Loneliness is NOT an Illusion

We are the MOST “connected” society AND we are the MOST Lonely society! Yes, we celebrate the “illusion” that we do not feel our loneliness because we have apparatus which pretends to keep us “in touch” with “friends.” Many of us are addicted, YES addicted, to our smart phones and tablets with the expectation that our FB posts, or our Tweets, or texting, or our Instagram offerings are showing the WORLD, our world, that we are fully participating and really proud and joyful about our lives even if it looks like our breakfast or our cute pet postings. Yet, loneliness exists. You can see loneliness in the desperate behaviors which surround us.

Example. I came at 8:15 AM to stand in line at REI (Recreational Equipment Inc) for the semi annual “Garage sale.” The store opened at 9:00 AM and I was 40 or 50 in line with 45 minutes to opening. These are hardcore outdoor enthusiasts trying to get a good deal so they can go backpacking, camping, hiking, cycling, kayaking, or whatever. ALL 40 or 50 of these line standers was ON THEIR SMART PHONES! So, I asked the people with me in the lengthening line, “was it mandatory to be on my smart phone as I a waited the store opening?” Pretty much YES. So I pulled out my smart phone so I would not look stupid or upset the others in line, I say sarcastically. I did manage to engage the people around me in conversation and we were clearly old friends by the time we pushed into the store. Because we chatted, I could talk with them to find out if they had found the specific gear that they had arrived so early to acquire. THIS IS NOT UNIQUE. Look around at the line in the expresso place or bus stop or market, or bank or ….

Many of us have lost touch with our ability to have deeper conversations and emotional interactions with real, live, responding, human friends or family. Yes, I have seen, and so have you, people sitting in the same room, even across the table from each other, and TEXTING the person in the room. What is that about? That is about addiction to technology and false idols of communication. The illusion that some how we are not suffering from addiction and loneliness. Two dimensional text messages are NOT a substitute for a hug or looking into the eyes of someone who needs support or encouragement. It does not include gestures, body language, or tone of voice. Texting is NOT the way wisdom and experience can be shared in any meaningful way. Yes, superficial sharing is SAFE and easy and quick but it is NOT a deeply felt human interaction. The kind of interaction that truly supports us.

There have been studies of children raised in Eastern European orphanages where babies and young children were left for hours without human contact and touching. Many of these children grew up with severe mental, emotional, and even physical disabilities. My point is that people need human interaction and nurturing AND technology has NOT found the way to reach out and really touch you like face to face interactions are supposed to offer. AND, if you do not see this effect upon our human culture just look around. People can not speak with clarity or depth about important relationship issues. We seem to require very graphic, adrenaline producing movies, TV, or gaming to get into our very limited attention spans. Teachers are fighting for their classrooms attention and must adjust to the lowest common denominator of the lowest attention span in the room.

People FEEL LONELY. We are NOT connected. We do not honor the wisdom and experience which is shut away in our retirement “homes,” senior housing, and “full care nursing facilities kept separate from our Youth Oriented culture. WE are lonely both Older folks and younger people. There is even discussion regarding a new psychological/emotional symptom in our psychological codes referred to as “Loneliness Syndrome.”

Fear is driving the technology addiction. We do not want to feel left out of this mass behavior. We do not want to be odd or “unpopular.” We do not want to stand up and actually speak because that attracts a spot light of attention and that can feel threatening. “someone may make “fun” of me.” It is easier to be “anonymous” in a snarky text or FB comment. Advertising insists that for our “young” lives to be successful, we must add the latest technology or “app.” We have not evolved so far in the past 35 years of the “Information Age” that the tribal behavior of sharing stories, and maybe wisdom, around the campfire, as we have done for thousands of years, is now SO obsolete and primitive that it does not work any more. Technology has changed the way we live but the need of looking into someone’s eyes as they share their story has not!

Let’s try some silliness and humor.
A dead guy is in line to see St Peter at the “Pearly Gates.” He has his cellphone with him. He walks up to the Gate Keeper and says “Can I take this with me? I am waiting for a Text. BTW (By the way) Pete, what is the WiFi password for heaven?” Or, “Is there a GPS for the “Higher Realms”???”

Though we find ourselves worshipping our: individualism, independence, separation, this can lead to emotional isolation and emotional/spiritual loneliness. Our souls are connected and yet we do not have time to remember this because our technology keeps interrupting our meditation. Yes, we are all connected but the internet still has a ways to evolve before it grasps the deepest levels of sharing, listening, and witnessing the wisdom we can find in each other.

