Archive for November, 2018

Wise Friend,

I’m taking now the opportunity to tell you something I noticed about you.

Sensitive Friend,

Is that necessary? Would it help?

Wise Friend,

I hope that you won’t take what I have to say the wrong way. I want to refer to what you call your “audience”. I don’t think who is in your audience is by chance. On the contrary, it reflects a specific state of mind of yours, and the desire to have a “public” in front of which you can “act” in such a way they would end up appreciating you. Maybe you read too many books about “how to make a good impression, “what is the key to success?”, and other recipes that fill the American bookshelves (they belong to the sphere of “behaviourist” influence). Are you now somehow disappointed in the results?

Sensitive Friend,

Really? I’m sure you’ll continue clarifying this strange unsolicited feedback. Am I supposed to not want to make a good impression? Do I need books to teach me to desire otherwise? Are you socialising with the intent to be disliked? I wonder why you bring up these self-help books. I mentioned before I call them “vapourware”. I never mentioned having read them. Do you know what they say? Do you read them, even when despising them?  Like everybody else, I’ve read some of them as they represent current thoughts and life philosophy of the public. They don’t guide or shape me.

Wise Friend,

I don’t believe what these books advise, I’m sure of myself. Such ideas don’t affect me, and they don’t stick unto me. Therefore, I lose in life frequently, or I don’t get what I want, and I’m satisfied when I tell myself: “you all might believe you succeed in making me believe you’re are right, when in fact you’re not, but I know what I know..” I swear at them in my mind, and I mind my way.

Don’t tell me it’s more difficult for you. Is your “public” sometimes dubious? Ignore them, it’s not worthwhile. Be yourself, express yourself as you are and you’ll find a “public” to see you and see your qualities. I know, it’s easy to talk. I miss the direct dialogue to clarify nuances and details.

Though this the essence of what I wanted to share. I think you need to relax the self-control, to look more inside (narcissism?). Hey, I would have so much more to say.

Sensitive Friend,

You sound exactly like those books.
I’m not sure if you sense when I mention new friendships I don’t mean superficial friendships, even if there are times and places when the latter is acceptable as well.

Apart from friendships, I firmly believe there is nothing more important than a warm, kind and loving family.  I dream sweetly, about a year (too much to ask) when I could stay at home each night, mend whatever at home, having a loving person around me, sitting on a couch, back to back, reading quietly, and showing each other some paragraph one of use might like. It hasn’t been yet possible. Life decided differently, and we spend too few evenings together. Not asking too much! Am I?

Nothing is so incredibly wrong with me. Occasionally, a soul asks me what is wrong with me.  Once in a while a soul tells me that my problem is I’m too smart, other soul tells me I’m too lucid (sic!), another one would say to me that when I don’t smile my features are sad or angry, that I overthink, that I don’t drink wine, that…and it goes on and on.
What can I do? I smile and believe in my star. Oops! Do those books say the same?

Wise Friend,

On another occasion (oh! totally and entirely on another occasion), I’ll clarify.
I have nothing to add, either you or I covered all the facts. I’m thinking with an inefficient warmth of you. Believe in your star. Nothing is wrong with you. What made you come up with such nonsense?

Sensitive Friend,

You!

Wise Friend,

Re hiatus. What’s new?

Sensitive Friend,

I went to visit my family. Days before that, I spent (wasted?) time on buying presents. I had zero time for my thoughts.
While my soul finds satisfaction, I neglect the side of it which wants to write.

I went to an evening talk about a book. I didn’t read it. However, by now, I’m such a specialist in mediocrity (I can’t call this guru, can I?) that I decided to go to talks about books, even when I hadn’t read the book beforehand because of lack of time.

This way I learn maybe a little and hope to retain what I hear. Yes, I feel slightly frustrated, as everybody else had read the book, and therefore they can comment or ask questions, while I stay silent and try to be invisible – I found both difficult.

Today, I went on a tour, “Boston on foot”. What a beautiful city! I thought a lot about how I spent my time. If I imagine I’m a tourist who needs to work in the cities to visit, then I feel suddenly that I experience luxury and I live in luxury. Talk about glass half full.

