“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives”
Lately I have been sharing with you life lessons that others had learned and shared with me. Today I’d like to give you a couple of mine.
The cruelest words are often those unspoken – On two occasions in the last few years I have lost total contact with two close and highly regarded friends. Every effort on my part to reestablish communications via phone calls, e-mails, text messages and inquiries through friends have failed. Both of these ex-friends were characterized by their kindness, intelligence and interests. Their silence has been devastating, partially because I worry that I might have done something to offend but primarily because I don’t know if they are alright.
Unfortunately that which is unspoken often creates pain. I am sure you have experienced folks who are angry but don’t tell you why as an example. There are many situations when even modest feedback would correct misunderstandings, clear the air or at least provide closure. In my case I hope I care enough about others to never leave them in the dark by cloaking feelings in mystery.
To the ignorant someone with an opinion, factual or not, is often viewed to be an expert. – In this day and age it seems like there are so called pundits everywhere. Cable channel after cable channel is filled with talking heads that offer opinion on everything imaginable with little in-depth knowledge on whatever the subject may be.
Our lives get more complicated every day and we are bombarded with information with what seems like less and less time to absorb it all. It is disappointing that so many take the easy way out by either ignoring everything or believing anything. If nothing else we would be better off withholding judgment at least until we learned more, the worse thing we can do is to let unfounded opinion feed our prejudices.
Think about it, how often do we take what we hear from friends and family members that we know and trust with a grain of salt and yet we often parrot what we hear from someone who has the bully pulpit as if it is some profound truth. Trust me the world is not two dimensional, more often than not there is more than two sides to every story.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
My dog had suddenly developed a bad habit of loud barking about 4am each morning. He was disturbing the entire neighborhood, and several people had complained. One morning he started howling, and when I looked out the window – I saw that someone was throwing something at him. I quietly went out the back door and snuck around to the front to catch the culprit. To my surprise, I found my next-door neighbor throwing rocks into my yard, and just missing the dog. Of course, I demanded an explanation. "I’m not trying to hit your dog," he said. "My mother in law is visiting, and she says if she loses another night of her beauty sleep – she’ll leave!"
There is a guaranteed way to get what you want: want less.
Near St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, I noticed two firefighters standing at the door of their ambulance. The window was partly down, and they were talking to a small child inside, instructing her how to open the latch. Nearby, a young mother looked on patiently.
Assuming they had invited the curious girl into the ambulance to check it out, and she’d locked the doors by mistake, I said, "She locked herself in, eh?"
"No, we locked ourselves out," one of the men said. "We borrowed her from her mother because she could fit through the open space in the window."
I’m not cheap, but I am on special this week.
A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. "Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl.
When they were coming out of the church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.
"Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did."
Thru the years I’ve noticed that conscience gets a lot of credit that really belongs to cold feet.
Moshe was taking to his psychiatrist. "I had a weird dream recently," he says. "I saw my mother but then I noticed she had your face. I found this so worrying that I immediately awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I just stayed there thinking about it until 7am. I got up, made myself a slice of toast and some coffee and came straight here. Can you please help me explain the meaning of my dream?"
The psychiatrist kept silent for some time, then said, "One slice of toast and coffee? Do you call that a breakfast?"
On the sixth day, God created the platypus.
And God said: Let’s see the evolutionists try and figure this one out.
The fragrance department of a major New York City store where I shop is always pushing the latest scents. Attractive models move about the floor offering to spray customers with the newest bouquet. One day, outside the store’s restaurant, a model sprayed two women who had just finished their lunch. When one woman commented that the perfume was much too strong, the model replied, "The fragrance will be much softer once it dries and the alcohol wears off."
"See!" her friend chided. "I told you not to have that second drink."
Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
"Doctor, I’d like you to evaluate my 13 year-old son."
"He’s suffering from a transient psychosis with an intermittent rage disorder, punctuated by episodic radical mood swings, but his prognosis is good for full recovery."
"How can you say all that without even meeting him?"
"Didn’t you say he was 13?"
Hell hath no fury like the lawyer of a woman scorned.
When we put our house up for sale, I stressed emphatically that my sons make their beds each morning. I left for work before they left for school and I wanted to be sure the house looked presentable when the agent showed it to prospective buyers.
I was surprised and impressed that my 15-year-old son’s bed was perfectly made each day. Until, that is, one night when I went into his room, I discovered his secret. He was fast asleep on the floor in his sleeping bag.
If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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