Sunday, September 2, 2012

Where will this lead me.... reflections over the past few days

This is definitely a weekend that has had more than a few twists and turns that I'll likely remember for a long while.  Here would be a few stories as of Sunday afternoon:

Friday night - On my way to a meditation this night, I got lost for a half hour driving around a neighborhood I hadn't been to previously.  I've interpreted this as a test to my persistence that I have at times to see something through.  I arrived at the house where I hadn't been before yet somehow I felt quite comfortable in this place.  There were a few visualization exercises that can be interesting to take this kind of trip within one's mind.  How do I see myself?  Where do I want to go?  What do I want to release tonight?  These would be some of the questions addressed in various journeys.  There was also the drawing of a card from an Oracle deck where I drew the "Children" card.  That my life will be about helping, teaching and healing children is kind of an odd thing to get since I don't have any children but I do enjoy teaching stuff so maybe there was that connection.  While the person that ran the meditation had a different interpretation.  Her view was that I should let my inner child out more and enjoy play in the world.  I can appreciate this on a few levels.  Of the dozen and a half people there, less than a handful were men which I find to be an odd theme in my life.  Somehow I seem to find groups where there tends to be more women than men which is likely an indicator of something.

Saturday night - This would be the birthday night of a friend.  I get to the place where the party is being held a bit early so I look around to see if I find any familiar faces.  Having found none, I sit at the bar with a water and read my book.  This would be one of my reasons for packing books with me: If I'm alone somewhere waiting for something, this is what I can do to fill my time.  Eventually it gets to be the reservation time and I figure, "Ok, time for me to talk to the staff and see where we are," and so one staff member near the front door says we'd be upstairs and so up I go.  Then talking to a guy upstairs, we are downstairs it seems.  Now, this is where I get to discover we have a few tables where there are couches and chairs.  Quite funky in some ways and again I keep reading as I'm waiting for others to show up.  Eventually some do start coming and so the socializing can begin.  Lots of interesting conversation and more than a few hugs would ensue.  There would also be some lengthy waits for food that I see as a test of how patient can I be.  I also wrote up a card where I'm recycling some Christmas cards I bought that seemed to still be fitting for this situation.  I wonder how that will be viewed.  There was also some dancing that was quite nice.  Now, worth noting that there were a handful of women up on the dance floor first and it was that kind of moment where I can wonder, "When is it my turn here?"  Still it was fun to be up on the floor and shake my booty.  There were more than a few familiar faces here which made for a good contrast to the previous day.

Sunday morning -  Being that rather faithful church going person that I am, I enjoy going to the service, singing some songs, seeing some familiar faces and taking in some new data to update the mental model I have of how I understand God, Jesus and most parts of the Bible.  This would also be where I got to tell people about my new job that I was rather excited to pass along.  There was also an interesting exchange just before I left where someone said hi to me that I still wonder if I know how to handle these things.  While she guessed my name was J.P., I did correct her to J.B. though I can wonder where was this to go?  What am I to ask in this case to make conversation?  Then, as I wonder off to my car, I get asked if the sermon is over which I doubted since I didn't think it was that late.  When I got into my car I noticed that the service had only been going for half an hour and thus my guess of coffee break may have been off.  Part of that guess came from noticing that the drummer this morning was done and so I thought the worship part was over.  I don't know how right or wrong I was though it may be interesting to ponder this at some point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Top 10 Authors

Being the avid reader I am, here's a list of 10 authors whose work I've enjoyed over the past few years:

10. Jay Fiset - Author of "Reframe Your Blame" which is that book where the exercises are really the secret sauce of this excellent book.  While there is the sharing of Jay's past trials and tribulations with finding how to be personally accountable that is enjoyable in its own right, jumping into the exercises to see how these ideas apply to oneself is what makes this such a powerful book.

9. Dan Pink - Author of "Drive" which is about motivation that includes a reading list that is just what I could use at times to take some of the ideas further.  Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation is quite an interesting idea to ponder.  The concepts of autonomy, mastery, and purpose are also some powerful ideas to see how well these fire me up to get me going on something new.

8. Tom Rath - Author of Gallup Press' "StrengthsFinder 2.0" and "Well-Being" which both have on-line assessments that can be useful in applying what one gets from the material in the book.  My strength themes are Learner, Achiever, Responsibility, Intellection and Strategic.  I suspect those who know the themes and know me could easily see how these relate to me.  It is quite something to get these kinds of results and have steps to take to refine how these can enhance the quality of one's life.