Take a risk! Look a friend or a stranger in the eye and with sincerity ask them who they are. Thank them for being the soul which you have bumped into in the warm dryer called life! We are all in this together, whether you know this or not.

If you want to have this conversation with people who have committed to supporting other people AND their stories, consider our Masters of the Journey Community. You are a blessing and the experiences you have had in this life should be shared (for you and for the witnesses.)

The Act of Acknowledgement Will Improve Your Life!

Does it feel good to be acknowledged? Do you want better relationships and a better life? What is acknowledgement?

Relationships are the most important ingredient in your learning. Learning your lessons includes connecting at the deepest levels possible with people in your life. The Act of Acknowledgement is a strength which will improve your relationships and offer significant learnings for you! And, if you are seeking acknowledgement you often have to demonstrate this activity and be the role model to set off the chain reaction which will return to acknowledge your efforts.

The Act of Acknowledgement requires that you master, or attempt to master, several skills including: the ability to be fully “present,” listening, celebrating, communication without judgement, and loving. Unconditional loving is best, and often difficult, as giving loving feedback without conscious or unconscious strings attached is not a common occurrence for most people.

Being “fully present” is the act of being able to focus on your communication partner without remembering the past history you may have, blocking consideration of the future possibilities, and keeping your ego’s need to be “right” or coming across as “top dog” in check. Being fully present is easier said than done. You need to block distractions both external and internal to be most successful and this type of concentration takes practice.

The skill of “listening” is a lost art for most people for all the reasons listed above as being fully present. There are too many thoughts invading your mind coming from internal memories and emotions or from outside distractions. Listening requires the intention that you care enough about your communication partner to offer them the reverence they deserve. Judgements can get in the way. Lack of respect for your partner, yourself, or most anyone else also can become an obstacle to listening. In our cultural, time has become a difficulty when we are too desperate to sit patiently and not be the one who finishes sentences or over-talks your partner. (Hey, over-talking is NOT a good style of communication. It shows you do NOT have any respect for the speaker and that you are only listening to your own insecure ego’s need to control the conversation.)

Celebration, again without strings attached, can be done inappropriately. It can be over-done or under-done. It can be done without the sincere intention of honoring the person you are attempting to acknowledge. A shallow or insincere acknowledgement can be worse than no acknowledgement at all. It is not such a fine line but works best when you are celebrating in an authentic and sincere way. Doing this in a “pure” way to show your partner the respect you are most heartfelt in expressing.

Communication without judgement is another technique which often requires introspection and practice. Our culture has trained us well to “Judge” and we like to do what we are good at doing. We compare ourselves with others and look for their flaws or inadequacies so we can feel superior rather than remembering that we are all imperfect people who are interconnected with all other “perfect souls.” Separation and defensiveness depend on being judgmental. Our judgements get in the way of deeper intimacy and connection. It is difficult to offer a sincere acknowledgement with a deeply seated judgmental attitude.

Unconditional loving is the pure act of sharing without any strings attached. It is pure. It is nearly impossible in our world. Our nature is to offer love with an expectation that it will be returned. If you ever feel the “State of Grace” you may feel overwhelmed by the deepest and most indescribable feelings of acceptance, connection, and joyful, pure, healing love. Since we are not in heaven or physically living on the other side of the veil, we most come as close as we can to offering or partner pure love in our gift of acknowledgement. (It is helpful to know that we all “Know” what unconditional love is and feels like, we just have to “Remember” its beauty.)

The Act of Acknowledgement creates stronger and healthier relationships. These improved relationships will allow you to celebrate a better life.

Find the people and the moments when you can offer support and acknowledgement. Your heart and soul will bask in the beauty of these opportunities and you will be providing a wonderful service to our world!

You are a blessing! Your soul and spirit are perfect and radiant. Join in raising the consciousness of all you bump into, if in no other way than to be the role model of offering respect and unconditional love. You are a light-worker. If you feel that you or someone you know can benefit from support, consider doing our non-religious spiritual support community, the Masters of the Journey. Please take good care of yourself.

Technology Can Create Consciousness: A New Theory

You may not have heard this before. New technology may be leading us toward a higher consciousness. Yes, I do not have any proof of the following theory, it is simply an opinion formed from an insight from a meditation.

