Created: Friday, 03 April 2015 03:18
The candy wrappers by the shed were the first clue. Our suspicions were confirmed later when we heard squeals and giggles and the bark of a dog. I caught a glimpse of them once. We have some little girls living behind us now and they cut through our yard to get to their friends' houses.
I wish they would have asked us. It's not that I feel violated. It's not that I mind their trespassing. It's more that I would like to meet them. And, also, I would like to assure them that they are welcome to walk through our yard.
Maybe they aren't concerned about trespassing. Kids are different from how we were so many years ago. But I can also imagine that their squeals and giggles would be even more joyful for them if they knew that we delight each time we hear them. That is an advantage of asking.
Created: Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:37
Saturday. I was late leaving for dance. Nothing unusual there. As I packed up my lunch to take with me, Bob came in the kitchen. I said:"I'm scrambling to get out. May I have dominance in the kitchen right now?"
"Sure," he replied. He made a point to stay out of my way as I completed my preparations.
It hasn't always worked that way. Our balance in the kitchen is hard-won.
"May I have dominance now?" Lilith, Adam's first wife, was banished from the garden for wanting dominance. She was replaced by Eve, a more submissive helpmate. Lilith has returned in balance with Eve in the garden of our kitchen. They dance well with Adam.
Once upon a time, when Bob (Adam) and I tried to do things in the kitchen at the same time, we would collide. He assumed dominance. I tried to stay out of his way, but often banished myself from the kitchen when he came in. Even if I was in the middle of a process, I found it easier to go do something else until he was done.
Tuesday. Bob fixed his breakfast while I replenished the spices. I said: "We dance in the kitchen these days instead of collide."
"That's because I gave up assuming my needs are more important than yours," he replied.
Yes, that does help. My own re-balancing helps too. No one assumes dominance anymore. There is a give and a take.
Today is the anniversary of our marriage. I'm wearing the skirt I wore in our wedding. I'm wearing it inside-out. The colors are still beautiful but much softer than outside-out.
There is much to celebrate. I'll dance to that!
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Created: Monday, 30 March 2015 02:00
The spring weather intoxicates me. The air feels crisp and vibrantly alive. The birds seem like they are singing just to me. Last year, I was too lethargic to do my yard work. Getting through the day took all the energy I had. This year I am beside myself with excitement. As when I was 5 years old, I don't wanna come inside.
Health makes the difference between living heaven and living hell. For me, a few bites of the wrong foods can take me from this kind of divine rapture to dark despair. It's an obvious bad bargain.
I posted a poem about it last week. I wrote the poem in part to anchor my intention to be impeccable about doing the things that cultivate life. Of course, moments after it went out, I wanted to revise it.
Well, here's my do-over of:
Dancing with the Devil.
Oops. I just danced with the devil!
Uh oh! I ate from his plate!
Whoa! Did I make a bad bargain!
Yikes! I keep tempting fate!
Gosh! I gave in to temptation!
Ignoring hard lessons I learned!
Yeah, right, like this time would be different!
Ouch! I keep getting burned!
Oh no! I pretended a nibble
of poison would do me no harm.
Shoot! I let sweet temptation
disable my danger alarm!
Oops. I just danced with the devil
whose lessons are sharp and severe.
Lord, help me collect my diploma!
and say, "Thanks. I'll take it from here."
If you revisit the original, you'll see the confessions are in the form of questions. The poem asks why I do these things at every turn. This version is more human and less conceptual. Same idea but different tone. Very different tone.
And yay! I wrote a poem that is helping me make life-giving choices.
Woo Hoo! I am dancing with life. So far so good...
I hope you enjoyed the original and like the revision.
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Created: Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:56
Something my friend and fellow food-sensitive said struck me. She said when she follows her diet, she feels great.
Hello! The stakes for her are high - why would she not follow her diet when cheating feeds disease or at least dis-ease?
My next step when I question the behavior of others is to ask myself, "What's my version of that? Where don't I practice what I know?"
In terms of food, there are times when I don't know what will trigger me. However, I also know that (for example) while I can "get away with" a few sweets here and there, that I am playing with my well-being when I do. Why risk it when I feel so much better when my digestion is happy?
I know I play the edge and go beyond it at times.
I want to anchor the idea of honoring my body's quirks.
One way I anchor ideas is to write poems. Here's the one I wrote for this. You can apply it to communication as well. We all speak at times when we know better.
Dance with the Devil
Why do I dance with the devil?
Why do I eat from his plate?
Why do I make a bad bargain?
Why do I keep tempting fate?
Why do I flirt with temptation?
When will I live what I learn?
How do I think this is different?
Why do I keep getting burned?
Why do I pretend one small nibble
of poison won’t do me much harm?
Why do I let sweet temptation
disable my danger alarm?
The devil can be a fierce teacher.
With lessons so painfully clear.
It’s time I collect my diploma
And say, "Thanks. I will take it from here."
Of course the real test of the power of the poem is in what I do at the next potluck I attend where there is a delectable delight I feel compelled to taste. Will it be the healing of the habit or just another step along the way of making better choices?
How can you creatively anchor the behaviors you want to encourage?
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Created: Wednesday, 25 March 2015 14:42
As a big picture person, as a symbolic and a metaphorical Visionary style communicator, one of my communication challenges is to express ideas, symbols and images that have so much meaning for me in ways that others can relate to.
Like the dream I posted about yesterday.
