Tag Archives: friendship

soul music from a piano’s underbelly

soft, these sounds
steal again into my heart.
how’d he do it?
he played on the piano
like he knew all about our souls.

this is a little tanka – a short japanese poem – i wrote after listening to the CD of the wonderful sounds craig addy created when my friend and soulmate haedy were lying under the piano.

yes, under the piano.

one day, craig was kissed by his muse and he set out to design a little world under his baby grand. satiny cushions, soft blankets and inspiring colours created a womb of wonder under a firmament of melody and gentle rhythm that craig carried into our minds, hearts and bodies through the wood and metal of the piano’s underbelly. “touch the piano,” craig encouraged us, “you’ll experience the sound in a completely new way.” and we did, and it was true. the music came to us from everywhere – our fingertips, our backs that touched the vibrating floor, the air, our souls.

our souls – that was the deepest part. “how’d he do it?” i said in the tanka. i don’t know. does he know? maybe he’ll tell us. we had a very short conversation beforehand, nothing particularly personal. craig knows me a little; he didn’t know haedy. but then he sat down on the piano and he captured – i don’t know what. even the word essence doesn’t get to the heart of it. he captured who haedy was, who i was, he captured our relationship, our story, where we were at the moment, where we had been, where we might go. we lay there, held hands, listened, and cried. we were transported yet we were intensely there. haedy, who has stage four cancer and is in constant pain, was released from her aches for a while. i had intense memories of lying under my grandparents’ piano. craig, letting his hands go where they would, played music that nurtured us and understood and held us.

craig recorded the music and we were able to purchase the CD afterwards. it is my favourite CD right now. would you like to listen to some of it? go here to craig’s blog and let yourself be transported …

last minute, long-lasting christmas gifts

if you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that i’m generally not a big fan of prayers sent along via emails, or similar material (see my rant against the email with the prayer of saint theresa, for example). but once in a while something comes along in my inbox that really touches me.

here is a suggestion for a whole different sort of christmas gifts:

mend a quarrel.
seek out a forgotten friend.
write a long overdue love note.
hug someone tightly and whisper, “i love you so.”
forgive an enemy.
be gentle and patient with an angry person.
gladden the heart of a child.
find the time to keep a promise.
make or bake something for someone else. anonymously.
release a grudge.
listen.
speak kindly to a stranger.
enter into another’s sorrow.
smile.
laugh a little.
laugh a little more.
take a walk with a friend.
lessen your demands on others.
play some beautiful music during the evening meal.
apologize if you were wrong.
turn off the television and talk.
treat someone to an ice-cream cone (yogurt would be fine).
do the dishes for the family.
pray for someone who helped you when you hurt.
fix breakfast on saturday morning.
give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
encourage an older person.
point out one thing you appreciate most about someone you work with or live near.
offer to baby-sit for a weary mother.

(it turns out this comes from day by day with charles swindoll)

disfigured: anorexia, obesity and a friendship

reviews seem to be the theme these days. here’s a video i was sent – disfigured. i wonder who shouldn’t watch it. one-track-mind rambo fans, perhaps. people who can’t stand delving into other people’s psyches. those who don’t like sex scenes on screen, no matter how elegantly presented. and if you don’t like watching people who are overweight, it’s not for you, either.

if you don’t count yourself among any of these, watch it. it’s well done, it’s interesting, you’ll learn something.

disfigured is about a friendship between two women – one anorexic (darcy), one overweight (lydia), neither of them extremely so. which makes me like the movie right off the bat – it’s good to remember that most of “those” people are actually quite normal (whatever that means, but that’s material for another blog post).

here are some tidbits:

on using anorexia to deal with conflicts:

someone pisses you off, you count how many calories you can cut the next day – YOU’re the one in control … now it becomes a blood sport

both, overweight and underweight, get the “we-have-to-talk-about-your-health talk” from well-meaning people, or people who can’t resist the temptation to stick their noses into other people’s business:

they let me know that i am fat … they always have some great system or plan … “you have such a pretty face if you only – ” (ate more; ate less; exercised more; exercised less – pick appropriate advice)

part of the plot is a half-hearted relationship between lydia and bob. bob weighs a bit too much, as well and – shoot, i’d love to tell you about that but i’d spoil it for you.

on the secrecy of overeating: “you eat at home, alone, when no one’s looking.”

which again, isn’t so much different from being anorexic. when you’re anorexic, you pretend to eat to distract people who are watching you.

on the addictive quality of overeating when lydia, after trying to “learn how to be anorexic” in order to lose weight, caves in an brings home bags full of goodies:

i just want to really get it over with? what – life? i already feel crappy but i have to eat what i bought, i just want to get it over with

then the tables are turned – well, maybe, that’s for you to find out if (when!) you watch the movie:

bingeing: you should try it … it’s better than sex … cross over to the dark side

many psychologists and therapists would say that part of the reason for eating disorders are disjointed feelings around what it means to be cared for and about. this meets with flippancy (“you hate me? no, i’m fine”), eating (“this is me taking care of myself. at least somebody is. – who takes care of you?”), and isolation (“you don’t understand!” “i do understand!” “i won’t let you!”). finally “if anyone is going to try and care me into getting healthy, i’ll scream.” and then … well, as i said, see for yourself.

the film ends with a moving, inspiring monologue by lydia.

these bodies – they’re us. how can we live in them every day and find them so strange? how can we hate them? they’re beautiful, and miraculous and sad – everything we experience, we experience through them. sooner or later we’ll just have to find a way to love them for what they are.

i’m not a big movie buff, actually more of a movie scrooge. if there were more movies like disfigured, though, i’d watch way more.

quickie: what’s a friend?

just a few quick thoughts here, inspired by my twitter friend todd. in his tweetings today and his most recent blog post, he talks about a social media tool called friendfeed.

