I wrote earlier this week in Clash of the Egos: Battleground for the Spiritual Seeker about a little drama with a friend who got miffed at something I said. In a simple misunderstanding, she’d taken something the wrong way and did a public blowup on my Facebook wall. She posted some private Instant Message conversations between us to outline her evidence, but after some comments came in, she quickly made the link inaccessible. It was clear by our IMs that she had simply misunderstood and became abusive for no reason. By now she’d stirred up a dozen Facebook friends with her story and they were contacting me wanting to know how to access the link, so I put it up. I talked to several of them, then did the blog post Clash of the Egos to let everyone know everything was ok. People misunderstand and get ticked all the time. It’s no big deal. It’s just life. We get over it and we get on with it.
Then today I receive a comment on my post When Friends Misunderstand, Because We Each See Things As We Are and it’s from Sharon Kumuda Janis, who is obviously now very inflamed although I am not sure why. She could have telephoned me, she could have emailed me but that’s not her way. She wrote me: “It’s fine that you didn’t post my comments, but only fair for our mutual facebook friends to also hear my side if you’re going to keep the nasty blogs about me up — and I will send it to them by email if need be.”
I don’t believe I posted any nasty blogs about her (you judge – she’s the one who disclosed her misunderstanding in our private IM that she posted in the first place), but to save you from the spam, what she wants you to read is below. A caveat: I know what she writes has to do with her and not with me, so I don’t mind sharing it here. I am not upset by what she writes, so there’s no reason for you to be. They are just words. I edited out only her self promotional language. My responses are in blue. Sharon’s are in black.
Andrea is the closest thing I’ve had to a stalker for the past decade plus. Andrea’s 3-page review (of Never To Return) was almost obsessive. I don’t know where she gets the stalker part but after speaking with Kumuda the first time and hearing her $$ story, I wanted to do what I could to help. She’d asked for a detailed review and I gave her one. In her book, I particularly enjoyed one chapter and emailed her (apparently 3 pages) about it. This is an example of something I wrote to her in private that I feel is of a sacred nature that she is now for some reason publicly mocking me for. She and I both come from a background of monastic living in Indian ashrams (different traditions) and I felt particular resonance with her written account of an overnight chant she’d had during the Hindu celebration of Shivaraatri.
We emailed in depth about our experiences with (our different) gurus during that particular celebration. I’m sure I do sound obsessive if someone is asking me to describe how I feel when i am immersed in the Divine Shakti during one of the holiest days of the year. But I did not think I was talking to just anyone. I was led to believe I was talking to a fellow devotee who shared my views, my ecstacy and devotion. As far as the obsessive 3 page review, I told her to take from whatever I’d written to her and edit it into a review she liked and she did. Shiva is the destroyer of all illusion, so I knew our relationship would be more archetypal than personal. And, oh, Shiva has been dancing this week.
And she does not really feel that it was obsessive. She is just feeling defensive right now and lashing out saying the meanest things she can think of for you to read. I don’t mind. It has nothing to do with me. She feels at the mercy of her own mind right now. I’m just a target du jour. It’ll pass.
Then Andrea phoned and said that she wanted to meet me – a first for me as a first time author. This was in part due to her being a fellow devotee with whom I resonated. She had a month off and was going to run an errand from Florida to the southwest, and then wanted to drive up to San Diego. I suggested that we could have dinner together. She arrived and we had dinner, and I found her vibrations, manners, and topics of conversation to be very disturbing. I was recuperating from the flu, so perhaps was more sensitive than usual. I couldn’t wait for the dinner to be over, but then Andrea said that she was expecting me to spend every day of the next five days with her This is not true. Literally everyone who knows me knows I like lots of space, privacy and alone time. This is how little this woman knows me. At dinner I asked her to tell me about her projects. I made the trip for work and had business scheduled for most of the trip. I don’t like to spend daily time with anyone, even good buddies *smile* I said I could make time for her anytime within the five day period I’d be in Carlsbad. Again, she knows what she is saying is not true. This is not really her recollection, she is just angry and acting mean spirited right now. I don’t mind. I want her to tell whatever story makes her feel better, and lets her get on to happier times.
