Leonard Nimoy, Taxi Driver

I found another interesting story to share from the book, ” Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man.” I am really enjoying this book. It is not about the characters Leonard Nimoy portrayed throughout his career, it’s about him. He was and is such a fascinating person.

In this particular story (taken from pages 42-43), Leonard had taken a position as a cab driver to help make ends meet between acting jobs. He had an interesting passenger one night, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was in town for a political dinner where Adlai Stevenson was speaking, in part hoping to swing the Democratic party’s nomination again. When Kennedy learned that Leonard was from Boston, he had lots of questions for him. Kennedy wanted to know about the West End, about Leonard’s parents’ immigration, and about his acting career. Leonard told him it was tough, then had a question for Kennedy about Stevenson’s chances of getting the nomination for a second time. Rather than answering, Kennedy leaned forward and said, “You talk to a lot of people. What do you think?”

Kennedy, by asking Leonard that question, “…made me feel much more worthwhile–more meaningful and important to myself; that a man in his position would ask me for my opinion. He obviously knew much more than I did, but he wasn’t interested in impressing me with his knowledge…That was one of the most important lessons I ever learned, and often I found myself doing exactly what he did. If somebody asks me a question, I may have an answer, but often I’ll say, ‘But what do you think?’ I learn a lot more that way than simply by answering the question myself.” Leonard became “…a formidable listener. He listened actively, which most people don’t do.”

A few days ago I shared a blog post on current problems in communication that we are experiencing now. This story shows a wonderful example of how to improve the conversations we have with one another, how to improve communication. And it all starts by listening. “If somebody asks me a question, I may have an answer….” Leonard decided not to immediately jump in with his answer, but instead to ask a simple question, “..what do you think?” Then he listened. He actively listened. I’m impressed that he is described as a formidable listener. A lot of people are formidable with their opinion, with their words. Actively jumping in and immediately telling you what and how you should think. There is so much more power in holding back and listening, something we rarely see anymore.

Learning to listen is not as simple as it sounds. It would take both of us, you and I, slowing down to consider the other person’s words. Instead of being the know-it-all, maybe….just maybe….if we can take the time to listen to each other, to ask a question without the motive of telling the person their answer or opinion is wrong, maybe  we can start to communicate in such a way that we can open up the conversation again to be deeper and more meaningful instead of immediately shutting it down.red light

If you think someone’s opinion is wrong, do you want to help change
their opinion or do you want to just try to shut them up? How will things change if we continue to talk to one another this way? Yes, you may take a person’s voice away from them for the moment, shut them down or make them feel ashamed that they don’t think like you. I’ve never seen shame change someone for the better. Really, those of you that might use this tactic online and in social media, have you ever seen shame be a motivator that brings any good? Maybe you shut the person up, but instead of winning the argument you lost the conversation. It is true I don’t often share my personal opinion anywhere now because of these problems. I miss conversations.

I really hope we can learn to communicate with one another again. We stand to loose a lot if we don’t. We already don’t think individuals deserve rights, we want to legislate behavior and point fingers at injustice. But it’s very hard for any one to really have a civil conversation anymore. That’s sad to me. I would rather ask what is your opinion, and give you the chance to tell me. Then if you would give me the chance to gently share my opinion, maybe we could find the common elements to agree on, and either agree to disagree with the rest or help bring one another to a different insight or conclusion. Is that even possible anymore?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Angela W Fitch

Take The Job

leonard smaller versionWilliam Shatner wrote a book about one of my favorite people on the planet. It’s called Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man. Leonard Nimoy of course is the man.

I started reading the book last night.  Just into the second chapter Shatner shares a story about Leonard and Leonard’s son Adam. Adam got an offer to do an independent production, pretty soon after leaving his legal practice to become a director. He really questioned doing it, said it felt like a step back for him. He was going to let the offer pass he decided. When his father heard about it he had some advice for his son.

(This is taken from pages 19 & 20 in the book) ‘Do you have another offer to do something else?’ [Adam] didn’t. ‘Well then, take the job. You take the job because you need the job. You don’t want any down time. And number 2, I guarantee you, you will either learn something from that job or you’ll meet somebody on that job who’s going to help you. You take the job. Don’t turn down work if you don’t have work to replace it.’

[Shatner adds] ‘If there’s an actor’s mantra that is it: take the job. We all live by that, although for a long time most of us didn’t live very well by it.’

It’s funny how God talks to me. I don’t get the big biblical types of things like burning bushes or fingers writing on walls. So far angels haven’t shown up at any event in my life and sung about it to the bystanders. I get something simple, something some of you may get as well. I get a small, quiet voice whispering in my heart. It talks to me when I’m out walking near water or sometimes when I’m watching movies. I can hear it when I’m listening to music or  someone sharing an inspirational speech. Last night I heard the voice when I was reading this book.

