Cherie Siebert 'artsfish'

Cherie Siebert 'artsfish'
DC metro area, Maryland, USA
March 09
artsfish studio
Artist, traveler to distant and obscure places, seeker of knowledge, lover of all things creative, explorer of all things of interest, partner, mama of 2 little ones adopted from China, activist on a mission to right all things wrong, fixer of all things broken and .... a truly horrible cook. I grew up in a little town in Ohio but left due to a chronic case of boredom.

FEBRUARY 5, 2009 9:42PM

Provocation & response; unsolicited advice for peace of mind

Rate: 32 Flag


I'd like to ask everone to consider a question; 

 Which opinions matter to you, and from who? 

Can you dismiss provocative or simply nasty comments directed at you without emotional turmoil? Do ALL opinions matter to you? This is a very important question to ask ourselves in order to help us understand why or even if we should become upset at another person's words. 

As I responded recently in a comment, I'm hurt only if I receive criticism from someone I respect. Otherwise, have at me, flog me with an arsenal of vitriolic dialogue - I will shrug and walk away, virtually or otherwise. 

 This wasn't always the case - I spent too much of my youth taking the wrong things to heart before I finally realized that it was rather stupid on my part. True and lasting respect is earned. Think of the people you most respect in your life and ask yourself why you respect them. It's doubtful that any of your reasons would fall into the "just because" category. And, of course you respect their opinions as well. 

 Some people love to provoke, it's a sport for them. Do we respect them? Of course not. So why should their words have any weight towards destroying our peace of mind?  

So if you receive a comment or an email that cuts you deep, ask yourself; Is this from someone I respect? 

 (the above thoughts are in response to the rampant nastiness that has come to a boil in recent days here on OS)


Related Post & Podcast

How to deal with difficult people; Buddhist wisdom for ALL 



  contacthits counter 
In case anyone  is still wondering where I've been - I've been HERE 
counter for wordpress

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
It's hard to follow, but you're totally right.
Thank you for this. It's beautiful.
My own experience is that when the Spirit takes you, you can't resist. It's like the Spirit enjoys tripping using us to trip each other up and then enacting revenge as per the law of "Do as you would be done by"...but then if Spirit is something doomed to remain here then I guess we can find some sympathy in our heart for its sometimes childish and psychotic-seeming nature .
"we're supposed to love all creatures"- Love means different things to according to perspective..
Unless somebody's earned my respect, their buzzings pretty much make the same impression as a gnat. Rated, Cherie.
All of the nonsense on OS right now is really turning me off. And I know it is the LAST thing that Natalie would have wanted.
Clarification: I don't mean that this post is nonsense. Au contraire.
K - actions make one a follower of Buddhist thoughts. It isn't necessary to respect a person's actions or words in order to have compassion for them and love them in the Buddhist sense that you speak of.

The core of Buddhist ideals is "to do no harm" By your own words you aim to hurt people with your words so that you can provoke them into losing their temper - and thus you "win"
First, I ask myself: are they talking about me, or themselves? It's all good after that.
I trust you, like you and cherish your words Cherie. You've demonstrated many times over the beauty in you that comes out. Yours are the words that are true, and in the true spirit of what you profess to be. Thanks for this.
new blog - I'm sorry that you've got that impression. If you poke around however, you will find a lot of posts written by us so called "old timers" just for new people to help them find their way around and feel more comfortable. Really. Look and you will find them.

Also, keep in mind that everyone here is new - except for those few that were Beta Testers - no one started here until August of last year.

Harry - HA! And also so so true and very sad.
Peopl all too often take for granted the kind words that come from those whose admiration or respect they do not necessarily seek. The more they get, the more inclined they are to focus on the ones who, for one reason or another, did not "deliver" the goods they are so hungry for. Feed yourself first. Everything else will follow. I respect that everyone has their own limitations and ideas of a good time and time better spent elsewhere. No judgment. Rated.
Barry, thank you for the solidarity - yes we need to cultivate the beauty here in our garden OS. Contrary to what some might believe - all are welcome here -we can disagree sure, but do so respectfully and without insult and spite.
Luckily I don't get that many negative comments. I had a troll guy last night and deleted any comments after his first three. He stopped posting.
Thank you for this brilliant post. It is as brilliant as a few other posts that have recommended "deleting" or "ignoring" as options to hate messages.

I appreciate your effort to add a voice of reason to the discourse.

