Hiatus 2016

It was a good year to withdraw. No – I’m not talking about Afghanistan, though it probably would have been a good time for that too. I’m talking about pressing pause and taking a hiatus from my SpeakStrong platform.

I could have written an entire book of Poison Phrases from a few minutes of his speeches. He made a mockery of principles I hold dear and teach. He exalted principles I deplore. He ridiculed values I treasured. He venerated ambitions I refute. He trashed people struggling from want and abuse. He retraumatized survivors and emboldened perpetrators nationally. He was (and remains) a bully – and in 2016, he won.

His tone trickled down to some of my readers and supporters. Some regarded him as a SpeakStrong role model. Some took license from him to mock and belittle and ridicule. Some I had interacted with for years became impertinent and pushy.

When they went low, we went high… and they took us out at the knees. For a while.

That, and so many other reasons (like the passing of my father) made 2016 a good year to hit pause and withdraw. It was a good year to invest my energies closer to home. It was a good year to regroup and transform.

Now it looks like 2021 will be a good year to reengage in a new way. Is SpeakStrong relevant after Sixty (eight)? Are PowerPhrases pertinent after the Pause? I believe so – and I trust the phrases will be more sacred and soulful than ever.

I don’t know how my platform will unfold. I am not a communication speaker and author now. I simply live my life and do my best to say what I mean and mean what I say… without being mean when I say it. Everything SpeakStrong is fresh and new and waiting to unfold. So come unfold your voice here with me.

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Ensoulment Interruptus

“So THAT’S what happened!” Tina exclaimed. There is nothing quite like ideas that turn the lights on for your inner experience. The book “Trauma and the Soul” did that for me. And there is nothing like having conversations with others who, like you, lost their voices before they even learned to speak because trauma made it unsafe to ensoul in the world… and are finding them again.

My “Trauma and the Soul” study group shines light on our inner worlds and gives us a space to tell our stories. These stories need telling… phrase by phrase, tale by tale, memory by memory… as we go from Ensoulment Interruptus toward Ensoulment Completum. ( made that up. I like the way it sounds.)

For me, Tina’s exclamation,

  • So THAT’S what happened…

That was a PowerPhrase. It was the exact thing I thought when I read the book. I felt the window open between my inner world and hers. For each of us, being able to talk about that inner world allowed that inner worls and the concrete outer world to become engaged and related. Some more things group members expressed were,

  • I’ve never talked about this before.
  • I am becoming conscious of this as I tell it.
  • I am muddling through to find the words but I need to say this.

While is IS important to be able to ask for a raise and to tell someone you can’t take on more work or you need a report on time… it’s also important to be able to tell the inside story of ensoulment interruptus. It makes us whole.

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Continued Questing

Why didn’t I say that? I ponder. Why didn’t I just ask the question?  These are honest investigations – not reflexive efforts to self-flagellate.

My quest continues. I’m still finding my voice after all these years. As the fog lifts, clarity earned by years of discovery deepens and focuses my probes and reveals answers hitherto invisible. Each time I free myself from one more confused inhibition and speak a different level of truth, my words open doors that my silence couldn’t budge.

These are not all major conversations. Many are simple seemingly inexplicable inhibitions. Like:

  • Could you pick me up some toothpaste while you’re at the store?
  • 10:00 would rush me. Would 10:30 work?
  • I don’t care much for fruity chocolate.
  • I can’t hear you.
  • I made a bad buy.

My SpeakStrong hiatus gave me (and Bob) the space for grace to clear many conversational quagmires and to heal many conversational wounds. Some meta-conversations have made our home life much more enjoyable. Like:

  • When I feel pressured to respond I dissociate (space out) and it becomes harder to respond. Just a little space helps me stay present with myself and with you.

We have had numerous meta-conversation like that, but the little communication breakthroughs matter too. The channels of communication for the more challenging conversations are dredged by mundane questions, assertions and confessions.

My quest continues.  I’m still finding my voice after all these years. Thankfully, it seems at least for now, that the terrain I travel at this stage of the journey has more gold mines than land mines. So let’s keep saying what we mean and meaning what we say… without being mean when we say it.

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Good Faith PowerPhrases

I was so naïve.

You can argue in good faith that the number in the picture is a 6 and you can argue in good faith that the number is a 9 IF that’s what you see and believe.

But I was so naïve. I assumed others value good faith also. Not so. And that belief made me vulnerable to gaslighting.

The world is filled with bad faith arguments… particularly in politics where people lie with impunity these days. Sometimes lies so transparent they would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerous.

So I will ask:

  • Is that a good faith argument?
  • Do you believe the people who are saying that are speaking in good faith?


There is no inherent magic in these phrases but they can break a trance at times. At least it breaks mine to realize that just because they say something doesn’t mean they believe it.

It hurts my heart that people manipulate my trust. But I have a shadow and I’ve done it too. Less and less now, I’m pleased to say. But it happens.

These days gaslighting is rampant in the world and very rare in my personal life. And that’s how I want to keep things.

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Repeated Repetition

I’m married to a very good man who does have some irritating habits. (He is married to a very good woman who also has some irritating habits.) Since Covid, we have defused a hundred communication landmines and clarified another hundred communication quagmires. (Not by actual count)

I started out by telling him he was repeating himself. Then I asked him why he repeated himself. He was a bit defensive. But when I shifted, the conversation shifted. When I asked him…

  • Is there something I do that causes you to repeat yourself?
    … he accepted that the question was not intended to be accusatory.

I went on to talk about how I will sometimes repeat myself when I don’t feel heard and I wonder if I respond in a way that makes him feel the need to repeat.

He told me to let him know when he is repeating himself. That was plenty good enough. I doubt I will have to do that much because when he makes a request like that he usually is ready to do things differently.

I am married to a very good man who does still have some irritating habits, but not so many anymore. And the fact we can talk about it makes all the difference.

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Outspoken on Outpost

I am impressed by the kiddos – especially the young gals – on Outpost Road.

I don’t recall being this confident and comfortable and outspoken with adults while growing up.

Some neighbors had allowed folks to access the trails behind us through their property, but when people started coming from other areas it became too much and they posted no trespassing signs. They gave us specific permission to still use their access.

But 6 year old Kay didn’t know that when she saw me. I don’t think she recognized me from the distance either. She calmly called out:

  • This is private property.
    I replied that I knew but her dad said I could still cross there. She said:
  • That’s fine then.

I would not have had the confidence for that at her age. Sometimes I have to nudge myself to do things like that even now. This is a different generation.

All the neighbor kids learned our names long before we learned theirs.  They initiate conversations.

  • Hi Bob! Hi Meryl! What are you doing? I have a new helmet!

They seem fearless. One neighbor got a motorized bike when she was 3 and raced up and down the hill at that tender age. That kind of precociousness might be scary if they weren’t so balanced. These kids are feisty but not rude. They are outspoken but not abrupt. They are spunky but not offensive.

They SpeakStrong. They sure have a head start on me. Some of us are still finding our voices and many of them never lost theirs. I do have things I can teach them, but they also have so much they can teach me – just by being who they are.

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