Thursday, June 17, 2010

How NOT to Communicate

Heather, a good friend of mine, just had the oddest experience -- and there are some lessons on communication in it for us all.

Heather founded a sort of meditation and psychic development group, which she ran for many years. She gave up running it some years ago when she had her first child, and almost immediately realized that she didn't even have the time or attention to attend. Everyone wished her well, and she remained on good terms with the group, even visiting occasionally to share some new discovery she'd made.

The group recently decided to make a big push for a day-long alumni gathering, which was also envisioned as a sort of outreach for new members.  They sent a mass email to everyone on their mailing list, which included both past and potential members, and then followed it up with a posting on Facebook, again inviting everyone with whom the group was 'friends', and later, several follow up emails.

Heather saw the group email, and while she was supportive, decided it wasn't all that important for her to go, as her now 10 year old son had a baseball game that day. To be honest, her feelings were a bit hurt that she hadn't been asked to help plan the day, or even a part of it.

A few days before the event, she began to get phone calls from current group members, including the person now running the group. "Are you coming?", they all began, and continued on the themes of 'it's going to be amazing', as well as 'we love you, we miss you, and we want you here'.

Heather calmly explained the situation, including her scheduling and emotional conflicts. When she spoke about her feelings, the group leader said, "But I did contact you -- I sent you a message on Facebook!"  Heather checked, and sure enough, there was a message asking for her participation. It was cleverly entitled, "Psychic community gathering -- my angel wants to talk to your angel!", sent after the announcement of the event. Of course we all know that it's normal to schedule and begin promoting events long before you plan their details. But Heather assumed that the 'my angel' message was another Facebook group event invitation, of which she gets 2 or 3 a day, and ignored it. 

The moral of the story here is:

Do NOT rely on any one method of communication to reach someone! 

In these times of communication overload, when we are all bombarded by email, voice mail, and text messages, not to mention Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, yahoogroups, various chats and other services too numerous to mention, it's important to either
  • Find out what mode of communication works best for each person with whom you communicate, or 
  • Use several modes of communication in parallel, especially if it's important
Further, writing a personal message is NOT like writing a headline. In a headline, you are aiming to intrigue. In a personal message, it's more important to be direct. To that end:
  •  Make sure your subject line is specific, to the point and accurate, lest it be misinterpreted. 
  •  If your message is personal, the title should indicate it's a personal message, especially if you are sending it on one of the big services. 
If you don't receive a timely response, follow up on your first communications with a second round, again in a simultaneous manner with a specific, and clear subject that this time shows some urgency. This time, use all possible methods, and use the telephone, if possible. Many people will understand the urgency of a telephone call. 

(For a discussion of how all this information overload is affecting us, please see this.)

In the end, the onslaught of phone calls, along with the discussions that resulted from them, ironed out all difficulties. Heather was happy to let her husband take their son to his game, so that she could present a new technique at the gathering. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Love and Respect

If I had a dime for every time I heard someone, usually a woman (but it happens to men, too), say she wasn't feeling loved by her significant other, I'd be a very wealthy woman. And I think she's often confusing love with respect.

Love is a feeling. It is literally a cord running between your heart and your partner's, with energy flowing both ways. This is why many people, when they describe love, describe it as a warm feeling in their heart. They are literally feeling that flow of non-physical energy. Love is something that just exists. You can feel it, or not, but it is still there. You are made of the stuff of the universe, which in some sense, is love. So being loved, living in love is your birthright. You are loved by the universe simply because you exist.

Respect, on the other hand, is something you earn. You earn it through your actions, or perhaps your words or your choices, because in some sense, they are actions.

So you can be loved without being respected. Think of how you love a pet, especially if the pet pees on the living room rug. You feel the tug in your heart, the love, and you forgive it. Do you respect your pet? Not so much.

You can also be respected without being loved. This is the norm in work situations. You expect to be spoken to respectfully, to have requests made of you, rather than having orders barked at you (even if they're really orders). You expect that your opinion will be at least requested, if not acted upon, before a major change in something which is in your area of expertise and/or authority. If they don't respect your work, or your work ethic (showing up late, messing up assignments, etc.), eventually you're gone. But that warm, fuzzy feeling around your heart? It's not there, you don't even expect it to be there.

The problem is that some relationships, like intimate ones with significant others, have to be relationships of both love and respect, in order to work right.

If you are loved, but not respected in an intimate relationship, you'll end up feeling worse and worse about yourself. When you accept disrespect, rather than standing up to it, especially when it is fed to you as a steady diet, you only have two choices. You can either agree with the other person's low opinion of you, and think less of yourself; or you can disagree with that opinion, and think less of yourself for not standing up to it. Either way, you feel worse about yourself. (Abusers count on this.)

If you are respected, but not loved, in an intimate relationship, you'll feel that lack of warmth around your heart, and will know at a deep level that something is missing, even if on the surface, nothing is wrong.

So when a relationship isn't working, ask yourself: is it the love that's missing? or the respect?  And is there anything I can do to change that?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Using 4 Models of Time to Create Your Ideal Life

We generally assume we live in a three dimensional world, that is, length, width and height (or the x, y and z axes of Cartesian coordinates). The truth is that we live in a four dimensional world. The fourth dimension is time. It seems to me that you can't have physical reality without time, because then things would literally run into each other constantly.

Over the millenia, how people think about time has changed. I know of three models:
  • cyclical time
  • linear time
  • ever present time
In cyclical time, the time of ancient people (and still the time of plants and animals), we live in the rhythm of days and nights, as well as the cycles of the moon and of the seasons. For example, Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon (calculating the Paschal full moon is complicated).The image for this is a circle, or perhaps a spiral.

In linear time, we are on a sort of railroad track from the past to the future. We can look behind us, or in front of us, but we can't revisit the past, nor can we jump to a future date without going through all the dates between now and then. The image for this, obviously, is a straight line.

In ever-present time,  we focus on the idea that in non-physical reality, all time is somehow simultaneous, that is, that all time is the present.The image for this is a bubble, with you, creating physical time, sitting in the center of it.

I was recently shown that there is, in fact, a fourth model of time. It is a composite of the other three. Imagine the three dimensional bubble moving along a straight line in a flat plane (with the two dimensions of the plane representing three dimensional reality), with a spiral of time moving down around the bubble, perpendicular to the plane in which the bubble is moving. That is, although you act in this three dimensional world, your consciousness is pulling one probably reality into physical existence from the many which exist in non-physical ones.

How do you select one probable reality from the many which exist? Emotion.

Why emotion? This has been emphasized ad nauseam by Abraham, as channeled by Esther Hicks. I have to say this puzzled me for the longest time, but the answer is actually quite simple: most human emotions are those of the body, which is physical, not those of the soul, which is not. Human bodily emotion is what pulls things into the physical world, because it is the only way for the body to experience the events desired by the soul.