Sunday, October 27, 2019

Which Dialogue Zone Are You In?

As a child, I was fascinated by time zones.  We had moved from Iowa to California when I was 5 years old.  My grandparents remained in Iowa, two time zones away.  To call our grandparents, we would have to coordinate schedules... when were they at work or eating or sleeping.  My attempt to understand how my grandparents could have eaten their dinner already when we weren't even preparing for ours mystified me.  Were they living in the future?  Could they tell us the score of a baseball game?

Now that I travel for work and leisure, I retain some of this wonder.  I still coordinate schedules in order to call a loved one when I am multiple time zones ahead or behind but I now realize that we are each living in the same moment... even if the time is different.

What time zone do you live in?
I carry this same wonder when I attempt to practice my dialogue skills.  I am sometimes confused with a situation until I realize that others are seeing and experiencing the same reality... but individually.  In a way, we are in different dialogue zones.

For example, the foundations of reality -- the facts -- may be the same, but our paths toward understanding may diverge.  This awareness allows me freedom to ask questions and to explore interpretations or meanings that I haven't considered.  Dialogue, in a way, allows us the flexibility to coordinate schedules of understanding so that we are no longer disconnected by conclusions that separate us.

Are you confused when others see a situation differently?

Accepting that dialogue zones must be coordinated and examined provides opportunities -- or invitations -- to reconnect with a loved one, friend, and work colleague.  Unlike my childhood conclusion that my grandparents lived in the future, I can live in the moment with those I choose to sit with, listen to, and understand.

What dialogue zone would you like to inhabit?
As we enter a new week or awaken to a new day, let's consider the following questions:
  • Am I willing to release earlier conclusions that anchor me in my dialogue zone?
  • Can I entertain that another zone is as valid as mine?
  • What would it look like for me to schedule a visit to a friend's understanding of reality?

Happy travels this week as you explore your dialogue zone and others!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Single but Many

Since our country’s inception, our Founders and subsequent generations have struggled with how to balance our freedoms.  Examples of political tensions in my lifetime:
  • Which amendments take precedence over others;
  • How to view Federal and States rights;
  • The rights of the one (minority) versus the rights of the many (majority).

There is a healthy tension when we allow the pendulum of differences to swing back and forth as we respectfully try to understand other points of view.  But, the struggle becomes unbalanced when the majority no longer listens to the minority and the minority views the majority with suspicion.

Is it realistic to think that these encounters will be neat and orderly?  What happens when our interconnections untangle and stay unraveled for a long period of time?  I wonder if our understanding of conversations and outcomes is flawed?

Do I expect neatness and order?
I like to image these conversations as a diverse population awakening to the Desires of All: that is, gaining the ability to move outwards towards acceptance of Other.  Yes, there is a central core of what identifies us... AND... there is a burst of individuality which radiates from these central beliefs.  Both are true!

All are joined together:  all are distinct.

 Do I see the beauty of the One or the Many?

Astronaut Christina Koch posted a wonderful photograph on Twitter recently:  a Russian Soyuz rocket was bringing her best friend from earth to the International Space Station, where Christina was stationed.  The tendrils of the rocket plume seemingly connected the craft to earth; the single bright star of the space craft illuminated the sky.  From the Many (earth) to the One (space craft), friends were being reunited.

Each of our journeys can be like that: understanding our individuality by breaking through the atmospheric definitions that surround us.  We are — individually and collectively — attempting to balance what it means to be Single-in-Relationship.

Do I wait for others to join me?
(Photo credit:  Christina Koch)

Dialogue provides moments where we check-in with another person on where life’s journey has taken them:
Awareness nurtures Compassionate Understanding,
which feeds Creative Freedom through Interconnectedness.

In other words, it is through dialogue that we can share individual insights which informs collective understanding.  One and Many:  both can be true!

May this week draw us into a healthy balance of We (many) and Me (one) that allows us to coexist without violence and harm.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Healing Dialogue

This past week, as a Dialogue colleague and friend prepared for surgery and the recovery process following, she asked many of us to hold her in loving and healing intention.  A list of positive statements were provided that allowed the hospital staff, family and friends to focus our thoughts, prayers, love and energy.

Living hundreds of miles away, I felt connected... and able to participate in something bigger than myself.

What colors do I choose for my Life Story?
I wondered:
  • Each day I encounter many choices: which do I choose and why?
  • Our world seems dark and divided: how can I focus loving and healing intention?
  • The steps I take have meaning:  am I willing to work on goals beyond my own?

Am I willing to work together, applying one grain of sand
at a time, to our World Story?
If we understand Dialogue as a way to add one thought or experience to a Picture Unfolding, then maybe we can remove the pressure of having all the answers, being the arbiter of what is right, or expecting so much of ourselves and others.  Like Buddhist monks creating a mandala one colored grain of sand at a time, we can focus our intention on the experience of holding lightly to each person's contribution to the Whole.

We still have responsibility for individual thoughts and actions,.  But, releasing our negative conclusions about another person or outcome, invites freedom to open ourselves to Love and Healing.

What story do you want others to know?

As we move into a new day, maybe we could focus on a quote that Debbie shared with us days before her surgery:
"We are never more than a belief away
from our greatest love,
deepest healing,
and most profound miracles."
-- Gregg Braden

This week, may we seek to be intentional in how we encounter one another... with dialogue that opens us to healing past wounds... with interactions that connect us... with questions that allow us to see a Picture Beyond our granular perspective.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Debbie... you are loved and held gently by so many!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Spending Life's Coins

I find that dialogue comes in many forms:
  • Through what we feel safe to share and what others reveal to us.
  • Through actions we and others take - which inspires Thoughts Shared.
  • Through internal tapes that create Dialogue Within.

In all of these instances, we are exchanging time with who we value: loved ones, friends, and self.  Dialogue, thus, becomes the currency by which we negotiate Life's Moments.

Do you regret the coins you spend on others?
~ ~ ~ Click on image to enlarge ~ ~ ~

(Photo Credit: Pickles, Brian Crane, August 20, 2019)

I recall when Mom received her first annual token of sobriety.  She had worked hard -- daily -- to win back the trust that alcohol had eroded in our family.  It was a lesson for all of us:
  • How easily we can lose what we value.
  • How difficult it is to earn and keep trust.
  • How important it is to celebrate the times we succeed.

That first token was meaningful for Mom and my family, but each token she received until her death demonstrated what she valued:  the ability to seek a healthy relationship with family and friends... and maybe, more importantly, with herself.

What coins have you collected?
(Photo credit:  AA Medallion)

Dialogue is one tool that invites us to build and explore strong relationships.  The gifts of honesty and integrity are purchased when we can:
  • Advocate a position AND seek other opinions.
  • Provide context for our understanding AND listen to other interpretations.
  • Admit when a conclusion is faulty AND learn from these mistakes.

How much have you spent?

(Photo credit:  A Day in My Quote Book;  Quote credit:  Tony Evans)

Just as I review my annual budget and understand how my hard-earned money is spent, maybe I need to reflect on the Dialogue Coins I collect and spend.  I wonder what I will find?  Where am I spending these Life's Coins?  What do I value?  How do I demonstrate it?  How do I celebrate?

May the coins you spend this week bring happiness and fulfillment to your relationships.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)