This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers

A Man I Don't Know Did Me a Favor

In my community, we have a store, commonly called a "big box store" or a warehouse store.  It is huge and it is full of huge boxes of items of all kinds for purchase.  The idea is to stock up and save money on the price of each individual item in the package.  It is a big, anonymous, crowded place.  The environment is not that pleasant, there are no store employees to help you until checkout and most people shopping there are in a down-to-business mode and sometimes border on rude.  The customers endure all this (oh, and, a crowded parking lot too) because it's a good deal.
The store negotiates agreements with companies selling products at deeply discounted prices but, the company wants to unload these products for some reason of their own.  Therefore, the products available are not consistent.  There's a few things that are there for a long time and then, just when you begin to count on it, that product disappears from the shelves.
One item I had been buying there for a long time was frozen, organic blueberries.  I have been very happy to find such an expensive item (which is also very healthy, not to mention tasty) reliably available.  But, as with all things at Costco, recently, the inventory has been thinning out.  One day I was there, searching and searching through the bags of frozen fruit for my prized blueberries and none were to be found.  A man and his little girl came up and he spotted one (they were there for the same item).  He pulled it out and handed it to me.  His little girl grabbed it from me-it was a child so I gave way, of course.  He gently reprimanded her for doing that and gave it back to me.  I tried to say no you found it (it was the one and only, last bag left), but he shook his head and let me keep it.
How generous.  This man doesn't know me.  We'll never see each other again.  But, I have not forgotten this small, but significant gesture.  Sadly, in a crowded, competitive world, these 'random acts of kindness' are becoming rare.  Happily, it does still happen.
What would you have done in this situation?  Sometimes it seems like there are nice people in the world and not nice people, doesn't it.  We each know who we are because we know what we truly think about in our secret, most innermost thoughts.  We know how we think about others (kindly or meanly?).  So, even if we cover it with politeness, we know ourselves what is inside.  
If you begin to notice what goes on internally, what your own values are and what choices you actually make, you may find a very loving, generous nature at your heart of hearts.  But if you see that there is vindictiveness, a value on getting even, a penchant for criticizing others, acquisitiveness, or any other not so positive ideas, you may want to turn some compassion on yourself.
Often those who are spiteful and self-aggrandizing or just mean-spirited have been hurt earlier in life.  This is where therapy can be of enormous help.
It's not always the case, of course.  Recently the Greater Good Science Center published an article resulting from their research on empathy:
What they found is that as people become more elevated in status and wealth, they become less compassionate.  Those with less tend to be more tuned in to others, more willing to empathize, and more likely to offer help.  The hypothesized reason for this is that the high status people are separated from the fray.  They are not as exposed to the struggles of the majority and also do not fear those difficulties themselves.  In a sense, they live an insulated life.  However, it isn't good for them  as what has been found in previous studies is that compassion leads to personal happiness and the happiest countries are those that have the most equality.  If you identify with this description (elevated status and less concern for the plight of others), you might look around at your peers who practice philanthropy.  They might be considered an exception to this general finding.  Why is that?  What's different?  What motivates them?  You may find something of interest to you there.
So, there are two ways that I have proposed wherein a person can find themselves not very adept at empathizing and thus, living a rather insulated life.
Sharing your joys and trials with others and feeling for others when they share theirs, or, even just when you see it or hear about it, is a human gift and contributes to your well being.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


In this country, today is a holiday called Thanksgiving

This is a useful time to re-visit the concept of gratitude, written about in previous posts.
 Here is someone else's offering on the topic:

How has gratitude touched your life?
There are 10 other posts that discuss or mention the topic of gratitude.  Just type the word into the search bar for a list.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Trying to keep your slate clean

"The bitterest tears shed over graves
are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone."
---Harriet Beecher Stowe

Forgiveness is one of those states that seem so much easier to reach once a person has gone.  Why not try to imagine that and reach the state of forgiveness while they are still here and you can tell them.

