Tongue-Tied Silence

Sometimes in life, people are left tongue-tied. 


Too shocked, shamed, confused, or abused to speak or perhaps to even know what to say anymore. 


Maybe in the face of some horrible things that happen in life, there really are no words.


Instead, the vacant or crazed look in the eyes says it all.


People go through a lot–some of it is inhumane.


Sometimes, only tears can even begin to express what they are feeling. 


I think one thing that is important to do, even when we’re not sure what to say, is to acknowledge that it is okay. 


Silence is often golden. 


Listen more, watch more, feel more, learn more, reflect more. 


Ask more questions. 


Usually, I’m told to ask at least 5 times (i’d say at least 3) to decompose to what is really going on underneath the superficial covers. 

“Tell me more.”
“What else?”
“Can you elaborate?”


Sometimes, people have difficulty getting in touch with their true feelings or accurately diagnosing what’s bothering them.  


It’s more than okay to be thoughtful, be deliberative. 


Words are often cheap, but they shouldn’t be. 


Our words should be truthful, meaningful, insightful, even righteous. 


Take all the time you need, your words are worth it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Good Face, Ugly Mask

So many faces, so much phoniness. 


Why can’t we just deal with genuine people?


Not like the dummies in this picture. 


Everyone seems to put on a face. 


One person comes in the room, puts on a big smile and then drops it like you do your pants in the bathroom (excuse the comparison).


But it’s just so wax!


Another person is talking it up, but you can see just under the thin veneer, they are a boiling powder keg ready to go off. 


Faces are for expression–to feel and to share. 


However, they are used to deceive and fool the world around them.  


Is it a face or a mask.


What’s behind it–good or evil?


If you don’t look past the superficial then you are the real dummy.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 


Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 

“White Lie, 

Black Truth”

Yes, we all know that it’s wrong to lie (it’s even in the 10 Commandments). 


Except, of course, when we need to tell a “white lie” in order to keep someone’s feelings from getting hurt.


For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it’s too short or whatever, I tell you, “Yeah, it looks great!”


Then, there is the “black truth.”


That’s when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it’s ultimately for their good. 


For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.


Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn’t really bad, because it’s used to protect someone’s feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 


That’s one of life’s most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Brighten Your Mondays

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So a colleague asked me why I wear bright, happy ties on Mondays. 


Well, I explain, I guess it’s a combination of two reasons: 


1) I’m starting the week all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed coming off the weekend energized and ready for a brand new and exciting week.


2) I’m trying to take what many consider “blue Mondays” and make them brighter and more cheerful for everyone. 


– Smile and the whole world smiles with you!


So the other person responds, as if all the craziness of the office and organizational psychos during the week will somehow wear down my good cheer:


“So by the time you get to Fridays, what are you wearing black ties???”


I guess everyone knows the workweek is the workweek.


And they don’t call it work for nothing. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Like Removing A Nail

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So you always hear about the techniques used when people are being tortured…one of them being have their nails ripped off.


Ouch!


So this week when I had a ingrown toenail removed, I said jokingly to the podiatrist:


“Do you do waterboarding also?”


Ok, funny, not-funny.  Still got a chuckle!


But in removing the nail, the technique is really so amazing.


They inject the toe with a local anesthetic, but hey even the injections into a sensitive toe could be pretty uncomfortable. 


So before the injection, they spray you toe with a freezing spray, so you don’t even feel the injections.


When he actually removed the nail and chemically destroyed the nailbed so it wouldn’t come back, I didn’t feel a thing.


I mean, I literally didn’t feel a thing!


It was a wonderful feeling–whatever he did, however much it would’ve hurt–it didn’t.


I thought to myself in a wave of anesthetic and freeze-numbed delight, this is absolutely wonderful.


No pain, not even a pinch. 


I could sense everything going on around me, take it in, think about it, even mull it over again and again, and just smile. 


In a way, I thought how wonderful life would be to have the ability to think in the head and feel from the heart, but have no pain or suffering in the body. 


Yes, there are plenty of damning and painful thoughts, memories, and heartaches, but for the body to be numb (even momentarily) to all the bad stuff that actually felt pretty good.


How would it feel if the mind and heart also felt no pain and only bliss–I smiled even more. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is It I Don’t or I Do?

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Wow this was tough…


I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we’re friendly with that’s been dating a while.  


At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, “Do you still live around here?”


I said “Yes, not far from here,” and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.


She said, “Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we’re not going to live together until we get married.”


I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, “So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?”


Just then the man comes back and I must’ve been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}…


Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, “He’s asking if we’re getting married {and for some reason she’s literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!”


At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must’ve had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 


But if this isn’t going bad enough {what in G-d’s name did I walk into with this?)…


This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, “How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!”


Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!


The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can’t say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.


The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn’t happen. 


But it did and it was pretty ugly!


The older lady {not stopping–this is madness} then chimes in again and says, “Look at what he did, he stormed off–if I were you, I would just drop him!”


We’re all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 


Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, “Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?”


She’s shakes her head and says, “No. We’re almost done {done–in what way…?}!”


Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out–sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 


One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships–there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 


Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple…they actually do seem really nice together.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thank You Chaplain Berning

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I read about this amazing “Spiritual Communications Board” that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 


The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can’t talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 


The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 


The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 


And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help… from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 


While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d’s help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 


To heal, people don’t just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 


The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)