Saturday, March 25, 2023

Honestly... To Be Fair

I'd like to check something out with you: when using words like "Fair" and "Respect," how are you defining those words -- and in relation to what?  For instance, I can hear echoes in my mind about "That's not fair!" but the voice seems to have child-like tones, and the memories are usually when I was treated unfairly or disrespectfully.  To be fair, there have been times when I have looked outward at situations when others were treated unjustly and inhumanely... but, to be honest, the majority of the time I am referencing me and my situations!

I wonder how often our mental models are formed -- and remain anchored -- in past situations:  rooted in childhood and centered on how we were treated?

How do you define "Fair" -- and in relationship to whom?
~~ Click on image to enlarge ~~
(Photo credit: Baby Blues, Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, 02/03/23)

It makes sense that our responses to situations are shadowed by individual experiences, but what happens when we encounter Situations Unknown that require a more Collective Response?  What skills have we developed to help us bridge these Past Echoes and learn to Look Beyond ourselves?

I can't always stop these voices.  After all, I learned how to survive and flourish in the environment of my childhood.  Moving outward, I have learned to notice these tapes playing, and to wonder if there is a broader vision of fairness and respect that goes beyond me.

As we grow older, we are called to look outward at a larger horizon... even when there are clouds that shadow what we see!

Can you get beyond the clouds that shadow your horizon?
(Photo:  Cloudy Ocean - Larry Gardepie)

The skills of observing and noticing give us time to pause and reflect on what we hear -- those inward tapes and outward voices; see -- treatment of Self and Other; and understand -- justices and injustices.  Through these skills, Awareness surfaces and begins to recolor the past and bring brilliance to the present.

How can we see anew the beauty around us?
(Photo: Ocean Sunset - Larry Gardepie)

As we move into this next week, our invitation is to notice when fairness and respect are not present, and to balance the pendulum away from Only Self and Only Other.  Our challenge is to honestly treat everyone fairly.

Peace to you and your Loved Ones!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Fractions of Wholeness

I believe it was in Algebra class that our teacher showed us that mathematically we can never arrive.  We were studying fractions.  He drew a line along the full length of the chalk board (long before whiteboards and Smartboards!).  He marked the left endpoint, A, and the right endpoint, B

Starting from left to right (A to B), he had one of us find the midpoint of the original line.  The next student had to find the midpoint of the remaining line (first midpoint to B); the next student had to find the midpoint of this new line (second midpoint to B); etc.  He was showing that we were moving closer to B, but we never arrived at B:  there was always another midpoint to find (no matter how small the space became).

How much do you want?
(Photo credit: Kid's Math - Introduction to Fractions, Ducksters)

Maybe it's this Mystery of Not Arriving that shaped other beliefs in my life.  For instance, when we look at what we have and what we want (e.g., dividing up a pie), we believe there is never enough to go around.  I have always believed there was more to share!

It's these Mysteries of Not Arriving, Sharing, Accepting, and Wholeness that have always intrigued me.  We can never fully see the Whole unless we share the Pieces.

What do you see?  What do you imagine is missing?
(Photo: unfinished jigsaw puzzle,
Thomas Kinkade - Larry Gardepie)

Working with a non-profit several years ago, we talked through their Mission Statement.  Each director had a slightly different way of understanding how the mission applied to their departments of Client Services, Development, Finance and Administration, and the Kitchen.  It wasn't until this leadership team shared and understood their different perspectives that they could accept the broaden definition of what their organization represented.

Without dialogue (listening to understand) and without curiosity and acceptance, something was always missing... in their discussions and in their decision-making.

Are we ever whole?
(Photo: completed jigsaw puzzle,
Thomas Kinkade - Larry Gardepie)

I assume that because our world is so complex and diverse, we need one another.  Each person has a strength, a talent, a hope and dream that completes who we are.  Remaining in an EITHER-OR ideology removes keys parts of our puzzle.  We will never fully arrive without the other person's thoughts and worldview.

Dialogue does not mean that we give up our values and what we believe to be true.  Instead, when we listen to understand, we expand the sandbox that we are playing in to include a broader view.

My life's goal is to be Whole-y Holy: which means I want to understand you; I want to share what is missing; I want to accept Fractions of Wholeness... so that we all arrive together!

What is your goal?  How might I help?

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Journey or Destination?

