What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.March on dear SWOG. You are an inspiration! We hold you in our prayers and our esteem.
Impact = IntentionOK, SWOG Lady...what in heavens name do you mean by that heading? Well, I'm so glad you asked!! I was sitting in a webinar about a week ago and it was on coaching people in a certain stage of development. The instructor--a really cool SWOG herself--said that so often our impact does not equal our intention and that is a great area for examination and continued development. I love that equation. Yes, we're human. So, this will likely be the case more frequently than we ideally would like. After all, there aren't many people that circle in our worlds that start out with bad intentions. Most people don't get up in the morning and say, "How can I really mess up people's days today?" At least, I would like to hope we all bound out of bed hoping to do more good than harm. And, yet, there's a lot of difficult stuff happening in our world and our lives. If our intentions are good, the next question becomes, "Do our behaviors and outcomes match or equal our intentions?" And if they do not equate, then what is getting in the way? I'm spending a lot of time on this one. It's tricky. Sometimes you can control your impact and sometimes you can't--after all, how a message from you gets received by the recipient depends so much on their filters at that particular time. But, I think more often than we suspect possible, we can get our intentions and our impact more closely aligned with one another.
How you ask?Oh, I'm so very glad you did!! First of all, I'm still working on staying curious not judgmental...so I want to say right up front...I don't have the magic answers but I'm very willing to embark upon the discussion. Most of you have read that I'm trying to meditate regularly and I've been using Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21-Meditation series. I'm almost concluded with one on "Hope," and it has some clues to our question posed above. Here are some tidbits of wisdom from the series:
When our impact doesn't equal our intentions, so often we missed the mark through our communication. We pre-judge what someone is going to say or what they should do or what we hope they will do. We don't meet them with open minds. We don't stay in the present moment with a spirit of curiosity instead of pre-set expectations. We don't meet them where they are. Why are we having difficulty having political discussions? We're so entrenched in our own views and biases about the "way things should be" we have difficulty listening with an open, non-judgmental mind. And think of all the labels we use to pre-judge others: Democrats, Liberals, Republicans, Conservatives, Felons, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Refugees, Foreigners, Working Class, College-Educated, Veterans and the list goes on and on. When you hear those labels, can't you just hear your mind beginning it's mental gymnastics and assessments?
- To reach people to share the energy of HOPE, you have to do more than just listen to them, you have to SEE them. We all want to be seen and heard. We all want validation. When people are validated, they know you see them, you hear them and what they're saying means something to you. They feel like they're not alone and that they matter. That is the deepest reality, the deepest desire we all share--is to matter. That's the way to make HOPE real--for anyone in your world--make them matter.
- The feeling level is all important. Just as people detect when they are being judged, they also detect when they are accepted. Don't try to help someone if you feel you are angry, disappointed or ashamed. Work on yourself first.
- Getting to a place where you accept and welcome the other person's existence, then you will create a heart-to-heart bond at the level of feeling. This bond can work miracles because it takes down barriers of distrust, defensiveness, guilt and shame.
- Realistically, every relationship gets tangled up in the past, making it hard to relate without judgment toward someone else. Especially in families--there's a tendency to put people in a box--believing they will never change. But consider how much you want to escape the box you've been put in. Everyone has that feeling because everyone wants more freedom to be themselves.
- When you allow that yearning of freedom in someone else, you can recognize how much you feel the same way and then ego doesn't block your view. You genuinely hope for the best in every situation no matter what happened in the past.
- Staying in present moment awareness is simply conscious experience without the mind's analysis or conceptualization (or judgment) including thoughts and feelings about the past and the future. In any situation, allow yourself to be present to the experience without mental analysis and interpretation. And you will find that you naturally drop the belief that you know what is best for someone else.
