This past week, I’ve been writing quite a bit, yet, as you may have noticed, my blogging schedule has changed. Yep, it was intentional. A few weeks ago, I mentioned slowing down. Little did I know at that time, the writing would keep pouring out of me, yet, I am pleased with developing a new schedule.
My goal is to post about 5 or 6 times a week, with a couple days off mixed in. We will see how it goes.
Oh, and it’s time to travel. Wait, what? Yep, it’s time. I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow morning. Wow. I am very excited to see my mom, sisters, and nieces and nephews, and, of course, to be in LA. More on that in a moment.
First, let’s take a look at some writing that occurred this week.
Writing and Reflecting
The poem Night’s End was first inspired from a WDYS prompt, from Keep it Alive, by Sadje, yet, as I reflected on the poem’s beginning, I had another insight for the prompt, which ended up being the poem My Years. It happens like that sometimes.
Anyway, the poem Nights End then, was a reflection on the trials that we all face, and the knowledge that these tests are a part of the experience of being a human being on this planet. I firmly believe that they are given to us to help us learn. Learn more about all of our shared human beingness. Beautiful.
The poem The Moment’s Prose was a reflection upon how fleeting each moment we have with each other truly is. However, when we are present to this fact, we cherish and relish each of these moments. This was not always the case for me, thus, in this poem, I was reflecting upon the entirety of the concept of love lossed.
I was also very honored and humbled at being placed in the top 8 of Soni’s Writing Contest this past week. I am so grateful to Soni for facilitating such a lovely writing contest, and am so honored to be selected alongside all of the talented writers. Congratulations to all of the writers that joined Soni’s contest. You are all inspirational and amazing.
If you’ve not visited Soni’s blog, please do. Soni’s site is inspirational, motivational, and hyper-creative.
Traveling to Portland and Los Angeles
Well, as you may recall, I visited Justin in Portland last weekend, and it was a lovely trip. We enjoyed a lovely hike, visited and talked about a book we are reading together, had some wonderful food, and generally just enjoyed each other’s company.
Here are a couple pics from the trip.
And, yep, next week, tomorrow, in fact, I’ll be boarding an airplane for Los Angeles, for the first time in over 15 months. I am both anxious and very excited. As you may recall, my father passed away about 6 months prior to the pandemic, so seeing my mom will be wonderful.
I’ve no definite plans, will need to work a little while I am there, yet will get to the beach, for sure, and do some shopping, places I cannot access here, and then? Visit and love my family.
Alright, that’s all for this week, my dear friends.
A lovely week this past week, as always. I’ve been continuing to prepare and plant my plot at the community garden. I’ll have another installment in the gardening series in the next week. Fun.
I’ve also been playing the guitar more. There is something about music. I’ve always known this, yet I’ve rediscovered, or, maybe it’s, renewed a deep passion within me for, and with, music. I love it so much.
I’ve also been working, well, a lot. The team is as busy as ever. We just finished the summer schedule, which we will publish next week. I will share it with all of you in my next diary post.
And, of course, I’ve been writing. Less this week, yet, it’s always there, and inspirational.
Writing and Reflecting
I completed the first entry in the Willamette Valley Wanderings and Wonderings series, and am contemplating my next hike. It will be next weekend, and I may drive up to Salem. Not sure. We will see. However it goes, I’ll have some lovely pictures and reflections to share with all of you.
I also published the purpose post this past week, which was fun. I think about purpose in such a different way today. Actually, I think about everything today quite differently. Purpose is just another concept that I like to think about; and, for me, purpose lives and breathes in each moment. It’s always there, and doesn’t need much attention. Just being, living, and loving. Awesome.
As you all know, I write a lot about emotions. The reason I write about emotions so often, is that for most of my adult life I held all of my emotions in, and didn’t process them.
Once I learned how to understand my feelings, I began to learn how to process them, talk about them, and, yep, write about them.
Therefore, in the past 4 years, I’ve lived through, and engaged with, a lot of emotional processing. These experiences serve as the foundation for many of my poems, and are quite beautiful.
I appreciate each of you for walking through these experiences with me, and supporting me as we do so. An honor.