How has forgiveness touched your life?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Some people call it "dumping"

 Two of the worst things one can do to another in a conversation is interrupt and not listen.  This last one can happen anywhere but, in fact, happens a lot on the phone.  Sometimes, one of the people is doing something else while having the conversation.  Don't fool yourself, the other can sense that distraction even though they can't see you.  People sometimes think that they can sort of half listen, or listen superficially, or multi-task or just listen to key words and get the gist of what the other is saying.  It doesn't work.  It can't be done.  The result is, either the communication is completed with misunderstanding or pretend understanding or, it takes more time due to one having to correct the other, i.e., "No, I said, Ms Smith not Ms Jones." 
Time (not enough of it) is often the reason for this attempt to have a conversation, an exchange of information or a visit without really paying full attention.  It's a kind of energy conservation or, attempt at that.  It's an effort to be efficient.  Often it turns out to be less efficient than if both had actually paid attention in the first place since things have to be repeated.

Interrupting is another matter, and, very annoying.  If you really want to make a point and you get cut off, you will have to wait, hold your focus, respond to the deviation and then, bring the thread of the conversation back to where you were going so that you can make your point.  
Why do people interrupt?  The not wanting to really listen, as discussed above, is one reason.  Being impatient is another.  Often it has to do with being, not in an exchange, but doing a diatribe.  In other words, the person who interrupts is only listening to the other enough to be reminded of something or to use the other's offering as a jumping off point for another idea of their own that they want to express.  They are not truly engaged in an exchange. What they want to do is discharge, rant, or lecture.  That is a one-sided type of communication.

A real conversation is mostly made up of listening and responding, on both parts.

In some cases the reason for not listening is deeper than just feeling rushed.  It may be defensive; possibly the person is trying to to avoid hearing difficult information, maybe they don't want to be influenced, or there may be another personal reason.  As the reader who wants to learn about yourself, this is where it gets interesting.  Do you ever notice yourself pretending to listen or politely faking it or doing the interrupting thing?  You can self-reflect on this:  Ask yourself why.
As for those who fake listen to you, you already know that it is tiringA good conversation should leave you feeling fine, not weary, not annoyed, not vaguely discontent.

~Rather than enervate you, a good conversation should invigorate you.  You should leave feeling intact (boundaries not violated).  Neutral is okay but if you leave feeling enhanced, that's a conversation wherein both people were real (open, honest, congruent); that is the stuff of emotional intimacy.  You should not leave feeling depleted and if you suspect you are leaving others a little worse for the wear, it might be enlightening to put some attention on why.~ 

(What kind of conversation do you think the people in the picture are having?)

Have you had experiences like those described in this post?

A suggested post if you wish to think further on this topic: 
and there are also 10 more, enlightening posts on this subject of communication. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome Amanda

Greetings to our newest member

I chose this picture to acknowledge our new member because I learned recently that when mushrooms spontaneously appear, it means it's a very fertile, healthy environment.  Amanda joining and each new person who joins, tells me that this blog is offering something good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One Man's Lesson Learned

While listening to the Bill Moyers show on the radio, I heard this statement from a former medic who served in Vietnam:  "We need to grow out of this infantile notion that out of violence comes strength."

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Value of Blogs

We vote for the good ones by joining as followers and by donating to their support

Personally I find inspiration and information by reading blogs.  Recently, though, I was seeking some information on the website of a well-known doctor of integrated medicine.  As I was trying to stay focused I began to notice that I was feeling scattered.  I recognized that it was due to so many ads appearing by the text, by ads flashing, interfering with my process, and vying for my attention.  
It is tiring to have to actively filter out all that extraneous information.  
I don't use advertising on my blog.  This is why I installed the Donate Button.  If you have found some value for yourself here, maybe you will voluntarily offer a donation.  It's so different from being assaulted by ads trying to force you to succumb to their pitch.