How do you connect?

How do you connect?

The word prompt today is connected.  It should be an easy word to prompt me to write.  I passed up playful and smooth.  They evoked some thoughts, but no action.

How we connect with one another is a central theme in all that I do and believe in. Connectedness is central to relationship building. But, it is also important to ideas and thoughts — to creativity.

So, here are the ways I love to connect.

  1. I listen.  I have worked hard over the years to learn how to listen. I admit I do have this nasty habit of interrupting.  Often, my thoughts spill out of my mouth way too soon.  In that way, I am not connected.  Yet, when I need to or when I see the other person needs me to, I have learned to stop and really listen.  Listening means making sure I also ask questions and clarify my understanding.
  2. I love the diversity each individual brings to the table.  I love being with and listening to people from very different backgrounds from my own.  I can be with someone from any country or region in the world and learn something new.  I can also be with someone from a very, different socio-economic background and listen to their stories.  It is all about learning a different perspective.  Like looking at any one thing from different angles gives us a different view of the same subject; so, too, does listening to someone from a different culture, ethnicity, neighborhood, or experience.
  3. I am creative.  I can take an idea and attach another idea to it and make it new.  Or, I can find a different way of looking at a problem, a new perspective, and bring about a creative solution to an old problem.  It is all about making new connections or gaining new perspectives.

 

Sometimes I think the act of being connected is the most important concept we have in life.  We can’t survive without it.  Children who don’t have the privilege of human touch and love (i.e. connection) fail to thrive.  Later in life, if we don’t have important relationships to help us through the difficult times, we fail to thrive.  And, if we don’t have connections in business, our businesses fail to thrive.

In this world, we need to be connected.  The truth is being connected brings a satisfaction, a serenity, a joy that makes living and working smooth (June 5) and playful (June 6).

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Being Intentional: aka living life with purpose

Being Intentional: aka living life with purpose

I think being intentional is the most powerful thing we can do for ourselves.  Being intentional, living with purpose, means choosing our own direction, deciding our own future, designing the gifts from the past, and living in our own present.

I love the concept. It requires a little more effort than reacting to events every day.  It required a lot of self-reflection and decision-making.

I am constantly balancing my life between a number of passions.  I love the work I do in intercultural communication and in conflict resolution.  I love all the creative and innovative projects I work on.  I love being able to give back to my community.  I love the diversity that comes from all the interesting people I meet and interact with.  I love the scientists, the artists, the struggling, and the accomplished!

All the above passions are highlighted by the fact that I try to live an intentional life.  I intentionally seek out diverse people.  I intentionally open myself to new experiences and ideas.  I intentionally decide to do work that helps others.  I intentionally decide to learn and grow.

To get to where I am now, living and enjoying the present, I had to review my past.  Every time I see myself at a crossroads, I revisit that past for clues about what to plan for the future.  I don’t attach myself to my future plans. Rather, I enjoy my present state and put things in place for my dreamed future.  If it happens, I will be grateful. If not, I will redesign the future, reviewing the past, listening to my internal self, and paving a pathway towards a new future.

That is life with purpose.  Because to choose the future, I also partner with my values and beliefs.  The most important inform my plans and dreams.  The least important are noticed and saved or discarded depending on what I feel needs to be done.

The most important realization for me is that being intentional means I have much more control about how I feel and react in this world.  I have the control to let go of past injustices or circumstance and make my life a positive example for others.  Or, at the very least a positive example for me!

 

This post was written for the Daily Prompt:  Purpose.

The featured image is a sketch by Tricia Calvert.  She is a Dayton artist whose work I enjoy.  You can see more of her work on Instagram.

Please leave a comment or let me know what you thought about today’s post!  I look forward (REALLY!) to hearing from you.

Snapshots: Memories From a Life Preview

Snapshots: Memories From a Life Preview

In my life there have been moments and short encounters that looking back were significant in my life.  Sometimes, it is a representation of who I am.  That is, the encounter supports my own identity and values.  Sometimes, that brief moment has an indelible mark like a footprint in the sands of my time.

I always wonder why we remember what we do.  Why one memory slides in and stays to be called up at a moment’s notice and others disappear.  It reminds me of the genie in the bottle.  Rub the right spot on the lamp and a memory lights up from a cloud in the mind.  But, what secrets do these memories impart?  What wishes do they fulfill?

Today a memory was pulled from my mind in an announcement on facebook.  “Today is Jeff Berglund‘s birthday”, said my facebook notification.

I met Jeff in person once at a Sietarusa conference in Portland, Oregon two years ago.  He was working as a volunteer collecting items for the silent auction to provide scholarships for students to attend the conference.  I talked to Jeff and another volunteer briefly.  I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember I was in a light and jovial mood. This made the conversation fun and entertaining.  Somehow, a connection was established and a friendship was made.  Just like that.

I attended Jeff’s workshop and he taught me the 2-1 ballroom step. I delighted in meeting someone who, like me, looked at the positive side of life.  He was kind enough to listen to my ideas about intercultural communication and mediation; and to be bold enough to give me excellent feedback. He asked critical questions that helped me think deeper and with greater clarity.

Since that weekend, I friended Jeff on facebook and learned that he spends his time teaching people about Kyoto and Tokyo Japan in video.  Like me, Jeff loves his adopted culture (mine is India) and is a strong multicultural personality.

This is the point for me.  That people make a difference in our lives if only for a brief encounter, or even a second of our time.  They create an impact and impression that is often not forgotten.  That brief time spent was memorable because it supported my perception of myself.  It helped me think through a direction I was taking in my life.  It represents and supports deep values and beliefs I either practice or aspire to achieve.

It reminded me of the words Edward T. Hall said to me at the Summer Institute for intercultural Learning.  He said, “The most important thing to remember as you study intercultural communication is to care.  Nothing else matters.” Meeting Jeff represented that aspect of caring.  That encounter highlighted how living in an intercultural world where everyone is different and everyone brings their own unique perspective and their unique blend of cultures is such a vibrant experience.  It reminds me why I love people and the stories they have to share.

This is a part of a series of memories I will call snapshots.  I will add to these memories as reflections on my life.  Stay tuned.