I recently attended a conference which was populated with amazing, young social entrepreneurs and people ready to make significant change in their world.
Young people concerned with food security for the most vulnerable on the planet, those concerned with helping adolescents with HIV Aids to live a full life and others still who were just looking for a cause.
Here is what I know for sure…
They all need a mentor, a guide who can listen to their thoughts, their visions and their big dreams.
I know this because I so desperately needed mentors through the various stages of my life.
I had great and supportive teachers in high school, in college and graduate school. Then I was in the work world and had no one to turn to for help with my career.
I did not even know what my skills were.
I had no idea what questions to ask or who to turn to for guidance.
As I was wrapping up my presentation from the stage at this conference I said, “I am 61 and I know what it’s like to be working in the dark. I know what it’s like to have a vision that no one else can understand and how easy it is to begin the toxic process of self doubt.”
I offered to be a mentor to those who needed one.
A few young women came up during the course of the weekend and asked me to mentor them and with each request my heart grew wider and warmer and I know what an honor it is to be the attentive ears for these future leaders.
My ask for you is to offer yourself to mentor others.
It does not matter how old or young you are, someone needs what you have.
When I was that small and beaten child in Trinidad, what I would have given to someone to have seen my pain and acknowledged it and given me some soft ears to speak my pain.
I know that it would have made my pain sting less.
I recently reached out to an acquaintance and asked how they were doing, and the litany of complaints began. I immediately felt deflated. I felt like saying, has nothing positive happened in this whole year?
I did not. Instead I just listened and made an excuse and got off the telephone.
If we wish to elevate our spirit, we must choose carefully the kind of person with whom we commune.
Now, comes the scary question, what life language do you speak?
Are you one of the people who is uplifting or down putting?
If you don’t know, try listening to yourself.
If you don’t know how to listen to yourself, then ask a trusted friend how you come across and promise them to not shoot the messenger.
One Sunday night, I was watching the Mentalist on TV (LOVE that show) and one of the male detectives asked his male partner if he should get married.
The partner simple said, “You want it to be my call?”
Simply Brilliant Writing!
How often though do we ask others about some of the MOST important decisions in our lives?
We PRETEND that others have more wisdom about our own selves than we do.
It has to be a pretense because YOU are your own expert.
The trick to accessing your wisdom is to be silent and to ask yourself a simple question about the “thing” you are trying to evaluate.
Let’s do an example:
Let’s say you have met someone and want to know if you should go on a date. Instead of calling up all your friends who HAVE NOT MET this person, sit in silence and look for signs in your body of serenity and peacefulness and YES, excitement.
Not an anxious excitement, but a buzzing and soft excitement that alerts you to something sweet about to happen.
In order to access these messages you will have to practice with everyday decisions and get fluent in understanding your own body and the way it talks to you.
It will help to do meditation on a fairly regular basis and you will learn how to “read” your body.
We all have people like this in our lives. They just seem to get under our skin. They know just what to say and when to say it and before you know it you are upset, crying or yelling and it feels like they have won….again.
This used to happen to me all the time. It used to feel like I walked into the trap and stayed in the trap even as I saw they were springing it on me….again!
The one BIG mistake that I used to make was this… I used to think that the people who did this to me cared about me.
When I began to realize that these people only liked to hear themselves talk, it was easier for me to untangle myself from their traps. I began to really listen to their words, the ACTUAL words, and I began to ASK them what they meant?
When a family member says, “Well that’s just how you are.”
I now say, “What exactly do you mean?”
I noticed that the speaker would do a double take and would begin to trip over their words.
They began to say things like, “Oh, nothing really.” Or “Well I was just making a joke.”
Then I could say, “What was the joke?” Or “Was the joke at MY expense?”
I chose to react in this way until I felt that I broke the other person of their behaviors with me.
I chose to uninstall the buttons that used to be pushed all the time.
I must tell you, it takes time and patience but it was well worth my time an attention.
It was worth the time investment because it showed that I respected myself and that I expected others to respect me as well.
Just to reiterate my strategy:
I. I would ask for clarity.
2. I would ask for further clarity.
3. I would then pin point the “dig” and ask for even more clarity.
Please note that I was NOT concerned on who would like me, or who would judge me. I only focused on standing up for myself.
Love and light,
Indrani (Reminding you to stand up for yourself in the face of verbal bullies.)
When animals get hurt, their wounds heal a little thicker and stronger.
Maybe that’s where the saying “thick-skinned” comes from.
This thickened flesh is called Proud Flesh.
Recently, I visited a shelter for women who had been burned by fire, and survived.
Their scars were visible and clear and it transformed them into people they did not recognize.
These transformations not only took place on the outside, with proud flesh, but also on the inside.
Some of them realized how precious their lives were.
They realized how much their children needed them, in ways they had not before the incident.
They found ways to fight through physical and emotional pain and to come out ahead.
One woman lifted up her arm to me and I thought she wanted to give me a high five. The therapist then told me she was showing me that she had regained control of her muscles and that meant she was a winner. I ran over and hugged her so tight, I may have squished her.
