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If you knew the answer, what would it be?

Gita doodle Chapter 2_sm.jpg

The Gita says,

Concentrate on freeing yourself from the tyranny of the so-called pairs of opposites. Release yourself from always trying to evaluate and judge everything. 

Isn't that a great thing to practice on this last day of July?  

Instead of saying "Well, my heart says yes but my head thinks no" - feel into it, and listen to your inner voice. 

Instead of saying "What am I supposed to do? I can see both sides and they both suck!" - take a step back and see the bigger picture; think two years into the future.  

It's easy to get caught up in the moment, start worrying about making a decision, and ending up feeling lost and confused, not deciding anything. Unfortunately, inaction also has consequences, and time moves on regardless.  

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Type and Culture Model

Do you believe people can change? Or do we come into the world and go out the same?

I'm fascinated by how these paradoxes show up in everyday lives. While I love having one-on-one conversations, I also try to extrapolate patterns and apply meaning for larger groups.

For example, when I look at my friends and family, I see many of them how they have always been. They grew up to be who they were meant to be. When I look at myself, I think I have changed a LOT since I was a child, and yet those same friends and family tell me I'm just the same as always.

Who's right?

One way of reconciling the different selves is Linda Berens' model that I've adapted with her permission.

Nature and Nurture Model - Living Systems are integral wholes

Going counter-clockwise, the Contextual Self describes those skills and behaviors that you're using now. You're a person in the 21st Century, familiar with IT, sitting in front of a screen reading this article. If you were praying in church or drinking at a bar, your demeanors and behaviors would likely be different and adapt to those circumstances.

Your Developed Self is the totality of everything you have been and learned so far.

It's helpful if we see ourselves with a "yes, and" attitude. We're never just one or two traits alone, we're always a conglomeration and mixture of things. No need to be "in control" or "organized" or "the caretaker" exclusively all the time - when you're also feeling spontaneous, overwhelmed, or tired at the same time.

Our Core Self describes those personality type preferences and predispositions we come into the world with. In an ideal environment, we get to be who we are and live out our preferences, develop them to the fullest, become all that we were meant to be, realizing our potential.

At the same time, our cultural context also lays down some behavioral norms. Where we grow up matters: the actions and behaviors accepted and morally supported by our surroundings will shape the expression of our type preferences.

It's no wonder the question became "which came first: type or culture?" and more importantly, "which matters more?"

I believe type comes first, AND that culture has an equally important influence in the shaping of our character, our behaviors, our selves. If culture came first, we could probably expect most inhabitants of that culture to have the same type preferences. That is clearly not the case, as all preferences show up in all cultures.

So - when I look at my friends and family, I see my past experiences with them, filtered through my own preferences and what I think is right or weird. When they see me, it's the same deal: they see me through their various lenses.

Type and culture alone don't explain everything about us, but taken together they provide a more complete picture. And I don't know about you, but I think that's fascinating.

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Yes, and.

(AP Photo/Smith College, Sam Masinter)Emmy and Golden-Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch at the 2012 Smith College commencement address. Fun, funny, heartfelt. Includes expletive. :-)

If I could do so much of my early life over, I would have taken more moments like this to breathe. I would have spent more time focusing on what was right in front of me, instead of recoiling from what is because it didn’t look or feel exactly as I imagined it. I wouldn’t have been forever trying to look around the corner to see “What’s next, what’s next?!”

I’d have taken in the beauty of the moment, and greeted everything in my life with a big “YES, AND.”

(...)

“YES AND” is the vital and only rule of improvisation. Never deny your fellow actor. You should be willing and able to accept whatever your fellow improviser throws at you. Use that as your jumping off point and expand it. “Heighten and explore,” as we call it.

(...)

In other words, in order for our lives to go forward, in order to engage fully in life, we need to be willing and able to accept what is right in front of us. Whatever it is, the good, the bad, the thrilling, the heartbreaking, every emotion, occurrence, event, person, place or thing, you will experience them all. That’s the “YES” I’m talking about. And the acceptance and embrace of it with all your heart and doing something with it, that’s the “AND.” You accept influence and then you exert influence. You can’t make a cloudy day a sunny day, but can embrace it and decide it’s going to be a good day after all.

(...)

As you travel through life, in these many years ahead, I guarantee that you will come upon countless times in which the last thing you’re gonna want to say is “YES AND.” You will experience loss, heartache, the death of a loved one, you’ll probably have to say goodbye to a lover, you’ll experience rejection, maybe have to deal with a bad diagnosis. You’ll age.

The trick isn’t to avoid these times or pretend they’re not happening; you can’t. What you’ll need to do is step up to them courageously and embrace them. Allow these experiences to permeate your being and weave them all into the fabric of your life. They will not only soften you and strengthen you, and you will open your heart to compassion. You will not be powerless in this. If you embrace what is happening, instead of denying it, you can make it your own. If life gives you lemons, grab it by the horns and drive. Yes I just mixed three metaphors, remember I was a “C” student.

(...)

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Jane, what about doing porno?” To which I say I am as surprised as you are that I was never offered that opportunity.

But would I have said yes to that? What if life gives us the opportunity to rob a bank, or a way to cheat on our taxes, or say it offers us several hours in a row of life with the Kardashians...hours that we can never get back?

To this I say: you can always trust that when you’re coming from your highest self and from your heart, you’ll know when you should say “YES AND,” and when to engage the awesome power of “NO WAY.”

(...)

I guess I am assuming you all are as terrified as I was of life, so you know that when you feel sick to your stomach, it’s a good thing! It signals “Opportunity For Big Growth Ahead!” “Somethin’s coming, somethin’ good.” Don’t ignore the nausea. Step up to it.

(...)

Life is not all about work — and the scariest places to say “Yes And” are also the most rewarding...in a relationship.

(...)

Your partner will inevitably see your soft underbelly. Shocking behavior you only read about will start to become your own. Your demon will rise up to righteously destroy your relationship in the guise of saving yourself from really seeing yourself. Your partner will say to you with all the tenderness that situation allows, “What the fuck?” You’ll want to break up with yourself.

Don’t be afraid of this horrible version of you! Face it, embrace it, coddle it, write it a poem, maybe it needs a hug. Shine the light of day on it. Unclaimed and unacknowledged, it’s got the power and its darkest forces will have you enslaved! Accept its influence, mine it for its gold. Yep, sometimes saying “YES AND” is going to take everything you’ve got. But the payoff, trusting in love, is just incredible.

Read the full text here.

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