The Difference Between “You” and “I”

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In total darkness and bubbled water I sat, crying my eyes out uncontrollably, my chest heaving with hysterical cries. Rushing in like a madman to save his damsel in distress, my hubby got down on his knees, praying I hadn’t fallen, praying our baby hadn’t decided that would be the day he arrived. Still unable to calm down enough to speak, I nodded my head to show that my distress was not physical. After a minute or two in watchful silence, accompanied by a lot of head scratching, followed by his hand thrust into the water, Don looked at me even more perplexed. “I don’t get it. This water is pretty warm so it can’t be that.” He was of course referring to the day before, which was the first time he had to rush into the bathroom to rescue his delirious bride, mother of his soon-to-be son, whose eyes and decibel level appeared to be seriously trying to compete with Victoria Falls, for no reason other than the lack of hot water. This time, my anguish was over something far more solemn and deserving.

Sensing that our first (and only) child would be showing his face in a matter of days, I had finally permitted myself to look beyond my pregnancy and imagine all the possible kinds of fun we’d soon share with our child, when I was rudely interrupted by the ever so practical, pragmatic side of me that had to speak up and remind me that with fun also comes responsibility. (What a Party Popper!)

# # #

I was already well prepared for that without any serious trepidations, but what had managed to get me in such a panic was the sudden realization, Don and I bore the primary responsibility for teaching our child to SPEAK! and I had absolutely no clue how to do it. Okay. Breathe.

I tried to work it out in my head while lying in my (usually) calming bubble bath with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” wafting in from a stereo in the adjacent room. I managed to come up with a plan for words like ”Cat”,”Dog”,”Apple“, and ”Daddy”. That was good. Then, I came up with similar solutions for a nice size rudimentary vocabulary that I figured would get him through his first year. Whew! That’s when the ground began to shake and give way and the dark clouds suddenly overcame me, when the terrifying thought entered my brain screaming out “How on earth are you going to teach your infant – a virtual alien to this planet born without any conception of words or their purpose – the difference between “You” and “I”?

That day, in the throes of the lunacy commonly shared by many women in the 48-72 hours before giving birth, this dilemma seemed not only rational but absolutely crucial to our child’s entire future. Perhaps I had seen Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine one too many times or spent too many hours reading Sartre and Kierkegaard. As it turned out, my pregnant panic was all for nought. The truth is, I never had to consciously teach Robert how to distinguish between that particular pair of words or the meaning behind them, as one day, somewhere between the ages of 18 months and 2 years, Don and I realized that Rob was way ahead of us and had figured out this linguistic dilemma all on his own! Just like a million other toddlers before and after him, likewise accomplished.

# # #

The memory of that day, which was close to 30 years ago, popped into my consciousness last week-end while my oldest, dearest friend and I were enjoying the intellectual challenge of trying to apply various philosophical, scientific, psychological, and spiritual theories to the very concrete reality of each of our lives, trying to find the sense in what has no sense. While the specific facts and circumstances of my friend‘s life has little in common with mine – at least to the naked eye – we have shared the same frustration, hurt, and complete bewilderment over how can there be (and why?) people, chronologically adults, who somehow managed to miss out on that “Aha!” moment, when most toddlers learned that there IS a difference between “You” and “I”.

Subtle as the concept may be about where “You” end and another person begins, it just seems so fundamental to the ability to get beyond the proverbial sandbox, that I find it even more incomprehensible as to why it seems to be such an impossible hurdle for some folks to handle, despite the fact that for most other intents and purposes, they seem to have above-average intelligence and potential.

”When we feel our emotional boundaries, we can discriminate between our feelings & another’s feelings. We can hear another’s feelings & not have to fix them. We can discern what issues are ours & what issues belong to the other person. We can protect ourselves from being dumped on when someone else can’t handle his feelings. We can refuse to take responsibility when it rightly belongs to the other guy.” Boundaries – Where You End and I Begin by Anne Katherine

I simply don’t get it and so these remain questions I still have no answers for.