I dare you to...!Here's a challenge for you: take one day and a piece of notebook paper. Be an observer of your mind. Note how many times you pre-judge a situation based on who you're dealing with or who you hear about through the news or conversations. At the end of the day note how much opportunity you have for changing your impact on people and outcomes. And when someone doesn't treat you with that same open mind as is bound to happen...well, that's where grace comes in. :)
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ~William Shakespeare
We know it will take way more than one well-meaning greeting card to unite this nation but, cardies, it's a start! In an email yesterday morning, my friend Susan Lyon expressed exactly what I was feeling. “My heart is sad post-debate,” she wrote. “I woke feeling tired of the ugly descent to behavioral lows I am seeing on our national stage. I hope this finds you writing your big heart out, creating new cards with diligence, delight, determination and a desire to lift up our weary souls.” Susan’s positive ending reminded me of how Sunday’s final debate question was such a breath of fresh air in that tension-filled room. Town Hall participant Karl Becker had asked the candidates, “Regardless of the current rhetoric, can you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” FYI, when she saw this USA card featured last week, cardie and inspiring patriot Amy Murray ordered 40 and, at checkout in the Order Comments box, graciously added, "I traditionally send friends and family a card to remind them to vote. This year's campaign has been so toxic that I was struggling with what to send. Of course, Cardthartic has just the right message. Bravo! And be sure to vote!” I myself had mailed the USA card to my 92-year-young friend and neighbor Hannlis last week and received a call minutes after the mailman had successfully waded through her Hillary yard signs. "Just calling to say I feel the same way about you!” she enthused. “Thank you, thank you for the card." And I know who will receive my next two: Conservatives who have never held my liberalism against me! :) Jack Kraft and Randy Moore may lean as far right as I do left, but our fondness for each other has only grown over the years. I would go so far as to say -- were it not for these two -- Cardthartic would not be today. Both successful business owners and investors, they helped back Cardthartic, and have continued to have my back for two decades. I’ll never forget what fiscally conservative Jack wrote on the memo line of his investment check: “Spend it wisely and well.” And more protective than I could ever learn to be, it was Randy who early on proposed and then personally secured a line of credit for Cardthartic. “Let’s give you and your staff this sense of security for a rainy day.” While they both could have played on my “I’m so not a numbers person” insecurities, instead they would say, “But this company is nothing without your creativity!” Well aware of our differences, these gracious men not only helped this woman business owner feel that I have a respected place at the table, they’ve made a point of proudly reminding me that it’s my being at the table that has put food on many others’. Hehe, Jack once stayed in my place while I was away, and I returned to find my television had been tuned to Fox News. I sent him a teasing text that read, “Really?! I didn’t even know my TV got Fox.” and immediately came his quick-witted reply, “Sorry. Before I left, I tried switching it back to CNN, but your set cried out, ‘No! No! Please let me remain fair and balanced!’” So if I’m Dem to the core and yet could not love and admire these Republicans more, how have we bridged our philosophical divide? Regardless of our rhetoric (and there have been times! :) we’ve never lost sight of all the good in one another, and how it’s our combined differences that make us a better whole. I hope you are fortunate enough to have your own Jack and Randy, and that you’ll use this undebatable opportunity to acknowledge them and any other compatriots you choose. Thank you for considering!Oh, by the way, she also put a direct link in the email to be able to acquire two free American flag cards like you see at the top of the page. Yes, I did send for mine...but I just want everyone to know that the sentiment applies to all of you regardless of whether you get the physical card in the mail or not. If you love this one, you should see the others. Here's their website (and no, I don't get any royalties from sales--darn!): www.cardthartic.com Now for my soapbox: Celebrate each other and our differences. Be respectful and kind. Don't give up your passionate views, AND don't hate others whose views are equally passionate in the other direction. It's a "grace-filled" way to be. God Bless the United States of America.~ jodee stevens founder & creative director
For A New Beginning
In out-of-the way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
Kintsugi (きんつぎ, "golden joinery"), also known as Kintsukuroi (きんつくろい, "golden repair"), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" (無心mushin?), which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.Think about that for a moment. Think about being valued for wear and tear and imperfection. Wow. I wonder how much of our therapy dollars, our broken relationships, our devalued older generations, our cover-ups and defensiveness come from the intense drive for perfection. Think of smiling at our scars-- both the physical and emotional ones --because they've made us a more interesting piece of art. Let's start a new movement! Be proud of those scars and imperfections! And value those imperfections in others as a true work of art. As a SWOG far wiser than me once said, "We all make quilts throughout our life...some are just a color or two with nicely coordinating fabric. Yours is a patchwork of many colors, block sizes, and fabrics. AND, it's nice to look at, too." Kintsugi on dear SWOG's!!
“ Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identiﬁcation with, [things] outside oneself. ” — Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics