Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


17 Comments

Animal Communication: Language Beyond Words

An animal eyes with wolf

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is, “language.”

The first thing I thought of was that animals have language though some snobs say they don’t. I didn’t mean to write snobs. But I wrote it right out of my stream of consciousness. (I don’t usually call names.) But I do love and respect animals.

In college, I wrote a research paper on the intelligence of dolphins and whales. There was plenty of research, even back then in the 1970’s, that suggested that dolphins and whales communicate in complex ways. This was based on their behavior. If you pay attention, you will see, hear, and sense things that you don’t notice when you don’t pay attention.  The songs of humpback whales are complex and change over time. Who’s to say that this is not language? Just because we don’t understand, just because it sounds different from human languages, doesn’t mean it’s not language.

Many animals have a keen sense and use of body language. They are more aware of it than we are as humans. My dogs have observed my body language very carefully. That’s probably the dominant way dogs communicate, but how do I know? They are probably way more complex than we realize. Who’s to say that a wolf’s howl is just a song? And song’s are language anyway.

great voices wolf pup

In Jean Auel’s book series that started with The Clan of the Cave Bear, the human-like tribes thought the Neanderthal-like tribes were animals because they did not speak. But we learned from the main character, Ayla (who I named my daughter after because I fell in love with these books), that this was not true. They did have a very complex language based on subtle body movements. Ayla knew this because the people of the Clan adopted her (even though she was one of the others) and she learned their language. Even though some of the Clan people thought she was slow and stupid because she did not have the “memories,” she learned healing from the woman who adopted her.

So, language is relative. Language is complicated and beautiful. Like The Five Love Languages which I’m mentioning in my May newsletter. There is the language of love that we communicate with our eyes, the windows to our souls, with no words at all. Perhaps a language without words (as we know them) has the potential to be even more powerful than simple words. Considering that, it’s pretty amazing that we communicate as well as we do, here on WordPress and other blog spots. I’ve made some good and meaningful connections with this language of words. So I’m not knocking language as we are accustomed to it. I’m just saying, there’s a whole lot more to language than just human words.

This video excerpt starts with lots of surface action which I recommend watching in full screen. The singing begins just after two minutes.

(The photos are from Pinterest.)

Linda G. Hill is our host for the Saturday Stream of Consciousness. Visit her blog to follow more streams at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/05/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1317/

SOCS

Here are the SoCS rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


25 Comments

Inter-faith Dreams and Gardening

socsbadge2016-17

The first thing that popped into my head when I read Linda’s post for today (inter) was “Inter-faith.” But then I wanted to go look up inter-  so I could understand the word more.

Dictionary.com says:

a prefix occurring in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “between,” “among,” “in the midst of,” “mutually,” “reciprocally,” “together,” “during” ( intercept; interest); on this model, used in the formation of…

What if we could sit down at a table and share about our faith and work toward understanding one another? A picnic table would be nice, or a round table, like King Arthur had. What if we just listened to each other and looked for common ground? But accepted the differences too! I know it might not be easy. But it would be interesting. I use that word a lot, interesting. But I like it. It would be interesting if we could be open-minded.

We have strong beliefs about some things, so it’s not always easy. Like yesterday I went to feed my feral cats at church and one of our church members who loves to do landscaping was planting the Easter lilies in the garden. Then he started pulling up these plants that I like with purple flowers on them because they are looking leggy and past their peak. I said I thought they were pretty. We’ve had a similar discussion before. We have different philosophies about gardening. I don’t like to kill anything and therefore have a very natural looking yard. Some people would call it overgrown, and they would think they were being nice in saying that when they think it’s a mess.

Anyway, I wanted to get on a soapbox and only briefly mentioned that I didn’t like to kill things. Then I went into the parish hall to wash the cat dish and I prayed: God help me with this. Help me be…. just help me. When I went back out, I saw that the garden did actually look a little better without the scraggly, leggy purple headed stalks. I took one bunch home and planted it in my overgrown yard, and the rest are going to another church member. I helped my friend clean up a little and told him the garden did look better.

So, we both have strong opinions about gardens, which we shared, and we ended up on good terms. Lots of different kinds of flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees in the world. I’m not crazy about zinnias but my friend is. No particular reason. I love honeysuckle and mimosas, but some people think they’re invasive. I think they’re prolific and beautiful. Sometimes honeysuckle intertwines and takes over. And I do have to cut it back some. For the most part, we can coexist, we can tolerate each other’s beliefs. We can figure out a way to respect each other. Sometimes we compromise, sometimes we don’t.

This is a stream of consciousness post, so I don’t have to have a tidy ending. Tidy is not something I’m into anyway. I much prefer interesting.

I just did some research and found out my leggy flower friends are Tradescantia, aka: spiderwort. They come in purple, blue, pink and white, and they are prolific.

spiderwort from pixabay

Today’s stream of consciousness prompt was: “inter-” provided by our interesting host, Linda G. Hill. You can find her and other SOC posts at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/05/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-617/

Here are the rules for SoCS:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


12 Comments

What my 80 Year Old Self Wants Me to Know

 

A follow up to yesterday’s post on what I’d tell my younger self:

 

If my 80 year old self

could reach back in time,

Would she tell me things I tell myself?

Don’t worry so much!

Enjoy your life.

Treasure the moments.

Do more of what you love.

Would I listen?

Is she telling me now?

Moving my fingers on the keyboard?

Love is the most important thing, she says.

Don’t waste time on resentments.

Laugh, sing, play, dance!

Enjoy your talents.

Share your gifts.

Blessings are everywhere!

butterfly on clover flower (3)


19 Comments

Yes, to the Stream of Consciousness

stream-2

Yes, to the Stream of Consciousness!

Yes! It’s time to move forward.

I’ve taken a break and licked my wounds.

Now it’s time to jump back in the stream.

But, but, but….

I have so many streams going on

So many things I want to do.

Irons in fire

Burning, smouldering, steaming…

Here’s the deal:

I will not say yes to anything I have not already said yes to.

That means I have to say no to some things.

Or I can say, not right now, maybe later.

Maybe not.

When the time is right,

Say, yes!

When he asked me to marry him,

Under the full December moon

Of almost four years past,

I said, “You have to get down on one knee.”

Did I see an eye roll

hidden in that smile?

Maybe.

But he did it anyway.

And I said,

“Yes!”

socsbadge2016-17

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt and post was affirmatively brought to you by

Linda G. Hill. Visit, https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-1916/ for a treat!

Linda said we get bonus points if we use the prompt:  “yes” at the beginning and the end of our post. Yes! I get bonus points! Can I cash them in, or do I simply celebrate? Yes! Hey, it feels good to say, yes!

Here are the SoCS rules:

 


11 Comments

What? Therapeutic Questions and Musical Comedy

SOC badge with butterfly

What?

“What,” is our Stream of Consciousness prompt for this week. What am going to do with that?

“What” is a word I try to remember when I’m counseling. Like, “how,” it’s a good word to start off an open question – a question not easy to answer yes or no to. What and how are both good question words. Why is okay, but not so much. Lots of times people don’t know why we do things. I’ll never forget the time I asked my 4 year old son, “Why did you do that?” I think he had made a big mess in the bathroom, but I don’t even know what kind of mess. It was soooooo long ago. His answer to the not so happy tone in my question was, “Because I’m bad.” So I’m not so fond of “Why’d you do that?!” questions since then.

Another not so good question, using “what,” is “What the hell were you thinking?!” It might be better to ask, calmly, in a therapist tone, “What were some of your thoughts when you were making that decision?”

As therapists, we’re supposed to be non-directive, helping people come up with their own solutions, helping people clarify what they want, etc. And when that works, it’s nice. But sometimes I just want to say, “I don’t recommend you meet your X boyfriend who beat the crap out of you, at a bar Saturday night.”  I suppose I could say, and would say, first, “What are some other options,” or we could explore the pros and cons of meeting the x boyfriend anywhere.  I do generally start out with open questions and try to get clients to figure things out, but sometimes, people do need a little direction.