To me, my symbols and images speak for themselves and need no explanation. After all, to my knowledge, the Moody Blues never explained what "Knights in white satin, never reaching the end, letters I've written never meaning to send" means.
But then they're the Moody Blues, and I'm not.
Yesterday, I posted about a dream that provided me with wonderful guiding images I'm still interpreting. (Note to my Achiever communicators - to the more concrete among my readers. I see you rolling your eyes! Know this: guiding images are a major source of DIRECTION, ENERGY and INSPIRATION to Visionaries.)
If you've ever had a dream when you were in college and missed your main classes, and were unprepared for the test, know that this was the apotheosis of that. This takes that nightmare to an illuminating next-step-dream. Here's what it said to ME.
I was in college. Not high school, not work, college. That tells me this is about advanced learning.
I was engaged in each class, embracing my curriculum as it unfolded. None of that old theme of not knowing where I should be or being unprepared.
I was graded, but didn't feel judged. The grading was feedback. I cultivate the art of giving feedback that doesn't seem judgy.
My classes were dance, exercise, exercise and something related to children. I was surprised there was nothing academic. I'm not anti-intellectual, but I am balancing years of over-thinking. It suggests to me that I need to keep the balance of being body-based. It's not time to focus much on the conceptual level of life. My Inner Analyzer still needs to play a supporting role, not a leading one in my growth and development.
That's what it all meant to me. But the real reason for sharing it is for you to ask yourself - what would it mean if it were YOUR dream? Would it be college? What classes would you take? Do you honor those activities even though they may not lead to degrees? What symbols have deep meaning for you?
Well, that's one real reason for sharing it. The other is that I consciously practice talking about inner realities in ways that others understand. It's a process.
Perhaps some day I will be like the Moody Blues and feel no need to explain. Perhaps not. Right now, I like the exercise.
Created: Thursday, 12 March 2015 16:26
My friends and I have been practicing our communication commitment to ask more questions. Amy is involved in a legal situation that has her needing to get answers... but she has no good idea what the questions are. She asks anyway. Bea is getting advice from an expert she never would have approached before. And me... well I wondered why my corporate tax prep cost me $150 more than last year. So I asked.
"I didn't raise my rates," my CPA told me. "Tax laws are that much more complicated this year." He went on to offer me a break in his fee.
I appreciate that, but what I appreciate most is the fact that he makes it easy to talk about things like the fee increase. I told him so.
"Well, you're my favorite client," he responded. "I'm happy to talk."
"Oh, your favorite?" I replied. "Maybe I should leverage that."
"Uh oh," he said. "I shouldn't have told you."
"That's okay," I replied. "I can't leverage it because if I manipulated your goodwill, I wouldn't be your favorite client anymore."
And it's true. We work together well, and when I wonder about things, I just ask.
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Created: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 02:32
Last week I wrote an article for a magazine I have a column in about overcoming bad communication habits by practicing good new ones. As one example, I wrote of how I make a practice of asking questions to overcome my habit of making assumptions.
Interesting how life works. Two days after I wrote that article, I was arranging contractors for foundation work on some rental property. The foundation contractor recommended I get a plumber to replace some pipes while the floor was torn up.
I asked Dave, my renter, to arrange this. Dave emailed me the next day to say that the plumber had been by and the work would be done by that evening. I was surprised since the foundation work hadn't been started, but ASSUMED that the plumber knew what he was doing. I drafted an email to Dave acknowledging the plan... but stopped myself before I hit send. I revised my email and asked Dave why the plumber was replacing pipes before the foundation work. Dave replied that he didn't know why the foundation guy wanted the plumbing done first.
It was clear to me that Dave was irritated about having his plan challenged. Another thing was clear - there was confusion. This is a very big... concrete... step to take without clarity.
I got the foundation contractor and the plumber talking. As it turned out, there was a crack in the pipe under the cement and it did make sense to have the plumbing work done while the cement was torn up.
I love the way life works. My article reminded me of my SpeakStrong practice to ask questions when I sense fuzziness. By asking, I avoided unnecessary work and expense.
I can't begin to tell you how many times in the past I have ignored my lack of clarity and regretted it later. Life is simpler now that I am getting better and better at communicating until I feel clarity.
Dave was irritated by my persistence, but everyone would have been irritated had it been done wrong the first time.
You know the saying. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask.
Created: Tuesday, 03 March 2015 17:15
My friends and community often include an "ESP Report" in our check ins. Are we eating, sleeping and pooping well? It's easy to overlook the basics - and living well doesn't get much more basic than that.
Yesterday I took great delight in discovering that an author I have just embraced not only has written an article about that very focus, but has taken the principles to the next level.
The author is Dr. Rubin Naiman, and the article is How Cool is Your Sleep?
The questioner in the article is his mother. When he was young and felt ill, his Mom asked, "What did you eat?"
Dr. Naiman expands the definition of "eating" to chronic inflammation caused by "eating" excessive energy in various forms - too much food, light, oxygen, experiences and information.
When Dr Naiman's was young and felt ill, his Mom asked, "Did you poop?"
Dr. Naiman expands his definition of pooping to include all kinds of discharge, elimination and letting go. Sometime I will have a conscious, healthy hissy-fit to discharge, let go and cool down.
When Dr. Naiman was young and felt ill his Mom asked, "Did you sleep?"
Dr. Naiman's regard for sleep and dreams includes profound respect for metaphor and symbolic experience.
My circle's ESP Report will never be the same. Thanks, Doc!