In Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, a doctor by the name of Gabor Maté works with the people who live there. Many of the people are addicted to heroine, crystal meth and other serious drugs, and Dr. Maté has spent years learning about addiction, about people who become addicted (to anything), and about ways to increase understanding and healing.
I have followed Dr. Maté loosely since I heard him interviewed on CBC radio a year or two ago, and I'm impressed by both his work and his approach to addiction and the people ensnared by it. His is not an attitude of blame or social expediency. With what I call a compassionate, scientific approach, Dr. Maté has studied the brain and the lives of the addicts he encounters and then marries his understanding of both to reach an explanation for addiction that makes sense and invalidates blame.
I encourage you to look into Dr. Maté's work; explore his website and read his books, not all of which deal with addiction.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts -- Close Encounters with Addiction
When the Body Says No -- The Cost of Hidden Stress
Hold on to Your Kids -- Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
Scattered Minds -- A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
1. To cause another or others to partake of or share in; impart. 3. To convey knowledge of; tell. 5. To transmit or exchange thought or knowledge. 6. To be connected. [from the Latin communicatus and communicare, meaning "to share" which, in turn, comes from communis, meaning "common, public, general."] -- Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary and Dictionary of the English Language - an Encyclopedic Reference
Although "communicate" and its derivatives are ordinary words, I decided to check them out anyway, since communication is such a fundamental part of human existence. Their ancient Indo-European sources are the roots mei-, which means "to change, go, move" and ko-, meaning "together." Now, I am most definitely not a linguistic scholar, but I do enjoy learning and "feeling" and supposing about the paths our words take as they form and change.
So when I learned that communicate and its cousins come from ancient words that mean "change, move, and together," I explored in my heart and mind and gut for connections and threads of meaning and intention. In addition, the fact that "communicate" comes from the word "common" reminds me of the normal, everyday interchanges among people (and other beings) that can work for our common good.
When two or more beings communicate, a relationship, however brief, is shown to exist. One expresses, while another receives. Both/All parties feel emotions, think thoughts, choose actions. We communicate with our thoughts, hands, spirit, words, computers, hearts, ears, eyes, gestures, posture, pen and paper, hands, actions, tears, smiles, scowls, voices, choices, feet, and creations.
Communication brings change, as it connects us to one another. When we impart to another what we think, feel, or want, we are changing the relationship, no matter what the listener's response is. Communication can be risky. It can bring healing. It can help people move forward together.
Communication can, of course, also be used with the opposite intention, that of disrupting connections and causing separation, distrust, and harm. We all experience times when we talk to someone who is not actually listening or paying attention to what were conveying. We've all witnessed or been part of exchanges that were intended to hurt or cause damage.
What do you communicate to others about yourself? Do you tend to clear the air or muddy the waters? Do you see communication as a way to get your ideas across or as a way to build relationships, contribute to understanding, encourage growth? How do you get your ideas across -- with anger or with calm? How fully do you listen when others speak to you.
Maybe today you'll consider your listening and expressing in a new light. Every single one of us can improve in this crucial part of life. Researching and writing about this topic opens me to being more mindful in my communication. How about you?
As I try to get back into the swing of things since my knee replacement, and as I'm able to stay up without falling asleep every ten minutes...I offer you some of the worthy celebrations and observances for the rest of the month.
At the top of my list is Abused Women and Children's Awareness Day, which is today. What can you do today (and in days to come) to become both more aware and more proactive to help women and children who are being, or have been, abused?
If you are one of those women or children, I urge you to ask someone for help. Actually, ask as many people as it takes to get support and help, which can make such a difference in your life. I know this to be true from my own experience.
Here is the rest of the list for June. I can't imagine any negative impact that could come from becoming more active in some way or from praying for or sending loving energy to those included in the observances below:
And let me pass on to you three observances that are just too good to be true: National Candy Month (who besides a dentist could argue with this one?), National Rivers Month, and get this...Carpenter Ant Awareness Week June 21-27. I urge you to become more informed and aware of the challenges facing carpenter ants in these troubled times.