Anything is Possible!

With Hope, Faith, and Perseverance


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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!


11 Comments

The Power of Love Can Save Us

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK on nonviolence and refusing to hate

If we take the refusal to hate one step further, is it possible to find something to love, or at least like, about every person?  I believe it is possible. And the honest effort is a worthy one moving us in the direction of peace and understanding. It can begin with communication, which means listening with the goal to understand, and speaking with respect, from our hearts. It is not always easy. But it is possible.

I have a dream


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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!


7 Comments

My Secret Weapon for Dreaded Confrontations

socs-badge

It still surprises me how dread can turn into joy in a short time. I wish it didn’t have to do with how some one else reacts. But then, that’s not really all there was to it.

Have you ever been faced with an interaction you dreaded, and it turned out okay, or even good?  It’s happened to me enough, that I’m starting to learn not to worry so much. But sometimes I still forget.

I expected a session to be difficult, for the other person to be angry and unreasonable. My job is to listen, not argue. As a counselor, I can reflect with active listening, I can re-frame. I can ask questions to guide someone toward a new perspective. I can also set boundaries. But I can’t just tell some one to grow up and follow the rules. Not just like that, anyway. But sometimes…..never mind.

There have been many times over the past thirty years when I’ve anticipated, and prepared for a challenging session. What I’ve learned, is that often people are not as challenging as I thought they would be. Of course there are all those times when the anger and irrationality were unexpected.

What makes the difference in either case, whether the challenge was expected or not, has often been turning things over to a Power Greater than myself. We do need to prepare and practice our communication skills. We need to be respectful and listen and set boundaries. But we can’t always predict what other people will do.

So before the session, I talked to God. I remembered that I am stronger and more at peace when I am in contact with the God of my understanding who works all kinds of miracles.  When I let God have my back, everything is less difficult.

The word, LOVE, flickered into my awareness during our talk. God wove love into the defensive intellect of my mind. I felt by body relax a little.

It reminds me of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us,

are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

I cannot be prepared for every situation. I can learn skills and prepare up to a point, but then I have to have faith in myself and my Higher Power.

So it wasn’t just that my client ended up being more calm and rational than I thought he would that changed my mood from dread to joy.  It was my decision to get help from the most wise and powerful counselor I know, that moved me from dread to acceptance, to peace, to confidence, to relief and then joy. Joy that there was some understanding, some movement, possibly even growth in the other person.  And in me.

It was not all smooth sailing, but it wasn’t a shipwreck either. I used my skills and divine help to maneuver successfully through rough water once again.

I wrote a poem about this experience in my other blog: https://joannesilvia.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/remembering-faith/

 

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was opposite emotions. If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/02/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-february-715/

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,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

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. Have fun!


3 Comments

It’s Okay to Marry Your Soul Mate.

1972 b&w kiss

Warnings not to marry your soul mate are trying to grab our attention lately.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brooke-hampton/dont-marry-your-soul-mate_b_6004132.html?love–sex

I let it go at first, but then said, “Wait a minute. It’s okay to marry your soul mate.” There are plenty of people who marry their soul mates and end up with long lasting, romantic relationships. It’s quite possible to be happily married to your soul mate, especially with some groundwork:

1. Look before you Leap. Unless you’ve known each other for a really long time, take the time to investigate your potential mate. When David and I started dating again, (thirty-nine years later) I told him a friend of mine was doing a background check on him. It was a promise I’d made to myself. He said he wanted to help me keep that promise and immediately offered to give me his social security number and anything else I needed. It takes time to find out what someone’s really like. It’s okay to follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

2. Develop and practice good communication skills. We have two ears and one mouth suggesting we should listen twice as much as we talk. Listen with objectivity, ask open questions, be assertive (not aggressive), and look for win-win solutions whenever possible.

3. Don’t expect perfection. A friend’s mother told her to “find a set of faults you can live with,” so she never got married. I can understand that. It’s okay not to get married. But if you do want to marry someone, know your deal breakers. Discuss your deal breakers.  Do your best to make sure you each talk about the things you want to work on.

4. Respect and support each other as individuals. I’ve never liked that expression about your “better half.” I’m not a half of a person, and neither is my husband.  We like sharing our hopes and dreams with each other, whether they’re dreams we have in common or as individuals. David is not that interested in creative arts or singing, and I’m not that interested in aqua-ponics or airplanes, but we support and encourage each other’s goals.

If you know my “About Me” story,  you might be thinking: she’s practically a newlywed. So, how does she know?

I know because I’ve seen true soul mate love last for other couples.  I know because I learned a few things after being married 20 years the first time, not to mention 20 something years as a counselor. I know, because of how my soul mate came back to me when the time was perfect.

The idea is that we  can have lots of “soul mates” who teach us what we need to learn seems to water down the meaning of the term. Those other people were teachers and guides. To me the term soul mate means more than that. Maybe we can have more than one, but not a whole slew of them.

What do you think?