On a recent airplane flight to Los Angeles, I saw a newer development in the evolution of technology. Not only were people not speaking to one another, as was common before technology invade the fuselage, and people were not only engaged in their smart phones, iPads, or laptops, people were further isolated by new, large headphones. Higher fidelity I am sure.) Yes, people were cut off from fellow travelers even more by the sound dampening, self-separating technology. Since the addiction and reliance on personal technologies is growing, with no end in sight, I believe we will have to “Evolve” to keep up with technology. Let me explain…

Have you engage in “Text Messaging?” Most of us have. It is now part of our isolating cultural pursuit. Some would argue that “Texting” is communicating and it is a less than 2 dimensional communication at best. Mis-spelling, auto corrections, using acronyms instead of words, a lack of non-verbal communication, no voice tone or inflection, and a troubling lack of precision due to shear laziness or lack of time has driven this form of “communication” into a huge guessing game which is open to mis-interpretation or over-reaction by the person receiving this incomplete transmission. HERE IS MY POINT! Text messaging is so incomplete we now have to “Guess” at what is being said. Our “Guessing” will become more accurate over time and this will be aided by a developing sense, and trust in, our “Intuition.” Yes, I am saying that text messaging will lead directly (maybe that is a bit strong) to developing our Telepathy, our Intuition, our Gut Feeling, and our Consciousness. We will more quickly evolve into those futuristic Humanoids with Large Heads, Big Eyes, No Ears, and only one button pushing finger because we will not need phones or texting. We will have built in “chips” and our telepathic powers to “know” what everyone else is saying/thinking.

You heard this theory HERE FIRST! We will all be big headed, mental, telepathic humanoids. I can not wait! Cross talking and “over talking” each other will then be done silently. Our brains will have to use much more of its consciousness to keep up with all the simultaneous conversations. Maybe we will even have automatic translators installed so all languages and cultures will be on equally annoying levels. Shouting and yelling will take on a whole new dimension… I can not wait, (I say sarcastically.)

OR, we can find better ways to connect and to communicate. We can still advance our consciousness and our intuitive sensitivity. We do not have to wait for Apple and Google to tell us how to think and feel or have Amazon sell us our translators and upgrades. It is a real stretch to imagine that we will battle back from our addiction to technology, so maybe we should wait for the new 3-dimensional software to upgrade to 4th or 5th dimensional technologies.

Even NOW, You are a blessing! There is a perfect spirit lurking within you awaiting to be remembered. One way or the other we are rapidly evolving and know our Divine Perfection and our Universal connection to our higher consciousness is an inevitable evolutionary experience. Sooner or later… Let hope for an enlightenment that allows this to come sooner.

Consider your personal process toward higher consciousness and joining our community to share your experience and your wisdom, the Masters of the Journey.

Connections: Reaching Out

In this blog I am drawn to writing about our innate need for connections. We are NOT solitary beings. Often times in our modern world, our connections are lacking. Lacking in depth, in emotional value, in the support which is required, and in the basic instinctual desire to know that we are all “one” and part of a much greater Divine. So two perspectives.

First, we were born into this world as helpless, dependent beings. There is no chance to survive without basic nurturing care. We can not feed ourselves. We can not bathe ourselves. We have parents who love us and take good care of us, if we are lucky, or we survive an existence with emotional and maybe physical scars. We learn from the people around us and the environment that we are born into. We do better when we are loved and we do not thrive when love is lacking. (I have read research conducted on children raised in an Eastern European, sterile, orphanage where the babies/children were fed and changed but not held or loved. These children grew up deprived and with serious physical and emotional challenges, different from children who were held and loved.)

We can not thrive without love and connection as an infant. This does NOT disappear as we age. Most people require human interaction, to varying degrees, and the “connections” that go along with these relationships. We continue to learn and gain perspective by communicating with other people and lifeforms (pets, plants, nature.) People often strive for “Deeper Connections” and more intimate relationships. We do not thrive when we feel alone or lonely or separated from the nurturing of friends and family, our “tribe.”

But in our culture, in our modern world, we are often separated by technology and “Judgements” from the people we live around and work around. Have you ever seen people out to dinner with both people on their smart phones, texting, or checking social media, or posting pictures of their meal?… What is this really about? We are not encouraged to put down our technology and be truly “present” with our partner. Many of us have lost the basic skills of verbal and non-verbal communication that were so essential when we were in tribes (and family groups) where our survival was based on interaction and support from the group. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to go back to live in a primitive, life and death struggle to survive but we have lost some of our fundamental skills (and are paying the price.)

