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: Thursday, 02 April 2015 15:29
Unless he can find a collaborator, it seems likely that Dad's days of writing math are done. "Why not write your memoirs?" I asked. "No one would be interested in that," he replied. But then he launched in to telling me a story from his youth. I took notes.
I'm reading a delightful book called The Memoir Project. It talks about how the interesting stories in memoirs are inspired by simple things. Things like ice cream. Personal quirks like reading obits. First memories are good. What did you wear can be interesting.
I shared some of this with my friend Sherry. She didn't need a book or an expert to tell her how to get that thread going. When her father was still alive, she sat at the table with him and turned on a recorder. She got him talking by asking simple questions like: "What did you have for breakfast when you were a child?" She made it into a book for family.
I don't know if my 95 year-old father's memoirs will find their way into a book. If they do, it is very unlikely to be a New York Times Best Seller. Who knows? I wouldn't rule it out. But who cares? The process of collecting the memories is priceless.
(All this said, I just got a call from a mathematician who has an idea for collaborating with my father. Funny how life works!)
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: Tuesday, 31 March 2015 14:46
***"STILL ALICE" SPOILER ALERT***
Lydia gives a dramatic reading from the play Angels in America. "Do you like it?" she asks her mother. "Do you understand it? What's it about?" Alice, now so advanced in her early onset Alzheimer's that she can barely speak, nods and says, "Love."
"That's right," Lydia affirms. "It's about love." The movie goes to credits.
Bob and I don't move. We're not reading the credits. We are absorbing the experience of the film.
What is the movie Still Alice about? Alzheimer's disease? Not really. Or not to me. It's about love.
Earlier in her decline at a talk to an Alzheimer's meeting, Alice asked, "Who will take us seriously?" She finds out who will. The people who recognize love.
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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: Tuesday, 24 March 2015 14:49
I am emerging from my personal winter. My efforts to heal my digestion and everything I experience emotionally, spiritually and practically as a result of years of liver congestion are paying off. My husband and others affirm that I am healthier than ever.
Spring. We have had some luscious days of spring calling us outside and into our senses. I have played well with family, friends and with the spirit of spring.
Now that I have energy, is it time for an unbridled reentry into my work? Should I accept the speaking engagement I was offered Friday?
My dream suggests something else. In this dream:
I am in college. My first class is dance. My second is exercise. My third is exercise. I am fascinated that it's almost noon and I haven't had any academic classes. I am fine with it - I trust the unfolding curriculum. After a train ride to London and back, I attend my first afternoon class. The classroom has small chairs and my classmates are children. I sit in a tiny chair and look forward to the class, wondering what I might learn.
(If you've ever had one of those dreams where you were being tested on things and hadn't attended the classes - this is not one of those. I was completely present for each class and on top of it.)
This dream portrays images of my college, my path, my curriculum. For now anyway. Dance, strengthening, practice, basics. Because the dream message feels right and makes sense, I embrace the images and let them guide me.
We are having winter thaw, and yet it snowed again last night. Just a little. I am feeling enlivened and yet I had stomach gas last night. Just a little. Winter isn't completely over.
I trust the process and embrace the curriculum that matches my season. I referred the speaking opportunity to a colleague who is currently enrolled in a different (metaphorical) college. It feels like a match to her.
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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, 11 March 2015 16:05
If you are fortunate enough to shop at the Albertson's that employs "Bea" you probably find yourself getting in her checkout line, even when there is a shorter option. You might not know why you do it, but if you heard her talk about her job and about you, her customer, you would understand completely.
Bea doesn't have to do anything. She gets to. She gets to help and interact with all kinds of people. She gets to walk the aisles and straighten product. She gets to help customers to their cars.
She also gets to brighten people's days. She gets to leave people better than she finds them. She chooses her words with care to invoke nourishing imagery. "Did you find everything with ease?" she asks... not just wanting to make sure people leave with what they came for, but also to invoke the experience of ease.
Bea has advanced degrees and an impressive resume. She is just where she wants to be at the checkout of Albertson's. If I were fortunate enough to live near Bea's store, her line is where I would want to be, too.
Instead, I am happy that I get to read Bea's emails and speak with Bea about all the things she gets to do.
What do YOU get to do in the course of your day?
Note: I received feedback that the blog emails don't work well with Outlook. I don't know when I will be able to do a real fix on it, but for now, I'm experimenting with having no graphics.
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