Archive for the ‘Musing’ Category

Wise Friend,

I went to Houston to meet some new acquaintances. I was there for a week.

Sensitive Friend,

“Acquaintances?” Who, besides the British uses that word? I find people expect me to call them “friends” since calling them “acquaintances” hurts their feelings.

Wise Friend,

I experienced the same. I can afford to be precise with you. Such a relief!

 

I

I toured Houston in stages.

On my way to meeting them at their office, by the tollway, all areas are flat. I lost my way, and I didn’t like the neighbourhood. I knew I was close, but how close?

I was driving back and forth under the tollways/freeways, faced with concrete strips and poles sustaining those strips. It was a dry image from a movie of cities without souls. I imagined myself living in Houston, and I already felt trapped for years in an unattractive city.

On my way back I drove again by concrete sustaining concrete, concrete running by concrete, concrete running under and above concrete. It wasn’t for me!

Also, I could not find even one classical music radio station or even one with political commentaries.

Sensitive Friend,

I don’t remember Houston being so dreary. Hmmm!

Wise Friend,

Next evening, Jeff, one of the guys, hired a 15-seat van and took us around, showing us Houston’s beautiful suburbs. The city has a lovely downtown, alive in the evenings. A stadium built downtown years ago revived the nightlife.

Its medical centre is humongous, a city inside a city. Hospital near hospital, a place to get lost and treated if needed. “If you want to be sick Houston is the city. It’s at the same level with Boston” (I hope we never would need that.)

Houston has beautiful architecture and stunning mansions on charming streets with wonderful gardens.

Some of their high risers have a very delicate design. The Transco Tower, near the Galleria, is tall and slim with vertical lines created by its relief and attracted me the most. It’s the tallest skyscraper in the USA outside of a downtown area. Whatever this means!

Jeff took us around golf courses, and parks, along jogging allays and walking paths.

I asked Jeff about classical music radio stations. He pressed a button and Voila! 92.1. He pressed another button—political commentaries!

It rains frequently, and therefore Houston is lush. Next day, I looked out of the windows their office. This was my fourth day in that room. This time I saw the greenery of this city—a sea of treetops from grey-green to bottle green and in the distance the elegant skyline of Houston downtown. The things our mind filters based on wants, fears and again those so self-limiting assumptions!!

By now, I warmed towards this city.

Many questions welled up. I concluded that I don’t know how to visit a place, that I need to return again and again, force myself to open my mind and with it, my eyes would open beyond my assumptions.

Sensitive Friend,

The same goes for some books. When I joined the Proust club in my city, I repeatedly remarked I had not read it correctly. I had read it differently. Indeed, I had noticed and interpreted things in a novel way from the others, but we all missed on parts, depending on our interests and background.

When I miss on details, guilt overwhelms me for at least 30 seconds.

Travelling, like fine arts, antiques, and music, requires experience continuous drilling, keeping in touch, and probably some talent.

It can’t be done from home, books or libraries.

(Photo – pixabay)

Sweet Friend,

For the first time, I’m going to Nevada. I dislike gambling, but I’m looking forward to seeing the opulence of the casino. I wonder what changed since those old Hollywood movies and now. How is luxury displayed? How are women or men dressed? I’m looking for my tuxedo.

Wise Friend,

I flew once to Reno Nevada for a conference. During the flight, I sat next to a beautiful American woman from Reno, who told me the Hilton hotel has a great shopping centre under the hotel, a grand casino at the entrance and a great night bar ‘The Garage’ in the lobby. I was so excited! While passing through Los Angeles, I had time to buy a gorgeous blood red woollen dress with a turtleneck.

I entered the hotel, and in the lobby, I saw tens of poker machine, an image I distaste, and I forgot what she told me.

I went to a party of the conference. Those attending were aged hippie-computer-geeks with body postures affected by sitting twenty-three hours a day in front of their computers, and not enough hours dedicated to fitness—movements and behaviours frozen in the sixties, looking sad, trying to catch up with times. I watched them dancing.

There was something so grotesque about their sense of dress and dance. Everybody was keen to pick somebody up for a night of “romance.” I didn’t want to see any of them undressed. Among them, there was one dancer who knew how to move. He looked better and fitter. I watched him and with my passion for dance, I enjoyed the only graceful person on the dancing floor.

