Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You may be right

I started out the morning with a huge limb from an oak tree blocking the lane.  The limb was hollow and came crashing down as I was leaving to run some errands.  Even though it had a hollow core, the huge limb was heavy and required about a half hour with the chain saw to cut it up.  Life is exciting in the country.  I am glad that it didn't fall across someone's car. 

Later in the afternoon,  I took another group of fifth graders on a tour of one of the coastal barrier islands.  They were interested and inquisitive.  I don't mind being around children who have an interest in learning.  It was a fun afternoon. 

I heard a saying the other day that I hear frequently in Al-Anon:  "You may be right."  This is supposed to be used when some one is argumentative and trying to push their point.  It sounds a bit trite and even smug.  I have never liked it.  It worked better in that old Billy Joel song.  Maybe it has become too much of a cliche.  I also don't like the response of "How's that working for you?" when someone exhibits behavior that is destructive.  It seems to smack of sarcasm.  I used it one time with a really bright fellow I sponsored who looked at me and said, "I expected better from you."  I got his point. 

I felt a bit low down this evening.  I know that I have some anxiety over how my old dog is doing.  I wish that there would be no drama and nothing to worry about.  But life has other plans.  For today, things are pretty good.  I managed to shake a feeling of dread earlier by simply writing out a gratitude list and thinking back over the day.  The center of things is holding at the moment.  There is nothing that is provoking an immediate crisis.  I just get to hold on and let tomorrow unfold as today closes. 


  1. I've found coming up with my own spin on slogans makes them feel a little less cliche to me. Like, "Just for Today", I add to it, "and tomorrow can suck it".

    I don't, of course, mean that I expect tomorrow to be bad, it's more of a play on the slogan where I imagine that's how tomorrow feels with all this "just for today" talk. Like tomorrow is the sulky middle child.

    But yeah, the "how's that working for you?" I agree sounds both sarcastic and patronizing. No one has said it to me as of yet, but I imagine if they did I'd look an awful lot like I was about to hit something.

    I see the wisdom in these slogans, as I do in all slogans/mantras. The repeating of them somehow starts to sink into the sub-conscious where all the real work needs to be done. But it is darn hard sometimes to say them without wanting to slap myself.

  2. a group of inquisitive 5th graders sounds refreshing, instead of the huge group that wanted to either flirt or kill things.
    still thinking of you and the dog. our pesty cat is having blood pressure and heart problems, and losing weight fast. he's be expected.

  3. Syd, I'm sorry about Timmi. I know exactly how you feel because I've been through it. The program helps to a good extent in carrying that burden, but it doesn't erase sorrow. We are blessed with the ability to love, and with love comes grief at some point.

    I heard an sober spiritual man once say, "Sometimes you just have to trudge." I've found that to true. The human experience is a yin and yang of good and bad, pleasurable and painful. Like you, I'm grateful for the ability to hold up my head and trudge through the experience with dignity.

    I also believe in an afterlife filled with beloved pets. It wouldn't be heaven without them.

  4. Sometimes it's hard to maintain the gratitude list but it always helps.

  5. I don't like it when a poor newcomer shares from the only place they know how and someone says "keep coming back" in a tone that mocks the fact that they don't know how to share "properly".

  6. Maybe this dread is in the air, floating around for all of us to take a bit and pass on to the next person.
    Who knows? Not me. And perhaps that is MY mantra, my slogan. Not unlike "you could be right."
    Oh, Syd. I hope lighter hearts for all of us. We go on until it happens.

  7. As Napoleon found out in Belgium and Russia---if the center holds the flanks can fold up and in to surround the problem. Hold that center Syd.

  8. i know thoughts of your pup weight heavy on you...hang tight to life syd and enjoy the moments as they come...

  9. So important to communicate with respect and awareness of how we affect others, to be kinder and more truthful. Many organisations and communities have developed a kind of 'shorthand' that often indicates impatience, indifference or contempt.

  10. I actually have a visceral reaction to that phrase "how's it workin' for ya?" too. The truth is, that works on me sometimes when nothing else will. I can either get irritated and move into the solution, or get irritated with sarcasm and realize that it really IS working for me, despite the person who is saying it being sure it won't.

    Either way, I have opportunity to grow from there.

    I was a hard hard case though, mind snapped shut quite regularly and gentle nudges quite often didn't work, but a quick "how's that working for you in my agitation was a reminder of the conversation I had with my first sponsor when I was given 5 questions for consideration, the first of which was "are you willing to go to any lengths?"

  11. Sometimes it seems we need a rest from the ups and downs of life. I think I never appreciate those times when things are quiet until I hit a really long rough patch.

    The slogans were there when my mind was spinning and I couldn't focus. I like life and let live it keeps me out of trouble.

  12. A gratitude list... this is something I'm working on, but I find it much easier to complain than be grateful. This must change because it's just not working for me. You know, Syd, You may be right.

  13. Syd,
    I am worried about your old dog, too. Thinking of you.


  14. I like both of those sayings: the first because it was the only thing that ever worked to stop my ex-husband's rantings and ravings, and the second because it was used with great affection and humour by my first sponsor.

  15. You got me to thinking about slogans I like and don't like.

  16. I use "you might be right" with my elderly clients almost I maneuver them to do what needs to be done, even when they don't want to. It lets them hang onto their dignity. In all my affairs...

    I do agree with you on "hows that working for you?" Just sounds so snotty to me.

  17. I like the slogan, "you might be right." It is the simple truth sometimes. I often want to defend my point of view and saying something like this can remind me that it is remotely possible the other person is right once in a while.

    I have a list of neutral responses I try to use, including "maybe so," "let me think about that," "that could be," etc.

    I think all of these slogan-type things have to be used sincerely. Any words can be used to manipulate or to disrespect. I think it only counts if these are said honestly and without condescension.

    If I really don't believe that "you may be right" I'd better not say it, though. That will lead to resentment and dishonesty.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.