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truth

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Blue

Dream Symbol blueHi folks, and welcome to Dream Symbol Sunday, where we look at a different dream image – you guessed it – every Sunday. :-) Think your dreams are black and white? Go to bed tonight asking your subconscious to remember the colors in the morning. Today's symbol is blue. The color that represents truth, serenity, and intellect, but also distance and infinity.

If you're seeing blue water, the water probably represents your subconscious. In general, the darker the color, the deeper you're peaking.

Here's a quote from Dr. John Beebe, noted Jungian Analyst:

C.A. Meyers says that the type code is absolute. You can find it in two of Jung’s essays. One is a study in the process of individuation, and the other is concerning mandala symbolism, and there somewhere in the text, or in one case even in the footnotes you find this color code, and the color code is red for feeling, blue for thinking, green or brown for sensation, and yellow for intuition. Is this absolute? I rather like it. It does seem to work more of the time than not. I particularly like it when bad colors come up in dreams, for instance, a bad yellow. That always suggests to me that we are dealing with an inferior intuition rather than a superior. I suppose both number and color refer to extremely primal experiences. We all have the experience of numbers of things, we all have the experience of colors, and we are dealing here with extremely archetypal realities. The association of color with psychological type is a very, very puzzling thing. It seems to say that the types are not only particular, but they are extremely peculiar. We have extremely peculiar natures. Obviously a red shirt is not a yellow shirt. The character of the shirt is different, and a red wall is not a blue wall. It seems to me that when we use color symbolism to indicate type, there is an attempt to empathize the style of the consciousness, that the consciousness has a certain style, and has a certain overall impact and effect.

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Some Thoughts on Honesty

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Some Thoughts on Honesty

honesty doodle
honesty doodle

Everybody I know has a different concept of honesty. Different Types and cultures approach honesty differently.

Many people I know in my home region in Northern Germany are pretty straight forward - we'll let you know what we think of you to your face. Unapologetically, even if it hurts. Anything else would be disrespectful and a waste of time. After all, it's not about our relationship, it's about the thing. Someone with a preference for Thinking might also put the task before the person, and speak in more direct, logic terms.

In other countries, conversations can be a lot more indirect. Speaking out in clear terms would offend or embarrass, to the point that even the answer "no" is uncommon and needs to be softened. Here, it's not about the thing, it's about the relationship. We are connected and want to nurture the relationship, so we'll both know to read between the lines and interpret what it is we can't say out loud. Someone with a preference for Feeling might also put the relationship before the task, and speak in more informing, values-based language.

Honesty can be a weapon, used to hurt, attack, and put others on the defensive.

And it's a shield we can hide behind, where we don't have to examine our feelings, admit our vulnerability, and show empathy to the other person.

We all know that guy who says he's happy to hang out, but doesn't want a serious relationship, and the girl who is surprised when the guy still doesn't change his mind after six months together. "Well, what do you want? I've always been honest!"

I think honesty shouldn't be an excuse, it's a state of mind. And it starts by being honest with yourself. Living aligned with your values, respecting the law, common sense, and being nice to people. You might still run a Stop sign or advise your friend to wear something more flattering for her body type. Most importantly, you're open to re-examining your past choices and seeing where you can do better in the future.

What does honesty mean to you?

 

Image by Patsy Hendrix, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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My truth and Elizabeth Gilbert

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My truth and Elizabeth Gilbert

Wow, this is the week of unscheduled posts, which can only mean one thing: I should be doing something else but am procrastinating.

Last night the author of "Eat, Pray, Love", one of my favorite books ever, came to speak at the Eisemann Center. I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I went alone and it was magic! Nursing a soy chai latte, feeling all at peace and still, even the afternoon traffic aligned allowing me to find the place at first try (trust me, that's not the norm.) In the hope that I'm not infringing on any copyright laws or anything, here are a few impressions I took with me and would like to share.

First of all, she was so gracious and friendly, welcoming everyone and appreciating all of our coming there, which I thought was a nice touch. She gave a special thanks to the chairwoman who introduced her (Carolyn? Sorry, not sure) for driving her around town the night before and rescuing her new manuscript out of the merciless claws of her frozen computer. I mean, eeeek! Can you imagine? Honey! Didn't you see that Sex and the City episode? You have to back your work up! She summed up this and another hilarious story about her ditsiness, if you'll pardon the expression, more or less like the following:

  • Life is not a journey, it feels like a final exam. Every day. With multiple chances for failure.

Boy, did the audience agree. We were also completely with her when she talked about how life is such a puzzle and all of us just love being around people who seem to have solved it. Well, guess what - with her books and successes, attitude and loveliness, she appears just so! You couldn't tell by how she's describing her life though, sounds like she's one of us. And by us, I mean not necessarily lost souls, women on the brink of depression, or spiritual seekers - simply, you know, human. Flawed, and deserving of love and compassion. She reminded me a little of Brian in "Monthy Python's The Life of Brian," remember when he stands in the window telling the gathered masses they're all individuals? ("I'm not!") Ms Gilbert is kinda like that, disclaiming having found a general solution, but generously sharing with us what worked for her. I have a feeling that's exactly why she fills over 1,200 seats in one evening.