I’ve also been reflecting more upon the concept acknowledgement this past week. Partly because as I was preparing the quarterly team report, it occured to me that I had so many acknowledgements to make, if I made them all in a single communication, it would be, well, rather lengthy.
Therefore, I chose to create a 4-day communication event, acknowledging a few team members each day. It feels right, and is important. It’s also important to acknowledge ourselves, and to do so often.
When we acknowledge how we feel, the lows, the highs, the middle spots, we get so much more back; and, we develop a real sense of what it means to be a human being on this wonderful planet.
As a final acknowledgement this week, I’d like to acknowledge my beautifully strong mother, sisters, exwife, and all of those moms out there who, for so many reasons, exemplify strength, persistence, determination, compassion, love, and kindness.
Thank you. Thank you for being exactly as you are.
This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon connection. How we are all connected to each other, yes, and to everything else we see. All of it. Quite beautiful.
Before I write more about connection, let’s take a look at a couple reflections from this past week, and a few ideas I have for next week. Sound good? Okay, here we go.
This past week, I’ve continued to write quite a bit of poetry. It just happens like that sometimes; and, of late, there’s been much more poetry within me. Fun.
The Tanka #9 poem, occurred to me one day after meditation. Well, in fact, the concepts found in the poem occur to me all the time these days. That is, existence, and the connection we all have to each other and all that surrounds us.
We have the idea that we are separate, due to socialization and the creation of the ego-self. The separateness we feel, however, is illusory. Not real. Reality lives behind and beyond the concepts we hold of ourselves and all that we see. Beautiful.
I didn’t understand my own sensitivity for most of my life. In fact, my sensitivity was something I ran from in many ways. When you are a highly sensitive person and unaware, the world feels more frightening and incomprehensible. The paradox?
When you are a highly sensitive person and aware, the world feels more, well, like you, beautiful, strong, and very comprehensible. Being a highly sensitive person is a true gift.
Well, in my diary entry last week, I wrote about being on the waitlist for the vaccine; and, I now have an appointment next Friday, which means I will be fully vaccinated by early May.
Now, as many of you know, my whole family lives in Los Angeles, California, where I lived the majority of my life; and, I have a niece graduating from high school this year. The question? Yep, you guessed it; do I travel? Not sure? Me either.
Instead of thinking about the choice, I looked at flights, and found that the quarantine policy for traveling into LA County is still in place, which means that when you are traveling into the County from out of state you must quarantine for 10 days.
I could not find a single resource on the flight booking site, nor on the CDC website about traveling once fully vaccinated. So? I called the LA County Public Health Department. The person that answered the phone was super nice, and, to my question, replied, that’s a good question. They didn’t know the answer either.
The LA County employee that helped me is going to do some research and call me back. Thus, my choice on traveling to LA remains, for now, on hold.
This past week, we had our remote Spring Instructor Forum. These forum’s are a chance for our Community Education Instructors to get to see each other, and to interact with us. In the Community Education program we have over 200 instructors, and they live all over the area, so this is one way we stay connected.
As I prepared my small talk with the Instructors, I pondered this past year, the current year, and the upcoming year. And? What occurred to me was that, yes, so much has changed this past year, and more changes will come.
Yet, one thing that will not change is the connection we have with each other, which is why I am calling next fiscal year (2021/22), The Year of Continued Connection.
There will always be change, and, in many ways, change is wonderful. Terribly hard at times, yes, and also beautiful.
Though we have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, we know that our relationships are strong, and that they will endure through whatever change comes our way. We have proven this this past year.
I’ve written many posts about relationships and connection. I always say, there’s nothing more important than the relationship we have with ourselves, and with those people we surround ourselves with.
Everything starts with us. And, when you have a quality connection with yourself, you will have quality connections with others.
I’ll leave you this week, with two quotes I shared with the Community Education Instructors this past week, as I think they speak very well to the value of connection.
“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King Jr
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown
A Few Simple Steps to Create a Whole New Reality for Your Life
I’ve been thinking and reflecting upon writing an article on the law of attraction for a while now. Though some people may consider the law of attraction a metaphysical topic, which it is, it is also quite scientific, and, well, quite frankly, part of how the Universe works.
Why is this important?
