Poem: Gossip


Parrots swoop in their group

They provoke me to ponder

Could I teach them to speak?

Instead of a squawk

We all could talk

Imagining the things we’d say

them what they see

flying high every day

And me with my thoughts

as I walk on my way

Would they be easy to teach

a figure of speech

or the nuance and joke?

So many of them

and just one of me

conversing quite difficult

when they sit in the trees

Yet one thing for sure

is that talking with birds

won’t be nearly as absurd

as chatting with those

from my own catty herd

 

 

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Blinders Off


So many things can skew the way a particular incident is relayed or interpreted. Perspective or jealousy may be different sets of blinders that will cast a shadow over the eyes of the orator. These are only two.

It’s so hard anyway to remember minute details from the past. Our memories are clouded by so many things. The human brain can be such a poor machine at times, only as good as its guiding tool, the heart. So it may remember something based on what it wants to recall rather than what actually happened

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The snap shots that our eyes see and that the brain processes are really pretty feeble. This has been proven time and time again when ‘eye witness’ accounts are disproven in court. We all know that if you ask 12 different people an account of an incident, they will come up with 12 different scenarios, each with their own bit of flair based on their personal perspectives.

In leaving my job recently, when the people who liked me asked someone who was my friend what happened and where I was, the reply was that I had a family emergency and had to leave suddenly. The answer was accepted and understood wholeheartedly and well wishes were sent.  On the other hand, when someone who did not care for me got their information from one of my ‘enemies’ shall we say: then the answer was–oh she left on bad terms. This, instead, makes me sound like a bad guy. Information then gets passed on to others and the gossip line continues….

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People are all so fascinating . The paths they choose to walk and what they want to hold on to. And we all see things from our own perspective. Trying to see things from someone else’s is a challenge, one that you must work at, but is greatly worth doing. When we put ourselves in another’s place, new worlds open up. A path into theirs…

Sometimes the worlds we see may be hard, sometimes beautiful. But they are not our own. And this is when we learn true empathy. It’s very easy to be insulated within our own bubbles, especially around those that lose perspective and hurt us. But keeping  open to their troubles that makes them hurtful, gives us understanding and keeps us humble to our own issues.

None of have been perfect and we have all done things wrong to others. Goodness knows I have hurt people along the way. We are  lucky if we’ve been forgiven. To be forgiven, we must learn to forgive. Keeping anger out of our souls can be tough, but it is a real path to enlightenment.

This is what I am learning. And I keep hoping that I can continue with the blinders off and a heart without anger.

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For My Work Newsletter


So this is the article I am submitting in response to my decision to being asked to reconsider my resignation at my job:

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My April Fool’s Day

When I moved here in September, it was for a few reasons. The main reason was to be close to my Mother, but it was also to be away from the brutal New England weather and to retire from a stressful career where my co-workers often did not care about one another.

It’s been a blessing living near my Mom and the weather is sublime.

Applying for jobs was exhausting, and when Bethesda called I was very excited. I actually had applied for a different position than the one I am currently in, but with my experience, they felt I would be better suited for this one.

They were forthcoming about the stress of the job, which made me a bit nervous at the time because of my hopes for coming here mentioned above, but assured me about teamwork among colleagues.

It’s been three months, and yes indeed, it’s stress on steroids! I’ve seen how the stress reveals parts of people that probably, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t bubble to the surface.  Some of these parts have directly affected me and, I won’t lie, this has been difficult.

For years I’ve been told ‘you are too sensitive’ or ‘have a thicker skin’ and often it made me feel there was something wrong with me. But as I grew older, I realized that I embrace this part of me and know that this is what makes me a kind, compassionate and loving person. I don’t want to keep people out with a thick skin and I prefer being sensitive to the world around me.

So I had to make a decision about the stress once again in my life and if I wanted to (not could) deal with it. And after much soul searching I decided to resign on Friday, April 1. Even though it killed me because there are so many wonderful people and I actually really like the job and am not ever a quitter. But I had also promised myself not to live a stressful life anymore.

Amazingly though, something happened. I was asked to reconsider. And many people, including some that had been stressed out directly at me, came to me and were very kind.

This made me think about some things.

