Communication Matters!

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As the month of the archetypal Communicator winds down, I realize how absolutely central good, reciprocal communication is in life. What else is there, really? All of our lives we are in communication with others and internally. How well we communicate matters. How well we express and affirm who we are to one another, how well we listen, how much grace we give to one another… Matters.

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Matters of communication have consequences. From the largest to the most minute situation or transaction, how well we communicate depends upon and reveals qualities of our deepest nature. If we do not know ourselves deeply enough, as the spiritual beings that we are at our very core, we cannot communicate who we are to another except incompletely. If we are self-absorbed, do we really know who we are?  Withholding of honest, humble communication is a mode of violence and accompanies violence toward ourselves and others.

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I have a friend who has been like a sister to me for many years. Yet, she has become locked up in  anger and frustration toward life, so filled with what she regards as righteous opinions that she has forgotten what matters; she chooses not to communicate positively with those who do not hold her same political views. She isolates herself, which deepens her turmoil.

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Life itself I have come to realize requires healthy communication. Consciousness communicates with other aspects of itself through form, voice, action, and via silences. The cosmos itself is a macro-communication matrix that organizes micro-cosmic codes; a grand message constantly unfolding in myriad dimensions; what else?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Believe in Yourself to Express Fully Who You Are

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Don’t allow anyone who does not know who you are most completely to affect who you know yourself to be. I write this in the month of the Communicator archetype and, for me, after having just watched the brilliant Broadway stage play about the life of Carol King, Beautiful.

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There are people who may think they know or understand you but who really cannot because they lack a complete picture or do not have a full or genuine interest in your life’s work. But you do. Stand true to who you know yourself to be and for the work that you have done and will do, for your purpose and mission in this world.

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Sometimes in fact it is those who are closest to you–family, close friends, even a partner–who think they know you best (and who  you believe understands you well) whose limited perceptions can hurt you most deeply or effectively, if you allow that. They are not to be blamed; they do not have a  full understanding because they have only seen a small portion of your work or service. They have known you for a long time perhaps though only see you on occasional visits, and their lives are much different than yours in terms of expertise and priorities. In the end…sigh…all you can do is love them and hold your own understanding close to your heart and shielded.

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In Beautiful, we see a brilliant young lady whose mother tries at first to persuade her to teach rather than to compose and sing. She begins a successful career in the pop music field, allowing a man whom she later marries to write the lyrics to music she writes. All well and good but it takes divorcing him after his philandering and unstable influence for her to ultimately return to the deeper reservoirs of her own talent, her own musical sensibility and brilliance, her own heart; and to her own voice. Once she writes her own lyrics again, she transforms not only her own self expression but the world, with songs and compositions unheard of in their purity and strength.

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images are from pixabay.com

 

Our Communicator speaks from the deep Heart Center, from Soul. Whether or not another person in your life has found that center, you have the responsibility and indeed the obligation to let your heart light shine as brightly and as passionately as you can.

 

Do you hear me on this one? Listen to Your Self !

What Sort of Communicator Are You?

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We are exploring the COMMUNICATOR Archetype for this month of June. Who are YOU as a Communicator? What archetypal Communicator character Strengths do you rely on? How well have you drawn upon and integrated these Strengths? On the other hand, have you developed any challenges or inhibitions in relation to your COMMUNICATOR potentials?

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Consider a specific situation that leads you to draw upon your best COMMUNICATOR abilities. Maybe it is a relationship matter that requires you to be a good Listener or to express yourself very clearly. Or maybe it is an opportunity or a responsibility to impress someone or a group of clients at your workplace.  Or maybe you are anticipating a major life transition? Listening to your SELF and communicating well with others can help you to proceed forward in a conscious, heartful manner.

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images are from pixabay.com

Below, I invite you to journal about your own COMMUNICATOR qualities in relation to one or more situations.

SITUATION                        Communication needs/ Strengths

(E.g. job interview)         (Use language of the field, show team focus and leadership strengths, good eye contact)

 

 

 

 

PRACTICE (Write or actively imagine a hypothetical communication expression by you in the situation you are concerned about, OR write out or actively imagine a conversation or dialogue you can anticipate. INVITE AND ALLOW your internal COMMUNICATOR Persona to guide you in what to say or how to respond.

 

 

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I invite Comments about your use of this self-discovery technique or about the role or special qualities of the COMMUNICATOR Persona in your life.

“Let’s Meet on the Inner”: An Internal Dialogue Practice

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For this month of the archetypal Communicator, I offer you a method for working with a challenging relationship conflict in a positive, constructive way.