Well, if you are interested in achieving goals in life, then the law of attraction will be important to you. And, I’d say most people are interested in achieving the goals they have for themselves.
Furthermore, if you are interested in getting outside of a loop of negative thought patterns, understanding the law of attraction, in a very practical way, is also important.
Before we get into our discussion, let’s define the law of attraction.
The belief that positive thoughts are magnets for positive life experiences and negative thoughts (i.e. the very cynical definition previously provided for this term) are magnets for negative life experiences.
Alright, in this article we will take a look at the law of attraction from three perspectives. All of which, combine to form a unified whole. Ready? Good. Here we go.
Thoughts and Feelings
It is factual that how we think creates our reality. Let’s do a quick example to show how this works. I want you to think about a time when you were really frustrated about something, and that frustration lasted for at least a day, maybe longer. Many of us have experienced this type of frustration.
When you were frustrated in this way, how did the world look, feel, and function to you? Likely, it functioned in a frustrated way. Meaning, that you saw and experienced people that seemed frustrated to you. And, you likely blamed them for your apparent frustration. The issue?
Well, no one outside of ourselves is responsible for how we think and feel. They are not. Therefore, when we experience frustration in the world, and it affects us in some way, we are likely, on some level, frustrated ourselves.
Knowing this to be true about ourselves is not a demerit. It’s not. It just happens. And, happens often for people that are unaware of how their thoughts and feelings affect their actions.
You can conversely think about a time when you were joyful, again for a sustained period of time, and I bet you saw and experienced much more joy. Right? Yep. Same.
All of this simply means that it is how we think and feel that creates our reality. And, if we are stuck inside of negative thinking patterns, as I once was, we will experience our beautiful world through a lens of negativity. And, conversely, if we are “stuck” inside of positive thinking patterns, we will experience our beautiful world through a lens of positivity.
Your Body and Manifestations
And, whether we see the world negatively or positively matters and manifests throughout our body. Why? Because human beings have a tendency to hold onto their emotions. Therefore, if we are seeing the world through a negative lens, we will experience more negative emotions, and holding these emotions within ourselves will cause pain and suffering.
Further, when we see the world through a negative perspective, or cynically, we will typically make justifications and excuses for our negative behavior. Meaning, abusing our body in ways that will end up causing us more pain and suffering. An example here may help.
For many years I saw the world through a very cynical lens. It’s not a demerit. As a matter of fact, I understand this time in my life as a blessing today. Yes, it was painful, yet it was how I knew how to live in the world, and, therefore, has, upon much reflection and internal work, given me many insights.
Insights which help me tremendously today as a parent, friend, coworker, and leader. Immensely helpful.
When I was stuck in these negative thinking patterns, I held onto my anger. And, therefore I saw anger everywhere. And, I mean everywhere. Yet, I had no conception at the time that the anger I was seeing was my own. And? It was.
It was my anger, because I was the one thinking about and feeling anger, thus I gave out anger often, which caused others to be angry. Further, I could sense anger very easily, as I was in a more or less constant state of anger.
Fast forward 4 years, and my experience of life today is completely different. And, it has everything to do with how I think and feel; and, how those thoughts and feelings bring more of the same into my life; and, that, in essence and practicality is the law of attraction.
Perspective and Reality
How we think and feel affects our perspective, as we’ve just discussed, thus affecting our experience of reality. I’ve written before that there are over 7 billion worlds, or realities, on this one planet. It’s true.
Each of us has a different experience of life, based on, yes, how we were raised, the life experiences we’ve had, and how we currently think and feel.
How we think and feel brings more of those same thoughts and feelings into our life. There are some that say that thoughts are just like any other thing on this planet; meaning that they are made of matter, just like we are.
And, when thought and feeling matter are manifest in our day-to-day experience we get back more of that same matter.
As simple as all of this may sound and read, it is not necessarily easy, or simple, to create new thinking and feeling patterns, or habits. Human beings like to stay in their comfortable patterns, even when those patterns are likely hurting themselves and those around them.
Because habits are hard to change, let’s take a look at a few strategies I use daily to continue to iterate my thinking and feeling.
