Category Archives: lessons learned

Behaviour and Brain Function

Just over 10 years ago, I gave a presentation at the Melbourne Regional Conference for MYSA. I had returned to teaching after some time working for a private company that had developed an exercise based program for people with learning difficulties.

It was interesting to be on the other side of the teacher’s desk, listening to the frustrations of both parents and young people and to see the positive changes that they made with the program. In the past, many of these young people (and their parents) may have been students who had undiagnosed learning difficulties and were often the ones most likely to be sent to the principal’s office with “behavioural issues”.

The presentation was titled The Physiological Aspects of Brain Function and Behaviour in the Classroom. I enlisted the help of a couple of teacher friends who had also done some work with alternative therapies and were ready to help me make this an interactive presentation and push some boundaries. The room was set up with 8 to a table and the obligatory conference mints were in good supply as was a selection of brightly coloured balloons.

All started quite normally…..

Firstly I identified some common classroom behaviours and asked the audience to then consider if they had students that exhibited them. Many responded in the affirmative. I then asked them to reflect on the idea that a physiological reason for these behaviours.

Did anyone have students that constantly tipped their chairs? Once more hands were raised. The student is most likely to be doing this to stimulate the Vestibular system.

What about students that slouched in their chair or over the desk? Yet again the audience indicated with a show of hands that they had students like this. The slouching is a stimulus for both the Vestibular and somatosensory systems and in addition, the student may have poor core muscle tone.

For the student who reads better when lying down (think of the Primary School reading corner with bean bags), they are stimulating the somatosensory system by having more touch receptors engaged.

At this point, one of my friends began to tip on her chair, just often enough to visibly irritate some of the people sitting near her. I asked the audience for feedback on how they would deal with such behaviours and most indicated that for safety reasons, they would ask the student to cease the behaviour, and in some cases would issue a detention notice for bad behaviour. I then shared with the audience that I carried a “wobble board” into my classroom and students who had exhibited such behaviour were encouraged to stand on it for a minute or so when they felt the need to tip their chairs.

Students who wander around  the classroom are needing to stimulate their vestibular, oculomotor and proprioceptive systems. This was the signal for my other friend to get up and start wandering around. She circled the tables and took mints from one table and gave them to someone sitting at another…. I “ignored” her and carried on….

When a student is easily distracted by movement or sound, it is likely that they have a hyper sensitive oculomotor or vestibular system. For those who constantly tap a pencil or a foot or leg, it is possible that they are stimulating their somatosensory system.

And what about those scruffy uniforms? Rather than handing out slips for uniform infringements, consider a hyper sensitive somatosensory system. Tags at the back of the neck, ties undone…all uncomfortable stimulants for a sensitive student.

Since giving the paper, there has been a greater awareness of students on the Autism Spectrum. One of the key characteristics is lack of eye contact, and forcing eye contact may cause distress as it overloads sensory perception. These students can process much better if they are not forced to interpret facial gestures and social cues. Lack of eye contact can also be associated with some cultural traditions and is something to be aware of.

The vestibular system is extremely important. It filters most motor responses to the brain and the oculomotor system is linked to it. Studies by Harold N Levinson & Barbara Phelong, discuss the importance of inner ear function and learning and further studies by the University of Melbourne have discovered that frequent ear infections impact on the student’s acquisition of language.

So what to do about these behaviours, now that it is probable that they are a result of physiology rather than “being naughty”?

For excessive movement, can you find an excuse for the student to go to the office or library?  Give a time frame for the errand and discuss this option with the relevant staff, so that they know to expect the student.  Encourage the student to do as much sport as possible, including trampolining, tae kwon do or tennis. Students with this issue will often seek out or prefer to engage in non team activities.

For the chair tipper, it is suggested that parents invest in a fit ball for the student to use when on the computer or watching TV.

The easily distracted student may be dehydrated, overtired or hungry. There may be issues at home that are taking their attention away from the learning environment.

Check that the lighting is working well. Often the flickering of a fluorescent light, and what is imperceptible to many is a nightmare or very distracting for someone with oculomotor sensitivity. Similarly an overload of external visual stimuli can be very distracting and recent studies have shown that “less is more” in the way of posters and the like in the classroom.  If the student is easily distracted by sound, then create a quiet space for them to work in. Headphones plugged into some music that is playing at a low volume will help them to focus on their work.

