3.31.2004

"Before I go to sleep I invite the non-physical to work at rejuvenating and realigning me to be in alignment with my desires and intentions!"

~Judi Richardson

what are your sleep patterns like right now?
posted by ashley
'We must become the change we wish to see in the world.'
-Gandhi

while you're doing that, please play with the horses singing a capella for a moment. oh, how i love them!
posted by ashley

3.30.2004

posted by ashley

3.28.2004

more compliments

i had an interesting conversation the other day. someone said to me:

"i know i'm not supposed to say this, but the people in the group really loved me." i was crushed by the preface that we're not supposed to say good things about ourselves. i think that being humble is a concept that has been taken way too seriously.

right now, i'm reading more about compliments. the positive discipline book for families recommends practicing giving and receiving compliments until it becomes a habit. i add to that, practice feeling good about and proud of our strengths and weaknesses. so on that note...

a new game. please share a compliment that you received that really touched a place inside of you. think of it as a way of being proud of your gifts and letting others know what kind of compliments make us feel all warm and tingly inside.

i'll start: i was stuck in line at the airport for a couple of hours (the computers had crashed). another man in line said to me, "I adore you -- i'm exploding in your smile."

(p.s. it's difficult for me to publish this post. i have to gather my self-doubt and push the publish button, regardless of how egotistical i might feel because i'm sharing with you that i have a great smile!!)

any one else want to share a meaningful compliment that you received?

comments:
Your comment about feeling good about our strengths and weaknesses reminds me of a conversation with my son. We'd just gotten home from picking him up at after school daycare. He showed me his math exam and told me, "I'm not good at math." Now, I knew this wasn't true, and the perfect score on his exam confirmed my opinion. I asked him, "Well, Brandon... What do you mean?" To which he again said, "I'm not good at math." The conversation went on like that for a few more rounds, and Brandon acknowledged that he'd gotten a perfect score and, while he was quick to point out that another kid in his class was as good as him at math, there was no one in his class better.

...
Dave | 03.28.04 - 5:24 pm | #

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...

In the end, I said to him, "Brandon, it sounds like what you're telling me is that you don't like math." He got a sheepish grin and said, "Well, yeah." And from there, we talked about how it was perfectly fine to be good at something without necessarily enjoying it.

It's possible that he was just fishing for compliments, but I really don't think so. He receives many, many compliments on a regular basis. I think he was simply not comfortable with having a gift that others valued more than he did.
Dave | 03.28.04 - 5:26 pm | #

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Recently, I have received the same deeply touching compliment from a few different folks, most of whom I'd never considered myself to be very close to.

This past quarter I dropped four of my six classes due to a death in the family and other personal stuff going on. A few different classmates and a professor at various times came to me and told me with depth and sincerity that they missed my presence in class.

To know that my presence made a significant difference in people's lives was truly touching, far more so than any compliment about a specific gift or the performance of a specific task.

Be love,

-Dave
Dave | 03.28.04 - 6:02 pm | #

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thanks for sharing dave. that is an ultimate compliment... and just to be confrontational (grin), i'd say that that is also a gift.

brandon's feelings towards math bring up some of my own experiences. i LOVE math. i think that it's wonderful! growing up, however, it was a hard subject to enjoy and be good in. it seemed that so many others struggled with it and had a passionate distaste for it. some times when i say that i love math, i still have that hint of embarrassment in my voice!

being love!
ashley
ashley | Email | Homepage | 03.29.04 - 12:22 am | #

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Hey, Ashley! It's patrice from the workshop. I continue to discover things that I learned while I was there. In response to the current topic, while I was in Austin, my friend, Jim, put his arm around my shoulders, gave me a squeeze and told me that I was a really good person. That kind of got to me, since I usually don't characterize myself like that. It's not that I don't think I am; I just don't really think about it. I loved the workshop. I was happy to have met you while I was there.
Patrice Hall | Email | 03.29.04 - 11:07 pm | #

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one of my favorites... i was at the open space on open space conference some years ago. anne stadler, one of the really wise souls of open space was there and went out on day one and got a pile of toys and fun stuff. i made a crazy hat out of tubers and zots foam stuff and wore it for most of the conference. nutty. at the end of the second day, i met anne at the elevator and said something like: "this has been the most amazing couple of days.... i'm going to have to wear this hat all the time now." and without a moment's hesitation anne says: "it might be the guy underneath the hat." perfectly reflected all of my best words and energy right back to me. brilliant she is.
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.29.04 - 11:26 pm | #

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Leela's post over at IN got me thinking about this some more...