In reality, right now, I don’t know what to do with myself and on what to focus. Therefore, I read whatever I seem to choose first. I’ve started dance lessons – swing and samba–which balances the fact that lately, I’ve read about theological concepts.

From time to time, I think about studying for MBA which brings up a slight sense of nausea, as it’s so far from what my soul needs, though it would be wise.

I feel I need to learn about the stock market, which also brings up the mix between nausea and wisdom.

Rarely, I buy a lotto ticket. Maybe reading about theology, being overall a nice person, and actually buying the lotto ticket would bring forth the propitious energy for an instant win, though unbelievable. Then, I won’t need an MBA or knowledge about the stock market.

I had a beautiful day. I brought with me the LA weather for a few days, and I wander around aimlessly, though absorbing.

Wise Friend.

A week has passed since your last email. I didn’t answer immeditaly. It happened before though for different reasons. I’ve registered your current preoccupations: your flight to see your family, samba, theology, the “Boston on foot”, the pseudo-cultural settings and a lot, a lot of thoughts I assume given mainly your tone of sarcasm, self-irony and a pensive sadness transpiring between the lines. I’m not allowing myself to fall again into mt cheap two-cents considerations, though I can’t abstain not remarking “the life is hard, and not only life is hard”.

The glass is half full due to your somehow quasi-absolute freedom (we should avoid using absolute terms..) to do what you want, subject to your limits to the understanding of a “nice girl” that you seem to attach to yourself. Certainly, you are much more than just that, and probably this is it.

Let me walk you through some cultural events I attended.

We attended a movie festival with movies from the country where we both grew up. One of them was remarkable, let‘s call it royal. Two actors, originally from there though now living here, were fantastic. The audience knew each line, and everybody recited as the movie went on. It was mad, beautifully mad.

I attended an evening with Symphony number 2 of Mahler “Resurrection”. I’m an old person. This was the first time in my life I heard it in a concert hall (how else?) What a revelation. A MONUMENT!

Add to this a lot, a lot of work.

Sensitive Friend,

(Glasses, glasses, to drink and be drunk with water)

Right now I can’t call my life hard. I prefer to do what I do, as I do, as I prefer the glass half full to the half empty.

Part of me wanted to let you know I don’t really spend my time entirely to the level of my dreams, though others think what I do is top-top.

We both know it could be better. I’m at peace about adding water from time to time, even if only drops. I imagine it might be a beautiful wine (I don’t drink alcohol) and I take sip by sip. At the half of the glass, I’m drunk.

I envy you for the shows you mentioned and for the opportunity you have to share that pleasure with somebody so close to you.

Recently, I drove for the first time from Boston to NY and back. I was afraid and delighted. I couldn’t believe my elated emotions. Soon, this will become routine. Such I am, I get drunk on my own feelings.

I must go back to samba.

 

 

 

 

 

Wise Friend,

I haven’t written in a while (besides the good wishes around holidays and anniversaries).

The summer is almost over, and the days are much shorter, and perhaps they beckon one towards writing.

I received yesterday your public journal (sic!) and comments about the state of your life. As usual, its literature is of good quality.

Perhaps I told you before I have the impression there is some narcissism here, though I look at it with full, full, full understanding. We all suffer more or less of this syndrome, including the author of these very lines.

In other words, being your own heroine/protagonist, I suspect writing about yourself (to friends!) you look at yourself excessively from outside.

Sensitive Friend,

Narcissism? Interesting.
Ironically, I’m always surprised when somebody likes me. Most probably you don’t know I experienced such surprises (I mean getting compliments) only after I left my family back home.

For some reasons, I grew up hearing a refrain repeated on any occasion. This tiny family enjoyed pointing out my defects only. Among others, “I was born looking like my father (big mistake!), I was ugly, I needed to hide my legs (not perfectly shaped), my chest was too small, my bottom too low, I don’t know how to behave, I’ve been prone to gaffes, I never had a sense of humour, and overall too few people would like me.”

Since then, it seems, I’ve been in a continuous process of validation and evaluation to what extent these labels have been real or not.
I’m the only one initiating visits to the family.