Today, we may want to join a community to find human contact. Maybe we wear jerseys of our favorite sports franchise and root for them on Sunday with other fans. Or, we think about going to a “MeetUp” group to hang out with people of similar interests. Or, we go on a “dating” website to find a perfect partner. (Though we still have to meet and do the “Mating Dance” which includes communication and hopefully honesty…) This pursuit is desperate, often unfulfilling, and generally superficial. If so, then it does not satisfy the need to connect deeply. (Our egos and our judgements of the mind are constantly comparing and keeping us separate from other people who are searching for the emotional and spiritual exchanges which form the best connections.)

Secondly, our most important purpose is to support and assist the people we meet on our path through life. Most people floating around unhappily, or at least unsatisfied, are people thinking that their success is defined by how much money they have, or how many toys they have acquired, or how many trips they have taken, or how many MeetUp groups they have joined (but not attended.) People, today, feel that the number of friends they have and how many people respond to their social media posts (about themselves) are important and valued as levels of success. Maybe, it is NOT about “me.”

Think back when you did something “good” for someone else. It probably allowed you to feel good and connected. Get out of your head and back into your heart. Feel good by doing good things for other people! If you want to be loved, you have to go out and give love, unconditionally. If you are giving anything with an expectation that it comes back, then you will be disappointed.

Connections with value are based upon people caring, truly caring, about others and finding the best ways (you can) to support and assist these other souls on their journey. Even the simplest smile or kind word can show the love and respect for the person in front of you who “showed up” to have a place in your world (and your journey.) Yes, you need to work and support yourself, but you can do so with the feeling of loving acceptance for the other pilgrims in life whom you meet along the way. (Easier said than done, but work on this.) Your happiness and joy will come more frequently when you realize that we are “ONE” with all lifeforms and in this life together to grow, to learn from our challenges, and to love the connections which we can create.

Connections, healthy connections, are the most important thing to work on. Your success in life comes not from how much money is in the bank but how many people call you a friend.

Namaste. Your are a Master and it is a great blessing to find these few moments to connect with you. Your sharing of your time and attention as a “witness” is a blessing… Know that you have done good in our world just by being you, even with imperfections and flaws…

Masters of the Journey is a community that supports everyone who are on their path through life and would like to find supportive, hopefully, non-judgemental connections.

Sharing Wisdom and an Act of Service

In our spiritual community, Masters of the Journey, we practice a “Triad” process. This is a small group sharing of experience and the wisdom gleaned from living through the challenges of life. The purpose of the Triad is to gather three people into a conversation based around the “story” of one participant known as the “storyteller.” We are all “Masters” and have wisdom to share. If you have lived your life and survived to this age, you have learned from experiences and are moving along your “path” on your pilgrimage through this life.

As an example, the “storyteller” may share a story regarding a treasured experience with a personal mentor. It may have been a special college professor or a wise uncle/aunt or supportive coach who offered you some life changing information that set you on an important direction at one of the cross roads of your life. The lesson was a personal one yet it holds wisdom that can be used by other fellow travelers. The willingness of the “storyteller” to share and the active listening by the two other members of the Triad can make this a moment of “service” for all involved.

In the Triad process, the “storyteller” offers an experience which is heard by a focused “witness.” The second member of the Triad quietly and with focused intent, listens to the story. Using strong listening skills including good eye contact and “open” body language seeks to fully experience the story. Little or no verbal feedback is offered unless a clarifying question is required. The “witness” offers appreciation at the end of the 3-5 minute story. It may be appropriate to communicate what the value of this story has been for the witness. (A key is for the “Witness” to not interrupt or offer their own story but to allow the speaker to share their perspective until offered feedback at he completion of their story.)

The third member of the Triad is the “Observer” who focuses on watching both the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” The “Observer” feels for the connection and rapport between the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” When the “Observer” offers feedback, she/he may share information regarding the skills of the “Storyteller” to communicate their story and also may give feedback regarding the skills of the “Witness” to fully serve by observing the story. These are skills that carry over into relationships in life beyond the “Triad” process.