I think that it won't work. There are just too many people invested in the drama.

I do my best to ignore it all, and I am right now reconsidering posting this response---

I have thought of posting on the subject myself---but it would be brief--as in ----"People, move the fuck on." But Artsfish, as always, you are are more gracious than me and have offered a kind and wise word on the topic.
Sometimes you have to ask if what is coming in a reaction to what you are putting out. IE, do you criticize and expect not to be criticized?
I don't mind much when someone rips into me. I've spent years on the Internet and have developed a thick skin. I'm much less tolerant when people I know are attacked.

The whole personal attack thing is a real turn-off to me. It's always propagated by just a few. If I were the King of Open Salon I'd throw the handful of bums off and have done with it. People say "oh, just ignore it," but a lot of times its hard to ignore. In my experience when people can make personal attacks in an internet venue, with impunity, it's very destructive and distracting, and makes the whole experience unpleasant for many.

I don't know what the Buddha would say about difficult people on Open Salon, but I know what Tony Soprano would say, and at this point I'm more of a Tony Soprano devotee with respect to internet venues.

By the way, the photo of your table is quite lovely. Just looking at it makes me feel peaceful. But I'd still throw the bums out. Perhaps in the next life I'll have better insight . . . .
Dorinda - I don't either usually - my friend Kalvin is likely visiting me here because I stood up for an OS member who was intimidated out of OS and possibly threatened. Such nastiness needs to end so we can get back to more important things.
I had no idea OS began in August of 2008. I thought it had been around several years. So thanks for saying that
m.a.h. Thanks - I guess I am in my own way saying "move the fuck on" - yep some LUV the drama, but those who are really hurt by this maybe need some emotional tools in their personal defense arsenal

New blog - why are you hiding behind a new avatar?

Jimgalt - I think that there is criticism and then there is insult. One, of course is a vehicle for a pleasant discourse and the other is not.

mishma - exactly - commentary and messages should never be a vehicle for personal attack. Aside from being hurtful it's a waste of everyone's time. Ha - Tony Soprano! Thanks for the compliment. It's one of my favorite places in the house.

Ariana - yep , we're all newbies. Just go to a user's blog and look at their first posts. You won't find many earlier than August.
Very true, and hard to do. I know when someone is cruel to me, especially some cunty stranger...(ahem)....I should think as if I were being told that I have two heads, and they hate the second one...because thats how "true" it is...thats how well they know me.

But..its still very hard. Unless you are perfectly secure in yourself, the jabs are hard to pull out without some bleeding...

I am only half successful at this...in spite of knowing much better.
Thanks, Cherie.

Can't wait to see your basement when it's done!
First post I know about here on OS was in November 2007 by James Ruga who works in the background keeping the hamsters happy. Kerry welcomed Alpha testers in February 2008, my first post was in April as a Beta tester.
And calling people mean isn't an insult it's just the truth. Uh huh. What amazese me about the left is that they talk about the right like the antichrist or Hitler than are flabergasted when the response isn't gratitude. Amazing.
"If I were the King of Open Salon I'd throw the handful of bums off and have done with it."- Mishima

That results in a dwindling genetic pool so to speak, which may not be unwelcome, seperation seems to create diversity between sites that survive.

Shutting down diversity WITHIN a community seems to be the over-riding order. Power to mold the individual.
Persephone - the awareness is key, you've got the hardest part down

jimgalt - when I used the word mean on Paul's post I was referring to specific insult-filled comments (directed generally at all liberals) that were left on another post of mine. Such dialogue isn't a persuasive argument, it IS simply put - "mean"
Klaatu - I don't think anyone is trying to stifle diversity - abusers and predators have no place in any community, online or otherwise
"I don't think anyone is trying to stifle diversity - abusers and predators have no place in any community, online or otherwise "-

Yes, the wheat and the chaff hopefully will eventualy find their repose.
This cuts through all the clatter wonderfully. Beautiful!
It's getting pretty crazy out there....There seem to be a small but vocal group of somewhat emotionally unstable here.

Between that and the outright hostility...hmmm. I guess I don't really understand behavior I can't imagine engaging in, so its hard to understand the perspective of people who think they are "doing good" and "shaking things up" by indulging in towering douchebaggery.

I think some have a hard time knowing the difference between healthy argument and just being a tool. Meanwhile...we have a few, well....a number of folks who can't even manage to have a single account here, let alone a calm, rational mind.

