Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Today marks the end of the last full week of my vacation.

I managed to get some things done, more things partially done and some plans were completely ignored.  I did the training for becoming a peer specialist, and took the exam last Sunday.  Oh, that exam.  I am more comfortable with that exam experience, whether passed or failed, but most especially failed as this could be another one of those golden opportunities to pay attention to my life telling me where we are supposed to go next.  However, I still intend to take the state certification (the other was national, yeah, I know, backwards).

I have not spent much time with family or friends, though.  None of the plans worked out; truthfully, I really did not try to make new plans.  I wonder what that is about.

Organizational stuff is going well.  Two, uninterrupted afternoons should do it, with an additional day or part day of moving furniture, especially in the bedroom.  I have art to hang and a home to find for the few dozen books I kept.  I really do not want to have to find a small bookcase.  Visiting all of the charity shops for this is not the teeniest bit appealing.  CoolCat's litter box needs to find a place in my new and exciting workroom.

Speaking of the workroom, I am looking forward to the next time the boys stay here.  We come up with ideas of things to do and then gather the materials.  Now, they can go in there, choose what they want to use and then just use the stuff.  We will still have ideas, especially around the holidays and birthdays and occasions like that, but now we have the option of doing anything however we like.

The truth is that I still have too many art and craft supplies, but one of our tasks, the boys and I, will be to sort some of it and have them choose what will be going to the shelter.  I may even take them along, just have to check with the folk there.  They already understand how some people have lots of stuff, like us, and that other people often do not have the basic things they need.  It is never too early to begin the practice of giving to others.  Their mother was helping at the community meal program sites when she was their age.  It is one family legacy that is worthy of passing on.

What else did I want to do?   Oh, yeah, I wanted to set up my easel and organize canvases and paints should I be so inspired.  I totally forgot about doing any of that.  Completely skipped my mind, even in the midst of organizing the art stuff over here and the sewing junk over there and remembering to save a shelf for the kitchen crap overflow.  Well, at least I know where the stick blender and the green bags are.

Someone posted a link to a joke site and I noodled around there late this afternoon and found a short video produced by the Cleveland Clinic.  I became familiar with them decades ago when I was first diagnosed with my vision disorder.  I did not know it was from them until the video was over, but I loved the darn thing and was thrilled to find it connected to them.

I am not going to share the video, because I do not know how to do that here.  I am sharing the beginning and end, though.

It began with a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

Could a greater miracle take place 
than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?

The short film showed patients, and some family members, at a hospital, walking, sitting, in consultation rooms, with short explanations about their circumstance.  Things like someone who has just learned that his tumor was malignant, another man who had learned that his tumor was benign and a woman who was listening to her doctor, but could not comprehend what was being said. 

So many different scenarios and health experiences.  It was very powerful, and I had to keep pausing at the end so that I could catch the final thoughts.

What if you could stand in else's shoes
Hear what they hear
See what they see
Feel what they feel
Would you treat them differently

I am becoming more competent in doing those things.  Yesterday's three, little things were about that exactly.  In each, I stood back, let things flow and tried to see what was happening from the moment in which that other person was living, at just that precise time.

I will most likely never know what the process was life for them because I declined to engage in their issues and what the trigger might have been.  All in all, aside from the first bit of falling back into being completely non-confrontational, my default behavior for the past hundred years, I was able to learn a bit about myself and how I want to interact with other people.  I mostly feel ill equipped to do that, particularly since most people seem so comfortable and skilled at it.

But, a couple of things stand out for me.  The first is why someone is so dedicated to not taking responsibility for their actions that their default response seems to be to look around and attack the most easily attack-able and most vulnerable person.  I understand the mechanics and the forces of that, having lived for all of those years with someone who chose that as his preferred way of dealing not only with me, but everyone else.  

Nothing is ever their fault.  They never did anything wrong, but if some dark force in the Universe snuck up on them and tricked or deceived or forced them into doing something they worry that someone else might think was wrong, the first thing they do is to assign the blame on someone else or otherwise indicate that they were obligated to do whatever it was because the other person's behaviors, words or thoughts (yes, this one counts) forced them to do whatever the heck that wrong thing was.  

I really get that.  I do.  But, the problem for me was that two of those people are just like me, trying to manage their lives, do the best they can and try to survive every day relatively unscathed.  Boy, do I get that.

However, the third person was a staff member at the center and is supposed to be, hell, is trained and designed to be the person who should be a good resource to the rest of us crazy people, and not the person who creates problems just because he has some image of how perfect he is, and it occurs to me that one of his stressors might be the way he is expected to function as that staff member, along with all of the expectations that his employers may have for him.

Large image-wise, if everyone would just pull up their BGP and BBP and behave like decent human beings, none of this would ever be an issue.  I wonder in what Universe all of that might be possible.  

Certainly not here, that little, blue ball inhabited by humans.  Life is so freaking tough.  

One more thing is that I also read a quote by Morgan Freeman, the actor.  He was being interviewed by Mike Wallace, the program was 60 Minutes.  They were discussing lots of things, but I have read only the part of the transcript about racism.

Wallace:  How are going to get rid of racism until...?

Freeman:  Stop talking about it.  I'm going to stop calling you a white man.  And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.  I know you as Mike Wallace.  You know me as Morgan Freeman.  You're not going to say, "I know this white guy named Mike Wallace."  Hear what I'm saying?

Interesting.  As a regular person, that appeals to me.  I wonder how many other regular people are willing to see only the person and not the things by which they identify or quantify or judge people.

Is it possible to stop the way we, collectively, judge other people by the way they dress, talk, walk (or do not walk), the color of their skin, the shape of their features, who they love and how they love, and all of the ways we might minimize those people because we do not believe that they are as good or worthy or valuable as we are. 

How about the way they live?  The kind of houses they have.  How they cook or clean, how they grow their own food, or the choices they make in the markets.

The lists are endless and as varied as the people who hold them.  I have plenty of lists of my own, the difference for me now is that I try to recognize when I am judging and smack myself around until I stop.  It is not an easy process and I am working very hard to increase my successes, and learn from my failures to accept everyone for exactly who they are. 

This past week was chock full of opportunities to find out if I can be the person I believe myself to be.  I can only do my best and hope that I can be her, that person more often than not.

No comments:

Post a Comment