The act of witnessing is a powerful act of service. Focused listening and demonstrated “caring” can be therapeutic for the storyteller. In my training as a counselor for children, the theory of psychotherapeutic counseling was often less important that the act of “connecting” with the child. When these children were fully heard, respected, and Loved (Cared about) by the counselor the positive bond was created and the therapy could be effective. Outside of counseling, each of us can be of service by developing our skills to listen more fully, connect with the speaker, and then to share the wisdom of the experience of this sharing. The simple but powerful act of sharing a story and having it fully appreciated by the witness creates moments of learning for both sides of this experience. If you believe that we are actually “one” with all other living beings, then the respect and appreciation for another person’s story is a deep respect for yourself and the Divine Spirit within you (and every other soul.)

Do not take it lightly. Your witnessing of the lesson learned raises the consciousness of all the souls which are participating. Raising consciousness in all is the purpose which we all share. This common bond brings us closer and we can find the connections which offer positive learnings. Treat others with the respect of knowing that they are part of a much larger consciousness and though it may be difficult to see, every person has God within them. We may benefit from the raising of consciousness so we may better “remember” that we are all one and that each one of us is a Master with the wisdom of the Divine Spirit within our souls.

Blessings to you and all the fellow pilgrims you, and serve, along your path.

Namaste.

Masters of the Journey’s website and connections are found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Art of Listening

Is Communication Important?
Is Connection important?
Is Listening important to relationships?

Is there an art to effective communication?

At the core of good communication are two essential skills:
The art of offering a clear communication
The art of Receiving a communication

In this Blog, we focus of the Art of Listening:

Good Listening can involve:
Hearing what is being communicated but also of importance to receiving an interpersonal communication is the use of other primary senses. I will explain why, seeing helps hearing. Also why, feeling helps hearing. Even smelling and tasting can play a role in experiencing a communication.

There is a philosophy which believes that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much.

Hearing is much more than just registering the speaker’s words. It can also include: tone of voice, volume, choice of wording, pace of speaking, pauses and silences, and the unspoken content or what is left out of the communication.

Seeing: Non-verbal cues: gestures, body language, facial expressions, breathing patterns, the speakers presentation are things which we “see” consciously or unconsciously. Very essential to good communication is encouraging eye contact and attention. Being focused and “present” without distracting thoughts in the witness/listner will allow for better connection and comprehension of the communication.

Feeling: Will include listening between the words and feeling the impact of the words which are used. Interpreting the hearing and the visuals that are presented. If physical contact is a part of the communication, feeling your partner’s intent through pressure or movement can be a feeling which communicates volumes.

Humans use less of the sensations of smell and taste in communication but these subtle cues can also add to the experience of the communication. Consider how perfume or body oder add to the experience. Or, how the smells of the environment can enhance or detract from communication like baking bread or the pungent smell of antiseptic in a hospital room. And, what does the taste of a shared meal do to add to a communication.

Perhaps the most important skill in the Art of Listening is to be “Present.” This is easier said than done. Being “Present” involves using your focus to minimize your internal distractions. Avoid extraneous thoughts or the habit of finding an answer to what you hear until it is your turn to add to the conversation. Even if you get defensive, it is better to hear the speaker out and ask clarifying question to make sure you fully understand what is being said so you can answer most effectively. Emotions can cause “knee-jerk” reactions which often cause more harm than good in a possibly tense conversation. It would be better, in most situations, if you treat your communication partners as if they were a very important figure like: the Pope, or the President, or even God. With this intended reverence in listening to your speaker, you have the best chance of “Hearing” at all levels to get the very most from the communication. In other words, listen to your communication partner as well or better than you would want to be heard.

To sum up, the Art of Listening is more than registering the words you may hear. Read between the lines and feel what is really being communicated. Use every one of your 5 physical senses and your intuition (or gut feelings) to take in the full communication. And finally, in the Art of Listening give the greatest gift of respect which one person can offer another by being fully focused and present with the love and appreciation that comes from the deepest honor the “Sharing” that you are being gifted to receive.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Key to Communication: Really Listening!

Successful communication in interpersonal relationships can be very important in business and in one’s personal life. This is not difficult to realize as a concept but it can be difficult to achieve. There are many variables that help a communication or make communication go terribly wrong. Some of these variables you can control and some you can not. An example, you may be very focus and clear regarding an important topic of conversation you may have with a client but you can not control the client’s focus or state of mind. They may be busy on “other” things and can not “engage” or focus on what you are saying.