And that’s my rant for the day and utterly biased opinion. 🙂 What’s yours?

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a.k.a. “Rip Van Winkle”

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Geezus Frog! Is it 2011 already? I seem to have overslept a bit… 🙂

For those of you wondering where the heck I’ve been for the last month or so, or those who were worrying whether I had gotten too big for my britches and abandoned this blog in favor of fame and fortune in the world of commerce: I thank y’all for caring so much, for the many private e-mails, for your patience and forgiveness, and assure you that my feet are still squarely planted on the ground (or at least metaphorically as they are actually at a right angle to the ground and hiding beneath several layers of quilts and blankets).

As the subtitle of this blog declares, the theme here is “The Art of Survival”, and that is what I’ve been doing: Just trying to survive. If you’ve ever been pregnant or observed it from afar, there is an odd phenomenon where a few days before the babe makes his grand entrance, Mom2Be gets a splurge of energy and accomplishes incredible feats of creative and physical effort. It could be anything from chopping enough firewood to keep the kid warm through kindergarten, wallpapering the entire house as well as the neighbor’s, or stripping and finishing an ancient grand piano. Well, my body, for some weird reason, adopts that routine whenever I’m just about to suffer a relapse, and that’s just what happened this time after enjoying a flurry of creative activity from Sept.-Nov. I’m still having a hard time of it and really have no way to predict how often I’ll be able to post but I’m hoping to get back here at least once a week for as long as I can.

In any case, while I’ve been “away”, if I hadn’t known before, I was reminded once again of the riches I’ve been blessed with in friends. Janie, Mi’chele, Art & Enid, Steve & Sue, Barry & Sharon, and Michelle B. too, are each the jewels I shall always cherish. In goodtimes or bad, in silence or song, these are friends who linger long, whether close or far away. What I’ve done to deserve you I have no idea but pray I can live up to your example.

“But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

”There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends.” Hillaire Belloc

”Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.“ C. S. Lewis

”If you think that the world means nothing, think again. You might mean the world to someone else.“ Unknown (fun link but I doubt this quote was his)

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.” Euripides (408 B.C.)

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What The Dormouse Said (The Art of Epilepsy)

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Recent events in my own life reminded me of a blog post titled, “What About Lewis Carroll” by Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti, that I’d found a few years ago concerning the role temporal lobe epilepsy played in the delightful imagination of The Rev. Charles Dodgson (author of such beloved classics as “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” that was published in 1865 under his more familiar nom de plume, Lewis Carroll). Finding out I had something in common with one of my literary heroes, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (also referred to as ‘Complex Partial Seizures’ or ‘Psychomotor Epilepsy’), peaked my interest in finding out more about Dodgson personally and also about other famous authors, artists, and composers who have lived with this diagnosis, and whether medical science has been able to find a cause-and-effect between TLE and the vivid imaginations, mystical experiences, and profuse output of creative works of such persons. While I have not come across a research study that definitively proves or disproves a biological etiology for such traits, I did find an enormous interest among experts in the field of cognitive neuroscience and a plethora of research that appears well on the way to not only proving such a connection but also being able to map it out in the brain.

Is that cool, or what?

In any case, if you’re either a fan of Lewis Carroll, have an interest in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in general or in learning more about the recent discoveries in Cognitive Neuroscience identifying the exact location(s) in the brain and the environmental and biological triggers that produce highly attenuated senses (visual, auditory, taste, smell and/or touch), out-of-body feelings, paranormal experiences, hyper-religiosity, déjà vu (a feeling of familiarity), jamais vu (a feeling of unfamiliarity), hypergraphia, altered states of consciousness such as euphoria and samadhi, and more, I’ve put together a selection of links that I think you’ll enjoy. At the top of the list you’ll find links to Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti’s blog where she has a number of scholarly articles about Lewis Carroll and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I recommend these as a good place to start.

Suitably apropos, this morning’s serving of artwork is built around my interpretation of one of Lewis Carroll’s hand-sketched illustrations that was included in the 1865 first publication of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. (Special Note: While the images linked below are low-resolution (72 ppi), I’ll be sending off to the printer’s the 600 ppi original file later this week and making the image available through my Zazzle store in poster-size as well as a Greeting Card.)

