Tag Archives: mental shift

Others’ opinions

Standard

I recently met my schoolmate whom I have not seen in two decades or so. At some point she dropped me a message, when she realised that we live in the same region.

So, on a Sunday afternoon she, her kid and husband were at our door. We love guests, so we soon settled in a nice conversation around some home baked warm goodies. Our kids swiftly immersed themselves into play. It was all lively and lovely.

After we had our coffee, my schoolmate suddenly remembered how much she and her friend laughed at my acting in primary school. I always somehow landed lead roles in school plays.

Her voice was remorseful. She remembered this for decades and seemed to want to say it to me out loud. She remembered some of my roles’ lines from back then. I must have been good.

I was not bothered by her confession. She was 8-9 years old. I loved acting. I was oblivious to their comments. And that was wonderful.

If I would have known and started paying less and less attention to what made me me — my talents, beliefs — and would have started conforming to what others may or may not think, it would have harmed my free expression and my potential.

As adults we tend to listen to and spend time on ruminating over others’s opinions until it spirals into infinite. Thanks to extensive research we can learn to deal with it. If you want to learn more, read “How to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You” by Michael Gervais, Harvard Business Review, 2 May 2019.

“If you want to write” by Brenda Ueland

Standard

I found the central idea of the book in these lines “creative power is in all of you if you give it just a little time; if you believe in it a little bit and watch it come quietly into you; if you do not keep it out by always hurrying and feeling guilty in those times when you should be lazy and happy.”

The book requires a certain openness to spirituality to inhale some of the book’s ideas especially on reason and inspiration and concepts like that.

Brenda Ueland is convinced that we all can and shall write: “But if (as I wish) everybody writes and respects and loves writing, then we would have a nation of intelligent, eager, impassioned readers; and generous and grateful ones, not mere critical, logy, sedentary passengers, observers of writing, whose attitude is: “All right: entertain me now.” Wouldn’t that be truly great? I think so.

She takes a strong stance on critics and argues her case, quite persuasively. Among the many reasons she gives: “Another reason I don’t like critics (the one in myself as well as in other people) is that they try to teach something without being it.”

So, if you want to write you’ll find a supporter in this book. If you are already writing, you might find yourself coming back to the 12 pieces of warm advice this book concludes with.

An autumn love story

Standard

On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.

We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.

She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.

They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to him and told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.

The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.

As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:

– Oh, darling, your back hurts you again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.

– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.

– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.

Mathilde blushed and directed his eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”

– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.

We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.

P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.

“A man called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

Standard

I just finished the book. And I cried. And I laughed. It is so human I wanted to embrace it. The author does so much justice to the roller coaster of the life of this amazing couple at the center of the narrative – Ove and Sonja.

The story line is rich, tender and explosive. It embraces such a diversity of characters throughout the book that at times I thought I am reading two or three novels in parallel. Yet, by a masterly stroke of the pen, they come together as one. It is quite extraordinary.

My favourite quote: “And when she giggled she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter.”

Teleworking week 5: view from home

Standard

As weeks add to the teleworking mode, when I am asked about how am I doing, I usually answer: “I am glad I am not a doctor or a nurse”. Me becoming a doctor was my mother’s dream who did not get into medical school at her time. These days, I am particularly grateful that I disobeyed her wish.

This post is not about me. It is about the millions of doctors, nurses, hospital workers and healers of all kinds of medicine. Those who leave their warm beds early mornings to get to white rooms filled with people who suffer. Those who hold hands of kids on a hospital beds and get to see their own kids only when they sleep. Those who do shifts after shifts and sleep wherever they can in quiet minutes. Those who come home after 32 hours in a hospital and do their household duties as if they have been on a city break. Those who keep their warm smiles for every patient, even if their inner world is in ruins. Those who fight the unknown and unseen as a fairytale immortal fighter. Those who cry, when they cannot see it anymore, and then wipe out their tears and keep doing the best they can.

And I am not even going into the supplies, equipment, infrastructure, miserable wages so many of them have to cope with in so many countries. If we cannot do their job, then we can at least honor their work by #stayinghome. That’s not too much to ask.

Monaco, photo by Monaco Info

Day Spa, homemade

Standard
Day Spa, homemade

– Bye, darling, I am gone for half-a-day.

– « Gone? ». Did you write your déclaration for today?

– Why? Do we need one now for going to the bathroom?

Well, if I cannot go to the Spa, the Spa comes to me. And as in a Award acceptance speech, my thanks go to:

– my flat owner for having not saved money on a proper bathtub. Those with a history with French « landlords » know what I am talking about.

– my pharmacist for having good supplies of essential oils. For now, my favourites are Lemon and Palmarosa for their escapist abilities to take my senses to a garden in full bloom.

Pranarom, essential oils.

– and to my hubby for my perfect espresso with a pinch of nutmeg.

Teleworking week 4: view from home – serendipity

Standard

By the end of this week, I developed an interest in Kardashians. I know everything about Stormie. I do not keep up yet with the entire klan (k – on purpose) of Kardashians. If this lasts, however, you never know.

My hubby trusted me with his haircut. I am not yet ready to reciprocicate.

I joined the diminishing trend of the blond population, estimated to go down by 70-80 percent. We, blondes, need to remain trendy.

My succulent is blossoming. Spring is in da house:

Teleworking week 4: view from home: domestic violence

Standard

I was raised in a family dormitory so I know about domestic violence not from the social publicity of last decade or so. I am thinking of millions who experience domestic violence in confinement and for whom work outside the home might be a/the only survival strategy. When resources are put into national and global emergencies, most vulnerable tend to remain outside the focus. Even if the numbers justify national and global responses to domestic violence.

It was only as of last week that authorities commenced to realise what confinement means for those who share a space with their abusers, after reported cases jumped by 30% in some countries, which are considered developed.

International Organisations started sounding the alarm and a number of statements followed from the Council of Europe and UN. Human rights mechanisms will have to deal with the way domestic violence was dealt with at national levels.

Some global newspapers covered the topic. Journalists do some justice to these victims by bringing the issue to light. The psychological consequences of trauma on victims and, in particular, children and elderly who suffer and witness all this, go into no economic analysis, politicians are currently preoccupied with. I once employed a victim of domestic violence and got to learn lots from this experience. For policy and decision makers these victims appear as casualties of this crisis management, as cynical as it sounds. In fairness, there are jurisdictions which manage it well. We can only hope that their experience will be shared and we will learn from it.

Crisis or no crisis, there is no truth in suffering.