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!

Leadership Quotes

Quotes from Goodreads :

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“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
― Dolly Parton

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“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth RevisAcross the Universe

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“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
― Lao Tzu

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images from pixabay.com

A Learning Encounter

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At the end of each month I will share a personal story about our monthly Archetype theme. The month of December being associated astrologically with the Sagittarian TEACHER archetype, let me share with you a story of how teaching/learning has enhanced my Life Path.

One of my greatest Learning—and Teacher–encounters I associate with one of my greatest Mentors, Dr. Antoinette Mann Paterson (or as her closest students would lovingly call her, ‘Tone-the-Bone Paterson’). She wrote a book called The Infinite Worlds of Giordano Bruno. Toni Paterson was a professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, my undergraduate alma mater.

Toni was a beguiling, dynamic professor and a strong friend. She would stand before a large class of students and teach often with her eyes closed. Then she would pop her eyes open to stare at one student and ask a direct question, waiting for their answer before continuing. She is the person I have blogged about before who handed an acorn to her son in a park and declared, “There is God!” She also took a nap every day on a little cot at her home. She told me this was so that “Every day, I swim in the Ocean!” Mind you, this was in Buffalo, New York.

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One Fall day in Buffalo on campus, I encountered Toni P. while I was walking between classes. I hadn’t seen her since over the summer.

“Can I take an Independent Study with you this semester?” I queried.

“What topic?” she asked.

On the spot and not having thought in advance of this chance encounter with my mentor, I answered what came to mind: “Silence. A         philosophy of Silence.”

“See me next Monday. 10 AM, my office.”

That Monday when I went to Toni’s office for our first session, shortly after some small talk about how I had been (I was feeling down over some emotional issues), she directed  me:

“So take out a pencil and a piece of paper.” (I did.) “Now, write down this question: ‘So … What?’ Answer that question for next week. I’ll see you then.”

All week I researched philosophical and poetic or literary topics that might pertain to this topic. “So What?” suddenly seemed to me the most vital, important question I had ever considered. “So What?” was the question of existence (Descartes) or of transcendence (as in a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay where he spoke of identity as a “transparent eyeball”).

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The next Monday I arrived with many pages of notes. Toni never asked to see them. Instead she brought me to a table where she had laid out a large sheet of sketch-pad paper. With a marker she began to form a diagram. Who? What? Where? When? Why? These were words she wrote around the borders of the page.

“Where do these intersect?” she probed.

I didn’t understand.

Toni then drew lines from each of the bounding terms that intersected squarely at the center of the page. She wrote one word: “W-H-A-N”. “Whan!” she said, pleased. That is the answer to “So, what?” WHAN!!!

And she was so right! Whan certainly was the correct answer to, “So what?”  It came to mean, for me, that the answer is not materialistic. “Whan” means “It Just Is!” and that is Enough! Where all the WH-Questions combine and intersect and even cancel each other out, see? There doesn’t need to be a substantive answer. IT JUST IS! Life Just IS, and that is Enough. That is Good; Life is Good. WHAN!

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We read a lot that semester, and I journalled a lot—about the nature of existence and about the nature of Silence. Whan is a principle that ever since, I associate with my own Silence. I see it everywhere, hear it whispered in all of existence. It is associated for me with a Word found in many religions, too: HU! This is an ancient, sacred name for God found in many religions and sung as a mantra or song of love for God (on the outgoing breath as H-u-u-u-u-u-u). While in college around that time I was also studying James Joyce’s ULYSSES. In the structural center of the text (however I may have figured that out back then), I found these lines:

“What’s the word?”

“HU!” A bird, sitting on a wire, chirped…

So, WHAN! And, that’s enough then.

Merry Christmas to All.

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images from pixabay.com

“I Get It” Now…Better Endings from Listening to Your Mentors           

 

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For this month’s topic of how the Teacher Archetype as a persona Ally can help us to attain Better Endings in our lives, here is a suggestion for this week:

Think about how you have learned and grown from what your own finest Mentors have helped you to understand. Then also, what would you hope for those whom you love and care for to potentially learn from your own experience, too?

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To light this idea, I’ll share a bit by way of example from my own experience. I have been fortunate to have had several excellent mentors in my life. Allow me to list just a few of their insights and suggestions that, in retrospect, at some point I have come to value and apply.

  • “Listen!” : When I first went to Zuni Pueblo some 31 years ago (I was back there this past weekend!), I was told by the Tribal Council members to seek out a particular man (now deceased, so I will not use his name here) about my dissertation project. This amazing man was a mentor for me with respect to that project and life generally. He advised me not to come to Zuni with a head full of questions based on theories of what I thought I needed to “study.” Rather I should LISTEN with an open heart and mind; “They will know what they are supposed to tell you,” he said. Also, he said, “Never forget that it is about PEOPLE (not ideas or things or theories).” I get it now; he was so right. Only by suspending my own preconceived ideas was I able over time to HEAR a very different set of perspectives on the topic I did interview people about and eventually published about, hopefully with their sake in view. And that remains my approach to collaborative projects today. I share this advice with students in my own classes, and I encourage them as well to “pass it forward.”