I view being in touch with my small family as significant, and the sound and happy qualities of this family overwhelm such nonsense.
During these many years, they uttered only two compliments, one by mistake, followed by an immediate retraction. The former was back in the country of origin, and the other one was in a letter. It must have been a mistake as well.
Admittedly, I’ve been fighting this image. However, perhaps, I developed an odd model of reference.

Yes, you’re correct I watch myself from the outside.
Initially, I started writing to a group of friends, who usually like my news. They call me frequently and ask me how various people, in this country, welcome me. Therefore, I use such language. Meanwhile, other people entered my life, asked me to include them in the email list, and I adjusted my writing.
My life is not only about successes. Many of the failures are related to my personality. I don’t write about them, not wishing to focus on them.
Somehow, it is little of me in these emails, in which there is already too much.

Wise Friend,

This time, you were 100% you: without public, without literature. How beautiful you write: “it is little of me in these emails, in which it is already too much.”
You have no difficulty in understanding me. I’m the one with a confused way of explaining, maybe precisely because I weigh my words too much (out of fear!). Sometimes, I play with words, though not today.
You’ve told me at other times about your “inferiority complexes”. Those descriptions might be correct, though even you notice how foolish it was to become their slave.
You are the way you are. Features you describe them as “defects”, and which you list with the disregard they deserve, lack any significance to be even considered seriously. Let’s be serious! Your value and quality are not defined by what you see, but by what those receptive to you detect.

Sensitive Friend,

It would shock you that I believe I can be 100% myself when I acknowledge good and even beautiful features of mine, and it’s healthy that I see them, without narcissism. I don’t let such things go to my head, though.

Others, including you, would feel uncomfortable with me or anybody else doing that. Bringing up “inferiority complexes” and self-doubts seems to be perceived as authenticity, relaxes them. It‘s a dance people crave.

Yes, I’m my “own heroine/protagonist” in emails about myself. To what extent shall I limit that?

Sensitive Friend,

You brought up the story about the most efficient way to fill up a jar with a variety of stones, sand and water and to fit in in as many stones as possible.

As in life, the personal relationship must take precedence.

Wise Friend,

Aren’t you too judgemental by using the word “must?”

Sensitive Friend,

Yes, I am. I’m not running away from being discerning or from “must” and “should”.

May  I go back to the jar analogy?

Wise Friend,

Yep, please.

Sensitive Friend,

One has only one life-as if having only one jar. The number of stones one might be able to store is limited.

My son, still young, doesn’t believe in limits–he thinks resources are either wrongly used or limited temporarily. His response would be, I assume, that if you focus on the large stones and store them carefully, then the jar would get larger for even bigger stones.

Wise Friend,

Maybe he means a pie, not a jar.

Sensitive Friend,

Ha!

My son also meant if you neglect the large stones, you will end up with small ones, sand and water. Why? Because you lost the opportunity to store the large stones in the beginning.

The same with life. Focusing, however, only on the most critical aspects of life might not make your life full. For that, you need to include the small things in life as well – small stones, sand and water.

Moreover, paying attention to most significant events in life (family, people, relationships) would not necessarily ensure full satisfaction. However, one would have more advantages and benefits in life.

Sometimes, if you chose your previous priorities wrongly, you might be able to change directions and repair part of your life. Meanwhile, a lot was wasted. We have to admit, accept and adjust.

There is a limit to analogies when you go down to every detail.

Wise Friend,

I know, I’m a real bore!

Sensitive Friend,

Don’t worry about becoming a “bore or impertinent”. Most of the times, when I receive your emails, I laugh, and that is good for me.

Wise Friend,

I believe I don’t have to convince you that you are quite a political person though sometimes you tend to be manipulative. I tell you this as a friend. Be more careful as you could hurt sensibilities.

Use your innate qualities. You have plenty of those, thank God.

Sensitive Friend,

Now I’ve stepped a boundary with you. What are you talking about?

Politics? Manipulative? Excuse me!

Wise Friend,

These are the words I labelled as “politics”: “Most of the time, when I receive something from you, I laugh, and this is good for me.”

