We are all a Work in Progress Part II

  Being Observant is the Facilitator for Change!    

Part II – A note to my readers: This Rambling continues my train of thought from the last post on “being an uncut diamond” and my own experiences in polishing the rough edges to discover the brilliance within.

If you are not observant to what is going on around you, you cannot change. 

There are things in life we cannot change. For instance, I am a full-fledged, 100 percent Norwegian, a genetic gift that I used to be overly prideful of and now am simply proud of. norwegian-flag(I’ll explain the difference later.) I am sure you have similar attributes you cannot change and are perhaps proud of. We each have unique attributes that make us interesting and so much fun to get to know more intimately. Our attributes can make the soul tick and become the heartbeat in our relationships. If we don’t take the time to share and learn about personal attributes, our relationships can become shallow, less trusting, and lack intimacy.

How did my personal transition from being prideful to proud evolve? Why do I feel it has made a significant difference in my life? I am of the belief that without being an observant individual, observant to what is being said, observant to what is going on around us, observant to personal behavior and tone of conversation, observant of what is being written by those far more talented and insightful than us, we would not have experience change and growth. So……….Being Observant is a Facilitator for Change!

I have discovered and maybe you have as well, that there are things we can change about ourselves if our attitude is more than, “This is just who I am!”.

I have learned that changes and maturity can occur if we truly care. However, first we need to discover what needs change and why. And, is it really change or is it the intentional and deliberate process of engaging others (like a diamond cutter) who brings out the brilliance in a gem that was always within us?

I am not using “brilliance” in the sense of vanity, but rather as a description of making the best of the God-given talents we have. It is my opinion that not doing so is a waste and an insult to our creator.

Perhaps you are wondering (as I did!) about the difference between being prideful and proud. I have learned through experiential  discovery, and maturity, that there is a significant difference—a difference that can impact the outcome of so many aspects in our lives.

You can use the dictionary of your choice but basically, proud is defined as “having a proper amount of self-respect; characterized by feelings of pride.” Whereas prideful is defined as “a haughty attitude shown by somebody who believes, often unjustifiably, that he or she is better than others.” When I realized the difference, I was almost appalled by the manner I had used to express myself; I was prideful rather than proud.

Are there areas in your life where perhaps you’ve experienced this as well? Just a thought and question to ponder.

As I get older, I have had to work on being more transparent and vulnerable in my communication. In the past, I believe I have been reasonably good at conversation, but not communication. The two are dramatically different. With communication comes connection and intimacy, I have had to learn and experience that vulnerability and transparency is healthy and actually leads to more meaningful relationships, whether business or personal (which includes friends and a romantic intimate relationship). You may be thinking, what is the difference between the two?

Communication and Conversation: (Encarta) “A sense of mutual understanding and sympathy; the exchange of information (e.g. by means of speaking, writing, or using a common system of signs or behavior). And similarly, conversation is “the activity of talking to somebody informally; an informal talk with somebody, especially about opinions, ideas, feelings, or everyday matters.”

As opposed to: Communication: (according to Bing) “What is effective communication? caution-symbol-or-signCommunication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.”

Change and maturity is a lifetime “work in progress” process that relies on being receptive to and valuing the input of others as well as having a variety of life experiences. For me, that includes reading diverse books, going to Nicaragua, attending my Men’s Bible Study group and a men’s monthly gathering for meaningful conversation, going to Haiti, speaking at church about my faith, and looking for other opportunities to do things that get me out of my own head.

Stop and think, what are yours? Do you have a partner to share these experiences with and are you intentionally working on being “Co-Authors” together on the book of “US”?

We do not mature and change without the help of others, being a “lone wolf” produces inferior results. All of this change and maturity has required guidance from those around me. My personal positive reaction to change has added color and perspective—perspective that may very well be different than what I want to hear! However, those perspectives (from meaningful relationships of value) are healthy and of significance in life.

I continue, as I suspect most of us are, to be a work in progress. How are you doing? Do you have that someone in your life with whom, together, you can be a work in progress?

I think that would be a fun and a meaningful life journey to  working together with that life partner to be an “us”!

 

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Polishing the Diamond – Part I

Watch for Part II – Sequel on Friday  

Reader, in this Rambling I am using the images of a rough, uncut diamond and a perfectly cut diamond as an analogy to life and the process (or work) it takes to shape and polish ourselves into an interesting, meaningful and sustentative person.

