Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

The Tile Project (www.transculturalexchange.org.tileproject), Pataka Art Gallery, Porirua.

TheMan and I had a debate about the date of Valentines last weekend. I still can't remember what day Valentines Day occurs but I want to wish you love and warm wishes.

When I was in third form at college, I had the brilliant idea to write out ANONYMOUS valentine notes to all the boys in my home class. Well, my pencil case went missing and subsequently all those notes were found. To my humiliation. Now I am 36 and I wonder what on earth possessed me to write nearly 15 love notes to all the boys in my class. Talk about social suicide. Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, I was doing a little social experiment and I wanted to see their reactions. I also had this overwhelming desire to make them feel special (from memory I don't think any of them were particularly popular). Weird I know, but that's what I do. Sometimes my ideas work, and sometimes I do the dumbest things.

I know two dear people who are currently undergoing cancer treatments. Words fail. When I see them, my heart is in my throat. My prayers are heartfelt, emotional and for their healing, recovery, their family and friends, their quality of life, their sanity. I pray that I am a helpful friend and don't add to their complications. And that perhaps when we are together, they feel good about themselves and uplifted.

I have friends like that. You know, people who just take me as I am. See the good in me. Who inspire me and when I am with them, I feel great. I had lunch with a friend who is like that today.

One of the things that frustrates me the most is when people don't listen to me properly. I went to school for six years to get my counselling papers and probably the most valuable thing I learned was how to listen properly, to make sure I am hearing what the person is actually saying and be able to effectively reflect that back, to check that I have received what is meant. To really listen hurts. It means that all my conversation in my head, my responses that are forming, my solutions, my advice, my chit chat are completely irrelevant when someone is sharing their life with me. In fact, my stuff can damage, hinder and prevent someone from feeling safe, capable and respected.

Most modern counselling practices start with the premise that the individual is the expert in their lives. Counselling is meant to provide a safe, non-judgemental and respectful place for people to assess their lives and make their decisions from. I certainly don't know everything, am not an expert on most things, and struggle myself from day-to-day with my own life at the best of times. I am not an authority on anything other than my own life. Those who know me, know I love to talk and listening is hard work. I'm not even a great listener in my daily life, but I know that the few times I get it right, makes all the difference in the world.

The greatest gift someone can give me is the desire to understand me, hear me, listen to me and value me. A friend is that valuable person who actually 'gets me'. I sure as heck want to be that kind of woman too.

I read today's post and some of my more personal posts from previous times. You know, the ones where I share my heart and thoughts quite candidly. I must admit, I feel vulnerable and often full of doubts the following day. I wonder how certain folk will take what I say and whether I will be understood. Or whether, like my 15 valentine notes, I am just setting myself up for misunderstanding and ridicule. Perhaps I am naive and this is a bit simplistic but I think: my opinions aren't fixed and I am learning all the time; that truth is relative; and I can only be me. What I write here is 'what's on top' - some days my writing is good with lots of clarity and light; and other days will be difficult, weird and even dark. Cause that is what my life is like. I personally find other peoples authenticity helpful - discovering that being a dick is not just the exclusive right of myself and that some of my most favourite peeps have crappy days too. Make mistakes, feel sorry for themselves and are not experts too. Means I'm normal.

So anyway I had a great lunch date today with a woman who has a big heart for me, and right now, that means the world to me.

1 comment:

india flint said...

thank you for the many wise words...and Valentine's Day is traditionally celebrated on February 14th (but hey, it cna be every day if you want!)