Sweet Friend,

Anybody in a tuxedo?

Wise Friend,

No.

By the evening, I understood that the poker machines were the casino (duh!).

Nevertheless, I put my red dress on and was ready to walk through the casino. I was looking very well, but I expected to be the most modestly dressed woman. I expected glamorous women with gorgeous evening dresses, with naked backs, great low cut fronts, and men in tuxedos. Everybody was dressed in jeans, sweatshirts and pants. Some colleagues, who liked me, told me I was looking like a model. The ones who never liked me asked why I dressed up. From modesty, though in red, I was the glamorous one. Disappointed but flattered.

I gave in and gambled $20.00. I won a bit in between, lost it all by the end – my tributes to this world of strange fun.

The next day I visited the shopping centre—a lousy array of cheap shops.

Later, I decided to go the ‘The Garage’, I in red, they in jeans. A colleague of mine joined me. I ordered a virgin Marguerite (which I found out means without alcohol, duh!) and then I had a great time watching the locals. They came in couples and danced ‘western dancing’. I’m not crazy about non-couple dancing such as line dancing. I watched only the couples, and I had such a good time. The western swing is so gracious and requires great skills. I loved it. My colleague left. I didn’t want to go to bed. Imagine, being alone, watching couples dance and being happy. Not bad!

Take your jeans and a t-shirt. Leave the tuxedo at home.

Sweet Friend,

Ruined it for me.

Wise Friend,

I met a few people today, and we talked about how we felt at the turn of the millennium. By now it’s such a non-event. It saddens me a bit.

Sensitive Friend,

Before the turn of the millennium, I met a guy who used to lead regular millennium-related get-togethers. The Millennial Café.

They analysed similarities between theories or conspiracies developed before years 2,000 and 1,000.

I joined that group once, if I remember well. It was what I wanted and was looking for in my peregrinations around the world: interactions with intelligent and fun people and a great theme. I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to beep or to be quiet.

Wise Friend,

Yes, there are many such groups in US universities. Are they challenging? Fun, too? Is there a lot of interaction? I wonder.

Sensitive Friend,

It quite surprised me when I entered the small room. I expected a large group of people where I could get lost and listen. I love watching people interact. I took a while to accept that such an eclectic small group can be in the position to influence policy.

Wise Friend,

The strange world of political decisions in a super-power!

Sensitive Friend,

I raised that question, and the group leader told me that at that moment, their impact on policy was fairly circumspect.

How many such amazing little groups sprout in these great universities as ‘secret organisations?’

Wise Friend,

I don’t know, but all those strange voluntary organisations are one of the marvels of the modern world.

I hope you didn’t keep quiet. That would have been a waste of your intelligence as far as I’m concerned. In such groups, you speak when you have something to say or ask. It’s a free for all.

Sensitive Friend,

They wanted to replace the word ‘superstition.’

I was thinking about the tendency of superstitious people to ‘collect’ additional superstitions as their ‘knowledge’ gets richer.  Something like ‘globalisation or integrating the faiths, rites or traditions’.  I became obsessed with finding a word.

I told him. Ouch! “Integrating the faiths” was hardly one of his “superstitions.” Quite the contrary, he didn’t think there was a real tolerance if you can’t accept that the “other” really is “other.” He wanted to take upon the task, to present the group “with an irreducible other, which would drive control freaks crazy.”

Wise Friend,

When you talked about the “integration of faith or ritual”, did you refer to the willingness of people, whose religions are based on many superstitions, to adopt Western habits or rites as part of their superstitious makeup?

Sensitive Friend,

Yes. Had I conveyed it any other way? If yes, Ouch!

I asked a dear friend who had a PhD in linguistics. Clearly, I wanted to impress. She jokingly suggested – “routinised premonitional intuition” – or RPI !!! Quite a mouthful! How are you going to explain such a mouthful expression to non-English speaking superstitious whoever? The intention was not to offend them. This group leader had to use the term in the media and in his communication with people involved in cults or religions.

To my astonishment, he liked the expression. He replied quickly “Why premonitional? Apocalyptic beliefs — the cosmic transformation is happening now — is a condition of heightened (hyperactive) and improvisational premonitional intuition.”

Somehow, I never followed up. What a pity! Life took over my life.

Relentlessly.

