Monthly Archives: August 2013

We Are All Masters of the Unsaid Words, But Slaves of Those We Let Slip Out ~W. Churchill

Roseanna BorelliIt doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I come across a little piece of wisdom that strikes a chord so deep inside me that it actually moves me.  A few years ago, while dipping my toes in the teachings of Buddha, I learned about the Three Gatekeepers and how our words must pass through these three gates before crossing our lips or before pen meets paper.  Not long ago and very unintentionally, my written words brought tears to someone very close to me. Since that day, I have vowed to remember the three Gatekeepers and what we must do when choosing our words…

For the words that you are about to speak to pass through the first gate, they must all be true.  In order to pass through the second gate, your words must be kind.  And finally, to be allowed past the third gate, your words have to be necessary.

I think perhaps the reason this hit me so hard is because I have certainly been guilty, on more than one occasion, of not thinking before I speak.  My daughter calls this, ‘having no filter’.  I never speak with the intention of hurting someone, but I have been known to do more talking than listening and there have been many instances where my choice of words was less than impressive.  I now actually keep in mind the Gatekeepers ‘mantra’ before I speak (or write) to someone.  And it isn’t enough to have your words just pass through one or two gates.  They must be able to pass through all three.  I think perhaps this is where we get ourselves into trouble.  We may feel that our words are justified in being heard solely based on the fact that we believe them to be true.  While we may believe our words to be based in fact and accuracy, is it really necessary, for example, to tell your sister that she has put on a few pounds? That statement is neither kind or necessary.  I have been on the receiving end of some very harsh and ill-conceived truths that clearly did not make it past the last two gates.  People like to hide behind that one word, ‘truth’.  Often their perception of the truth is little more than an uninformed opinion.  How wonderful our society would be if those close-minded people also came with closed mouths.  

Roseanna Borelli

Now, perhaps not as hurtful, but still quite capable of damage, are words that are both true and kind, but maybe not necessary. This is where we have to remind ourselves that even though we may feel our words are true and kind, they may not be received that way.  The person who lets these types of words slip out often has an agenda or an ulterior motive for speaking words that really are not necessary.  I try to remember to ask myself before I speak, how will what I’m about to say benefit the person I’m saying them to in a positive way.  If the positive can’t be found, then the words do not need to be said.

Finally, what happens when your words are necessary and true, but lack kindness?  I have experienced both sides of this coin and one left me feeling like a fool for not showing more compassion when writing/speaking and the other left me hurt and even a little broken.  I don’t think we need to dip our every word in chocolate and sugar coat them, but a little kindness goes a long way.   No matter how filled with truth your words are or how necessary it is for someone to hear them, if they lack kindness, they will put the other person on the defensive.   Of course, there will be times when we will have to tell someone something that is sad and/or difficult – so how does kindness fit into that equation.  I think in that situation, kindness means that you have to choose the most compassionate words you are able to.  

Whether spoken or written, words are extremely powerful and the pen isRoseanna Borelli definitely mightier than the sword. Words have the power to bring happiness but also the strength to crush someone’s spirit. They can be used to comfort or to bring someone to tears.   And once said, they may be forgiven, but they will never be forgotten.  Words, even just a few, can bring a smile, cause hurt, destroy, create, criticize or inspire.  

What did yours do today?

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“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

“Breakthrough DNA Study Opens Door to New Treatments for Mitochondrial Diseases”

I just read those words and my heart leapt – it really did.  Some of you reading this know that my little boy was born with a Mitochondrial disease, Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy.  There is no cure for this terminal and progressive disease that has left my son unable to walk, talk, sit, stand and swallow.  Almost daily seizures and intestinal issues are a way of life for him. Roseanna Borelli He’s had ten operations and countless hospital stays, some lasting for weeks.  And while a cure may not come in his lifetime, that science is working, and making wonderful progress, on researching a cure put a much-needed smile on my face.  But maybe a cure will come in his lifetime, I’ve witnessed too many miracles where my sweet boy is concerned not to believe in the sometimes unbelievable.  I’m neither an optimist or a pessimist, just a realist – who prays and talks to God –  quite a bit.  I also know that my son has survived comas and high CO2 levels that would have sent even the healthiest of beings on to meet their maker.  I’ve watched him suffer through seizures that seem to know no end, I’ve held his hand for hours on end in the ICU praying for him to wake up.  I’ve cried to God asking him ‘why’, so many times.  But children are closer to God, I really believe that.  And maybe Joey knows or understands more than I do – that wouldn’t surprise me at all.  Maybe my Joey has been fighting so hard for the past nine years because he knew this day would come.  The day when a group of talented medical doctors at the University of Miami Health System, acquired the funding to give mitochondrial diseases the much needed attention and research moms like me so desperately want and need for children like my Joey.

You can read the full article here:

http://med.miami.edu/news/breakthrough-dna-study-opens-door-to-potential-treatments-for-mitochondrial

I read the following words with tears in my eyes from Dr. Carlos T. Moraes, “Although further studies are needed, lowering the mutant mtDNA should be sufficient to produce lasting changes in the mitochondria.  In fact, it is reasonable to expect that a permanent correction of the mitochondrialDNA might be achieved after one or a small number of administrations of mitoTALEN, either as genetic or protein agents.”

This latest breakthrough probably won’t make the evening news and theRoseanna Borelli likelihood of seeing it all over the internet is slim to none.  But to me, this is the best headline I’ve seen in quite some time and it gives me hope.  Sometimes, that’s all we have to hold on to isn’t it, hope.   I hope and pray everyday for my Joey – that he will be full of smiles, the seizures will stay away and the two of us will be able to weather whatever storm is headed in our direction.  There is a Tibetan saying, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’  I believe that no matter what we are going through, no matter how painful and difficult it is, if we lose hope, that’s our real disaster.

