Monthly Archives: January 2017

What does it mean to disagree

What Does It Mean To Disagree

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What does it mean to disagree? Often when we disagree with another, we can get stuck in a loop of our own perspective. It’s difficult to slow down or stop the momentum once you are engaged in a heated discussion or disagreement. If you can reflect on the experience, you could grow.

Though it’s not my strong suit, I’ve been working on being a better listener. In this I find that when we argue and communicate with another, we are often distracted by thinking of our own response rather than truly hearing the other’s perspective. Our egos can fixate on wanting to be “right” or proving our own points. Whether or not we agree with what the person is saying, we can listen to allow some understanding of why they feel or see the way they do.

When we truly use the art of listening, not only are we hearing the person from a deeper level, we are more present with them. We are holding the space to let them express their feelings and perspective, and we are respecting their time to communicate. If we can allow them the time to share their experience before wanting to jump in, argue, or respond, we allow a deeper connection.

I’m still practicing on this myself, but I’m learning if I respond too quickly, I miss the opportunity for the growth and connection within myself. In addition to listening better, I’m also learning that when I may disagree, I can still infuse the experience with respect and love. It takes me practice and I don’t nail it every time. I’m simply doing better than I used to. Communication with each other is often our biggest barrier. Since it can be tricky to get your message or feelings across, we can hold the intention of love in our heart while discussing matters. It helps to remember the person you’re speaking to might understand, see, or experience the subject matter differently than you.

I have a dear friend Steve. Among the many things I admire about him is his strength in listening and the respect he gives when he listens to you even when he may disagree with you. He has always held space to hear me out and my perspective on a topic or situation. When he responds he validates what has been expressed to him which shows me he really listened. Then when uses his turn to speak, He will then proceed to give some feedback from his perspective. I have to point out that I also I love the Art of how he responds. Commonly when he uses his turn to speak he proceeds by saying Joy… For me…,” which seems to give this little magical space of responding from his perspective without losing the respect of my own. Many times he will come at the topic from an angle that I haven’t experienced or maybe observed before. The way he delivers his conversations makes me feel comfortable hearing a potentially different or opposite perspective. What I think he infuses in his art of communicating is being able to have a conversation without judgment.

He inspires me to be a better communicator and listener. Learning and observing this from my friend over the years helps me to disagree better. I don’t think we are often taught how to respectfully disagree with one another and it often comes out messy and offensive furthering misunderstanding one another. Once we create harsh feelings and defensiveness we put up a wall preventing growth and expansion. We become more consumed in how we see things and narrow the space we can hold for one another.

Understanding our flaws in listening and disagreeing with another is one thing, and practicing is another. Sometimes it starts with small steps of awareness. The next time you feel like you are moving into an argument or feel the discussion getting heated and rousing up negative feelings, ask yourself how you want to continue to navigate. You can slow the momentum down by saying, “I may be coming through from a different experience, let me hear more from how you see or experience it.” Or you could say, “You know, you may be right or onto something I hadn’t considered.” It may feel a little difficult initially, but you are not agreeing or disagreeing with them. You are just finding a way to connect deeper and an opportunity to listen or even disagree with love and respect over hurtful comments and feelings.

If you find yourself really down the rabbit hole, you may simply need to look at the other person and apologize for the argument. Tell them how you feel about them and acknowledge the relationship is more important than the different perspective. You may need to walk away and allow peace and calmness to return. You may not be able to turn every disagreement around so quickly and easily, but as you reflect on these instances, you can choose another direction in the future.

With so many platforms that we now receive news and information from, we can easily get into heated discussions or arguments on large scale problems. You can scale it back and think of simpler comparisons to help you through the sludge. For example, I simply do not care for sauerkraut. My entire family loves it. My father makes it from scratch and prides himself on his craft. It is also nature’s probiotic and very healthy for you. I can give you so many examples of why I could enjoy sauerkraut, but no matter what another’s reasoning or perspective is, I simply do not like sauerkraut. I have my reasons to back it up. I don’t care for the taste, I once got very sick on cabbage and prefer not to eat it ever since, and I can’t get past the smell very well. Like many disagreements, everyone has their reasons to back up their opinions. I may strongly dislike sauerkraut, but can respect that my family loves it. We just lovingly disagree.

Life is a lot like the small things on a larger scale. When you disagree with someone over their beliefs, politics, or preferences, just remember it is okay to disagree. We can be better humans to each other by allowing more artful and peaceful conversations with each other. If we can do this with our everyday conversations, imagine what a difference we could make in mending disagreements that affect the world at large!

We are all teachers

We Are All Teachers

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We are all teachers on this earth. We help reflect to one another what is on the inside. When we interact with one another, it is important to notice what we are teaching one another. We teach others how to treat us, we teach others where our heart is residing, and most importantly we teach each other that which we choose to see.

A few years ago I had the privilege of teaching. The first lesson I learned and continue to learn is that to teach is also to realize you are the biggest student. To teach you are constantly learning. It can also be difficult to notice who really is the teacher and who is the student. Sharing our knowledge and expertise may give us the title of a teacher, but everyone is learning from the experience. When we separate ourselves and feel superior, we really aren’t helping anyone outside our ego. We are halting the learning of not only the student, but also our very own.

We grow by helping and sharing. We evolve from learning not only from our own experiences, but from our students as well. Not only are we in this field of life learning together, we are learning from one another. Regardless of what I shared, showed, or tried to teach in the curriculum, I realized that each student makes their learning their own. And how very differently we all learn.

You can take a group of students within the same curriculum and when it comes to applying the knowledge, they will all perform the tasks in their own rhythm and way. That is the beauty of life. We design, create, and produce from our own perspective and flair.

I’ve also learned from business coaching that I was always learning from every client I worked with. Most often clients needed more encouragement than they needed business advice. You could share ideas, help them to brainstorm, and occasionally point them into a helpful direction, but mostly they needed support. Once I realized this, I could be a better consultant. The key was acknowledging they were as much my teacher as I was theirs.

You can help others so much further when you can slide your ego over and approach the other as a teacher as well. I’ve found not only do you explain things better, you figure out better ways to help them understand the information. When you have the compassion to understand their perspective better, you can inspire, motivate, and instruct better.

Often we can forget why we teach. I do not believe it’s to separate us hierarchically, but to help another rise to a higher level. As you help another rise, you rise as well. We can catch ourselves in a slump when we forget we are students as well. We never stop learning and we never stop teaching. I find great peace in knowing that it’s impossible to know everything. It kind of sucks the fun right out of the mysteries in life when we think we have all of the answers.

Pay attention to what you teach and how you teach. We are either helping each other rise or fall. You always have a choice. I encourage you in your daily life to teach love, teach patience, teach understanding, teach respect, teach encouragement, and teach peace in all you do.

Celebrating diversity

Celebrating Diversity

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I find many times our differences can get in the way of our respect for one another. Instead of appreciating variances, we criticize that which we may not understand. Sometimes we aren’t taught how to celebrate our diversity. When we interact with those of different backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems, we may compare theirs with our own. When we condemn another’s way of life, we are revealing our misunderstandings, judgments, and fears.

We can learn to embrace, honor, or simply be open to dissimilarities of our own. The desire and freedom to express who we are seems to apply to a wide range of situations in life. Many times people are not trying to convince you or convert you to their way of living; they just want the privilege of making their choices without feeling defensive.

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New Year New Opportunities

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As we find ourselves in the New Year, we often see it as a new start with new opportunities. Many people take this time to create new goals, discover improved ways of living, or set their minds to accomplish better intentions. Some of the top changes that many intend to make are to lose weight, eat healthier, go to the gym, quit smoking, and reorganize their homes.

All these goals can be beneficial goals if they’re the changes you desire, but some helpful tips can make it easier for you to accomplish these changes. Many times we start out with some strong momentum and find ourselves falling off the wagon or not seeing our goals through. It feels like a crushing defeat when you accomplish your goals only to return to the old ways before the end of the year.

To truly change our habits requires retraining and rewiring in the brain. We are often taught it’s action oriented, but if you do not successfully retrain those subconscious habits, our brain is setup to return to our old default patterns simply because we have practiced them for so long. We trained them that way to begin with. The more we can understand how our minds work and are designed, the more we can use it to our advantage. It takes some cleaning up of the mind’s habits to reach our goals.

