“To Eat Alone”

Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.

When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.

I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.

When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.

I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.

Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!

Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.

I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.

Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !

Have a nice day! Bon appétit !

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Pressure & Sabotage, a cessation process

Family. Three kids. Pressure inexplicably put on the eldest boy, who is labelled “brilliant”. “He will become a doctor”, as they proudly say. In the middle of his curriculum, he has a motorbike accident. Or develops an invalidating disease, like sclerosis. As he was not strong enough to say “No” to this pressure, he found another way to stop.

It probably sounds “too easy”, and the accident was just maybe random, but I heard that kind of story so many times that it became really fascinating. So for me it became a dial gauge to watch :

When too much pressure, watch for the accident life will invent to cease it

Pressure can be provided by family or spouse, by the situation, or by… people themselves. When people work too much, sometimes their friends begin to say : “Hey, you’re pushing too far, slow it down, pal!”. In general, they don’t stop. And then you see what life will choose to make them stop.

They suddenly fall apart, have an accident, they become sick. Life brakes for them. From time to time, it’s not even enough! They insist, they don’t understand, they move forward, so they fall more sick or they curiously get hit by a car saying : STOP, for Christ’s sake!

You, my reader, are a reasonable person, but you know… that when you’re VERY upset, light bulbs often explode when you switch on the light. PAF! It not truuuue, it’s impossible, but… it happens all the time, though.

The same way, I saw many times the house stopping people. Too much pressure, too much stress, and there’s a huge leak in the bathroom, a falling chimney, or a fire. The environment is acting silly.

Nooo, can’t be. Right?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Instagram : leahminium

Knacks for #creativity & Art Homework

I told my daughters a few tricks when in school they have to invent something and have no idea, in Art for example.

The first one is to play with a face. You can draw this and that, a bridge or a house or a butterfly, that’s cool, but if you take a face and make it weird, you’ll have a bigger impact. Like melting, or too big eyes, or a mouth on a forehead. It’s too easy : one day she copy-pasted her own eyes on her cheeks, 8 times like a spider, and got a 20/20 (you’d say A+ in US, I think), best note of her class.

The other trick is meta. “If you don’t know what to tell, tell about you not knowing what to tell”. So one day she had to write a story and had not clue of a beginning of any story. So she wrote something about a teen in a classroom writing a story. Then… the rest came fantastically easily.

Well, if you don’t know what you could blog about today, tell us about you about blogging, or your blank page, OK?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Obedient “to the finger and the eye” is the French “beck and call”

“Obéir au doigt et à l’œil” (“to obey the finger and the eye”) is the French way to say that you’re at somebody’s beck and call.

I found out that it comes from “beckon call”, which makes sense, right? By the way, I learned a word : Beckon – “gesture to come”. 

How do you say that in your language? In common use, what’s the radioactivity of “beckon”? Is it neutral like “to call over”? Or does in imply a little slice of servitude? What are the differences between to yield, to comply, to obey, to submit?

What are the dials and levers here? If you’re at somebody’s beck and call, what does it show? Is it about fear? Power? Is it about persons, or systems, companies?

What about the beckoning person? How come this person expects you to act this way? Has he enough power to get you back in “the right track”? Or does he have to understand that “people are not all obedient”? What a shock!

What happens, in a situation where you’re supposed to comply and you don’t? Failure to comply, disobedience, rebelliousness? Why would you? A frontier has been crossed? Did you change? Did you grow up? Has the whole system changed? Did you change your mind? Why?

In what territory to study this? Kingdom? Management? Spouses? Clients/employees? Politics? Parenting? What are the limits of beck and calling?

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Kids at 2 in a park : on screen or in life? #parenting

Do this :

1-Enter in a park

2-Sit on a bench

3-Watch around

4-Kids at two

Some :

run, walk, scream, climb, play, laugh, hide, jump in a puddle

Some :

touch mummy’s smartphone’s screen, tied in a stroller

What about yours?

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“Vicarious” : How to learn by watching others #pedagogy #empathy

Vicariant en Français. Vicarious in English. What a strange word! It’s a concept and I put it here very simply, as a tool, or a seed. Do what you want with it.

Vicarious : Experienced through somebody or something else.

It’s all about learning, first.

There are many ways of learning. Albert Bandura was interested by one of them : observational learning. A way to learn is by watching others.

Social learning theorylearning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur through observation.

Vicarious can be extended to other things.

For example : in the night your eyes can’t see, so you use your hands to “grope for” (en Français on dit “Chercher à Tâtons”, ain’t it cute?).

Vicarious : Experienced throught something else. To replace a function by another.

Think about this now :

Empathy is a vicariance, a Metaphor is a vicariance (a word for another), a Trauma can be vicarious (traumatised because you helped traumatised people), an Emulator is vicariant, and a Impostor is vicarious, etc. Once you have this tool, you can use it elsewhere.

Ref : Alain Berthoz, la Vicariance

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me!

 

I’m living vicariously through your pictures in Lille…

THINK ABOUT YOUR ART, or how to kill your “I know my job” pinned mindsets

I once knew a teacher who amazed me because she was constantly thinking about her Art, inventing new ways to progress, debriefing almost each day.

Of course I know the tale : Never ask a millipede to explain how he manages to get anywhere. He will tie himself in knots!

In fact, I think that most experienced people do not “think” that much about what they do and how they do it. They do their job! It’s how some teachers teach : “I know my job!”.

Unless you work in an area who needs to be really creative (architects, musicians, decorators), there’s a danger once you are “skilled”, once you finished your student’s life. Danger is : mindsets. “I know my job!”. WHY : because you stop learning!

What I remind from these conversations is a phrase she heard constantly from colleagues : “It’s not possible”. Kids this age CAN NOT read. Well, they can…

Well, that’s common sense, right? If you think “It’s not possible”, it probably won’t be!

Tool 1 : Think about your Art.

In your job, what do you do like a machine? Play the game of debriefing, for once. Ask a friend to help you think. Talk. Learn. One Eno’s Oblique Strategies suggests : “Explain it to your parents”. Detect and discover your mindsets. Some are good, useful. Some not.

Tool 2 : You’re now the helper. If you’re a manager, how will you see the little and big fixed/pinned ideas in your team, the “I know my job!”s? The “This is the way we do it”? Yey, change causes resistance to change. But that’s another article !

Thanks for reading!

#street #shadows #fall