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Recently, I was asked how I come up with the themes for my Ramblings and how I outline the content before writing a Rambling post. I found it difficult to provide a meaningful answer. You see, I try to be observant about what’s going on around me. Often times, things I read or conversations I have trigger a lightning bolt of internal thought that goes something like: That was interesting and meaningful, maybe I could do a Rambling about that. I will then jot a cryptic note on my phone.

As for outlining the content, I thought to myself: Outline? Am I supposed to do an outline? I just look at the topic or theme and start writing from the heart and see what comes out—just like what I am doing right now! I guess that’s why these posts are “Ramblings” as they are basically reflections from my heart on topics and discoveries that mean something to me, have impacted me, and/or created change.

My objective? Challenge readers to reflect inward and see if anything I ramble about provides a “lightning bolt” for them.

As I sit here typing, I’m experiencing a rush of emotions at what I am about to write: Should I share what’s about to come out of me? Maybe I shouldn’t. But, heck, if I am being true to myself, honest with who I am, and authentic with my readers, why not? Maybe it will trigger a personal thought and additional insight for someone.

You see, I am single and do not want to be! I have, however, discovered how picky I am, how I have changed, and how I look at relationships—I only want to be married one more time. I have discovered so much in the past 18-24 months as to who I was in the past, and who I am today. I know what’s important to me and what I want in the person I will spend the rest of my life with.

Have you thought about this? If you’re in a relationship, have you discussed what is important with your partner and how to grow in order to be Co-Authors of the Book of an amazing “US”? This discovery is what brings me to my theme for this Rambling. (I pray that someday I will find that person who sees, feels, hears, and experiences this and says…WOW who is this guy?)

In the past, I thought I knew who I was as a person, but I was way too consumed with therough-cut-diamond wrong things to know how prideful, righteous, and shame-filled I was. This attitude and poorly placed attribute clouded my potential brilliance, has caused others to run and throw away the relationship (actually at the time, I was way too rough and had not learned to accept cutting and polishing), much like a rough, uncut diamond. I now know what it means to change and self-discover. Regret and change is so emotional, tough, and exciting all at the same time. I was told I couldn’t change. However, like an uncut diamond, while the core of who we are, along with our God-given talents that there are something’s that cannot change, however I am learning that we can cut and polish the stone (core), with the help of others, to bring out the true brilliance of who we are, smoothing away what is often clouded by rough, ragged edges. Boy, was I an uncut diamond!

Have you given thought to who you are at your core? What might need to be cut and polished? Do you surround yourself with those who can help? Do you want to renew a connection with someone in your life—a partner, friend, family member? Are you searching for the one who you wants to co-Author an “US” with?

As I write this, I am reflecting on the multi-faceted aspects of how I am attempting to live my life in a wholehearted, meaningful, and purposeful way. Maybe you, too, are struck with how to do this. A good and interesting support for me has been my renewed interest in reading. I have found Brene Brown, The Gift of Imperfection, and a great relationship book by Danny Silks, and Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life, insightful reads to name a few. Rick Warren’s  is based in faith and belief in God. However, regardless of our beliefs, the book remains a recommendation as I have found it so significant.

When we look at an uncut, rough diamond, what do we see? Perhaps we can see the gem inside what simply looks like a piece of glass. It is shapeless, colorless, jagged, and rough around the edges. You may wonder whether it’s something special or just a piece of worthless glass. Is there value here or just an interesting creation of science and God? You may hang on to it for a bit, but if it is not explored more closely you may discard it and look elsewhere, not realizing you’ve just thrown away something of potential brilliance and significant substance. If that did occur, who’s fault was it?

Now imagine it’s a person, not a rock, that we’re talking about. There could be two dimensions of fault: The rough diamond itself (the person) who has chosen not to be polished, not to change, not to be shaped and polished into something special. They then wonder why they were discarded. It could also be the observer who did not see the depth of the brilliance, did not have the patience to wait for the polishing, did not trust it was possible, or just did not ask the right questions. In any event, there was a tragic loss.

