What does your body language tell others?

Body language rarely lies. In fact when the body language is in conflict with the way a situation is being presented, I would trust the body language every time.

As a species, we have developed a quite sophisticated vocal communication system in that we can “keep it simple” or we can embellish. We can get “straight to the point” or we can detour. Which route we take is often dictated by what we are trying to achieve, and how difficult we think that might be to get there.  Simply put, we have developed an impressive system of communication which invites “misuse and abuse”, and one of our problems will always be to listen to what is being said, and then figuring out the thinking behind those words.

I had a dear friend who lived a less complicated life, in that his vocal expressions were minimal, but his body language said so much. He could vocalize what was necessary, but everything thing else was body language. I knew when he was happy, and I knew when he wanted to be left alone. He made it very clear when he wanted something, and was equally clear when being presented with something he did not want. Disturbing him during his sleep was an ill advised action to take. Most of our interactions were via body language, and I often wondered how much insight he had of me simply by my body language? I suspect quite a lot!

Here he is asleep on his place of choice.

I can get so much out of this picture of him. He took possession of our chair as his place of choice to sleep. He liked his head elevated a little (so do I). He felt very secure based on the tangle of legs (it would be complicated to get up fast).  He would have known that a camera was pointing at him, but had no reason to care! Here is a picture of a very relaxed, very contented and very tired Ray.

So the next time you plan on saying something that may not be a true reflection of your feelings, remember Ray and his body language in the above photo … because your body language is likely to “say” so much more!

“A Bag of Secrets”

I find that every now and then, I will discover a piece of music or song that really resonates with me. Sometimes the reason is obvious, but sometimes it just seems to be the melodic flow of the instruments. My imagination can always be “fired up” with particular musical phrasing, and of course by a certain lyric line, so when listening to music or a song (or even reading a book), I am often “directed” into a space where I can let go of the real world for a few moments. I go into my “other world”!

Back in 1973 (when I was a 27 years old father of two), Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” was released. I was one of the few in my social circle that fell in love with it, and I cannot even guess at how many times I have listened to it.  For anybody not familiar with it, the original (he also recorded an orchestrated version and also a more modern electronic version), is a 50 minute musical adventure!

The other day I was searching YouTube for some specific music and quite by chance noticed a “Tubular Bells” video. It was of a live performance by Mike Oldfield however, it was timed at just over 8 minutes. How can one present a 50 minute piece of music in 8 minutes? I had no idea but decided to find out!

Not surprisingly (in retrospect), he used the main “Tubular Bells” theme to gently caress other melodies. This Post was not, however, written to focus on Mike Oldfield, or his “Tubular Bells” piece. Remember the first paragraph?

As the 8 minute YouTube video performance was almost at its end, a voice of a very young boy with an English accent said:

And the man in the rain picked up his bag of secrets, and journeyed up the mountainside, far above the clouds, and nothing was ever heard from him again.”

So why don’t you join me as I go through the doorway into my “other world” and contemplate that single sentence. It raises so many questions such as:

Is it an old man? I associate the activity as being that of an old man, but that is nothing more than my perspective.

Why is he out in the rain? Obviously an unfortunate set of circumstances, but perhaps his mission was very important to him.

How was he travelling? I can visualize so easily an old man walking with great effort up a mountain path and disappearing into the clouds, although he apparently went “far above the clouds” … and has not been heard from since, so I wonder where he went?

Those of you  who are very detail oriented, may be aware that I have not mentioned the “bag of secrets”! That “bag of secrets” was the phrase that got my initial attention and locked in my interest to the point where I had to Google the piece to get the exact wording. So what exactly was in his bag of secrets? Well of course, being secrets, we will likely never know but what an adventure in one sentence 29 words long! Here we have an old man going out in the rain to pick up his bag of secrets. We don’t know whether they were his secrets in the bag, or those of somebody very special to him, but his mission was important enough to be out in the rain.

Then there is the “mountainside”. Not only does that conjure up images of a quite steep and winding trail, but that trail went right through (“far above”) a layer of clouds and “nothing was ever heard from him again”.

So what is it all about? I have no idea what Mike Oldfield had in mind for either the “Tubular Bells” musical saga, or for the little English boy’s spoken words at the end of the live performance. When in my “other world” however:

The old man has lived a long and eventful life and feels that his end is near. He knows that if some of his knowledge learned over his many years were to become known by others, then those dear to him could suffer as a result. He therefore decided that, rather than risk his secrets becoming known upon his passing, he would put them all in a bag and take them to a place where nobody would ever find them.