To further encourage more focus during class time and in conjunction with the understanding of the possible physiological causes of the behaviour, include rewarding non disruptive behaviours on the marking sheet (rubrics) for assignments. This is a bonus for students who are always on task!

And you might be wondering about those balloons… each one on the table was a different colour and shape. Some were easy to blow up and others a little harder. Some took quite a bit of persistence and I’m sad to say that some participants didn’t try at all….

Justice

Justice tarot cardI don’t profess to be a skilled Tarot card reader, but on occasion when I bump into a conundrum, I will shuffle the pack and deal out a card. If I have the time, I will do a full spread and consult the books and my intuition about what has been revealed.

Justice was the card that came out today.  It’s all about fairness, truth and karma. Quite fitting, considering the situation I was asking about.

The balanced scales held in the left, or feminine hand, can represent spiritual balance and intuition.  The right hand and masculine hand,  holds a double edged sword , representing logic. Justice has to balance that logic and intuition, remain impartial and choose a course of action with full awareness.

This card is about whether you have acted in fairness, truth or honesty.  Have you tipped the scales of justice affecting your karma? If you have been unfair, untruthful or dishonest in your dealings, then this is a warning to change your ways. It’s about being accountable for your actions  and making sure that you act in a fair and just manner.

So this card can then be a “call to action” in so many ways, reminding us to be even handed and balanced in our dealings with others.

Am I procrastinating about what should be done….. the right action?

Is my work life balance or my logic intuition balance OK?

Am I taking full responsibility for my actions…..past, present and future?

This card tells me that I need to rely more on my intuition, particularly in regards to working with others who may not have the same values of fairness, integrity or honesty. The card shows me that I must take responsibility for my actions and accept the lessons learned when dishonesty appears in my day. Moving on from the experience is part of the journey, as is accepting the karma as a result of the actions.

Feeling seedy

Overgrown labyrinthThe good winter rains meant that there is a variety of grasses that sprung up to replace some of the weeds that also popped up in the labyrinth. These have now all seeded and the labyrinth has taken on an unkempt appearance.  A trial of sawdust as a pathway covering has mixed success. It feels lovely to walk on and the tannins in the wood have begun to leach out of the damp, underlayer, but a couple of hardy plants have poked their heads through and flowered.

The lawnmower will be packed for the next trip, but before it can be mowed, I will have to remove any rocks from the pathway.

The wildlife has taken a fancy to the garlic planted in the outer marking ring.  It took off really well and in the two weeks since the last visit,  has been munched, so my vision of having a nice summer crop of organic garlic to share has evaporated.  I guess there are a few garlic flavoured kangaroos and rabbits hopping about……as the chap over the back with the shotgun may well find out. I’m sure that’s why they all hang out at my place!!

oak remnantUnfortunately the wildlife also took a fancy to the Oak tree seedling in the centre of the labyrinth. Fortunately there was a strong green stem with a tiny bud to one side remaining.

Having planned to plant out the other dozen Oak tree seedlings over the weekend,  I had brought up tomato stakes and tree guards to protect them, so one was immediately seconded for this little tree.

Oak within a tree guardI’m hoping that this will give it a second chance.  It’s all a learning experience…..! There’s a possibility of returning to an original idea of building a fence around the labyrinth, but I do like the wide open spaces around it.  As yet the wildlife hasn’t got hungry enough to eat the sage or the lavender, so fingers crossed they won’t!!

I’ve found a flat, well flattish, area to build the next labyrinth. Out in the middle of the paddock…. but it will have to wait until the little thistle patch is under control.

I’m often asked what I’m growing on the block and I think people expect a response like “Wheat/barley/grapes or sheep/goats/cows”…  so far it’s weeds……. lots of weeds……

Biddy bush, Capeweed, onion weed, little thistles, mistletoe, dodder laurel, rabbits, roos and I’m sure there are more that I haven’t learnt the names of yet….

I needed to dig a dozen holes to put the city Oak tree seedlings in, so it was decided that they would form an outer ring to a Chartres style labyrinth in another spot. Firstly I had to find the spot and then mark out the compass points for the labyrinth. Using a compass, I marked out the cardinal points. It’s too early to decide whether to enter from the East or West, that will come later. The stakes were a little hard to hammer in as the soil is a heavy clay that has contracted and is starting to crack. Being a novice, I managed to hit my hand a few times!

Just measuring out the cardinal points was hot work! The temperature in the shade up near the cottage was in the low 30’s C, and I didn’t really want to know how warm it would be out in the open paddock.