With some effort, and a willingness to make a change, the rough-cut diamond can be cut, polished, and shaped to reveal the true brilliance of what’s underneath. The brilliance will have multiple facets, much like a diamond, all slightly different, yet the collection of the facets creates something very special. That does not mean there may not still be a few imperfections (inclusions), yet those inclusions also create a uniqueness that can add significant value as there is no such thing as perfect—in the diamond world—or with people and relationships.

Commit to finding your brilliance!

I have discovered that with great effort and help from others who have unique talents and perspectives (diamond cutters), that the rough diamond can become a brilliant, wonderful,cut-diamond and fantastic creation. This happens when we are committed to working on creating a brilliant, meaningful, and uniquely purposeful and wholehearted life and a relationship with a lifelong partner, a partner who also wants to grow, live a purposeful life, and continue to polish (and be polished) by sharing and embracing all the brilliance and inclusions together.

RESPECT

An impromptu posting, something that I do on rare occasions as a result of something that touched me, made me think and inspired to ramble a bit. To challenge readers to reflect if anything resonates with themselves……I find it interesting the more engaged you are, the less inward you think and observe outward the broader your perspectives and interests become (just my perspective)

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Encarta defines Respect as; “To feel or show admiration and deference toward somebody or something”

This past weekend I spent time at the cabin for a wonderful cold, snow few days of fires, wine and watching the entire Netflix Series “The Crown”. I was struck with more than the scope of this rambling, however a few were especially meaningful triggers that has prompted this impromptu non edited post.

For those unfamiliar with the Netflix created series;

As reviewed by NEIL GENZLINGER NOV. 3, 2016 , The series: “The Crown,” and the monarch is Elizabeth II, the very woman who sits on the British throne today. She’s not exactly the kind of hard-living, bloodthirsty ruler who makes for frothy television, and “The Crown,” a 10-part drama queen-elizabeththat becomes available Friday on Netflix, doesn’t try to pretend that she is. This is a thoughtful series that lingers over death rather than using it for shock value; one that finds its story lines in small power struggles rather than gruesome palace coups. Here, it takes an episode and a half just for George VI (Jared Harris) to cough himself to death so that Elizabeth (Claire Foy) can ascend to the throne. (Peter Morgan, creator and writer of the series)

Claire Foy as Elizabeth II in “The Crown.” Credit Alex Bailey/Netflix

I was struck by: The incredible Respect shown by the media immediately following the death of Elizabeth’s father, King George in a poignant scene when Elizabeth was leaving for the airport after learning of her father’s death. The “press paparazzi” refrained from hounding Elizabeth, honored her with dignity, with silence and refrained camera flashes as Elizabeth was escorted to her car and drove away.

The scene was dramatic and caused me to pause with thought about this powerful attribute of Respect . I realized that Respect is earned, it is a byproduct of behavior,  the manner in which we interact with others, our character as to how we exhibit selflessness acts, kindness and conviction of beliefs with dignity.  It is reflective of sincere passion and worthwhile beliefs beyond one’s self.  I found myself reflecting on Respect and what  it takes to earn this moniker, how quickly it can be lost and what it takes to earn it back if there is a stumble in life. How do you, the reader view Respect?

I was struck by : a comment made in a scene by Mother Queen, King Georges Mother as she was bed ridden and said to Elizabeth; “ If everyone continues to just ask me how I am feeling, I will not die from lung disease, I will die from bad conversation”. The art of conversation with substance and meaning is the glue to a great relationship . This is a skill that is learned, it is a skill that is grounded by living a life of substance and meaningful ness beyond ourselves, it a skill that is enhanced by reading and being exposed to diverse aspects of life and the world. It is a skill that can be learned and refined if we care. Do you agree?

I was struck by: The scene when an almost king who, due to the lineage of the one he loved, prevented his coronation was asked if he regretted in essence turning down the position, his response was “I turned it down for something far greater, for Love!” What a powerful phrase and statement of commitment to the person in our life. It was correct and something that should ground that lifetime partner in our lives, it will create compassion, it will enable forgiveness, it creates amazing and it further helps define Joy far beyond happiness. Great vulnerable communication and development of a partnership and “WE LIFE” is the bedrock for this, in my opinion, Do you agree and should there be more?

That’s it for this rambling, reflect on RESPECT, CONVERSATION and LOVE references and if they have meaning to you as it did for me!