We were both giggling.
One of the stories stuck with me. One woman’s husband suspected her of infidelities that were all untrue. He wrapped his hands with a cloth soaked in gasoline, set them on fire and then he rushed and embraced his wife so they would both die. She managed to get away and her daughters are proud of her. She has healed and she is teaching her girls to be strong and fight back.
While at the shelter, the girls sang and danced for me and the mom, stood proudly on the side beaming with both her thickened skin and her thin skin that was not scorched. Her girls hugged her around her waist and one said to me “This is my mother.” The pride in them was palpable and the joy in her eyes could’ve lit up a whole city.
This woman has found a way to transcend her tragedy and focus instead on the love that still exists in her life.
When I think of my own life, I wonder at how I have overcome my hardships and am thrilled at the lessons I have gleaned from them.
One of my biggest gifts is Presence. The presence of mind to see, hear, taste and feel what is happening in the moment.
Recently, I had such an awakening. While steeped in the “tea” of the argument, I saw all the stuff around me. I noticed who was doing what, how they were responding, how I was responding and how I was processing the storm that was raging around me. I heard a soft voice say, “Save yourself” and I immediately stood up and left the toxic situation.
How could I hear that soft voice?
I could hear because I was listening. I was tuned into everything around me and NOT to defending myself.
There was no defense needed.
I was being accused.
I was put on trial.
I was convicted.
However, I remembered that I WAS NOT in a court of law. I was in my life. MY LIFE!
I choose to leave. I was already convicted, so what was the use of sticking around?
I offer the tool of Presence to you.
Try to stay in your own business.
How do you know if you are OUT of your business? The moment you ask, “Why is he/she acting/doing/behaving like…..”
These questions are a sure sign that you are trying to be in someone else’s head.
Devote your energy to questions like…
Why am I doing this?
Why do I want this? Or not want this.
What pattern can I see here that distresses me?
Do I really want to change that pattern?
Am I ready to suffer the emotional pain that I will feel when I attempt to change the entrenched patterns that are causing emotional turmoil?
*********************** Try to stay out of defense.
You know that you are defending yourself when your words just want to erupt. It feels like you cannot hold them back. Your mouth is controlling you, instead of you controlling your own mouth. You feel
that if you speak THIS ONE thing to THIS PERSON, then you will be vindicated.
Both of you or a whole LOT of you are no longer in HEARING mode. Only mouths are working, and it is verbal diarrhea. You are puking and pooping all over each other AND you must leave the situation. If you
feel that you will be physically attacked if you try to leave, then you must call the authorities.
You are unsafe. You must get out.
Try to realize that NO AMOUNT of explaining can stop your accuser from
******************* Try to, as the soft voice said “Save yourself!”
How do you save yourself?
First, go to safety, a different room or house or city or country.
Only you can decide how far you must go to get away from the madness.
Then call a few trusted friends with whom you can weep and grieve.
Expect the pain to be severe and swift and expect to feel like you will die or at least drown.
It will also feel like you cannot breathe.
Yes, even breathing will take effort.
Your friends will remind you to breathe.
They will remind you about how wonderful you are.
You need SUPPORTIVE people.
Do not call people who will judge you or reprimand you.
Remember to treat yourself like a trusted friend.
Remember too, you must change to affect change.
Einstein said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
You must DO something different to GET something different.
Allow yourself time for healing.
Stay connected to you; stay present by not building cases against the other person and stop going over old scenarios of past hurts.
That is a waste of good energy.
Go for a walk.
Give these techniques a try and let me know how they work for you.
Love and light,
I did not feel like walking down the subway steps to take the train and the bus stop was right there. I also did not want to waste money on a taxi.
I walked into the yogurt shop and said, “Do you have change for the bus?”
I then saw the smile fade from his face.
At first I was confused…but then I realized what he was thinking.
So I quickly said, “Oh, do you think I am begging for bus fare?”
He nodded his head and I said, “No, I would like to trade you dollars for quarters.”
He was visibly relieved.
I knew I had a blog post.
What a gift to have seen on his face what he was thinking.
Here are some of the possible thoughts:
Oh no, not another pan handler!
Lady, get outta here!
I don’t have time for this!
It really made me realize that we humans open our mouth and speak…but we have NO CLUE what the listener hears.
THIS time, I was able to SEE it plain and simple.
I was able to address his concern and speak different words so he understood what I was saying.
I traded the dollars for quarters and left the shop.
The next time you say something and someone responds in a way that you don’t understand, take a step back and look for signs that something is already awry. It may be that the conversation just began but there is already miscommunication and nothing good can happen there.
It is best to try to get to the heart as soon as possible.
It is best to try to get back on track as soon as possible.
Is it easy?
There is no formula to fix it, but a simple “What did you understand from what I said?” may help.
Know what I can’t shake though?
The fact that there are thousands of folks out there who really need bus fare but they are faced with more rejection than they can handle.
But that’s another post isn’t it?
Love and light,
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