August 23rd, 2015
It is so easy to get caught in routines. The more that the relationships and situations in our lives feel familiar to us, the more likely we are to have unconscious expectations about how they should happen. These expectations become a major source of pain and suffering, not to mention blame and seeing oneself as the victim, whenever the expectations are not met in some way.
Simple opportunities to get up from a desk or familiar chair to sit somewhere else, or walk around, can physically help us change our perspective. The bolder we are willing to be in challenging ourselves to do unfamiliar things in unfamiliar settings and in unfamiliar ways, the greater the opportunity we have to see the world from another perspective and develop a deeper appreciation for what others may see or experience. Start the morning without coffee? Turn off the cell phone or other media for an hour? Read the rest of this entry »
August 16th, 2015
Have you noticed in recent years the change in response to thank you? I especially notice that those being interviewed often respond today to thank you with another thank you. If memory serves, I remember a time not very long ago when the responses more often given were you’re welcome, my pleasure, or some variation of no problem.
These responses continue to be used today. They are not going away. What seems to changing is the addition of another response. I notice today an increased tendency of the one being thanked to respond with thank you. AND it strikes me as perhaps an acknowledgement that it takes two to make something happen. Read the rest of this entry »
August 9th, 2015
The crowds at the beach in the summer stand in stark contrast to the individuals who roam the beach in the other three seasons. I have been noticing how the density of people in any one place makes it easier to genuinely not see individuals, unless we consciously stop to do so.
It is much easier to characterize groups and individuals from afar, when we don’t see the individuals in the group. Any one connection, kind word, question, or conversation can challenge unconscious labels, judgments, or stereotypes of groups of people whose experience we do not know. Read the rest of this entry »
August 2nd, 2015
I was walking the beach the other day, fascinated by very little children playing by the water. I watched one little girl. She was somewhere between one and two years old, dressed in a ruffled bathing suit and sunhat. An adult man accompanied her at a pace that clearly indicated that he would let her choose what they did and when.
When she plopped herself down several feet from the water, apparently fascinated by something she found in the sand, he stopped also. No hemming and hawing. No impatiently tapping his foot. He seemed perfectly content to watch her fascination with whatever was right in front of her. Read the rest of this entry »
July 26th, 2015
Each week, I wait for something to strike me so I can write this blog. Sometimes, several themes knock on the door at once, and I write multiple entries. Other times, I am at the deadline, thinking I will write about one thing, and fascinated that when I turn on the computer, that is not at all what I write.
What strikes me as I write today is the entry number. Although the number is not posted, I keep track of entries by entry number. Only by looking at the number do I have any idea how long I have been writing this blog. That number, of course, has no meaning and tells no story unless I or you create one about the amount of time I have been writing or you reading. Read the rest of this entry »
July 19th, 2015
Living in a place that is very sparsely populated three seasons out of four makes it easy to feel connected to the beauty of nature. I stop to appreciate the sunrise and sunset, inspired and comforted by the colors, clouds, and reflections that inspire the most amazing artistic creations.
In a sparsely populated area, there are fewer human disruptions and the pace of nature prevails. That pace is such a contrast from what most of our lives have become. AND that contrast becomes amplified in the summer when the crowds of humans descend like bees.
They buzz around with activity and stuff, intent on some mission. Some show up and just sit facing the water. They usually arrive early, before the crowds descend, or at the end of the day, when they leave. Others bring their cell phones and myriad other things that distract them from the natural magnificence of the backdrop. Read the rest of this entry »
July 12th, 2015
I was walking the beach last weekend and came upon what seemed to be a father and son, an adult and child. To their right, on a dry spot on the beach sat two reasonably large toy vehicles and two remote controls.
What thrilled me was that the technology was just sitting there, while the two were skipping rocks. I stopped to watch as the young boy seemed to be learning how to make the rocks skip across the water.
The adult would skip the rock and the child would then search for the rock in the waves and try to return it. The reminder that the shore has many gifts to offer, if we stop to look, put a smile on my face. Such a sharp contrast from the need to bring technological toys to entertain oneself! Read the rest of this entry »
July 5th, 2015
The crowds arrived for the Fourth of July Celebrations. The promise of friends, family, food, and fireworks drew many to beaches, camps, and other gathering places. This holiday in the U.S. seems to open the summer vacation season for many.
In a recent conversation with a European friend, I learned of a particular difference between many European beachgoers and American ones. The Europeans arrive with their bamboo mats rolled under their arm, open them on the sand, and lie in the sun. The Americans, in contrast, look like they are moving in. Read the rest of this entry »
June 28th, 2015
Lately I have been noticing stories and the power we give them. We experience something in life. Then we assign it a meaning and create an entire script around what we remember, or choose to focus on. The story becomes the truth. AND we invest inordinate amounts of energy retelling it and acting as if it were the same as what we experienced. We are essentially amnesic or in denial that we deleted elements or focused on certain other elements to preserve the story as we want it to be.
Some of us cast ourselves as heroes. Others cast themselves as victims. We tell ourselves, and others, these stories and perpetuate them unconsciously. The stories we make up about others, according to our own rules about how the world should be and the role we should have in it are little more than creative accounts, if not pure fiction. They came from our minds and imaginations. Yet, we can make our own and others’ lives more difficult by spreading our stories to more people, thereby locking ourselves and others into caricatures. Of course, the reason we do this is to reinforce the image of ourselves we want to portray, to others or ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »
June 21st, 2015
I just love the holidays we set aside to honor those who give so much of themselves to help others. AND for me, Father’s Day is one of those special days.
Much has changed in parenting in the last fifty years. Very often it has been men’s roles that have had to shift dramatically, as women moved more into leadership roles in the workplace. Today there are more men at home directly involved in raising children, with many doing it full time. And, as we know, if the parent loves to nurture and support children, that gift of love, nurturance, and support keeps on giving. We are healthier, as a society, when children are raised by loving and caring adults. Read the rest of this entry »