Being the Pole

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 
― Donald MillerA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life 

Relationships are fluid and changing all the time. Communication is often a challenge and keeping up with the shifting can be disconcerting. In this video I teach you to “Be the Pole.”  It is a great way to stay stable when you have a partner that is either reactive or changing their minds continually.  Enjoy!

 


Getting it through your Thick Skull!

 

I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs – when I was 17 – that I realized I was talking through an empty skull… I wasn’t thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.                             Allen Ginsberg

“I can’t get it through your thick skull,” a character on a TV show says. What does it mean? Being a writer, I often listen for sayings and I wonder where they came from.

Have you ever talked with someone and you shared with her as clearly as you can, and when she responded, what she said had nothing to do with what you said?

Communication can be difficult when your head is full of your own thoughts. You are stuck in your own perspective and you can’t seem to find room for how anyone else sees the world.

What happens for all of us is we tend to defend ourselves by taking a stand on something. We see it our way, and close down our minds to other possibilities. In part, this can be a survival tool; to not become so sensitive to all that is happening around, and to just focus on our task.

In relationship though, this can be frustrating and derisive. Have you ever heard two people sharing with each other and you could see both sides, but they could not see the others point at all?

I remember an old 1970’s TV episode of All in the Family, with Archie and Edith Bunker. In this episode, they were discussing politics. Archie was irate when he found out Edith had voted for the opposing candidate from Archie’s. All he could see was his vote didn’t count. She had cancelled it out. They went round and round and he could not understand her vote had nothing to do with his. He would never understand this of course.

Archie

We all have this tendency to “have a thick skull” at times. Being a reader, I love seeing the world from other people’s perspective, especially other cultures. How I am in close relationship, well, that may be a different story.

The goal of course is to try to see situations from the other person’s perspective. This can be done in the privacy of your own mind. You don’t have to give up your position. Once you do practice seeing the other point of view though, it becomes easier. You don’t have to agree with the opposing view, but being open to hearing it and understanding why one would see it that way helps strengthen relationship.

Since I mentioned liking to read books that take on a different perspective, I’ll share three of my favorites.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

poisonwood

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Stones Hegi

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone

Enjoy!


Listen before it’s too Late!

 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

 

It is an enlightening view, sitting in my chair in my office as a mental health counselor. I am honored to sit with clients as they share about their lives and their relationships and I see themes unfold.

We have ended the year and are into the New Year.  As I look ahead at new beginnings, it reminds me of one of the most common themes. When working with couples, I notice that, for most, by the time they enter my office, it’s too late.

couples

Too often one of them attempted continually to communicate with the other, without being heard. Sadly, I watch their last attempt to keep the marriage together. The partner, let’s say the man, who has not really heard, but has listened as if she was nagging or on a rampage over something, finally understands. It is too late now for him to realize that what she was saying was important. So important, that the marriage is now over. I see him groveling and trying to make sense of it all. In the safety of another person (me) she says, “I’m sorry, but it is just too late.”

Many of us have ended relationships before the New Year. I remember myself, many years ago, sitting outside Nordstroms, having coffee with my lover on December 29th. I said, “I am sorry, but it’s over.” This was difficult to say and it was painful. I had felt though, that what I said over and over, didn’t matter and I was “pushing the river,” in order to create a change for us. It didn’t work. Once I was honest and ended the relationship; although painful, it was also exhilarating.

When I am with clients and they are suffering over a relationship, I often ask, “when did you first know this was not the right situation for you?” More than I would like to hear, they say, “in the beginning.” If not, they knew years before they decided to make a change.

Whether it be a love relationship, a work relationship or a family situation, “when you begin to lose your voice, your self-esteem, your sense of personal power; it is time to make some kind of a shift.”


Manifesting and Resistance

“You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.”
― C. JoyBell C. 

Soon after I chose my word for 2014 – Relationships – came the resistance. I am beginning to think that resistance may be the shadow side to most of what I want to manifest.

