"Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say Without Being Mean When You Say It" ~ Meryl Runion Rose                                ShoppingCart Plum NB 50

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Effective Communication Skill Blog

Alchemist in Meryl.150Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.

The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?

Trusting Her Own Compass

compassLayla is going through the kind of life crisis that takes some people out and makes others strong. I am championing her in her strength. It is wonderous to see her blossom. Of course the journey through and out of the mud isn't linear. She gets a bit lost at times.

As I prepared for our time together, I had all kinds of fabulous ideas for what she could do. As soon as we met, it became clear she had all kinds of fabulous ideas for herself. She started out telling me all about her plan.

I was delighted. And a little... just  tad... disappointed that she didn't need me to tell her my great ideas. She didn't need my compass - hers was working fine. 

That is the tricky thing about helping people find their own strength - adapting to when they need your strength and when they are best served by you backing off and applauding theirs.

I actually couldn't find anything in Layla's plan to improve. I might not have told her if I had - because a pretty good plan that she created herself trumps a great plan that I created for her.

She worked her own plan and ended the day with a sense of empowerment. 

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They're Lying to You

datesDr. Gregory House on the show House used to say "everybody lies."

Bob's main mentor says that too. Dr. Loomis stood in front of a seminar of docs and told his volunteer that despite her protests, he knew she was eating sugar. His exam wasn't lying, she was.

Loomis went through a long list of ways she might be getting sugar. Was she eating this? Was she eating that? Was she eating some other thing?

No, no, no.

Was she eating dates?

Why yes, she was. And what are dates a big source of? SUGAR!

Busted. Now she can heal.

"There you go," the doc told the audience. "Everybody lies." Dr. Loomis found that out years before when a client who had seen him for years told him she ate a pure diet and her symptoms had to be environmental. After many years of this, she came to see him with a friend who told Dr. Loomis: "She's lying to you when she says she doesn't eat junk. She does when she gets stressed." 

Busted. Now she can heal.


"You're getting sugar from somewhere," Bob told his client. "Something is feeding  your candida." 

Bob's client insisted she wasn't eating sugar. But then she relented. "Do cookies on weekends count? They're from Whole Foods and they're natural."

Yes, cookies on weekends count.  Bob's client was busted. Now she can heal.

We all can heal once we stop lying to ourselves about ways we sabotage ourselves. We might play mind games with ourselves that we can cheat here and fib there. But guess what! The laws of cause and effect don't bend because we think they should. Candida feeds on sugar on weekends too. Failure feeds on trickery on weekends too. Every attempt to go cheap, every little lie comes back to bite us. That's why the only way out is through being as truthful as we know how to be - about every little thing. 

Man - those dates look good! You might be able to handle them, but after years of kidding myself I know I can't. I'll have somethng else. 

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The Necessary Luxury of More Than Enough Time

Space together"I have five more minutes. Can you get right to the point?"

Sometimes you need to focus your conversations to make sure priorities get handled.

Other times, attempts to rush a conversation are counter-productive. You need to sink in, put your feet up on the wall and allow time for verbal processing, rambling and for the deeper truths to emerge.

There are some conversations that simply can't happen if you rush.

In my father's assisted-living home, often people don't give him time to speak. They miss the cues that he has something to say. They don't notice him clear his throat. They miss the special breath he takes when he reaches for words. They interject before he can begin, let alone make his point.

That's why I make a point of leaving spaces and allowing plenty of time in our conversations. Space for Grace.

There are times when I need to focus him and let him know I don't have much time. He doesn't seem to mind. I think he doesn't mind because he knows I will make enough time for him to express himself before long.

Like that, I don't mind being rushed when I know I will have room to speak reasonably soon.

Giving others room to speak their deeper truths or process isn't just a gift to them. It's a gift to you because there is gold in those words. It can be mixed with some dross - especially if communication has been blocked or rushed for a while. But keep giving room - not necessarily every conversation, but often enough to avoid a backlog - and you will find yourself enjoying a beauty you would have missed had you not indulged in the luxury of more than enough time. 

My dad is an amazing man. I am one of the few people who know how amazing he is because I wait while he clears his throat, takes a breath and gathers his thoughts by rambling a bit. 

I am amazing too. My friends who allow me time know that. I also have amazing friends and colleagues. I know that when I allow more than enough time.

Space for Grace. Leave enough room and you discover the beauty in your midst. 

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OPM - Other People's Magic

closet 300I was dialing it down for bed when my friend Renee called. She was full of energy. As much as I value letting things settle at night, I also enjoy my conversations with Renee, so I welcomed her call.

She was excited about a book she was reading - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. She thought I'd be interested since purging and ordering and fixing and creating flow has been a main focus for me for over two years. Renee also knows that the model I work with is influenced by lean manufacturing which has Japanese roots, as does the book that had Renee swinging from the rafters.

I was a bit skeptical because I've been at this a long time and my methods are honed and personalized. I rarely get much from best-selling books. 

