Before the Thunderbolt

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“Whoever sees clearly what is diseased in himself begins to gallop on the way. There is nothing worse than thinking you are well enough.” -Rumi

Drama in our life often feels like a thunderbolt, coming out of nowhere and rocking our world- the family relationship that turns sour, the blow-up with a co-worker, the explosive anger directed at a stranger in traffic. Truth is, like the thunderstorm, conditions for most forms of drama have been brewing for quite some time.

At the heart of all flourishing relationships is trust. Everyone wears an invisible sign around their neck that says: “Do you trust me?” It’s easy to give lip service to the idea of trust and understand it conceptually, but to truly embody it as a human is not so easy- to be a living, breathing example. It requires authenticity, courage, vulnerability and transparency- the kind that makes your heart race and your knees shake.

Drama begins to subside when we ask ourselves: “What is my role in this?” As Rumi might say, where is my “dis-ease”?

There is nothing worse than thinking you are well enough…

What hooks you?

There are countless opportunities to react to events, opinions and activities those around us engage in. Simply scroll down on any on-line discussion forum or controversial Facebook feed to see how quickly humans can disagree with each other and the short distance to truly harmful language pointed towards those with a differing view. Becoming aware of what hooks us is the first step in choosing what garners our attention and response. Maybe the driver honking at me to hurry through the green light doesn’t need to be responded to with my middle finger. Maybe the Facebook status that disagrees with my opinion 378doesn’t need my input, especially when it involves family or friends. Learn to recognize the hook, sit a few out and avoid the drama.

Is Your Internal Environment “Green”?

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According to Wikipedia, “Greening” is the process of transforming artifacts such as a space, a lifestyle or a brand image into a more environmentally friendly version. The “Green” movement really caught fire over the past decade and has now become a mainstream concept.

I have often wondered if you can lead an externally focused “green” life while your personal life is anything but clean and pollution free.

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a bare minimum, the product is non-toxic. What if we were to focus on creating the highest version of our eco-friendly self? Not in the traditional, externally focused ways but a deeply personal “green” version of our mental/emotional/physical/spiritual self. This version goes into the world with kindness and compassion, responsible for the energy we bring into each space so as to not create a toxic environment where drama thrives. It keeps the environment as well as the safety of other humans in mind.

Now that we have become conscious of transforming our spaces, lifestyles and brands into more environmentally friendly versions, I believe the next big movement will be learning how to “green” our internal environment- our intra/interpersonal relationships. This focus requires us to distinguish patterns of relating that are toxic from those that free us from drama. The greening process will challenge our emotional intelligence and require us to ask ourselves two important questions:

  1. What am I thinking right now?
  2. What am I feeling right now?

Becoming curious about the thoughts/feelings running through our bodies is a great start. It’s the awareness that might prevent us from participating in the gossip, dodging responsibility or looking to hurl our personal projections on the most convenient celebrity.

What if we were to begin a “greening” movement from the inside out?

You Can’t Reason With Crazy

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This week, I had to deal with crazy.

Crazy comes in many forms: jealousy, control, shame, bullying, deceit, dishonesty and blame to name a few.

Learn to recognize crazy. Trust your gut and identify it for what it is. Name it. Then make an important choice.

Crazy requires participation- your participation. It feeds on your reaction to it. It beckons you to contribute in the drama. When there is no reaction to crazy, it has a far better chance of losing its hooks.

When non-reaction is not a strong enough tactic, draw your sword and set clear personal boundaries around what you will and will not stand for. Speak your mind, even if the sword shakes.

In my experience, one of two outcomes are likely. Your strong boundary will cause a shift in the dynamic of the relationship, like a bully that has been finally called out. Or the relationship will end. Standing up to crazy always requires the recognition that loss could be imminent and it’s a risk you are willing to take.

This week I dealt with crazy. I can’t reason with crazy.

Can you?

 

 

 

Are You Suffering From “ME-itis”?

“People are not interested in you. They are interested in me. They are interested in themselves- morning, noon and after dinner.” – Dale CarnegieiStock_000006962110_Small

 

 

 

 

 

I theorize most of the drama in our culture arises from an unhealthy preoccupation with the self, what I affectionately call: “ME-itis”. Others have labeled this “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM).

The concept of being “self-centered” usually falls into two camps:

  1. Self-care- I take care of myself so I can evolve into the fullness of my human potential and be of service to those around me.
  2. Self-absorption- I see the world through my own ego needs. People, places and things are a means to an end.

Understandably, most of us fall into either camp on any given day (or somewhere in-between) and certainly, unchecked self-care can turn into narcissism. Self-absorption leads to DRAMA. Becoming conscious of our present focus is the key to escaping drama and maintaining a healthy concept of self-care.

This is one pathology with a known cure.

 

I’m Giving Up…

I'm giving upI’m giving up… the need to be right. It’s at the core of what’s wrong with our relationships with co-workers, significant others, our community at large. It’s observable in personal conversations; TV interviews with politicians, online discussions around just about anything. Trying to prove you’re right requires too much energy, creates too much drama. Everyone likes to be right. I doubt anyone identified with their ego walks around ready to willingly admit they are wrong.

It’s a whole other thing to take action on a belief. That’s what changes the world. Less talk, more action.

One of my favorite sayings is from author and poet, Maya Angelou — “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If that’s true, I never need to be right.