I think people all too often see individual worth, the worth of the self and others, as a zero sum game. Even though we all rationally know that praising another in no way diminishes ourself, I suspect that sub-consciously most folks feel that by praising others, the praiser's worth, even if only their relative worth, is diminished.

Could this explain why people are both reticent to give praise and uncomfortable receiving it?

[continued below...]
Dave | 03.31.04 - 12:41 am | #

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[...continued from above]

Ironically, when we're free and open with praise, our perceived value in the eyes of others tends to go up. At least this is my experience...

I'm all for the regular sincere practice of giving and receiving praise. If we could all do that, it would be a step toward making the world a more pleasant place. My fear is that if we started practicing praise on a societal level, it would fall into the same trap that respect and consideration have fallen into. That is... Rather than focusing on being respectful and considerate of others, society has codified these attributes into a mindless, heartless, intentless set of rules called political correctness. But, that's another rambling...

Practicing love, praise and respect,

-Dave
Dave | 03.31.04 - 12:42 am | #

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patrice,
great to see you here. i'd like to share an impression that you left on me. at the conference, each time i asked a question and didn't quite get the response that i thought that i was needing, you poked your head down and said, "just so you know,....". i really appreciated how tuned into my experience you were. thank you. it was a joy meeting you as well.

michael,
your story leaves me grinning!

dave,
i propose that using the word encouragement (and all that it entails) as separate from praise might differentiate from mind-less to heart-full.
ashley

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posted by ashley

3.26.2004

i've been tossing around this line that dave wrote a few days ago.

"It'd be soooo much easier to be the peacemaker, if we could look each other in the eye."

i'm curious about how we “be the peacemaker” when we can't look each other in the eye. how do we carry that energy to meet people who are far beyond the gaze of our eyes?
posted by ashley
sandyb posted these words at integral naked, in a discussion on How much should we invest into our emotions?
"What I have started to think though is that we do need to let go, certainly, but also in the letting go we have to listen and be aware of our engagement in the human process and let other people not so much be our measuring stick but let them be the mirrors in which we can recognize patterns where we may not be coming from our higher selves."

and recognize patterns of where we are coming from our higher selves. ooohhh... i just love this!

here are some other thoughts on patterns:

with the whole process of recognizing patterns... i like to think about the game memory. where all of those little cards with pictures on them are face down... you turn two over hoping that they match. it's a favorite life game of mine. the most thrilling part for me, is an extended moment. it begins just before i turn the cards over. there's that taste of anticipation, yearning, curiosity, and excitement: will they match? will they connect. and then if upon revealing themselves they don't connect with one another... there is the joy of turning them back over and refocusing, trying again to find the match. if, however, the pieces fit seamlessly together...

s w o o o s h h. the connection is made and the party is on! with people connecting, it is all about the channel being clear. the energy continuously flows... within and without. i notice that as that connection, complementing union, is made... the fragmented pieces of the individuals slide away, leaving the glowing, radiant whole.
posted by ashley

3.25.2004

the dictionary game

anyone up for a game of dictionary?
sometimes i like to start tossing a word or words around, and see what happens. currently among my list are
need and want.
there appears to be many different ways to define those two words and distinguish them from one another. i am particularly drawn to the skill of discernment between these two words when setting intentions and extending invitations. any insight?
how do you communicate the difference between wanting and needing efficiently? (or not so efficiently!!)

many thanks,
ashley

comments:

I tend to seperate them by needing is essential to my life. Wanting is a added bonus if I get it. But I abuse and misuse these two all the time. I need a job but I want to play, but now playing is also essential to my life so hum???
I have stumped myself
Melissa | Email | 03.25.04 - 5:43 pm | #

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i think needs are wants that we've let thicken and harden. justification and calcification of desire. wants are more fluid. and fickle. in the end, i think, nothing is necessary. and anything is possible.
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.25.04 - 6:30 pm | #

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I'm with needs being essential to life and wants being bonus stuff. There's also a gray area in there.

I need to eat to live. At this particular moment, I don't need to eat, but I want to eat. Same can be said for play. Play is essential for health. It's important. However, it's not urgent. It can be put off almost indefinitely. The self will slowly start to suffer, but we may not notice until we're pretty far gone.

Perhaps it could be said that a non-urgent need becomes a desire when we give it more urgency than it warrants.

