Saturday, January 28, 2023

To Reframe or Not To Reframe

Have you ever sat for hours in nature, or stared at a painting, a sculpture... or another person?  Rotating an object in your hand or sitting in different places to appreciate another view?  At any moment the object changes... maybe not physically.... but in our mind's eye and what we now see... or understand.

Early on in my life I was fascinated that what I understood before about a person, a situation, or a truth could change over time.  Think of your progression through elementary and high school:  the building blocks of information we received that seemed to change as more information -- and experiences -- entered our lives.

My childhood was filled with endless field trips of learning and being open to new information, insights, and knowledge.

Which facet of an issue do you tend to focus?
(Photo credit:  Diamonds created in minutes at
room temperature, Advanced Science News

Centuries ago Heraclitus said, "The only constant in life is change."  If change is a constant, why am I no longer as flexible with or excited about these daily changes?  As I have grown older, I tend to focus on one side of an issue or problem and don't inquire about or listen to another facet or perspective as much as I did in the past.

The Child Fascinated with change is still within, but what happened in adulthood that tired me of new ways of thinking and the constancy of change?

How do you respond to gloomy forecasts?
(Photo:  Tropical storm over Panama City
- Larry Gardepie)

Mentioning this to a friend recently, I spoke about my fear of becoming Rigid.  He asked what that word meant to me and what I feared.  By slowing down, letting the emotions surface, and talking to another person, I saw how change was constant in my life... but there have always been ebbs and flows of how I managed or responded to change.

For me, the importance of Framing and Reframing the change event must be balanced -- that is, I must:

  • Hold lightly to any long-held values and beliefs;
  • Test any assumptions and conclusions that have framed my understanding; and
  • Consider that others might see, understand, and respond differently (reframing).

I must look and consider from multiple vantage points, moving and reconsidering.

Can you see a different perspective?
(Photo: Arches National Park, Utah
- Larry Gardepie)

Also, I am just beginning to understand that labeling (e.g., being rigid) might limit my ability to stay open to other possibilities and insights.  That is, once I label a situation as Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, Dark or Light, Hopeless or Hopeful I may have entered a cul-de-sac of my life that needs to be explored:

  • Have I created a dead-end in my thought process?
  • Do I believe that I possess the only truth?
  • Am I open to other possibilities? 

Without the ability to reframe a situation -- or a way of thinking, it is as if my finite being no longer wishes to explore the Infinite Wisdom surrounding us and giving meaning to our lives.  We shut off one another!

This week, may we anticipate and explore the changes of this post-COVID world, and may we be open to constant change!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)



Saturday, January 21, 2023

How Can I Help?

One beautiful aspect of being human is our diversity:  we have a variety of likes and dislikes; we approach problems in different ways; and we have the ability to observe and learn.  I think that is why I have enjoyed watching NBC's medical drama series, New Amsterdam.  Each week for five years we were drawn into stories that addressed current issues of bias, misunderstandings, and relationships gone awry.  The writers and actors walked us through ways to talk, listen, and adjust our mental models.

The series finale ended as it began years before: the hospital director asking, "How can I help?"

How can I help?
(Photo credit:  Cast of New Amsterdam,
Showbiz Junkies)

Hearing these four words throughout the series reminded me that we are partners on this Journey Called Life.  By asking the question -- and allowing the other person to answer -- we come to a shared understanding:

  • This is what is needed;
  • My answer may not be yours; and,
  • I don't have to make a decision that disrespects you.

This TV show also modeled various ways to listen and let go: our primary goal is to create safe environments that respect our diversity and differences.

How can I help?
(Photo credit:  Cat helps lost baby duck, Ava Hamric)

In the final season, Max Goodwin, the hospital director, learned sign language because one of his doctors was deaf.  Dr. Iggy Frome, the head of Psychiatry, came to terms with his own insecurities to help those in his care.   Dr. Lauren Bloom, head of the Emergency Department, let go of wanting to take away her sister's addictions.  Dr. Floyd Reynolds, head of General Surgery, found the father that abandoned his family to understand what it meant to be family.

Each person and role struggled to be human, and learned to intentionally help one another:  "How can I help?"

How can I help?
(Photo credit: A Piece of Peace, L. R. Knost)

Five years later I am beginning to understand:  it is okay to be... broken... to not know the answers... to need help... to be human!

If you are looking for a show to binge on a weekend when it is raining or snowing, I would offer New Amsterdam.

May we be willing to ask others:  "How can I help?"  And, may we be willing to listen to and accept the answers.


