Commonground

Why is it that everyone discusses the weather?

Ok, a few of us consider that a subject to avoid if possible because it is too common and cliche, however the reason everyone can discuss the weather is, it is common ground.

Alright, it is true that not everyone can commiserate about a Canadian Prairie Winter, but as an icebreaker how sunny, rainy, windy, gorgeous or hideous it is outside is an icebreaker (conversationally speaking).

It is beautiful outside, if you enjoy toasting in sun and sweating through humidity.

The weather is not the only common ground we have, it can’t be, but sometimes the way people act you would think that it is.

I have a lot of empathy, perhaps more than I should have but I am sure that I am not the only one to look out a window and think that people spend too much time seeing the differences, widening the gap between them and others without realizing that we have more common ground than just the weather.

Can a millionaire commiserate with me over not having money, food, clothes? Well with a few exceptions I am certain there must be a few that started out with little or nothing so ya, I think some can.

It is true, we spend so much time trying to excel at individuality that we forget those things that keeps everyone connected.

Lets face it, someone from Florida is not going to understand a Manitoba winter, heck some places do not even include block heaters as standard equipment on their vehicles as they are here.

So what other things keep us connected?

Hunger?

Romance?

Food?

Pets?

Hmmm depends on the person, we do not all share the same enthusiasms, loves or tolerances of other beings or things.

I am no better than anyone else.

I can not read minds.

So conversation and interaction are the venues which allow us to discover that common ground.

Maybe.

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Rose coloured glasses.

It is easy for people to look around them and see all the negatives, especially if they have never experienced anything else.

I have never looked negatively on my country, it has always been the best and most beautiful but even I saw some things as being a little less glorious, sophisticated and exotic, until I ended up in another country for 6 years.

I am glad that I have always felt proud of my country, and the view I have to how fortunate, intelligent, kind and rich in culture we are, which has only been bolstered from my experiences abroad.

I hear people listing all of our negatives, and am amused as other countries who seem fairer, actually have far worse problems than we do, including but not limited to the expectation of government support for those not working, open prejudice, ceilings to educational growth and hidden class distinctions.

Of course people who are spouting the negatives are not in the mood to hear that things really are not as bad as they could be, or are in other countries that seem to wonderful when you are not actually in them.

The art of appreciation is not taught, sought or understood, but it should be.

Appreciate what you have, where you are and those you love, for it is amazingly simple to lose it all and then all you have resting upon your plate is regret and sorrow.

I feel pain today.

Let down the barriers and be, just be, without fear, pain or insecurity holding you back.
Acknowledge not the tears unshed, breath passed that tightness in your throat.
Be safe enough to allow yourself freedom to break.
Not what it is acceptable in others eyes to feel, or acknowledge but be free to experience you own feelings.
No one to tell you that you are unworthy to cry, wrong to be hurt, beneath the right of consideration or insult.
Look upon things with fresh eyes, not those coloured by the deceit, betrayal and abuse.
Khalil Gibran once said that, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
I think he is wrong, for the breaking does nothing but undermine the strength of self, and the understanding is not positive, but a stark view into blackness of the souls of others.
Can you view into such without being scarred?
Can you reach out and unlock the barriers of protection to dare let a fresh breath of life in?
Khalil Gibran also wrote that “Much of your pain is self-chosen.”
I beg to differ, and venture that we select words of others to stand in for that which we lack the capacity to say aloud or place upon paper.
Pain is not self chosen, unless you are at the core a masochist.
It is easy to blame ourselves for the actions of others towards us, allow them freedom from responsibility that they truly hold.
The wisdom to withhold blame, assign responsibility and accept in ourselves our guilt, innocence or stupidity, is never easy to achieve.
First we need the freedom, to feel, whatever we do, and divest ourselves of the imposed constraints of others, who for selfish reasons would deny us our simple right to humanity.
It is never wrong to feel, what matters is what you do with it, and that you somehow grow from it.
Pain does not make us stronger, or necessarily wiser, but it can be survived, and allow us to be kinder to others when we see them in situations which mirror our own.
© Simple Lady March 14, 2014

Happy New Year

If how horrible and depressed I feel right now is as good as this year will be, please forgive me for desiring to opt out.

As bad as my situation is, this evening leaves me sadder because tonight is, for many, a fun and lively night.

One friends family lost a son this evening.

One friend is laying in hospital, and everyone knows she has but a day or two left.

Another friend is going in for surgery in a couple weeks (cancer) and is not sure she will see the year out.

No phone rang with well wishes for the New year for me.

No one needed or wanted to hear my voice or know my thoughts.

I am left with the memory of a time when, despite having very little besides each other, and our pets, at least there was someone that wanted to hear me say Happy New Year, and give me a hug.

Perhaps that is as good as it will ever be, those moments that are in the fog of memory, at least they existed, once upon a time.

May everyone make it home safely this evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2. The Crux Of Alternate Realities.

Nothing I am thinking is new to many, but for some it might be, as for me it was.

Everyone has had a time (or they will have) where a situation occurs and what you consider to be the only response or action to take, is not thought of the same by someone else.

I made the mistake of thinking that this was a singular instance of divergent core belief or priorities.

I should have seen it as the way of the world.

We were living on the farm, 360 acres of farmland with bush, and we had 4 dogs.  I was alone, as of the age of 12 I spent most of my time alone on the farm but that is yet another post for another day if I ever get brave enough.

The parents were at work, 100 miles away, and as they worked in the city we really did not have community ties (they were not the type to bother with neighbors and community).

On this fine sunny afternoon, knowing I would be alone till the next morning as usual, I opened the door to go outside and do chores and found the stoop covered in blood.  It is a shock, it’s like everything stops for a moment and then you feel fear, because something is so wrong.