The talk progressed very smoothly with stories and lots of laughter and light-heartedness. It reminded me that overthinking everything cannot be good for the system, humor's what's needed by the bucket-load. Here are a few more snippits I remember:

  • The answer to your most pressing question might come to you in one of your meditation sessions. You'll have been unsure for a long time, then suddenly  it'll hit you with great persuasion and clarity, and you'll know exactly what to do. When that happens, WAIT. Don't do anything for three days. Sleep on it, confer with friends. (Advice of a meditation guru to one of her friends.)
  • Change is a long, complex, irritating, and expensive process. (Amen.)
  • Female autonomy is a new phenomenon. We have limited role models and have to become mystics ourselves to try and figure it all out.

Actually, I'll expand a little on that last one, because it rang so true. See if you can relate: ever made a decision and then wondered whether it was the right one? Do you get haunted by your "ghost selves" (those selves you have not become because you didn't choose their path) asking relentlessly, "are you sure?" Do you systematically, maybe even frantically reassess whether you chose the right thing, especially after seeing somebody else do it differently? Elizabeth joked about how we've become "compulsive comparers" suffering from Lebensneid (life envy. By the by, your pronounciation on that one is way off. And why are that kind of words prone to be taken from the German language anyway, huh? Lebensneid! Angst! Schadenfreude! Alright, Kindergarten's not so bad, but I digress.)

There are those women who chose career over family and feel guilty, those who chose family over career and feel restless, those who try to do both and feel exhausted, and mystics. Mystics, in case you were wondering, try out this thing where they feel good about whatever choice they made, and make the best of it without worrying too much. What a concept! Sounds great in theory, too, but I for one am still struggling with the obvious dissonance between my own head and heart.

Thankfully, she said her friend has a remedy for that: listen to neither. The head has no idea, and the heart is oftentimes too tender: listen to your stomach. She proceeded to make the very plausible point that our bodies have been around for millions of years and are clever things, giving you pains and aches that you should listen to early to avoid major breakdowns. "Listen to the whisper or you'll have to listen to the screams," or something similar, is an adage in her hubby's native Brazil, apparently. On the other hand, this consciousness malarky has not been around for very long, we're the only species that has it (beta testing?), and there are obviously still a few bugs in the system. Actually, that's another quote-worthy snippit:

  • You break your femur, the largest bone in your body, and with proper care you're likely going to be able to walk on it again after a few weeks. Someone tells you you're ugly/fat/stupid, and that might stay with you for 30 years.

Now, I have to bring yet another movie reference, or actually book reference, just because I can: Nick Hornby's character played by John Cusack in his adaptation of High Fidelity says he's been listening to his gut for so long causing him trouble that he has come to the conclusion that "(my) guts have sh*t for brains." Always makes me laugh, that one. Hey! Again with the digressing.

Then she talked a little bit about creativity and how she had to put the first draft of her current manuscript away for six months and then come back to it, and how she takes her story for a walk, but you can see more on her creativity in her TED talk. She did share that Eustace Conway, the subject of her "The Last American Man", was so very open and fearless about revealing himself, because he wanted to learn more about himself. We can thank him for the example he set, otherwise she might have held back more in her own book. Although, according to her, she felt neither courageous in writing about her life nor especially personally revealing. She described her sharing as "pathological". (And we love you for it!)

To round off her time on stage, she took some questions from the audience, and I'm sorry to say that mine didn't get picked. One she did pick was, did she still meditate? Oh yes, she gets up at 4 a.m. and meditates for two hours, then at six she stands on her head, at 10 she'll have some whole grains... and in case the sarcasm doesn't translate to the page, short answer was NO, she no longer meditates. She does take daily 10-minute "silence baths" on her bed though, which in a pinch you might call napping; the lines are a bit blurry there. Double-yay for speaking exactly to at least my heart! She also gave a bit of travel advice for Southeast Asia ("women travellers, dress in long sleeves and trousers, otherwise you'll embarrass the other women,") and shared her thoughts on women who choose not to have children and her next book.

That recently rescued manuscript, if I remember correctly, is called "Matrimonium," dealing with everything marriage. In her research, she found that throughout different ages and cultures, at least 10 % of the female population never had children. She calls them the "auntie brigade," or "extras." The world always needs additional sets of helping hands, and those women who chose not to have kids have always been caring enough to take up some of the burden. She also disspelled two persistent rumors that merit restating:

  • Childlessness is not the same as selfishness. Only selfishness is selfishness.
  • There's no correlation between happiness in old age and having had children or no children. According to recent sociologist studies, elderly women are most unhappy about poor health and poverty.

And this is what she left us with: keep your money and move your body around whenever you can, that magnificent machine.