What happened “above the clouds” provides a couple of possibilities. I think that his work on earth was recognized by one or more of the deities who watch from above, and a reward was offered to him, being eternal life nearer to them … and he could bring his bag of secrets with him to ensure their safety. So it is my belief that he walked up the trail, carrying his bag of secrets, right through the clouds and to the very top of the mountain, at which point he was gently taken from the mountain and carried to a place some of us might call Heaven where he still lives.

An alternative thought is that he carried his bag of secrets to the top of the mountain where he then buried them. His mission completed, and knowing his time was imminent, he lay down and awaited his final breath.

In summary, an intriguing three word phrase (“bag of secrets”) and 26 additional words, can really create the basis for quite a story!

Footnote: It is remarkable how a short collection of words can make such an impact. Now imagine what a larger number of words could do! Well of course, a larger number of words can be called a book, and I am sure that most of you have read at least one book which held your attention, and may even have created lasting memories. A “Bag of Secrets” and the “Power of Words”, are both doorways which invite us through. Anybody ready for more adventures?

A New Direction perhaps?

This Blog was started quite a few years ago, and was predominantly going to be a vehicle for sharing my experiences with Ray … our (then) new family member. Ray may longer be with us, but he is missed terribly. However,  the world must keep turning and, in that context, some decisions are going to have to be made about this Blog. What to write about? How to redesign it to reflect a new direction? What will be the new direction and, in fact, will there be a new direction?

Stay tuned, and don’t be surprised to see some decor changes around here!

‘Tis that time again!

Wishing everybody a wonderful time over the holiday period, and a peaceful new year.

A new year where we display and witness compassion towards others.

A new year where we endeavor to understand that each of us is a product of our upbringing and of our life experiences.

A new year in which each of us can celebrate our own uniqueness, and acknowledge that attribute in those we meet.

A new year in which we can celebrate our differences, rather than isolate one another because of them.

A new year that we can together make truly wonderful.

Before you vote……………..

Many of us have imminent elections, and the rest of us are likely to have them in the not too distant future, so here is an interesting read (author unknown):

Butch the Rooster

Sarah was in the fertilized egg business.  She had several hundred young pullets and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.  She kept records and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.
This took a lot of time, so she bought some tiny bells and attached them to her roosters.  Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance which rooster was performing.  Now, she could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.
Sarah’s favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen but, this morning she noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all!  When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.
To Sarah’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring.
 He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job, and walk on to the next one.
Sarah was so proud of old Butch, she entered him in a Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.
The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the “No Bell Peace Prize” they also awarded him the “Pulletsurprise” as well.
Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making.
Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention?
Vote carefully in the next election. You can’t always hear the bells.

Could not overlook this!

The following is apparently an extract from the 2019 inaugural address by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

“We need people in power who will serve the people. That is why I do not want my picture in your offices, for the President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait. Hang your kids’ photos instead and look at them each time you are making a decision.”

Just imagine what the world would be like if everybody considered their kids before making any decision.



Life Circumstances

“Life Circumstances!”

Having Ray’s book* released to the world triggered many thoughts, not the least of which is how one’s life journey can change directions in ways that could never have been predicted, simply as a result of specific circumstances.

If I had not failed my pre-career medical, I would have never met the girl that I married.

If I had never married that girl, I would have never come to Canada because it was her aunt that sold us on the idea and eventually sponsored us.

Many years later, if I had never been put on a special project by my employer, I would have never met Carol.

If I had never met Carol, it would have been virtually guaranteed that I would have never contemplated letting a dog into my life.

If I had never let Ray into my life, I would have never written the book about him!

If somebody told me in 2008 that, in 5 years, I would be living with an almost 80 pounds dog who had been abandoned and carried significant emotional baggage as a result, I would have grinned and responded “Yeh……….. right!”

If that same person told me that I would do pretty much anything for that dog, I would start to wonder what they had been drinking.

If they then told me that I would write, and publish, a book* covering the trials and tribulations of his first 18 months with us, I would be convinced that they were totally delusional.

Circumstances! Aren’t they wonderful? They can just happen, and our life takes on a completely new direction.

Circumstances! Provide us with incentives to step out of our comfort zones.

Circumstances! Offer us challenges from which we can expand our horizons and generally grow.

Perhaps we should all reflect on the circumstances that brought us to our current “place” and celebrate because, regardless of the positives and negatives of the various life-changing circumstances, they did happen and they did make us who we are today. As for tomorrow? There will hopefully be more circumstances.

* “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” is available direct from the Friesen Press Bookstore