In such situations, using this “method”, you go straight to the target. Let’s assume we are clear after adequate explanations, though I don’t believe you didn’t notice the context. However, I know you wrote this way not because of bad intentions but because for self-preservation.

Immediately, I thought this is how Miss Manners would have advised you (unless I’m screwed up). This is the reason for the bitter taste I mentioned.

With this, Basta!

Please don’t confuse “politics” with “tact” and “common sense”.

When you feel like, you might be chattier. When I respond, you might laugh, as you usually do.

Sensitive Friend,

By “target”, I assume you meant those “painful buttons” unique to each one of us, didn’t you?

You were wrong, wrong, wrong!!!! Both of us will be forever ‘wrong’.

As I told you before, you think I know exactly what is going inside your head and read between the lines.

The only thing I do out of self-preservation is to not read between the lines but to ask for explanations when double entendre is used. Yes, some charm gets lost.

When I start feeling comfortable with people I often meet (“locals”), the closeness allows us to share intimate stories. I see their facial expressions, hear the nuances in their voices, and read between the lines.

Even then, sooner or later I ‘validate’ my assumptions.  I proceed this way, because, sometimes, one friend would bring up an old conversation, reveal how she understood it, and I am gobsmacked. By then, I expected the friend to know me well enough, and suddenly, I’m the position to see she saw me as a different person, I don’t recognise. Recently, a decades-old friend made a comment about me that amazed me, unpleasantly. She placed some of my feelings on a road I never ever travelled. I wanted to correct her. However, for that, I needed to see her privately, and I had no time. I would not even try via email.

You read my words mot-à-mot. I’ve read our written conversation again, and my comment meant: “I enjoy receiving your messages or commentaries. I laugh because of the pleasure I feel at your sense of humour.” It was the answer to writing you were a bore.” Arrrgh! Our buttons!

Admittedly, it intrigues me you felt hurt and felt a bitter taste. I didn’t understand you well as I refused to read between the lines.

Maybe it is the nature or the result of our banality.

Basta?!!??

Wise Friend,

I have nothing constructive to add now though you might expect that. I received your specific explanations. I thank you with warmth, especially as you had no obligation to do so.

I think that I understand what you tried to say. I’m also for clarifications. I went overboard, I admit.

I learnt something good for anybody: to not imagine one understands everything. This is not the first time I’m the victim of my own scenarios, and it’s not the first time I interpret words this way–“à côté”.

However, I deserve a good mark, as many times, I wrote about my doubts–real ones–about the way you assimilate what I tell, in jest, or not (mainly seriously). You didn’t respond to my doubts, and I took them as it was convenient for me.

It’s good to ask for clarification when you don’t understand something (will I admit that?).

Regarding this specific situation, it would be stupid and offensive not to believe you. Especially, as all is now in order.

Therefore, I ended with “Basta!” Why did you answer with “Basta?!!??”.

Wise Friend,

All is fine. I probably went through an asthenic moment, but now I’m back on the ground.
Yesterday, while I was still semi-floating, pending your call, I remembered a short story.
A wounded soldier of WWI was laying down in a sanatorium recovering. The sanatorium was in a hilly area. From his room, he could look far away, daily. He could see the courtyard of a woman, whose house was across the hill. Every day, he waited to see her young silhouette, without trying to find an explanation why. The young woman must have noticed, she got an intuition, and one morning, before she went to the animal yard, as she did every day, she opened her window and showed herself naked. That was all she could offer. The solider felt an emotion so intense beyond what the gesture deserved. He took what happened as an endearing present.
I felt like telling you this story and then as you say, “Forget about it.”
Indeed, I felt disconcerted and answered as I have to connect to logical and technical arguments to banish an emotional state which the “meaning” I talked about later. I had to banish that for you your sake as well, (not mine only)  as “this is the last thing you need” (to throw back to you some expression you use).
I wanted to add something to “I need just to say hello…etc”. Did you ever think this might be an extension of a form of communication the basis of which is a physical touch? I refer to effects of discussion that leads to just resting the hand on somebody’s arm. The words don’t matter; they can be sheer banalities or nonsense. The contact via the phone and the sensation of implied simultaneity could be a good substitute.
In the end, this technology seems to be good for something.
I wish you would understand precisely what I want to say (though I’m not sure). Any answer would be OK for me and maybe in equal measure the genuine one, including silence, denying (seriously or only to explain the “need for an excuse” (“comme il faut”, or stating you don’t understand.
I end as I started, with assurances I’m back on the ground. What is left is as you say it, you’ll write when you’ll have something to say, depending on many criteria, you know best known. I’ll respond.