Next, I needed to measure out where the Oaks would go….. so another circle was measured – allowing at least a  10 meter space for the Oaks to grow and not interfere with the labyrinth or each other. It was in marking this out, I realized that I wouldn’t have enough stakes to protect the Oak seedlings.

Sunday morning presented a different problem. The stakes that I had used for the outer ring (and were to be used for tree guards) were too flimsy and the travelling kangaroos had snapped some off near the base….so  the decision was made to take the Oak seedlings back to the city,  chance re-potting them into bigger pots until they became dormant again. The thinking behind this is to give them a better chance of surviving a hot, waterless summer and the roaming roos, whilst also giving me time to get the holes dug and the stakes in place (without the trees inside) to test how they will stand up to the traffic!

 

 

Listening to the clues….

61de5-labrainDo you believe in synchronicity?

I do…

Yesterday I received an audio study program and took a break from it to have a Skype conversation with a LinkedIn connection for the first time. We shared thoughts and I reflected on how clever the universe is to allow like minded people to connect over the ether!

I decided to start today with some energy work, a meditation and some Reiki for friends in need, then on to working on a new business plan for this financial year. Part of that was to merge my original blog “Meg’s Place” with this one.

Taking some time out for a tea break (a big cup of Bengal Spice), I decided to draw 3 cards from The Ascended Masters with a question about how to resolve any spiritual blocks I might be experiencing in regard to my business.

I got a pretty clear answer:

  1. WRITE ; either daily journal, channel messages from my guides and angels and my life purpose is to write a book…the kernel of which is forming already….
  2. TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION:  I have the tools/power to heal and alter my current situation. Take charge and assume a leadership position
  3. FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS: ..not on the weaknesses. The more one blesses and appreciates the strengths – the more they will grow. The final part of this card also suggested to begin an exercise program, which I had a chuckle about!!

This afternoon’s tasks are to begin to move the face to face workshop material developed over the past 5 years to downloadable files so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

My skills as a teacher and the years of writing curriculum documents are standing me in good stead….The Meditation workshop has already been written up and most of the recordings done…

Polarity Therapy, Homeopathy and Coaching will follow, but Reiki will continue to be taught face to face.

Stepping off the merry go round

There is the Zen parable that tells of the young monk who stumbled and as he fell, caught hold of some bamboo to steady himself. The Zen Master accompanying him asked if he noticed that the bamboo bent, yet was strong enough to support him. He also asked the novice if he had also noticed how bamboo gets pushed around by the wind, yet always grows tall towards the sunlight above….not snapping… a most resilient plant…..

It took quite a lot of courage for me to finally say “No – I’m not going to that function” & I did it with the help of the grief counsellor that I’ve been seeing this past year. Not reaching snapping point, but that stillpoint inside where there is a knowing that it is time to do the “right thing” for myself.

Girls are raised to “do the right thing” and for many years, I’ve acquiesced and gone along to functions where I haven’t felt comfortable. One girlfriend laughed many years ago, when I told her of the story of bending in the wind like the grass or bamboo….. she suggested “doormat” would be a better description.

I’ve never really enjoyed the hoopla and razzle dazzle of tinsel and false bonhomie…The over indulgences in the senses with food or the misappropriation of sacred music that has been turned into Musak for the masses long before Advent starts. I’ve long thought that Christmas really doesn’t suit the introverted empath!
This year I wanted to experience some peace and serenity on my own …. not long … a few hours would suffice.
My soul needed some lush, green energy to repair.
Sunday morning saw some chores completed and then I set off on my adventure. Fully intending to go to the beach, not that I really enjoy the beach, I started to drive. I asked that I be guided to where I needed to be, (& please include an Oak tree!) I took familiar roads and realized that I was near a pretty picnic spot in the Dandenongs. No room in the carpark… full! Not what I wanted at all even though the tree ferns looked spectacular….. Then I saw a side road, it looked as if it might be interesting and made my way along that. Lots of tight curves and it required full attention to drive…. nothing like mindfulness and being in the moment!
As I emerged to the top of the hill a sign caught my eye… some Memorial Gardens….. a little further down the road I decided to go back and investigate. I parked, wandered in a little hesitantly as the place seemed deserted….and read the sign….

You really do have to chuckle at what the Universe throws up at you!

