Archive for November, 2018

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.

Wise Friend,

I met your friends. The evening went well, for a while. It was light and funny. Then something went wrong. I do not understand what. It bothers me.

Sensitive Friend,

It’s not relevant. Sometimes, I express an opinion I take it as to be common sense, maybe a light comment within a conversation.
Suddenly, I notice in the facial expression of the other, that I stepped over a boundary. To me, that boundary doesn’t matter, so no wonder I didn’t know about it, and it’s not even significant for me to cross.
Yes, I could explain myself, wanting to dissipate the negativity I feel, but I don’t see a need; it would provide an allure of undeserved importance to the subject.
Had I continued, both parties would become uncomfortable. That‘s in my mind. For the other person, this might be significant.
However, I forget to think that way.
The subject doesn’t “deserve” so much respect. The time spent on explaining is irrelevant.
Don’t worry.

Wise Friend,

It is INCREDIBLE, how you describe precisely a nuance I felt as well, though I could not formulate it. As if a door opened and now I see with clarity what was behind it when I had only a hint and was blurry (I‘m tempted to use the word “revelation“).
Bravo to you, with thanks and pride for you.
If you agree, though it’s not fair to insert my words into your thoughts, I would suggest a slight modification one of your phrases.

Would you use “it would provide an allure of out-of-place importance” instead of “it would provide an allure of undeserved importance”? This would leave more space for additional flexibility of the interpretation.

Sensitive Friend,

I like when people correct me in any language.
I don’t understand why “out of place” doesn’t convey what I wanted to say, for me. Would “non-deserving” be more adequate?
If you remember, I wrote the subject seemed natural, light and unimportant for myself.

Wise Friend,

You wrote, “I welcome being corrected in any language. I don’t understand why ‘out of place’ doesn’t convey what I wanted to say.”
If you don’t know (rational), there is nothing left but to feel (intuitive). How about that?
Reflection goes: and I who told you that maybe you are “too” rational.
“Would ‘doesn’t deserve’ be more adequate?”
I don’t think so, because “undeserved importance” includes a shade of imposture, which denigrates and distorts the core.
In the end, what do you mean by undeserved importance, and why? Maybe you thought about “forbidden”, though even this is debatable: who thinks is God to judge such things?
The link between liberty and necessity might become a new subject to debate.
But no, don’t fear, I propose to not tire ourselves for the time being with such speculation, as life is beautiful as it is.
Would you mind using the term “inadequate”?

Wait! I think the penny dropped related to the term you used of “undeserved importance”. I think you wanted to say “importance that doesn’t deserve the exertion”. Something like “waste of time”.
If this is what you meant, my theory (discussing in details about toothpicks) fails, as it would imply something else: undeserved being unjustly obtained.
However, you see, this is a compromised solution, as I disagree with this meaning as well (it doesn’t deserve the exertion) – what do you think about my impertinence?

Wise Friend,

Your call last evening was short and silent.

Sensitive Friend,

Many times, it happened that all I needed was to dial the number of a close friend, say “hello” and then I couldn’t discuss what preoccupied me as if putting all that in words would make my issue sound so superficial. Each time, this confused the friend I called, who ended up with the feeling of not having helped. However, this minimal contact of a few seconds was essential to me. It has been selfish of me to initiate such a call, and I learnt to control and abstain.

Wise Friend,

Please don’t tell me merçi so many times because there is no reason. I’m not offering a service, a present or just amiability.

It throws the dialogues out of balance, and it makes me feel inadequate.

I have only one upper hand over you, and it is not my merit: I express with more clarity in this language, which you had no opportunities to use for a few decades. It’s crucial for me to use the exact word which would reflect the most adequate nuance of what I want to say.

I can do that only in this language. I dislike words of complacency or used to fill the space or to show off.

In turn, you benefit from the advantage of intuition, realism, and of your talent to convey states of mind indirectly, and thoughts one can hardly notice between the lines, sometimes not even linked to the content word by word (mot-a-mot).

Yet again, you would tell me I “project”. And I’ll answer it might be so.  There is nothing we can do, such we are, each one with own psyche formed thought own life. Sometimes I feel such a waste. I guess now I overstepped what I mentioned above.

Sensitive Friend,

It’s tempting to say you’re projecting. In this instance, I’m not.

Wise Friend,

For the time being, I don’t know what to reply to what you wrote. It’s not the first time you turn my words around, which disorients me.

This dialogue had no content though it is pregnant with meaning. Do I project, yet again?

