Force and Flow: What’s the Difference and What Do They Have to do With Persistence?

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What is the difference between force and flow; and, what do they have to do with persistence? An important distinction, and question. What do you think? When you think of force, do you think of persistence? You might. Many people do.

However, in this article we will pull force and persistence apart, so we can see how being in the flow is actually more solidly connected to persistence. Ready? Excellent, let’s go.

Force and Resistance

People often confound force as being persistent. Yet, when you think about force, what comes to mind? Is it flexibility and adaptability? Probably not. Yet, we continue to think about persistence as the ability to withstand our environment. Not so.

When you look at those things that are persistent, they are working with the environment, not against it. Important. Imagine a tree sprout that makes its way through a crack in an asphalt blacktop.

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That sprout is not resisting its environment, it is using the environment to its advantage. Flexibility and adaptability create persistence, not force.

When we use force, we are resisting that which we are confronted with. The lack of flexibility and adaptability is resistance. And, you may persist for a little while by using force, however, you will not stand the test of time. Persistence over time is not possible when we use force. Why?

Because when we apply force to situations and events, we are basically refusing to accept our current reality. And, when we are in denial about our current reality, we are living in resistance.

What to do?

Flow and Persistence

We can recognize and acknowledge that when we are resisting our environment and current reality, we are being resistant. That is first. Once we are aware, we can shift our focus and attention to accepting our environment and current reality for what it is. It just is. That’s all.

And, you don’t get a demerit for being resistant. We are all, at times, resistant. It is part of being a human being. It’s okay. Really feel that. It is okay. Please remember that. Why?

Because when we get frustrated and upset about being resistant, we will use more force. We will try to force a reality to appear that we want more than the current reality. Happens all the time. Why is this an issue?

Because, when we expound that much energy on resisting, and are forcing, we will typically find that we don’t feel all that well. Maybe we aren’t sleeping well. Or, we are feeling even more frustrated and upset. Not helpful. And, not sustainable. Not over time.

Yet, when we go with the flow, or are flexible and adaptable to our environment and current reality, we can continue to create the reality we want to manifest. And, we can do that with much less mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual effort.

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We can actually get more out of the reality we are living in, and can be more creative than we can if we continue to resist and use force. Really.

Can you think of a practical example of how these conceptual ideas play out? I’m sure you can. For now, let me give you an example from my life.

I work in education. And, the work I do involves experiential learning. Think the arts, fitness, professional and personal development, and small business development.

Well, we typically offer about 300 in-person classes a term. Since COVID-19, however, we’ve reduced those offerings to 50 remote classes this past spring, and about 80 remote classes this summer. A big difference.

And, we increased the offerings for summer, because I tasked the team with creating more classes, and then even more classes for fall.

However, what I missed, and missed big, was that the community need wasn’t offering more and more classes.

That was the old business model. What was I doing? Inadvertently, I was resisting the current reality. Yep. Not intentionally, not at all.

Often we resist our current reality out of habit, or a deep desire to, as we’ve discussed, create the reality we deeply want – resistance. What happened?

Well, I had a huge insight as I was working through all of the summer classes we were going to have to cancel. What was that insight?

I was actively resisting and trying to force an old way of doing things onto a totally unrelated and new context. That context, the current reality, where the old model doesn’t fit.

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Once I was aware, I began to create plans with the team of focusing on core classes, and using the freed up time to create new ways to engage the community. A big deal. Phew. Was a huge insight.

Alright, so we’ve covered the concepts of force and flow and also looked at a practical example. And now, you might be wondering what you can do to move from force and into the flow?

  • Notice when you are resistant – Don’t judge yourself, or be hard on yourself. It is normal to be resistant at times.
  • When you are aware, you can shift from resistance to acceptance – Inside of this shift, you will create more flexibility and adaptability, as you begin to accept your current reality.
  • And, once you are in acceptance, you can shift to persistence – A state that allows you to be open, flexible, and adaptable in a sustainable way. In the flow. Accepting what comes, and creating from inside of what is there. Right in front of you.

Alright. I’ve written several pieces on persistence this week. I am more present to the need for persistence as all of us, all of humanity, continue to wonder. Wonder about when life will return to some sense of “normalcy.”

I do believe that what we once knew as normal is gone forevermore. When will there be a new normal?

Don’t know. I do know that the need to be flexible, adaptable, and have the ability to create within high-levels of change has never been more needed than today.

Well, then, together we can wait and watch. Notice when we are forcing situations. And, when we notice force, we can shift our attention and focus to acceptance, which is where we will all find the flow.

#change, #covid-19, #creating-reality, #flow, #force, #force-and-flow, #persistence, #persisting-through-change, #resistance, #resistance-to-persistence, #resisting-our-environment, #resisting-reality, #working-with-change

The Self-Development Tips Series 1: The Art of Loving Yourself

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I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships this week. In fact, I am always thinking about relationships in some way, as I do believe they are one of the most important things in life. So very important.

Yet, when you think of relationships, what is your first thought?

Is it of yourself, or someone else? Most people will say someone else. Why? Because, I think, we are in many ways programmed to think externally first.

However, it is always, and will forever be, the ways in which we look internally first that we will then be able to turn our gaze outward.

Meaning that how we think about and treat ourselves is exactly how we will think about and treat other people. What to do?

We must learn to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, be good to ourselves, and find ways to make time for ourselves.

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It is very common, however, to think that by taking care of others we are, in effect, taking care of ourselves. Not so. When we “take care” of others at the expense of our own self-care, or at the expense of their own development, we help no one; and, no one grows.

What can we do?

We can begin to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves now. Today.

It is through developing a relationship with ourselves that we can begin to love ourselves for the human beings that we are. And, guess what? As we develop a loving relationship with ourselves, our external relationships will become more stable, and loving.

It is then that everyone in our sphere, starting with ourselves, has the ability to grow and develop. Does this mean that our relationships will be easy? No. It might mean that some of them will be more difficult.

Especially if we have created relationships with people that have superseded our own relationship with ourselves.

However, once we begin to look inward, and make choices about what’s best for ourselves, we can begin to move ourselves forward.

And, create that loving relationship with ourselves that is absolutely necessary and needed in order to have healthy relationships with anyone.

Alright, so how and where do we begin? And, what strategies can you use to get in touch with yourself, and begin to create, develop, and maintain the most important relationship in your life?

Let’s take a look at a few that I use daily.

Quiet Time

Until about three years ago, I was always on the go. Always. I didn’t ever really stop until it was time for bed. And then, I would not sleep well. When I started to incorporate quiet time into my day, I immediately noticed the health benefits.

