I hope you had a Thanksgiving holiday filled with wonderful
food, supportive people, and stress-free travels! However, I’m firmly grounded
in the world where bad things take the day off, just so we can live in a moment
of perceived perfection. People still die, they still get in car wrecks, still
have weird little accidents like shooting a big toe off while in a duck blind. I’ve
also heard from many clients about how nervous they were about visiting family
members with vastly different political views, or how guilty they felt about “escaping”
from an ailing parent, or for the “inevitable” holiday blowup around some
long-held childhood grudge/addiction issue/relationship insecurity. Maybe it
didn’t happen, maybe it did, but hey, Christmas is just around the corner, so
now we can just wait a few more weeks! I’m sure it’ll kick in then! (tongue
firmly in cheek here)
I’m not gonna lie. I was one of those people
who felt disappointed in the outcome of the election. Soon after the results
were announced, I began to notice something extraordinary. Inside all of the
cacophony of outrage and cheering, a quiet movement began. One that, at its
core, was compassion personified. No, I’m not talking about the safety pin
or the clarion call for empathy on both sides (http://qz.com/826733/us-election-2016-lack-of-empathy-is-causing-a-toxic-political-environment/).
I’m talking about the wake-up call that we all got as a nation during the
campaign. It’s mirrored in family units and business relationships as well.
Here’s my golden nugget:
We do not
live in a vacuum. We all have a part to play, and ALL voices are necessary.
I was speaking to David Barnes, a dear friend who has
created an innovative healing modality with his business partner, Sue-Anne
MacGregor, using the power of movies. At his recommendation, my husband and I
watched “A Late Quartet”, a wonderful 2012 film about the power of teamwork. I
found it on Amazon Prime. He articulates this beautifully using this movie’s theme
on 5 key elements of teamwork. I highly recommend watching this in a mixed
group with ample time afterwards for discussion. Its cerebral message and
gorgeous music will instantly transport you above any energetic sludge left
over from the holidays. Make no mistake. We are all on the American team. Our
Family of Origin team. Our Tribe of Like-Minded Friends team. And many, many other teams that require cooperation with disparate points of view. You can find his
changework session notes here: https://peaceofmindovertures.com/heart-aligned-leadership-five-empowering-ways-to-improve-teamwork/
Hindsight is always 20/20. We may have just sent
our lovely world on a disastrous path towards doom and destruction. Or we may
have done the exact opposite and given our collective selves an enormous gift
that will draw us together more cohesively than ever before. I am reminded of an old Buddhist proverb:
“An old farmer had
worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the
news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said
"Maybe," the farmer
replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild
horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"Maybe," replied the
old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses,
was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy
on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer. The day after,
military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing
that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated
the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the
It’s perfectly acceptable to feel anger, elation, outrage,
joy, disgust, and relief over this governmental transition process. The most
important thing is to use this as rocket fuel. Allow it to propel you into
action. Funnel it into volunteering for causes that you support, into creative
activities, or into your work life. Take off the suit of despair that someone
else may have given you. Shrug off the feelings of superiority because “you
knew it”. None of that serves you, and simply keeps you locked into an old
pattern of isolation and mental stagnation.
Get to know people with opposing ideas. You just might find
out that you have more in common than you thought. By doing this, we will all
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Recently I found myself on a plane. Not exactly unusual, but
the fact that there were only 6 of us passengers was. It was a ferry flight, one of the planes that
had been moved to warmer climes in order to avoid the snowbound mess in the
East Coast the previous weekend.
I ended up sitting next to a businessman in First Class
discussing my thoughts on how several of his friends were encouraging him to “Freshen
Up” his 7 year marriage. Apparently, things had gotten stale in his opinion. The
demands of raising two small children, a heavy travel schedule, and too many extended
family obligations had him actually considering having an affair to bring some
life back in his zipless existence.
As an Empath, this tends to be a normal occurrence. Folks
just LOVE to share their most personal, intimate details with me. This, however, was a new topic. When I think
of freshening up, I think of washing my hands, brushing my hair, or touching up
my makeup. Never once would I have placed an affair in that category.
Intimate connections, whether physical or emotional, bind us
all together. They are the glue of society, and the reason why we have poetry
and the music industry. The best connections are those made with an open heart
and an open mind. We’ve all had the experience of hitching our wagon to someone
that didn’t have respect or integrity for our feelings. It sucked.
Let’s use SuperGlue as an example. If you aren’t being
conscious and careful when applying this substance, you can end up adhered to
things that you didn’t plan on. Sex is like that, too, except you are also now
stuck to all of their partners’ energies as well. I explained to my traveling
companion that the way that his friends were “freshening up” was in fact
gumming up the partnership with their children’s mothers, a relationship entered
into with a vow to be faithful and true.
Naturally, he was still at choice to go that route, but I encouraged him
to first try to have an honest conversation with his wife. Let her know that he
desires to rekindle the spirit of their marriage with some alone time, away
from the children and generational family members. Maybe even consider some
individual and couples counseling to get a common vocabulary to help with their
communication. I also asked him if he
would be OK if SHE decided to use the same method of “freshening up”… the hard pause
said it all.
How are you avoiding the hard questions in your
relationships? If you are in one that isn’t working as well as you would like,
are you turning to substances or over-focusing on a job to numb yourself to
what’s not working? Turning to another as a distraction because you don’t know
how to communicate with your partner anymore? Or is it a subtler issue like growing
up around a parental pattern of infidelity? If you aren’t in one, then is there
a story that all relationships are doomed to fail, that men all cheat, that all
women are only in it for the money? All answers begin within. That’s where the
questions are, too. It’s dark in there, but I guarantee you, once you turn on
the light, it's not nearly as scary as you thought.