Sunday, December 27, 2020

Dialogue: Endings and Beginnings

The alignment of Jupiter and Saturn this past week was dubbed the "Christmas Star," and became a temporary distraction from our pandemic isolation.  Over a period of a few days, airwaves and social media directed our collective energy heavenward as we focused on a phenomena last seen 800 years ago.

This one event did not end the pandemic, the suffering, isolation, or denial of COVID-19.  It simply reoriented us to a different shared event... one of awe, inspiration, and beyond.

In darkness, are you at the end or the beginning?
(Photo credit:  P. J. Azzolina, Facebook -
picture taken over Mt. Fuji, Japan)

Standing outside to glimpse these planets orbiting our Common Light, I wondered about the Necessary Darkness to experience this octocentenary event: just maybe...

  • We need darkness to appreciate light;
  • We struggle in order to welcome health and freedom; and,
  • Misunderstandings and arguments allow us to know peace and acceptance.
What do you think:  is this global pandemic an ending or a beginning?

When do you stop listening?
(Photo credit:  Murphy's Law - What It Is and
How to Beat It,

Seasons have beginning and endings.  We celebrate endings and beginnings of each year we are alive.  There is a continuity of nature as fires and floods destroy and then new growth emerges... in its time.
Dialogue is similar:  misunderstandings disconnect our relationships; emotions rage; we cycle through "my version of the story"; and we stop listening.  But, in time, when we notice and reflect on our feelings, a desire may emerge to reconnect, to move away from our isolation, and to listen for hope.  We move away -- or end -- one way of being... and begin again.

What ways do you connect with others?
(Photo credit:  When and How We Talk with People,
Psychology Today

Dialogue -- listening, noticing our emotions, and reflecting on what we understand -- allows us to experience Unprecedented Times... not focused on the pandemic, but on the unprecedented times of exploration, discovery, and healing.
The truth is we must embrace and release Endings in order to see and accept Beginnings.  Are you ready?  You have a choice on how the new year aligns for you.

As we move towards the end of 2020:
  • May we reflect on what we have learned about ourselves;
  • May we seek reconnection; and,
  • May we anticipate the New Beginnings that each day offers.
Happy Endings and Beginnings to you!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Dialogue Ghosts

Charles Dicken's 1843 A Christmas Carol has become a holiday tradition for over 177 years.  Through the book, plays, movies, and cartoons we are invited on a journey to discover our own Ghosts of Past, Present and Future:

  • How do memories and past actions shape our present state of mind?
  • Are we aware of how we treat others now?
  • What choices are we making to improve the future?

Dickens may have been speaking to his society of how the working poor were being treated and the ability of one selfish man to redeem himself.  But, maybe he is still speaking to us today: like Scrooge, can we change our current trajectory to become more sympathetic toward others... and ourselves?


What separates you from your brilliance?
(Bankers Hill, San Diego 2015)

What I have enjoyed about practicing dialogue are the moments when I understand What Could Be.  I don't always get it "right" -- after all, I am an imperfect human being.  But the challenge to reflect light outward -- seeing and understanding the beauty in others -- can be life changing.

The fundamentals of many dialogue practices are focused on three stances:

  • Mindfulness (Active Noticing): developing a clearer awareness and understanding of personal filters.  After all, what we do not notice, we cannot freely respond to or choose to engage.
  • Non-defended Learning:  overcoming our defended ways of fitting in, protecting ourselves, and advancing our own interests.
  • Nonviolence: the ability to relate to the Common Good, where Self and Other is safe while exploring solutions with the freedom to choose without retribution.

Do you reflect your beauty?
(Seaport Village, San Diego 2020)

As Ebenezer Scrooge becomes aware of his treatment of Jacob Marley and the effects on Marley's family, his defended and miserly ways are transformed.  Scrooge begins to share his wealth with others and becomes reconnected to the human family.

Christmas invites us to accept a similar challenge each year:

  • To understand the Spirits of our past and present;
  • To become reconnected to family and friends; and,
  • To free ourselves from the miserly ways of individualism, refocusing on the good of others.

Is it time to crack through frozen memories?
(Glacier Bay, Alaska 2014)

I wonder, as we enter these final days of a COVID-affected holiday season -- where physical distancing and Stay-at-Home orders may have isolated us:

  • Are we able to break through earlier resentments and hurts?
  • Can we think of the needs of others over our own?
  • Will we gift others with curiosity, exploration, and understanding?

May the light and beauty of these holy days inspire us to awareness, learning, and nonviolence.  May we seek to unite and heal.  May we be transformed.