I love animals, I guess being agoraphobic, I have spent more time with them than people.

My first actual thought was to find what was hurt, and I started calling the dogs.

It took a couple minutes but they came and one of them, a beautiful golden coated mixed breed shep/lab/collie, had her throat cut.

I was 14, my first thought was bring her into the house, and call mom at work.

Now my mom was an amazing woman, she was very quick and to the point – pour flour on it. Pack it with flour and keep packing it until the blood cakes and stops flowing.

So there I was in the kitchen packing flour onto her neck, crying and saying those stupid little prayers that she be okay.

That is when the older half brother showed up with his fiance.  I remember that feeling of help is here, it will be okay.

This was the moment when the divergence hit me.

This church going former military older half sibling, refused to take the dog to the nearest vet.

Instead he went to my room to sleep with his girlfriend and mom had to drive all the way home to take her to the vet, while I waited for her, tending to the dog and trying to keep hysteria at bay.

I was shocked at him because not taking her to the vet was not even an option in my mind, and I could not understand how this person could be that way.

He went to church but his first love was money, and his excuse was he was not paying for it (obviously not an issue as mom was taking her anyway) and well it would dirty his Toyota half ton so his citified fiance (a cousin via the step dad) would have issues sitting in it.

Et voila.

Divergent realities, different core values and morals.

The dog lived a long and happy life.

It is a lesson I wish I had remembered.

What we think is an automatic responsible moral response to a situation, may not even be considered by someone else.

In fact some people can’t even spell empathy much less feel it, and the only time they notice another person is to see what they can get out of them…something even now I can not quite fathom.

If I could maybe this would make sense.

Chapter 1. Why I Appreciate Police.

I have always tried to be a good person and see the best in others, even when people said I was wrong and being too kind.

Guess I figured I should treat others as I would wish to be treated, see them as I would hope to be seen.

I discovered early on that there are many types of people in the world.

It’s not to say I did not get hurt, beaten, neglected, but that is not what this post is about.

Via my job I encountered people who were from all walks of life, they could be in a rush, hurt, upset, lost, angry, drunk, stoned and in need of assistance that only the police could give.

When someone swore at me, I would say thank you, and in the pause that usually followed my words I would suggest that  we discuss what the problem was. After all, I understood they were very upset and usually the surprise of my response allowed them to focus on the problem, not their anger.

The response they expected was not the one they got…sometimes that calmed them down and sometimes it did not.

The point was, it was not me that they were mad at, so taking it personal was normal but hardly helpful.

All the things I saw made me admire how the Police can cross all the boundaries of the various realities and deal with people in situations and circumstances, as best they can.

I am not saying all Cops are perfect and handle everything perfectly, because they are human, and again that is something to be thankful for as this allows them to treat people humanely, with care and consideration despite all the crap that they see.

How hard is it to do that, when they know what people are capable of?

Looking around I find myself wondering how they do it, when people can seem so normal, but their thinking is shaped by a very different sense of reality.

Not sure I will trust anyone ever again.

Alternate realities we live in. Introduction.

I am convinced that part of the reason people do not connect is that they, we, all exist in alternate realities and the crossing of paths between some of those realities is harsh, harmful, even deadly.  I think the negatives impact so heavily and are trumpeted so fervently by the media that we do not realize there can be positive, even wonderful interactions from the crossing of realities.

Someone may well look at what I just said with raised eyebrows, yet even as they do that, if they look outside and see a homeless person walking down the street you will see a very distinct illustration of what I mean by “alternate realities”.

The reality of the individual is shaped by their family, environment, life experiences and their own mind.  Someone living in a mansion will not see the world, nor even know the thought processes of the person living on the street, and they will both have far different views on what they will do to survive and what is forbidden.

It is easy to be general, speak as if observing a fanciful notion that has had no impact on you.

It is harder to share your own reality.

Risky.

You will be judged, criticized and all the rest that goes along with it.

What is your reality?

Do you have a home, family, friends, job, pets, or are you alone, struggling to get food and shelter?

I highly doubt anyone in extreme circumstances is going to be reading this but their reality is no less valid or in fact worthwhile.

What is my reality?

Totally screwed up if I am honest and not looking to be getting any better.

There is 1 reason for me to keep on breathing and she has a big heart and 4 paws…the rest of my existence at this point is encompassed in hurt, fear, and helplessness.

The thing that drives me nuts is, I am afraid to speak out because of the situation I have been put in.

You see my reality, crossed paths with someone else’s reality, and this brought me here.

Everyone has a different life, but I made the mistake of thinking that most people want to be honest, good and not misrepresent themselves or cheat and steal.

My reality, my world, my thought processes, did not allow me to see that others do not see things like I do, there are no limits on them for what they can or will do, unless there is a cop standing nearby. Okay, not true, it has taken me this long to understand that even standing next to a cop, they will act like they have done nothing wrong and dare you to say anything to contradict them.

I am not perfect.

I have tried not to judge others.

I have helped strangers and those in need, sometimes the wrong way, risking bodily harm and employment but I thought that is what good people do.

I also thought that people in general were good, and mostly it was circumstances that make them bad.

I never claimed not to be naive.

Now the question is, what do I do?

Does it matter how I got here?

Well to me it does.

Understanding the situation requires knowing the history.

They expect me to be silent because if I am not I will lose what little they have left me, my dog, my bits and pieces, and my protection from being seen as stupid, gullible and as worthy as that homeless person is to most people that see them going by.

I did not want this, and each day I ask myself what to do, and hold my poor dog who did not deserve this either.

I really can not stand to lose my dog.

So silence wins rather than risk it.