Enjoy!

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Book It, Pops!

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I’m taking a few days off of the computer to enjoy my family and a few good books. I’ll get back to posting next Wednesday (June 23). In the meantime, I wish all you fathers out there (including my own plus me Hubby) a Very Happy Father’s Day! And I’ll leave y’all with this morning’s freebies – two original images sized to print out at 2” x 7” each, at 300 dpi (high resolution). Enjoy!

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On Being Real (I FELT your pain)

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So many things are on my mind that I’d like to talk about. My brain is not cooperating though. It is as if there is a Ticker Tape Parade going on in my head with shredded gray matter instead of paper. (Oh, Yuck!) Hopefully in the next day or two my brain fog shall lift and my tongue become untied and I shall have all kinds of intellectual crap (er, wonderful things) to share with y’all. In the meantime, I’m going to let some other folks talk for me, as they seem to know what’s in my heart and mind. And then it’s off to some brand new FELTED Freebies I’ve made for you. Enjoy!

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– Margery Williams (Bianco) Author, (1881-1944), from “The Velveteen Rabbit”

• • •

“Three passions have governed my life: 
The longings for love, the search for knowledge, 
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. 
In the union of love I have seen 
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision 
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. 
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people]. 
I have wished to know why the stars shine.
Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, 
But always pity brought me back to earth; 
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart 
Of children in famine, of victims tortured 
And of old people left helpless. 
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, 
And I too suffer.
This has been my life; I found it worth living.”

Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM FRS, (1872-1970,) Nobel Prize Winner (1950), philosopher, Mathematician, Historian, Socialist, Pacifist, Social Critic”

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Heeere’s ERNIE!

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The past few days my time has been diverted from this blog to helping out a friend by doing some research for him. Fascinating subject that I hope to one day share with y’all but for now it’s best I remain mum. In the heart-felt words of my favorite comedienne, the late Gilda Radner (aka Roseanne Rosannadanna): “Never Mind.” As a consequence, I have not had the time to do the research necessary to share with you some interesting facts or thought-provoking musings or other fodder apropos of the subject of this very early morning’s offering of free images suitable as clip art or icons inspired by the life and literature of Ernest Hemingway. But I did not want to neglect my followers altogether lest you think I’ve abandoned you. So without further ado or nonsensical ramblings….

Heeere’s ERNIE!

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Hemingway, Part 2

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It is late and I am tired and, more importantly I think I’m keeping me Hubby up as he sleeps beside me and my trusty laptop… So I’m going to make tonight’s post a quick one by sharing with you some of my most favorite quotes out of the mouth (or typewriter) of Ernest Hemingway. Some of these are simply clever but the rest are the kind that make you want to reflect on them for a while and as you turn them around in your thoughts, different facets jump out at you and you realize that, Ernie, was not as “simple” as he claimed to be…

“Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, American Author & Journalist, from his novel “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952)

“You make your own luck, Gig. You know what makes a good loser? Practice.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, Speaking to his son Gregory, as quoted in Papa, a Personal Memoir (1976) Gregory H. Hemingway

“War is no longer made by simply analysed economic forces if it ever was. War is made or planned now by individual men, demagogues and dictators who play on the patriotism of their people to mislead them into a belief in the great fallacy of war when all their vaunted reforms have failed to satisfy the people they misruled. “
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, “Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter” first published in Esquire (September 1935)

“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940)

“For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, Nobel Prize Speech Delivered from Hemingway’s notes by US Ambassador John C. Cabot (1954) Full Text

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, from an interview of Ernest by George Plimpton in the Paris Review Issue 18 (Spring 1958); later published in Writers at Work, Second Series (1963)

(Courage is) “Grace under pressure”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, Hemingway’s definition of “guts” as recounted by Dorothy Parker in the New Yorker (30 November 1929)

“There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.”
– Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, “Death in the Afternoon” (1932)

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