What are you reacting to? Such a wonderful and powerful question.
We live in a reactive world. Opinions, biases, judgments, loyalties, choosing sides, seems to be what everyone around us is doing. We don’t have to ask for someone’s thoughts on a matter before they tell it to us anyway. Social media is a primary culprit but I’ve heard stories of this happening in restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores. People can’t shut up or stop typing. It is a wonder anyone can find interior peace when the exterior world bombards our ears with a cacophony of noise and words.
“The space in between” is a difficult discipline which needs broader acceptance. Basically, it teaches that between the incident and the comment is the moment to choose our response. Between the action and the reaction, we have the ability to make the situation better, the same, or worse. In the immediate time following an experience we have the ability to make it more or less unstable.
Reacting, choosing, deciding, what our reaction to a stimulus will determine our destiny. Will we be thoughtlessly reactive, speak without considering, act without thinking about the outcome? Or, will we remember the “space in between” and so grace, kindness, and love?
Posted in Wisdom
Tags: #ability, #acceptance, #act, #action, #better, #between, #biases, #bombards, #broader, #cacophony, #Choose, #choosing, #choosingsides, #comment, #considering, #culprit, #deciding, #decision, #destiny, #determine, #difficult, #discipline, #experience, #exterior, #gasstations, #grace, #grocerystores, #immediate, #incident, #interior, #judgments, #kindness, #loyalties, #matter, #opinions, #outcome, #primary, #Reacting, #reaction, #reactive, #remember, #response, #restaurants, #ShutUp, #situation, #socialmedia, #space, #spaceinbetween, #speak, #stimulus, #stoptyping, #teaches, #thinking, #thoughtlessly, #time, #unstable, #wonder, #words, love, Noise, Peace, Stories, Thoughts, World
No Contact –
A cold front moved through our area last night and this morning bringing with it fall like temperatures and rain. On my way to work today I turned my wipers on to clear the water from my windshield and immediately heard an odd flapping noise. I looked at the wipers as they were swiping left to right and noticed on the passenger’s side the rubber on the far side of right wiper had come off the wiper blade. It wasn’t doing anything but flapping in the wind. As a result, where there should have been a clean windshield instead there was rainwater and condensation.
My day has been spent teaching others how to stay in connection with each other, themselves, emotions, thoughts and deepest selves. It’s troubling that in a world where connection should be easy is getting more difficult. The various social media platforms have become places of strident opinions and harsh judgments. Workplace environments, sporting and other social events, community organizations and even our homes are places where we choose sides and the divisions are growing deeper and harder to cross. Where once there was contact and closeness now there are only people flapping their gums, pounding on their keyboards, yelling at the top of their lungs, and our closeness to each other is being lost.
Posted in Mindfulness
Tags: #Choose, #closeness, #connection, #contact, #deeper, #deepest, #difficult, #divisions, #emotions, #environments, #flapping, #growing, #harder, #harsh, #homes, #judgments, #lost, #opinions, #organizations, #platforms, #selves, #sides, #social, #socialmedia, #spent, #sporting, #strident, #teaching, #themselves, #troubling, #various, #Workplace, Community, Events, Thoughts, World
Someone told me today about a friend they have who is unhappy. This is the opposite of her usual demeanor. By most accounts, she’s always been a go lucky, chipper, satisfied, joyful person. However, in the last several months who mood has changed and the sparkle in her eye has dulled considerably. The person sharing this with me said her friend’s unhappiness with life has increased along with her social media consumption. She’s said; “When I read my friends’ posts on Facebook, look at their pictures on Instagram, see their interactions with countless other folks on Twitter, my life seems rather dull, empty, lacking.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone relay this type of story to me. Social media can be a wonderful tool and a good way to share select moments of our lives with our friends and family but we must remember the words; SELECT MOMENTS. Those inspirational posts on Facebook often come from a book or web page of quotes. The beautiful pictures on Instagram don’t show the before and after of getting ready to take the photo and recovering from it. Twitter can be an okay place to exchange ideas but more often its people shouting their opinions at each other.
Comparisons can be dangerous, especially on social media. Most of what we see on these platforms are illusions. They rarely give us a real glimpse of who a person is and what their life is truly like. We have to be careful comparing our life, which we know intimately, with another’s snapshots of theirs. Our life may seem bland, our thoughts benign, our family and friendships boring, but that’s okay. Most of the time, if we were to see what a Facebook friend’s life is like, or the reality behind a Twitter account, or the other moments when everyone isn’t smiling on Instagram we might decide our life is good and worthy of our thanks.
Posted in Life
Tags: # moments, #after, #before, #benign, #bland, #boring, #careful, #comparing, #Comparisons, #dangerous, #decide, #dull, #empty, #exchange, #Facebook, #friends, #glimpse, #ideas, #illusions, #inspirational, #interactions, #intimately, #lacking, #life, #opinions, #pictures, #platforms, #rarely, #recovering, #select, #share, #shouting, #snapshots, #socialmedia, #thanks, #tool, #Twitter, #wonderful, #worthy, Family, Instagram, quotes
Cell phone reception at our house if iffy. Depending on where you stand, what hand you’re holding the phone, clear or clouded skies, moving or standing still, makes a huge difference in being able to talk with someone or missing a call entirely.