When I teach manifesting, I have my students or clients think about and write down specifically what they want to manifest. As soon as they do this, I encourage them to then write down all the thoughts of why they can’t have this. Now, this may appear counter-productive, but the reality is, these thoughts are going to either surface consciously or subconsciously and it is better to challenge them outright.

So I’ll use my word – relationships. I have made a decision to focus on relationships this year. The thoughts that surface are these:

  1. I’ll have to slow down and make time for other people.
  2. I will get hurt.
  3. People will want more of me than I can give.
  4. I’ll have to be present to everyone who comes into my life and I’ll get exhausted.

Now, that I have identified the immediate concerns I have, I can challenge them.

  1. I’ll have to slow down and make time for other people.  – In this case, yes, I will do this. I have wanted to do this for a while and I can schedule my life with more play and less work and if I don’t resist this (stress and exhaustion) then I will really enjoy playing and being more present to friends and family.
  2. I will get hurt. – Just because I am spending more time in my relationships and possibly allowing an intimate relationship, I don’t have to get hurt. I can move slowly, set necessary boundaries until I am confident and feel safe. I have a lot of skills and can use them in relationship. (You will notice that my resistance here appears to come from a need to feel safe.)
  3. People will want more of me than I can give. – In this situation, the fear is not related to my friends and family, but more to other people. It will be necessary for me to be discerning of where I put my time and energy. It is not like a dam breaking. I can spend time with my friends and family without opening the floodgates to everyone. (overwhelm)
  4. I will have to be present to everyone who comes into my life and I will become exhausted. – In this case, becoming present is actually a way of being less exhausted. There will be people around me that I don’t have to be continually present with. I can be present with myself and focus my attention where I would like. I am in control. (exhaustion)

I hope this example demonstrates the fears that come right behind your decision to manifest.  Now, you can be conscious of the fears and challenge them. The theme of this 30-day blog, is not just relationship to others, but relationship to yourself. You are in control of your life, your choices and your future!


Commitment

“I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?” 
― Nicholas SparksThe Last Song

As stated in the last blog, my word for 2014 is Relationships. This year, my commitment is to bring myself closer into relationship with those I love and care for. It also means becoming aware of the relationships that have been dysfunctional and stressful and if possible to ease out of these relationships, making more time to deepen my relationship with myself and with others.

Truly, I understand with relationships there are so many components. There is setting boundariescompromisecompassionclear communicationperspective and the list is nearly endless. In this 30 day Blog Challenge, I will share with you about my process (probably similar to yours,) in the area of relationships.

 Hope you have chosen a word for this year as well. It can be one to focus upon to joyfully bring into your life or to focus upon and create a growth spurt. Music was an expansive word for me in 2013. I welcome Relationships in 2014, to challenge me to grow.


The Ugly Duckling

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

November 1843, Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Ugly Duckling was published in Copenhagen, Denmark. This amazing fairy tale has been read and re-read by adults and children alike, all over the world.

duckThe story, as you probably know, is about a baby bird raised by a mother duck in a flock of other ducklings. The bird was teased and bullied unmercifully throughout his life, because he looked different and behaved differently. As an adult, the bird sought out and joined a flock of swans finding them to be beautiful birds. Although he expected the same abuse, the swans were open to his joining with them and they accept him. One day this ugly duck saw his reflection in the water and realized he was not an ugly duck at all, but really was a beautiful swan. He found his flock and fit right in. He was transformed.

Common to all of us is the desire to be heard, seen and understood. Many of us can relate to this archetypal story of not fitting in and finding ourselves teased, attacked or excluded. We continued to look for and hoped to find “our people”, our flock or our tribe. In the journey of doing so, we often changed our opinions or beliefs. Sometimes we gave up our voice and became silent, all in an attempt to fit in.

So often I hear someone telling another person what “the truth” is and insist on what they “should” be doing or thinking. Communication becomes about what is right or wrong. Opinions become polarized and those who do not agree with either the loudest voice or the group voice can be intimidated, shamed or alienated.

Over the years, the precious beliefs developed as young people get lost in the mass of voices and one’s self-esteem takes a hit. So often when working with clients, the undercurrent of their situation is a feeling of being unworthy or undeserving. How others have treated them guides their beliefs about themselves.

What would happen if, instead of stating your opinion and telling someone what you think, you asked the person to explain more about what they were saying? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how your relationships change if you went into conversations with the sole purpose of understanding their point of view. How would your posture change if you were there just to receive, to just hear the story?

My focus is on Relationship for the New Year. I challenge you in the month of January, and hopefully throughout the year, to practice “just listening.”

Now, there will be times to share your opinion and have debates of course, and to enjoy the fun and creativity of a dispute, but let’s change it up a bit. Think about a few people in your life that are important to you. Make a conscious choice to have a couple conversations with them where you just “hold the space” for their musings, for their sharing, for how they see the world. Experience them deeply. Look into their eyes and be present to them. Give them the gift of being heard, seen, and understood. Bring them into your fold and see them as the swan they truly are. Allow your loved ones to be transformed by the incredible generosity of your listening.

Candess M. Campbell, PhD is the #1 Best-selling author of 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. She is an international Psychic Medium, Intuitive Consultant, Speaker, and has practiced as a mental health and chemical dependency counselor for over 30 years.


The Saboteur’s Moon (Understanding Karma)

I am delighted to share with you this great information about the Saboteur’s Moon by Jon Waldrup, an Incarnational Astrologer. This is especially significant to me because I work with Karma and Clearing Karma. He explains it so well! 

The first Full Moon of 2012 is tonight, January 8th at 11:30 PM Pacific Time.  This is the Saboteur’s Moon.  It wants to help us see how we compromise our heart-knowing in order to be comfortable, functional, accepted, etc.  It wants to show us how allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable and exposed by our truth helps to set us free.  For whenever we do ignore our heart’s truth in favor of fitting in, we close the karmic loop and make sure we go for another lap.

And with the Sun in Capricorn, what we would prefer to say is that our heart’s truth is always loving and light, so why would we ever disguise it?  And how could there be shadow in our hearts?

There are so many angles to come from on that.  If Romeo and Juliet is the world’s greatest love story then fatal co-dependence is love?  I would say probably not, but it is a story of two people who lived from their hearts.  They were certainly not afraid of being vulnerable, were they?

One of the shadow aspects of 20th century spirituality had to do with how many ways we were taught to suppress our karma, rather than live in it.  Karma itself was given a bad name – who wants to deal with karma?  The truth is that karma is actually the bridge between fate and destiny. It wants to help us to live Alive in Heaven on Earth.

If you are driving your car through an intersection and someone runs a red light and creams you, this is an example of Fate.  The karmic piece of it has to do with how you deal with the emotions involved in the aftermath.  Fate gives you the opportunity to work with your karma in order for you to grow towards your destiny.

Your karma is the particular tone of the shadow you are working with in this lifetime – rage, depression, dependence, etc.  The karmic piece is the emotional piece.  Our destiny is to understand the oneness, the perfection, of all of life – including fate and karma.  Then we are on the spiral instead of the wheel.

So, it was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together, so that they could explore the shadows of co-dependent love.  And they did!  And that is what makes their story so compelling.  There is so much about their story that we could call unhealthy – we can look down on such organic, emotional, exposed ways of being.

But is that life?  Why did your soul choose to come in to this plane, to have a heart that can be broken, that can lead you astray, that can expose you to shame and torment?  Fate gives you the chance to live in your heart.  Karma seeks to teach you that Life itself is Heavenly.

What I think is that because he went “all the way” with what his heart was asking him to do in response to the fateful relationship with Juliet, in his next life, perhaps Romeo was able to live quivering inside with gratitude for having had the chance to love so deeply – he was able to taste the anguish of loss and find it delicious.  He was able to move beyond regret.