So let’s discuss some of the variables that you can understand and control. Two of the most important ones in interpersonal communication are Timing and Listening. There are many other variables which we will discuss in other articles but let’s start with these two variables.

Timing is key in every aspect of relationships. If one side is distracted or unavailable, it is not fortuitous for the success of a communication. Scheduling the time and getting an agreement regarding this appointment are essential when your communication is critical. If you can not create an environment that is relatively undistracted and conducive to an appropriate exchange then your important message may be missed. Find the best time and space for you to communicate. At the beginning of the conversation, it may be best to ask again if this is a “good time” to talk, knowing that just because your partner has shown up at the appointment it does not mean that they are ready and undistracted. So, checkin. Make sure the table is clear and they are ready to participate. If not, and your communication is of critical value, you may have to reschedule or risk the failure of the process.

Perhaps even more importantly, is the skill to listen! It is easier said than done, but an essential key to great communication is not speaking but listening to your partner. If you interrupt, or think ahead, or find an emotional tangent to distract you, or simply lose your focus, your partner will sense your lack of “presence” and be distracted in a way which may make the meeting destined to failure. Use all of your senses to focus and to listen to what your communication partner is saying. Make eye contact. Relax your breathing to encourage your partner to relax. Respect your partners words and their opinion even if you may disagree. Do not interrupt! Keep your mouth closed until you can assist your partner by asking and “open ended question” to help clarify what they are communicating. Restate what you have heard to make sure you are very clear about what they are attempting to convey to you. Only after restatement and permission to response, is it a good time to find your appropriate answer. Show some gratitude to your partner. As a reminder, shouting someone else down does show intelligence, maturity or respect for a positive outcome.

Hint, for the best possible communication: Listen to your communication partner as if you respected this relationship so much it would be as if you were listening to the most honored elder or even, as if you were sitting in the presence of God. (Some people believe that you can find the perfect spirit of the divine in everyone, if you look for it.)

It has been said that we were given two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much. This is critical in personal relationships, friendships, family, and in business. Timing and listening. You are going to be more successful if you remember these keys to better communication.

We will have more to share regarding communication. This is a start. Please respond and try these two concepts in your next “important” communication.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

How “Traditional Values” Can Create Challenges

Attitudes and Values

I have been certified in an assessment process call “Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values.” One of the six main values that people are rated on is called the “Traditional” value. The other values are Theoretical, Social, Utilitarian, Individualistic, and Aesthetic (contact me if you require more information.) There are many ways to interpret these assessments and yet this “value,” Traditional, often creates a real interest for me as I review these reports.

A person with a very high score in the “Traditional” value is often a person driven by a very strong set of principles that often makes it appear that this individual is seeing the world in a “black and white” way. Their learned values, whether these are political or religious, are very rigid with little openness to compromise or to have the flexibility to see an opposing point of view. Very often a person with a high score in this value may have very strong religious connections or beliefs. These might include religious zealots, people with strong nationalism, or possibly strong law & order proponents. If you agree with these people you can have good relationships. If you disagree with their strong values or beliefs, you will have strong arguments or possibly confrontations.

People on the lowest scoring of this value are often people not bound by “convention” to a specific philosophical dogma, religion, or political belief. These people might be seen as very flexible in seeing both sides of an issue and may appear to be very “Wishy-washy.” This ability to understand both sides may be taken as a weakness in character by a strongly opinionated “High Traditional” person. If you want these people to take a strong stand, and make a commitment to some proposal, you may have a disappointing expectation.

Neither a high score or a low score in this value, makes you right or wrong. Knowing yourself, or whether this is a factor in a person that you are in relationship with can make a huge difference in how to approach many situations in your life. Seeing things in a “black or white” way can be a good or bad (difficult) thing. For example, have you ever had a political conversation at a family gathering or a work or in a social situation where you feel an argument breaking out because people have conflicting understandings or strong beliefs? Words may not be as hard as stones but they can hurt people as badly, or even worse. Knowing why some people are inflexible and can not be convinced about certain points of view can help save you the grief of understanding why a polarized issue can not be accepted by both sides in a disagreement. This may also explain why the “hard feelings” about some political elections are not easily patched up.