  • We all have our troubles, so trying to be conscious that another person may be suffering personally may help us to be more patient
  • We all are tired and over worked, but acting as a team will help us all in the long run
  • A smile and a kind word goes a long way
  • Someone we think may not care, really might in the end but just may not know how to show it in the moment
  • Be the first one to extend a helping hand, or even consider being social with someone
  • Try to talk directly to the person first if you hear something you don’t like—remember: don’t assume
  • Let’s accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative in regards to people, how we say things and our attitudes

I guess this all sounds hokey and maybe I’m being unrealistic. But my feeling is that if we reach high than maybe we may obtain at least just short of our goals. And this is better than not reaching at all.

The decision then about reconsidering? After so many great people asked me to, and because I am hopeful and positive person…

The answer was absolutely!

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I’m not sure how my co-workers will take it. They are a mixed and motley bunch. Some may be sympathetic and find it inspiring and others may find the words insipid. None the less, I am choosing to put them forth, just like I put myself forth every day in my blog to my blogging community. Many here hail me, some have walked away. Hey, it’s a free country and freedom of speech is regarded highly and we must be brave when we put ourselves out there to a new audience.

So shall I do when this gets published in our Surgical Services Newsletter. And then let the commenting commence….

 

Resignation


Well, today was the last straw at work. Someone that I thought was a nice person and sort of a friend (I don’t know anyone really well enough to call them a true friend), did something pretty yucky to me today. So now, after being pushed and soul searching, I’ve decided to resign tomorrow. And what better day than April Fool’s day.

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I’m no fool!

After hearing about those two sad young men yesterday and their tragic stories, and listening to myself complain for three months, I decided enough is enough. Life really is just too short. While there are some very nice people there, the bulk of the energy is negative. I’ve learned (and accepted) enough about myself, that I am really an emotional sponge. One can’t simply say to me: Oh don’t let it bother you. No, it’s not possible. I take in all that is around me: the yelling, the gossiping, the mean talk, the shaming, the crabbiness, the rudeness and the direct negativity pointed at me.

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I went into this job with high hopes and a good attitude and now I can’t sleep, have anxiety chest pain and feel exhausted every night when I go home. It’s simply time to walk away. This is a hard decision because I feel very guilty about leaving after only 3 months and letting the nice people down, not fulfilling obligations etc., but it’s not worth it in the end.

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On to greener pastures…..

I’m toying with the idea of becoming a home health aide. Yes…yet a new career and more training at almost 60! But I love senior citizens, it’s a short class and there is a huge call for it down here. The pay is low, but I think the rewards might be great. I’d be back to actually helping people and maybe not being treated like a second class citizen. For me it’s about giving back. Feel free to put your two cents in….??

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I seriously think you are doing the right thing Mommy!

On a good note: I got this wonderful ‘post card’ from one of my best blogging buddies today. He sent it like four weeks ago from England…he’s originally from there, but lives in NZ now. He’s on a 5 week trip all over the place. It took forever to get to me, but it couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed it today. It’s called a ‘Timbergram’ and is made out of wood! I’ve never seen anything like it. 🙂 Thanks…(you know who you are!!)

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Gossip


“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth. ”
― Will Rogers

Why is it when you put more than two people together, you can’t expect anything that is said to stay between those two people? Well, not usually anyway.

The easiest way to keep a secret is without help. ~Author Unknown

I suppose there are some people we can really, really trust with our deep dark secrets or thoughts, or even just our every day stuff. But for the most part, it seems like if you get two people together, it’s like having birds sending messages over the airwaves.

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I’m just waiting to tell everyone where the seeds are!

“Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.”
Jane Austen

It seems that even if we just happen to tell someone something in passing, or casually–if it feels like some juicy tidbit, a grain of gossip, it gets passed along to the next person only to grow into something larger than the original seedling.

Maybe the person passing on the gossip feels empowered, or that they are somehow gaining an ally by the telling of this tale–but in the end, no-one really wins. Somehow the truth gets lost in all this telling and re-telling–kind of like that old story of telephone we used to play as kids: passing on a phrase, whispering down the line until the last person has some complete distortion of the original statement!

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Every day or two, I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there, circulating either from mouth to mouth, or from newspaper to newspaper, and which, taken in homeopathic doses, was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle of leaves and the peeping of frogs.