What and how questions are good for any kind of, well most, healthy communication. They stimulate understanding and open discussion. Especially if we listen objectively.

One of my favorite “What” questions is: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

But what if I am afraid? Why am I afraid? Is it realistic? Is it worth the risk? Back to what questions: What would help you cope with that fear? what might that fear be about? What could overcome that fear?

What would I do if I could do anything I wanted?  What would you do? What would it take to bring peace to the world, to the country, to my home? to my life? What would it take to wrap up this post?  That’s it, unless I can find a song.

So this is what I found: It’s a song sung by Sara Ramirez, who I only knew as the voluptuous, and of course intelligent, Dr. Torres on Grey’s Anatomy. Then I discovered this Broadway musical called Spamalot. It looks really funny and reminds me of ad libbing in acting class all those gazillion years ago.

 

You never know what you’ll find in the Stream of Consciousness! If you’d like to join in the adventure, start here:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Jan. 16/16

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


15 Comments

Four-letter Words

SOC badge with butterfly

Is is possible to not use any “four-letter” words? Linda Hill’s prompt for today is “four-letter” words. Here’s the place to see her prompt:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2915/

I was wondering if I could get by with writing no “four-letter” words in today’s post. But as I try to do it, it’s not too Stream of Consciousnessy. So I quit! So much for that idea.

Four-letter words can be useful.

I’ve never been much of a cusser. Not out loud anyway. I cuss just fine in my head, not all the time, but when the situation warrants it. I only  cuss out loud when I stub my toe or something like that, or if I’m alone.

But I have a hard time cussing out loud in front of people. Must have something to do with my parents. I don’t remember my mom ever cussing. Or my dad. But he was a marine for 20 years, so maybe he just didn’t cuss around us kids.

When I was in my early twenties, still living at home, I was talking on the phone to a friend. Back then we only had one phone and it was attached to the wall, so there was no privacy. I told my friend that something really “p—-d me off.” See I can’t even write it.

“Watch your language,” my dad said firmly from his recliner.

So now I rarely cuss in front of people. It’s sort of fun though when I cuss out loud in my car by myself.

I’ve worked as a substance abuse counselor for about 30 years, so I’ve heard my share of four-letter words. Some people don’t even know they’re doing it.  In individual sessions, I let it go. In groups, I’ll ignore an occasional slip. But every now and then, I get people in group who have no idea how much profanity they’re using. Since some people in the group might be bothered by it, and since people might need to learn to limit their use of four-letter words, say like for job interviews, etc., what I’ll do is put little hash marks on the board, discreetly, for each time the habitual cusser says the word. I usually only do it for the “F” word, since that seems to be the most offensive one. Though the “n” word is the most offensive word to me, and that’s not a four letter word. No hash marks for that one. Just stop it.

Eventually some one in the group catches on. I’ve had clients with 7 or 8 hash marks in a half hour, and they weren’t even mad about something. When they realize they said the “F” word so many times, they say they didn’t realize they were doing it that much, and they’re usually apologetic.

My goal is not to be authoritative or condemning, but to help them realize how often they are using the word and encourage other words. Sometimes clients have a goal to stop cussing so much, maybe for employment reasons, or they don’t like hearing their kids repeat those words, or maybe saying those four-letter words so often doesn’t fit with the new lifestyle they want to create.

It takes a conscious effort to change a habit like that, but it can be done. They can ask someone to discreetly point out to them when they say certain words. It’s like me telling my husband and my daughter that it’s okay for them to tell me if I’m hunched over. I’m often unaware at how bad my posture is until I see myself in a mirror, or notice how short I’ve become. I guess cussing is like that too.

So, I’ll be standing tall and cussing quietly…..in my head.

My husband says up north they call it swearing, instead of cussing. What do they call it where you come from?

If you’d like to join the Saturday Stream of Consciousness Fun, visit Linda at the link above.

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!