The thing that actors do, “Take the job,” it is a thing that I have been doing for most of my life. When I was a kid I cleaned houses for $3 a day. I raked up pine needles and sold them for mulch. I hand sewed doll clothes and sold them for a SASE and a one dollar bill. Extra points if you remember what an SASE is. In other words, whatever it was I could find or create to do….I took the job. I might not have had the most money in my pocket, but I worked hard to put some money in it.

As an adult I have often called myself the queen of part time jobs. I have worked a lot during my life. I just don’t seem to keep the same job for very long. The average is about 5 years. Sometimes it’s been a little more, sometimes a little less. But it never failed that transition would hit me, and I would start looking for the next thing to do. Sometimes I worked myself out of jobs, some times I was moved out of promised positions and pushed out of jobs. Whatever the cause, I picked up and moved on, finding the next career to throw myself into.

Very recently I have decided that I want to do more sewing. I really seem to enjoy it the most of the many branches I have in my business. I’m not selling much yet, but I am beginning to make things. A while back I made a promise that I have never gotten around to fulfilling. This particular promise was to God. I wanted to make a bunch of dolls, 50 to be exact. I would then give the dolls to a charity that would share them with children. It’s not a promise I have completely forgotten about, it pops up in my memory every so often. Apparently I am being reminded so that I can say I am a person that keeps her word. I had a personal lesson in that recently and I know it matters, not just to me but to God too. I’m glad I don’t know the God that gets angry over forgotten promises. He’s not lashing out at me and making me prove anything. He is just patiently reminding me of that promise because He has a purpose for it. The reminder last night was, “Will you take the job? Will you make these dolls for children to love? Will you give them something to hold when maybe everything they’ve held onto has been taken away from them? Will you put some love and peace and tender hugs and gentle kisses in with every stitch? Will you take the job?”

“Someone” has offered me a job, and honestly it might feel like a step back for me, making baby dolls for a charity. But at the moment I actually have some extra time in my schedule, I don’t have work to replace it. So yes. Yes. I will take this job. I will either learn something from the doing of it, or I will meet someone that is going to help me with something else. I have often felt like Leonard Nimoy was a sage advisor for me throughout much of my life. I like that my understanding of this came through him.

So yes God, I’ll take the job. Show me where the cloth is that I have to make them, and I will do it. It’s been in my heart for a while. Yes, I’ll take the job.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Angela W Fitch

Open Door or Slammed Shut?

When we don’t agree with each other, why do we have to talk down to one another and often act superior to the one you disagree with? Do you want to bring understanding and help change the other person’s opinion or do you just want to feel superior to them because you are sure you have the more enlightened idea and understanding? Honestly from all the conversations I see on Facebook and on media internet sites, many times people just want to tell the dissenters they are wrong and to go screw themselves. Great way to change someone’s opinion right?

Whenever I share about sensitive subjects, I understand that there is a good possibility I am going to be labeled. Maybe intolerant, maybe uncaring. Maybe wrong. Whatever. I don’t always say things politically correctly and have been called racist because of that. Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. I do not feel that I am superior to anyone and am not antagonistic to others that are different than me. I actually really love the differences we as human exhibit, it makes life so much more fun and interesting. I do on occasion have a different opinion about things other than the popular one, but different is not always tolerated by the public, or friends and family. I’ve never been the popular kid lol. I’m ok with that.

I’m am also very saddened that so many people want to say that those of us with concerns over current controversial issues  have no right to have issues with whatever it is. The media is not a proponent for truth telling these days, it likes to inflame people with stories on whatever side you find yourself on. So many times we let them, the media, dupe us into believing one line. People start agreeing with it because they don’t want to seem hostile, or, shudder, controversial.

Being concerned over issues doesn’t mean I’m intolerant, but you may say I am. I know others try to silence people who don’t agree with them, and seems like the few times I make a statement sharing how I really feel about a current issue I have an almost immediate response from others telling me I’m wrong. I am regretful that my decision to share my opinion causes others to not want to discuss things with me, but don’t just tell me I am wrong. I would be told I am closed minded to react like that. But I doubt the ones that do this to me consider that about themselves at all.

I hate how our country as a whole, and friends and acquaintances on occasion, use the current media propelled idea to fight with one another. We can no longer discuss anything in a civil manner. We keep having laws written into existence to accommodate more freedoms for us, but what I see is a nation that has less freedom than ever. In an effort to silence the voices that don’t agree with your opinion, we are shutting down the conversation and comparing it to brave acts of rebellion that brought about the civil rights movement. The problem I see with that comparison is that so far there are less freedoms for everyone, not more. We just don’t want to see it that way. There is a much bigger picture here that I don’t think people want to even consider. But honestly I don’t want to talk about that today, because then my label will be crazy conspirator theorist, if it isn’t already.