But, we can also trip ourselves up in the other direction. We can give urgency to unimportant needs or desires, hedonistic pleasures. Or, we give urgency to the avoidance of discomfort, even if the discomfort is performing an important task. This, I think, is the link between attachment to pleasure and procrastination. Something I'm all too often guilty of.
Dave | 03.25.04 - 10:33 pm | #

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...need to eat only to live as this body. needs seem to thicken and solidify in same way body does. i'm wondering what happens right after death, if mind keeps going and body doesn't... are we just awash in our desires without the thicker, heavier, solidity of needs to anchor us?
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.26.04 - 3:37 am | #

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oooh... this is good! thanks melissa, dave, and michael. do you mind if i play cut-and-paste with your words? okay!

playing is essential to life
Play is essential for health.
I have stumped myself
...are we just awash in our desires without the thicker, heavier, solidity of needs to anchor us?
anything is possible.
ashley | Email | Homepage | 03.26.04 - 10:53 am | #

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and everything is play.
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.26.04 - 11:51 am | #

posted by ashley

3.24.2004

f r i e n d l i n e s s

posted by ashley

bio-disel plant

EDIT: November 3, 2005

Biodiesel Industries, Michigan’s NextEnergy and Daimler Chrysler
Announce Innovative Research Agreement,
Biodiesel Production Facility to be Built in Detroit

Innovative project brings biodiesel research and development to the Motor City. . .
Read More


Jake Stewart is an extremely passionate man that makes change happen. that being noted, today is a day for celebrating a new path in the city of denton which could have far-reaching effects in the realm of alternative fuels. here's the word just in from his public relations organizer (his fabulous wife, Cynthia):

"The city council voted unanimously tonight to approve the bio-diesel plant, for the fueling of city fleet vehicles etc.!!!!!!! Woo-hoo! We don't know dates for sure yet but things should start trucking along as early as this summer. The city of Denton is about to be the very first city in the nation to use the process of harnessing the gas from the landfill to power a bio-diesel plant. The FIRST!!! "We" will be using renewable energy to make renewable fuel. How cool is that? And the plant will have the capabilities to produce 3 million gallons of bio-diesel every year. Translation/implication... for every one gallon of bio-diesel made here in the good 'ol US of A, that is one less gallon of fossil fuel we have to import from OPEC/the middle east."

congratulations to jake, but more importantly to mother earth for this exciting shift.

comments:

Very Cool!

Hopefully this project will help bring bio-diesel more into public view. Will they be using entirely post-consumer oil? I've heard arguments that bio-diesel is not economically viable if it were to catch on beyond the point that post-consumer recycled oil support. Without knowing any facts, I imagine if the demand was there, the infrastructure would develop to support the demand in a cost effective way.

When I first heard about Fedex running a trial of hybrid diesel trucks, I couldn't help but think how cool it would be if they ran bio-diesel, instead of petrol.
Dave | 03.24.04 - 1:19 pm | #

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My mom's hybrid is a joy to drive, and if it ran bio-diesel instead of gasoline, all the better. I've committed to myself that my next car will either be hybrid or bio-diesel. That's a long ways off, though. Hopefully by then I can go hybrid, bio-diesel, fuel cell, or whatever new technology has emerged, without having to give up the joy of AWD my little Subaru provides.

And, if it is bio-diesel, hopefully there will be more places for consumers to buy fuel. Right now there are a few places around Seattle to buy bio-diesel, but for those of us who rarely go to the city proper, it'd be nice to see it closer to home.

The fellow who taught me to build my baidarka kayak cooks off his own bio-diesel. I wonder what the ecological consequences (ground seepage, whatever) of a bio-diesel cottage industry would be.
Dave | 03.24.04 - 1:26 pm | #

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Hi Dave,
yes the plant will run with 100% yellow grease feedstock. The DFW area produces 15 million gallons of used oil annually....which explains the obese people walking around. Anyway, 20% of the area yellow grease supply would max the processor out, which is attainable. We are also exploring various virgin oil feedstocks to supplement the processor if need be. If you're lookin at Hybrids test drive the 2004 Prius...its pretty amazing. Next best would be to run a VW TDI on biodiesel (if its available in your area). Thanks for your comments and support. Peace, Jake

PS-re: your question.....not much ecological impact to making biodiesel. It is completely non-toxic and is as biodegradable as table salt. If you use Ethanol as the catalyst...its a 100% renewable process producing 100% renewable fuel.
Jake | Email | 03.26.04 - 5:35 pm | #

