When my cup runneth over

Howard asks when I would be back. I don't know how to answer that question.

As simple as it sounds, it really is a difficult question. It all harks back to the reasons I needed time away. I had come to a point where my Second Life as Opal is no longer nourishing my soul and is, in fact, becoming detrimental to my well-being.

When the physical body is wounded, all you have to do is nourish it so it would heal itself. The same goes with the emotional body. But I have tried to nourish myself by expressing my emotions, by spending time with friends, by burying myself in work. My emotional body would not heal. I had a distinct sense of murkiness and stagnation in my life.

I had to withdraw.

As social as I seem and as much as I love my friends, I am essentially a loner. I need a lot of time for introspection, and I have not had that for a long while.

I am also, by nature, fiercely independent. And yet, I find myself being emotionally dependent on others, and others being emotionally dependent on me. Those emotional dependencies feel like chains that bind. I need to relearn how to love without attachment. And I regret that those who love me are also forced to learn the same.

But I cannot give, if I myself am lacking. And what I lack must come from the only authentic Source deep within me.

When will I be back? When my cup runneth over again.

I want it done today

Five magic words.

Of course, you have to say it firmly, in a tone that says, "This is not up for negotiation." And, of course, you have to be demanding something reasonable and clearly within your rights. It also helps that you have a ticket that's been ignored for two weeks.

In this case, I reiterated what I already said when I first called on Thursday -- that I simply wanted my account downgraded so that they could cancel that $72 charge for a year of premium membership, which prevented me from accessing my account. Then I said those five magic words, and then paused.

It feels good to be Opal again.

/me downgraded; therefore, I exist.

Persona non grata

Okay, this blog entry is a long gripe. You've been warned.

<gripe>

If you look in your Friends List and you notice that Opal Lei is not there, no, I did not take you out. If you go to Search and look for Opal Lei, she's not there either, that's why.

And here's why she's not there.

On September 4, I got a notice from Linden Lab, saying that they cannot charge my Paypal account for the $72 annual premium membership renewal. It sounded like the same issue they had in March. So I looked in the KnowledgeBase for the instructions about deleting the payment agreement inside Paypal and creating it again. Then I tried adding credit to my SL account. It didn't work. It didn't work in March either because it was an issue between LL and Paypal. So, I created a support ticket to let them know that the same situation that happened in March seems to be happening again.

The Customer Support rep who responded to my ticket merely skimmed over my ticket and resolved it with the reply: "it looks like you do not have a verified paypal account." I reopened the ticket and asked him exactly what he meant by "verified" and what I had to do manually. If I could get into Paypal and change payment agreements, doesn't that imply that my Paypal account was verified?

Two days later, on September 6, he marked the ticket resolved again, "You will need to access your paypal account and make sure that it has a verified source."

And I had a lengthy reply to that:

John,

I have been using Paypal since February 2000 with my checking account as primary source and two credit cards as back-ups.

I used Paypal to pay Linden Labs for the following transactions:
2006 Sept 3 - $72 for annual account dues
2006 Dec 15 - $50 cash transfer to SL
2006 Jan 12 - $9.95 for an alt
2007 Jan 15 - $9.95 for another alt
2007 Apr 8 - $50 cash transfer to SL

My last Paypal transaction was a cash transfer to my sister on August 15, 2007. I hope that proves that I have a verified source of funds, if that's what you meant.

In March 2007, I was unable to transfer cash to SL from Paypal and I found the instructions in https://support.secondlife.com/ics/support/security.asp, but those instructions did not fix it. A blog entry later said that it was an issue with Paypal not accepting any charges from LL and that LL was working on the issue with Paypal. By April, I was able to transfer money again.

I tried to simply transfer USD from Paypal to SL and I am unable to do that. It looks exactly like it did in March.

Now, my account is at risk of being shut down in a few days (7 days from the original notice) because you are unable to charge Paypal. Now, is it fair to refuse me access because Customer Service will not properly investigate this issue?

All I ask is that you speak with someone who knows about that issue with Paypal in March/April and check if that is happening again. And make sure that my account is not shut down until you resolve that issue.

And if you cannot do that, please forward this case to someone who can as soon as possible.

Thank you.


Four days later, on September 10, still no reply, so I added another comment which, I admit, is extra bitchy: "Am I purposely being ignored until my grace period expires?"

On September 12, I was locked out of my account.

On September 13 (yesterday), I called their 800 number and argued with a very sweet young man in the UK named Nabeel. Poor Nabeel. Well, all he could do is escalate my ticket to the billing department in San Francisco. And he assured me that I should get a response by email the following day because the queue for that department is short.

Now, here's my argument. I can't get into my account because I owe LL $72 for the new year. I want to pay by Paypal, but LL and Paypal have issues that prevent me from paying by Paypal. I can sell Linden $s to cover the charges, but I'm not allowed to exchange currency because my account is on hold. And they won't let me downgrade back to the *free* basic account, unless I pay $72 for a year's worth of premium membership. My only recourse is to give them my credit card number (so what's the point of using Paypal then?) and then downgrade my account and apply for a refund by opening up a new support ticket, in spite of the fact that the reason I'm in this bind is *precisely because they largely ignore support tickets!*

I dunno what Linden Lab calls it, but I call it "extortion."

Today, no email. I called again just before they closed down at 6pm. Poor Nabeel had the bad luck to pick up my call a second time. He added a note to the ticket with a request to have someone send me email tomorrow (Saturday). I guess we'll see.

So that's why Opal Lei is persona non grata.

</gripe>

A plea to Gayatri

My yoga teacher used to play the Gayatri Mantra chanted by Deva Premal during class. It almost instantly became a favorite. and we vowed to memorize the mantra and sing along the next time.

We never got to sing in class. Singing, after all, takes a lot out of you. And when you're lying there in shavasana (corpse pose) at the end of a strenuous hour and a half, you don't really feel like doing anything else but feel the wooden floor through your mat and breathe.

Today, the music came back to me in the middle of the afternoon. I don't remember what triggered the memory, but it was one of those times when you just feel like singing a specific song for no reason at all. Or, at least, no conscious reason. So, there I sat in a meditative trance, singing.

Om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dheemahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
*

I don't know how long I sang-chanted. I was only aware of a certain energy rushing into my body. That's nothing new; I get that when my body relaxes completely. I was also aware of my voice achieving a certain clarity and richness. Nothing new there either; my voice teacher had noticed that my voice sounds better when I do yoga or any bodywork the day before. Then I started to cry.

This really isn't a crying song and this isn't the first time I cried to this song. I guess, after a while, you feel the mantra and the prayer that it is. And it becomes a plea from the soul.

"O Divine mother, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please make this darkness distant from us and promote illumination within us." *



* Mantra text and translation from http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa061003a.htm.

Solitude

They say that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening to God. I haven't been listening for a long while and God is poking me in the ribs.

No, nothing drastic happened. Yes, I'm okay, as okay as one can be. But I've had this uneasiness for a while now. And I'm trying to figure it out. On the surface, everything is going incredibly well. My new mermaid tails are selling. My artwork is getting noticed. I have so many dear friends who are here by my side and I love them dearly.

But something feels askew, and I don't know what it is. All I know is that I need the peace and quiet to listen.

So I'm going to be a hermit for a while. I don't know for how long. I'll still be logging in once in a while, although I'll just be lurking. But I promise I'll be back when I feel like myself again.

And I'll keep blogging when I feel the urge to write. It's not like I'm taking a vow of silence; I'll just be talking a lot less.

*hugs*