 I was born a Harper (not the same family that developed the gardens). It seemed that this was just the right place to be…. I wondered if there was an Oak tree……
 Following the meandering paths, I came to a small clearing and there was a majestic Oak tree.. with a bench nearby to sit on and contemplate the surrounds.
 It was time to just “be”. As another saying goes, “we are human BEings, not human DOings”.
Curious about the rest of the gardens, I set off to explore… masses of Hydrangeas starting to flower… a few months ago the Camelias and Azaelias would have been centre stage.
So many varieties of Japanese Maples, their delicate leaves providing texture and colour to the backdrop of so many interesting plants.
Another strategically placed bench and contemplation of the Foxgloves for a few moments.
Observing how the Currawong family were playing in the branches of tall trees.

Before I knew it, a couple of hours had passed & I had a phone call from my son wondering if I was OK.

Yes I was…. better than I have been for some time…. a combination of the energy of the gardens and finally stepping into my integrity.
Walking back to the Oak tree, I noticed a couple of brightly coloured butterflies, dancing in the sun and the dappled shade.

Symbols of transformation, of finding joy in life and a symbol of the soul….

Releasing

On Wednesday the 18th, Ben was euthanized.
It was around this time 14 years ago that we acquired a bundle of blonde energy.
Ben used to scoot through the cat door until he got too big, then he just put his head through as if to say ” how come this shrunk?”
Lots of happy memories, lots of tears as we took him down to the vet. The kids & I held him as he went, a last big sigh as his soul left and his big strong heart continued to beat for another moment or so….
As the vet said, Ben was a well loved dog, but the time had come with his diabetes, the blindness and arthritis to let him go. Releasing him was always going to be difficult.
I don’t think a labrador ever loses its appetite, and Ben looked forward to meal times each day and let us know when he was hungry.
He also used to let me know if I had forgotten his insulin – as his main form of communication in the past few months was to bark and wait for a response.
Home for the last 3 and a half weeks due to an adverse reaction to a whooping cough vaccination, Ben spent as much time as he could sitting either on my feet or as close as possible.
An exchange of energy perhaps, as Ben was the subject that I practiced on when I became a Reiki Master Teacher.  After he had been attuned to level 1, he liked to sit next to people and would often just casually put his paws on their feet. A few clients who came to my home clinic would ask for him to stay in the room as they enjoyed his company.
Looking back at the photos, it was possible to see a rapid decline as the diabetes, although well controlled, impacted on him.
First his eyesight began to go, but being a quick learner ( & as long as we
didn’t move any furniture) he was able to get around quite well.
The stairs were a problem as peripheral neuropathy affected his hind legs, but he adapted well to that and learned to come up the stairs backwards…. feeling further up his legs to find the stairs.

Gradually he moved his bed from laundry downstairs to upstairs in the lounge (& many nights on the lounge suite) until in recent months he moved into my home office which was closer to the front door, which suited us all as he needed to go outside more frequently during the night….

Last night seemed strange as I returned home…. no dog barking behind the front door or waiting on the front lawn as he had taken to doing. Even if I varied the time I came home, he knew when I was about to arrive, letting other family members know.

Ben didn’t take up much room in the house, but he certainly took up a big space in our hearts.
We will pick up his ashes later next week and plant a rose over them to remind us of him.
Probably a “Blue Moon” .. as a dog like this doesn’t come around very often.

A little soul work

A recent Louise Hay Facebook post suggested that one should take time to ask and explore these simple questions. Having a little time on my hands, as I recovered from the effects of a vaccine reaction, I decided to do this life audit.

What shall I now release from my life?
Fever creates some clarity and what I am now ready to release unhelpful behaviours, such as dwelling on the past – as the saying goes “The past is a country & I don’t live there anymore”. With the suffocating cough, I consulted Louise Hay’s  You Can Heal Your Life and found that the probable cause of coughing is

  • A desire to bark at the world. “See me! Listen to me!

…. the new thought pattern or affirmation leaps from the page to shout at me……I AM NOTICED AND APPRECIATED IN THE MOST POSITIVE WAYS. I AM LOVED
What or who no longer works for me?
Still in the tribal chakra realms….. What no longer works for me is denying my spiritual, political and core beliefs. 
I am ready to accept that there is a higher power and a realm of helpers ..be they guides or angels ….. and with the recent federal election was unable to vote with a clear conscience for either major political party and can now announce I am more aligned with the philosophy of the Greens. 

The Who is a little more tricky, but I am ready to let go of many of the people in my life who, although many of whom have been around for 30 plus years, do not exhibit the ability to demonstrate loving or compassionate support when most needed. This includes many members of the family that I married into and was further validated by their complete lack of warmth in welcoming both my son and daughter’s partners into the fold.