and saying that she would like to move from Florida to San Diego so she could be near me, This is not true, though I did say I loved California and would love to live there if I could figure out how to justify doing a Florida mag from there. San Diego was never a destination, Carmel/Monterey was my focus. I’d spent 8 months in 1996 in Salinas, CA and was eager to return. Kumuda is involved with the Siddha Yoga organization in town and I didn’t need to be near that like she does. Nothing against the SY teachings, their focus just seems to be more… political than I like in an ashram. and that she’d figured out how she could still do the Florida-based magazine from California. Needless to say, I discouraged this, without specifically saying how disturbing I found her, and also told her that I was not able to spend the next five days with her, although we did meet one more time because she was so disappointed and acted as if I’d harmed her deeply by rejection. Again this is not true and she knows it’s not true. We both had things to do, it was just a first meeting with someone I knew I’d be working with, and she certainly never gave any indication she found me disturbing. (I know I’m Pollyanna + Doris Day, and not everyone vibes there.)
Her words make me now rethink every story she told me about everyone who had wronged her, had stalked her, how they were sexual predators, how they were mentally ill and out to ruin her, how she got them banned from the ashram, how she made them famous, how she was cheated out of promised royalties. She told me oh, what a celebrity dirt tell all book she could write. I now wonder how often I just automatically took her side and now I say a prayer if I hold incorrect thoughts about anyone else she ever told me a story about.
On her long drive back to Florida, Andrea became angry about the perceived snub, sent a message to that effect, and then didn’t contact me for a year or two, which was fine with me. This is not true. I don’t remember us speaking again that trip after we met the last time, but there was no need to. I didn’t perceive we left on bad terms although she did chide me for arriving late when she had chai waiting in the oven on our last visit.
Then she wanted me to help get her writings together for a book, and asked if she could hire me to do so. She sent a huge batch of her articles from years worth of Horizons magazines and I spent quite some time going through them and beginning to organize and edit them, before she changed her mind. I did not change my mind. After assessing the job, she told me she had other projects going on and couldn’t spend as much time as she initially thought. I asked what I owed her and although I don’t recall her response, whatever she asked for I gave her. I keep emails on file for anyone I work with, so I’ve got it somewhere. I did not need it done right then, but I wanted to give her some work if that was her expertise and she needed work. and decided it wasn’t time for her to write a book – and she didn’t pay a cent for my work, which didn’t trouble me too much because I’m just not that financially focused, so am perhaps an easy target for some, and I was also relieved to not have to spend more time going through her writings, because I had plenty of my own projects to do. It’s untrue I ever owed her a cent for a moment – and again I am now thinking back to the ones she told me about – and plastered all over her website – how they stole from her and did her wrong. She’s revising all the Suze Orman references on her websites right now, I tried to include a link but she’s got me blocked from her pages while she’s working the search engines, She’s an expert in search rankings optimization but chooses not to earn a living at it. Kumuda’s perception is she is not financially focused but it’s the recurring theme. She’s made people rich, she says, and never gotten paid for it.
A few years later, Andrea asked if she could include the chapters from my book Secrets of Spiritual Happiness in Horizons Magazine. I said yes and did not ask for compensation, nor was any offered. For many years, she has run the chapters in her magazine every month, plus other articles she asked me to write when she ran out of Secrets of Spiritual Happiness chapters. Once, about four years ago Andrea offered one small ad space that was available in one magazine at the last minute as she was going to press so I could advertise two of my CDs, and that was it in terms of compensation. Again, I didn’t fret about it because I am happy to share my words even though Horizons wasn’t exactly the kind of magazine I would have chosen.
Kumuda let me know she could use some book sales and I was happy to run her writing as long as she wanted me to run it. I liked what she wrote. It had relevance to my own message. I bought her products online just to support her. No one gets paid to write in Horizons and she never told me she wanted an ad or payment. I linked her to my website for a dozen years for free. When I began my blog and Facebook account, I purposely promoted her and commented on her postings and links, just to draw attention to her and expose some real life friends to her work, dozens of which are now mutual Facebook friends. I had no idea all these years she wanted to be paid or have an ad. I would have joyfully given it had she let me know.
