Late Spring 2006

Dear Friends

It has long been a joke among my friends and family that I might as well have the words ''Talk to Me'' tattooed across my forehead. I have one of those faces, I guess, that makes perfect strangers spill their darkest fears, secrets, and most private, personal information to me. I have heard stories of abuse, rape, divorce, illicit affairs, terminal illnesses, death, and crimes committed. I have heard these stories on airplanes, in elevators, on buses, sitting next to someone in a class, waiting in lines, chance encounters while walking my dogs, and once in the back of a taxicab in New York City.

As much as I sometimes want shake my head in wonder at some of the things I hear, I never do. I always take it very seriously and feel a huge responsibility to listen to what is being said and to not make the situation worse for that person. I will ask myself, ''Am I saying the right thing?'' ''What does this person need from me?'' ''Am I really qualified to give advice about this?'' It always ends up being a gut churning experience (on my end) by the time these encounters are over.

Maybe I do have a face or air about me that makes strangers feel comfortable sharing intimate details about their lives, I don't know. But the real question for me is whether it is a sign of these times that people have such a deep need to talk, to feel connected, that they will do so with someone they've never seen before and will never see again.

It always strikes me as remarkable that these people obviously feel they have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to, and just have to unburden themselves to someone who will listen. You can usually find me with my head buried in a book on an airplane and purposely not making eye contact in public places, but still the stories spill....

I guess I should be grateful that I can be a sounding board for someone. Actually, I am grateful in a guarded sort of way. But still, I find it incredibly sad that apparently these folks have no other safe place to tell their stories. Most of us are going 90 miles an hour these days. The TV seems to be always on, our boss needs us to work overtime, there appears to be less and less time for ourselves, let alone to share with someone close to us. But share we humans must... and sometimes it is with complete strangers.

Is there someone in your life who needs a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, a safe place to go? I bet there is. If you get the sense that someone you know (or don't know) is suffering and needs a safe refuge, try to be open and accepting. Remember -- lots of times people just need to talk; they aren't looking for you to ''fix'' the problem or give them advice. Maybe this crazy world would be a different place if we all had someone to talk to!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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