Zen Jar

When I first got my iPhone and was introduced to the wonderful world of "Apps", one of the first ones I downloaded was Zen Jar, a glowdot production which allows the user to write down a thought ( or poem, or song lyrics, or political view, wish, opinion, question, story, etc.) and send it out into cyberspace where other Zen Jar subscribers can then read the thought and respond to it if they desire.

Since I am a curious type person who enjoys pondering what other people are occupying their noodles with, and since I happen to have a profound thought here and there, and am the author of terrible poetry that I am too ashamed to share with anyone I might see face to face, the Zen Jar app was a perfect fit.

In the beginning I could kill hours just reading what other folks had to say and sometimes sending comments back to them. There was an Australian Taxi driver who loved the silly one-liners I would sometimes send out. And the teen aged girl who was distraught because even though she got straight A's and was a good kid, her parents had little trust in her. I have sent out medical questions regarding the phantom smells I sometimes suffer from- hoping to get some information about this other than my fear that my brain may be rotting.

The Zen Jar is almost like an anonymous Facebook where you can post what you like without having to worry that you might be offending or shocking someone close to you. Pure honest communication. Of course a lot of that communication isn't all that pure or honest. I have learned that there are plenty of lovelorn lonely souls out there. Some angry people. But many really nice folks just wanting to share an inspirational quote for the day. Some folks are just killing a moment or two and want to chat about their dog or some great dinner they cooked, not unlike Facebook posts.

What I enjoy is that the folks who respond are actually interested in what has been posted. None of that emailesque duty replying going on here. I got nailed pretty good for my rambling whiny emails. I was told in no uncertain terms that we are all busy and no one is interested in reading my list of overwhelming daily obligations ( sometimes I just sent those emails so that I could see in writing a chronology of obligations I was going to attempt to fulfill! ) So I stopped those in a hurry. I try not to whine too much about my overwhelming schedule to people who clearly are not interested. Much better to whine to people who are interested! It was a good wake-up call I guess. The Truth often hurts. I don't send out too much email anymore or even make many phone calls. Facebook has taken over much of my social networking. It is quick & convenient and a picture can speak a thousand words.

But when I get that pang to express myself and a craving for feedback, and I find I have a moment, I can send out my thought to the other 70 or so Zenners who are usually available, and then check back in a few hours to see if anyone, anywhere in the world, may have responded.

So I knew it was wrong the moment I sent it off, but that didn't stop me from sending it. It had been an overwhelming week where I had put in 110% for days on end with no light at the end of the tunnel, and I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but didn't dare whine to anyone who didn't want to hear it. Zen Jar was there for me. I sent out some whiny ass comment along the lines of, " Sometimes I fantasize about getting ill and having to go to the hospital so that I could give up my responsibilities and just have other people take care of me for a change."

Now I expected a lot of awful backlash for that one, but I was not prepared for the response I did receive. The first one was easy to digest. I don't know if it was penned by a man or a woman, my bet is on a woman, but it simply said, " I was hospitalized for a short while, and I hate to admit it, but I really enjoyed that time."

The second response was the one I will not forget. I wasn't able to retain the original transcript, but it was something along the lines of, " Being sick is not all that it has cracked up to be. I still have to run the kids around in between chemo appointments, and I feel like hell, but I am thankful for every day that I am still able to do it." Wow. Reality hit me in the face again. I felt like such an insensitive self serving idiot for even posting something like this in the first place. Oh boy. So I decided to respond that I was sorry for having posted such a stupid thought, and that I knew it was wrong etc. I expressed my condolences for the dire situation of the person who had responded to my stupid post. We had a nice little exchange.

I am assuming it was a woman with whom I was corresponding, though we never revealed our genders or names or ages or locations etc. This person did mention that they had late stage cancer of two organs, which made them ineligible for a transplant for either organ. That they had a twelve year old daughter and an 18 month old daughter, and that the twelve year old knew that the parent would be departing soon. And how sweet the time left was. This person shared how they decided to write journals to their children, and how they tried to think of everything. Letters to be opened after the first boyfriend, job, graduation, and other milestones. How the 18 month old would probably not remember the deceased parent. So sad.

How could I respond with anything of value to this wise and brave person? I sent them my well wishes, and some other garbage about how we can never know the whys of the reality of the way things turn out. We can only make the best of it and trust that nature knows what it is doing, and that I believed all connected souls would some day be reunited.

It was a beautiful exchange. Thinking back on it, that parent probably spent more quality time with their two children than many people spend in an entire lifetime of a normal span of 60 years or so spent with their children. Having the advance knowledge of an early departure allows one to plan and prioritize, where not having an end in sight allows one to put off today what can be done tomorrow. How heavy. Not the escape I had in mind at all. But it did cause me to get out of my head. I hope my stupid post caused that person to get out of their head. For all I know it wasn't even true- but why would anyone make something like that up?