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  • “You see yourself in others”: This old adage passed to me from my Father has often served as a good reminder to take full responsibility for my own attitudes instead of foisting them onto others. It reminds me that others may sometimes unconsciously project their own attitudes or values onto me. This helps me to forgive and at the same time not to ‘own’ what is not mine nor to react to that which is projected.

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  • “You must learn to trust yourself with another” : I have learned over forty some years since receiving this advice from a beloved friend that this line helps me to apply ‘right discernment’ in my life regarding relationships of all sorts.  I have learned that with this IDEAL in mind I must weigh the degree to which—or the level at which–I ‘should’ in fact trust another. Not everyone requires or perhaps is ‘worthy’ of or desirous of that level of connection. But those that ARE/DO are GOLDEN.  I am so grateful for the true friends I have connected with deeply, and I know this level of trust comes with equal reciprocity. I wish this for all to discover!

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“There is God!”: This is from a story a beloved professor-mentor once share with me, from a story about her interaction with her son. Taking him to a park one day, she picked up an Acorn and showed it to him. THERE IS GOD!, she uttered. However her son might remember this insight, I myself shall never forget it! This mentor, Toni Paterson, a philosopher, had only oak furniture in her home, from Salvation Armie stores. The Oak was her unifying symbol.

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images from pixabay.com

So that’s where this reflection about my own Life Lessons from just a few of the dearest mentors in my life takes me to initially.  I will continue to journal this week about my Mentors’ good advice that has indeed led to many of my own ‘better ending’ experiences.

I encourage you to journal about and/or contemplate about your Mentors, too! As always I will welcome your Comments and stories!

 

Mentors, Masters, and Friends: Alchemical Conversation

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Continuing this week’s theme of exploring mindful communication, and as an emerging life mapping tool, today I’d like to explore and invite a review of how mentors, Masters, family and friends have helped us learn important Life Lessons.  I invite you to do this for your own life history.  As we’ve also been a mentor, a teacher, family and friend in turn, we can also reflect some on lessons others may have gained from their conversations with us. Of course, it is always reciprocal.

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I believe in synchronicity. Every relation opens a unique window on another’s world. Every Lesson is a stepping stone along our individual spiritual Quests. When I reflect about the gifts I have received from Mentors and Friends, I find their gifts of insight and understanding have often come through what I have been looking at this week as “alchemical conversation”.  By this I mean a kind of conversation that may start as mundane or ordinary, but develops to a level of profound sharing. You walk into your mentor’s space with a question, or your friend asks how you are feeling that day. What follows in your conversation probes a topic deeply, wending like a spiral to deeper and deeper and then higher and higher levels of insight or empathetic understanding. Time seems to disappear.  Space may seem to expand within the bubble that frames you and your mentor or friend.  At some point you, together with your friend, achieve an epiphany, a realization of clarity that goes further than your original question. This is the Gold forged from the refined lead of shared experience.

I’ll share a brief summary from my own life mapping review:

Early Childhood (7-12): Karen/ Friend:

Life Lessons: Sharing imaginary playworlds, creativity unfolds in tandem with unlimited potential. Be flexible, listen, share. Friendship is Golden.

Teen Years (13-18): Barbara, Friend:

Art holds many answers and opens mysteries; it exposes elements of the Inner as well as the Outer. Adventure and Freedom require self-responsibility. Friendship is Golden.

High School: Mr. Scelsa/ English Teacher:

Teaching requires humility; if a student 30 years later acts on something you helped him learn, without remembering who he learned it from, being a teacher matters and is worthwhile.

Late Teen Years, College and beyond: Diane M./ Mentor and Friend:

Everything is possible. Hone your talents to realize your potentials. Never lose the Innocence of being a Seeker of Truth. Friendship is eternally Golden.

Undergrad College years (Buffalo, NY, 18-22): Toni P./ Mentor, Philosopher:

Be amazed by the depths of Life; “Bathe in the Ocean, daily.”

College Fencing Coach and teammate/Friend, Ro (19-22):

Teamwork and individual practice allow your abilities to shine. Reach for a Star! Explore life deeply.

Late college through Grad School years:

Zee (Master): Explore other dimensions, practice dreamwork and contemplation. Find your own answers inwardly; surrender Ego.

Pattie (Friend): “Drop, Kick!”

Chela/ Ariel (Feline Friends): Unconditional Love remains in the Heart wherever you might travel.

Colorado (38-59):

Zee and Friends: In service is your Reward.

