Monday, June 26, 2023

What Do You Expect?

Assumptions tend to trip me up!  I think I know what I am talking about, and then I find out that most of my information was based on assumptions and faulty conclusions.  On top of it, my mind gets locked into "I am right!"  Can you relate?

Same with Expectations: right now, I am working on a huge project with a team of people.  Two months into our planning, I am beginning to realize that each of us has different ideas of what should be happening.  In other words, we have different expectations of what each should be doing at this point in the project!

What do you expect from someone close to you?
(Photo credit:  Expectations - How Expectations
Can Impact Your Life
, NewRoads Counseling)

What is interesting about my assumptions and expectations is how entrenched I become:

  • I want my version of life to be right.
  •  I expect others to agree with me.
  •  I demand to be heard.

It's as if everything is centered on me and what I think and feel.  Does this ring true for you?

How often do want your expectations to become reality?
(Photo credit: Expectation vs Reality -
Where are You Operating From?
, SheCanCode)

The images that comes to mind when I defend my assumptions and expectations come from World War I photos of individuals hunkered down in trenches, trying to stay safe from enemy fire.  The question for all of us when we notice these deadly patterns in ourselves:

How do we climb out of these trenches we have created for ourselves?

Just think:  when we are in these foxholes, we have limited vision ahead -- we can only see up and down the corridors that keep us prisoners.

Once awareness sets in:  I realize all of the time and energy I have expended proving that I am right; I begin to slow down my mental-warring; and I listen to how my arguments sound.  Doesn't it sound like childhood playground banter of “I am right!" and "You are wrong!”?

When are you disappointed in others or yourself?
(Photo credit: John C. Maxwell, Quotes about Reality)

This noticing allows my mind to shift to curiosity.  I begin to wonder:

  • What did he mean?
  •  What might she have been thinking?
  •  Do they see something I am missing?
  •  Is it possible they know something I don’t know?

Real freedom emerges when we lay down our Weapons of Assumptions and Expectations and choose to climb out of our Bunkers of Seclusion and Isolation.


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Sense and Sensivity

Do I share this suggestion -- or don't I?  Am I breaking confidences when talking about a situation that involves me and others?  I am not sure how to handle this -- I need advice.  Which is the best path to take and still maintain relationships with others?

Do any of these questions or thoughts sound familiar?  This whole week has been filled with these moments! 

Like Jane Austen's book, Sense and Sensibility, where people learned to balance common sense and emotionality, we are invited to be sensitive.

When have you been involved in a fragile situation?
(Photo credit:  The Uplifting Science of
How Dandelion Seeds Stay Aloft
, Nova)

From the moment we are born, we need the love and comfort of a core group of people.  This social unit can take many shapes and sizes.  No matter how it looks, we tend to grasp at places of safety that allow us to grow and nurture.

In this fractured world, many people are seeking love, comfort, and safety.  What happens when we deny others these nurturing components of what it means to be human?  What happens when we are denied one of these?

Where do you grasp for comfort and safety?
(Photo credit:  Complete Guide on
Your Baby's Hands
, FirstCry Parenting)

Social, moral and spiritual threads weave into what it means to be human.  What would it be like if we encouraged love, provided care and comfort, and created safe environments when we connect with others over our human similarities and gently discuss our differences?

An expression that I heard in the 1980s might apply here, loosely adapted:  we are part of  a seamless garment of life -- we cannot warm others without respecting every aspect of that garment.  You are important to me!

What do we do with the wisdom we have gained?
(Photo credit:  What are Some of the Best
Qualities of Elderly People?
, Slate)

Questions for us to consider:

  • Do we ask questions when someone's idea or suggestion doesn't make sense?
  • Have we approached a situation with curiosity and wonder?
  • Can we create opportunities to discover another way of thinking or being?

Life is full of moments when we can balance common sense, sensibility (emotion intelligence), and sensitivity.

