When you look at the tall, sturdy trees steaming in the morning sunlight,
When you feel the pounding rain on your face,
When you gaze up at the ever present majestic mountains,
When you watch the sun rise or set,
When you observe the drifting clouds,
When you’re startled by the flash of lightning or its sister clap of thunder,
When you fly over an immense, never ending forest,
When the ocean pounds the beach,
When the midday sun warms your back,
When you look to the distant horizon,
When you look up at the bright, blinking stars…
you realise just how insignificant you are.
when you think of those you love and those who love you, you realise just how significant you are.
It’s a universal custom. One that needs no explanation. It transcends language. Whatever the location. Whatever the quality of establishment. We simply know what to do.
And yet, there is always a card explaining.
Hang them up and use them again. On the floor and they will be replaced.
The card not only informs us of the required positioning for laundering, but helpfully reminds us of our green credentials by complying. We have done our bit for the planet, we are energy efficient and we can feel good.
You probably knew that though, before I said it. Up to reuse, down to be replaced.
What if emotions were like this too?
When we’ve done with an emotion, we could hang it up to be used again. Emotions tidied away on the rail. Folded neatly and shelved for the next time they are demanded. Hung with care on the hook. Drying, ready to be doused in human interaction once more, as needed.
If we didn’t want them again, or needed replacements, we could discard them on the floor, willy-nilly. Cast them asunder as we go about our business. Drop them where we stand. Pile them up, like a well formed trip hazard. Toss them recklessly, in heaps of soggy emotions of various size and shape.
Oh hang on. We already do.
How fabulous to love park benches.
They are a stalwart of relaxation, of musing, of watching the world go by, of enjoying the view, of putting the world to rights, of watching the children play, of just enjoying a book.
And how glorious to have a park bench commemorating your life and loves, of each other and of park benches…
It’s not in a park. It’s on a road. Albeit a very nice road. I wonder what Helen and Eva thought about roads? Even nice roads?
This bench in Niagara on the Lake sits outside a theatre celebrating the works of George Bernard Shaw though. So maybe that’s enough.
It’s nice that something marks our existence and the things we enjoyed.
He appeared normal. He spoke and behaved just like anyone else. The fact that he had no heart was very well concealed. Well, that’s not entirely true. He did have one. It was just not in his possession at the moment. And this is where the story gets complicated. The woman who had the darn thing was blithely unaware of the fact. Well, that’s not entirely true either. She knew that she’d left the relationship with more stuff than she’d entered it, she just hadn’t done a proper inventory. Regardless, his dilemma remained the same. A woman had absconded with a vital organ and the gnawing emptiness he felt was a direct reflection of that vacancy…
Chuck Lorre – Big Bang Theory
The point here is that our organs misbehave, or go awol. Sometimes our breath is caught, sometimes our stomach flips, sometimes our throat temporarily holds a lump which will neither be swallowed, nor be ejected. Sometimes our heart flutters like the wings of a gently rising butterfly. Sometimes our mouth appears to have lost all ability to contain moisture, a vital lubrication which seems, sometimes, to have inappropriately descended into the palms of our overly damp hands. Sometimes our eyes leak and we cannot stem the flow, however hard we try. Sometimes our gut aches, like an ever tightening knot, dipped in an acidic solution. Sometimes our jaw aches as if the laughter will never end and we are in its grip forever.
Bodies, organs, chemicals, breath, feelings, emotions … being.
Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one’s watching
Dance like it hurts, love like you need the money and work only when someone is watching.
as ever, it’s your choice.
As a child I loved Woolworths.
I confess to wandering around and around the pick and mix island scouring the wooden parquet floor for fallen booty, which I would quickly and joyfully snaffle up as I threaded my small frame between adult legs. I loved equally the thrill of legitimately choosing a bag of your own sweets. The power, choice, influence and sheer excitement was palpable. I had a number of toys from Woolworths, including a favourite teddy bear, called Button Nose; I recall he cost sixpence (old money).
Once I became a teenager and adult I never shopped there. Their stores became more modern, but somehow drab, soulless sheds with a random array of merchandise, hard to locate and often cheap and tacky. Woolworths closed subsequently.
The news today that BHS is closing reminded me of the loss of Woolworths.
It reminds me too of mourning the loss of a capability, a passion, a dream.
In a coaching session today, my client said several times ‘in my youth I used to do that…’, ‘when I was younger I would have…’. I noticed how they were reflecting on a loss of a way of being. A freedom and spirit once enjoyed had been lost to the drudgery of work and earning an income. Mourning the loss of an unused love, perhaps?
Where was the excitement of a pick and mix visit?
Where is the love of a childhood teddy bear?
We have many words to describe fears. In fact there may well be a word for every fear or phobia. Why is that?
True, many of the names fears and phobias are a little more esoteric. Not in most people’s vocabulary. For example…
Athazagoraphobia – fear of being forgotton or ignored
Chionophobia – fear of snow
Alektorophobia – fear of chickens
Geniophobia – fear of chins
Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words (ironically)
However there are common examples we are all familiar with; such things as…
Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces
Xenophobia – fear of foreigners
Technophobia – fear of technology
Claustrophobia – fear of confined spaces
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Technically we could replace phobia with philia (Greek origin) and turn these into loves or addictions, but we don’t have these in our daily lexicon. How many -philias do you know or use?
Why such rich language for negatives when we don’t have the same plethora of words to describe the love of something?
What does this say about our societal focus on the bad or negative, and how does this impact our human psyche?
That worries me.
For all we know about the world, its solar systems, its solids and gases and liquids, its states and orbits and atmospheres, its stars and planets and moons. For all we know about the Earth, its rivers and mountains and continents, its seas and oceans and lakes, its cities and people and landscapes, its cultures and societies and languages… we know nothing.
Everyone has their own world, their own reality, their own truth. Created from their own experience. Made up of patterns and meaning and connections. Motivated by values, purpose and beliefs. Driven by feelings, emotions and thoughts. Held in pictures and sounds and senses. Motivated by ego, desire and love.
Every world unique.
We struggle to understand our own personal world, let alone that of our neighbour, our colleague, our friend, our human cousin.
We know nothing.
The soldier fights, not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.
What is behind you that drives you forward?