In a November 9th blog about her reflections after the elections, Ann Weiser Cornell wrote, “We need to cherish the sparks of potential and possibility in everyone and in every situation, while at the same time seeing what is in front of us.”
What is in front of me is the challenge of:
1) Feeling compassion for the pain, fear, and anger that divide our communities, country and world into warring camps;
2) Remembering that all forms of violence—physical and verbal—are triggered by fear; and
3) Not blaming others for the sadness and anxiety I feel about the escalated tensions among us. (Blaming might feel pleasurable in the moment. However, blame is about the past and inappropriately absolves the blamer of any responsibility for the current situation while making the current situation worse.)
In 2017, I choose to cherish and engender potential and possibility by deepening my commitment to the eight practices I advocate in my book Talk Matters!. I call them “practices” because there seems to be no end to learning how to use them ever more skillfully. When used with good intentions, the practices spark potential and possibility among people, helping them solve problems and find common ground. The practices are:
- Making conscious choices about what I do and say and preparing myself through daily meditation to be able to make life-giving choices;
- Defining intentions that engender potential and possibility;
- Opening myself to change by asking myself what I need or want to let go of and what I want to nurture;
- Being compassionate with myself and those near and far;
- Engaging with people who differ from me by going out of my way to be in new and unfamiliar situations;
- Using the six indispensable communication skills as often as possible in calm situations so they are more available to me in difficult ones;
- Creating collaboration in meetings by designing agendas with clear outcomes and adequate time and space to develop understanding;
- Tackling complex issues with others by making sure processes are inclusive, help people feel safe, and inspire curiosity and compassion.
Mary’s book “Talk Matters! Saving the World One Word at a Time” is now available. Click here to purchase it.