The lost art of really listening to people. The secret to it is we communicated with our bodies. Open stances or closed stances, fiddling and looking away, shifting glances, wild gestures or uncomfortable arm crossing. The saying “Actions speak louder than words” is a lot of the time true. That’s why reading body language helps tell us when we are being lied to or how people really feel versus what they are saying. A good listener can see these things. A true listener can start to understand someone better by these things. Seeing how a person responds physically can communicate their insecurities and their confidences, the things they like and dislike, and also whether they are extremely selfish or are relaxed and loving. Someone who really listens can see right through people.
Then sometimes silence (or the lack of action) speaks louder than words. Whether that inaction is someone saying one thing and doing another or being completely passive and not communicating at all.
That’s why I wrote a song called “Silence is death”
I wrote this because the lack of communication is a huge scream in itself. Crying silently, suffering in silence, sighing silently. It’s all a way of showing a burden, communicating pain or indifference. Especially indifference. “The silent treatment” is a way to communicate my pain that doesn’t need words to describe it. Everyone knows what it is. Everyone understands why. It’s because sometimes the amount of weight I’m carrying inside me is boiling under my skin and its turning my eyes red and soggy, its breaking me so much I can’t even speak. Sometimes the silence is necessary because I’m screaming so loud on the inside I can’t bear to speak anymore. Or maybe its the opposite, maybe it’s because the world and people around me are so loud I can’t handle the noise anymore so I stopped trying and shut down. Maybe I’m too tired of this sick mess to speak anymore. Words fall short of the things I want to say.
This is why people say things like this:
“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.”
― Andrew Harvey
Sometimes its really hard to be bursting at the seems like this always. I take a chill pill and reseed into a happy numbness, which sometimes solves the problems and I start to see that I don’t have to hate and hurt from all the noise around me and inside me. I can let it out and in and breathe and be one with it or separate my self from it. Nothing is permanent. But I do wear my anger on my heart and not on my skin. I wear it on the inside where it festers and starts to boil again and I start my silence.
There’s a difference between serenity and being numb.
Communicating like this isn’t all there is though. Sometimes small talk and social interaction in the trivial pursuits can be a fueling ground for socialites or a draining all-consuming pit of terror. Sometimes I love to gossip and joke with my friends, and other times it tears me apart inside to hear idiotic and pointless words. I get so upset I give a silent tantrum and stop speaking to people.
‘Cause I’ve seen more spine on jellyfish
I’ve seen more guts in eleven year old kids
Have another drink and drive yourself home
I hope there’s ice on all the roads
And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt
And again when your head goes through the windshield
Is that what you call tact?
You’re as subtle as a brick
In the small of my back
So let’s end this call and end this conversation
Saw this quote on the Human’s of New York facebook page and couldn’t help but want to share it.
Death is one of the most under spoken of natural event in everyone’s existence. It’s very difficult to confront.
“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”
These past weeks have really sucked. Not because nothing good happened, but because all the good things were spoiled by disappointments, and disaster took ever shining moment into a tainted crimson version of what it could’ve been. Which was a nice sepia, but that’s not what these weeks look like now, they are sad.
Lyrics that I relate to right now: (Here With Me by Dido)
Oh I am what I am
I’ll do what I want
But I can’t hide
I won’t go
I won’t sleep
I can’t breathe
Until you’re resting here with me
I won’t leave
I can’t hide
I cannot be
Until you’re resting here with me
“Let’s still be friends.”
Ha. You’re funny.
I don’t think humans were designed to write happy music. I only write sad music, and every time I go to write a happy song, it doesn’t make any sense. Maybe because happiness doesn’t make any sense to me. I am happy now though, and I don’t want to listen to happy music. I am happy now for logical reasons. I conquered a fear. A fear I’ve had for years.
I smiled at him. The one guy who I thought I would never be able to even say hi to ever again. I talked with him, and laughed, and he laughed, and we smiled, and then I walked away. Happy. And the bad scary memories faded to a better less ominous tint into a warmer cloudy sepia.
I don’t want to write a happy song about this. Because it will actually be a sad song, confused under a peppy beat and major chords.
I only use major chords to prove points, sad points. Because sad points can only be stressed by happy notes. Happy notes send inviting tones.
I think we write happy music because we need something to dance too. Dancing is a happy generator for me. I dance when I need to be happy, or I dance when I am. I’ve danced for a while now, and I welcome the sweat and the noise from my tap shoes. I doubt my family does but it’s ok. They can deal, because I am happy.
I like dancing in silence, because I follow my own beat. At Least when it comes to tap dancing.
When I am ballet dancing, I usually need music, because the movements are interpretive and need an emotion behind them. Tap dancing in silence is different. The noise you create is the noise you need. You are creating the vibe. The tone. The beat.
I think my hair is falling out. Or maybe I am pulling it out. I can’t tell. But it does come out either way and it’s probably from the stress. I remember this happening to my cousin, Av, her hair was falling out last year. Especially at her dad’s death anniversary. I think my hair fell out a little too.
It’s coming up soon. May 14th. Not a happy day. But I think we will go away from home to cry this time. I’d like that.
Happiness and sadness are both temporary though, because nothing lasts forever. Not even the feelings we have. Love isn’t eternal unless you make it eternal.
Flowers die, chocolates go bad, and relationships become stale. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Happiness for me is simple. Don’t let me be forgotten in the moments when I didn’t forget you.
I never make promises, but I promise that I won’t forget you.