Meditation – a meditation practice, when guided by an expert, can be transformative. When we learn to sit in silence, we get to see and experience our thoughts and feelings in a whole new way. And, in seeing and experiencing our thoughts and feelings in new ways, we create the possibility of working through these thoughts and feelings, and eventually releasing them.
Writing – I’ve been journaling in different ways for years now. I find the experience very therapeutic. There is something about actually seeing your thoughts and feelings on paper that creates a space to dive deeper into why you are thinking and feeling as you are. It’s like a thread, which you can use to trace thoughts and feelings back to their origins.
Talking – finding someone to talk to about how you think and feel is another way to open yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’ve been seeing a life coach for 4 years now, and inside of those conversations, I get a whole different perspective on why I am thinking and feeling as I am. And, with a different perspective comes new possibilities.
Reflecting – one of my favorite parts of the process of getting to know yourself on a deeper level is reflection. I reflect often, and use the knowledge gained in my reflections to continue to move myself forward as a human being. Insights from reflecting can come at any time, however, creating quite time for yourself throughout the day, so you can reflect is important. If we are continuously plugged in and receiving stimulation, there is less time to reflect, and therefore less insight will come.
Alright, that concludes this post on the law of attraction.
Remember, we truly are what we think and feel. Our thoughts and feelings shape our perspective and thus our reality; and , it takes time and practice to begin to create new thought and feeling patterns, or habits, for ourselves.
Therefore, as you walk through your day today, begin to question your thoughts and feelings. And, make sure to create quiet time for yourself so you can begin to see why it is you think and feel as you do.
Once you begin to create time for yourself to reflect, you will get insights about yourself, which will create new possibilities for your life. And, it’s inside of these new possibilities, where you can begin to create new thinking and feeling habits, which will create new experiences of the same world you lived in before.
And, through the law of attraction, you will begin to attract a whole new reality into your life.
The Leadership Psychology of How We Think and Feel
This past week a colleague of mine and I were talking about leadership. Well, to be more accurate, we are always talking about leadership. Fun.
Anway, this colleague was talking about the upcoming leadership group training they would be facilitating, and they were talking about how important it is for leaders to understand how they think, feel, and act.
After reflecting upon the concept of thinking, feeling, and acting, which I totally agree with, another concept occured to me. Speaking. Also important.
Thus, the idea for this first-half of the two-part article on Developing the Self was created. Before we get into our discussion, however, let’s reset the first installment in the Leadership Series.
We also discussed 2 things that are very important to be clear about early on in any leadership development journey, which are
Understanding your leadership style.
In this second installment, we will discuss understanding yourself as the very first step in a leadership development journey. Why? Good question.
Let’s take a look, shall we.
There are two ways we will approach this discussion.
Ready? Good, let’s go.
Right, so, what in the world is leadership psychology? Well, in this context, we are going to address two main concepts. Thinking and feeling. Both are very important to understand for anyone in leadership.
If you don’t know why you think and feel as you do, you’ll never be able to understand how and why others think and feel as they do. Simple.
And, as a leader, you must understand how the people in your team, organization, business, and or family, or friend network think and feel. Very important.
Having an impact starts with us. Each of us. Understanding how and why we think and feel as we do is a necessity in any leadership role. Any and all leadership roles.
An entire article, nay, book can be written about how we think in regards to, well, just about everything in life. Leadership included. It’s that important.
In fact, how we think drives everything else we will discuss in this article. It all starts with the mind. The quality of our mind. Meaning? Good question.
As I’ve written about in other articles, human beings are meaning-makers. Meaning, pun intended, that we take in data, information or stimuli, and we convert those stimuli, whatever they are, into narratives.
We do this to make sense of the world, and our place in it. A simple example can illustrate this point.
If my thinking is about the past, and all of the wrongs I’ve suffered, or bad things that have happened, I will bring these thoughts, feelings, verbalizations, and actions into the present moment. And?
I, in essence, will recreate the past. Reliving, as possible, past trauma again and again. And, so will everyone else I am interacting with and in relationship with.
However, if I am aware of my thoughts, and how I think, I can work on the thought impressions, called samskaras in sanskrit, and, over time, release them.
When they are released they stop showing up as a thought. It takes time.