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posted by ashley

3.22.2004

naked dawning

this weekend i went to a retreat sponsored by the omega institute at the crossings in austin. the facility, setting, and vacation were all so nourishing and refreshing. the workshop that i attended was facilitated by lama surya das, and was on the theme: Letting Go of Who You Used to Be. i had an incredible weekend.

here's a fun sharing. i don't recall who's the original author of this but someone the lama deemed quote-worthy (which we all are in my eyes...as if that isn't obvious by my postings!),defined these as

4 great moments when the clear light (of reality) nakedly dawns:
1. orgasm
2. falling asleep
3. death
4. sneezing

aren't those fun! these are all moments of uncontrolled releases. of course, their are many others... can you think of some?

comments:
Uncontrolled release...? Shooting down a waterslide at breakneck speeds.

What I'm having fun thinking about is how releases can combine. Sneezing during orgasm. Probably can't happen, but it sure makes me smile to think about it.

I tried introducing my mom to KW through one of the recordings with Surya Das, since she loves Surya Das. Alas, she came away saying she thought KW was totally disrespectful of SD, and now goes off on a small tirade when KW's mentioned. C'est la vie...

I'm glad to here it was a great retreat. I've had Letting Go of Who You Used to Be in my shopping cart at Amazon for ages, but haven't picked it up yet. Surya Das will be up this way in a couple months, so I may just go that route.
Dave | 03.22.04 - 6:08 pm | #

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chokyi nyima, a tibetan teacher i met in nepal, wrote this in his book called 'present fresh wakefulness'...

"you can also let go in a moment of devotion or compassion. in these moments of love, the empty essence dawns nakedly. similarly, the empty essence can be vividly revealed in a moment of acute fear."

boo!
michael | Email | Homepage | 03.22.04 - 8:15 pm | #

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A man and woman were seated next to each other on a plane. Shortly after take off the woman sneezed violently and excused herself to go to the bathroom. The man next to her stood up to let her out.

She returned and 5 minutes later, sneezed and once more excused herself to go to the bathroom.

She returned again, immediately sneezed and excused herself to go to the bathroom. When he rose, the now quite irritated man inquired, "What's the problem?"

The woman responded, "I have a rare condition - every time I sneeze I have an orgasm" The man asked, "What are you taking for it?"

The woman responded, "Pepper."
ashley | Email | Homepage | 03.24.04 - 9:16 am | #

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Dave | 03.24.04 - 2:39 pm | #

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Jean-Paul Satre, the pioneer existentialist philosopher, claimed that one of the most effective ways to connect with anothers non-physical self was through mutual orgasm. Sadly, his journal writings (released after his death) suggest that he died a virgin.

"every time I blink I have a tiny dream" -Ani



posted by ashley

3.19.2004

smoothie making


(artistic love added to the smoothie by michael herman)

michael wrote: "you are not alone! i hear there are many of us in this mode at this very month." in regards to the procrastination issue.

it has become a favorite practice of mine to notice trends and patterns in people at various times. like that many are procrastinating right now, or that many have been quite vocal about speaking and following their truth lately. right now, for me... it feels like someone threw a bunch of bananas, frozen strawberries, ice, yogurt, apple juice, spirulina, and blue berries into a blender. at first they all run into each other, they get tripped up by those twirling blades at the bottom that keep everything moving. each of these ingredients that are so delicious and full of potential in and of themselves get hacked into pieces and swirled together with their new neighbors and companions... until there is no more strawberry, no more blue berry, the apple juice is delicately hidden within the smoothie. i feel like right now the blender is still churning, but everything is all mixed together (maybe there's a bit more ice to break up). my favorite part about this process is that even though 1 creation has been made out of all of those ingredients, there is still evidence of each of their original essences. as a matter of fact, i think that you might have a little strawberry seed caught in between your teeth. no, not there, one tooth over... here, let me help!!!

does this analogy fit any one else's life?
is it a trend or just the party in my own little blender?
any other trends that people are noticing right now?

happy friday to you. . .
posted by ashley

3.18.2004

help

i'm seeking assistance from professional procrastinators who understand how difficult it is to motivate oneself to do activities that one is not motivated to do! from doing one's taxes, to reading a book, to cleaning the bathroom!!

any suggestions (besides... stay away from the computer!).

posted by ashley

political passion

Here's Jake Stewart's letter to the editor in today's Dallas Morning News

Iraq: Enough is enough

Friday marks the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Having completed my four-year tour in the Army in November 2002, I feel compelled to take a moment and write for those soldiers whose voices you might not hear in the news clips.