7. J.D. Meier - Writer of "Sources of Insight" blog that has lots of great ideas for improving productivity and how to view the world.  I've often enjoyed how he responds to so many posts on his blog and enjoys having conversation.  His book would be "Getting Results the Agile Way" that is about how to apply a software development methodology to other areas of one's life.

6. Thomas Friedman - Writer of "The World is Flat" that is quite the book about early 21st century history on more than a few levels.  I've also enjoyed his NY Times articles as he writes with conviction in a no nonsense way that I find refreshing at times.

5. Seth Godin - Writer of "Tribes" that discusses how people come together and form communities to some degree.  The book actually advocates being passed onto someone else who may be helped by it that made me want to go, "Aaawwww."

4. Gary Zukav - Writer of "Seat of the Soul" and "Soul Stories" that were both quite interesting books for me to enjoy and intellectually process.  While conveying the type of material that is quite radical, it is done clearly and with some compassion so that the transition is somewhat smooth.  I did enjoy seeing him on Oprah a few times.

3. Jack Canfield - Writer of "The Success Principles" and co-author of "The Power of Focus."  Both books are interesting for having lots of ideas and theories to bump up one's game in the world.  While the books took me a few months to get through, they are the type of books that more than a few people will go, "Huh?" to seeing someone read them.

2. Marcus Buckingham - Writer of "Go Put Your Strengths to Work" and "StandOut."  The latter had an on-line assessment I did last Christmas.  My top roles are Pioneer/Teacher.  Like the StrengthsFinder book .there are action steps to take from this and apply in one's life.  There is some emotion in Marcus' writing that is quite cool yet at the same time it is rather simple writing.

1. Frank McCourt - Writer of "Angela's Ashes," "'Tis," and "Teacher Man."  The writing style is what sticks out the most for me.  As depressing as the subject gets at times, there is still a ton of humor found in the pages of these books about his life in the US, Ireland and the back and forth challenges he experienced growing up in the manner he did.  While he passed away over 3 years ago now, his books will live forever.

Special mention to John Bogle who founded the Vanguard group, popularized index funds, and wrote more than a few books of which the last I read was titled simply, "Enough."  I'm not sure how many people would have the courage to write a book calling for a return to some basic principles yet that is what Bogle writes in this wonderful little book.  Anyone got some other authors that may be interesting within this subject matter?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aftermath of a hot seat....

This past Sunday I had my turn in the hot seat in my Creation Circle.  This is where I got the opportunity to have the others in my circle focus in on a specific problem I'm having and get help/support for this issue.  Now, leading up to the meeting I had more than a few conversations with my "coach" to help nail down the issue so that discussing the issue will be of value to everyone in the group.  While we started with how I can get rather emotional, we did get a little digging to get a bit deeper into the issue.

The issue I decided upon was my issue of self-confidence.  Now, if I'm in my comfort zone, I'll rarely have confidence issues as I can feel like King Kong in those places most of the time.  At other times, I may struggle whether this is in starting a conversation, introducing myself, or opening up in some cases.  Now, just before the hot seat, there were some exercises done as part of the meeting around getting our needs met that in a way overlapped with this that was a bit creepy.  Perhaps it is just a divine hand guiding things along that makes it seem really weird that things line up so well here and that is what threw me.  In the dyad I had, I got to share some of my background on this and got some interesting feedback.  In a way, it was the kind of kick I needed and served me quite well in being prepared for the hot seat.

Part of my time there was explaining the issue which I'd reckon is typical.  What I managed to get from this group was some amazing insights and ideas that will really help a great deal.  The idea of confidence being built instead of found was definitely something to shift my frame of reference.  That I tend to go for external validation at times was another useful point.  I do have the work of going through all my different groups to see which are the ones that feed me and which are the ones that drain me.  Last but not least is the idea of honoring myself.  This was tended to throw my stomach into knots which I could take as a sign of being an issue to work through soon.  Why would I have an issue with celebrating the awesomeness that I am?  Lots of different ideas come to mind though what if I just did things for myself to find what works to be ways of acknowledging that I am great at times.

Friday, August 10, 2012

People person, moi? Really?

Yet again in my life I confront the challenge that is, "Am I a people person?" to which I have to answer, "Yes, I am."  I say this in part because of how socializing can impact my day in both good and bad ways.  One of my biggest needs is to be connected to others which can take the form of some Facebook replies that I post a comment and then the original poster posts a follow-up that just melts me and hits my ooey-gooey center.  In a similar vein, if I had a day where I'm not reaching out to others, that tends to leave me feeling a bit hollow and empty.