For a difficult situation involving communication challenges, you can “go Within” to engage with the person(s) involved, or alternately, you can meet with an Inner Guide and have a conversation with him or her about a snaggly situation. This is a form of what Carl Jung would call Active Imagination.

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If you are having troubles communicating with someone because of a personality conflict or in relation to a sticky situation, you can set some quiet, private time aside. Go into a light contemplative/ meditative ‘zone’ (eyes closed in a semi-darkened space or in a natural setting) and imagine that the person or persons you’ve been having trouble with are present in a conference room (or create your own internal environment that is appropriate for your visit).

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Start a conversation. It can be very simple and does not have to be directly about the challenging situation you are facing. What is important is that this is a positive exchange. Allow the internal conversation with your ‘alter’ to proceed naturally, as if you and this person or persons are meeting Soul-to-Soul with a shared intention to move beyond your snaggles and to arrive at a positive, win-win solution.

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As an example to demonstrate the approach, around 15 years ago I faced a difficult situation with a workplace colleague. Coming from polarized theoretical approaches for teaching, the impasse between us reached the point—very uncomfortable for me—that we would avoid contact with each other altogether.

Then one morning I woke from a lucid dream encounter with this person (let’s call him Carl). In this dream encounter, I simply met Carl in passing. I beamed a positive smile, made Soul-to-Soul eye contact, and said, “Hello Carl!”. That was it. But it had the most amazing effect! That very morning at work, I was in the mail room when Carl walked in. Seeing we were ‘stuck’ alone in the mail room together, we made eye contact for the first time in several months.

               “Hello Carl!” I beamed, smiling.

               “Hi Linda,” Carl replied also with a smile.

That was our entire conversation, just as in the morning’s lucid dream. Somehow, it set into motion an immediate, significant thawing of our relationship. We no longer avoided one another, and in fact shortly after this encounter, Carl applied for and received an out-of-state position that would allow him to advance in his career. (I had put the job notification in his mailbox!) Within 3-4 months, Carl left, with the two of us in a much improved relation, as I even organized, as department Chair, a farewell party for Carl.

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free images are from pixabay.com

I invite you to try this technique for yourself. Imagine an internal conversation with someone you seek to have a better relationship with. You are not trying to change this person, but you are simply allowing a Soul-to-Soul encounter that may be difficult to engage in “out Here.”

I welcome your Comments and Stories.

(P.S. I will be on a road trip for the next month, so blog posts may be on a less than regular schedule.)

Wordplay as Swordplay: The Communicator’s Artful Sport

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As writer-Communicators, we engage in wordsmanship. This week while playing some games of Words-with-Friends and Scrabble, I got to thinking about my former days as a competitive fencer in relation to “wordplay/swordplay” or “wordsmanship/ swordsmanship” and realized the two have much in common.

As a wordsmith (swordsmith!), playing word games certainly mirrors swordplay. You need to scan the field of play (cf. the piste or the game board) to discern where your opportunities appear, then plan your attack and implement effectively (et lá!). If your attack has right of way and lands on target (I was a foil fencer), then touché, you win the point. If not, and your attack lands off target or misses altogether, your opponent may have an opening to take an advantage.

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Writing is like swordsmanship on a grander scale as well, not only in word games. Writing, like fencing, takes practice-practice-practice! You need to hone your skill at whatever genre you are composing within, editing-editing-editing.

Both writing and fencing reward creative contemplation and envisioning, too. As fencing is in large part a mental or Mindful sport, I would spend a lot of time between lessons or between practices and tournaments mentally envisioning fencing strategies and possible responses. In practice we often even shadow-fenced against a phantom opponent. Likewise with writing, you may craft whole sentences or dialogue apart from pen and page. You might envision the structure of a chapter or play a whole story out in your imagination, crafting alternate storylines or voices, then delight in placing the envisioned episodes into your narrative form.

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images are from pixabay.com

And so, in wordsmithing as in swordsmanship, enjoy! Keep at it. Gain new skills, try new approaches. Writing is such a satisfying, constructive activity at every level and at each stage from envisioning and preparation to execution and revision that it will never fail to support and reward your effort, regardless of extrinsic outcomes.

 

June, Month of the COMMUNICATOR

 

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The COMMUNICATOR Archetype

 (per Debra Breazzano, LPC)

Mission: To link, be a messenger

Shadow: Chatterbox or silent treatment

Strength Qualities: Synthesizing, curious

Being a Communicator is a fundamental capacity of being human. As we learn about how best to communicate, or also how worst to express ourselves, we develop and cultivate a “Voice” which is distinctly our own yet which may represent as well a style of communicating which feels natural or effective. That part of you which has the ROLE of being The Communicator is a member of your Archetypal ensemble cast of personae that together comprise your personal Self. This month, I invite you to explore and celebrate your own COMMUNICATOR nature.

