Listening part 1

There are many myths about listening—mostly that hearing and listening are the same thing. Wrong; there are key differences. In this two-part series, we will focus on developing more effective listening skills. Great listening skills are essential for relationships and careers. Yet many of us are oblivious to how to do it. When we truly listen to someone, we ascribe value to them. Even if we don’t care about what they’re talking about, we can be motivated to listen because we care about the person. Watch this short video by Willard Barth on Improving Your Active Listening Skills. He shares some great principles, despite describing a person of faith vs. an open-minded person; they don’t necessarily have to be diametrically apposed (thought they sometimes are). Enjoy. On the next post I’ll share more principles for developing becoming a better listener. Royalty free image by Ben Earwicker – Garrison Photography, Boise, ID – www.garrisonphoto.org. Retrieved from...

Fruitfulness

This is the sixth and final article in a series on growth force principles identified by German biochemist, Frederic Vester who found six principles that lie at the heart of all living and growing things. By applying these principles to our lives, we can increase the health and potential for growth in all that we do. The final growth force principle is fruitfulness. “Be fruitful and multiply,” is a well-known passage from the book of Genesis. We can assume its intent was deeper and more profound than just keeping humanity going! We pack our days with a lot of activities. But sometimes we confuse a manic schedule with making a difference—being fruitful. And the only way to know the difference is to stop, breathe, think and evaluate! Bible teacher Joyce Meyer once talked about the difference between being busy and being fruitful. “Did you ever stop to think that just being busy – running around in circles all day but not accomplishing anything – is the same as wasting your time? It’s frustrating to expend so much energy and time and not have any fruit from your effort!” The fruitfulness principle (found throughout nature) says that every aspect of our lives should produce discernible results in line with its intended purpose. This, of course, assumes we know our intended purpose! In nature, fruitfulness is obvious. Either a fruit tree bears fruit, or it’s ornamental! An organism is alive as long as it continues to function the way it was designed, with appropriate outcomes. But when an organism is no longer ‘fruitful,’ it dies and makes way for others. Vineyards are a great example. Each vine must produce grapes. So if a vine fails to produce grapes (of expected quality and quantity) its issues must...

Quit loving the sinner...

Love the sinner but hate the sin. So goes the old Christian saying. But it is really a good saying? Is there is a good philosophy behind it, or might it need some significant tweaking? I came across a very provocative article on this and knew I had to share it with you. Get Control Of Your Life is not only about generating new content, but sharing great stuff we come across. The post is by mom, Beth Woosley, published on her blog titled, 5 Kids Is A Lot Of Kids Woosley claims the saying, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin,” is not in the bible and actually originated with Augustine of Hippo (whom some people call a Saint) and his Confessions. I’ve read the 4th century theologian’s treatise and actually done a fair amount of research on the man. Augustine was a tortured soul who, before converting to Christianity, lived a morally depraved life and was a member of a wacky cult. He brought many neo-platonic ideas into Christianity as well as his guilt-driven views of the material world. While Augustine’s influence on Christian theology is undeniable, reconsidering some of his positions is clearly appropriate. Please take a few minutes to read this important article: http://bethwoolsey.com/2013/10/3-reasons-i-quit-loving-the-sinner-and-hating-the-sin/ Feel free to leave a comment below or on Beth’s...

029: Cheating, Lying & Deception Jun21

029: Cheating, Lying & Deception...

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/29-Cheating__Lying__Deception.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:49 — 18.1MB)In this always-timely discussion, Jeannette Slater & Dr. Deb talk about ways we cheat, lie and deceive, how we justify them, and the implications on our relationships and society. This continues a discussion on a philosophy that everything we do and communicate has significant impact on the universe, because everything is connected and everything is...

Opportunity Jun17

Opportunity

You ended up grabbing the first thing that came along because you needed to pay the rent and eat. The job didn’t turn out they way you thought it should. And at the end of a few years, you ask, “Is this all there is until retirement?” Careers can be a roller coaster. Jobs come and go. I want to share an excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, from his book, Graceful. It will give you some thoughts and inspiration to ponder about your job life and career. What changed? We grew up with the factory. Not simply the smelly, smoke-belching aluminum refinery in town. No, I’m talking about the insurance agent down the street, the accounting firm in New York and the bank in the skyscraper downtown. These are factories because they do what all factories do: they create what they created yesterday, but faster and cheaper. Factories are about predictable scalability, about scarcity, and most of all, about compliance. A factory demands a compliant workforce in order to succeed. And so we’ve organized around this idea of compliance in all things—in school, in the foods we eat, in the way we respond to marketing. And it’s a dead end. The factory is a dead end and so is compliance. More obedience will not make us better. That’s why graceful is in such demand. Businesses that are based on conformity and compliance are having trouble achieving their growth targets. Politicians that depend on wholesale acceptance of the status quo are finding it difficult to get re-elected. Non-profits that count on the same donors to contribute in the same way are struggling as well. At the same time, we’re seeing an explosion in new approaches, new models and new forms of interaction....