Last year some real-life friends encouraged me to join Facebook (for some reason Andrea is now claiming that she’s the one who got me to join) and after a time, Andrea and I became Facebook friends. For the past year, she has created this online illusion for her friends that we were great buddies and pals, acting like she has come over to my house many times and that we spoke on the phone regularly, even though we’ve only spoken by phone a few times and have not met in person since her visit more than a decade ago.
When Kumuda told me I got her involved in Facebook I just believed her, that’s why I wrote that. If there’s an illusion we’re great buddies and friends it is to signal to my other FB buddies that hey she’s neat, check her pages out. I don’t pretend we’re anything but two people with mutual interests who’ve met in person and have fun online together. Anything I’ve written is true. I was at her place 2-3 times during my Carlsbad/Carmel trip. They were brief meetings maybe 2 hours each. She showed me videos, she took me to bookstores, we had lunch and dinner. She drove me to some town a few hours north where they had a lot of Indian clothing stores, saris and such she likes to shop at. She gave me an Agape tape. That was about it. We mostly email through the years. I work on the phone so don’t do many personal phone calls. I’m not sure how much of an illusion that is or why it’s an issue. Most Facebook friends don’t know each other well if at all, and are glad to have friends promote them to others with mutual interests.
While interacting with Andrea on Facebook, I came to suspect that the reason I found Andrea to be disturbing is because she had some kind of mental illness, but I didn’t realize how nasty she could be until I dared in this private conversation she has posted to this public forum to call her on being the bossy know-it-all that she likes to play, keeper of the crystal ball and all.
Red Flag; This is one of the first things Kumuda says when someone has aggravated her: ” I find them disturbing and they must have a mental illness.” We each have our own perception but my perception of nasty or mental illness is someone who cuts ties with person after person in their life, including, as she gloats about, her parents (who are, if memory serves, psychiatrists or psychologists – hmmm, maybe that’s why her obsession with labelling people as disturbed). I simply posted a valid link to the conversation after she posted it on my Facebook Wall then made it inaccessible to me. I wanted, as she did, for people to see what she wanted them to see that got her so mad. I wanted everyone to be able to form their own opinion. I always want to see where I’m wrong. Teach me. Give me feedback. Even if you’re mean, be constructive.
So I am happy to not have to deal with this stalker anymore, and hopefully now that she’s written quite a few messages on her Facebook page and her blog trying to cause harm to someone who has only given generously to her, she will get over it and move on to being obsessed with someone else, or perhaps to even find a real friend to play with who likes her in person. I wish Andrea and everyone else well.
I rather think a stalker might be someone who obsessively keeps their attention focused on a particular person, to pursue them stealthily. I don’t even have time to stalk new advertisers, nor the new owl in the patch of woods next door, much less someone I barely know 3000 miles away. I haven’t written anything new on the Facebook page because that conversation was one moment in time and I thought it was over days ago. And I do have plenty of real life friends (really:)
I didn’t feel like I had to respond to this, but I know from past experience that she will post it on her site, so me posting this here will cut down on the calls and emails about it. She has already blocked me from her site. Interesting to me is that Kumuda wonders what her karma is for putting out such a huge body of work and getting no recognition for it. For being betrayed and done wrong by supposed friends. For having lies and stories spread around about her, designed to ruin her reputation, (so she says). She was livid when Suze Orman made it to Oprah and that she’s now a household name. After years of hearing about her beef with Suze, I told her three years ago she needed to let that go, clean up her website, and get on with her life. Kumuda knows about obsession.
When we’re on the path, our minds will play tricks with us and make us do crazy and wacky things. The shakti moving through us will burn away the dross in any areas that need clearing up. True friends recognize this and we don’t hold it against them when it happens. We don’t have to hang around them anymore, but we see it for what it is and don’t take it personally.
I always think that if this were my 8 year old retarded sister doing this, would I get upset about it? Would I worry what she said to others? No. I would not. This is no different.
Everyone is entitled to their perception and their opinion.
Bless us every one.
RELATED POSTS CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
Spiritual Memoirs: Eat Pray Love and Sharon Janis Never To Return
What do you do when friends misunderstand you and don’t want to play anymore?
When Friends Misunderstand, because we each see things as we are
Clash of the Egos
Taking Note of Cause and Effect in Action
Simple Scripts To Attract a Better Tomorrow
When friends betray friends
People Who Lie About Who They Are
The saga continues with Sharon Kumuda Janis