The Very Thought of You

 

            A look inward brings me back to you,
to us on this bed
that tells our stories in colored sheets
you never notice
except when I strip them
each Monday as you leave.

 

            And I see you now in my mind
while I smile,
not pretentious but reminiscing,
some isolated nostalgia
of past escapades when we did not know of each other —
even now throughout so many years
there are secrets that sleep here with me,
without you,

with us in dreams.

 

            The very thought of you chills me,
heats me,
redefines me,

but I cannot let go
because I will be fractured beyond repair
if I stop thinking of the man
you ought to be,
not the man you think you are.

 

            Here and there tells the story
and the very thought of me
with you
erases it all
disregarding who I ought to be as well

until you can find the way

to scoop me up and make us whole again.

 

Your Here is not My Here

you are here

I was sitting waiting on some friends in front of an event. A man pulls up on a van, his wife steps out to get tickets, he and the children drive off to park and wait. He whistles at her in a coquette manner as she walks into the place. She ignores him. A short time later the wife steps out and frantically starts searching for them in the parking lot. She calls him on her cell rather loudly, “Hey, where are you?” He must’ve answered, “I’m here.” She then says sarcastically, “I AM HERE! If you were here I would see you. YOUR here is not MY HERE.” She sees the little girl waving and walks towards the end of the parking lot.

I sat there thinking about relationships. How many times don’t we think to ourselves, “I am here. Where are you? Why aren’t you seeing me?” It happens with out mates, our children, our parents, and even friends. We want to be acknowledged. We want to be heard. Nothing is more relevant than knowing that our presence is honored and appreciated.

Whenever I had something important to say to my young children I would make sure they stopped whatever they were doing. I sat or stood in front of them and asked for their attention. “Look at me for a second, sweetie….” Then to make sure it was heard I would ask them to please repeat it back to me. This was necessary because otherwise they didn’t seem to comprehend. With them, I used small sentences. I made sure there were no long explanations because children need simplicity. When my mother got ill I had to use the same technique. It’s usually in those few words that the brain understands that it needs to pay attention. The tone of your voice is vital in how another person listens.

And so it is in relationships! We are often asking, “Why am I being ignored?” But the question we should be asking is, “How am I saying this? What needs to change in my presentation in order to be present and acknowledged?” Are you yelling your thoughts into chaos? Are you screaming in anger? Are you ignoring that the timing might not be right? You cannot blame another for what they are thinking when their ‘here’ is not in alignment with the way you perceive it to be.

Listening and hearing are two different animals. One requires being. The other is just noise. We have been accustomed in this society to use the art of over thinking and analyzing. We are conditioned to go-go-go until we drop. Relationships suffer because of the multitasking and technology. Allow for YOUR HERE to be another person’s presence. Be willing to provide the sacredness of listening and being in the moment. There are things that are being lost in this new age of technology: speaking, being heard, and being able to decipher the importance of union with your loved ones.

Notice how a dog behaves when you walk out of the room and return. Your are in his “here.” Let’s be like dogs in our commitment to provide space for our loved ones. I see you. I feel you. I honor your existence. I love you. Have a great day.

Voices from Your Heart

My youngest daughter and I were on our way to her school early this morning for her senior trip.  She was excited and waiting on a call from her best friend.  Once she called and they discussed where they would meet she hung up and said, “She sounds so different on the phone.  Why do you think people sound differently when in person versus the telephone?”  I answered that it could be technology.

Once I dropped her off I took the scenic route home through the mountains.  The sun was settling in such a lovely way that a few times I had to stop and take note of it on the side of the road.  I began to think of our conversation.  It is true, people do sound differently on the phone.  I believe it is because we are hearing them rather than being distracted by their physical appearance when in person.  I am not a phone person.  I hate to talk on the phone.  Perhaps it is due to a thousand years of customer service and purchasing jobs.  I get a lot more out of a person when they are in front of me.  I can sense, see and feel the things that aren’t being said.  The phone, to me, is a shell that echoes what you are truly trying to convey.  And, yes, we hear differently.  We are forced to be present (or not, depending on whom you talk to).  When you sit with someone you are engaging in all of them.  You are not just listening to the sound but experiencing the gestures, eye movement and energy.  However, to others the phone is a perfect way of hearing exactly what they need to hear without having to look at the body language or enter the depth of communication.