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What have been some of your most significant positive (Strength mode) and negative (Shadow mode) role models for developing your Communicator persona? What characteristics have you learned from them that are embedded in your own Communicator part-of-self?  For example, from a high school English teacher mentor, Mr. Scelsa, I learned alot about communicating as a teacher: asking good questions and listening from the heart to help students progress from wherever they are at to a next level that suits their own interests or needs. From a graduate school mentor, Betsy, I learned about how to simplify academic writing in order to reach a broad interdisciplinary audience.

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From blogging I am learning how to use common language and very open prose to communicate with a public readership. I highly recommend blogging to all writers and artists! Also from a friend, Jan, I learned many years ago and continue to try to develop the art of sharing feelings and engaging deeply in friendship. Yet, I have also observed in myself and others communication faux pas‘s and miscommunication, usually involving generalized mistrust; these are ways of communicating that I prefer to avoid.

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Communicating about what matters to you, and listening from the heart to what matters to others, is important in and of itself, always. Communication allows you to exteriorize your thoughts and feelings. Often it is best to start that process inwardly, though, or by means of journal writing.

One technique you can use to increase your facility with communicating about what matters to you is to have a conversation, either in active contemplation/meditation or in writing, with your own Inner Guide or higher consciousness. Just this afternoon, for example, while waiting for food at a restaurant, I journalled an internal dialogue about something I have been worrying over in the form of a conversation with my spiritual Guide (I call him Zee). It worked wonders! He helped me envision more flexibly about some future concerns, and said: “Do not let externals determine your level of happiness or fulfillment.” Thanks, Zee!

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images are from pixabay.com

So try it, you might like it. Just start a conversation on paper, and allow it to proceed naturally, perhaps in question and answer mode. Let it continue until you have arrived at some insights that help you progress in a positive way with your thoughts or concerns.

I welcome your Comments and stories!

Open Mike

So are you clear about what I mean when referring to your own Archetype Allies? These are your at least partly submerged or unconscious “parts of Self” that compose aspects or facets (like alternative “faces”) of your personality. As a cultural anthropologist I would say that you develop some archetypal potentials rather than others as you acquire ROLE IDENTITIES.  For example, in romantic relationships you may develop your LOVER archetypal potentials; as a doctor you may draw upon the HEALER archetype; or as a writer you are likely to express the universal archetypal potentials of a COMMUNICATOR.

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Still in all, while everyone has the potential for expression of all twelve of the universal or primordial classes of Archetypal Persona forms (see the wheel below, based on Dr. Charles and Nin Bebeau of the Avalon Archetype Institute), most of us will express some of these as dominant modes versus others, and the form of expression will vary based on your situational experience and other personality factors.

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An approach I work with a lot myself and encourage through coaching via the Life Maps Process that I will be presenting in the upcoming book, Life Paths, is a technique I call Archetype Dialogue practice. One stage of this process I call “Open Mike.” To get to know some of your archetypal dispositions or members of your “ensemble cast of Archetypal characters,” you can simply contemplate upon a topic that is meaningful to you, perhaps a question involving an upcoming decision or a possible transition in your life, or a goal.  “Sink into a reverie” sort of state; that is, allow yourself to “descend” to a subconscious awareness level, and invite your archetypal subselves to speak out in their distinctive voices or from various of your own dynamically complex points of view or attitudes.

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You can also invite any one of your archetypal allies to step up to the “open mike” about a topic of relevance to its specific outlook. Since we are closing this month’s focus on the COMMUNICATOR archetype in association with the metaphor of Life is Heeding the Call to Realize Your Dream, I invite you to call upon your unconscious COMMUNICATOR persona one more time. Invite the COMMUNICATOR aspect of your Self to speak up about a topic relating to your own Life Dream or a significant GOAL. You can engage your COMMUNICATOR inwardly via active imagination and then record your experience in your journal or as a story, or you can directly transcribe a dialogue with your COMMUNICATOR in a dialogic writing mode.

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Allow me to briefly exemplify from the perspective of calling forth my own COMMUNICATOR persona:

LW:  So are you there, Communicator? What shall I call you?

C: Call me what you wish, I do suppose. I am quite adaptible, after all. How do you wish for me to express myself Now?

LW: In your Writer mode, I guess, for Open Mike.

C: About what topic, then?

LW: The upcoming meeting with our Agent.