Over 550 American service men and women have been killed in Iraq and over 3,200 have been seriously injured. We have the finest military in the world, and there is no doubt in my mind that these soldiers will press on and follow their orders. But as a civilian now, I can tell you that true patriotism is not blindly following a political drum to war but rather it is our inherent responsibility to hold politicians accountable for the young lives they send to harm's way.

This was a political war from square one. Though I'm certain this letter will invoke neoconservative responses that question my patriotism or worse, I would humbly ask that we take a moment and step aside from the talk-radio rhetoric to recognize that young soldiers die daily for a political war being deceptively pitched as part of the war on terror.

and here's another email that i received on a similar topic:

"Enough is enough, it's time to stand up for our soldiers and hold this commander in chief accountable.
The link is to the latest piece by William Rivers Pitt. His piece draws the very poignant and very necessary analogies between what has happened in Spain over the last week and what is going on in our country. In two days, the Spanish people staged a loud, strong, but peaceful revolt against a lying, irresponsible government who they, correctly, saw as being soaked in the blood of innocent people. Remember, the United States government is ultimately responsible for this. George Bush and his administration lied their way into a war that can't be won and should never have been fought. Not only is the world no safer because of their actions, it is actually more dangerous. The Spanish people made their revolt in two days. We have just over 8 months. I implore each of you to do anything and everything you can to fuel our own strong, loud and peaceful revolt against the lying, irresponsible dangerous people who have the reins of our country right now. Letters to the editor, e-mails (just like this one) to people, marches, communications with your representatives and senators; the stakes are simply too high, on every front. From the economy, to civil liberties, to equal rights, to the environment, to a continually growing mound of dead bodies, this administration has failed in every way imaginable... Our voices, together, are a deafening roar of freedom, peace and democracy...Please shout loudly and often so that the tragedy in Spain, the debacle in Iraq and the atrocities in our own country can be no more. George Bush needs you to be silent. The rest of the world needs you to scream."




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posted by ashley

3.10.2004


"The Angel of Nekyia" by A. Andrew Gonzalez
Image Linked from Sublimatrix.com

coolmel, a fellow member of integral naked, opened my eyes to this artist. i can feel my heart shining, and...
posted by ashley

3.09.2004

more truth stuff!

i wrote:
"right now there seems to be a huge current about speaking and living in truth. it's amazing to me how alive it is. for me personally, it's a spiritual truth... personal "identity" and divine connection sort of thing (nothing big!!). i see that ALIVE pulse around me in many forms. vocationally, politically, civicly, etc. do you notice this in your neck of the woods?"

to which Christy Lee-Engel replied:
"A phrase that has been keeping me company and guiding many of my choices in the past few months is one I learned from my friends at LIOS: "conversations of love and truth"--

and intersecting with that lately is the frequent realization that the truth is *always* bigger than I know (maybe bigger than I can know!). Recently, I have been in situation after situation where I create an interpretation of a situation, or I hear someone's version of a story, and I believe it, till I hear someone else's completely contradictory version of the same situation...so I have been imagining "what if I didn't believe all of my thoughts?", a practice I gleaned from an astrologer friend I think you might enjoy (Eric Francis, at http://www.planetwaves.net), and have been learning to be more comfortable dwelling in uncertainty!"

posted by ashley

3.08.2004

sun dogs



my friend, brian, called me up yesterday to tell me that there were sun dogs in the sky. do you know about those? it's when there is a little rainbow on both sides of the sun. (actually, you can find a more technical definition at any of these links that brian shared with me.) he also said that he had noticed (with sunglasses on) a halo around the sun for most of the day. immediately i ran outside to see what i could see. and i saw one little rainbow on one side of the sun....

but then,
last night when my eyes found the darkness,
i saw what i was told to be mars glowing with a halo of her own.
it was like the sky around her was reflecting her brilliant light.

and then as the night passed on,

the moon came out to sing her praise.
the atmosphere was filled with crystals of ice
reflecting the moon's light.
and she was so still and solid in the center...
with this amazing radiance illuminating from her breadth.

i stood in my back yard, breath-taken... and breath-filled.
i've never seen the sky light up the way it did.
it tingled throughout my entire body.
there was magic in the air.

is this a regional thing? are other people in other parts of the world experiencing this phenomena right now (it's still that way, though not as dramatic tonight)?

posted by ashley

3.07.2004

posted by ashley

compliment machine

some more on compliments from the book, positive discipline in the classroom:

"Explain to students that it can feel awkward to give and receive compliments when they aren't used to it. Use the analogy of leaning to ride a bike. Ask students how many of them would have never learned to ride if they had stopped because it was awkward at first... Spend some time on how to receive a compliment."