If quiet time was so beneficial, why didn’t you incorporate it into your life earlier?

Because I didn’t know how. When you live one way, that is what you know. Sounds silly. It is, however, very true. Unless someone else shows you another way, you will continue to do things that are not beneficial for you.

All the while, there is another way, you just don’t have access to it yet.

If you are always running, I suggest building in quiet time into your day. How? Any way you can. Know that when I write quiet time, I mean any time you can get away from technology and other people.

As much as I love people, and all of my relationships, as I’m sure you also do, we all need a break from the constant stimulation. Needed.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Journaling and Writing

Journaling and writing are also helpful. As I’ve written in other posts, I’ve been writing for some time, however, I only began to write introspectively these past couple of years.

Writing about how you are feeling, what your hopes and dreams are, and how you intend to achieve them is a totally different type of writing.

When we write as a way to understand ourselves better, we open up the possibility of actually getting to know ourselves better. And, to have a quality relationship with ourselves, and everyone else, we must know who we are. Very important.

When we get to know ourselves, really know ourselves, diving deep into why we feel as we do, and getting clearer on the things that have happened in our past, which we are still holding onto, we can begin to heal.

And, it is inside of this healing where our deepest and most profound transformation can occur. Learning to love the person we were, are, and will be. Special.

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Meditation

I’ve written about my meditation practice in several posts now, and, indeed, on this topic it is no different. The health benefits I’ve experienced from learning how to mediate, and to incorporate meditation into my daily routine have been, and are, profound. Why?

Because it is your time. Just for you. A time for introspection, to learn about yourself. What makes you, you, and how your humanness works. When you sit, you get to know more about how your mind and body work, and how they work together.

And, inside of a learning like this, you have more access to understand yourself and all of humanity in a whole new way.

In the article, Creating a Meditation Practice: 3 Steps in 4 Minutes, I write about some simple steps you can take to create a meditation practice. It takes time, dedication, and creating the habit. If you are a beginner, it is also helpful to have someone coach you along the way.

What is most important? Taking the time you need to begin a meditation practice if it is something you’ve been interested in. Why wait?

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Dietary Needs

For the longest time I didn’t focus on my diet. In fact, it was one of those things that bothered me terribly, as I was very overweight, yet, I continued to eat poorly.

Not loving myself for a long time.

It is important to eat well. What we put into our body has direct implications for how our mind and body functions. Really. When I began to focus on my diet, which started slowly, I would take one thing out of my diet at a time that was unhealthy for me. Then, I would take something else out. Takes time.

The amount of clarity you gain by removing foods loaded with artificial ingredients and high levels of sugar is profound. Not something I ever really understood or knew about. It is loving yourself to create a diet that is rich in nutrients.

A high-quality diet will fuel your mind, body, and soul. Believe me.

There are plenty of articles out there about creating a healthy diet, and you can also work on your diet with your doctor. What do I know? That eating more naturally produced foods, vegetables, beans, fruits, and nuts has been very beneficial for me.

My diet has been totally plant-based for almost a year now, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, except, the change that comes from continuing to learn about new ways to purchase and prepare new foods.

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Exercise

I’ve always believed in exercise, and through most of my life have enjoyed walking. However, I never really developed a healthy exercise habit until about 2 years ago. Exercise is important. We all need it.

Further, exercise also gives you time for yourself. Time to explore your own needs when it comes to being with your body. You can develop a healthy exercise habit or routine by simply creating the space in your day to do so.

I know. It sounds easy, and yet it can be difficult. Understood. Many people ask or wonder about how to develop the motivation to keep up a regular exercise routine. In the article, Motivation: Is it an inside or outside job?, I write about the fact that motivation comes from within.

Motivation comes from the doing of that which you want to do regularly. Simple. People often say they aren’t motivated, so they can’t get to the gym, or that they are too busy, so there is not time to go for a walk. Normal.

However, the only way to become motivated is to actually go to the gym, or make the space in your day for a walk. That’s it. And, after you’ve done so, and continue to do so, in time, you will find your motivation.

You will also have developed another healthy habit, and routine. Loving yourself.

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Sleep Well

Sleep is so important, yet in the United States in particular, we often disregard our sleep in favor of other activities. Though I sleep better than ever before, I still struggle in this area.

It’s like that though. You develop yourself, loving yourself, a little at a time. You learn, you create new habits, some old habits hang around longer than others, then they also eventually go away. All the while I am inviting you to persist.

Persist in loving yourself, and allowing yourself the time needed to recuperate from your day. So very important. When we do not give ourselves that time, we will not be our best the next day. It’s just not possible to be your best when you are tired.

Believe me, I know. I spent many years sleeping poorly. Staying up very late, drinking too much, and sleeping, well, like you would imagine. Not well.

And, like the rest of this article, it takes creating the healthy habit of loving yourself enough to ensure that you get the rest you need.

When you are fully rested, you have the opportunity to be your best the next day. For yourself, first, and then for all of those around you.

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Alright, there we have it. There are 6 different tips that when worked on, over time, can bring you more time, energy, rest, peace, and overall well being.

And, inside of increasing our overall well being, we are practicing the art of loving ourselves.

For, it is inside of the love that we show to ourselves first, that we can really begin to love other people. When we don’t show ourselves the love we deserve, by taking care of ourselves, we cannot really love other people. Not really.

Loving starts with the love you show yourself. Show yourself love today, then, by taking up a healthy habit you’ve been avoiding or putting off.

It takes creating the time, and taking action. Remember, developing your new healthy habit will take time. Yet, I am inviting you to persist in your quest to develop your healthy habit. Why?

Because you are worth it. Learning to love yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. And, it is also one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other, and all of humanity.

#exercise, #healthy-diet, #healthy-habits, #journaling, #loving-yourself, #meditation, #motivation, #personal-development, #quiet-time, #relationships, #self-development-2, #sleep, #well-being-2, #writing

The Blog + Video Series: 3 Reasons Why Avoidance is an Ineffective Strategy

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


As some of you may know, I am now also creating videos to accompany some of my blogs. Here, then, is a blog I wrote a few weeks ago, and a video that was created to engage with you in a different way. Some might also find having access to both narrative and video formats helpful. Be well.

3 Reasons Why Avoidance is an Ineffective Strategy

Avoid much? We all do. However, some of us avoid more than others. Might that be you? It was me for a long time. Why do you imagine avoidance is an ineffective strategy? Not sure. Let’s take a look at three reasons why.

1. It is not healthy

When we avoid things, we are, in effect, continuing to hold those things within us. Continue to do that, and you will be carrying around a lot of unnecessary baggage. Tiring.

