More than the heat of the day, the injuries from Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary or not knowing the language, the most difficult thing I’ve had to deal with is the tendency to make mistakes. Most of them have been culturally and in matters of etiquette, but more than once I have had to catch myself on the brink of serious financial mistakes. After all, I am retired with a small pension and a little Social Security money. I have to watch my baht closer than most Westerners who retire to
Not long ago, my son Senyo asked me what I most liked about living in the Isaan. I should have said “the people,” but instead I gave him a look into my mind. So, I explained how I’m enjoying living in the present. In part because of the danger of making mistakes small and large, I’m constantly engaged in the present and the future, trying to figure out the best way to go forward.
Back in Santa Barbara, I was getting lazy in my mind. Too much of my time was spent thinking of the past – mostly good, some bad. The present and future were taking back seats in a “living in the past” mind-set. To some degree, I couldn’t help it. After living, on-and-off in the Santa Barbara/Ojai area for 40 years, it seemed as every corner held a memory and a long inter-connected story behind those corners.
Yes, I’m still lazy and I still think of things in the past, but the allocation of mind time between past, present and future is no longer weighed so heavily in favor of the past. It seems to me now to be weighed solidly in the present. I like that.
It all reminds me of a book I once read, in 1971, that became very influential in my life:
Ram Dass’s BE HERE NOW