Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Words and deeds.

I was meeting with a group of people I worked with, stressing the importance of communication and the many ways we all communicate.  A problem had occurred and the supervisor was trying to solve it via email.  We were discussing how email could "sound" so different than the actual spoken word. The conversation soon evolved to body language, the words that weren't spoken, speaking with the eyes or avoiding eye contact all together and so many other ways we communicate (or not communicate).

It's interesting how quickly a person can feel backed into a corner by the weapon of words.  Striking out is immediate and never thought out very well.  Eyes can spark as bright as any fire and the sting of what is said lasts longer than a slap.  When the conversation is replayed (and it will be) the healing process starts over.  A physical wound would mend faster.

I once read a phrase that went like this:  "When we use force, we acknowledge love has failed."  I wrote it down because I wanted to ponder what I thought that meant.  It goes well beyond the initial interpretation of a physical nature.  This is what "force" looks like to me.

1.When things don't go our way.  This applies to mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, kids, anyone who breathes.  When things don't go exactly the way we think they should, let's call "bullshit" on whatever is happening. This is our way of trying to minimize whatever the situation is.  Now, let's follow it up with some good old name calling - the more personal, the better.  (That should really make us the better person).

2. When we are reminded of something we said we would do.  Same audience.  When we are reminded of something we said we would do (and we have forgotten or really don't want to) let's get UGLY with the person who had the misfortune to remind us.  After all, there is nothing like a good defensive posture to make the other person feel small.  And aren't we the RIGHTEOUS one?

3. When we are tired, hungry, angry, anxious (you get the drift).  Same audience.  Whenever we are not feeling "our self" why shouldn't we take it out on whoever we love?  They should understand, right?  We have a RIGHT to our feelings......

Don't we?  Isn't that why we get married?  Have kids?  Stay in contact with our extended families? Have friends?

I didn't think so.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

You can do anything for 10 seconds....

I began watching the series "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflicks recently and one of her lines when things are really tough is "you can do anything for 10 seconds"....and she proceeds to count to ten while she gets through her challenge, and then starts over again.  Of course the message is similar to "how do you eat an elephant"?  One bite at a time.  The important thing is to keep eating.

And that is what we are doing right down.  Though ten seconds would be too overwhelming for me to have to start over THAT many times, so I have broke it down to "I can bear anything for one day". Unlike Kimmy, I don't start out strong, end weak and then start over strong again.

My days are beginning more like, I wake up and remember.  Then I wish I could go back to sleep.  But I can't, so I have to work up to getting up. Once I have crossed that particular bridge, I seem to coast for awhile and do alright.  However, the wrong words (which are usually kind) or a hug held too long, can send me BACK TO GO, do NOT collect $200.  

Regrouping however, takes less time and I am off and running again.  This time I am steady and sure all the way until lunch.  However, a colleague commented that during lunch she couldn't help but notice that I looked like I was "wilting".  What an apt description as that was exactly how I felt.  I just didn't realize it was so noticeable.  

Returning to work, there was a plant and a particularly sweet card on my desk.  That cost me 15 minutes in the bathroom stall, weeping bitterly.

Back at my desk, working away, I was asked to speak briefly to the group for Administrative Assistant's Day.  Sure, why not.  Pulled that one off.

Three meetings later and it's time to go.

Car rides are not good for me.  Too much quiet space to think.  Maybe I should go back to the 10 second rule.  Or talk on the phone.  But today I just really wanted to be quiet.  But then there is too much quiet and my thoughts are too loud.

Letting go is hard work.  And I know I am not alone.  

Until next time,

your pal,


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How do YOU live in the NOW?

Then a stretcher will come from grace
and gather us up...
Lately I have been reading a book by Roger Housden called "ten poems to change your life".  All of these poems are by different authors and Mr. Housden offers an in-depth interpretation after each reading.  I have been so impressed with his interpretations, I have gone on to buy two more of his books.  But one poem was shared by Mr. Housden, by Rumi (who never wrote down a word of any of his thoughts-that was left for others to catch).  This particular poem "Zero Circle" struck a chord with me.  Big picture, he alluded to just how unmanageable life can seem.  Which got me to thinking about how we all desperately try to control the chaos of our life and never really appreciate  "the NOW".  And at random times since I have read this poem, it draws me back to "Zero Circle" - almost as if it is checking in with me..." but the message I hear is "Are you living in THE NOW"?

And I have to ask you, how the heck do you live in THE NOW?  I have been reviewing how I spend the majority of my days and I have to say, while I am always appreciative of the blessings I currently enjoy, it seems I spend a fair amount of time dwelling on the past and an even bigger portion planning for the future.