I wish everyone peace. And..well..maturity.
And yanno...."wishing everyone peace" makes ME sound like a tool too...even tho I mean it well.

Good communication is hard. It's hard to do when everyone is facing the same direction, and wants the same thing, even, but there are a LOT of different agendas here, and a lot of people who are sure they are right, and a lot of people who feel entitled, determined, and righteous in behaving in ways that are disturbing to others.

I am not sure how to counter that myself...I am a big "avoid and disappear" type, but I think I might miss out on a lot.

Problem is, these shake it up people...who think they are keeping it from being a circle jerk here, are most likely driving off good folk who don't WANT to have a thick skin....who like their skin as is, thank you.

What is it about the human need, in a group anyway..to build up and then immediately start to tear it up from within?

I keep clicking in here waiting for a basement picture update.
Ah Freaky - a basement fan. I'm still diligently sorting through the mountains of CRAP - but I have found some interesting things that I have a mind to post......
new blog writes: "All that is fine and good...but the major issue here is one of extermiination. Exterminate the undesirables...that is what is going on here...real accounts are getting deleted by the whims of some and even many."

It's not a matter of "extermination." No one is literally being killed, and if someone gets kicked off of OS there are only . . . oh, maybe a million other places they can go on the internet -- places where they may actually be happier, places that might be happy to have them.
Good point. I realize that a lot of time, people don't even realize they are being hurtful. The ones who do it intentionally, I figure like you, better to let it pass right over me.
ohh. do a cool basement post! with pictures!
I really get what you are saying: totally.
I agree with it but have to confess that a perfect stranger has upset me with a dirty look!
(My late mother always said I was `too sensitive'.... )
Your post has given me a view that no other has put forward (or that I have seen that is)
Thanks ~ a very valid point!

Freaky, you have reversed the NATURAL WORLD ORDER! Generally the cockroaches come out after the cake. Here they all seem to have gathered before the cake!

And, btw, my reading is that since Buddhism isn't Jainism, as I tread the Eightfold Path, it's OK to crush a few of the vermin underfoot, to speed them along to their next point in the Karmic cycle.

Kockroach: "Gray" not "Grey". Not hard to spot vermin, their spelling, grammar and syntax tend to be lax, at best. Their non-existent learning comes mostly from Googlewhacking. And they smell bad.

I don't think that the OS Thursdays "Drinkin' With Lincoln" promotion is working out so great.
Its interesting. I posted these thoughts - naming no names, yet certain parties seem extremely defensive.

ah Freaky, you are in the spirit of things as they always should be.
Persephone - don't think of it as thick skin, think of it as teflon skin.....
Freaky! You made me snort water through my nose.

I think it's even more than teflon skin. It's just ... well you know who cares really? People's neuroses are far more boring than one might hope, I'm sad to say.
It's also interesting to see who is desperate for attention.

Not you Freaky, you command our attention already without contest.

Odette, perhaps we should be drinking something other than water and tea to alleviate our boredom.
oh, I can't, darn it. The Kid's antibiotics seem to be working FINALLY, but it's too soon to celebrate.
There is a difference between diversity and nasty, unwarranted personal attacks no matter who is dishing them out. Free speech does not give people the right to be personally hateful to others. It's all the more crazy when you've NEVER EVEN MET THEM. You could sit next to them on a plane and not even know it. So what is the REAL issue here? If you dish it out, be prepared to take it. Simple.

I've spent the past two years being cyberbullied stalked and I've learned one thing: reacting to the bait is exactly what bullies and crazies want. If they don't get it, they move on. I have been completely disgusted by the behavior of several people here this week -- old timers and newcomers included. Name calling and threats are always the last resort of people who can't defend their ideas with reason or facts. I've seen plenty of it from both "sides" and frankly, it's time to grow the fuck up.
Emma - I agree.

Best to just talk around the fuss and not to fuss-ers. Baiting and spite is best left to hang out to dry and eventually fade away. As odette said, it's just boring - once you get past the repetitive tactics, there's no substance - just yammering.

