Sunday, September 27, 2020

What are We Willing to Unlearn?

Ann, a longtime friend -- and dialogue colleague -- was born with poor hearing.  To understand others and to survive in this hearing world, she learned to lip read.  She was so excited when she became eligible for a cochlear implant.  Her recent surgery was a success!  But now comes the hard work!

Ann must unlearn skills that have aided her throughout her life.  Friends now come to her home to read to her.  She listens to each word or sentence and repeats back what she hears.  She is rewiring her brain to focus on a physical attribute that could not be relied on in the past.

And, she must unlearn her lip reading skills.

What skills do you use to understand others?

(Photo credit:  GAN Networking Can Do Lip
Reading and Output Speech, NeuroHive

As I listened to Ann describe her joys of hearing -- and the frustrations of unlearning, I wondered:

  • What skills have I learned to compensate for losses in my life?
  • How do I survive in a world dominated by truths -- or untruths -- that I don't understand?
  • Do I hear clearly what others are saying?

Are there lessons that need to be unlearned?

(Photo credit: You Must Unlearn What
You Have Learned, Marco Giberti

Think about how you learned to communicate.  For most of us, it was mimicry:  imitating family and friends around us.  Now, think of the assumptions that we may have accepted along the way: the people we loved and emulated figured out how to survive in this world... and Must be Right in what they said or did.
What happens, though, when the world changes and the skills we learned earlier no longer work in this New World?  It isn't a matter that our models got it wrong.  It may be as simple as new Ways of Being have emerged in this ever-changing world... like the evolution from living with hearing loss to earlier versions of hearing aids to cochlear implants.
Is it time to examine what lessons we learned earlier and decide what we should unlearn... and relearn?

Are you willing to become curious about others --
and unlearn untruths?

(Photo credit:  Why Unlearning Matters?
How to Unlearn?, Social Science Space

Ann mentioned that she has a short window to unlearn and relearn -- retraining her brain. 
She can now hear clearly the crispness of the S, and she is finding that her own verbal skills are improving as she talks.  She reminisced about her long-trusted friend, Lip Reading... and what it means for her to let go.  Now the hard work of unlearning and relearning!
Is that the same with us?  As we recognize what we need to unlearn, I wonder if there is an urgency to become curious, to hear clearly another person's truth, and to understand differently?

May we find reasons this week to unlearn poor listening skills. 
May we seek ways to hear more clearly.  May we be willing to relearn what it means to understand.  

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Boundaries or Boxes

Have you ever felt uncomfortable with a supervisor, coworker, or friend?  Maybe they crossed the line on a topic or position important to you.  Maybe confidences were shared or gossip exchanged.

In a recent conversation, someone mentioned that her boss had crossed some boundaries.  Listening to her describe the situation, I asked what the boundaries were and if the boss was aware of these boundaries.

This conversation allowed me to reflect on my own experiences:

  • What boundaries have I created?
  • What do I do when someone crosses my line in the sand?

What boundaries have you set?
(Photo credit:  Getty Images)

After more questions and exploration, we discovered that this person becomes triggered when the boss uses words like "You are..." or "When you do..."  We soon realized that boundaries weren't necessarily being crossed.  It was a matter that labels were defining her:  she was feeling boxed in by another person's definition of her.

Growth is limited when a person feels boxed in: labels and definitions restrict discovery and learning.

Are you boxed in by others?
(Photo credit:  Stacking 18 People in
Boxes for a Family Photo, Scavenger Chic

Questions for each of us to ponder:

  • Are we aware of the boxes that limit us?
  • How do we break out of the boxes others have placed us in... or that we create for ourselves?

When do you feel boxed in?
(Photo credit:  Boxes are People Too, That Cute Site)

I am learning through my dialogue practice that:
  • Slowing down and noticing are keys to discovery.
  • Sharing our experiences and listening to others are keys to connection.
  • Holding lightly what we have noticed and have shared is a key to nonviolence.
Unlocking the limitations that box us in -- the boundaries that define and sometimes restrict us -- is critical to live Lives Unbounded by the human bondage we all endure.