I believe I’ve reached a dead moment. What do you say? Shall I stop writing?

Sensitive Friend,

How come? If you think we need to communicate about something specific, write. We had long spells of silence before. That my mind stops from time to time means nothing.

Sensitive Friend,

I thought of you and your comments about what I have been writing.

During the last week, I had strange experiences, and I wrote about them to two female friends back home. With them, I feel free to go into details both intimate and embarrassing. It would be difficult for me to write such information to a male friend.

While writing to them, I communicated with you in my mind “You see I write about such things as well.”

I feel some apprehension writing about such events as there is a big gap between a spicy conversation over phone or one-to-one, where the tone and gestures matter a lot and when I could be responsive immediately to the level of acceptance of the person listening.

When writing, all those nuances get lost.

I need to trust the reader fully, to write such details, and I also assume the friend hears and sees me while reading.

Wise Friend,

It didn’t cross my mind, I didn’t imagine, I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all…would you confide in me with the details you mentioned. I’m not that man.

I understand well the limits and the feelings around the written word and consider how the off-line time and distance impose upon each one’s receptiveness; we are right to remind each other that from time to time. Add to that the worry, sometimes close to the limits of asthenia, to not overtax, to keep a measure and to be “comme il faut”.

It is as you say: “reality is the reality (sic!)”, “here and now,” and similar.

I keep the ending.

Wise Friend,

I came back, and I’m dying to tell you about the history of that magnificent place. How are you?

Sensitive Friend,

This is it! Here is where reality becomes a reality! I love hearing about history and the next moment I forget everything. I read with thirst what you wrote. Unfortunately, they are so many details too much for me to remember, and probably they are just a drop for you. And then I’m thirsty for more.

How am I? Good, thank you, merçi beaucoup.

I think I am now in a time of my life when I “live in the here and now” (as odd people seem to say). I notice all my reactions and enjoy them as if I am aware of myself minute by minute. It won’t last, and for now, I don’t let it go. Overall, I’m in a serene disposition somehow towards or close to happiness. Is it possible I have a better perspective? Can one be happy without perspective?

I’m even more aware of my state when I visit others, and as I enter the living rooms, I notice people with sad or depressed expressions, many times for little obstacles in their lives.

I see with ease people’s attitudes, and I wonder if they are a matter of habit, due to something real, or just wanting for attention.

Indeed, I have no access to intimate discussion of the hostess, as these people demand immediate attention from her. Therefore, I have few chances to know others and the other to known me in a more personal way.

With one specific person, I would have liked to build a closer friendship. She is delightful, has a strong sense of humour, and seems exceptionally generous. At the same time, the bond will always be limited, much of it because she is very religious and the wild parts of my personality would lead to her distancing from me.

Stupidities. Stupidities. Stupidities.

Wise Friend,

I enjoyed genuinely what you wrote.

Do you remember when sometimes I mentioned narcissism (in its positive meaning) and you answered “hmm!”?
You seem to master well the relation between control and ingenuity.

Life developed in you an adequate “technique” based on self-observation and inner dialogues, leading to the tonic and definite conclusion of thankfulness to oneself, which in fact is the ultimate goal.

It’s one way to adapt optimally to the conditions of your life. Otherwise, you could not be “ in a serene and happy disposition”.

I also tend to observe myself (we are human!), but depending on the situation I’m pleased with myself, other times I’m ashamed.

It displeases me that so many times I have to lie to myself and I can’t be honest totally. At times, I am (honest), at other times not (I’m not an idiot!) Hence, these sensations of  “dissatisfaction and waste.”

I fear in those moments.

Hey, yet again I rambled.

By the way, I disagree with how you ended your letter: “Stupidities. Stupidities. Stupidities.”

Not at all. Not at all. Not at all.

With kind and serene thoughts.

Wise Friend,

I loved at long distance. That animal chemistry about which we all talk? It doesn’t work across oceans. We, humans, create our own chemistry when we fall in love with attention, words, warmth and conversations. Then we rationalise.

I recently read what he and I wrote to each other so many years ago. Going through those emails, I wondered how I allowed myself to fall in love so deeply, and I feel ashamed. It was a forbidden love.
Later, I went through other emails, and after all these decades I’m almost ready to rationalise yet again why I allowed myself to fall in love and I feel ashamed. It was a forbidden love.

Lovely Friend,

Why don’t you forgive yourself?

Wise Friend,

I’m not fretting about it. I can’t forgive myself, and I’m not beating myself up. Sometimes, I need to bring it up. I do that with you.