You would think that by avoiding things we are uncomfortable with, do not want to do, or face, that we are creating more space within us. However, that is not the way it works. It’s the idea of the situation we are faced with that will continue to haunt us. Especially, if we believe deep down that we should be doing that thing, or facing that situation.

Let me give you an example

For a long time, I did not pay attention to my calendar. Now, in the position I am currently in, that ineffective strategy will not work for long. At that time, I knew that I should be paying more attention to my calendar, working to schedule myself more effectively, however, I ignored it. Why?

I simply didn’t want to take the time needed to work through it. Simple. Instead, I avoided it at all costs. What happened? People began to ask why my calendar was such a mess. Nice. I love when those we trust inquire, and make us think. Helpful. As was digging into my calendar and making the necessary adjustments.

Before doing the work in my calendar, it bothered me every time I looked at it. However, by organizing and prioritizing my calendar, I traded a fixed amount of time to do the work, with a continuous mental distraction. More effective.

2. It keeps you stuck

When we spend our mental energy on avoiding things, we have less mental capacity to try and do new things. Essentially, we sacrifice some of our creative potential. How much is sacrificed?

Depends on how much you avoid things. If you avoid often, then your creative potential will be severely impacted.

And, being stuck is no fun. Often, people are not even aware that they are stuck; nor do they recognize that they are avoiding things. The years I spent avoiding, I was aware of some of my avoidance, most I was not.

Here is another example

As I’ve written about in other posts, there was a time when I drank a lot. Too much. I knew that there was an issue, however, I made justifications and excuses for my behavior. Sort of a double burden. As my avoidance of the real issue, which at the time I was unaware of, was compounded by creating excuses and justifications. Exhausting. Really.

And, ultimately not helpful. Not physically, mentally, or spiritually. When living this way, you end up on the proverbial hamster wheel.

Doing the same thing every day, knowing you are doing it, making excuses and justifications for doing so, all the while staying in place. No movement.

3. You cannot grow

When we are avoiding, we are not moving; and, if we are not moving, we are not growing. Simple.

Growth is such an important part of the human experience. Some growth just comes our way. We didn’t invite it, yet it shows up on our doorstep. Some growth we actively seek out. We look for the opportunity.

Either way, having experiences that help us grow is one of the most wonderful things about being human.

Yet, when we spend large amounts of time avoiding things, we are limiting our ability to grow. Why? Because, when we spend that much time avoiding things, we have no capacity to seek out growth opportunities. We are too busy. Too busy avoiding, and making excuses and justifications for why we are avoidant.

Final Example

When I was working in the private sector, I took on a new assignment with a new sales team, and within 6-months, I was exhausted, and heavily avoidant. I went from a top-performing team, to a team that was in need of development. As was I.

Instead of welcoming the growth opportunity, however, I avoided it, and actually ended up leaving the company within another 3 months. Why?

I was exhausted. That is true. Yet, why I was exhausted had less to do with the work, and more to do with my mental attitude.

I was avoiding the opportunity to grow, and making excuses and justifications for why it wasn’t working. Well, the only thing that wasn’t working was my thinking. And, that is okay. It is not a judgement. It happens to people all the time.

The point is to become aware of these types of opportunities. Being aware of how we avoid things creates the opportunity to better understand ourselves, and all of those around us.

It also provides us the opportunity to grow, if we choose to engage with ourselves, inquire into our avoidance, and do something about it.

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

What can you do?

Here are three strategies I use to get out of my avoidance, and into action.

  1. Notice when you are avoiding something, and write it down – wiring it down creates more awareness about whatever it is that you are avoiding.
  2. Create time to reflect and contemplate – create the time necessary to better understand why you are avoiding the task or situation. Until you really know why, you will probably not move forward in that area of your life.
  3. Take an action – once you are clear on why you are avoiding something, take an action. Create a context to make some progress on the task or situation. It doesn’t mean that it will be complete, or solved, however, you will have moved forward.

When we are less avoidant, we have more time, more creative capacity, and more energy to do more things. Essentially, we can hold more. And, when we can hold more, and do more, we can be more.

Remember, we are all at times avoidant. Yet, if you find yourself more avoidant than you’d like to be, try some of the strategies outlined above, and get yourself moving again.

#avoidance, #getting-unstuck, #growth-and-development, #personal-development, #reflection, #self-development, #taking-action, #writing

Writing and Life Series #4: On Pain and Healing Through Writing

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How many of you write as a release? Write to get the ideas, thoughts, concerns, dreams, wishes, and hopes out of your head and into a format that you can read and reflect upon. Yes, no? Maybe?

For most of my life, I didn’t. I didn’t regularly write out any of the aforementioned. Not because I wouldn’t have found it beneficial, more because I didn’t really know how. Sounds funny. It is true though.

I would tinker with writing here and there, yet never really developed a system to do so. What I realize now is that having a systematic way you write, or enter into any creative process is, at least for me, very helpful.

It is how I can continue to do so. To write through my pain and heal.

I find that writing of any kind, on a whiteboard, in a journal, in a computer document, anything, is very therapeutic. Why? Because you can then study what you are thinking, instead of simply thinking about it.

There is an important distinction here.

If you only ever think about something, you don’t really do anything with it, with the exception of maybe obsessing over it or worrying about it. Which, in the end, does nothing to move you forward as a human being.

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What are some of the writing strategies I use to work through my pain and heal?

I have several different ways that I get ideas out of myself and into the world. And, all of them work well. For, it is really less about the strategy, than that you develop the habit of writing through any situation or context that you find yourself in. From pain toward healing.

Here are some strategies I use daily.

  1. Whiteboards – I have three at home, and many at work, which include a complete whiteboard wall in my office. Very helpful. And, yes, there is also pain and healing that happens at work. It’s not just in our personal life that we need a release for our pain, whether that is frustration or some other emotion we are working through. I actually think that it is in the writing, considering, and working through the pain that healing occurs.
  2. Post-its – on the go, these work very well. I will typically then collect them on a piece of paper, or tape them to a larger 2’x3′ post-it, so that I can play with the ideas. See what’s there, and what possibilities I can see for moving forward.
  3. Journaling – I don’t write in a journal as often today, yet it is still a strategy that I recommend. Especially if you are new to writing about your own pain.

Those are the top three I’ve used, and use daily. And, they all work well, and can be used in combination. Example.

I will also tape post-it’s to pieces of paper, and put them on my magnetic whiteboard. Good visual, and easy to move around, and play with.

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Why write through your pain to heal?