But her enthusiasm got my attention, and I checked it out.

I read the Amazon reviews and was fascinated to see that what most people object to is the very thing that we like - the animism. Something about considering how your socks feel stretched out in a wad appeals to us both.

From the beginning of my in-depth reordering, I felt like I was freeing spirit from matter when I tidied. I felt like I was in relationship with the soul of each item I owned. I love that experience. 

Is it true? Who knows. What I do know is that perspective is very effective for many people - including me. I was at a bit of a stuck point when I read the book, and while there are some things I take issue with, the book jump-started a powerful surge that has my world in a level of beauty and order I didn't know I could actually achieve. 

More later - much more. But the main point here is this: even if someone's method makes no sense to you, if it works, think twice before you condemn it. You might be inspired by OPM - Other People's Magic.


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Sorta Sorry - Brian Williams' Apology

Brian Williams ORI'm not particularly a fan of the former news anchor Brian Williams, nor do I dislike him. I was curous about how being suspended for misrepresenting facts changed him. Often, that kind of fall from grace transforms people. 

Williams apologized... sort of. He started by saying "I'm sorry." That sounds more genuine than "I apologize." But the next part blew it for me. He said,

- I'm sorry for what happened.


  • I'm sorry for what I did.

It sounds to me like Williams hasn't quite taken accountability. He seems sorta sorry to my ear and heart. 

Have you ever been asked to accept a semi-sincere sounding apology?

Have you ever given a semi-sincere apology?

One of the biggest temptations in apologizing is justifying behavior. As I look back over the years, there are hundreds of people I would love to apologize to because I have become more conscious and therefore more aware of how unconscious I was. I also understand the constraints and lack of skills I was living with. If I had the opportunity to apologize I would be tempted to explain and justify.

I would be tempted to try to make them understand where I was coming from.

I would resist that temptation. I would simply say:

  • I'm sorry for what I did. 

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Sweetly Reversing Roles with Aging Parents

"Dad, do you want me to read to you?"

I was hesitant to ask because generally parents read to children, not the other way around. But he quickly accepted my offer. His eyes are degenerating and it's harder and harder for him to read for himself, even with all his visual aids. We have come full circle and our roles have reversed in many ways, even though he is still brilliant. 

We started by reading a book about Asperger's by Temple Grandin. When he asked about what's going on in the news, I started reading news summaries. Then I picked a book off his shelf - Stephen Hawking "The Grand Design." Neither one understands it, but both of us enjoy it anyway.

Now that I'm home, I call with news summaries almost daily. Last night I read a story from our local paper to him that I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish without choking up. It's about a man who forgave the woman who killed his son and cost him a leg in a car accident. She was speeding and swerved off the road. Her car hit them on the sidewalk. The father offered the offender his support at the sentencing, and the offender's family supported the father in his situation by fundraising. If you need a good cry, this is it. The video is touching and inspiring as well. 

Father of accident victim 2

If you need a good way to connect with an aging parent, try reading to them. Feel-good, inspirational stories, news or quantum physics - all can be great ways to adapt to the changes in life. I even read a section from a book on tidying that I'm enjoying. It got a great conversation going about his childhood. 


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A Great Man

DSC 4416We fixed his magnifying glasses. "Do they work okay?" I asked my father. "Yes," he said, "but my eyes have deteriorated enough that it's too difficult to read even with them."

"That's really sad," I told  him.

"It is," he said, "but they served me well for many years."

What an attitude! We worked hard to keep him able to read and work. Now, at 95, he seems to have made peace with his limitations. We should all be as blessed as he is.

"Your father is a great man." I have heard that repeatedly throughout my life. It is true. We should all be as blessed as I am. 

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Temple Grandin's Personal Look

The way I see itI'm reading a wonderful book by Temple Grandin about autism. The title is aptly, "The Way I See It." It gives an inside look at what it's like being autistic - and particularly what it's like being Temple Grandin. Grandin is a high functioning person with autism.

The book isn't just about the world according to Temple and what she sees, it's about HOW she sees. Temple shares her thinking process and how she learns and operates. More than that, she shares the process she and her family have gone through to discover how she learns and how she can operate effectively. She is clear that everyone needs to be their own detective - that her experiences are there to help us learn from our own. This process is useful for everyone, whether we have some kind of identifiable disability or not. 

One insight that stands out for me is her admission that she has trouble with abstractions. She doesn't recognize patterns easily. So, for example, when her nanny taught her to look both ways when she crosses the street, it was necessary for her nanny to take her to many different street corners to impress the idea on Temple that the teaching applies to ALL streets. 

I once had an assistant who told me she's more concrete than I am. I was fascinated by that observation. It made sense of a lot of things. If I pointed out an error as an example of a pattern of errors, she would correct the error, but not understand the bigger picture to make an effort to troubleshoot the errors. I was hesitant to give examples because she would turn the conversation into being about that single error. 