Wise Friend,

The intensity I’m feeling now in enjoying art again is so soothing. I feel that I’m looking after myself when I make time for art and for the other silly things I like.

Last week, I drove to New York to attend a ballet performance. I drove back in the snow for the first time in my life-scary.

During the last few days, I was angry with men.

Sweet Friend,

Don’t tell me you are now thinking of them as a sub-species?

Wise Friend,

Not at all and especially not nowadays. Not when having you as my wise friend. I know so many good men. I have a son, siblings, a father – these are all beautiful people, strong, manly, loving husbands, fathers and friends.

Today, I had a few frustrating experiences; not romantic, only professional, but annoying beyond belief.

I met a whole group of men so fragile emotionally. I was staring at them, telling myself I might give up on ever having another marriage. Not with such types. I want a relationship free of weak men. I had this fleeting decision, and I was serene.

Sweet Friend,

I know atrocious women, and I know atrocious men.

Once, Michael, our mutual friend, wrote: “Probably, I belong to the group of men ‘unable to assume responsibilities.’ However, we should not rush here. Sometimes, assuming responsibility requires cutting into “living” flesh. Other times, the hesitation might signal fear to not wound (oneself and others), or just lack of confidence in a specific moment. Whichever you turn it, you can explain why and how each time.”

Would you call him a weakling?

Wise Friend,

No, I wouldn’t.

Sweet Friend,

Your calculations of positives (you’re now serene) and negatives (giving up something you want and need) would end up (please don’t reproach me for writing these) being false, as nothing is sadder than being alone for decades. To go to bed and wake up alone and not spending your life with somebody you may share emotions, sufferings, would be very difficult. Don’t wish yourself such a life. Trust your stars. If you end up alone, as life might be, I trust you know how to enjoy it anyway. This is who you are, enthusiastic and full of interests. Still, without sadness, try to find a man. Don’t lose your enthusiasm.

Wise Friend,

It was just a short moment that lasted 24 hours.

As irony would happen, as soon as I took that sudden decision, quite a few men invited me out. Another uninteresting lot. I must convey something as, at the end of the dinner, they say we are friends with such an emphasis it makes me smile.

They don’t know who rejected whom. In the name of friendship, they ask me to not feel uncomfortable calling them. Would they know how much they bored me? Why would I call, then? Last night, one of them phoned, still in his courting stage. I returned his call and finished in a matter of minutes. While talking with him, I felt suddenly exhausted. I wanted to go to bed and read. I took a shower, my energy returned, I read for an hour, and it was so comforting. I don’t want to become a recluse.

I’ll not give up, though I might never search as I used to do a few years ago.

Wise Friend,

Last night I had a strange dream. I was with my ex-husband (both of us looking much younger), and I was trying to rekindle our broken marriage.  I was seductive and trying to be endearing while talking. He responded to that. How? I can’t remember. Nothing extreme.

Then the dream moved towards a public space, and for some reason at that moment I understood my ex-husband was cheating me with a woman who happened to be there. In the dream, I knew she had been trying for a long while to seduce him.

I approached them, and I talked angrily to both, telling her she should be ashamed and stop immediately.

Another scene followed. I saw the same woman again, looking very religious and wearing a wig. I pulled her wig off the head, wanting to shame her in public. While dreaming, a thought crossed my mind they could sue me for this. That made me turn to him, and I told him I was leaving him and this time it was for good.

It was very intense. I woke up, and then I thought about Jungians, and post-Jungians, Gestalt, psychotherapists, and psychoanalysts. What a golden dream for them to explain all these mysteries of my probably turbulent soul, the hidden unknown of me to me.

Imagine Gestalt—me wanting to be a good wife and loving, the seductress and the one getting angry and violent, me the religious and both getting mad at myself. Funny, I believe none of this is true.

My Sweet Friend,

Years ago, I attended some Gestalt workshops as the trends demanded of us, and brought in my dreams to share at workshops. I felt so ridiculous in front of the therapist and others. I felt embarrassed when others went through their exercises; for them and for myself being there.

I couldn’t accept I was the street on which I was while dreaming, the tree at the corner, the grass in the meadow and the meadow itself, the table in the room, the six chairs upside down. After that, I read so much about dreams, and I can’t agree with anybody. I quickly, carelessly, developed a theory of mine, never shared.