Waiting in line after the talk for my book to be signed, I couldn't help overhearing a group of young women behind me natter on about their love lives. That wee pang in my heart was not for missing my single days, I don't think, but for missing my friends. Ladies, you know who you are, just giving you a quick shout-out. What I did still want to say was this: my question for Elizabeth, the one I wrote on the card that didn't get picked, was  "How do you deal with situations or people who abuse your honesty? I mean, the whole congruence thing must make you quite vulnerable, no? Actually - never mind, I can also see how it can make you stronger."

Eventually it was my turn, and I had crossed out "Doris" and underlined "Dee" on the post-it I was given for the name I wanted her to dedicate it to. She asked me, "So Dee is short for Doris?" And I wanted to say that I don't know what my parents were thinking calling me Doris in 1970s Germany in the first place, that I never quite got the hang of it, but what came out was "Uhuh." She drew a lovely wee heart and signed it Liz, and I almost walked away. Almost.

"I wanted to ask you something - do you ever lie?"

She looked a little puzzled, forehead frowned, definitely no botox there.

"You mean, in the book?"

"No," I said. "In life, ever."

Pause, more puzzled brows.

"Oh, I don't mean tell me what about, just, you know, are you always honest with everything, or do you ever tell a lie?"

Fraction of a pause, or am I imagining it? "Yes, of course, all the time."

She looked down at the next book and it dawned on me that this is the worst possible manner I could have approached my initial "honesty = vulnerability = abuse" train of thought. I turned to walk, but she said,

"you know, to save other people's feelings."

I cringe as the moment comes back to me, but kind of spinning on my heel I actually raised my left index finger in mock-teacher mode, replying

"ah, but should you, really?"

Take care of other people's feelings, I meant. But, alas, the turn came for the next people in line. I think I saw them laughing, so I walked away, feeling stupid. This isn't a subject that can be discussed within 20 seconds of book signing, should have kept it much lighter, damnit!

Of all the things I could have said, like how much I enjoyed her book, the TED talk, how I was looking forward to her next one, how reassured I feel knowing it's ok that I don't have all the answers if even she doesn't, I left with a bitter after taste wondering why I directed our thoughts towards something as negative as lying after such an uplifting evening. So, I obviously have some more exploring into my motives there to do. Maybe the answer will come to me in my next meditation session/nap.

Liz, and I'll call you Liz from now on because that's how you signed your name, you're wonderful, and my world's a better place for you in it. Thank you. You're a great role model for all us baby-mystics, and if writing does turn out not to be your thing anymore one day, you can transition to telling stories verbally, no problem at all. I also thank you for reminding me and us all to "(our) own self be kind." Truly words of wisdom.

For all the rest of you, go find out when she speaks near you, it's worth putting your coat on and dodging traffic for. Bring your friends, you'll have a lot to talk about afterwards. :-)

With peace, love, positive vibes, and universal blessings -

Dee

Image by HaPe_Gera, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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What do you stand for?

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What do you stand for?

This is just one of a number of images, or "wordles" I spent creating today. Aren't they fantastic? Thank you so much to Jonathan Feinberg and the people at wordle.net for providing this excellent tool free of charge.

I don't consider myself a political person and a big part of me shies away from having too rigid opinions. First and foremost because I believe that everything changes constantly (changed circumstances means changed outcome), but also because I like flexibility and keeping my options open. Besides, I'm honest enough to admit that when it comes to politics I simply don't have the background knowledge to make any profound claims. Living in the United States at this particular point in time it's difficult to escape political talk though, and advertisements to register to vote, declare oneself and be counted are everywhere.

This got me to thinking in which ways we're communicating our values and beliefs every day in every aspect of our lives, not just in the political arena, by the decisions that we make. I stand for health and positive thinking by exercising, eating right, and writing down at least five things I'm grateful for every night before bed. This blog stands for empowering people to take responsibility of their own lives and finding the courage to change the behaviors that no longer serve and support them. My coaching approach is non-directive by asking questions that you yourselves find your own answers to, as I stand for thinking independently instead of following the herd like lemmings.

How are you communicating what you stand for? Which choices do you make every day that bring you closer to your goals, living out your values? Registering to vote and then going to the booth and casting your vote in November is only one way to announce to the world what you stand for. Living according to what is right every day ensures that you don't have to depend on politicians to behave the way you want them to, because you, too, are influencing your surroundings and creating this world with your example.

Addendum: Here's an article Seth Godin published on October 2nd about standing for something, and how making those difficult decisions can help your business.

PS: excerpt from the US Expatriate Handbook, Chapter 6:

VOTING IN US ELECTIONS

Americans who reside abroad are usually eligible to vote by absentee ballot in all federal elections and may also be eligible to vote in many state and local US elections. Eligibility depends upon the laws and regulations of your state of residence in the US. To vote absentee, you must meet state voter registration requirements and apply for the ballot as early as possible from the state of your last domicile. Should your state ballot not arrive in sufficient time, you may be eligible to use a federal write-in ballot. You should consult the nearest US embassy or consulate for additional information.

Image by Kodak Views, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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