"By focusing on the specifics of what someone does, the person being complimented will get a better idea of what the other person likes... Junior high school students, who seem to find appreciation and acknowledgment more appropriate than compliment, often feel that giving complements is embarrassing"

The authors suggest that the first part of classroom meetings is spent in complementing and appreciating. they mention that in a complimenting circle, students have the opportunity to "give, get, or pass." i love this concept. i can choose to give a compliment to another, i can choose to pass my turn, or i can state that i need to receive a compliment. if i choose to get, i have another choice. i can tell the group what i need to hear and someone can volunteer to tell it to me or members of the group who would like to give me a compliment can raise their hand and i can choose someone.

i am really drawn to this step in teaching children to state what it is that they need. imagine a world where we all stated our needs. ahhh... sounds refreshing doesn't it. verses always having to guess and assume...

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posted by ashley

3.05.2004

cut-and-paste game

I am really enjoying the cut-and-paste game lately. If only I could play with all of the words that easily amaze me these days. . .

here's what I've got for right now. This is from the integral naked discussion, have you ever connected beyond.... This post seems to fit with conversations going on here - being vulnerable, complementing, and now compassionate criticism:

"And isn't that the potential of an adult relationship? the ability to be open and vulnerable?

The Dalai Lama is often quoted as saying "our greatest spiritual friends are not those that are easy to be around... Our greatest spiritual friends are the ones who press our buttons..." (or something to that effect)
With this in mind, I began several years ago soliciting friends to be "spiritual friends"... Now this didn't mean that we would sit around and sing kum-ba-ya or anything like that... rather we based this "spiritual friendship" on something I call "compassionate criticism".
The basis of this "compassionate criticism" is around the idea that the easiest way to see the separate self, is to criticize it!
The beauty of this exercise is that it's not only an exercise of the person getting the criticism... but also of the person giving the criticism.
I can tell you when I receive "compassionate criticism" in a mindful way.. I can definitely see my separate self... It becomes WAY less of subtle thing to deal with. It's that part of you that wants to say "But.. but ... but..."
But also when I give a criticism, I can see a part of me that says "Thats right.. I KNOW.." It's another side of the ego that becomes very noticable in an exchange like this...
The whole idea of a "spiritual friendship" like this is that you have two people consciousness' working on your growth simultaneously. In the absolute realm it works to make you see your separate self.. and lessens your identity with it. In the relative realm it works because people always develop along differing lines at different rates and invariably the critisicm comes from an area where your friend is a little more developed than yourself."

like christy said, "A dance of both connection (one to the other) and communion (no other, just One)!"
posted by ashley

3.04.2004

complementing with others

(stamp by Angi B & Co., found here).

if you haven't read the magic that is written here, i highly recommend it.

and then i'd like to share a prayer of my own that talks to this topic.

i complement with another:

i share space with those whose spirit complements my own and whose spirit i complement.
together we encourage the shining of our souls.
together (and still separately as well) we encourage the shining of others' souls.
our space together is inviting and complementing to the environment around us.

posted by ashley

3.03.2004

all that we let in...

hi all,
in light of the discussion a few weeks ago concerning letting things in (i.e., being vulnerable) or not, i found the lyrics to the title track of the new indigo girls album to be particularly fitting. it's much better heard than read, but the basic point is still communicated...

"the dust in our eyes our own boots kicked up, heartsick we nurse along the way we picked up, you may not see it when it's sticking to your skin, but we're better off for all that we let in. we've lost friends and loved ones much too young, with so much promise and work left undone, when all that guards us is a single center line, and the brutal crossing over when it's time. well i don't know where it all begins, and i don't know where it all will end, but we're better off for all that we let in. one day those toughies will be withered up and bent, the father son, the holy warriors, and the president, with glory days of put up dukes for all the world to see, beaten into submission in the name of the free. we're in an evolution i have heard it said, everyone's so busy now, but we do move ahead. plents hurling, atoms splitting and a sweater for your love you sit there knitting. you see those crosses on the side of the road, or tied with ribbons in the median. they make me grateful i can go this mile, lay me down at night and wake me up again. kat writes a poem and she sticks it on my truck, we don't believe in war and we don't believe in luck, the birds were calling to her, what were they saying as the gate blew open and the tops of the trees were swaying. i pass the cemetery, walk my dog down there, i read the names in stone and i say a silent prayer. when i get home you're cooking supper on the stove, and the greatest gift of life is to know love."
posted by Rebecca

