Archive | March, 2011

Addendum to The Picker

26 Mar

I’m perplexed. Actually more than that– I’m disappointed, awed, kind of disgusted too. I’ve asked some of my closest friends recently about the disappearance of chivalry. No, this is not a women’s liberation blog…a plight for the power of the female. This IS about respect and love and compassion though, and just a genuine desire to be treated well and to feel meaningful and to not walk away from an experience asking “what just happened?”

This is an addendum to The Picker blog I wrote recently. So I am, in my typical, analytical fashion, rethinking some things, and I’d like to add something to that entry. I want to be picked…sought after…wooed (:), yes, I just said that). And then I want to have a choice. How’s that? Too much to ask? But I have some stipulations. The wooing needs to be done in a certain way. Here are my thoughts.

As human beings we move toward people because it is the connection between others that gives us a sense of meaning and importance. Chivalry– I looked it up. I wanted to know how it was defined outside of how I’d imagined it in my mind.  I want to walk away from experiences feeling meaningful and well taken care of. Who doesn’t?

First, here was my image: a gentleman, opening the door for a lady, pulling out her chair; a gentleman “caller” contacting a lady to ask for her company….ahead of time…to allow her time to rearrange her schedule if need be; when together, a gentleman asking a lady questions, showing interest and intrigue regarding who she is; not interrupting while she is speaking; and perhaps I’m old fashioned….paying for dinner. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms (close! very close to what I imagined); and gallant warriors or gentlemen. (There’s that word again- gentleman.  And “gallant”!! Now that one produces some vivid imagery!)

Okay, so I wasn’t completely off. I went further than adjectives and broke it down into actual behaviors. What do you think? Those I listed are MY ideal qualifications. Maybe some ladies do not care about how people behave around them (if that’s the case; I’d like to talk to you!), but I think we should all expect respect.  Gay, straight, male, female….whoever you are, we all should behave respectfully too.

In conclusion, if you desire respect, demonstrate respect. Be choosy of your friends and partners. Pick people who you want to be like and who are positive and virtuous in the ways that are important to you. Pick away, and if you’re picked by a less than respectful person, know that you have the choice to remain in a pickle or to pick again!


Something’s Gotta Give…Learn to Face Your Music!

18 Mar

“Something’s gotta give….”

What exactly does this mean? When I hear it I think of some magical little fairy appearing suddenly and with a little flit of her finely sculpted fairy nose, she takes away the shrouding sorrows of an ailing person. Ummm…gimme a break!

Okay, perhaps I’m a little hard. Calloused? I realize that “something’s gotta give” is likely an expression of exasperation….a sentiment designed to display displeasure about a situation and a desire for change.  So….what’s that statement followed up with? A fairy certainly is not going to appear to remove the obstructions, the tasks that seem to be piling up, or those negative, stress-laden feelings. 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: suffering is a product of one’s pushing away what needs to be faced. It’s the action of putting that hand up and shoving what we already see but don’t want to address that causes us the most strife. Sure! It’s going to hurt sometimes when we do make the decision to look at the problem, the wound, whatever is causing the pain, but sweeping it under the rug so it has a chance to fester and become an even bigger gaping sore doesn’t seem to me to be the best strategy for dealing with life.

Whoever decides to use these words to express discontent is exactly right! Something has got to give, and that something is themselves giving attention to and directing greater awareness toward the areas in life that are causing dissonance.

 If you have watched American Idol lately and heard J-Lo talking about some “pitchiness and screetching”, you know what dissonance is. Guaranteed the singer who got this comment isn’t going to ignore it though. He’s going to go record his songs, assess what’s happening, listen to his music, practice the notes, make sure they are right on for his next performance, and face the music!!


15 Mar

Aren’t there enough gurus and coaches out there preaching about how best to set goals and live your life to the fullest, achieve your dreams, be your best, and create your most optimal life? Maybe not! We hear this stuff over and over and over again, but how many of us actually begin to implement it?  Maybe  if we hear it more we might adopt some of the behaviors that effectively get us that much closer to fulfilling what we want most to accomplish. Or even better, maybe we’ll hear something that actually makes sense and gets to the heart of what goals are all about!

We might come away from an article thinking, “Wow! That’s so awesome! I’m going to start doing that right away!” or “Look at what that person accomplished! Donald Miller’s “a million miles and a thousand years” really does have some merit!”

But what comes after that? Writing down your goals may not be enough. Sure, it gets it out in front of you. But there’s more to a goal than just words on paper. It has to mean something.  It has to have fire beneath it. And it has to give you something to move on.  I’m going to be your guru for now and make some suggestions that you can consider incorporating into your goal-setting arsenal. You’ve undoubtedly heard some of this, but there might be a new morsel that you haven’t considered.