I'd much rather debate or discuss something interesting.............
Sound advice. It doesn't hurt to grow rhino skin.
Hi arsfish.
Being the uncouth and beer swilling yobos that we can be at times,we would say"fight on ya bastards,I hate peace".
Enjoy your weekend.
"Not hard to spot vermin, their spelling, grammar and syntax tend to be lax, at best. Their non-existent learning comes mostly from Googlewhacking. And they smell bad."- Caveat Canem Croceum

LOL. I smell a conspiracy.
Beautiful post Cherie. I meditate twice daily. I do Yoga every day. I have total and complete inner peace with myself. I have an immense amount of self-respect and I also possess a huge amount of respect for innocent others. That's more than I can say for the "liberal", "caring" powers that be.

People who abuse and hide behind the First Amendment are the worst abusers of a gift on earth. They are no different than the very politicians and heroes they claim to loathe or love. We have the freedom to speak and the right, but we don't have the right to verbally and mentally abuse people.

No need to worry about me for one. I know what I'm doing. ;-)
Thanks for the powerfully uplifting message.

All the best
CCC - hmm.. cockroaches... as long as your intention is to help them, then you're karmic okay , as I understand it....

Redstocking - I would float the suggestion that anger is never the best frame of mind for clear thinking. Everyone has a RIGHT to get angry, but anger tends to be a rather self destuctive emotion. Yes, it is our natural reaction, and everyone gets angry at one time or another. I get angry. But to respond to baiting is to allow people to hurt us. I think you might enjoy the podcast I've linked above (many on OS already have)- it offers very useful emotional tools.

Serious, physical threats are another matter then bullying and baiting and should always be addressed through legal action.

Peter - hmm I wonder who truly hates peace - if it is their peace that is eliminated

Greg - I wish I had the time to meditate every day. Two little ones (not to mention the ever looming basement) have seriously limited my "me"time. But I get to be Mama and that is grand - so it's a good trade off.
Hey - does Freaky know she has a proposal?

Freaky! Lookit!
as a respite from all the sturm and drang, I suggest a visit to High Lonesome's piece here. It is a wonderful piece of writing and indicates what is truly beautiful about OS.

link in case it doesn't embed above: http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=100483
Bumpin', got my chips cashed in, keep bumpin, like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line, just keep bumpin on....
I so appreciate your kind and good heart.
Redstocking - I believe anger to be counter-productive. When you give someone an angry piece of your mind - the price you pay is YOUR peace of mind. I see this as a very bad deal - not to mention that you are playing right into the trap (provoking you into a fight) that has been laid for you.

Those who provoke for sport feed off the fight they create. Why do you want to feed them? If you willingly take their bait and give them the food they want , they will gleefully come back for more and gorge themselves.

Sexist remark? house? I'm afraid you've lost me. Could you explain what you are referring to? And a sin? I was raised in a very Catholic household, but I don't recall that anger was ever declared a sin.
" Some people love to provoke, it's a sport for them." That says it all.
I loved your post upon reading it, but I love even more how you continue to be patient, kind and at peace as you respond to comments.
For me, it's a lesson learned through example. You are showing the way. I have my own feelings about the brouhaha, but I wish people could have the sense and grace to leave this blog post alone.

I, for one, want to continue enjoying the peaceful message and calming tone. Thank you, artsfish!
I agree with you. I generally shrug off hateful words from people I don't know or respect. People can be very mean for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the meanness directed at you might not be entirely because of you. Sometimes people take out frustrations from other sources on the nearest target.
The varied responses have certainly been interesting. A thanks to everyone above who gave this piece some consideration and comment.
Cherie - I missed this because I don't twitter, fritter, digg or frig. (I am older than Mr. Coffee.) But I love how anachronistic it seems after several days of community building and re-building. I love the dateline as much as the byline. We appear to have moved on.
And a happy thing that is , indeed.
Thanks for this. Timely and true.
I have always enjoyed your blog but am always a little late to the party. I especially wanted to thank you for the comment on Bob's post about buying a car on superbowl sunday. Funny stuff and good for you.

Thank you for this post too. Lovely.
Artsfish, You put things in a good perspective. Although I boast of rhinocerus skin, I really do bruise easily. I can say "just ignore this or that or whatever", but daily stresses, self esteem issues, or powerful flexes of human nature, and I'm done for. So, thanks for the insight. I'll be chanting for the success of all here on OS. Rated junk1
Well, I was in Baja when all this was going on (poor me ;) but your post was, as always, a little oasis of mindfulness. Your blog is to OS as your table is to your house :) Thanks, Cherie, and hope the basement project is going well!
I so agree with you, I am still earning to have a thick skin and shrug off the nonsense.