3.02.2004

i apologize for constantly moving things from the comments box to the big screen! i just find them so much prettier (easier) to look at when they're up here! so, michael herman was saying,

"and then there is the bit noted in marshall rosenberg's non-violent communication, about what he refers to as flattery. he points out that so often we say things like "you're great," but don't say why. these "compliments" are really judgments and they can just as easily be flipped around. we don't like these "compliments" because we don't like any judgments being made about us. sometimes this flattery can be used as a means of subtle or not-so-subtle control, playing on whatever habit we have of trying to please others. better, says rosenberg, to say "i liked when you did..." or "i felt... when you did..." and own up to our own experience. then others can know better their effect and choose to do more or less of same."

this is so cool, distinguishing between giving a complement and providing flattery (how do you say that?). it brought to my mind the difference between praise and encouragement. in play therapy we say that in order to give power back to the child, an adult might want to avoid praise, in favor of encouragement. when one praises a child, "you did a good job," the message the child receives is he or she thinks that i did a good job. the adult is the all-knowing one. encouragement, on the other hand, would come in the form of, "wow, you worked really hard on that." which the child then internalizes as, wow, i did work really hard on that...and can choose to do more or less of the same based on his or her own judgment (which would probably be. wow, i did a good job!). the power is back inside the child.

so it appears that praise and flattery share some in common. they fill the space as a subtle or not-so-subtle means of control. and then there are complements and encouragement. they honor another being. i like that!

Comments:

Hi Ashley! These posts, and the thread I peeked at thru your window into Integral Naked, lead me to reflect on my own intentional behavior as an extravagant praiser--and I do think of what I offer as praise, as well as complimenting--with the distinctions being made here helpful and wise.

To me, praise is a form of prayer and gratitude and worship (in fact, the word I often like to use as a password is the Hebrew word for praise--oh, I guess that's supposed to be secret!). If I am moved or pleased by something I hear or see or by a quality I notice in someone I know, or don't know, I like to tell them so. Sometimes, it's true, people squirm a little or try to minimize the quality I am admiring. Just as often, maybe more often, though, people brighten up with (I think) the feeling of being recognized.

(oops--out of space--to be continued...)
Christy Lee-Engel | Email | Homepage | 03.03.04 - 1:15 am | #

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(The rest of my long-winded reflection)

Recognized as an aspect of the divine, in a way.

The other part is: I do enjoy receiving praise and compliments, too, and it wasn't always so--a function of being more comfortable with myself, I think, and that's been a function of getting older. Usually, I can say "thank you", and mean it, even if seems like flattery or superficial social lubrication; and in general I can often say "I'm so glad you like that--I like it too!" And, receiving a compliment graciously is like receiving a present--it is also a gift to the giver for their offering to be accepted with pleasure.

Thank you, Ashley, for offering the opportunity to consider these questions!
love, Christy
Christy Lee-Engel | 03.03.04 - 1:47 am | #

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well, well... you never know who you'll meet in a place like this! thanks for your email, christy... more on that by email....

...and this whole thing reminds me that the key element seems to me to be about "seeing" another person. witnessing them, and doing it when they are at their best, or at least their good... no judging... just noticing.

and then, as we see all and everything as teacher, it seems this worship/praise and noticed goodness shines through in all we say to each person we meet. so no "compliments" needed... just a lot of paying good attention and paying attention to good. huh.
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.03.04 - 12:45 pm | #

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Hi ya, Michael, too!

Oh, yes, that is the key, isn't it?--appreciation without judgment, just really seeing a person without having a subtle or not-so-subtle desire to control, "paying good attention and paying attention to good". You know, that kind of interaction/experience is profoundly simple and powerful medicine.

love,
Christy
Christy Lee-Engel | Email | Homepage | 03.04.04 - 2:13 am | #

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hey michael!

ashley, i'm intrigued to notice that you switched back and forth a few times between spellings. Webster says, "compliment - an expression of approval or admiration, esp: a flattering remark"...and "complement - something that fills up or completes."

so for me, here's what it's like to receive a complement: i have extended myself in relationship with a person. reached out, not knowing whether or how i have touched. there is a not-necessarily-uncomfortable feeling of incompletion.

then he/she tells me his/her experience of receiving...
(next message)
chris weaver | Email | 03.04.04 - 2:48 am | #

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...and i experience the completion of a circuit of relationship. yes, michael, it's noticing, but what i find most meaningful is when my friend notices his/her own experience of receiving and shares that story, rather than articulating something "about" me.

i am thinking that giving "complements" like this is a wonderful art, and i am thinking that it invites love and creative intimacy. a complement honors the subtle nature of connection between people, how one person's word or gesture or smile evokes another person to open, or to journey, or to face a fear, or to burst into bloom.