Creativity

You are creative. Maybe you don’t think you are, but you are actually a very creative person. If you’re like me, you were intimidated by some classmates in elementary school named Laura or Scottie who seemed to draw like a pro. Not only were they polite, and brilliant, but they seemed so incredibly creative. For me, it was Laura, the pastor’s daughter at the parochial elementary school I attended. When people around us are recognized as smart or creative, is sends a not-so-subtle message that you’re NOT! Comparing ourselves to others is a natural social phenomenon, yet it is often unhelpful. So back to creativity. How do I know you are creative? It’s because science and religion point to you being both FROM and PART OF the vast universe. The nature we are part of is full of magnificent wonder. Birds, waves, animal behavior, the formation of storms, the regeneration of life…it’s all most incredible. You are made of the same stuff, except are even more. You have intelligence, communication skills, reasoning, emotion and so many other attributes that are not less than the rest of the world, they are more! Unlike the plants and animals, you were actually made in the likeness of the Divine—the intimate intelligence and creativity of the universe. Just think about that for a moment. You are actually a descendant of, but you also share the DNA of the creative force of our universe and beyond. So that’s pretty cool, right? NO, that’s FREAKIN’ AMAZING! That means you have the ability to be remarkable. I’ve found that creativity manifests itself in surprising ways. Though you may not be able to paint, sculpt or even create a gorgeous garden, you are creative. Think about the times you were financially challenged and made an...

The Thing

What was it and when did you lose it? What was the thing that made you think, YES! to life? What was the thing that made you want to get out of bed in the morning? What was the thing that put a magnificent, unadulterated, unashamed smile on your face? And where did it go? We all have this amazing ability to create life, to make fun, to come up with something that wasn’t there before! We were all born with passion! But then something or some things happened and we lost the thing. It went away. It no longer was the focus of our affection. What happened? How long has it been since you even thought about it? You are the only one like you in the world; you made stuff. You had ideas. You created a little corner of joy that nobody else ever did. Think about it. Go for a walk. Meditate. Or just give yourself permission to consider it again. What was it? Where did it go? Why did you drop it? Did life get in the way? Did somebody try to steal it? Did you think it had no more value? Was it not socially acceptable? Only you know about the thing. Maybe your thing used to be painting, singing, restoring old cars. Maybe it was hosting social gatherings or poetry readings. Maybe it was spending time alone with each of your kids, or going on real dates with your lover. Or maybe it was giving yourself to have a lover at all. Whatever your thing or things were, how about getting them back? If they were the things that made your heart sings, aren’t they worth reclaiming? Maybe life got in the way…really in the way. But consider...

Friends

There are friends by convenience. There are friends by blood. There are TV, Friends. And there are friends you deliberately choose to share life with (that make TV Friends look like playing house.) We’ve all experienced all of these. I am so glad to have a group of friends that see each other twice a month. We actually schedule it. And while some in the world might think it’s a strange thing to have to schedule a meting, by American standards, we find organizing ourselves on a regular schedule is great. We like it that way. It works for us. I started the group 2 1/2 years ago because I felt the need to form a group to go through life with. And apparently it struck a cord with the others as well. Relationships and groups can form over many touch points. They can share similar interests, like golf or cards. They can form because of a common faith. They can organize around almost anything. My group had two prominent things in common: They knew me. They were all in the same decade of life sharing similar challenges and goals. We decided to meet twice a week to see how it went. While I tried to introduce an agenda several times, the group has mostly just enjoyed the social aspect. They know it’s a place where they can eat and drink, relax and just share their lives. And everyone seems to think it’s really good thing. How is your social life? Have you considered being very deliberate about starting a group centered on something in common? Do you feel there is a group of folsk who could use a friend, enjoy a place to fit, and just do life together? You have much to give....

Symbiosis

The fifth growth force found in nature that we are exploring in this series is symbiosis. Each growth force, when applied to our life can increase the potential for health and growth. Symbiosis describes what happens when two different organisms, living in close proximity, share in a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, when a tree ages and its roots loose the capacity to gather nutrients from the soil, a certain fungus grows on the roots that helps transfer nutrients to the tree. In return (since the fungus cannot produce chlorophyll itself), the tree then transfers carbohydrates and oxygen to help the fungus grow. The tree and the fungus experience symbiosis that helps sustain both. Another example highlights how two great things combined can produce a whole new thing. Remember the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ad that imagined the way chocolate and peanut butter “accidentally” came together? Both chocolate and peanut butter were individual favorites, but the combination created was fantastic! The same principle works with food courts. You might think putting multiple food outlets in one small space would create so much competition that no one would survive. But in reality, the draw of multiple options attracts more people to the space, and all the food vendors thrive better than they would on their own. Symbiosis seems to be at the heart of the universe. And it’s equally powerful with people as it is in nature and marketing. Symbiosis takes place when people or groups engage in mutually beneficial relationships. Cooperation is a key component of symbiosis. Whether its birds who benefit from aerodynamic flight formations or societies that are healthy, it is clear the world is based on cooperation AND competition. Perhaps we have put the em-PHA-sis on the wrong SYL-la-ble. As Tom...

Sustainability

At the end of the last century, German biochemist, Frederic Vester identified six growth force principles found in nature we can apply to our lives and work to increase health and growth. This article looks at the fourth growth force of sustainability. You can read about the first three here: Interdependence, Multiplication, and Transforming Energy. The principle of sustainability challenges us to consider how what we’re doing will produce the resources we’ll need for the next lifecycle. In nature we observe how the leaves of a tree fall and become part of the nutrient base for the next growth season. And farmers rely on crop rotation, knowing that what one crop takes out, another replaces. This also applies to ourselves and the way we personally approach our time and energy. We’re in this for the long haul; life is a marathon, not a sprint. A synonym for sustainability could be recycling. Recycling embodies the idea of reusing resources for the future even though the resource may look different in the next cycle. For example, investing in education could be a critical piece in building your future. Creating and nurturing friendships will give you the support system you need now and in the future. Developing new interests will help you develop new brain pathways and continue to expose you to new and exciting ideas. Saving and investing for retirement will ensure you will be able to meet your needs in old age. As you make decisions about the future, here are some questions you may want to consider: What am I doing (or not doing) today that is building the future? What resources do I need to increase the potential for the next cycle? How is the lifestyle I’m creating today going to sustain me for...