Yesterday, Valentine’s day, Beth called me on her way home from work. I had my phone with me but was in a bad part of the house for phone calls. I was able to answer it but she was unable to hear me. I said; “Hello?” and the would reply; “Hello?” and no matter what I did I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me. Finally, I got in a spot where she could hear every other word but the connection was so poor that I yelled; “See you when you get home!” and hoped she heard the words but not the rising frustration in my voice. After a few moments, concerned my agitation offended her I went outside and called her back. She answered; “Hello?” I replied; “Hey. Where are you?” “Pulling into the driveway.” I turned around to see her and was so thankful to hang up the phone and talk to her face to face. I kissed her on the head and apologized for becoming upset and she accepted. We walked into the house hand in hand.
It was a great reminder that true relationship, conversation, intimacy isn’t possible without personal contact. There’s a lot to say for computers, smartphones, social media and the many ways we can interact with others but nothing can replace face to face, eye to eye, skin to skin connection with another and I’m certain nothing ever will.
Someone asked me today; “Why aren’t you more politically active in your social media posts? It’s hard to know exactly where you stand.” I explained, best I could, that arguing with people over the internet, or in person, using talking points heard on the radio, tv, podcast, seen on TV and online doesn’t seem a good use of time and time is what life’s made of.
Another friend asked his Facebook posse what Donald Trump would have to do to make him seem more favorable to those who didn’t vote for him. People quickly chimed in with compliments and insults, agendas and wish lists. I didn’t post but I’ve thought about it today and the answer for me was what I’d also like to see in myself, my friends, my acquaintances and certainly my president; humility, repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, kindness.
The last part of my answer would be; I’d like people to use their minds and their spirits. I’d like each of us to think for ourselves not regurgitate what we’ve heard or seen but use our brains and voices, filtered by wisdom and experience to speak and do good to each other.
True or False? –
Netflix has an intriguing documentary on the crime, trial, and person of Amanda Knox; the young woman accused of murdering her roommate while living in Italy almost ten years ago. No spoilers but it is worth the watch whether you think her guilty or innocent. The trial was a media sensation. There were four of them and reporters for news agencies from around the world packed the small Italian villa to give those who cared every detail of the sordid story.
Toward the end of the documentary, one of the reporters was asked about the media’s sensationalizing of the murder, Amanda, her boyfriend and the trials, and if they played any part in the way it all eventually ended. One of the featured reporters said; “What are we (reporters and journalists) supposed to do? Are we going to double-check our sources and make sure the information given is true? If we do that our competitors will beat us to the scoop!” As I heard him say this I said out loud to the man on the TV; “Yes! That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do! You’re a journalist!”
It was a sober reminder that often people are more interested in gossip than facts, assumptions than authenticity, falsehoods which are more tantalizing than boring truth. As Mark Twain said;
“A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.”
I see this on a smaller scale with social media, local communities and, sadly, even churches. We are so careless with our tongues and keep our ears shut tight. We are ready to believe the worse and to pass it on to anyone who will listen before we ask ourselves three important questions; “Is it true?” “How do I know (what are my sources)?” “Is it any of my business?”
“Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” Book of Job
This was an interesting question from my morning reading. It’s visually vibrant to think of the ear tasting words to test whether or not they’re good.
Yesterday my wife tasted some potato salad she made last week to know if it was still good. No crinkled face meant it was good to eat. A couple of weeks ago I left a drink in the truck and a hot day later grabbed it instead of one I just bought, took a big swig, and almost spit it out all over the truck cab. It was not good.
I think it would be a good thing if we when we spoke words which hurt, insulted, were untrue, our faces would match what we said, the intent in which they were given. It would’ve been especially interesting to watch the Presidential debate last night if this were a reality.
Our words are powerful. They are stronger than fists, guns and can wound more severely. In a culture where words fly out of people’s mouths, from social media, radio, TV, and internet sites, its good to imagine mean, hostile, judgmental, evil words contorting a person’s face to match their speech. It also begs the questions; “What type of words do we speak? What would our face look like?”
What does it mean to listen?
I had a conversation with a gentleman today about what it means to truly hear another person, to listen intently, empathetically, contemplatively. It’s not an easy discipline to master. To hear another, to touch their true selves takes practice and no small amount of humility.
Most of the time when we are conversing with another person we are simultaneously thinking about what we are going to say in response and filtering what the other is saying through our own life filter. In other words, we hear according to who we are not the person speaking to us. If we desire to listen, hear the other person speak, feel their words, the emotions behind them we must be a blank paper that they can write upon.
We live in a world where listening is quickly becoming a lost art, a forgotten discipline. To listen to someone is to make a bond, join together, connect on a deeper level than all the drivel which inundates our lives through TV, radio, internet, social media each day.
Contemplative listening is letting a person speak their words, to have them imprinted upon us, without a ready response or hasty judgement. It is to touch the soul of the other and know that neither will be the same afterwards.
Posted in Contemplative
Tags: #blankpaper, #bond, #connect, #deeperlevel, #desire, #drivel, #emotions, #feel, #forgottendiscipline, #hastyjudgement, #hear, #imprinted, #internet, #inundates, #jointogether, #listening, #lostart, #radio, #readyresponse, #socialmedia, #speak, #touchthesoul, Contemplative, Listen, TV, World