Will you accept The Invitation?  Or will you live on the wheel of emotional avoidance?

Here is a smaller example.  What if you know one thing and say another?  Maybe something that you’ve expressed as truth for a long time turns out to be false.  Maybe you’ve put a lot of heart into a certain moralistic stance and new experience points out the failings of your dogmatism. There is real vulnerability in admitting that you were wrong.  And yet if you can, if you do, life springs forth from that and you find yourself further up the spiral.

The wisest person I have ever spoken with said to me, “I am most grateful for those times in my life when I was most out of control.”  In other words, when the shadows in his heart came out, when he was most vulnerable to that sanitized, patriarchal way of looking at things that wants us to remain “in control” (i.e. Sun in Capricorn).  Sometimes we have to say we’re sorry.  So that we may grow.

The Saboteur is in us to point out ways in which we hide our truth.  The patriarchal response to that is to suppress those aspects of ourselves which are outside the comfort zone.  In that way of looking at things, those who live “with their heart on their sleeve” are to be looked down upon.

The truth is in your heart, and keeping it hidden keeps you on the wheel.  When you express your truth, you go up the spiral.

This Full Moon, the first of 2012, is helping us to see how we have kept our truth hidden so that we may live within a dying civilization.  How many laps on the wheel does it take to show us that the comfortable ways are getting us nowhere?

Tonight at 11:30 PM Pacific Time, the Moon, who teaches us our karma, is in the 19th Degree of Cancer.  The Chandra symbol for this degree is, “An opossum comes out into the moonlight.”  Let your vulnerable heart be seen.  Allow yourself to experience your emotions, and to find life itself through them.  Oh, it can hurt!  Are you afraid?

Believe in Heaven, and that is what you will see.

Jon Waldrup
Incarnational Astrologer
(208) 290-8578
jon@senseofvisionastrology.com
www.senseofvisionastrology.com
Enjoy the moon tonight!

Bless your heart,

Candess


Interview with Mary Getten

With the holidays coming we are not the only ones who are stressed. Learn from Mary Getten, an animal communicator.

Mary, I am so happy to do this interview with you. I remember many years ago talking to you about my miniature poodle, Friday. As an animal communicator, you gave me so much information about him. I was so excited I signed up and took your class!

Mary, what is an Animal Communicator?

Mary: An animal communicator is someone who is able to telepathically communicate with your animal. In this mode, we connect energetically mind-to-mind or heart-to-heart with the animal and act as a link between you and your pet, so in essence, we have a three-way conversation. Some communicators do this in person, but most of us work at a distance on the telephone. Animal communicators might get mental pictures, hear words, get emotional or physical feelings, an intuitive sense of knowing, or all of these during a consultation. This is an innate ability that we are all born with but have been socialized out of using. With a little training and a lot of practice, anyone can regain this skill to communicate with all life.

What issues might arise that contacting you or another animal communicator would be helpful?

Mary: I work with people who are having behavior issues like barking, fighting, soiling in the house, fear, anxiety – anything that you would like to change. I have many calls about health issues, if the animal has pain, why it’s not eating, and sometimes for insight when the vet can’t figure out what’s wrong. I deal with questions about death and dying, upcoming changes in the household, to find out if the animal would like another animal friend, or just to check-in and see if there is anything the pet needs or wants. It is my job to understand what is going on from the animal’s perspective and then work with the person to see how they can resolve any issues. Sometimes it involves negotiation and problem solving, but it always creates more harmony and understanding in their relationship.

How might we better communicate with our pets?

Mary: When you speak to your animal, always talk about what you DO want, never about what you don’t want. Animals are reading the mental pictures we unconsciously create when we speak, so if we talk about what we don’t want, we are picturing the unwanted behavior. Speak slowly and hold a mental picture of what you DO want, and your animal will understand – encourage them to chew on their toys instead of telling them to not chew on the drapes.