So here I am at 12:05 PM listening to Grinderman Palaces of Montezuma and writing this blog. What do the zenners have to say? Here are the first 10 comments that come up:

1) "Anybody else listen to Social Distortion?"

2) "Be happy :) you deserve it."

3) "How interesting. What have I done? Why is it such a hard question to answer?"

4) "It takes years of neglect, but even the strongest love can die."

5) "Bethany I lost your message again!! I'm sorry."

6) "Pp"

7) "I'm confused about us and don't know what to do about it. I don't like me feeling this and I want things to feel like they should feel. To really feel in love. I feel that something is missing. I don't want to feel this way though :-/ "

8) "I'm just another bored male, approaching 30, in a dead-end job, who lives for the weekend. Casual sex, watered-down lager, heavily cut drugs."

9) " Fog horn leg horn"

10) " I hate headaches."

This zenner is going to bed!

Happy 4th of July!

More from Aesop- I couldn't leave any out!!

Our insignificance is often the cause of our safety.

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Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth.

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The injuries we do and those we suffer are seldom weighed in the same scales.

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We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.

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We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.

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“A farmer who had a quarrelsome family called his sons and told them to lay a bunch of sticks before him. Then, after laying the sticks parallel to one another and binding them, he challenged his sons, one after one, to pick up the bundle and break it. They all tried, but in vain. Then, untying the bundle, he gave them the sticks to break one by one. This they did with the greatest ease. Then said the father, Thus, my sons, as long as you remain united, you are a match for anything, but differ and separate, and you are undone.”

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"Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear."

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"Little by little does the trick."

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"Adversity tests the sincerity of friends"

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"Betray a friend, and you'll often find you have ruined yourself."

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"Try as one may, it is impossible to deny one's nature"

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"Self-help is the best help"

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"Vices are their own punishment"

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"Wise men say nothing in dangerous times"

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"The more you want, the more you stand to lose"

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"Whoever neglects old friends for the sake of new deserves what e gets if he loses both"

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"An Ass put on a Lion's skin and went
About the forest with much merriment,
Scaring the foolish beasts by brooks and rocks,
Till at last he tried to scare the Fox. But Reynard, hearing from beneath the mane
That Raucous voice so petulant and vain,
Remarked. O' Ass, I too would run away,
But that I know your old familiar bray'.
That's just the way with asses, just the way."

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"Sometimes the slow ones blame the active for the delay."

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"Fine clothes may disguise, but silly words will disclose a fool"

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"Expect no reward when you serve the wicked, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pain"

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"It is easy to despise what you cannot get"

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"Facts speak plainer than words"

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"It is one thing to conceive a good plan, and another to execute it"

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"Keep your place in life and your place will keep you"

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"Necessity is the mother of invention."

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"Uninvited guests are often most welcome when they leave"

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"No argument, no matter how convincing, will give courage to a coward"

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"It is absurd to ape our betters."

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"Once a wolf, always a wolf."

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"Do not count your chickens before they are hatched"

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Bad as any government may be, it is seldom worse than anarchy.

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Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.

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Better to starve free than be a fat slave.

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You may share in the labors of the great, but you may not share the spoil.

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Even a hare, the weakest of animals, may insult a dead lion.

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Much outcry, little outcome.

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Wealth unused might as well not exist.

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It is with our passions as it is with fire and water, they are good servants, but bad masters.

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Men often applaud an imitation and hiss at the real thing.

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Next Post date: August 1, 2011
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July 4, 2011

Quotes:

These are dedicated to my mom who enjoys a good quote just as much as I do.

I borrowed these quotes by Aesop from this site:

www.quotationspage.com

Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.

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In critical moments even the very powerful have need of the weakest.

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Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.

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It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

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It is with our passions, as it is with fire and water, they are good servants but bad masters.

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Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.

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Persuasion is often more effectual than force.

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The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.

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United we stand, divided we fall.

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We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.

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What a splendid head, yet no brain.

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Put your shoulder to the wheel.

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The gods help them that help themselves.

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Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.

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It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.

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Union gives strength.

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Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

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People often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.

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The shaft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagle's own plumes. We often give our enemies the means of our own destruction.

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Slow and steady wins the race.

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It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

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While I see many hoof marks going in, I see none coming out. It is easier to get into the enemy's toils than out again.

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I will have nought to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.

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Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.

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A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.

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A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.

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A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.

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Adventure is worthwhile.

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Affairs are easier of entrance than of exit; and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in.

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After all is said and done, more is said than done.

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Any excuse will serve a tyrant.

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Appearances are often deceiving.

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Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin.

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Don't let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth - don't let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.

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Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either.

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Example is the best precept.

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Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

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He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own.

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He that is discontented in one place will seldom be happy in another.

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If you allow men to use you for your own purposes, they will use you for theirs.

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It is in vain to expect our prayers to be heard, if we do not strive as well as pray.

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