Case in point.  When I am at work, I have to do "look-backs" all the time to see what was done before and either ...NEVER DO IT AGAIN, explain why we did it that way, or (and this is the best possible scenario) replicate that past practice into something amazing.  When I am not doing that, I am staring at my calendar, trying to fit in meetings, appointments, lunches and all the things requested and required that I will then have to look forward to (sounds a bit futuristic to me).  Is that my NOW?

When we all gather around the table at night (literally, at night), we say a blessing over our food and loved ones near and far, and then WE TALK ABOUT OUR DAY.  Right back in the past.  After a thorough review, it's just a matter of minutes before someone asks "What's on tap for tomorrow..the rest of the week...etc."?  FUTURE, anyone??  Again, is that our NOW?

So when I am calling it a day and "hitting the rack", I spend several minutes in prayer.  I am almost embarrassed at this point to say that I do a pretty heavy recant of every blessing I am thankful for. Would you call that a "look-back"?  I don't know.  My asks aren't as lengthy but there might be a few (something to hope for in the FUTURE??)

While I am writing this blog, is this my NOW?  Am I missing something?? Anything?  By asking did I step outside the NOW for a minute?  It is really much more confusing than one even thinks.  I guess I will just have to close FOR NOW and go mail some birthday cards (oops, the FUTURE STRIKES AGAIN!!!)

Until next time (FUTURE),

your pal,


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

W.O.W.- or When One Waits (Floor 10)

When life gets interrupted, everything that seemed important before falls by the wayside.  The week you had planned becomes meaningless and your focus zeros in on each minute you are living in. Hours can either drag by or speed past, depending on whether you are waiting for something, or trying to make something last.

Sleep becomes optional and of the 24 hours in a day, at least 16 are spent at the scene of the "crime" or in this case - on Floor 10 - the intensive care ward where decisions are made and changed and made again.  You become acutely aware of the different sounds and what they mean.  Monitors tell stories and you become adept at interpreting them.

Rooms on either side are quiet and there aren't many visitors (limit two to a room) on Floor 10.  All doors are sliding glass and you can see everyone and they can see you (and yours).  So when the woman next door (who looks about your age) is taken off life support and has her family brought in to say goodbye, you cast your eyes down in respect...and empathy.

The only distraction besides the comings and goings of the doctors and nurses is the helicopter pad right outside the window where you have a perfect view of the landings.  This happens with such frequency that you feel involved as each new patient arrives.  And most of them end up on the same floor you are only visiting.  You discuss and speculate about their condition upon arrival with your mom to pass the time.  "oh, this looks like a car accident victim - fully ventilated, face covered".  "this one is conscious and alert, sitting up and talking".  "Oh no, this girl is ventilated and has long blonde hair,  Just a teenager".  She looked like she was just sleeping.

When she came up to our floor, we watched all the family arrive and witnessed such grief.  And with that grief was despair.  The type we were hoping to avoid.  They came in two by two, grandparents (two sets) siblings, parents...and then it was over.  Everyone left.  But we know their end is really just a tragic beginning....

Tough messages are given on Floor 10 when you are waiting.  Messages from siblings and grand kids that you have been tasked to relay to your loved one that he may or may not understand.  You hope these aren't final words but they have that "ring" to them.  But you choke them out because it's important and they need to be said.  And you go over everything in your head to make sure you haven't forgotten anything or anyone.  You put his lucky buckeye in his hand...for a minute.

There are only two ways to get off Floor 10 (and good behavior wasn't one of them).  Fortunately for us, release came after 5 long days and nights.  Recovery is slow but it does continue.  Yet I am still thinking about Floor 10.

Until next time,

your pal,


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This is your brain-on aspirin

Did you know, if you fall, you could get a small papercut on your brain.  Go ahead and then treat your aches and pains from the fall with significant doses of aspirin and it's quite possible that your head will fill up with blood, push your brain out of the way and cause you to slur your words like someone after closing down the bar at 2:00 a.m.  The next thing you know, you are in intensive care after being treated for a subdural hematoma.

This is what your brain looks like on aspirin.  We have been warned about the dangers of drugs for years and how many of you can recall the fried egg sizzling in the pan when talking about our brain on drugs?  But aspirin?? Really??

I am going to cop right now to being an aspirin abuser in the past.  I was the one who would pop one Excedrin (ok, two) in the mid afternoon (particularly after a late night) to get that extra edge.  And who among us didn't subscribe to the theory that Excedrin was a performance enhancer for tests?

Even now I will still take the occasional Excedrin for a headache. More of a recreational user you could say -with a medical need of course. And it is still legal.

But.  I have learned a valuable first hand lesson this week.  This is what I know sure.  Even good intentions have risks.  The intensive care unit is a grim place to spend time waiting. And while we are waiting and winning the battle-others have been losing and leaving.

Until next time,

Your pal,


Look past the water stains

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