FWF Kellie Elmore

“I am a very old man, yes, I am older than this tree that grows in the backyard of my son’s house. I sit on the green bench so I can watch the tree in all weathers, I have lived here for 200 days now. Enough days, too much. I am dying, I need to go home.

Two hundred days and twenty days ago my beautiful wife, Shuen-Lie of sixty-seven years died, my son from America come to China, I am with pride. Soon, he moves my things together. I say good-bye to him and he gets large and shakes his head the way I used to saw trees and branches to make huts, back and forth, NO, NO, NO in angry voice. But in our culture you do not say no to an elder. He does, he takes my things, brings me to plane to America to live.

It has been 200 days since he take me away, he said “it was best for me to be closer to him.” Who was it better for I tried to ask him, but he keep pretending not to hear. He does not look in my eyes now.

We lived in our little town in China so happy,  but I was so weak, so sad that when my wife, Soon-Li  passed away, mother of our son, that I could not think anymore. I just needed time, I needed time for my sorrow to settle inside me. That is what I needed but he won’t listen.

My son came from America too fast, too fast. I was still very sad, I needed more time to be with my friends who are my people. They understood, we were all together every day, every night. Now my half was gone.  I know. It happens to all of us someday.The hurt in my body would leave but not the love.

I also worked on a fishing boat since I was a boy, It was my job since I was six to catch fish with my hands, for the family. Well, you see my hands now, so many years of work building huts from trees, fishing, I work every day. As I got older, I got better. I learned that with experience. Everyone needs to learn that in their own time.

My son and his wife bring me to America so they can “help” me, watch me, but it is my heart they took out. I want to be in my country, to be with my people who understand me, who have grown up with me. I know they love me here but love talks in many languages. I love my grandson they call “Sam” an American name. My sadness will be missing my grandson but he knows I want to go home. He loves me that much to help me now. That is pure love, white love.

The lights are too bright here, everything is rush rush and too loud. I do not like this. In my world I was a healer. People came to me for my help, now I meditate alone and ask to be listened to, to be back in my country, to die in my bed.

My grandson is a man now, he bought me a ticket, he will take me to airport, we go now to tell his parents, it is my word, the elder’s word that we listen to, as it should be.”

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Listen: Soft, Quieter Voices Need To Be Heard Too

Guy Fawkes 2006

Guy Fawkes 2006 (Photo credit: Max xx)

My friend’s voice is soft, she is not a leader but a follower, I have no problem with this but some of my more straight-shooter, take control friends might. They have dominant voices, sit in attendance at board meetings, screaming, making a loud fuss about things that are important to them. Quiet people can’t or won’t do that but they still have their opinions. Louder people yell sometimes so that they don’t hear the soft voices in the background because nobody wants to speak over them.

Why should they? When they start to softly voice their concerns sometimes they feel berated. “Anyone who is scared to stand up for what they believe in is a scaredy-cat” loosely paraphrased someone said. Exhibit A. That, my friend, is a judgment, name calling.  Softer voices have opinions too but are not as equipped as some of the more confident, take charge people to talk at meetings, to make a fuss but their opinions, sometimes silently, count too. They also vote. Some people shy away from conflict, this is not a judgment call, I would call it a style.

Where am I in all this? Straight down the middle like a true Libra. Balancing each side, over and over again. Quietly. Making a huge fuss when it is important to me.  Family. Family. Family.

When my daughter was young she hid behind me and if she was shy or afraid, she would place her arms in the air in front of me and say “Up, Up” and I would lift her up and feel her body instantly relaxing against mine. Our son, the first-born,always bossed people around, he still does.  Our daughter had planned her birthday parties years in advance and stuck to each theme, always wanted to see her cake beforehand and read the last page of every book before she decided to read it. Our son loved the element of surprise, he had to be the good guy and I was always the bad guy and left rooms always trying to have the last word, saying “No more conversations, no new conversations.” Two adult children, two very different styles. I love them equally.

It took me a long time for me to find my voice, as a second child with an older sister who was very strong and bossy, (Some other people would call it overbearing.) When I was young I was shy, bashful so I can truly understand both sides. As soon as my sister went to college I found my voice and it was dramatic and beautiful and real.

Listen. Try silencing your voice and make people feel safe and don’t criticize them automatically for their fear or reluctance, I know you do it, you know it too. Not everyone is like you, though, the world is not made of people as strong as you. They need their own voices to be heard, in their own way. Sometimes with care, sometimes written, or spoken in whispers to friends who are willing to take the time to listen and not judge.

