What the *!~><!

TheUnexpected7.26.16The unexpected.  It happens.  It takes you by surprise.  You are in momentary shock and your inner voice can only come up with something useless to say, under the unimagined circumstances.

What was your “unexpected?”

A failed test?

It’s your first day at the new job – and the new job is not exactly what you had in mind?  You’re supposed to do that?  Know what?  Stay how late?

Your roommate wants out of the lease?

A few weekends ago my “unexpected” came in the form of a boulder face.  A carefree family hike to the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest peak east of the Mississippi….. I have stamina.  I am pretty darn fit, but, uh, I thought we were hiking, you know, walking with hiking boots, to the top.  On the Ammonoosac Trail that meant “scrambling.”  Translation: hand-to-hand climbing rock-to-rock.  Okay, no ropes were required, but this hike that I was now into mile two or three of had “unexpectedly” turned into a more emotionally challenging ascent than I had imagined from the comfort of my air-conditioned New York City apartment!

How we handle the “unexpected” is what makes the difference:

between failure and success,

between not graduating and graduating,

between giving up and adding to a skill set,

between paralyzed inaction and problem-solving,

between walling off, giving into fear and doubt; and remaining curious –

hand-by-hand, step-by-step continuing on the trail.

How do you handle the unexpected in your life?  Consciously? With curiosity and self-awareness?

The “unexpected” – it will present itself.

The choice is ours: Wrestle with emotion. Sleepwalk. Retreat.

Or, observe.  Hear, see the lesson.

Rock on!

To Understand as to be Understood

Understand7.13.16Have you noticed?  Everyone is very busy.  Busy busy – heads cocked toward their phones, thumbs scrolling through texts and tweets, Instagram and brain challenging “games.” Eyes on their computers, transfixed, clearly connected.  And not “really” connected at all.

The t.v. blares with the latest words of politicians who have sifted to the top of the country’s conversation, and yet, the words are not meant for two-sided conversation.  The words’ intent is to conquer and shame, blame and convict.  And when the politician or the athlete or the person in today’s spotlight of international attention steps aside, other voices fill the void.  Are they offering any real clarity?

Are they listening before they speak?

Are they enhancing productive communication?

“Too busy to respond to your text.”

Yesterday’s “caring and enthusiastic” playmate is today’s former “acquaintance” who resolved that “ghosting” would be the least emotion-averse method of communicating the timing is not right for me, I’m scared you are more into me than I am into you, I’m conflicted and I do not know how to effectively communicate that I am conflicted!

 When you communicate, are you being understood?  How do you know?  Did you see it in “her” eyes?  Did you even look your friend, your colleague, your brother, your mother in the eye when you spoke – or he or she responded?

The message and its clarity remain central to personal realization, to negotiation, to successful sales, to project completion, to – simply – effective interaction with all persons in our midst.

~respond to the text or the email – with care

~listen to the speaker and consider his or her intent before responding

~lift your eyes from the phone, the computer, the distraction that has truly captured your attention

~for just one moment give your attention to someone who wishes to be understood

~communicate with your eyes as well as your voice

“Seek to understand as to be understood.” ~ Francis of Assisi

What might it cost you?

What will it cost you?