C: But of course.  I would emphasize how important it is for us to be clear with her and to LISTEN VERY WELL. Communication is a two-way street, and this is a rare, golden opportunity for you and for all of us, to Listen and to Learn.

LW: I hope this meeting can result in the project going forward, the proposal being sent out soon.

C: Yes, but please do let the Moment reveal its own potentials. Trust in Spirit; have faith in your inner as well as your outer guidance to reveal what is needed of us next as stewards of the book’s most effective emergence into publication.

LW: The faith of the mustard seed, do you mean?

C: Or of the Acorn, as we have talked about previously with our MYSTIC Ally.

LW: So, why the Acorn?

C: Acorn has within its seed nature the capacity to grow into a mighty Oak, its roots descending deeply into the nurturant Mother Earth while its branches reach far upwards toward the Heavens.

LW: You took that metaphor from Stranger by the River by Paul Twitchell.

C: Indeed, yes I did! But I added the Seed metaphor, as you have been thinking about how the life mapping Tools are also seeds.

LW: Beautiful! Okay then, together here we go…

C: We are Multiple, yet together we are One!

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I welcome YOUR insights and stories!

(As I am traveling, my next post for this site will be on Tuesday to begin our new monthly cycle.

P.S.: The meeting went well !!!)

A Re-Visioning Conversation

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This week’s life mapping activity invites you to practice a “re-write” as a form of applying the principle of Better Endings.

Recall a communication Moment from your life that may have marked a pivotal transition in a relationship or situation. What might you have said, that you didn’t? How might you have spoken or replied otherwise than you did? Might it have mattered? How?

Replay this conversation, either by using “active imagination” (in an aware, contemplative, imaginative mode), or by journaling. You could also ask a spouse or significant other to model the other person’s role.

Allow this imagined or re-scripted conversation to become transformational, to achieve a “Better Ending.” For some situations, this might mean reaching a “closure” that was never possible before (my example below). For others it might mean getting to share what you were not able to at the time, or allowing the other to share what you now sense they might have based on what you have learned since then.

“Ellie”

Preface: I LOST my dog of 12 years’ companionship, Ellie. She was a dear, close companion. Yet by nature this sweet, orange boxer-Rhodesian ridgeback mix was timid and afraid of strangers. This proved her demise when I left her with a new friend’s sheltea in a fenced back yard while my friend and her daughter and I went for breakfast. When we returned, Ellie was gone. She had jumped up against the gate, which opened, and she would not allow neighbors to take her in, in a city residential neighborhood totally unfamiliar to her. I looked for Ellie for over six months almost daily, driving from Colorado Springs to Denver to search for her. She wasn’t chipped nor was she wearing a name tag on her collar, as she would never normally be more than an arm’s length from my side.

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To Ellie:

L: Oh, my dear, I can only hope that, whatever happened, you always knew in your heart that I love you. I hope and can only trust that you felt somehow Spirit was with you, comforting you as you slept, guiding events in the best possible way they could unfold in the situation.

E: I tried to find you. I never stopped trying.  Do know I loved you, too.

L: I looked for you everywhere I could think of looking. At all the shelters; via Craig’s list; in all of the greenbelts I could walk, over and over. I followed leads, and dreams, that seemed to be guiding me to where you might be, in storms and sun, days and nights. But I could not reach you, my Friend. I held a ceremony for you, with GM and TU; we buried some of your favorite possessions, read spiritual passages for you.

E: I heard you/ saw you inwardly then. I was never without spiritual companions, though I rarely felt them outwardly in the panic that consumed my search.

L: Dear, dear Ellie, I am sorry. I left you alone with another dog in a stranger’s yard. I am sorry I took you at all that day. I should have realized your timidity would not allow you to adapt so quickly to new friends.

E: You wanted a companion dog that could go anywhere with you. I wanted to stay home, safe beside you.

L: I love you, dear Soul. I wish you the most wondrous spiritual adventure as Soul, forever.

E: I needed this push to prepare me for what was to come, in my next life.

L: But I hope that the trauma you felt will not hold you back.

E: Soul grows from all experience. I chose to try to find you and found instead the world is bigger and more full of danger, and care, than I knew.

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L: Goodbye, dear friend. If I can ever comfort you, I am always Here, close to your Heart, as Soul. Twenty-four/ seven, times Eternity!

E: I go forward with fresh experience. Thank You.

L: Thank You for  all the Love you gave.

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The poem below is re-blogged (after my initial post of the tribute to Ellie), from Cats at the Bar:  http://tvkapherr.wordpress.com/  :

Remember love?

Impermanent.

Remember joy?

Immeasurable.

What is love,

what is joy,

but knowing

what is you?