We let our imagination run amok during the day, and we try to control it, while awake.

At night, while we sleep, we have little say and we are too relaxed even if in our dreams we are agitated.

Certainly, the dreams represent us. However, a lot of the details happen as we see others. I refuse to accept that every aspect is part of who we are, though they result from our mind combining our perceptions of what others did and our imagination in a sleeping state.

Wise Friend,

Indeed, we daydream. Do they Gestalt daydreaming? Why not?

My Sweet Friend,

What have you unleashed?

Wise Friend,

A new stream of income? A new frenzy of workshops?

Wise Friend,

I work in a speciality I thought, when young, I would like computers. How wrong I was. However, here I am with a beautiful family, with a sense of responsibility, earning reasonable well, without being rich as others assume about those working in IT.

Supporting myself and my family offers them and me so much dignity. Freedom, independence, self-reliance are essential for my soul.

To me, IT is soul-destroying. There’s no question that my keen interests in people and in other many subjects offer me some richness during the day (I manage people, others manage me) and especially outside of working hours. So contrary to popular beliefs, I don’t work in my dream profession, but I try to love what I do. The vast majority of IT people aren’t nerds or creative. Why do they build these myths around IT?

I acknowledge knowing how to code, understanding IT architecture and other related subjects taught me useful skills to help with the part of life I cherish – finance, being with children and mainly writing.

Not-a-Nerd Friend,

This utopian “life and executive coaching” trend of asking billions of people to work in the professions they dream is unrealistic and poisonous. Many people work in the profession for which they have skills as that’s where they started.

Many thought they would like a specific profession. Sooner or later they find out that their work is tedious, repetitive, and not even challenging, despite being an intellectual kind of endeavour. This is so true for IT.

There are so many important jobs! All of them beautiful?

Wise Friend,

After 20 years of hard work, I reached a conclusion that people in my industry are completely mad. Why do I think the same happens in many corporate professions?

When I use the word “corporate” I mean any organisation, private or government.There are many common characteristics of team interactions.

Why am I now thinking many in IT are mad people?They are revengeful, hysterical, ego-maniacal, obsessed with status and to be some kind of leaders, and unable to accept responsibility.Overall, these are signs of character weakness.

Until now I dealt with numerous wretched people though I’ve resigned to the fact that individuals can be wretched. Today, I reached the end of my patience. For years, I didn’t generalise, even when such behaviours were there in my face, close to my eyes. The fragility of these people astonished me. Today I generalised (most) not universalised (as in all), but generalised. Men and women alike.

Not-a-Nerd Friend,

I find many people nice and weak. Two of us might be strong though we can’t deny our own weaknesses. I have no doubt that during some of our interactions we came across as mad, weak, etc. And we will.

I love when people distinguish between generalisation and universal. Love it Love it.

Wise Man,

Your stories are real stories. We are made of our emotions.

Lovely Friend,

We are made of emotions and mind. The latter needs drilling to hang around.

You don’t have to apologise for making me worry. Your news saddened me and I wanted to get in touch with you.

You have to share good and bad news. If friends feel for you, you don’t withdraw to save them those feelings. Unless…

Wise Friend,

Unless what?

Lovely Friend,

Unless their own anxiety overcomes their ability to listen well and support you emotionally. If that happens is better to retreat.

Wise Friend,

How do you assess that?

Lovely Friend,

You need support at a specific time, you share, and suddenly you feel you need to address the anxiety of the other. Your problem got replaced, pushed aside. Change the subject or politely leave the conversation.

Indeed, you are tired. Nothing exhausts us more than the struggles of the soul.

When I sense that demon tormenting my soul and I tell myself  “here comes again”, and I become an observer and a bearer of the torment. I split.

Wise Friend,

I don’t like these moments. They are not as tragic as they sound though they preoccupy me.

Lovely Friend,

It’s true. Others seem to think we are on the verge of disintegrating when we want to talk again and again about what happened and how we reacted. Find the rare ones who know better.

We want to look into the issue to become clear and understand why the torment started.

If there is a chance to find a solution, I let it be. The moment I sense there is no solution, and it’s only a torment, I peruse my body and my main points of personal history to find the disturbed button and then I distract myself. I never deny, but I don’t want to waste any more time. I do force a smile even if alone.

Yes, it’s easier said than done. It takes time, and it’s doable.