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Reflections on Rejection

"Mom, he's copying me!"  A repeated complaint when growing up in my family:  younger siblings mimicking older brothers and sisters; wanting to be an individual and independent.. yet
belonging to a family.  If you think about it, our childhood development depended on copying and mimicking the words and actions of others.  Growth and early learning was inspired by the adults and role models we physically looked up to or admired.

To this day I see reflections of my parents and siblings in my facial expressions, mannerisms, and word choices.

How often do we reject before we reflect?
~ Do you see anything different in the reflection? ~

(Reflected beauty, Haynes, Alaska)

As I grew older, I learned how to sift through what I liked or did not like; when I was treated fairly or bullied; how I wanted to become an individual yet belong.  Acceptance and rejection are opposites... but maybe there is a deeper connection to be noticed and respected:

  • The freedom to choose how to act and become.
  • The choice to accept and reject values and actions.
  • The ability to balance individual and Common Good.

Reflecting on rejection may allow us to show up and be accepted as imperfect people.  We are seeking the Beauty Hidden in the reflection, and through the reflection we come to See and Understand the Real.
Have you experienced hidden beauty
in the reflection?
(Baptismal font, Salisbury Cathedral, England)

My Dialogue Reading Group began discussing Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature.  As we talked through the Shadow-Self that we recognize and accept in ourselves, images of children noticing their shadows for the first time surfaced.  In the beginning, children don't understand the connection between Self and Shadow.  There is a period of running away from the shadow, then, in a moment of acceptance, the shadow becomes a playful extension of self.  And... as we grow older... we forget to look at our shadows!  (When was the last time you noticed your shadow following you?!)

I wonder if the same is true for grownups: Do we notice our Shadow-Self?  Can we see connections between what we accept or reject?  Do we understand the Shadow as an extension -- often seen, but sometimes hidden?

How do you see your shadow?
~ Look closely at the child's shadow ~

(Photo credit:  Fun with Shadows, The Learning Child Blog)

So, reflecting on rejection -- those parts of myself or others that we don't want to accept -- I wonder if a transformation needs to take place:
  • Understanding the connection between Self and Other;
  •  Noticing when we run away from what we don't like; and,
  • Learning to play with ideas foreign to us, shadows that linger.

May this week open us to reflections of Copying and Learning, Acceptance and Rejection, Individual and Community.  May we seek transformation to accept ourselves as imperfect people.  And may we puzzle together -- through Dialogue -- ways to accept and play with our Shadows.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)



Sunday, December 6, 2020


Relief!  It's been more than a month since the presidential elections... and no more political ads!  We're back to normal... almost!... with television ads now trying to sell us cars and trucks, insurance, carpets and flooring, deodorants, cosmetics, prescription drugs, and so many other products that promise us happiness and contentment.

In either case -- political or commercial ads -- the volume tends to go up and there is an endless  repeating of words.

What I realized midway through this election cycle is that I have the Power to Mute what I don't want to see or hear!

What do you not want to hear?
(Photo credit:  Digital and TV Advertising Campaigns
Work Hand in Hand, PandoLogic Workforce

Two things I noticed or wondered as I pressed the mute button:

  • How much of the time was allocated towards ads and how little there was of the program I wanted to watch; and
  • How often I mute others in my life: people or ideas that I don't want to see or hear.

The silence was deafening: both with the television sound off... and... not being in relationship with those I disagree with.

What is sacred to you?


As I considered these, I remembered a dialogue concept taught to us early on: the importance of seeing Sacred Worth and Value in each person.  In essence:
  • Can we see our own sacredness and value?
  • Can we recognize others and their Sacred Worth and Value?

It seems that  if we can ask the four questions that Don Juan asked Don Octavio, we might begin to see the need -- and maybe, wantedness -- of Love.

How will you seek what you want?

Though we may be experiencing relief from political ads, I wonder if we are content with filling their absence with commercials that numb us to what we really need?  Or maybe -- through introspection, reflection and awareness -- the Silence Noticed will allow us to choose what we actually want -- and need -- for our relationships:
  • Dialoguing and listening;
  • Being heard and seen;
  • Searching for Sacredness and Worth...
And accepting that Only Love will answer the questions of happiness.

May this season of Gift Giving allow us to distinguish what we really want and need.  May Presents Shared in the Presence of Loved Ones and Friends open us to the gift of Sacred Worth and Value.
Blessings to you, my Sacred Friends and Colleagues!   Your presence is valued!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)