May this week allow us to see beyond the boundaries and boxes that diminish our human potential:  may we use the keys that are in our possession and may we unlock the divisions we have created!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What Do You See?

Darcy (a Dialogue colleague) and I were sharing recent experiences of using Zoom with large groups.  As the Zoom "organizer," there is an assumption that we know what we are doing!  But, like many of us in this COVID world, we are developing new skills and gaining insights in how we see ourselves and others.

We noticed that as we worked with new Zoom attendees, we needed to explain how to get to the "Brady Bunch" screen (changing from Speaker View to Gallery View), when to Mute or Unmute, and why lighting might affect how clearly a person is seen.

Tell me:  what do you see?
(Photo credit:  7 Zoom Tips for Working
from Home, Computerworld

Darcy and I laughed at our own assumptions:  that what we were seeing must be true!  We soon realized that the device a person is using changes how that user experiences Zoom.

We laughed because we had forgotten one of the Dialogue skills: ask questions to test assumptions.  Examples:

  • What device are you using (PC or Mac; computer, tablet or phone)?
  • Tell me what you see.

And, just as important:  be patient... Hold Lightly what you see, hear, and assume.

What do you think?
(Photo credit:  Santa Monica Beach, Getty Images, WSJ)

This COVID world is stretching us in many ways:
  • How can social beings remain socially connected while being physically distant?
  • Do we tend to protect our Individuality or the Common Good?
  • Can we withhold judgment while exploring new Ways of Being?
Balancing a fragile world at this point in our human story may require that we move away from polarized Ways of Thinking.

Can we explore what is true?

Similar to lessons we are learning with Zoom, seeing others clearly depends on practicing new skills:
  • When to move from Speaker (individual) to Gallery (everyone) view;
  • Why it is important to Mute (ourselves) and Unmute (others); and,
  • Where to shine the light on different aspects of a more encompassing Truth.
Have I asked you today... "What do you see?"


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)



Sunday, September 6, 2020

The People We Meet

Are there moments in nature when you stop and take notice?  For me, it's hummingbirds and rainbows.  Both seem so delicate and elusive.  One moment they are present and are seen; the next moment they are gone and but a memory.  They have a place in our world.  They inspire us, allow us to stand in awe, and take in their beauty.

In some cultures, hummingbirds are seen as messengers from ancestors or gods.  Others experience hummingbirds as healers or bringers of love, good luck and joy.

Rainbows are a symbol of hope: a promise of better times to come.  As COVID-19 spread throughout Europe in March, rainbows began appearing on people's balconies and in windows: children's drawings... reminding us of hope and better times ahead.


What do you gather from your encounters?

As I reflect on the meanings that I -- or my culture -- place on people and other aspects of our world, I wonder.... Why?

Rather than standing in awe and experiencing the beauty of another person, it seems that I immediately catalogue what I see... hear... or experience.  I take that moment and filter it by the Standards and Definitions I have learned or accepted.


What do you hold onto or release?

While this may be seen as defining us as Human - separating us from other animals, I wonder... is there more?

For instance:

  • When do I question my definitions and the meanings attached?
  • Am I willing to consider another viewpoint?
  • Can I let go of what separates us... and return to Awe and Beauty?

When do you experience the newness
and freshness of relationships?

The moment of waking from a night's slumber is a daily reminder that a new day is beginning.  Our relationships also can awaken from the slumber of not noticing.  There is a delicateness -- an elusiveness -- to some relationships.  Through dialogue, we can rediscover the freshness in what we thought we knew and reclaim the newness of what actually is.

When we step away from the definitions and meanings that have filtered our relationships, we can stand again in the awe and beauty of the people we meet.  Rather than disappearing and becoming a memory, we can build on the relationships we desire.

May you be blessed with the labors of your discoveries this week.  And may you reclaim newness and freshness in your relationships.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)