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To learn more about Mitochondrial Diseases, please visit and support, www.umdf.org

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Friends, Fruit & Facebook

Growing up, we were taught, at the very least, the most basic social etiquette wait for everyone to be served dinner before you begin eating; when you receive a gift, write a thank-you note within 30 days; Arrive on time and don’t overstay your welcome; no picking your nose and hold the door open for others.  But we now live in the year 2013 and judging from many of my friend’s children, good manners, like the fine art of letter writing, are aQueen thing of the past.  Now we have to learn an entirely different type of etiquette – Social Media etiquette, and those waters are murky at best.  Do we have to accept the friend request from our grandmother’s best friend?  How do I tell someone to stop asking me to join them in Bubble Bunny & Bingo Rider (and is it just me, or do those sound like stripper names?) And what about the person who spends all day posting every detail of his/her life along with every argument they have ever had with their spouse?  And then there is ‘unfriending’.  Personally, I think it’s better to just ‘unfollow’ someone than to ‘unfriend’ them.  I have a handful of Facebook friends who spew nothing but their religious and political beliefs 24/7 and occasionally, I do like to read their point of view.  I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as it is an informed opinion.  Sadly, that is rarely the case these days.  But to ‘unfriend’ them just because our views sometimes differ seems rather harsh, so I simply set up my Facebook page in a way that their rants, political or otherwise, do not show up on my timeline. I am now free from their ill-researched views and they are none the wiser.

I’m not sure the term ‘unfriend’ was around before February 4, 2004.  That was the day Facebook was launched and with it would follow social media mayhem.  Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg, we now have friend requests, the ability to see 285 photos of our third cousins step daughter’s baby’s first tooth and we can play ridiculous games such as Diamond Dash & Farmville.  Oh, and let’s not forget the thousands of unattractive ‘fish face’ photos teenage girls post of themselves daily.  It does beg the question, somewhere in the deep blue sea, are there fish making ‘human faces’?

1331090272352_1950104But I digress.  Unfriending someone on Facebook can be a rather sensitive matter.  Not only can it lead to hurt feelings, it can spill over into your ‘real-world’ relationships should the “Unfriender”  live in close proximity to the ‘Unfriended’.  Let’s take this a step further – what if the “Unfriender” is related to the “Unfriended”.  And just for shits and giggles, let’s assume that those two are mother and daughter?  Ooooh, now we are entering the stuff that Lifetime movies are made of….

Suppose for a moment that this mother and daughter had an emotional discussion one morning. The daughter was feeling sad and alone and expressed to her mom how much she missed the way she used to be, before she began ignoring her family, now spending all her time with her iPad – addicted to the ridiculous games on Facebook and ‘liking’ just about everything that her Facebook friends posted.  She no longer participated in family discussions or even took time to call her daughter.  She had even been caught running to her iPad upon returning home one day to give her Facebook friends ‘lives’ so they could continue playing “Diamond Dash’ – that came first now.  Members of the family wondered if they would ever catch a  glimpse of the woman she used to be, before the trappings of all things Facebook now consumed her waking moments.  When the daughter returned home, she was so disgusted with Facebook and the effect it was having on her mom, that she deactivated her account, she wanted nothing to do with any social media site ever again.

The next day, the daughter went about her morning routine but her thoughts kept drifting to her mom.  She found a cute photo that she wanted to share with her mom and thought this might be the olive branch that they both needed.  Immediately, the daughter reactivated her Facebook account and logged in.   However, when she tried to go to her mom’s Facebook page, her heart sunk.  Her mom had ‘unfriended’ her.  “This had to be a mistake”, she thought to herself. How could she ‘unfriend’ the person that spent countless hours teaching her how to use her iPad, how to maneuver her way around Facebook and even took her 6:00 a.m. phone call when she had to know the correct procedure for ‘tagging’ someone in a photo. She must have accidentally hit the wrong key.  The daughter called her mom but there was no answer.  By the day’s end, she knew that the ‘unfriending’ was not an accident.

What the mom didn’t know, despite her granddaughter trying to explain it toOld People & Facebook her numerous times, is that when a person deactivates their account, its as if they never had a Facebook account.  None of their friends can ‘find’ them until the account is reactivated.  This does not mean that the person went and ‘unfriended’ each of their friends.  What I find extremely comical is that in response to her thinking that her daughter ‘unfriended’ her, the mom then went and ‘unfriended’ her.  This is impossible to do.  If I were to ‘unfriend’ my mom, then that’s it, we are no longer friends on Facebook.  She does not then have the option to ‘unfriend’ me as well, as I’ve already terminated the friendship.  It’s like having the last word in an argument, the person who ‘unfriends’ first is basically getting the last word.  However, this was not the case, as all that was done was a deactivating of the account.

All of this is bordering on ludicrous.  But it does show that our behavior, or lack there of, when dealing with social media, can affect our real life relationships – and not always in a positive light. Writing this tonight brought to memory something I said to my daughter when she was less than thrilled that I sent her a ‘friend request’ on Facebook a few years ago.  I told her, “look kid,  I carried you for nine very long months, the last three during the summer time.  You broke my tailbone trying to get into this world, I cooked for you, spent hundreds of dollars on Barbie dolls that ended up naked in less than a week and stopped my car in rush hour traffic to search for your stuffed rabbit after you tossed her out the window, onto the highway – that you ‘friend’ me on Facebook is a pretty small thing to ask in return.” 

She agreed.

Roseanna BorelliPersonally, I would like to go back to when blackberries and apples were just fruits and if we were lucky, homemade pies. We didn’t have Facebook, we had scrapbooks and we only shared them with family and close friends.  And a tweet was the sweet little sound a bird made.

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