Connecting

I’ve been listening to podcasts lately, Seth Godin for one, he talks about how we are in the age of connecting. Interesting. Yes, we are very connected via our cell phones, the internet, leaps and bounds than we use to be, especially to complete strangers if we want to be. At the same time, these same devices make some of us less connected, like when you answer a cell phone call, text while on a date or at a family dinner. Who has seen teenagers all sitting together, involved with their cell phones but not communicating with the very people they are sitting with? Yet, as I write this I realize a complete stranger may be reading my thoughts on this blog. Such interesting times we live in.

The other evening, I was invited to supper at a friends home. His wife, is also part of a ladies dinner club I started many years ago now. He jessed how he wasn’t invited, and then commented that he realizes how time women spend together is a special bonding time that if a male was present we may not feel as at ease to talk as we normally would. “True,” I replied that there were few couples I had come across, where I personally felt as comfortable talking to either as I did to both. Even those, would the conversation change because the other was there? Probably as though it might in any conversation circle, conversations often change to adapt to whom is listening and participating, and yes, some topics may be dropped or not brought up because a certain person joined the circle.

More importantly though I commented is that very few men have circles of friends that would talk and count on each other as the ladies in our dinner group do. Recently when I hurt myself, playing a sport I love, and with no family in town, I just needed to make a few phone calls, texts and they were there. Arranging a wheelchair, etc. Wonderful friends. It is great to have friends that care about you. While men, as this husband said historically being brought up to be the provider, defender, not to show emotions or admit weaknesses don’t tend to share their feelings especially with other men. Which had me wonder what are males suicide rates compared to women? We asked Google. Two thirds of suicide are males. Wow!

Here’s hoping the younger generation opens up more about how their lives are going with friends, that they share laughs, and that they all have someone they feel will be there for them when they need someone. It’s never to late for the older generations to start that as well. Maybe that would solve the supposed “Grumpy Man” syndrome as well. 🙂

Lost? Is not necessarily bad or scary.

When I was 19 and heading to Europe for 2 months, with my sisters 17 and 16, my Dad asked me on the way to the airport, if we knew where we were going when we arrived in Amsterdam? I replied, “Yes”, and pointed to an address in a book I was taking. He asked again, “But, do you know how to get there?”. To which I replied, “No, we are going to be lost the whole time we are in Europe.” This was long before there was such a thing as internet or cell phones, or GPS. We were going to be lost, but we had a goal, and we were sure we would find it, and everywhere else we intended on going.

That trip was wonderful, for so many reasons, one being that my youngest sister died the next year, and I am so grateful that we had that experience with her before she left, we didn’t know she was sick at the time. Even more importantly I suppose, was that we were brought up thinking we could do things, anything if we wanted to and that we should always try things even if we thought we might not be successful, because we also might be and would never know unless we tried. Once you have achieved something, gotten over a hurdle, whatever it might be it gives you even more confidence that you can do, overcome, create whatever comes up next.

I have travelled a lot since that backpacking trip in Europe. The last time with a rental car in Europe with three, GPS’s!! And with the crazy road system, or lack of road system they have there, more often than not, each GPS would give a different set of directions. There are many ways to reach your goal. For us on this trip, the journey was almost always more important than the destination, we wandered, and explored, as things grabbed our attention, taking time as we desired. It was a wonderful trip.

The friend I went with this time, her first language is French, handy while in France, but we also popped into Belgium. This made her anxious as she couldn’t read the signs, but as I said to her, basically on the highway the signs are place names, it didn’t matter if she had never seen them before. Basic traffic symbols are still the same.

While in Europe when I was 19, I knew a bit of French, but I was far from fluent, it wasn’t a subject I excelled in. Really I knew no other language but english and body language. We were in several countries where people didn’t know english. I recall the last few days when we finally arrived in England and we were riding the subway, when I glanced at some body’s newspaper and was so surprised that I actually knew what it said!!! Later that day while in the market buying groceries, I pointed at a tomato and held up 2 fingers, my sister looked at me and said, they know what a “tomato” is, LOL.

I recall us being in Germany and my sister needing a tension bandage for her knee, we went into a pharmacy to buy one, but couldn’t find one on the shelves, so we asked, in English, that wasn’t working, so we tried charades. Lots of laughs were had but eventually they understood and we walked out with what we went looking for.

A few years ago I took an “Interpreters” workshop, an all day class, there were about 12 of us. The first thing the instructor did was have everyone introduce themselves and tell us what languages they spoke. I still only knew English, a few words in French and Spanish, emphasis on a “few”, but I said I also know body language. Which as the instructor said is a large part of what communication is about. That was a really interesting workshop, even though I only knew the one language. I really learned how important it is for translators to translate “exactly” what the person is saying and not to paraphrase, and why.

