thoughts on your body or would you pursue medications/treatments. I'm not asking facetiously; I truly want to know how deeply people take ideas).

SeaStar said...

I believe things happen - period - not for a cosmic reason. I do believe in physical reasons: that my first husband got deadly cancer at 36 because of chemicl exposure as a small child, but not because G-d had a lesson in the dying for him or for me. I do believe in G-d as a source of strength and energy, that I draw on through spiritual practice. I most strongly believe that, whatever happens to me, I have power in what I do with the circumstances, how I let them shrink me or induce growth. I believe that we can give useful, even noble purposes to the worst things that happen to us, and that is where I find hope, not in looking for a cosmic reason.

+Joanne - I just don't think we have the kind of power you assert - to keep our babies and bodies healthy, our loved ones alive. When my husband was dying, one of the hardest htings was to know I couldn't keep him alive by loving him well enough. A number of people suggested that we needed to adjust our prayer or our thinking, and that only hurt more. I really believe many things happen to us that are outside our control and that we can only take charge of how we respond.

+lollipop goldstein - Thank you for Bridges. I've been reading since the first day and my world has already expanded. Thank you especially for this brilliant Friday feature.

luna said...

+ seastar: I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband. you say so much with this one line:
"I really believe many things happen to us that are outside our control and that we can only take charge of how we respond." this is so true. thank you.

Lil said...

I believe that there are things that happen to people that we can't understand because all we've got is our human mind. If we knew all the answers, we wouldn't have reincarnated into this lifetime and lived the life we're currently living. Tragedies affect our hearts the most...and while they hurt us deeply and rip through us (sometimes irreperably) I believe there is always a blessing and a deeper insight thereafter.

I don't say any of this flippantly or withough having lived through trauma of my own...this is the way that I survived them.

One love,

Helen said...

I believe that sometimes just listening is the best and only way we can help someone and reach out to them at the same time.

Joanne said...

My heart is racing as it happens when I feel that I have offended someone. This is simply what "I believe" - not a way of thinking that I am trying to promote, or make anyone feel negatively about. I recently read "Love Medicine Miracles" by Bernie Siegel MD, which was a best seller in the late 80s, and here is this surgeon who helps patients approach their life-threatening diseases starting with their mind. It's eye-opening, and falls into line with what Dr. Alice Domar advocates for women with fertility issues (and what Dr. Sarah Berga is reasearching at Emory). I am now very curious what folks do believe about the mind-body connection?

Lollipop Goldstein said...

+Joanne--I'm really thankful that you brought up the topic and are getting the conversation going. Please--no heart racing :-)

I think there is definitely a mind-body connection in the sense that depression can have physical manifestations. And stress can affect blood pressure, etc. I think we can do things to help compartmentalize fears/emotions for a short time period in order to get through something. But I don't know if we can get what we want (eg. cure infertility or even truly make ourselves authentically happy) just by changing the way we think.

It reminds me of the Balinese meditation that Gilbert is taught in Eat, Pray, Love. On one hand, force yourself to smile enough and you may find yourself actually smiling at some point for real. And, at the same time, forcing yourself to smile is not a true smile. Does that make any sense?

BethH6703 said...

I believe... that I need to speak less and listen more.

I believe... that we all have our ways of coping, and what works for one will not work for all.

I believe... that most people are truly doing the best they can with the cards they've been dealt. I also believe that everyone - and I do mean EVERYone - is going through something difficult. Life is teaching me right now that even though I thought I had "hit my limit" my capacity to dig in and get thru has been broadend tremendously - not by choice, but by necessity.

+ lolli: Thank you for this site. This is my first time really getting into it, but I know that I'll be back.

luna said...

what lollipop said (in her last comment)!