Because we all need the release. When we hold all of our pain inside, we cannot heal. It will reside within us, and actually make us ill. Not helpful.

Moving forward from pain, especially deep pain, requires visiting that pain often. Understanding it, working on it, and eventually releasing it. Carrying it around is unnecessary, though many people live this way.

Writing opens us up, and is a safe way to get out that which resides within. There are many different ways to write about pain. You can simply write about the pain, or you can create poems, or other stories about the pain.

What matters more than the writing medium you use, is that you provide yourself the opportunity to heal. Very important.

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Know also that it takes time to heal. You may write about something that is causing you pain, and not know healing from that pain for some time. For me, it also takes reflecting upon the pain in my writing.

When I can sit and contemplate that pain, I can see more, and have new insights. It is common for me to go back to something I’ve written several times before I can see a pathway to healing. Very normal.

How can you get started?

Start writing. Write on anything and at any time. Get your pain out of you and into the world so you can actually see it, and work on it. Important.

If you leave your pain inside of you, that is where it will always remain. Literally.

Choose times that work best for you, and create a habit of writing often. For it is in the healthy habit that you create to write about your pain often, that you have the best opportunity to know healing from that pain, and all pain.

Developing a healthy writing habit that is honest and reflective of the pain that lives inside of you creates a connection between your mind and your heart. And, it is inside of the connection between the two that all healing lives.

Write well and heal well.

#healing, #introspection, #journaling, #mind-and-heart, #mindfulness, #self-development, #self-inquiry, #strategies-for-healing-from-pain, #writing, #writing-about-pain, #writing-to-heal

An Inquiry and Invitation Series 2: The Art of Conversation?

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Have you ever considered what makes up a good conversation? I’ve been thinking about it some this week, so am going to inquire and see what I get, and also invite you to participate. Here we go.

Let’s ask some questions first to guide the inquiry.

  1. What are some of the different types of conversations?
  2. What types of contexts do conversations take place in, and how do contexts contribute to the quality of a conversation? Or do they?
  3. Is it possible to gain conversational expertise, or are conversations always byproducts of organically created contexts? Or, is it both?

Alright, let’s consider these questions, and then see if more questions arise as we inquire into the art of conversations.

1. What are some of the different types of conversations?

I have never really considered this question before. For most of my life, I generally assumed that conversations were generally the same. Yes, the context does contribute to the conversation, which we will look at next.

However, I’ve never really separated out different types of conversations. How many can we come up with?

  • Individual conversations – not sure if conversing with ourselves counts, yet we all do it in some iteration, so it seems like it should make the list.
  • Two-person conversations – common. Conversations with one other person. Maybe, the most common?
  • Tripartite conversations – a different dynamic. Many different kinds of things can occur in these conversations, from mutual agreement, to dissention, and even chaos.
  • Group conversations – more than three people. Group conversations can be unwieldy, and also cohesively arranged. An apparent paradox, yet maybe not.
  • Familial conversations – more intimate, and known. More comfortable for some, however, for others maybe more uncomfortable. Depends on the family, and the people in the various relationships. Lots of dynamics here.
  • Team conversations – a different type of conversation altogether. Conversations that happen on teams can vary, from individual, to two-person, tripartite, and even in some contexts familial. All kinds of possibilities here.

Now that we’ve looked at different types of conversations, let’s take a look at how contexts change the nature of these conversations.

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2. What types of contexts do conversations take place in, and how do contexts contribute to the quality of a conversation? Or do they?

There are many types of contexts that conversations take place in. How many can you think of? It may seem a bit weird to consider this, however to me, that means that it should be considered. For it is inside those things that we often do not consider that new insights may be hiding.

Here are some contexts.

  • Home – we have various conversations at home, with ourselves, our kids, partners, neighbors, and friends. All of which contribute to the people we are. Yep. Have you ever thought about a conversation that way? They do. We all have a little bit of those around us living inside of us. Inevitable.
  • Work – we also have various conversations at work. Some are with our peers, direct reports, other colleagues, and customers and clients. Each of these contexts is quite different. Very similar to conversations we have at home. And, yes, these conversations and the people in them also contribute to who we are.
  • Traveling – we also have conversations when we are out in the world, doing whatever it is we do. Even simple erranding can provide a context ripe for conversation. Depends on where you are going, and what you are doing. When we are on vacation, or on a trip, we also have conversations. They may be simple and transactional, or they may be more meaningful. Also depends.

There are a few contexts then that support various types of conversation. And, each of these contexts and the people in them do contribute to the quality of the conversation, and to the context that is developed in that conversation. Both.

I’ve written several posts about creating and maintaining relationships; and quality conversations are a product of the relationships we have, and the contexts we navigate. Both.

Further, as was aforementioned, the people that we are in conversation and relationship with also contribute to the people we are. Has always been that way, and will always be that way.

It is one reason why the relationships we have, and the conversations we create in those relationships are so very important.

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

3. Is it possible to gain conversational expertise, or are conversations always byproducts of organically created contexts? Or, is it both?

We are all involved in both organically created contexts where conversations just occur, as well as contexts that we create to engage in conversation. It is definitely both. Here is a fun question.

Which conversations are the most productive and enjoyable – those that are organic, or those that are intentionally created?

Depends. Really. Recently I was shopping at the local market, and out of nowhere someone asked me whether I liked a particular plant-based “yogurt” over another. For me, it was a simple question, simple answer.

However, the other person was seeking more information, quality insights. They recently switched to a plant-based diet, and were wondering which was truly the best.

In this example, the conversation takes on two distinct perspectives. For one person, me, the conversation was simple. Question and answer. I didn’t get much and didn’t expect much from the conversation.

However, the other person was taking the conversation much more seriously. For them, they were seeking to better understand something they had little expertise in; and, they trusted, because I was buying one of the plant-based “yogurts,” that I might provide insight.

An interesting thing to think about. Conversations then are also a product of how we perceive them, and a product of what we want or need to get out of them.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

And, some people in a conversation may not perceive the conversation as valuable, while others may find the conversation highly valuable. Interesting.

I do believe it is possible to gain conversational expertise inside of your own development if that is something you are working on. Yes. Becoming a better conversationalist is really all about practice.

The more you practice conversing with people, in all contexts, the more comfortable, and seasoned you will become. More robust conversations will follow.

Good conversations then are a product of several different things.

  • Your own perspective about the conversation.
  • What you want to get out of the conversation.
  • The context of the conversation.
  • The people in the conversation.
  • The type of conversation.

I believe that a “good conversation” really depends on the context and the people in that conversation.

How do we perceive it, what do we want or need to get out of it, did we get what we expected, or did we maybe get more?