Anniversaries are special:  celebrating memories and milestones; picturing who we were then and are now; recalling the ups and downs of the journey that got us where we are today.  Anniversaries are events in and of themselves: one point along the Journey Forward.

When Holland America announced its 150th anniversary, I wanted to be on that celebratory voyage:  a trip from Rotterdam to New York City, duplicating the original Atlantic crossing in 1872, bringing European immigrants to the New World.

A Journey of Hopes and Dreams!

How often do you wait to begin?
(Photo: KLM airline video display of route
from Los Angeles to Amsterdam - Larry Gardepie)

Sitting on that airplane in Los Angeles, I saw the monitor that said "Destination: Amsterdam."  I had already survived the perpetual traffic jam around LAX, the long lines to check in and go through security, walking under the taxiways to get to the extension terminal of Tom Bradley International... I was already tired!

Here I was on the plane, but the destination seemed so far away!


Do we notice the gulf that separates journey and destination?
(Photo: KLM airline video display of route
from Los Angeles to Amsterdam - Larry Gardepie)

My 12-hour flight to Amsterdam could not compare to that original multi-day trip to the New World in 1872, but I wondered about the impatience or fatigue that sets in as we journey towards our destinations.
  What keeps us going?  What helps us to survive?

 Once in Amsterdam, we found transport to Rotterdam and then waited a day to board our vessel home.  One Destination Arrived became another departure point:  I had arrived, but the journey was set to begin again.

When have you arrived... only to find out
it is time to leave?
(Photo: Hotel New York staircase - original home
offices of Holland Amerika Lijn - Larry Gardepie)

I wonder if our movement through life is not about arriving.  Rather, maybe life is about Being Present to where we are now and the direction of our searching.  It is the blending together of Both-And... Journey and Destination and Journey and Destination...  Always-and-Never-Arriving!

In a sense, dialogue is like this:  we think we know someone, but then they do something unexpected.  That is, with assumptions and judgments, we may incorrectly conclude that we know this person and what they will do or say.  When we ask questions and allow curiosity to take over, we are constantly surprised and continue to learn about that person.  Destination reveals itself in Journey, and Journey focuses on the Destination.

What journey are you on now?  Have you shared your hopes and dreams with others?

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Evidenced By Handprints

When the pandemic caused us to close down and isolate, I began going through photos, drawers, boxes, closets, and the garage.  And, now that we are reconnecting, I am still trying to clear out objects and memories that hold me in the past.

One thing I found was a scrapbook that my mother began when I was a child.  I have definitely grown since those footprints and handprints were pasted in those age-weathered pages!  But, have I changed?

Can you see your handprints on a situation?
(Photo credit: 25 Craft Ideas Using Children's Handprints
- Chirping Moms)

An interesting observation about my experience with The Lockdown:  though physically isolated, I found myself drawn closer to family and friends through Zoom sessions... and shared memories that surfaced as a by-product of holding, remembering, and letting go of Treasures.  It was as if Life Refocused on what was important.

Where have you given life to others?
(Photo credit: "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo
- Art in Context)

Rather than returning to normal, though, I wanted to see and understand the prints that were left:

  • Am I aware of when you have touched me -- or I you?
  • Has my life changed because of you -- or have you changed because of me?
  • Do we give life to one another?

In essence, as we try to understand the effects of COVID-19 three years later, what have we learned about ourselves?

How have you lifted up others today?
~~ Click on image to enlarge ~~
Photo credit: We Rise By Lifting Other Rainbow
Hand Hearts
- Stupell Industries, Wayfair)

One of the Dialogue Skills encourages us to notice and check the ways that our different roles and communication styles affect dialogue with another person.  As we change roles from being a parent, sibling, work colleague, supervisor, or friend, do we pay attention to the impact on the situation?  Are we aware that we are leaving Our-Prints -- some that remain and some that disappear?

What is your impact on others?
~~ Click on image to enlarge ~~

(Photo credit: My Handprints Poem - Etsy)

You may be wondering:  as I cleaned out my childhood belongings, did I keep the footprints and handprints?  Yes!  I want to be reminded of how I have grown and changed.  I can remember -- but not relive -- childhood.
In a similar manner, we have all been touched by COVID -- and cannot return to normal. There are too many People-Prints, ones where we have been loved and guided -- memories that we don't want to forget or erase -- lives that have impacted us.
May this week be filled with evidence where you have impacted family and friends, and where your life has been touched.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)