It really is changing our mindsets first. And they take practice to see the manifestations. Think of it like cleaning out and organizing your closet. We get rid of things we don’t use anymore and organize our belongings to be more functional. The same goes for our minds as well. If we can recognize the patterns that aren’t serving us well, we can catch them before we act on them.

It takes awareness and practice. As we are aware of the habits we would like to change, we can then notice how we sabotage ourselves with our own thinking. To turn it around we have to slow the momentum of those habits and continue practicing the new changes repeatedly. Over time we can see and feel the improvements. It may be a slower process, but in the long haul it is how we permanently make the changes that are often temporary. It is a bit more than just reading inspirational quotes that make those changes.

The inspiration can certainly help get us going, but it’s the repeated practice in our thinking that aligns us with our goals. Often we do not take the time to identify why we are doing the habits we want to change to begin with.

It starts with our emotions. Many times we overeat, smoke, or live more in chaos in response to stress. Until we tackle the emotions behind the stress, our brains fall back into those subconscious habits. It helps to start slowly and gently. Be aware of how you are feeling when you are performing the habit you want to change. Are you present during these moments? Start to break down what relief you get when you do the habit. When you can become aware of your triggers, you can either replace or create a different way of responding.

Setting intentions is only the beginning of change. It takes the daily practice to receive the turn around. The good news is that your brain is capable of rewiring anything. Really! There is much research and scientific evidence now that proves anything is possible. There are reports and studies of people healing diseases and disabilities and attracting their dreams into their lives, all using their minds. The healing starts in the mind first.

I’m not saying actions never produce results, but when you get down to retraining and rewiring your habits from your mind, you leverage much more power than trying to hammer them out like a drill sergeant. It is the difference in trying to force things to happen versus allowing the flow to sail you.

We are usually very motivated and excited in the beginning, but when it seems to get challenging, I encourage you to work with your mind and emotions. If it’s worth it, it helps to understand it’s worth the time to change it. You are also more powerful when you can love yourself more during the process. When you are negative towards yourself and your emotions, you are struggling uphill against them. When you are loving towards yourself, you get a periscope look into what you’re trying to heal or avoid.

This takes time, patience, and love. You most likely developed the habits over time and replacing these ways of thinking takes time as well. Remind yourself of that, and of how powerful and capable your brain really is. Talk to yourself like you are your friend on this journey. Your body and mind need your support to perform their miraculous new changes!

Shine your soul

Shine Your Soul

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My friend, have you forgotten the magnificence of your soul? Do you allow your soul to shine daily? I invite you to wake up each day and intend to be more aligned with your soul. To move through your day using your highest gifts. You are a gift to the world and you have things to share. We all have majestic offerings to share with others.

Our skills and talents are our nature. We often dim our lights to fit into the expected norms of our cultures. We can forget that our differences are what we bring to the table. The more we can be authentically aligned, the more we have to offer another. Rather than trying to fit into expectations, we can choose to notice our unique qualities as strengths given to us to shine and share. We may think of our differences as disabilities, but they may have been given to us to help uplift or connect to another. You can inspire others by embracing all of your qualities. What appears to us as flaws may be exactly what others need to see.

Instead of spending so much energy on fixing ourselves, we can empower ourselves by accepting that we are already capable and beautiful just the way we are. Our souls are designed to shine through, not be hidden. When we focus less on micromanaging our flaws, we have much more energy to shine. We are all made wonderfully and beautifully different. We were not born in a doll factory. What you may see as imperfect may be what another sees as our alluring quality. In other words, what stands us apart can be a strength, not a weakness.

When you can embrace all of yourself, you give courage to others about the important qualities in life. We also can shine our light to help them to be less embarrassed about their insecurities. We when are able to show up and fully be ourselves, we empower others to do the same. The more we appreciate all of our qualities, the more ability our cells have in healing and improving our bodies. I have found appreciation for our bodies enables our nervous system and criticizing deteriorates it. Your nervous system and body responds to the thoughts you think. In a sense you are not only helping others when you operate more from the soul, but you are in turn truly helping yourself as well.

As often as you can, I invite your soul to speak.
Allow your heart to sing.
Let your spirit shine.
Leave your judgments behind.
Let your soul soar.
Spread your wings and fly.
Engage in the things that move you.

We are living art. Each of us our own artist. Embrace your rhythms and share your authenticity! Allow your magnificence to move through you. This is your gift to the world.