& christy if i knew your password i bet it would describe this dance!
chris weaver | Email | 03.04.04 - 2:58 am | #

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yes, absolutely about sharing one's own experience of the other, chris. we actually touched on that a couple of posts back.

what a fun little gathering this turns out to be. feels like open space TO ME, ashley! (grin)
michael herman | Email | Homepage | 03.04.04 - 1:47 pm | #

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seeing another person--
recognizing an aspect of the divine.
a circuit of relationship,
honoring the subtle nature of connection between people.

powerful medicine
ashley | Email | Homepage | 03.04.04 - 3:57 pm | #

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and today i read in Positive Discipline about Celebrating: "When you are quick to celebrate any movement in the direction of a student's potential or maturity, you encourage. When you demand too much too soon, you discourage."
ashley | Email | Homepage | 03.04.04 - 3:57 pm | #

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Chris, I find your phrase "how one person's word or gesture or smile evokes another person to..." to be itself an evocation, a drawing out/leaning in, celebration of movement; and the image that arises in me to complement that phrase is the Yin/Yang symbol, black and white fish swimming curled up head to tail--the most important part of that complementary pair being the tiny dot of the other that each one carries in its center.

A dance of both connection (one to the other) and communion (no other, just One)!
Christy Lee-Engel | Email | Homepage | 03.05.04 - 1:53 am | #

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YOUR words christy just brought that symbol utterly to life for me.

ashley shared with me recently a description of masculine and feminine aspect/paths to enlightenment (ken wilbur's) - feminine being total absorbtion in love and masculine involving reflection...and i am liking the feel of the interplay between them as your two fish hula hooping around together...
chris weaver | Email | 03.05.04 - 8:34 pm | #

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Ah! the revelation of aliveness is transmitted through your words, Chris--that little marks on a screen can carry life force is magic, isn't it?

Yes, I can see how the feminine principle/path is the one of total absorption of light (thus is the black fish; all that's dark, moist, cool, deep, receptive--that's Yin) and the masculine is the reflective, white/bright, transcendent, active--that's Yang. Inseparable.
Christy Lee-Engel | Email | Homepage | 03.06.04 - 3:05 am | #

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posted by ashley

more on compliments

this was posted at the integral naked discussion on compliments:

"I just wanted to share this thought with you all. As a foreigner, I was just shocked to see how compliment-saturated the American social-culture is when I first moved to the U.S. Most of it seems empty to me, at times. I felt sofocated by the excess of adjectives and labels every time someone opened their mouth. If there is nervous silence, it seems inevitable that a compliment, adjective or label (that is completely unnecessary) will be thown out in the air just for the sake of it...
I personally dig being complemented, when is timely, meaningful and sincere. I don't like to give compliments unless I really mean it (well, after 3 years in the U.S., I;m starting to get into that habit, as well).

I don't mean to be agressive, but that is one thing I hardly ever get the chance to express... since it's a cultural difference I don't think people are ready to hear this. This conversations at IN are about running around naked so that's why I decided to speak up. I apologize if anyone feels attacked by it, but really guys think about it... make good use of your ability to compliment people!"

to which i replied:

ABSOLUTELY... i think that is one of the big reasons that people cringe when they get a compliment... because so often they are just empty words that people throw into a space. that's interesting to hear that it's a cultural thing. i'd never thought about it from that perspective. what you bring up is exactly why i clarified that by compliments, i mean the genuine ones from the heart.

any other observations on it being a cultural thing?

i invite us all to be conscious of how we give and receive compliments. avoiding throwing complementary words into the air for the sake of filling space, and feeling as the timely, meaningful, and sincere words land within our being.

have fun!

Labels:

posted by ashley

3.01.2004

The Ten Rules for Being Human by Chérie Carter-Scott

1. You Will Receive A Body
You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

2. You Will Be Presented With Lessons
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life.” Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

3. There Are No Mistakes, Only Lessons
Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

4. Lessons Are Repeated Until Learned
Lessons will repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning Does Not End.
There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

(the rest can be found at global village news)
posted by ashley

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