Alright, that’s what we’ve discovered thus far, yet I know there is more. Here then is my invitation to you.

An Invitation

I will ask a few questions to get you started, however, please feel free to create and answer a question that strikes you as more important in regard to good conversations.

  • What do you consider a good conversation?
  • What contexts do you have the best conversations in?
  • What types of conversation do you enjoy most?

And, here is where I say adieu. Have a wonderful day, and live, love, and be well.

#conversation, #conversation-tips, #conversational-contexts, #conversational-expectations, #conversational-expertise, #conversations-at-home-and-at-work, #good-conversations, #high-quality-conversations, #inquiring-into-conversations, #organic-conversations, #relationship-conversations, #types-of-conversations, #work-conversations

An Inquiry and Invitation Series 1: Imagination, Innovation, and Sociology?

Photo by Alejandro Benėt on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how the imagination works? I’ve not considered it overmuch, yet have been considering it more recently.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is working to conceptualize new businesses, lifestyles, relationships, organizational structures, and staffing models.

There really is no safe haven from the need to innovate continuously right now. If you find yourself in a situation where creating new ways to conceptualize the aforementioned is unnecessary, I believe you are in the minority.

If you find yourself in the situation, like many, where the need to continuously innovate is your ever present reality. Breathe.

I’m thinking that a cursory look at imagination and innovation within a sociological context is an important inquiry. And, I think this inquiry is more important today than ever before. Why?

Because innovation is hard work. You can find yourself, as happens to me often, feeling frayed around the edges, and very tired. Yet, you must continue to persist.

Why? Because persistence inside of innovation is necessary and needed. The imagination, you ask? The imagination makes it all work.

Alright, so what does sociology have to do with the imagination?

As we’ve discussed in other posts, sociology is the study of group behavior. It is the study of how groups, and people within those groups, understand their place in a social and or cultural context. How they move, or are limited in movement, how they adapt, change, grow, work, and live.

Inquiring into imagination and innovation from a sociological perspective means taking a look at how innovation and imagination works in groups. Here are a couple of questions to get our inquiry started?

  • How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?
  • What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?
  • What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

Okay, let’s start with these, and see what we get.

How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?

Though I can only speak to groups I’ve been a part of, I believe they probably function quite similarly, with some variance in the amount of creative output dependent on the members of the group.

For instance, in my current workgroup, we went from somewhat creative, to more creative in about 2 years, to very creative in year 3, and now, hyper-creative. Why the latter? Necessity.

As I’ve mentioned, the current state of reality right now demands it. You must stay on top of innovation, and your own personal and professional imagination is the gateway.

Here are some ways groups use their collective potential to imagine and innovate.

  • Share ideas with each other, all of them – often people are shy or fearful about sharing their creative potential, their own imagination to innovate. Don’t be. Share, and create, it is an awesome process.
  • Take people’s ideas further – when you are working with someone on a project, and they have an idea, take it further if you can. Step outside of timidness, and give all of your imaginative power to the project. You will get more innovation this way.
  • Step into ideas that live at the edge of what’s possible – live in a limitless space when you are imagining and innovating. Stay away from limits. Putting limits on your imagination, limits the project’s possibility.
  • Continue to reflect – even when you are not directly working on the project, continue to reflect upon the last conversation. You may get more imaginative insights, which will make your project more innovative.

What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?

There are many strategies you can use to kickstart your imagination. And, there are also various strategies to keep your imagination moving. Meaning, strategies to keep you open to more possibilities in the realm of the project you are working on. Let’s take a look at some of these.

  • Just get those ideas out – any way you can, get your ideas out of yourself, and into the world, somewhere, anywhere. Where and how matters less, than simply getting them out. An aside – once my oldest son came into my office, which was plastered with very large whiteboard post-its, and both white board walls were also full. He felt a little uneasy. He is now at a local company doing a computer science internship, and just recently shared with me that he understands the process of pouring forth your imagination in a whole new light. Get your ideas out.
  • Invite others to give you their insights – when you have your ideas out, have other people give you their insights. I find collaboration inside of imagination and innovation highly productive. You will find that they will take some of your ideas further, and then, guess what? You will take their additions to your ideas even further. A wonderful gift.
  • Let the ideas sit for a little while – one strategy I employ everyday inside of using my imagination to innovate is to let the newest ideas sit. Then I take time to reflect upon the ideas to see what other insights I get. Fun. I always get more insight after the initial creative output and collaboration.
  • Create a plan – as I’ve written about in many other posts, in order for your imaginative output to actually create innovative results, you must create a plan to bring the ideas into the world. Create a 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day plan, step 1, 2, 3, etc., to bring the project into the world.
  • Take action – once you have your plan in place, take at least one action a day. In order for a plan to actual bring forth your ideas, you will have to create time to actually work on the project. Too often projects fail, even with great ideas, because the actions to bring the project to life are not followed through on.

There are five very pragmatic strategies that, when used on a daily basis, will bring your imaginative potential to bear, and create more innovation within whatever context you are wanting to develop new possibilities.

What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

How important is it to understand well those people you are in a relationship with? Yep, very. It is equally important to understand the groups you belong to just as well.

You must understand who in the group is the most imaginative and innovative. Why? Because you will know where to go for collaborative insight into the projects you are working on. Important.

And, to understand groups, it is important to understand how groups work, how they function within the greater context that the group belongs to.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

For instance, if you are on a team within a larger organization, you need to know what are the limits on your creative possibilities. How is the group looked upon within the organization? Are they seen as an innovation center? Or, are they required to work within a more strict protocol?

After working on my current team, I can tell you that a mandate for any future endeavor will have to include the ability to imagine, innovate, and create. A must. A dealbreaker for me if it is missing.

However, if you are not thinking about these questions and concepts before taking on a new job, or project, and you are an imaginative and innovative person, you may get stuck in a situation that limits your potential. Not helpful, and can feel quite limiting and restricting.

I should add here that we are all imaginative and innovative. Sometimes that imagination and innovation gets covered up with concepts like adulthood and being grown up. Sad, and unnecessary.

The most productive and timeless contributions to history are made by those with no limits. Who take on their work and their projects with a sense of play.

Creating possibilities through their imagination and innovative ideas, while also bringing those around them into the conversation to take their playful ideas even further. Wonderful, exciting, and really being alive.

An Invitation

Alright, your turn. I know well that we all think differently, and use different strategies to imagine and innovate, so I would love to hear from you. And, here is a question you can play with, or feel free to create your own, which would be very much in line with this post.

What do you think about imagination and innovation, and their relation to sociology, and understanding well the groups we work with?