How, then, does one know who to trust? How does one just speak freely? I tend to be a very honest person. If someone at work asks: how’s it going? I will say: I’m having a tough day here. Ah, but then it gets blabbed all over the place and potentially back to where it shouldn’t (like management). Jeepers. Then don’t ask! Or should I just lie? That’s not my style though. I mean, I don’t even think that something as simple as this will be repeated as some important trifle needing to be shared.
These gems that seem to boost someone else are a mystery to me. Are they like Thoreau’s peeping of frogs–refreshing to some in small doses? Do they derive some sort of adrenaline rush from it? I simply don’t get it.
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PEEP!

By nature I’m admittedly a blabber mouth, but if someone tells me something in confidence and says: please do not share what I’m telling you–then I don’t! But apparently others don’t abide by these same codes. It’s just blah blah blah… Changing my behaviors more than I have may be near impossible after all these years. It may simply be suffer the consequences (as usual) for my honesty. So be it.

It would just be so nice if folks could just respect a conversation and keep it sacred between the folks that shared it. Eliminating gossip: from the work place, the news, families, completely–would make this a whole more honest world!

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. ~Khalil Gibran, Sand and Foam

New Growth


This summer has not only been a time of budding new plants, vegetables, shrubs and trees, but also a time of growth for me. As I grow older, it becomes easier to notice the changes within myself. Maybe because I take certain things more slowly, react more cautiously, contemplate more deeply and feel on a totally different level. Whatever the reason, there are times I feel as though I stand outside looking in, watching my interactions and hoping now that I do the right thing.

It’s been a challenging week. There was a difficult interaction with a co-worker, one who from the very first day has had difficulties with me. Her own demons make trying to do right by her almost impossible (try as I might), so after eight years I’m frustrated, exhausted and ready to be done with it all. When you’ve hit a wall with someone, enough is a enough. There is so much wasted time at work fixing mistakes, smoothing hurt feelings, mending gossip and defending myself. I simply can’t take much more. And with little support from management, well, it’s been tough.

In the past, I would engage with this co-worker and loop in my own head. But this time I was able to keep my cool. While the dirt was tossed at me, a calmness swept over me and I could see through what was going on and did not let myself be pulled into the maelstrom. Instead, I stepped away, got my documentation in order and instead will simply prove she was not telling the truth. It was oddly satisfying and sad at the same time. When dealing with an ill person it’s not completely gratifying when they get in trouble, but by the same token, the turmoil created must end.

On another note, the man my Mom has lived with for years fell on Thursday. It’s a long story, but he ended up breaking his femur. It’s not as bad as it could have been, but he will be in rehab. Luckily he did not need surgery. At 91 or 92, he never would have survived. The sad part is that now my Mom realizes he will have to go into an assisted living care facility after he leaves rehab–if he does leave. His dementia is getting so bad now and she just can’t handle it all anymore.

I was so happy that she and I have been talking again. Honestly, we’ve never been closer. And my oldest daughter, who can be distant from us, called her immediately upon hearing. She was kind and had a generous heart about it all.

Here too, I realized had I not backed down and reached out to my Mother, she would have been going through this alone. I’ve been hurt over the years by our relationship, but it was time to let it all go and live in the present. She stepped up too and we both decided to put the past behind and love today and it’s been a blessing.

And while I’m sometimes sad that my oldest daughter and I aren’t closer, it truly warmed my heart to see her care about her Grandma. There have been thoughts about her caring because she wants something from her, but I’ve grown enough now to see that this isn’t true, that indeed there is a closeness between them. My oldest is special to her and vice versa. It’s wonderful and precious.

Finally, my youngest told me last night while we were out to dinner that she is shy and has difficulty in groups. Funny, I always had just figured she couldn’t be bothered with my friends. But I learned something last night: that she takes after her father! Who knew? I just figured she would be like me.

So while it’s been a week filled with tough stuff, it’s also been one where I know I can handle it all now differently, maybe a bit better than I used to and learn from everything now. My growth is measured, just like the flowers in my garden. It’s noticed and felt within me. It’s also beautiful, bright and will happen every minute.

The fall and winter are coming too (the geese are flocking already), so growth may be more internal and quiet, but it’s never-ending. And I only hope it is making me a better person.