By floridaborne twoonarant.wordpress.com

***

Thank You to readers and those “liking” this post. Of course it is a difficult story to share but I feel that in using this vehicle, I am sending my heart out along the cosmic sea of Spirit and Divine Love as the opening image betokens…there is no real separation of Soul to Soul, so I do believe.

Practice Mindful Communication

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Have you ever wished you could go back and change those words you spoke in a relationship? or with a departed loved one? or with your child? Are there certain situations that seem to “bring out the worst” in you, instead of the best, with respect to communication? Here then is your chance to revise what you said then, or to better prepare for what you will say, next time.

Tuesdays are Prompts List days at Better Endings. I invite you to use the list of topics below to write/journal, actively contemplate, or talk about a REVISION of a communication situation in your life. Create a dialogue that revises or remodels how you did, or would, engage in a conversation, to improve the outcome more in the direction you might wish that sort of conversation might have gone, or could.

Woulda/ coulda/ shoulda…but if you practice the principle of Better Endings we are developing weekly with this blog, you CAN change habits and improve communications in the present as well as envisioning how you might have done better in the past.

Already this week since I have been practicing some communication “re-writes” with respect to recent workplace and past personal relationship situations, I find myself becoming more mindful in the present moment with email and face-to-face conversations. Mindfulness, especially Mindful Listening to others as well as to ourselves, is the First Principle of Better Endings that governs the Prompts List this week.

So, here is a Prompts List, below. How might you apply a revision to one or more of the following situations? Go ahead, Practice Better Endings! I invite you to pay attention afterwards as you go through your daily life, to see how you may apply this principle Now!

  • what you wish you WOULD have said
  • workplace communications
  • email communication
  • social media communications
  • what to say to someone who has lost a loved one
  • what you wish you had said to a departed loved one
  • how you might rewrite or revise a conversation that went awry
  • how you might repair words said under stress or duress
  • talking with certain others: your child; your boss or employee; your spouse/ significant other; a stranger;your pets
  • changing bad communication habits (e.g. situational cursing)
  • revising road rage thoughts or talk
  • improving specific kinds of situations in which you have trouble communicating
  • finding just the “right words” (e.g. editing)
  • self-talk: positive affirmations
  • self-talk: revising negative self-talk
  • other-talk: revising critical harping or gossip

Origami Mouths For Conversation, Discussion Or Communicating

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Please feel free to share your results, comments, insights, and stories!

Better Communication to You! – Linda

Better Communicating

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This week let’s return a bit more to the original gist of our Better Endings theme. How might creatively revising a movie ending or the outcome of an historical event, for example, empower us to constructively apply that same revisionist approach to improving situations in our lives? So this week, let’s consider how we might apply the revisionist principle of Better Endings to situations involving COMMUNICATION. This might apply especially to situations where communication has gone awry or where you might tend to falter in specific kinds of communication situations.

For example, what about email communication snafus? I remember how after email had recently come out in the 90’s, it was difficult to hold a genuine conversation because we (myself, anyway) had not yet learned how to express our feelings well through email. I nearly lost a longtime, good friend because we each thought the other was sounding uncharacteristically gruff or crisp with each other over some trivial matter. I don’t even remember what the issue was that blew up to the point that we stopped interacting at all for over a year! Let me practice a Better Endings revision of how our communication might have gone differently with greater awareness, or mindfulness, on both of our parts.

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Scenario: Over the telephone (Lindy in Colorado, Molly in Arizona):

Molly: Well, you should know I didn’t mean it that way.

Lindy:  I know! Isn’t that awful how easy it is for people to misread each other’s tone of voice in email? I apologize for assuming anything less than the best of you, Molly.

M: Should we just stop using email altogether?

L: I don’t know. Is there some way we could communicate better with email, in a more personal way? It is convenient, day to day.

M: Well, some of my friends use those emoticons. Maybe we could try adding some of those to express our feelings better.

L: Okay. I’ll look for some. We could also maybe try putting more context into what we are saying.

M: You mean like just explaining ourselves better instead of being ‘short’?

L: Hey, I’m the Shortie! Just kidding. But that’s part of it too I guess; we should feel free to check each other’s intentions if we see something we might be misinterpreting.

M: Ok. Let’s not let it get away from us like that again. I do care about you—you know that, don’t you?

L: Of course I do, Molly. I think of you as a friend for life!

M: Me, too.

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Tomorrow I’ll provide a list of Writer’s Prompts around this weekly theme of applying Better Endings to communication situations.  Feel free to Comment with your insights and send stories! Thanks for reading! 🙂 🙂 :-)))