AND Listen for Intent

July 9th, 2017

With so much upheaval in the political landscape, changing business practices and priorities, and life itself bringing its welcome or unwelcome changes, I find myself watching and listening for positive intent. AND with the intention to find positive intent behind seemingly less than desirable behaviors, all of us will find that others and we are often doing the best we have with what we have.

Medical systems in this country can be slow, cumbersome, unwelcoming, and ineffective. AND even within these systems, there are people trying to make a difference, trying to offer care and support. AND while they may be awkward or distant at times, we can recognize a good heart being constrained by the rules of the system.

Businesses driven by the bottom line dollars often take necessary actions in less than humane ways only to have people feel unseen, lost, and undervalued. AND often within these same systems there are people trying to offer centers of sanity and humanity that welcome others to express what they experience, while learning to deal with the new business reality.

Sometimes hopelessly unconscious systems, comprised of people lost in titles and power, create environments where otherwise good and well-intentioned people stay quiet in order to survive. Good people in unhealthy systems can get lost. AND yet, when given a chance to help someone or feel appreciated themselves, they rise to the occasion and everyone feels a bit better.

The other night, I found people on private property that does not allow dogs in the summer. When I approached the people, I found that they had been directed to sit where I found them. They were trying to find what was allowed, by the rules, and had been misdirected by web sites and individuals who moved them to the exact inappropriate location for them to sit with their dogs. No mal intent. No entitlement. No disrespect. Only people trying to find a way to enjoy a vacation spot that they thought would accommodate them.

In these polarizing times, the lesson of humility that comes from stopping to listen instead of getting frustrated, asking questions instead of barking orders, and working on our own biases and insecurities instead of blaming others is a lesson worth mastering. We are all on this planet together. Some may intentionally abuse power to get what they want. AND by pausing to watch and listen for intent behind their actions, we will recognize them and act according to our intent and values.

More critically and more often, those who are trying to bring the best of who they are, who might choose actions or ways of thinking different from our own, are our neighbors, friends, colleagues, and strangers we may encounter. AND we might just create a peaceful and satisfying co-existence by giving each other the benefit of the doubt and seeking to understand rather than judging, when we listen for and recognize positive intent.

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