I am trying to convince my friend to go to Italy next year, but she is afraid because she doesn’t know the language. I am trying to convince her that that is not a good enough reason. Again when I was 19 and in some small town in Italy, I approached a traffic policeman with my address book, could he tell me how to get there, I pointed at my book? He spoke no english, but he knew what I was asking he, he pointed and spoke in Italian, and gave me many directions. I went back to my sisters and they asked did I know how to get there now? No, I said but we start by going that way, and we will ask someone else down the road, where next we go. Off we went. The police officer watched, then he flagged down a bus, told the bus driver where we wanted to go, motioned to us to come to the bus, on we got, and off we went. A long bus ride and the driver dropped us off exactly where we wanted to be.

Have faith, people in general are very kind, and helpful if they know your goal. Yes, in some countries, you shouldn’t ask just anyone for help, shopkeepers and police are good bets pretty much anywhere. Truthfully most people are amazingly helpful and a smile goes a long way.

Being lost is not necessarily a bad thing at all if you have a destination in mind. Fearing getting lost is definitely not a reason not to try and get to a destination a goal. That goes for life accomplishments as well. If you want to learn something, get somewhere, do something and are not sure how to get there, just start moving that direction and ask people for help along the way. And, don’t forget to smile, and thank people that help you get closer.

Grow, take a chance, your life can be so much richer because of it.

 

Oh, the “will power”, not.

 

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My sister became a vegetarian when she was a teenager, it probably didn’t help that I would describe in detail any biology class whenever we got to dissect something, I knew it would get a reaction from her, it was fun, for me anyway, sorry Sis.

Down the road, her daughter became a Vegan, Won’t even consume vegetable oil? Overboard I think, judgemental of others, like a religion, really? Oh well, each to their own. My Daughter-in-law became a Vegetarian as well, and she’s a dietician. On goes the learning, for me. I look for recipes so I can offer Vegetarian options when I am hosting a Vegetarian. I listen and read up on going towards a plant-based diet.

Another friend of mine ended up in the hospital due to her intestine erupting, not enough fiber in her diet. To recover she had to eat a no fiber diet until it healed and chew 30 times a mouthful, that’s a lot of chewing. I tried to be supportive of her when she got out and chew each mouthful 30 times as well. OMG, you can’t even have a conversation when you are chewing that much.

Then she had to go on a high fiber diet. I tell my Daughter-in-law my friend was supposed to eat 35gms of fiber a day! She, replied, “Everyone, should be eating that much fiber a day.” Hmmm, I better be more conscious of how much fiber I am eating. To eat that much fibre I deduced you needed to be a vegetarian. Okay, I will try and eat more pulses, lentils, beans, nuts, quinoa, vegetables. I can do this, I’ll be a vegetarian at home, and when I go out to eat I’ll have whatever I want.

Seemed to work, of course then I was away for a month, that whole vegetarian thing went down the toilet. Then, all of a sudden I find myself in a wheelchair, man that really put a crimp in my style, so much for the independence that I pride myself in. Thank goodness for all my wonderful friends though. Getting better every day.

I watched a show on Netflix, “Game Changers”, not the first movie I’ve watched that slants toward plant-based eating, and I’ve read books the “The China Study”, still I like meat, and cheese. That movie was very convincing, and it offered hope that eating a plant-based diet opened arteries, helped against inflammation, and meant quicker recovery time from injuries, check, check and check.  Probably just needed to be told over, and over, and over again. I wake up the next morning, research how to make Vegan cheese, I can’t live without cheese. Go to the store and get the ingredients.

On the way home I stop at a friend’s house, “Would you like some cheese and crackers?” “No, thanks” I reply, I have resolve, I am proud of myself. Ten minutes later, I have a piece of cheese, then she offers me a piece of cheesecake, I can not turn it down, can not. It tastes so good, lol.

Lentil stew waiting for me at home. I’m trying.

Normal? What is your’s?

All of us, or pretty much all of us look at our own individual lives as ‘normal’, even people that are differently able probably see their life’s as ‘normal’ for their circumstance. It is from this vantage point that we view where/how others live. Where we try to understand/judge how others live if different than our own ‘normal’, as we assume ‘most people’ live just like us.

We accept hardships and/or luxuries as ‘normal’ if we have always experienced them. As when Mary-Antoinette, a queen in France, when she reportedly told that her people could no longer even afford bread, she replied, “Then, let them eat cake.” Was she really this callus? I imagine she just really had no idea, what life was like outside her ‘world’, her royal life was her ‘normal’.

I just watched the movie, “Breathe”, about a polio survivor  who was now a paraplegic. His ‘normal’ changed overnight, a huge adjustment, but then his new ‘normal’ that of a paraplegic, he and his family in time wondered did they really have to accept this new normal? From that normal, they started imaging a different one.