#creativity, #group-behavior, #imagination, #innovation, #innovative-possibilities, #innovative-strategies, #inquiry, #invitation, #play-at-work, #possibilities, #sociology, #work-as-play

Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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Photo by Alex Wong

The past two weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon persistence.

What does it take to continue to persist in the things we want and wish to do, when there is so much change happening all around us?

Think COVID-19. So much change, so much unknown.

Upon my reflection, I went back and read a post I wrote some time ago, Persistence without Resistance. It seems very timely, so I am posting it again here now.

What is the difference between conceptual thinking and execution? And, what lives in between the two? Let’s take a look.

A concept is considered an idea, intention, or plan to do something. Though conceptual thinking is needed and necessary, without the execution behind the idea, intention, or plan to do that something, nothing real will exist in the world.

I often think that people do very well at the thinking part of leading a concept or idea into a planning phase, yet often times during the planning and the following execution phases of a project, traction falters, and the project either stalls, or drops completely. Why is this?

I believe it has to do with the myriad of stimuli we find ourselves dealing with every day, combined with the habit of continually firefighting in whatever business we find ourselves in.

Two years ago I went to an all day strategic thinking training, which included people from all spectrum’s of work, from line workers, and administrative and operations personnel to company presidents.

And, what did all of these people, including myself, have in common? Every one of us was spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business.

When you spend more time working in the business, you are reacting, and firefighting, which, in effect, keeps you on track to reproduce the same outputs and outcomes that you’ve already been producing. You are effectively treading water.

If you feel this way about your work right now, you are not alone.

I learned a lot from that strategic thinking training, and one of the most important takeaways was that I was not alone. We are all trying to work on our businesses, or our marriages, or our relationships, yet we continually, without being aware of it, reproduce the same results every day, which keep us stuck in the same place we were yesterday.

To become unstuck, you must not only think, or conceptualize a different future, you must then actively create it. One step, or action, at a time. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results as you’ve always gotten.

And, what did Einstein say about that.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We cannot attain different results without “getting out of our lane.” We must remove the blinders that keep us in the same lane, and venture out into unknown territory. Uncomfortable, yes.

Yet, these are where the jewels of life reside.

The rare and wondrous moments of growth, are when we stop reproducing the same thing we had yesterday, with the same result, and take a different action, or set of actions, giving us different results.

Conceptual thinking and execution are both needed. When you have both, you have the ability to create new future realities. And, inside these new realities, you have the opportunity to live life in new ways. Ways that were previously unknown and unavailable to you. Regardless of the context.

How do you do this?

First, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable, as the journey to creating new realities through new conceptualizations and corresponding new executable actions will be new territory for you. Because humans feel most comfortable inside their already created patterns or habits, living outside of them is uncomfortable.

If you are prepared for such discomfort, the process is not altogether difficult, and must also include an openness to all that is happening, and all those around you. Meaning that things will happen that get in the way of the actualization of your created concept, or you may forget about it at times.

The most important thing to remember is that because things happen that get in the way does not mean that you cannot still attain that goal. Building a new habit around a new goal is difficult, yet people do it all the time.

Persistence without resistance is key. Meaning that when things get in the way, know that these things are there for a reason, and that it is okay. Don’t resist what is happening, and continue to persist.

For instance, I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long time. And, have created the opportunity to do so, yet for the past two weeks, I’ve not studied very much.

Now, I could get frustrated, effectively resisting reality, and give up. Or, I can accept reality as it is, reserving all of that time and energy spent on being frustrated, and put that time and energy into studying.

In order for anything to exist in the world, there must be both concepts and actions that execute on those concepts.

And, to do both requires an understanding of how most human beings typically operate, which is inside of their comfort zones.

A comfort zone that will produce results that are similar to the results they’ve produced in the past. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you are looking to produce extraordinary results, you need to be prepared to conceptualize and execute outside of your comfort zone. In that territory that is unknown to you, until it is known.

And to know that once that territory is known, it will be time to create something outside of your now larger comfort zone. This is the process of growth, and you are never too young or too old to grow.

#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #conceptual-thinking, #execution, #get-outside-your-comfort-zone, #living-with-change, #persistence, #persistence-without-resistance, #resistence, #strategic-thinking, #working-in-the-business, #working-on-the-business

The Sound of Series #6: The Sound and Sights of Nature

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Growing up in Los Angeles meant that I could go to the beach, the desert, and the mountains. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the latter two, however, as I’ve written about in The Sound of Series #1: The Sound of the Ocean, I did spend a lot of time at the beach as a kid. And, my affinity for the ocean is vast.

Yet, in the past 12 years, we’ve now lived in two other geographies where access to desert and mountain landscapes, and soundscapes, are readily available. Let’s take a look at a few of these and the sights and sounds that I’ve most enjoyed.

The Desertscape

There are a couple of different desertscapes that I’ve lived in. When we were in Phoenix, there was the Valley, which is full of hills and desert plateaus, which are often hiked. There is a certain majesty to desertscapes. Not something that I had ever noticed, nor really connected with prior to living in the Valley.

On the trails, you get to see many different types of cacti, low bushes and shrubbery. You also get to see wildlife, such as snakes, scorpions, and rabbits. They are rather common. Though, thankfully, snakes don’t come around often, at least not when I was hiking. Which, I was grateful for.

The sound of the desert is a quiet that is a bit different than the quiet of the mountains. The granular sound of dust as it is kicked up as you traverse the trails, getting all over your shoes, and all over you, really. Fun.

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

Rabbits moving here and there, swishing through the brush, in search of their prey, or simply avoiding you. The wind, as it howls through the Valley, whistling through the shrubbery and low bushes, brushing your face and body. Enjoyable, and feels so good, especially on hot days, of which there are many in the Valley.

The sound of lizards as they scurry across the trail, moving ever so fast, avoiding you as you continue up and around the bends in the trails. Birds moving from one rock and tree to another, perching themselves, sitting, and waiting; looking, and calling other birds in the area.

What I didn’t know a lot about before moving to Arizona, was just how different the Valley was from the northern part of the state. Though considered high-desert, it is really a completely different landscape, with similar, and yet very different sights and sounds.

The High-Desertscape

The high desert in Northern Arizona is full of trees, many of them, especially in Flagstaff. A vast pinetree forest. You can get lost in there quite easily, and it is fun. Much of Northern Arizona, however, is mostly desert, like the valley, though the weather is quite different. Cooler, and of course lots of snow in the winter.