If you know people who are “high Traditional” in values and are in the military, law enforcement, and people with strong “right of center” political beliefs, you may know that being flexible regarding other people’s opposing attitudes can be a “stretch” for these “high Traditional” people. Historically, many wars have been fought over different religious beliefs where flexibility and acceptance are not the values held by the opposing leaders. In my mind, too many people have died in disagreements over differing values and beliefs in religion, politics, nationalistic attitudes. There is no easy answer but remember hatred and fear regarding the differences in beliefs is taught to our next generation and does not solve problems in a world that is growing smaller as population grows and technology spreads differing beliefs instantaneously around the globe.

It is easier said than done when it comes to accepting different beliefs, but understanding how rigid or how flexible people are can be very important when you need groups to be productive.

Another definition: The highest interest for this value, Traditional, may be called “unity,” “order,” or “tradition.” Individuals with high scores in this value seek a system for living. This system can be found in such things as conservatism or any authority that has defined rules, regulations and principles for living.

Hopefully, this awareness of why people think and behave in “rigid” ways will assist you in accepting that it is easier and safer for some traditional people to hold tight to their black and white understanding even when this runs contrary to getting along better in a broader world.

Future Focus Achieving Your Dreams

It is important to stay in the “present” so physical and emotional responses do not cause symptoms of distress to arise, however, planning for successful attainment of your goals and dreams is necessary for long term success. This all can sound like “double-talk” but it really makes good sense.

First, physical and emotional symptoms can develop for people who are “not in their bodies in the present.” Many people have anxiety/fear regarding occurrences from events which have happened in the past. These can be difficult to “let go.” Likewise, even more people get fearful and anxious about the unknowns of the future. These are things that we can not often control and so can become consciously or unconsciously scary. Most people need to learn how to release fears of the past or of the unknowns of the future and practice living, in their bodies, in the present moment. This is easier said than done, but very important to learn how to do and to use preventively.

If you are not completely happy with your “condition” in life, then you may need to move in positive directions to attain a long term goal and dream that will bring you greater satisfaction and happiness. For example, maybe you want to get your college education and a college degree. Or, maybe you want to take a trip to Paris or Rome. Or, maybe you want your work or investments to give you financial security. All of these are important and significant long range goals. If you want to achieve these, and not just desire them, you must take action. The first action is to really plan the steps necessary to accomplish this major goal. Break it down into the small steps that will take you down the path toward completing your goal. Work out a reasonable time line. Gather the information and the resources that you will require to begin. AND, GET STARTED! Get help or coaching if you can not do this for yourself, in a useful way.

You must be very clear about what your goal looks like. It helps to see, or visualize, your dream. Feel it! Know what the final result will feel like to you. Listen and hear what your success will sound like. Some people can even taste success… In other words, use ALL of your senses to imagine the successful completion of your goal. This will help to make it more “real” for your subconscious mind. NOW, focus on your goal and the path to achieving it.

Do not be lazy! Regularly, immerse yourself in seeing yourself moving toward, and then accomplishing, your goal. Some people do this upon awaking in the morning and again at bedtime. Many people need to start their day with these images of success. I know many people who plan goal focusing breaks throughout their day to help them maintain focus on their positive long range goals.

I believe in this process and I tested it! After completing my Ph.D. program my private practice had shrunk down to 3 appointments per week. I figured that I needed at least 15 per week reach my financial goals. This was in January and I set the last week of March as my target for accomplishing my goal. Several times a day I pictured myself answering the telephone and writing appointments in my appointment book, until all the appointment slots were full. Of course, I also made calls to referral sources and sent out letters to advertise my services. The last week of March, I had 18 appointments on my books and 14 people came in for their appointments. Pretty close to the exact goal I had established. I was thrilled. When I looked at where the new business had come from, less than half of the appointments came from my direct promotional efforts. More than half of these clients came from other sources, “out of the blue” you might say. It did not matter at the time but in the years since, I have come to respect the power of offering clear, specific requests to the universe. By being clear and specific, the universe can help provide the answers you require for the success that you desire. The principles are simple, the actual practice requires dedication, support, and sometimes specific coaching.

My coaching practice often takes clients with big goals and dreams. We move together to build the individualized program for success and take the steps necessary to accomplish these goals.

You can do it! You can make your life move in the most ideal directions, but it requires more than just “wanting” or “dreaming.” It requires the targeted work and the laser focus on your long term goal. What is the accomplishment of your dream really worth to you? Remember that anything of value requires your time, focused attention, and your energy to achieve.

Grab your dreams! Make them happen!