Speech is the most powerful source of communication.  There are over 7,000 different languages and dialects in the world.  Conversing on the phone has its own form of interpretation.  As we dive deeper into technology we, as a whole society, have lost the art of personal communication.  It is easier to text, email or Facebook another.  Are we really governed by the rush of being constantly charged by cell phones, emails, computers, IPOD’s and any gadget that is supposed to make our lives easier, when in reality they handicap our social skills?  The reality is that if we could stop all these noises and return to simplicity we would actually heal from so many of the stressors in our lives.  I was reminded of how things were in the 1980’s.  You had to wait to get home in order to speak with someone. When you were “on the phone” you were actually sitting near the phone jack. We had no cell phones, no computers, and no other distractions.  If there was bad news we waited to get home to discuss it.  Likewise if there was great news that anticipation made it more special when we got together.  Life was simpler.  We were human beings interacting with each other.  We prayed more, or at least it seemed like that, because there was nothing distracting our thoughts immediately.  This is why I love being in nature…it is the simplest form of communication for me.

Communication has such a diversified psychology to it.  We enter therapy and pay a ton of money to be heard.  We read all the books on how to better ourselves.  We all want to be heard.  Whether it is through a phone call or technology, we want to have our stories acknowledged.  But, “Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.  At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~ Vera Nazarian.   And, dear friends, there is nothing more compelling than talking to a live version of you.  Let your voice be heard.  Speech is a murmur from your heart.  Let it take you to the inner places and outer banks of another while touching the truth of what needs to be heard.

Lack of Interactions

 

On December 22 of this past year a beautiful long hair Calico cat showed up at our door. She was very thin. Even though we had decided that we would have no more pets, especially cats since I am allergic, this fury creature changed the entire idea. My daughter fed her and she kept coming back. The cold winter air forced me to bring her indoors, “for just one night and then she needs to go!” I was not going to have a litter box or any smell of a cat in my house. No, no, no. Just one night and that’s it! Needless to say, you know where the story ends. The cat now has two names and neither is her official “real” name. She has become the mascot of Peaceful Quest Retreats.

The thing about cats is that they don’t listen. They look at you when you are speaking to them in annoyance. As friendly as Mystic or Fluffy (depending on who is calling her) is she still has the demeanor of most people nowadays. The look in her eyes says, “I hear the words that are yapping out of your mouth but I can’t be bothered right now while I am trying to take a nap or in the middle of my bath.”

Listening is so important. We all talk, talk, gab, blah, blah…but, how many of us actually sit and truly listen? There’s a difference between hearing and listening. The cat hears but she has no interest in listening. I am finding fewer and less people in my life who actually listen. I’m usually shocked when someone repeats words that I’ve said back to me. No wonder we pay therapists to be heard. At least for one hour we get acknowledged for our existence.

I have a friend whom I’ve known for over 25 years. He’s a man of few words and whenever we talk I enjoy listening to him. He is one of the few people I’ve ever met who can listen and be present in the conversation. Sometimes he will remind me of something I said years ago and I am always surprised at the details because they are about insignificant things. You know, like how I like my B.L.T. or what my favorite smell is after the rain, or what my favorite show was in the 90’s. Just useless information! And, if he can listen to my useless information then I know he listens to the important stuff as well. I am often cautious of things I will say because they are banked in his memory and when I least expect it they will be returned back to me.

I am present when someone is talking. I do have days that I am hearing and not retrieving the information, but it is rare. I want to be heard, comprehended, and acknowledge in the presence of another. I am not a cat and don’t expect the person who I am conversing with to be one either. My best friend, Bobbie, and I sit for hours just talking. It is a gift to share and be heard from the most insignificant thing to life changing events. There’s nothing more beautiful than being seen and acknowledge for our existence. I know this is rare and I don’t take it for granted.

With the advancement in technology people are becoming less and less connected to each other unless they are emailing, texting, twittering, FaceBooking, or whatever else is out there that requires no eye contact. Listening is becoming an ancient art. I suspect that one day we will be like my cat, giving a blank and annoying stare of interruption. I watch this behavior with the younger generations and can’t believe that they just don’t interact the way we did when we were teenagers. Are we really this disconnected from each other that we cannot hold a conversation with anyone around us? What happened to us, as a whole in society that we can’t consciously look at someone and speak with them? We are constantly being bombarded by the external parts of technology. Are we really governed by the rush of being constantly charged by cell phones, emails, computers, IPOD’s and any gadget that is supposed to make our lives easier, when in reality they handicap our social skills? Life was simpler twenty years ago. We were human beings interacting with each other. When we sat to talk there was a presence to the visit. We listened attentively, to gossip, stories, and useless information. It didn’t matter what it was, we were sitting with each other listening.

I pray that society changes its course. The path I am observing seems so detached and disconnected. The simple things in life as interconnecting, sharing and “shooting the breeze” with each other will soon be historical. Our children’s children will watch movies about this and will never understand what joy there is in looking at another human being while listening. Society will become more like cats, minding their own business, and only paying attention when they feel like it, otherwise use technology to relate the simplest message. The beauty of human interaction will probably be a study for social anthropologists.