I remember being on a hike when we first moved to Flagstaff, just around the apartment where we were living at the time. I was on a trail and was looking down, noticing all of the lovely flowers to my left and right, and when I picked my head up, there was a huge stag about 50 yards from me.

Photo by Kinsey on Unsplash

Heart racing, I began to slowly back away from the animal, back the way I came, looking toward the stag to ensure it didn’t follow or run at me. I was completely unaware at the time, that running into a giant deer was even possible. Remember, I grew up in Los Angeles. You have to travel to see that kind of beauty in LA. Phew. What an experience.

I especially liked hiking in the winter. There’s something quite tranquil about being out on a hike, when everything is white with snow, melting and dripping in the afternoon sun. Quite lovely.

Of course, the Grand Canyon is also in Northern Arizona. Majesty. I’ve only been once or twice, and I have to say, looking out over the canyon is one of the most awe inspiring sights I’ve ever seen. It is so vast. Amazing. And, there really is no sound. Not needed. It’s as if time stands still as you look out over the vast gorge. Phew. The coolest thing.

The Willamette Valley Scape

Have you ever been to the Willamette Valley? I hadn’t either until about 12 years ago. It is located in Western Oregon, and is very green. The first time I flew into Portland, we were living in Phoenix at the time, I didn’t know geography could be that green. I remember looking out the window from the plane, and being in awe of all the green. Everything was green.

When we moved to the Valley about 8 years ago, I remember thinking about the rain a lot. Would I be able to handle all of the rain? Was very unsure. Turns out, there’s been only one year, about 2 years ago, when there was so much rain, and lack of sunshine, that I thought moving might be best. Mostly, throughout the year, you get sun here and there, and, yes, you get a lot of rain. It’s part of living here.

Photo by Dale Nibbe on Unsplash

With the rain, you also get the opportunity to get out and into nature. Easily. Trails, and hiking abound, where you can, dependent on the time of year, get hard pack trails, or muddy and slippery trails. You have to be careful. You also get tons of moss. Moss grows everywhere, and is on everything. Seriously, moss is also part of living in the Pac Northwest.

You also get deer. Friendly deer. Meaning, that they come down from the hills at certain times of year, usually during spring and summer, and they love to eat your flowers and vegetables. Be careful. A couple of years ago, I had three awesome looking tomato plants when I left for work, and when I got home, they were gone. Really. Gone. All that was left were a few stubs. Kind of funny actually.

There are also lots of waterfalls in the Valley. Hiking plus waterfalls equals a super cool experience. There is something quite exhilarating about the sound and sight of water rushing towards a precipice, then falling, falling, down to the water awaiting below. Separate, yet connected. Super cool.

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

You also get the coast in Oregon. Lots of coast to visit. As was aforementioned, I’ve previously written about the sound of the ocean, yet mentioning the sight and sound of the ocean here also seems appropriate.

The sound of the ocean reminds me of our own breathing. The coming in of the waves, the going back out of the waves. Waves that are also seemingly separate, yet completely connected. Lovely. There is also something quite special about looking out over the vastness of the ocean. Just looking. That’s it. That’s all. Love it.

The sounds and sights of nature are everywhere, even where I grew up in Los Angeles. One of the things I loved about the sights and sounds of nature in LA, was that of the crickets during summer time. I love that sound. I remember laying in my bed as a child, listening to that sound, thinking and dreaming about the next day.

Crickets singing, singing the song of summer in Los Angeles, to a boy that was ready to create something anew each day. To play, live, and have fun. All the while the sights and sounds of nature surrounded him, as they surround you now. All you have to do is stop, listen, and take them all in.

#desertscape, #flagstaff, #hiking, #los-angeles, #nature, #northern-arizona, #phoenix, #sights-of-nature, #sounds-of-nature, #waterfalls, #willamette-valley

Our Darkest Hour: A Poem

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Have you ever written a piece of poetry? Though I’ve only written a few, there is something wonderfully vulnerable about the process of creating a poem. It’s different from traditional forms of writing. Very. There is a nakedness in the crafting of a poem. As if the soul is being bared and shared with those on the other end. Vulnerable.

Let’s share in this vulnerable moment together. Here is a poem I created this afternoon, after a few days at the coast. It occurred to me on my afternoon walk. Actually I wrote it on that walk, and it is now that I share it with you.

Our darkest hour is nearly here
Hold onto what you hold dear, as
There will be a prescient light,
Which you can call upon tonight

Though pain is life,
And life is pain,
Know
There is no other way

Through strife and hardship
We must fight
to know the life
that’s been brought to light

A journey,
Our right, so
Don’t fear, and
Take flight

In those times
Of Darkened night,
When the soul is stretched beyond,
And there’s fright

Take solace
Dear friends
And don’t
Give up the light

Be true to you,
Also take care, and
Please don’t despair

Though alone you feel,
Alone you are not
As we all share the same
Birthright

For in our shared humanity
Is where
Your connection will flourish
And last

Through the connections we share
The brighter the light becomes
As we can all understand
Both passion and strife

They are equals you see
Both necessary for life

Take care of yourself
And love long this life
By sharing yourself among those
With more plights

Remember always their plights
Are sources for all
And share with them the resourcefulness
You know

#creative-process, #humanity, #life, #lifes-journey, #love-and-life, #passion-and-strife, #poems, #shared-humanity, #the-darkness-and-the-light, #the-soul, #vulnerability

Tears of Clarity: Why Being in Touch With Your Emotions, and Learning How to Cry is Important

Photo by Aliyah Jamous on Unsplash

I’ve lived the majority of my life believing that crying was something I’m not supposed to do. See, when something is not modeled for you as a child, and you are actively told not to do that same thing, you don’t know how to do it. May sound funny. Not knowing how to cry, yet believe me when I tell you that many, many people do not know how to cry. What about you?

And, what does crying really have to do with our lives? I mean, are we missing something when we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to cry? Or, is the idea of crying as beneficial, just more psychobabble? Not sure. I wasn’t either for 40 years. Yet, today, I have some ideas, so let’s take a look.

Why cry?

If we want to live a life of openness and possibility, then crying is something we must learn how to do. And, while crying during a sad movie is beneficial, especially for someone that doesn’t know how to really access their tears, when I refer to crying in this context, I am talking about getting in touch with pain that is deep within us. And, learning how to release it through our tears.

I’m talking about the kind of crying where we ache all over, shudder with pain, grief, remorse, anger, frustration, and sadness. The kind of cry that will bring you to your hands and knees in the middle of the night. That’s different. And, a very different experience.

For 40 years, I held all of my tears inside of me. They would leak out during a sad movie, or sad event, yet I could not just sit and cry. Nope. Was not possible for most of my life. And, what happens when you don’t know how to release those tears that you know are there?

