Simple can be difficult

I recently had the opportunity to sit in a group and work through some unresolved tension between some of the group members. The method used for relieving the tension was so simple – good communication.

Everyone spoke in turn, without interruption. People took their time, there was no rush, there was time to think about what you were saying. We all spoke about how we were affected by the situation thus avoiding the “you said” and “you did” elements which can be so unhelpful.

We realised how what we say and the tone used can be so easily misinterpreted. This can cause hurt, which if not aired can fester and lead to resentment.

It is not as simple as it sounds to sit and listen to each other without interruption and without the chance of an immediate come-back – which often just escalates a situation into an argument. The value of speaking in turn is that by the time it is your turn to speak you may no longer wish to say what you were expecting to say, you will have had to time to listen to others speak and this may well have changed how you see things and given you the opportunity to identify what you are really feeling.

There may be many rounds necessary to resolve a situation, you sit with it until it is finished. People sometimes ask – how long will this take? It takes as long as it takes!

It is also not often that people are courageous enough to really speak from the heart, to say how hurt they are feeling or vulnerable or frightened or angry. We are so often afraid to let others see how we really feel, we wear masks to protect ourselves, to hide behind. There are many reasons that we do this, it is a learnt behaviour. Perhaps in the past someone used our vulnerability against us or took advantage of our fear to frighten us further, whatever the reason we can unlearn this behaviour and learn a new way to be. Learning any new skill takes practise and to do this it helps to have people around us that we trust and feel safe with.

I would love for everyone have the opportunity to experience this sort of communication, to experience what it is like to sit through a situation which could very easily lead to confrontation but doesn’t, which allows everyone to speak their truth and to really hear each other.

Simple things can be really difficult – but it is worth it!

Time Off

I had a “time off” crisis this week. We had worked three weekends in a row and have been very busy for the last two months. We work together and often work from home so getting time off or even time alone can be difficult.

When I was single I spend quite a lot of time alone and really enjoyed it. I would read, cycle, walk, go for drives and camp alone. I also had more time for thinking and connecting with myself, I have had a journalling habit for some time now and find it very useful for keeping in touch with how I feel about what is happening around me and in me.

It might seem strange to some but I find that it is very easy to lose touch with what is really going on with myself. It’s not that I wander around completely out of touch with myself, I do try to live in the moment as much as I can, however life has a way of distracting me from connecting at a deep level with myself.

I do find it a struggle to maintain a healthy connection with my own feelings. It seems easy for me to let my habit of writing in my journal slip and then a few weeks or even months down the line I find myself badly in need of time alone in order to catch up with myself.

This time around I had trouble trying to find a way to spend a few days by myself, the weather was too cold to go camping (yeah- what a wimp, only hard frost, it’s not as though it’s snowing yet!), I was reluctant to go stay with friends because that would not be “alone” time. I did consider staying in a hotel but I could not bring myself to spend €100 just for a night away, even in a nice cosy hotel, I kept thinking about what else that money could buy – like food!

So we organised a heater in the little garden shed which is down in the lower fields and I camped out there for the day and wrote in my journal, shed a few tears, napped and caught up with myself. I also really enjoyed looking at our land, at our trees changing colour and the views downhill from a different perspective.

It turns out that I didn’t need as much time as I thought I would and I had the added benefit of cuddling up to himself that night – much better than a night by myself in a hotel, cosy or not.

I wonder how often people need this sort of “time off” and don’t get to take it? I am blessed to be able to look after myself this way, even more fortunate that I can recognise when I need to take time by myself and I have learnt to never ignore the signals – it’s never worth it!

Monstrous Monsanto

I only found out this evening that Monsanto has bought up a huge seed company, Seminis, Inc., a leading Vegetable and Fruit Seed Company, making Monsanto the owners of the seed suppliers for 40% of American vegetable seed customers and 20% of the global customer base.

That’s pretty scary news and I only found out because I was browsing the web and happened on the story and this is a link to the details. I am rather surprised that I have not heard the news through the Irish media, it is an important issue.

I haven’t fully thought through the implications of this news yet or how I feel about Monsanto owning such an important resource and will probably write about this in the future.

It is so important that we save our own seeds and support people like Seedsavers in Scarriff in Co. Clare. We are planning to grow some food on our land next year, having let the garden go wild for a few years and we will be making a special effort to only use seed that grows plants which we can collect further seed from. You can read a post about doing just that in Australia, check out this link here. Another good thing to do is talk to other gardeners and swap seeds with people in your locality, that way the plants will be best suited to your weather conditions.

Food for thought…

Anger

This is in response to a blog entry in Nurtured By Love

It’s difficult for many people to be around anger I think. Is it easy for anyone I wonder? I know that even some people who are used to expressing their own anger can be frightened by the anger being expressed by others, while others are desensitized to it.

It takes a long time to unlearn bad or unhealthy habits and of course we can only do something about our own anger, we are not responsible for the anger of others, even when it is directed towards us. Each of us chooses how to react, even when we react so instinctively that it doesn’t seem like a choice, it still is a choice, we get to decide what our reactions are. I am not saying that it is easy but I do believe it (uncomfortably) to be true.

I say uncomfortably because it makes us responsible for feelings that we may be more comfortable blaming on others – she made me angry, upset, sad etc. rather than I am feeling angry, upset, sad etc. It is not always pleasant or comfortable to take full responsibility for our own feelings and many of us have to learn to do it as adults because we did not learn these things whilst growing up.

Often we may need help learning these new habits, it is especially good to chose your companions from emotionally healthy people, those who are really working on positive living, who are really trying to learn or practise integrity and self-awareness.

I notice that many tv “reality” shows and soap operas seem to work very much with a theme of anger running through so that those who watch regularly (phew I am glad I don’t) are subjected to anger on a regular basis and would therefore view it as quite normal. I think that the danger here is that anger can cover so many other feelings which may never be acknowledged, causing many other problems. Why do the media pepper their “popular” shows with anger? Please let me know if you any thought on this.

I know that it is the main reason that I watch so little tv. I don’t need my entertainment to foster feelings of impotent anger in me. I want my tv entertainment to charm me, educate me, surprise me. I like to watch shows with some human values of honesty, warmth, healthy emotions being healthily expressed and dealt with, compassion. Perhaps that’s why I mostly watch reruns of old shows and movies and stay away from the current rash of so-called reality tv.

Having said all that I think it is important to recognise that anger can be a positive force for change, for improvement, it should not be viewed as a negative or unhealthy emotion.

Anger is not an unhealthy emotion, it is just an emotion.

It all depends on how we behave when we are angry, how we use the anger we are feeling, whether we recognise where it is coming from, whether it is hiding any other emotions that we should be aware of and learning how to act appropriately.