KC/ GM (Partner/ Friend): Love is forever; Unconditional Love.

Luisa (Mentor): Excellence grows from within!

Denise (Friend): There is No Box!

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What really IS Alchemical Conversation? Socratic dialogue is a well-known variety. DIALECTICAL conversation would be another name used, because a dialectical conversation moves from one pole of contrasting principles to the other and achieves a Synthesis which is greater than either polarity. Archetypal dialogue, which I employ with the Life Maps Process, can also facilitate Better Endings. But now I like the idea of Alchemical Conversation, which has just come through for me via the blog posts and responses this week! What I am trying to refer you to are those sorts of connections which engage you so deeply that you reach beyond where you have been, reciprocally in conversation, or it could also result from reading, listening deeply to music, immersing in Art, playing with a pet, or “taking in” the beauty of a landscape! I would never be where I am now in life (and won’t otherwise get to where I’m yet aiming to arrive!) except for these sorts of engagement. I was fortunate from a young age to connect Soul-to-Soul with Friends who have opened Doors for me that have led to unlimited exploration!  You, too? Let’s celebrate our Connections then!

I invite your Comments and Stories!

Chela and Ariel–A Better Endings Pet Reincarnation Story

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I know that not everyone accepts or is interested in the idea of reincarnation. If not, that is fine, but please humor my story today. I want to tell a true, Better Endings story which I associate with pet reincarnation, but you are welcome to interpret the story however you like.

Chela was an orange tabby/calico cat that I shared my life with for 11 years. Chela was an amazing feline friend. She would ride around the house with me, draped across my shoulders. Outside, we would play a game where I would chase her in a big circle around the back yard; then I would turn around, and Chela would chase me! We were very bonded. Chela relocated with me on my “Big Move” from Buffalo to Arizona (see that story here from Feb.5). She also came with me for my dissertation study year at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She was my touchstone there, or should I say a refuge of the Heart.

When I returned from Zuni to Arizona, I spent 6 months as an intern at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Chela couldn’t be with me then, so she stayed with a friend in Phoenix. At night in Flagstaff, though, I would close my eyes while sitting up in bed playing a recorder instrument to the tune of “Greensleeves”. I would imagine that Chela was with me then.

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Chela developed a severe arthritic condition in her spine, so I had to let her go when she was only eleven. She appeared to me about a week after her passing. In a dream just before waking, I went to pull an envelope with a picture of her from my chest (heart) pocket. Instead, Chela energetically walked out from the envelope, as if to say, “Don’t remember me as a dead form; I am here with you now; I am still living, as Soul!” Chela then led me to where she was staying on the ‘other side’. She brought me to a beautiful, verdant clearing in a wooded valley, full of trees on the perimeter, and colorful flowers, and animals of all sorts! There was a small, wooden stage in the middle of the clearing.  Chela jumped up onto the stage and addressed her animal friends:

“This is Linda; she’s the one I’ve been telling you about!”

So, I went onto the stage with Chela and said hello to her animal friends.

Around 11 months later, I had another dream one morning. I was returning in the dream from a castle where I had been visiting a friend who had been a mentor for me before she herself had passed on, my philosophy teacher from undergraduate college, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (Toni). She had been the person who had introduced me to Chela one day when I went to her college office for an Independent Study session.

               “So, do you want to see the most beautiful Being in the Universe?” she had asked.

               “Yes!” I answered, and little kitten form Chela, who had been delivered to the Philosophy Dept. office in a box from a student, slept in my arms during our session and came home with me that day.

So, 11 years and 11 months later, in my dream I was leaving this castle area after visiting with Toni, and I saw at the entrance gateway a beautiful little female, fully grown, black-and-white-with-orange-splotches cat. I knelt down with my heart full of gratitude to greet and pet her as we felt like very old friends.

That very morning, I went to my university in Tempe, AZ  (ASU), where I met with my main mentor there, my Ph.D. advisor, Betsy. The first words out of her mouth to me that morning were:

               “Could you possibly take a kitten?”

               “Only if she is black-and-white-with-orange-splotches!” I laughed.

                “One of them is!” Betsy answered.

Ariel (that kitten-cat) was a Harlequin, tortoise shell, Calico. She had Chela’s orange-white tabby stripes etched lightly on her forepaws and temples! Ariel and I were close companion family for 20 years. Whenever I would play “Greensleeves”—as I often did—on the same recorder instrument I had played on in Flagstaff, wherever Ariel was and whatever she was doing, she would jump up onto my chest and purr loudly, rubbing affectionately. I played “Greensleeves” also on the day she departed again; this time, she passed away at home, in my arms. I felt she was graduating from the Physical plane altogether this time, progressing as Soul to become an angelic spirit-form. I have seen her since, but in forms I shall not venture to share here. As I say often to all of my pets now, our love is Forever, “twenty-four seven, times Eternity”!