1. Identify your goal: what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to have a baby? Eat more fruits and vegetables? Lower your cholesterol? Start a business? You must state this in a way that gives you direction.  “I will not chew on my nails” isn’t  necessarily positive and doesn’t give you an action to take.  Write your goal without using NOT. What WILL you do?

2. Identify what you will get out of achieving this goal.  How will you feel when you accomplish it? When you have a baby will you finally feel like you get to nurture something/someone? Are you looking for autonomy and financial freedom by starting a business?

3. Identify the pros AND cons to the goal you have set.  Many people don’t realize that the goal they have set may not be exactly what they want, but it’s what they deem, at the time, will solve another problem.  Having a baby, for example, can mean no sleep, a lot of additional expenses, and less freedom. If these things are values of yours, having a baby may not be what you want to move toward.  If having a baby means being able to nurture someone and be a caretaker, and those are important to you, there are other things out there like being a Big Brother or Big Sister or taking a missions trip that might fulfill that same desire for you.

4. Identify the adjectives (describing words) that you are desiring. This is an important step and can give you more clarity about your values and the reasons you do what you do. Think in terms of appearance, conduct, and feeling. For example, perhaps you value beauty or glamor; maybe you want to feel inspired and excited more. Could be that you want creative, stable, secure or the ability to be helpful

5. Now rewrite your goal.

The statement you make may not have to be huge.  Unless huge is what you desire!

To Castigate is to Castrate!

8 Mar

If you’re engaging in castigation, it better lead to conflagration!!

No, this is not a vocabulary lesson or a test of mental gymnastics! Well, on second thought…

See definitions below.

Castigate: to put down, to criticize, to chastise

Castrate: you know what this means literally! In the psychological sense it means to render impotent, to remove of confidence, strength, or power!

Conflagrate: to combust, burst into flames, or catch fire

My point is this: we all, at some point, lambast ourselves over something we’ve done, something we’ve said,or an act that upon looking back we cannot believe we engaged in. We may say some incredibly mean and hurtful things to ourselves. “You idiot! What are you thinking?!” “What are you, a freaking moron?! Who says that?!” “Are you ever going to learn?” “You’re dumber than a rock. You might as well give up now.” These words may be the words you have heard from someone in your life or words you learned to chastise yourself with early on. No doubt, they typically do not lead anywhere good, leaving you deflated and empty. These words are castrating and demeaning. They are ridden with negativity and harshness, of despondency and lack of compassion. And they castrate your passion.

These words can be changed though. As entrenched as they may be, like caverns in your brain, they too can be eroded and turned into energy that burns much brighter, fires you up, and directs you toward something motivating. Your mind is power. You are the only one who controls it. It’s your  greatest asset.

If you are challenged with negative thoughts and engage in castigation, I encourage you to use it to move toward conflagration. Who enjoys hearing day after day a friend complain about the same thing? Who appreciates more and can support and motivate with greater ease and admiration the person who may complain  but dives into assessing the situation with gusto and fire and animation?!

Time to cut the cord between castigation and castration and tie  your ball and chain to conflagration!

Okay, bad joke.  😉 (But now you won’t forget!)

The Picked or the Picker?

3 Mar

I realized something today….well, I’ve realized it multiple times throughout my  life, but let’s say it came to me again today. This time I listened. I saw. I felt. I tasted. In other words, I paid attention. Why now? It’s intriguing to me how circumstances can be revealed to us in various ways many times, but we often won’t take stock of them until the time is right. I’m convinced it happens this way because when we’re first presented with them or it, we may just not be ready developmentally to do anything with it. Case in point: I’ve perpetually been picked. In my relationships, up until the age of 30, I was chosen. I had choices, but I just went with the flow, being picked. My motto would have inappropriately been “Choosy moms choose Jiff.” Nope, that wasn’t me. Those of you who know me well now might be surprised about this. Despite having what I feel has been a good sense of what I want, I didn’t actualize it. Perhaps I didn’t feel I could get there or realize it or make it come to fruition! Or maybe I was initially reluctant of the work it would take to make that happen! I guess that’s the name of the game right there: MAKE it happen. I often let things happen, let the chips fall as they may, always a great cleaner-upper but rarely the person who got to decide what needed to be cleaned!

I think a lot of people are content to let others make the decisions for them. To each his own. I, however, have discovered that I’d like to be the picker. I like going after what is important to me. I want to demand more of myself and of what is a part of my life than what’s just immediately in front of me and picked by others. I want to  know that I gave everything my best shot. I will be choosy, discerning of what’s in my best interest, and create an environment that is congruent with my goals and needs and ethics. And I encourage you to do the same.

Ask yourself how often you’ve really been the picker as opposed to the picked. May not sound too attractive, but I know which path I’m picking!

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