Sensitive Friend,

I find difficult to respond to a message stating what I said as cryptic.
Now I have to respond in a language not used to speak enough. Given my current vocabulary in that language, I would have more success with a puppy: “Sit, lay down, come, go.” Sometimes, I wonder if I still remember the correct meaning of some words and if changed over the years since I wasn’t back in that country for decades.
Add to that the surprise I had a few years ago when I found out I had the wrong understanding of some words while living there. What I was saying differed from what people heard and therefore understood.
I’ll risk it, and hopefully, I get the correct gist of some words I’m about to use in this email. People around here would call what I read and what I hear “take it at face value.”
Your message made me reach the phone, instinctively. Was it because of the desire to be there? Your analogy would imply that.
You’re correct when you mention the weight of putting your hand on somebody’s arm. Maybe it’s more than that. However, it’s difficult to be sure while talking on the phone. I have a strong wish to be in the same room or walk by the sea, in silence. There would be no need to touch the arm. The re-assurance would suffice. Re-assurance for what?
Once, I had two close, supportive friendships in this city, one with a man, the other with a woman. We called each other and went for a walk while uttering not one word. We might have started talking an hour later. It was soul cleansing, and the peaceful sensation of support accompanied both of us.

Wise Friend,

I say many things.
First, with all your wary you declare related to the deciphering my words, I’m sure you understand as very well, always, even if sometimes is convenient to hide behind this argument.
Anyway, this time you’ve deciphered me perfectly.
I assume it’s difficult to express yourself clearly in this language, due to the lack of using it for decades.
You threatened me you would write in English though I noticed you don’t dare (maybe it feels unnatural). Do as it’s easier for you.
Otherwise, I respect your care for the importance of using adequate words. Myself, I don’t throw them around, and I try to use them responsibly.
When it comes to your answer, I remark you chose not to use any of the options I advanced in my prior message relate to a possible response from you, and I now respond to that–uff!! what a complicated statement, though I won’t redo it.
To my delight, you chose, to react differently, thinking about what I said. If I manage to convey the warmth that escorts my thoughts when I write, the rest matters less. I don’t know why you use the qualifications of “cryptic”. Sometimes, analogies enter my mind, as it happens to you as well, and I use them primarily to make the infallible more perceptible.
The mind flies, it’s good; it’s bad. God knows…
I propose to myself always to express only thoughts which are banal and “innocent” about the daily life. However, only words of no value come out–cheap talk of 3 cents.

 

Wise Friend,

How is the world of art doing?

Sensitive Friend,

Years ago, I went to an art exhibition from Akhenaten times – “Pharaoh of Gods”..

Pharaoh Akhenaten (Nefertiti was his wife, Tutankhamen, his son) created a new religion, to move away from worshipping animals towards monotheism.

He changed his people’s religion to sun worship, seen at the time as an intangible object, abstract–as one God. He didn’t acknowledge Osiris, the deity of death.

The Egyptian art of that time focused on the centrality of the family in their society,  renouncing the god(s) of death.

After Akhenaten’s death, people reneged this religion, perceiving it as too abstract and a faith which gave up on so many of the celebrations available before.

On display, I saw a pair of cartouches used as objects of worship with inscriptions reflecting Pharaoh’s thoughts, if I’m correct. They looked so similar to the Jewish 10 Commandment plates.

Wise Friend,

Trivia we might forget?

Sensitive Friend

History of thoughts, worldviews, of religions in the making?

One abstract god, moving away from worshipping animals and the god of death, celebrating the love of the family, using inscriptions on a pair of cartouches as pieces of worship.