I know that national legislation does not always work for individual states. I also know that the reverse can be true as well. We need to look at individual laws, read the actual transcript of the thing being discussed instead of just taking someone’s opinion about what it says. There have been several laws causing hot debate in several states. Most of the debate concerning some of those laws were sadly comical in their debate. If people had stopped yelling about the laws to one another on Facebook and online and actually read the (yes very long written legislation) they would have seen that the law was almost the opposite of what they thought it was, what the media was telling them it said. No matter how many people tried to point out what the actual written legislation said, they were either ignored or berated. Sadly, usually berated.

We should be able to discuss things without immediately shutting Door of intolerencedown the conversation by saying the other person is wrong and doesn’t understand the issue. Don’t talk down to those who don’t agree with you. Share your opinion with out immediately telling them they are wrong. Having a different opinion doesn’t make either of us more tolerant or smarter. How we handle the ensuing conversation shows that. If you shut the conversation down with your opinion, who is really the intolerant one?

If you have made it through this long post, bravo. Share your opinion in a comment if you would like to talk. Let’s open the door this time, instead of slamming  it shut on one another.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Angela W Fitch

What Can You Do In 30 Minutes?

I want to start spending 30 minutes a day creatively. I have had it on my mind off and on for 2 years, I’ve just never gotten around to doing it. So today I’m doing it. Today I will write for 30 minutes.

I have had so many struggles the last few months. I have become the care person for some of my family members who have needed caregiving. Last year it was my dad after his fall, this year it’s been one of my children. They needed someone, I was the someone who was available. It has been a lot of work, but it just like for any other caregiver, it’s not the kind of work you really get any credit for lol.

I am still working for myself, At Your Beck & Call at your service thank you. It’s really been a good thing I have my own business and can work out my schedule myself. I just can’t always do all the jobs and things I would like to do, and trying to help others takes a lot of energy. I’ve never been a high energy person, so some days I can feel my tail dragging to say the least.

It’s hard too. But I have realized that I need to be sure to do more for myself, and that is part of the reason I am adding this 30 minute window to my day. I want to create on purpose. I want to be intentional about doing it too. I shared a post from Elizabeth Gilbert about this 30 minute idea. I even heard her talk about it in a little auditorium. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and she made it sound so perfectly wonderful to do it. But….time drifted by. Two years of time to be exact. The post I had shared on Facebook popped up in my memories, and I was like, “Oh yeah! I meant to do that!” Well, I don’t want another 2 years to go by and I never started again either.

The post was about how she used this discipline to help her write. She has a busy, complicated life too. So to be sure she does write some, she uses this trick to do it. She has a regular old, cheap kitchen timer. She sits it on the table in front of her or near her, turns the knob around to 30 minutes and begins. 30 uninterrupted minutes of just writing, her creative outlet.

I have several creative outlets I like, one of which is writing, things like this and occasionally short stories and poems too. Another creative outlet I enjoy is sewing, I just haven’t done as much of it as I should have the last couple of years. Sewing includes making clothes, making toys, quilting and also repairing and altering clothes for friends and customers. So there are lots of things I can use this 30 minute window for if I put my mind to it.

I have fought depression and a great sense of being overwhelmed for most of the last few years. I had a work situation that should have resulted in me having my own business at the end of a 3 year period. That situation fell through, and I didn’t have a business. Then I tried to do a little work on my own but wasn’t quite up to the type of business I have now, so I went to work in an alterations shop for almost 2 years. I was very depressed during those 2 years, and finally realized I was going to have to make a change. I came up with a 3 part plan to have my own business, to finally work for myself. I put in my notice and walked away and never looked back. It’s not always easy working for myself, and I have made a couple of mistakes and not always handled everything as well as I would like. But it’s my business. I am doing the best I can at the moment, and trying to learn more and more as I go along. Depression has still been a problem off and on, but more from the personal concerns for my family than from the work I am doing. I am happy cleaning and helping people be more organized in their home. I also love the part where I get to sew and create things for others. And sometimes I get to edit things for people with blogs or schoolwork, and that’s been good too.

So life isn’t perfect, at least not yet. But it’s much better than it was a few years ago. I’m happy for that. I’m glad I used my 30 minutes of writing for this post too. It’s nice to write some of this out and realize exactly where I am right now. It’s really nice. Hopefully it won’t be so long before I write again. 🙂

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Angela W Fitch

Putting Heart to Pen