This young woman moved on to a job that is more concrete. It's working well for her and her employer. 

Temple Grandin is special and not so special. Like us all. If the people in our lives would each write a book about their own MOs, it would be a goldmine for us. 

The biggest lesson in "The Way I See It" is patience. I'll be with some family next week that will test that lesson for me. I hope I can be as graceful and wise as Temple's family was. 


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The Rhythms of Routine

out to lunch 300Bob eats a big late breakfast and doesn't eat again until dinner. After a whole lot of trial and error I found I need to eat something every two hours. I have three cooked meals each day and have healthy snacks between.

It took me a while to establish my routine. It took me months of observation to determine that I wanted to eat breakfast by 8:00 AM. It also took us months to decide on 5:30 for our dinner together. The rest of my food routine aligned around those two anchors. My body loves the balance. (I carry food with me if I expect to be out for more than two hours. Real food. Veggies and protein. Not just sugary nutritional bars.) 

Bob decided to experiment with eating lunch. He probably didn't pick the best week for it. He experimented with lunching the week we changed to daylight savings time. It was a struggle. Yet something he said lit my fire. He said, 

  • I'm trying to establish a rhythm here. 

Okay. I actively strive to set rhythms for myself by dance and hiking and breathing practices. Bob has no sense of dance rhythm. But those words gave me a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) about him. His structure is about rhythm.  

Both of us experiment with rhythm. Neither one of us imposes rhythms. We've been doing it in different ways, but our ways are coming together.

Have you established rhythms? 


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Where's the Party?

party box confettiActress Julienne Moore says that before she met her husband she always thought the party was out "there" somewhere. I can relate to that. I used to have that sense. 

It's hard to imagine someone as successful as Moore thinking life wasn't happening where she was, but she did. 

For Moore, meeting her husband brought the party home. It didn't happen like that for me. For me, it was a  more gradual commitment to embrace my life - including messes and aspects of it that didn't fit my pictures. What is as is.

Like many women, I tried to remake my husband. I have pretty much stopped doing that. It's amazing how much he has "improved" since I let go of looking at him like a remodeling project! In remaking myself, I often decided my best wasn't good enough. Good enough for what? Being the first woman president? I've let go of much of that drive while I do enjoy many new consciously cultivated habits. 

I'm happy to report that for me, the party is right where I am. My husband just kissed me on the back of my neck and told me, "You are loved, respected and adored." Now, that's a good party! 

I like good parties...and I embrace the bad ones as well. It may not always be the party I thought I was planning, but if it's my party, I'm all in. 

Where's your party? Do you relate to what I'm saying at all?


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It's Not About Me

Yesterday's post asked a question - how is YOUR heart today?

Angie commented, thanking me for sharing my heart. Then she posted another comment that responded to my question. She said, "PS My heart's ok...just taking some time to listen to where it is and where it's going. :)"

THAT is the kind of conversation I'm trying to get going. Angie's second post was about her heart, not mine. Learning about Angie's relationship with her own heart helps me deepen my relationship with mine. 

There are technical problems. My comment links don't work right. The feeds don't play well with Outlook. If I want to get a real conversation going, I can't make people jump through hoops. I do want to get a real conversation going. I don't want to feel like I'm sending out missives that no one cares about. I'm in it for the community. 

If any of you have a web person recommendation - someone who uses Joomla, I'd love a referral.

But I'm also considering migrating to Facebook. I invite your feedback.

How IS your heart today? Mine was a little heavy yesterday, but it perked up when two of my dear friends and I shared our hearts with each other. Plus, I received some lovely emails that let me know I'm not just talking to myself. 

Although I do share personally, it's not about me. It's not about my mind, heart and choices. It's about you. That's what I want to hear about.

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How is YOUR Heart Today?

How is your heart today?

Mine woke me up in the night. It was painful, but I stayed with it and it worked through to sweetness. 

I don't know what triggered it. It might be because I feel my father fading.

My sister is 18 years younger than I am and lives nearby. She can tend to Dad in ways I can't. Because I'm familiar with fading, I can tend to him in ways she can't. 

Fading - letting go - changing. It's a sad thing when you feel what you're fading from. It's a joyful thing when you feel what you're fading in to. Life is incredibly vast. 

I watched my late husband fade many years ago. He knew he was fading into something. 

Fading. I'm experimenting with fading. I'm pretending electric lights don't exist and seeing how that changes dusk and dawn. It is a very powerful experiment. I like the gradual shifts from one state, one way of being, into another. I like watching the day fade into night and the night fade into morning. 

I don't cry much. I cried last night. I welcomed the tears. They faded into the sweetness that I feel now.

How is YOUR heart today?

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Article Use

Please copy, quote, distribute, share and publish these articles with the following credits.

©2015 Meryl Runion Rose. Meryl is a Certified Speaking Professional and the Creator of the SpeakStrong Method of Dynamically Effective Communication. Find her at www.SpeakStrong.com

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