Let's seek out these moments this week!  Let's strengthen the social fabric that is seamless with possibilities.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Gift of Small

There is something about drawbridges that fascinates me: the various designs to raise and lower sections of a bridge; the duality of allowing land-based and water-based transportation to share the right-of-way; and the simple methods of road barriers and lights to stop traffic and to signal when it is safe to proceed.

I assumed drawbridges allowed larger ships to pass up or down a river or waterway.  Recently, when a drawbridge went up on the intracoastal highway, I scanned up and down the waterway for a large ship... and was surprised to see a small vessel with a tall mast stopping all the traffic!

The focus wasn't on how big the vessel was but on its need to move beyond the barrier.

When do you open up?
(Photo: Drawbridge on Intracoastal Waterway
- Larry Gardepie)

Stepping back, I began to reflect on times in my life when small actions achieved great results:  a smile; offering a seat on the bus to another person; saying hello to a stranger (an "unknown new-friend") as I passed by.

And there were many times when people reached out with a caring hand:

  • After graduate school I had a sizable credit card balance and school debt.  A friend offered money -- a no interest loan -- to help me get established.
  • A family member listened when I needed support.
  • A work colleague showed me how to be a better supervisor.

In each case, a seemingly small action opened a Right-of-Way of shared peace and understanding.  It was safe to proceed.

How do you clean up dead growth?
(Photo - Fish Pedicure - Larry Gardepie)

In some ways our world seems backwards to me: we expect big results, large bonuses, and huge successes.  Our financial markets demand record profits to be labeled "Successful."  People with money seek more money.  We have moved away from Seeing Needs to Filling Wants.

Maybe it's the Gift of Small that is more important for us these days:

  • Being kind to another person.
  • Looking for the positive in others.
  • Seeking reconciliation and forgiveness.

It's the beauty of walking humbly that transforms us into grace-filled people who can fly above the desires to be great.

Are you ready to be transformed?
(Photo: Monarch Caterpillar - Larry Gardepie)

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love. 

For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Let us pray for the Gift of Small this week -- beginning with a smile and kindness to others.  Amen.


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)



Sunday, June 4, 2023

Blank Canvases: Opportunities To Encourage and Inspire

Have you ever noticed that when your daily schedule changes, you pay attention a little more?  The auto-pilot is turned off and our minds become more active -- as well as our seeing, hearing and other senses.  There might even be an expectation that something new could emerge!

While on a short vacation, I noticed a tension between missing normal routines and enjoying something different.  Moving away from normal, created:

  • A desire to experience other cultures;
  • An opportunity to learn; and,
  • A willingness to risk change.

In essence, a new canvas was challenging me with its blankness:  What would inspire me this day?  How might I be a little more creative?

How do you begin each day?
(Photo credit:  A Blank Canvas, Lead Life Well)

This has caused me to question:  Are we afraid of change?  Do we avoid or resist it?  Does it conjure up unpleasant reactions within us?  And, I wonder -- especially after the pandemic -- why we all wanted to "return to normal" ?

In reality, each of us has distinctive Palettes of Values that can be used to paint on each day's canvas.  We can experiment with style and test out possibilities.  We can remain with what we know or attempt something new.  What keeps us from trying, though?

Are you willing to test your creativity?
(Photo credit:  Paint Splash Background,

We are challenged in different ways.  What we can do, though, is encourage one another to pick up the brush and share what inspires us.  Through awareness, reflection, and dialogue, we can listen and hear what values are important -- and cheer on the creative applications of those values to this wonderfully, complex world!

What inspires you?
(Photo: North Atlantic Sunset - Larry Gardepie)

For example:  slowing down and watching a beautiful sunset is important.  But equally important is inviting others to slow down and share that moment together.  This shared experience connects us and draws the beauty inward.

That is, standing and watching alone connects that one person to the Sunset's Creator.  Standing with loved ones, friends, colleagues and even strangers connects us to that ever-expanding moment.  We become Co-Creators when we use our palette of values to move from the blank canvas of the day to opportunities that draw us together.

May the challenges of our daily blank canvases encourage and inspire us to color our world with beauty... together!


Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)