What am I holding on to that holds me back?
Old habits die hard…. once a pattern has been established, it is easy to replicate. It is easier to just go with the flow, rather than rock the boat. When you become accustomed to dysfunction, after a while you adapt and it becomes the norm….. Late last week, I did the “right thing” and went to a function even though I was still unwell, that I really didn’t want to go to. Even as I went, my inner voice was chattering away in my ear….”Hypocrite”…..
Another clue is the probable cause from Heal Your Life….

  • Respiratory Ailments …. Fear of taking in life fully. 

So here I am, living a twilight life because I am holding on to what is comfortable, which in reality is holding me back…
The affirmation or new thought pattern is “I am safe. I love my life”. 

Looking back at what I just wrote, the realization  dawns that what is holding me back is procrastination. Finding external excuses to justify the inertia of not making the changes. It really is up to me to create the life I love.

What thoughts or beliefs belong to the old me?
Growing up in my own dysfunctional family, there was a strong competitive streak for academic achievement between my brother and myself. Homework time was difficult as he seemed to grasp the Maths so easily and could add long lists of numbers like my father, in his head. 

It was easy to believe that I was “not good enough” at Maths, choir, sport and the list goes on. Yet I surprised everyone by getting 100% for a geometry test not long after and was most indignant when it was suggested that I had somehow cheated. I understood the shapes, the sacred geometry and could “see” how it worked, whereas the numbers alone or in algebraic formulas made no sense at all. 
Having people around me that don’t believe in me is no longer an option and last week a family member questioned me about the diagnosis of a vaccine reaction. That may not have fitted her belief system, as she has total faith in vaccinations. I need to trust in my gut reactions and create clear boundaries in order to believe in me!!

How am I being unloving to myself?
How cleverly I have manifested excess weight and recent illnesses!! 
By being unwell, the cycle of lack of energy and being unfit are ways in which I can be unkind to this physical body. 

The last couple of weeks has seen me juicing and the vitality of the fresh fruits and vegetables are helping my body and soul mend. By denying my soul connection to living a more spiritual life, by living out of integrity, I have been harsh and unloving to myself.

Am I ready to let go?
A resounding yes!!! The last few weeks have been like a hibernation… a retreat into a cocoon…. and with spring well and truly in the air, it is time to emerge and let go of the past. Yes, some of the experiences may have defined my perception of the the world, but even as my body is still weak and I am repairing, the spirit feels so much stronger and ready to soar.

What do I believe that really works for me?

It has taken a while, but I am starting to trust in myself, trusting my own judgement. So trusting in the universe a little more often seems like a pretty good idea too! 
Looking back, there have been many instances of how things have worked out just OK for me whilst all around is chaos. 
This is now the time to trust that the angels, my guides will lead me towards a future that is fulfilling and full of love, laughter and abundance.

What is going on in my life that is terrific and wonderful?
A sense of anticipation with life changes that are happening in so many subtle and wonderful ways. 
A new grandchild and observing a new family unit being created with such love, yet seeing them not accepting the dysfunctional behaviours exhibited by cousins that were once close. 
A few close and special friends who also have an interest in the spiritual and esoteric check in on me from time to time. New friends with similar ethics have offered to help and whilst this is a little strange, I can learn to be open to their warm and loving ways.

Where am I being very loving to myself?

I am allowing myself time off. Time to sit. To think. To just be. I am going within and having a big spring clean of memories, perceptions and allowing myself time to grieve. Not just for the loss of my father, but the loss of my mother who died in 1999. I went to Perth for the funeral, came back to Melbourne and life just went on and I was surrounded by people who just didn’t seem to care, or who didn’t like any expression of emotion.

Where am I most content?
I have a soul urge to go back to the bush. To have a place where I can just be. 
Not the desert, where I am equally comfortable, but a place that has some clear plains, maybe a small rise with some granite boulders and some old, river gums. 
Where I can see the sunlight glinting on the half moon, crescent shaped leaves and the textures & colours of the bark. Where I can go outside at night and see the stars.     
Let me acknowledge myself for all the growth and change.
 

What do I want to bring to my life?
Integrity, warmth and understanding and abundance.

What do I want to create?

A life with no further regrets. A life full of laughter, full of genuine friends. A life that contributes in some small way to helping others become who they truly deserve to be.