I have a Cairn terrier mix named Domingo. I know he stresses easily, especially around the holidays when there is fireworks. What do you suggest we do for our pets to help them deal with the stress of the holidays?

Mary: If you know that your animal gets stressed during holidays, it’s important to think ahead and come up with a plan. I highly recommend doing emotional release techniques such as EFT or the Emotion Code for any issues that you already know about. This will help to release the emotions permanently. You might also give your pet flower essences that address their specific issues (fear, shyness, etc) or Rescue Remedy for general calming. It is also very important that you explain what will be happening over the holiday (strangers in the house, loud noises, etc.) and reassure your animal that they will be happy and safe during this time. Show them a mental video of what to expect and be sure to show them happy and calm in the video. And above all else, keep yourself calm and your animal will follow suit.

When I was in Hawaii in 2008, I swam in the middle of the ocean with about 40 spinner dolphins. It was the most incredible experience I have had in my life! Do you do any workshops with dolphins?

Mary: I LOVE dolphins and every year I take a lucky group of people to swim with wild dolphins in the Bahamas. My next trip is May 13-19, 2012. All the details are on my website at http://www.rockisland.com/~mg/pages/dolphin.html. I also co-created a computer based training DVD called Whale Communicators, that is more than 5 hours of instruction about whales and dolphins, animal communication and how to connect with these amazing beings. You can find out more and order it at http://whalecommunicators.com/dvd.html.

What classes do you have available and what would one expect to learn in your class?

Mary: In my animal communication classes, you will learn how to open your receivers so that you can hear/see/feel what animals are communicating. I also teach classes to connect telepathically and communicate with nature. I offer a one-day workshop on Animal Death and Spirituality where we explore animals’ views on death and connect with our pets in the spirit realm. I also teach a workshop on using Flower Essences with animals. There is information about hosting a workshop in your area at the end of the workshop page on my website.

For all of us that are animal lovers, you offer so much. Thank you so much for this interview.

You can find out more information about Mary Getten and her workshops, trips and services at: http://www.MaryGetten.com


Communication and Whole Brain Thinking

I am honored and delighted to share this interview with Susie Leonard Weller. She shared with me that children mirror their parent’s brain. I am really curious about this.

Susie teaches Life Skills classes through the Institute for Extended Learning, Adult Basic Education program in Spokane, Washington. She received training through Herrmann International in North Carolina. They studied brain research for over 30 years to improve results at Fortune 500 companies. Susie has applied this research to strengthen family relationships. She is now a Certified Thinking Consultant and her book is Why Don’t You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles

Susie, I am really curious. What is whole brain thinking?

Susie: Thinking styles are innate preferences for how the brain gathers and processes information in distinct ways. It’s part of who we are. Just like we have a preferred hand to write with, we also have a preferred thinking style. We use our dominant hand more often because it’s easier. In a similar way, our brain requires less effort to talk with someone who shares the same thinking style.

Some people are more left-brained and make logical decisions with their head. Others are more right-brained and make relational decisions with their heart or gut instinct. A whole-brained approach integrates both of the left and the right-brain hemispheres, as well as our intellect and heart.

  • No two people are alike. Our brains are wired differently, right from the start.
  • Most family squabbles are linked to biological differences in how we think.
  • The brain requires 100% more energy to think and communicate in its opposite style.

What styles are there?

Susie: There are four main thinking styles. Imagine the brain as a four-room house. The two upstairs rooms concentrate on problem solving or seeking new solutions. These are called the Logical and Creative thinking styles. The two downstairs rooms focus on handling everyday realities and maintaining relationships. These are called the Practical and Relational thinking styles. Although we might prefer spending more time in some rooms than others, those using a whole-brain approach can access necessary skills from any of these rooms whenever they are needed.