“friend” is a word that’s used a lot in social media. often it’s just the name that you give a contact on whatever social media watercooler(s) you use. some people have 5,000+ friends, like geek guru robert scoble (and yes, i’m one of his twitter, um, friends.)

so we’re redefining the word friend. seriously. at least in the social media sphere and its circle of influence, which is pretty much everyone in north america, and a large portion of the population in other english-speaking countries, as well as western europe.

so what’s a friend? who’s a friend?

i count among my best and closest friends a woman about 2,000 kilometres from here whom i have never met in person.

a friend of mine calls someone a close friend who she grew up with and lived with for a while but now they both don’t take the time to contact each other at all; once every three years or so they run into each other and talk as if nothing had happened.

through blogging, i have made friends with people who otherwise i would have never met, even though they’re in vancouver. my life is richer for having met them.

someone else i know spends lots of time on internet forums; it’s 80% of her social life.

i have a friend who i’ve known and been close to since grade 1. the fact that most of our lives we’ve lived in different countries is unfortunate but doesn’t diminish our friendship.

on twitter, i follow about 300 people. are they all my friends? well, yes, in a way. but there are some whose tweets i follow more avidly than others. it’s hard to follow what 300 people do, and sometimes i wish there was some tier system. tier 1 could be, “a day without hearing from them is a bad day” and tier 10 “sure, i don’t mind hearing about you once in a while.” urgh, that sounds heavy.

but in a way we’re doing that for our non-online friends already anyway, right?

what do you think?

(this post was included in a LinkedIn carnival

helping a friend with depression

there was an interesting post a few days ago on PsychCentral, predicting that january 21st – yesterday – would be the most depressing day of the year, according to cliff arnall. or maybe not. maybe it’s in october.

whatever it is, the most interesting part of that article to me was that they also touched on the fact that there are so many people out there who don’t feel good, and might very likely be depressed, but don’t go and look for help for it.

it saddens me to see people suffering with symptoms of depression, suffering in silence, when there is help available. of course part of being depressed can often include difficulties with

  • believing that anything or anyone can help
  • being motivated to reach out for help
  • having enough energy to get help

there are so many depression treatments out there. many of them work. and in there: many of the resources are inside of us.

but today, let’s ask the question, how can the depressed person get there? specifically, if we have a friend who is battling with depression, how can we help him or her to reach for whatever it is that’ll help them get better? there were already a few suggestions in a previous post; but since this is such an important and timely topic, let’s talk a bit more about it.

i say just be a friend. just hang out with them. don’t tiptoe around them but do respect where they are emotionally. for example, feel free to ask them if they want to go for a walk with you but don’t drown them in your enthusiasm: “but it’s so beautiful out! you’ll love it, for sure!” people who are depressed often feel nobody understands how they feel, and raining happy-happy feelings on them will deepen that feeling.

when you hang around long enough, an opportunity might arise when you might be able to help them reach out. your friend might say, “well, maybe i should go see a doctor.” you can then casually mention that you could drive them. again, i recommend against jumping on your friend, “yes! great! let’s go right now!” depression often feels like your very foundations are crumbling. if your approach to your friend is too hale and hearty, it might make the foundations feel even tremblier.

if you’re really concerned about your friend, don’t hesitate to honestly share this with them. make sure that you honour both your and your friend’s feelings. you could ask your friend first whether it’s okay for you to tell them what’s on your mind. take their reply seriously. if they say, “no, i can’t hear that right now,” back off. most likely they’ll show a certain indifference.

if you feel you have a go-ahead, tell them how you feel. yes, that’s how you feel, not what they should do. big difference. most likely, too, if you’re honest with yourself, one of the reasons why you want them to go to a doctor is so that you can feel better. if that’s the case, lay it all out on the table. once again, talk about how you feel, how you’re feeling helpless or scared or confused. and then state to them that only they know what’s best for them, that you can’t force them to make any decisions.

if you don’t know what else to do, and particularly if you’re afraid your friend is actively suicidal, call a hotline.

have you ever helped someone who was dealing with depression? have you ever been helped? what worked? what didn’t?

a new theme

well, folks, i finally have my new theme up and running. what do you think? i still need to iron out all kinds of little kinks and realize that i want to re-write all my pages (as opposed to the posts) – but all in all, i think my new “house” is ready. please feel free to kick the tires and tell me what works and what doesn’t.

here are my thanks:

first of all to my readers. thanks for sticking around through all these changes and experiments!

i also want to thank SBI, the host for my counselling in vancouver website for two years, for stellar service. unfortunately, their system didn’t work out for me but that is absolutely not due to them. i would highly recommend them. great service, tons of information and advice, a really nice community. the main reason why i switched away from them is because i wanted to amalgamate my web site and my blog, and that didn’t fit with their technology.

thanks also to my friend zoe neill-st. clair, one of the most intelligent people i’ve ever met. she’s been my main technical advisor and has made the cutline theme into this good-looking babe of a site. originally, we were going to use tiga. the main reason why it took forever to make the change from the old theme (about two months) is because we kept wracking our brains trying to find a way to fix a permalink problem with tiga. it turned out that with my server, we simply couldn’t use the already existing permalink structure, which i needed to keep because of all the existing links to this blog. so good-bye, tiga. too bad. it’s a really nice theme.

also, thanks to 1and1, the host of this blog for about 18 months now. they’ve always been helpful, have sometimes gone way beyond their scope, and the few times when their advice wasn’t quite accurate, were always quick to correct things.

finally, i want to thank my friend robert sanzalone, who i consider to be my blogging “godfather”, and all the friendship and support i continue to receive from my blogging friends – too many to list here – and particularly my buddies from the vancouver bloggers meetup.