How do I want the next year to be?
Busy, yet not frantic. With time to enjoy my children’s achievements and accomplishments. A busy, but rewarding Hypnotherapy practice, seeing clients who are looking to heal their past and to realize their soul potential. Time to find that bush block and build a healing sanctuary and labyrinth to walk within.

Who do I want to bring into my world?
Friends and colleagues who are walking on the same spiritual discovery path. Soulmates, soul friends and those who have something to teach and share.

How do I want to look?
I want to look healthy and at peace.  Radiating health from within to without.

What image do I want to project?
Having taken off the masks that I wore for so long,  there is no longer a need to project an image…  that I am now finally comfortable in my own skin, what you see is what you get. I have allowed the colours and tips to grow out of my hair and am comfortable with the grey and white streaks that have appeared. I have earned these stripes!

How healthy do I want to be?
I am ready now to take better care of my health by reducing weight, leaving unhelpful habits  in the past. I want to be healthy and fit so as to build my dream and not be exhausted.

How prosperous do I want to feel?
Abundance comes in many ways and financial abundance is high on the list. The last few years have seen some struggles with financial abundance and this has allowed a greater appreciation  of the money flow when it happens.

How much love am I willing to experience?
Unlimited, unconditional love!! How big is the universe?

What kind of world do I want to live in?
 The ideal world would be a place where there is a sense of peace, a mindfulness and purpose to daily life. Where there is acceptance for difference, equality in relationships and trust that the Universe has enough for all.

Where do I want my spirituality to go?

To follow my soul urge, to create a sacred space that allows myself and others to get in touch with the core beliefs. To accept that others have their religious beliefs and not impinge upon them, yet maintaining my own boundaries as to my beliefs.

Affirm:

I know that where I am is the totality of possibilities . . . not just a few possibilities, but the totality of all creation.

I am not limited by statistics, medical opinions, time, or authorities.

I am one with the infinite wisdom and capabilities of the Universe itself.

All good is available to me, right here and right now.

All I have to do is to use the power of my thoughts to create that which I desire. I know that. Now let me live it!

Trust


Trust is like an egg and it’s not like an egg.

If you want to break an egg you have to do it from the outside. 
The only way to break up a trust is from the inside.
O. Henry

Agaricus Muscaris – Beautiful but deadly…..the toxins in this toadstool act on the brain, producing vertigo and delirium …. with the symptoms developing after a period of 12 – 14 hours. There is no antidote and the end result is total paralysis.
Homeopathically, it can be used for neuralgia, vertigo and some skin conditions. In the homeopathic preparation, it is not toxic when used appropriately. The poison resembles that of the rattlesnake and acts on the red blood corpuscles……..Trust as I’d trust a rattlesnake —Anon
There is a restlessness from violent itching and on falling asleep will start and twitch, waking often. ……

Walking away from a conversation several months back, I had the feeling that I shouldn’t have shared a personal comment. I don’t sleep well at the best of times and often the subconscious mind will take a while to process.  Head … awhirl with doubts like a sky full of starlings — George Garrett …..and I will often find myself awake in the early hours of the morning, sitting bolt upright with an idea or a revelation. 
I had a niggling feeling that the conversation would be repeated, but decided to give the person the benefit of doubt. 
In coaching, there is an exercise that is useful in deciding if a relationship is open and honest. So I asked myself the following questions:

  • How comfortable am I with this person now?
  • Am I able to express myself freely with this person in the future?
  • Will I avoid talking about certain subjects or situations with this person
  • Am I lying to this person, by hiding the truth?
  • Does this person ever avoid talking about similar things with me?

No more to be trusted (with news) than a cat with a saucer of milk —Christopher Isherwood …..another social situation and a different person in the social group makes an interesting, but off-topic comment……didn’t think much of it at the time……. but a week or so later, the penny dropped. The trust that I placed in my “friend” was misplaced….. A secret in his [the gossip’s] mouth is like a wild bird put into a cage; whose door no sooner opens, but it is out —Ben Jonson
So, with this person I will become like the echidna who curls up into a ball, so that the soft underbelly is protected by spikes, until the threat is past. I will carefully choose my words in her company. I no longer feel comfortable in her company, as I will be avoiding divulging anything personal or emotional. I will form my conversation around questions about her, not to share the elicited answers but to engage her in conversation about herself and fill the time.

 Friendship is like a butterfly’s wing, once it’s torn it may never fly again 
– Anon