Whether you outright say it or not, people feel your judgment straight from your body to theirs, not all judgment is verbal, of course. You can feel it from someone’s eyes  or body language.  I will not judge you for hushed tones like a sleepy mouse, I will applaud you if anxiety  enabled you to speak softly about it in the first place.  We’re all just different in how we express things. Let’s try to play together, without judgment or criticism. The point is, everyone, in their own way, is entitled to be heard.

candle, candle in glass

candle, candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dedicated to my good friend, D.E.G.

for getting the conversation started.

(credit to above named photographers)

Plinky Prompt: Do You Eavesdrop On People In Public Places?

  • Do you eavesdrop on people in public places?
  •  |
  • October 20, 2012 by hibernationnow
  • Shh, I’m trying to hear!
  • Eavesdropping ABSOLUTELY.It’s one of my favorite habits. I don’t listen to cell-phone conversations, in fact I glare at those rude enough to be talking so loudly inside a store or a restaurant. However, if I am seated next to a couple, my husband and I will naturally cock our ears it we pick up an interesting word or two, then we discuss it afterwards. My point: if you are talking so loudly that everyone around you can easily HEAR YOU, you shouldn’t really consider it private. You want privacy? Talk about it at home or whisper….

Carry On Tuesday: What is a friend?

Two friends

Two friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is a friend? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. I used to know, or so I thought. But, things change constantly, people change, and someone who might have been a friend to me in high school, does not necessarily mean that we would be friends now. You can have life-long friends and also period friends, those that belong in a time and place where memories and laughter should stay. Maybe, it’s just ME who has changed. I accept different things, fewer things, now that I am older.

On one hand I have a lot more tolerance, yet, I now tolerate a lot less. Can you understand that? It does seem hypocritical but it isn’t at all. I have so much more tolerance for all sorts of people and things and I don’t judge people quickly but at the same time I will not put up with things that do not serve me well, i.e. many years ago I used to put up with a friend that was funny but also very negative; a person who gossiped incessantly and made me feel bad about myself. I didn’t like who I was when I was with this person. Our friendship ended, not in a fight or a fury and while I no longer have her occasional funny self, I also don’t have her negative pathology weighing me down. It’s been years now and I don’t miss one thing about our past friendship, in fact I feel a lot happier.

I can meet a new friend in the blink of an eye and it will be mutual, we will laugh, enjoy the same things and feel an instant connection. With all good intentions to get together, it won’t happen and I have learned to be alright with that. It used to hurt me terribly but I have grown up and old and I understand that things sometimes do not work out even though everything seemed right. Things happen, if it doesn’t work, let it go. Life is complicated. It wasn’t meant to be….move on.

So, to answer what is a friend you need to look at yourself first. What is a friend to you? What do you need in a friendship? I need support and trust, dependability and warmth. I not only need to like that person but to like the person I am with you. You learn, you have to like and love yourself first.

Friendship is a gift, a slow, warming present, shared over a cup of coffee, or iced water and over time, if it is meant to be, it evolves with trust and the deepening begins like the wrinkles on my face, etched with memory, mutual understanding and love.

The Absence Of Happiness

buddha path

I used to think you were either happy or sad but I’ve discovered a secret. The absence of happiness does not necessarily mean sadness. There are many things in between this range of emotions. Contentment is one of them, so is acceptance; not swinging too high for expectations or too low for disappointment like trapeze artists in the circus. Life, if you choose it, can be one continuous ride, gently swaying back and forth, back and forth as if you were sitting on an old, white porch swing. Things can change around you but they do not necessarily need to change you within.

It doesn’t mean you have to live without emotions nor does it mean you have to feel overly anxious, happy, too sad or very depressed. It means accepting what comes your way and not fighting like a roaring, clawing tiger but also, NOT laying limply against a rock, waiting to die.

It’s a state of mind that is hard to describe but delicious to live through. I sat on a chair in a lobby yesterday and learned a great deal from an older gentlemen that I did not know. It’s listening more than talking. It’s not overreacting like every nerve ending is set on fire. This man talked in hushed whispers all about his experiences as a young man. He spoke to my dog like he was Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, noting her behavior, her adoration, her anxiety, her love.

Try and stay in the shadows of your emotions, step back in your mind, reach for the neutral button or better yet, the pause button. Reach out to others with kindness, honesty and inspiration. You will find what you are looking for more from leaning back to listen than leaning forward to interject. Kindness is here, believe in it. Lessons can be learned from everyone and every thing. Wait for it, with patience, it will come.

Super-Fly

Green Bottle Fly

I would be the tiny, buzzing superhero fly that would be able to listen in on anyone’s conversation. I would be anywhere, at anytime, flying, swooping and most importantly eavesdropping on those people I instinctively don’t trust. I would be able to expose the nasty, condescending person in town for who she really is. Her fake, sugary facade would surface as the scheming manipulator showed her true sarcastic and malevolent self. I am super- fly, I listen, I watch and yes, I tattle.

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