It is imagining the different life, the one not normal from where we currently are when we make change. Sometimes this means being exposed to someone else’s normal, to see a different way. Sometimes it takes a huge unforeseen change in our normal, a loss of a job, a death, illness, natural disaster, war to create a change. Not all change is for the better, or at least some at the time can’t be seen as good changes at the moment. Sometimes things need to get really bad before people are willing to put an effort into change, to rising up. As humans I think it is always our goal to rise up.

17 Global Goals

Is the world really better than ever?

Why the world is better than you think

Yes, some of us accept where we are, and see no reason for change, “It was like that when I grew up, and I didn’t turn out that bad”. Or we look around at our situation, see our family circumstance and how our families past has been, and with comments from our elders reinforcing the thought, this is just how it is for us folks, many believe, accept their ‘normal’. They may complain about it, like the story of a hound dog laying on a nail and groaning because it hurts, but not willing to move from that spot on the floor, because he would have to make a change and he is not willing to do so, instead he will just complain.

I believe that big changes can be made with little steps.This can be picking up litter, recycling, smiling, helping another even in a small way, …being the best person we can be. Being creative, looking at things from new ways, seeing new connections from unusual things. Most importantly imagining a new way, a new normal, and working towards that, believing in it until it is. 2 steps forward one step back….fine….sideways,…. fine, but always forward, always improving the ‘normal’ for an even brighter future.

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. Carol Burnett

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

Tears. I wonder?

My daughter called yesterday. She was suppose to be running off to a baby shower soon, and remembered she was suppose to bring advice for the new mother. She called me, ( I think this is the 2nd shower she has called me for this, being as she is not a mother yet). “Mom, remember when you said that, tears must help us heal? That maybe we should eat or drink them?”

“Honestly, no, I don’t remember saying that, but it does sound rather interesting”, I said to her, “and yes, I can imagine me saying something like that.” Probably after one of them (my children) had had a good cry. I often felt while I had young children how fortunate it was to relive childhood through their eyes, especially the wonder and curiosity, for an adult it’s like looking through fresh eyes, seeing again. I can imagine me, wondering at the time, just “Why” do we cry? Our bodies are so miraculous, healing cuts and bruises by themselves, our bodies regenerating the cells in our bodies every 7 years, that we can create new life, such a complicated being, all without effort. So why do we cry? What purpose are tears?

We cry when we are hurt badly, when we are very sad, sometimes when we are very happy, sometimes when we are relieved after being scared, afraid, worried and that has proved not necessary, the being afraid, worried or scared. Definitely tears express emotion, and they definitely are a release, a release of salty water. Salty water is something we might gargle with to help heal a sore throat. Salt draws things out, absorbs moisture. Does it absorb toxins, germs,…. bad feelings?

I remember when I was going to my sister’s funeral, my first funeral. My sister died at 17, quickly, and we were all very unprepared for that. Walking in for the funeral my mother said to me poke me if I start to cry. Poke me if I start to cry…. how sad, not to allow yourself to cry at your own child’s funeral, how ingrained that to cry is a weakness that you should not show. Probably the most heart wrench thing to experience to have your child die. To cry, to have an avenue for release of all those emotions we were all feeling, that would have helped I’m sure in the healing process.

I am certainly not much of a cryer, but I think, that it is a letting go, at least when it is a sad or hurtful thing you are experiencing.

I remember watching my daughter at gymnastics and I had her two brothers there as well, they were playing on the sidelines with some other children. My youngest got hurt, (not badly), fell I think, and came running back to me on the bleachers crying. I listened while he told me what happened and showed me where it hurt, I kissed his “booboo” better and the tears stopped and off he went again to play some more. Another mother of an only child looked at me like I was a miracle Mom, how did you do that? Do what I asked? Get him to stop crying? I just listened, and acknowledged his pain, he just needed to know someone cared and was there for him, not a biggy. Children stumble and fall all the time, I suppose we all do in a way throughout life, and sometimes that is all we need someone to listen and care.

Are tears magic? Maybe, I still don’t know the answer. We do sometimes cry when we are overcome with joy, surely we wouldn’t want to release that emotion? Maybe that’s the answer, maybe with ‘too much’ joy we need a release valve too?

I know when I am feeling down, I do my best to visualize a moment of ‘joy’ in my life, to see it, to feel it, to re-create that moment, and I can feel the corners of my mouth turn up and that warm fuzzy feeling starting to come back and push that sadness away. I hope we all have a moment, actually many moments we can remember experiencing “joy” such a wonderful emotion. Children, definitely bring us many gifts, and “joy” is one of them.

Absolutely nothing wrong with tears, nor do they show weakness or strength, they show emotion, they’re a human trait

Tears,  still a wonder…are they magical. Is there more to them than meets the eye?