These samskaras, thought impressions of old patterns and habits, loose power when you inquire into why they are there in the first place. Meaning, that creating self-awareness for a leader is a crucial aspect of leadership development.
When we have some sense of our own self, we can step outside of those thought patterns or habits and create new ones.
And, it is in the creation of new thought patterns where true empowerment is found for leaders, first, yes, for themselves, and then for their teams, organizations, families, and friends.
There are four things I do on a regular basis to increase my self-awareness.
Each of these contributes to self-awareness in unique ways, and they combine to increase clarity, calmness of mind, well-being, and insight into who you are as a human being, and how you relate to yourself and everyone else. Very important.
As was aforementioned, how we think really does affect, even predict, how we feel, speak, and act, and how we feel on a general level and even on a more specific level, which is very important.
Important to how we relate to ourselves and everyone else.
I grew up in a household where people definitely displayed emotion, yet it was still hidden, and definitely not talked about. And, that’s not a demerit. Why?
Because my parents were not shown how to understand their emotions and then how to constructively talk about them. It is far more normal, especially in the United States, than people might imagine. And?
Not helpful to your own development, nor is it to your teams, organizations, families, or friends. If you don’t know why you feel the way you do, you will not understand how others feel.
And, if you are unable to understand how you and the people around you feel, you cannot talk about feelings in productive and constructive ways.
However, when you know how you feel, understand why you feel as you do, and learn how to talk about emotions in healthy ways, you can navigate more complex conversations and situations as they arise.
And, in leadership roles, nay, in life, complex situations and conversations happen all the time. Sometimes every day.
In addition to meditation, diet, exercise, and weekly coaching, there are a couple of other things I do to understand my feelings and emotional state.
Journaling, and reflecting upon how you feel, is a very important process; especially when we are truly interested in understanding how and why we feel as we do. Some questions I typically ask myself are as follows.
What is the feeling that I am feeling?
What is the thought that is driving that feeling?
Where did that thought come from?
When you understand what you’re feeling, what thought is driving the feeling, and where the thought came from, you can begin to acknowledge the feeling.
When we can acknowledge how we truly feel, we can then release that feeling once we’ve gained true understanding. And, true understanding may mean working on a thought/feeling combination for some time.
Now, I’ve written most of this section with an assumption in mind. That, the work we do to understand how we feel, is needed mostly when we experience “negative” feelings, or emotions.
The emotions and associated feelings that bring us pain, discomfort, worry, and anxiety, for instance.
Why is it important to work on these “negative” emotions and feelings?
Because if we don’t understand how we feel and why we feel as we do, we will regularly give out all of that “negative” emotion to other people. And?
And, then, yes, we are giving out all of our anger, frustration, sadness, or whatever other feeling we have to everyone around us, and we are doing so unintentionally.
If you want to see an example of how this looks, just go to the grocery store and hang out for a while. You will encounter someone that is completely unaware of their emotional state. It won’t take long.
It happens all the time, every day. As was aforementioned, especially in the United States, where there is still, yes even in 2020, stigma about talking about our emotions. Not helpful and extremely unhealthy.
Now, understanding our feelings does not mean that we run out and tell everyone that we meet that we are frustrated, for instance, and here are the reasons why. A paradox? Yes?
Understanding your emotions and why you feel as you do, helps you do the exact opposite.
When we understand why we feel as we do, we can hold our emotions more, and find the right times to talk about them in appropriate ways; meaning healthy and constructive ways. Very important.
Alright, though I have more to say on both of the aforementioned topics, for now, that concludes the first part of this second installment in the leadership series. Next?
We will take a look at Leadership Sociology. And, yep, you are correct, Leadership Sociology and Leadership Psychology are connected. They influence each other. A reciprocal relationship, if you like.
For now, remember, leadership psychology as defined here, understanding how we think and feel is an important first step in developing ourselves, yes, as leaders, and even more importantly as human beings.
When we are open to our own development, we can create contexts that are growth-oriented for everyone. It works that way.
Remember, it starts with you, with me, with each of us. Therefore, when we catch ourselves looking outside of ourselves for answers to why we think and feel as we do, we must remember to look within.
Because, my friends, within ourselves is the only place we will find the answers.