Some people will tell me I have a beautiful soul.  I have reached a point in my life where I accept this compliment and try to avoid over-analyzing it.  I do think there is a lot to be said for how someone handles someone else crossing a boundary.  For example, I recently a Facebook friend post a private message that sparked a good discussion where I think opening up what was said allowed for some great exchanges of ideas.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A new quotient to study...

What about the idea of a "Hugging Quotient?" I've had days where getting dozens of hugs just made that day awesome. Granted not everyone is a hugger but how does one found out who are and aren't? It is a rather personal question in more than a few ways.

This is without getting into the style of various hugs. There is the great squishy hug that tends to be my favorite though depending on the person this isn't always a good idea, e.g. if someone looks old enough to be my grandmother this hug may be a bit too much someone frail and delicate. Then there are the manly one arm hugs. I've had a few 15 minute hugfests that were rather interesting experiences. I've also heard some massive wailing hugs that I wonder if I was in that what would it be like? The wailing coming from someone that I'd think was working through some deep trauma but will be OK as I've seen this in a couple of church-y situations.

Though let me state here that I love hugs. I enjoy giving and getting. Upon request I do shift my style as I'd never want to force myself onto someone. If someone wants a gentle touch, I can do that. If someone wants the hard core, spin them around while embraced then I could do that too. Each has its place in being a wonderful expression of love.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The God wink du jour

Earlier tonight I was at this dinner Meetup and had this wonderful experience that I just have to share here. Way after the main meal there was this late discussion between a vegan and someone curious to know why someone would choose such a life style there was this quirky little moment where I mentioned "The Light Cellar" which was a place I learned about at "The Seed Event" as she had mentioned she wanted to find more places to get raw food.

The change in this person's eyes was remarkable. You'd think I'd pass along a recipe for ambrosia or something in that ballpark of awesomeness. It was like someone that had lived in the desert for weeks and I came with a fire hose and an ocean of water to quench that thirst. I got all giddy inside and will now await the next time in my life where I'll have this kind of yummy moment as I know another is coming soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

God's magic in the world...

Last night being the first Monday of the month, I had the plan of attending "ReVision Your Life" which would be through the ReSolutions Meetup group though Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench into that. By the time I realized that the location would be closed I was already there and figured, "Ok, something is up here so I'll check my e-mail." There was a message that the organizer changed the format to a webinar and so I just switched to a backup plan at this point.

That plan being "Tehillah Monday" where I was earlier in the day helping the bands set up as the previous week I had my original plans fall through and this was something someone suggested and so I figured, "Do I really have something better to do? Not really." Thus, I show up at 6:30 and notice a few people going into the church at this time that seems really early.

While the music was quite something there were a few other things that also seemed oddly poignant for me:

Fashion notes - I decided to wear my "Creator's Code" shirt on this day just as something that would be neat yet at the end of the night I was asked about it and had a lovely conversation with someone about it. There was also someone that wore these sparkly pants that I doubt I'll get out of my head anytime soon.

Offering - As an offering is taken there is a question put forth for those in the audience in need of a job to put their hands up and this would be one of a few times in that night where up goes my hand as I am in that situation. While there isn't really any judgment here externally, there is that internal sense of failure for being in this situation where I either be honest and put up my hand or I hide from the world which would be my old style. I go for the hand up and have one of a few crying moments on this night.

Altar call - This would be the big "A-ha"-y moment where in the first round of calling people forward, I thought, "That isn't for me. I had my Jesus intellection throw down 2 years ago and got baptized that Easter, this couldn't be for me." Anyway, a second call is put forth and this time I sense a, "Go do this and see what happens," to which being in the second row I'm not moving far but I figure I owe it to myself if noone else to go do this. Now, this leads to the ~40 of us being led into the Chapel and this would be where I'd claim the 2nd box of Kleenex for me to start going through as I am just ridiculously emotional on this night. Quite intense and yet I tell my story as calmly as I can and get a new Bible and think, "Eeeek, where do I go from here?" I kind of felt like I had outed myself as someone that needed some help that kind of made more broken than someone should be at church.

If there is one great challenge I have with these kinds of services, it is figuring out the hugging ettiquette. Within my comfort zone I'd imagine most people know that I really like hugs though as I get outside of that it becomes more of a paradox where what is appropriate is the big question. I see all these other people hugging and part of me wants to yell, "I WANT THAT! GOD YOU KNOW I WANT THAT!" and I suspect in my inner voice that call does go out but I don't really get a response and so a little more heartache follows. What will I do about this? Well, that is what I'm still trying to strategize over...