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)



Saturday, January 14, 2023

Yet To Unfold

As I listened to my teachers and professors of elementary school, high school, university and graduate school, I felt like a sponge... absorbing information... enjoying the moments of learning and the wonder of new insights.  Later, as a trainer and consultant, I would get excited when ideas and discoveries were shared and awareness was expanded.

I am amazed at connections that occur internally and externally when Light Bulb Moments unite us and drive us to new discoveries.

Each day can surprise us with discovery!

What have you learned today?
(Photo credit:  The Simple Genius of the Blackboard, Slate)

What I have begun to realize, though, is the importance of Unfolding:  the shrinking of one's Awareness Unknown; the openness to Knowledge Shared; and the willingness to Learn Anew

As a child, I would Learn for the Answer, being able to answer a question on a quiz or a test.  The focus was on the collection of information in order to respond correctly.

As time went on and I entered adulthood, I began to understand the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom, being able to hear a question... PAUSE... and consider various approaches to a situation.

It's that ability to accept Unfolding Mystery... there may be More!

How often do you reach out to others?
(Photo: Mermaids Swimming through San Pedro,
San Pedro, California - Larry Gardepie

Practicing Dialogue -- even imperfectly most of the time! -- I am beginning to see another difference:

There is much more than answering correctly as in the earlier:

  • Question -- Answer construct of childhood;

And the later discoveries of:

  • Question -- [Pause] -- Answers understanding of Knowledge and Wisdom.

Now, I am trying to understand a dialogical structure of:

  • Question -- [Pause] -- Exploration.
The emphasis is no longer on An Answer or The Right Answer or Knowledge and Wisdom.  The process is Exploration and Discovery, the lifetime journey of Searching and Encountering.

When have you been a lifeline of understanding?
(Photo:  American Merchant Marines Veteran Memorial,
San Pedro, California - Larry Gardepie)

As a child, I assimilated a lot of information, but I didn't pay attention to the internal processes of filtering and categorizing that information.  When I began to pause in my learning process, I began to realize how some filters were separating me from people and I was labeling others according to my value system.  The Pause allowed me time to consider that Truth could hold many answers.
Practicing dialogue -- listening, asking, and trying to understand -- opens a new reality:  We Are In This Life Together.  If this reality is true, then answering a question correctly may not be as important as the Question itself -- that willingness to ask a question and wonder about the question.
May we reach out this week in a Spirit of Exploration -- seeking understanding and truth; linking us to the Human Lifeline.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, January 7, 2023

All Will Be Well

Louise Penny, a Canadian author of murder mysteries, wrote one of her recent novels during the COVID pandemic.  In this book, she shares the struggles of her fictional characters with the isolation and after-affects of the pandemic:  the joys of being together against the landscape of societal divisions, wanting to return to some semblance of normalcy opposite suspicion and uncomfortableness.

As the characters grapple with illness and death, she describes society's hidden mindset of suspicion and mistrust that is now exposed:  the Dark Shadows of our human nature.

When adrift, do we focus on Darkness
-- or Light?
(Photo: Sunset at Sea - Larry Gardepie)

One phrase is repeated throughout the novel:  "All will be well."  A wish.  A hope.  A desire.  The human spirit longing to be healthy... to be whole... to be Family Gathered together.

This pandemic has presented an invitation that might be wise to accept... time to reflect on what we saw, heard, experienced... and now believe:

  • What did we struggle against and what did we accept?
  • Were we willing to listen and learn... from our experiences?  From others?
  • Can we adapt to a world changing beyond our finite understanding?

At the end of each day, what did we learn
-- and what did we miss?
(Photo:  Sunset at Sea - Larry Gardepie)

While reflecting on "All will be well," I wondered if I can:
  • Be well when others are not?
  • Understand your joys and sorrows unless I ask... and then listen?
  • Accept that my "normal" may not be yours?

It seems that for us to get beyond the Pandemics of Isolation, Division, and Indifference, we must care for one another.

Can we acknowledge that each day is new
and different -- and let go of "normal"?
(Photo:  Sunset at Sea - Larry Gardepie)

With one week of this New Year behind us, I am trying to unhook myself from social media and news a few hours before bed.  I am trying to slow down and reflect on that day -- without judgments or values attached:  What happened?  Did I listen to understand?  Were there Questions Unasked or Unanswered?
And then, when I lay my head down on the pillow and seek a peaceful night's sleep, I repeat several times, "All will be well."
May you be well this week.  May we be well together!


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)