Communication Breakdown. Daily Prompt.

So you’re a living, breathing organism and you can communicate in many a number of fantastic ways.  You speak at least three languages (your native tongue, your body language, the language of love!) and yet…sometimes there are walls of silence that seem like they just can’t be climbed.


Well there are circumstances in which creativity and communications flourish.  These are circumstances of ease and color, of trust, mutual respect, openness and safety, like a flowery garden on a summer day where animals bask and the lemonade flows.  These are the environments you want to find yourself in.

There are also circumstances  where the very opposite is true.  These are circumstances of difficulty and stale, colorless air.  Some part of the communication tunnel has dropped its window to respect, made trust impossible, closed the doors to understanding and shut the listening vents.   These are circumstances everyone wants to avoid.

The biggest factors in creating a breeding ground for the kind of negative energy that leads to the unwanted communication zone are as follows:  anger, authoritarianism, irrationality, impatience- and the root cause and catalyst for all of these is stress.

When you’re stressed and unhappy you are more likely to be impatient and to try and exert control and authority over people rather than level with them, talk about things rationally.  You get irrational, and impatient and you anger easily.  That isn’t an excuse however, we must all take responsibility for our own stress management.

Imagine trying to have a relaxing chat with someone outside during a thunder storm – how is that going to go?  Not well.

If you’ve taken on too much, if you’ve lost control, if you’re running on empty and you’re struggling, the key word here is you.  You need to to take a break, slow down, reflect, find some inner peace, ask for help if you need to.  Only then when you get back out of the storm inside yourself are you in a place for rational communication and seeing other people as equals enough to allow them space to communicate freely with you.

We all come in to contact now and again with someone who is in this stress zone, who has rigid views and does not listen, who treats others like they are gum on the ground to be trod on and spat down at.  They turn normally excellent communicators into whisperers.

Sometimes we just have to wait it out, other times we have to get out, maybe you have a magical knack at helping people to de-stress and can overcome it.  The pitfall a lot of people get in to is thinking that every environment is like this or they blame themselves for not being able to rise above it.  Sometimes the wall is just too high, but there are better environments, there are places to flourish.  Find them.

I’m on a constant quest too.




Started From The Bottom Now We’re Here

(This is for anyone who ever got down and thought they’d never get back up again.  For anyone else who lost control, lost sight and got stuck on survive.  It’s not over unless you say it is.)

Almost a tribute to Hole’s Celebrity Skin album:


OK, so I didn’t start from the very, very bottom, initially.  I just hit it in my early twenties after numerous disasters that made me completely lose touch with myself and my objectives on this earth.

But now I am here like a phoenix from the ashes of a misspent youth.  Here I am.  Los Angeles, California, just back from the Frisco bay.

Coming here was a dream I had when I was fourteen and I spent Sundays listening to Bob Dylan and Otis Redding cds in my parents’ living room in the isolated countrysides of South Armagh, Northern Ireland, before it all spiraled out of control.

I just wanted so badly to feel this air on my skin and to walk the paths that the artists I loved had walked before me.  Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Courtney Love…all my teenage heroes had come to Los Angeles at some point to write, to find themselves.  I wanted to play basketball in the sunshine and read by the coast.  Fifteen years later I am here.

It’s every bit the dream I thought it would be.  I wish I had longer, two weeks is short, but my work is calling me, my girlfriend misses me, my cat needs me and my friends want to hear all about it.  I have crammed as much in as I could.

I’ve been to Malibu, I’ve been to Santa Monica, Hollywood, drove down the Pacific Coast Highway with the sun beating down on me from above.  I’ve drank in many dive bars in San Francisco.  Narrowly avoided a troubling encounter in downtown L.A and dodged the eyes of the shady characters in San Fran’s oddly named Tenderloin district.  I’ve cycled the coast on hot, windy mornings and played basketball on outdoor courts with American guys who think they can beat me but soon find that they cannot, haha suckers!

Anyway I’m happy with my adventure.  I’ve lived a dream I thought had slipped away.  So it means everything now to do it.  I feel like I’m back in control of my life.  I’m calling the shots I should’ve called years ago but lost the means to.  Lost my path.  I won’t let that happen again.

Looking back over all the distractions and disasters which led to this dream taking fifteen years to fulfill, I was ashamed of all the hazy years, angry at the obstacles.  But maybe they had value, maybe I needed to go through that to move forward and appreciate it, and handle it.  When I pick up my old cd collection, a 360 disc case, and I caress my way through the pages, I have so many memories of those times on detour from this plan that I can feel some peace in it.

When I pick up Babes In Toyland’s ‘To Mother’ album I remember being fourteen in a nice kitchen in Liverpool where my uncle Tim is cooking egg fried rice and my aunt is telling about seeing Kat Bjelland and her band playing live.  Kat is in a frilly dress and red patent shoes looking like a little doll, but screaming like a witch and I remember imagining this and being euphoric and laughing at the idea.  She sounded incredible.

When I picked up Bon Jovi’s greatest hits album I remember being at their gig in Dublin and I bounced, high, from one end of the stadium to the other, continuously until the show was over.  Afterwards I busked in Temple Bar to let the busker go for a break.  I even made him a few punt.

When I picked up Counting Crows album I remember a friend no longer with us.  I remember their album playing in the car as we drove to Dundalk to go drinking.  I remember dancing down the street with him, laughing and joking around.  Stopping so he could roll a spliff on a windowsill.

So although I wish it hadn’t taken so long to get here, I’m glad too.  I shared a lot of nice moments with a lot of nice people.  There were good times in all the bad and the main thing is I got to the other side eventually.

So the main thing is it’s never too late.  You decide when it’s the end and my friend, of all the wisdom I’ve been given on my journey the most important wise words I heard were – if you’re going through hell keep going.  You just never know where you could end up.  When the storm clears it could be paradise.