Here’s a brief summary of all four thinking styles:

LOGICAL

Focuses on facts
Clarifies the bottom line
Likes to figure out how things work

CREATIVE

Focuses on thinking outside the box
Is imaginative and playful
Like to be spontaneous

PRACTICAL

Focuses on follow through
Organizes things
Likes to plan ahead

RELATIONAL

Focuses on feelings
Is friendly and supportive
Likes meaningful conversations

How is it that children mirror their parent’s brain?

Susie: Babies are born with “mirror neurons.” They copy everything they see. An infant’s brain is like wet concrete. The earliest impressions make the deepest impact. Experience shapes their brain—both positively and negatively. Repeated patterns become hardwired as established neural pathways. Children “download” their parents’ beliefs and behaviors to survive. By the time children are three years old, about 85% of their brain is already wired with subconscious programming for how to relate to others.

What is the best way to deal with conflict?

Susie: Conflict is a given—even within healthy relationships. The best way to handle conflicts is learning how to respect and leverage our differences. Rather than polarizing people into extreme positions, try to hear the need underlying and fueling their behavior. Learn to speak in ways others understand instead of more “loudly” in your preferred style.

Each thinking style has strengths and challenges. Learn to see them as complementary rather than sources of irritation. For example, when Logicals only focus on the facts and minimize the role of emotions, Relationals feel discounted. And, Relationals need to develop a firm backbone as well as their heart. Likewise, Creatives and Practicals can antagonize each other by refusing to accept each other’s desire to explore options or to make timely decisions.

Opposite styles are like oil and vinegar. They don’t mix easily, but they add great zest to a salad. Rather than take conflicts personally, practice becoming multi-lingual and speak in all four thinking styles whenever needed.

The key to managing conflict is finding win/win solutions to meet each others’ needs. Families are 24/7 learning labs to develop life skills—particularly how to communicate with those who think differently than we do.

How can we best set limits?

Susie: In a half-brained world, discipline styles swing from one extreme to another. But, whole-brained parents know how to balance nurture with structure, as well as to play and problem solve. First, they acknowledge the feelings; then they set an appropriate limit. Adults set clear boundaries and follow through on consequences. Wise parents know when to take charge and when to follow the child’s lead to meet their needs for connection.

What could we do to be a wise parent or a wise communicator?

Susie: Under stress, our brain regresses to a more rigid style. To avoid melt downs, learn to practice the Four C’s of courageous conversations. They will soothe the emotional brain to shift gears more easily to use all four thinking styles as needed.

Logical: Clarify a common goal and code of conduct.

Relational: Care enough to seek understanding (not to prove you’re right) and protect the safety zone so that no one shuts down or becomes aggressive.

Creative: Cultivate choices of both/and rather than either/or positions.

Practical: Commit to practicing mutual respect on a regular basis and express at least five positive comments for every negative one. In my book, I also describe the NARN (Notice, Accept, Reflect & Nurture) Process for shifting the brain to a higher gear when triggered:

1. NOTICE what’s happening—physical, emotional and mental warning signals

2. ACCEPT and work with what is, rather than deny or dismiss it.

3. REFLECT on other possible options to resolve this situation or find ways to re-frame it.

4. NURTURE yourself by choosing a concrete action to calm yourself within this moment—breathe deeply, take a break, stretch, listen to music or hum a song.

In our half brain world, more whole-brain families are needed. Our children will face increasing complexities and challenges. As Albert Einstein said, “The problems we are causing can’t be resolved in the same state of consciousness in which we created them.” Our future depends on our ability to use our whole, creative brain to discover new ways to respect how we think, communicate, relate, play and even pray together.

Thank you Susie. This is a good beginning. How can readers get more information?

You can download FREE excerpts from my book by visiting my website: www.susieweller.com

In addition, for those who contact me, I’ll send a FREE 13-page report with 30 tips for how to calm yourself in stressful moments. They are organized by each thinking style to soothe you from head to toe.

Susie Leonard Weller, M.A. for personal coaching

Call USA (509) 255-6676

Email her at weller.susie@gmail.com or visit www.susieweller.com