For me, it created more anger, frustration, and deep pain. I was a mess. Really, I was. The slightest thing would “make” me angry, and then my emotions would erupt out of me. Why? Because I hadn’t learned how to let these emotions out in positive ways.

Photo by Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash

We hear all the time that young boys, especially in the US, learn, and are taught, that crying is not something that “men” are supposed to do. Social conditioning of this kind is so harmful. Very damaging.

And, while I knew this type of socialization was extremely damaging, I only really understood this intellectually. Really, just a theory for me at the time, yet I didn’t even know it. Why? Because to really know something you must have lived it, practiced it. The only real way. And, I had not done that with my emotions.

In essence I was the walking epitome of hyper-masculine socialization; even more so, because I actually talked about how much of a problem this is for young boys in the US. Yet, it was also myself I was speaking about. Totally unaware.

Then about 3 years ago I was shown a new way. A way that included the positive acknowledgement of my emotions, a way to handle them, and a way to release them. As you can imagine, dealing with my emotions one way for 40 years, and then living through them in a new way has been difficult, yet extremely empowering, insightful, and beneficial. And, I am still learning.

What are some of the health benefits of learning to cry?

I understand that the question above may seem silly, or even ridiculous to some, yet to me, it makes perfect sense. When you don’t know how to do something, you must learn. And, learning to cry, to release that which is, and always has been, inside of you, is no different.

Here are a few of the health benefits I’ve experienced from learning to cry.

  • The dissipation of anger and frustration – as you can imagine, living for such a long time without the ability to cry, means there was a lot of crying to do, and still is. And, with that release, the anger and frustration that seemed to plague me daily, has dissipated. It has dissipated a lot.
  • More overall well-being – with the release of the anger and pent up frustration, has come more overall well-being. Frustration and anger don’t really feel all that great. Not when they’ve been held onto for so long. Meaning that I feel lighter today. I’m not carrying so much of that anger and frustration around. I’ve gotten in touch with a lot of it, and released it.
  • Higher levels of patience – I used to always label myself as someone with little patience. Not a helpful strategy to begin with. And, how can one really be patient when they are holding onto their anger and frustration? Not possible. My patience has increased tremendously with my ability to cry as needed.
  • A better understanding of myself – when you get in touch with your emotions, really begin to understand them, and how they work, you also get the added benefit of understanding yourself better. Simple. You work on your emotions, and they work for you, instead of against you.
Photo by Aleksandr Ledogorov on Unsplash

And, the biggest benefit of all, increased clarity.

One of the biggest benefits of learning to cry, and crying often, is that I have more clarity. Really. It actually makes perfect sense. When you are holding onto your emotions, not because you want to, but because you don’t know what else to do with them, you are carrying around years of baggage. How can you see clearly through all of that? You can’t.

However, when you get in touch with your emotions, and actively inquire into why you feel as you do, your clarity about yourself, and the world around you increases tremendously. Super helpful.

And, when you are more clear, your focus, and intuition bloom. You can see where you are stuck, and inquire into the root issue, and become unstuck. Sometimes it takes time to get to the root issue, however, if you stick with it, it will become clear.

For instance, I’ve learned over the past couple of years that one of the personas I’ve taken on in my life is that of the hero. Wanting to save everyone from everything. Not helpful. Why?

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Because, when people don’t have the ability to fail, they don’t learn. Simple. Saving someone from failure is the worst thing you can do. People that identify with the hero, will be confused about this, which I understand. I was confused too.

However, through every failure, people learn a new skill, or have a new insight. These are important. They are the gems of being a human being. And, people need to experience them. Even when they are painful.

The insight I had about performing the hero was that it all stems from a desire I’ve had since I was little, which was a desire to save my dad from his pain and anguish. A stunning insight for me. Because I was unable to see the root of my own hero attachment, I always acted out the hero. Didn’t know any better.

Yet, by working on, and understanding my emotions, I can see that clearly. Very clearly. And, that branch of understanding is connected to many others that span my whole life. A wonderful thing to see and understand.

What can you do if you’ve not been taught to understand your emotions, and you are unable to cry?

You can start today. Start by making a choice to get in touch with your humanity, of which emotions are a very large part. Here are a few things you can do to get in touch with your emotions, which may assist you in learning how to cry.

  • See someone – as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve been seeing someone regularly for 2.5 years now, and the insights that have come from these conversations have been life changing, and are irreplaceable. The techniques employed in these sessions are grounded in Eastern Spirituality, which I have found the most beneficial.
  • Find a quiet space – we all need our own space. And, to inquire into your emotions, and release them, you need space to do so. Find a way to create a space for yourself, and make it a requirement that you are not bothered during these times.
  • Inquire into your feelings – when emotions arise, ask questions about them, and see what happens. In my case, there are many layers of understanding associated with my emotions, so where I used to ask the questions, such as why am I angry at this moment? Today, the reason usually arises without the question. If you’ve never done anything like this before, start by questioning your feelings. You may find that what is bothering you is something simple, right on the surface, or it may be something deeper, which will require more investigation.
  • Write out how you feel – important. Writing down how you feel is a strategy I highly recommend. It has served me very well. I write my feelings down during my inquiry, so that I can see them. And, doing this has created even more insight for me. There is something about writing your feelings down that allows you to better connect with them, and understand them.
  • Let the cry happen – I can remember so many times when I desperately wanted to cry, to release that which was inside of me, yet there was always a barrier there. If you’ve lived this way, it will take some time to let those tears out. Yet, know that they will come in time. A little here, and there. And, eventually a flood. Remember, it is okay. Better language, it is wonderful.
Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash

Once you’ve worked on your emotions for a while, it does become easier. Like anything, it takes time. And, it is time well spent. Believe me.

Our emotions are needed and necessary. Yet, for many, being in touch with these emotions is out of reach. It’s a simple fact. And, it is a sad one. When you are in touch with your emotions, you learn to cry for yourself first. Then you will learn to cry for others. And, at some point you will learn to cry for all of humanity. Why?

For the pain and suffering that plagues human beings. The pain and suffering that comes from being detached from one’s emotions. And, it’s not because there is no other way to live. It is because most people don’t yet have access to an alternative way.

Yet, I have hope that there will be a day when people will have more access to their emotional selves, and the ability to release that which they’ve been holding onto for so long.

For, in understanding ourselves better, we can understand each other better. And, when we understand each other better, there is a greater likelihood of us showing more love and compassion for our fellow human beings. And, with more love and compassion will come more peace. More peace for each of us, and more peace on this planet.

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