Friday, November 19, 2010

The end is coming; time to review

Next week is Thanksgiving and the start of the countdown to the end of 2010. What has the year brought for you? For me this has been the best of years and the worst of years. And while I already know that I have missed some benchmarks set out at the beginning of the year many of those were replaced or overwritten by unforeseeable new goals.

It's that time of year when I start looking over my goals and dreams, see what has worked and what hasn't. And then I start developing my plans for the coming year. I will also be looking for and selecting my word for next year.

If you have an end of the year review practice how did you develop it and how complex is it. My own is fairly simple in design but that doesn't mean it's always simple to work through. I will post my review some time in the next few weeks; until then it will be a busy time.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Commit to Nonviolent Communication

Recently I had a kind of back-row seat to a neighborhood relationship altercation that ended in shots fired. Deborah Tannen is quoted in Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert) as saying that much of the angst and conflict in the world revolves around two issues:“…how much do you love me; and, who’s in charge.” That applies to not only wars and social conflicts but especially to our most intimate relationships with our partners and families.

Not all family or relationship violence is physical; meaning that not every victim of a violent relationship is hit, beaten, stabbed or raped, or has the physical scars to prove it.

Do you know someone whose spouse, partner, or another person in their life is inflicting abuse through constant hurtful words, like derogatory statements or always has to be right, or some other form of emotional intimidation or control?

The abuser often convinces the victim that they can’t leave or things will get worse; but too often things get worse if they stay and they lose their outside support network. Violent communication is too often the tip of the problem. If the verbally or emotionally abusive partner will not commit to practicing nonviolent communication they may not keep any other promises either.

So, does the person you’re thinking of know they can choose to exit the situation; to just let it go? You can’t make someone leave who chooses to stay, but many don’t know they don’t have to stay.

Broken promises can pave the road to shattered lives.


Family Violence Prevention

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life Experiments 90 day update

In January I wrote about Adam Bacon’s idea of life experiments but I didn’t start working on this idea as my own process for moving into my life going forward until late in May. So this is roughly my 90 day update on my experiment with Life Experiments.

The most important thing about the experiment so far has been letting go of over-analysis and moving to do and ship (if you read Seth Godin he phrases it as “make art and ship”). Everything changes when the question moves from “what can I do?” to “what will I ship?” If you don’t believe it, try it for a week.

So far this summer I have shipped stuff as in cleared out stuff which I can’t use and can’t be sold; and sold stuff I have no storage space for. I have been shipping for my nonprofit group by taking over the formal publicity and building connections with various media outlets. I shipped myself by taking a workshop in writing and art. I shipped my car to a new owner and am currently experimenting with not owning a car in an area where there are very few transportation alternatives for those who either do not drive or do not own motor vehicles although I do have the advantage of owning a bike.

My objectives for all this experimenting are multifaceted. First, I am trying to find out who the real me is and what do I need to frame that definition. In other words, do I define my things or do they define me?

Second, I am trying to figure out what my working life looks like and how do I invest my available time in order to get my work done? This also includes experimenting with various times of day as well as tools and media to get work done as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Third, I am experimenting with relationships and human connections. One thing the past almost three years of disassembling my former life illuminated has been how weird I have approached just being friends with people. No doubt you have heard the term shrinking woman or shrinking American woman; well, my rendition went beyond taking up the smallest relational space possible to taking none as though I weren’t even in the room.

Actually I have discovered that in general I rarely mattered in the past, unless there was a problem needing to be assigned blame somewhere. So I am experimenting with not automatically assuming blame or guilt when something goes wrong, or not as planned or preferred. The weight that this alone lifts from my shoulders makes the whole experiments project worthwhile even if I never ship another thing in my life (but I have no plans to stop shipping).

If you have a personal story about a life experiment how is it coming along?


What Matters Now

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How much is a paid-for car costing to drive?

Maybe you read Tammy Strobel's story yesterday about giving away her stuff? Okay, some of it was sold but a lot of it she and her husband gave away.

Over the past year I have posted occasionally about
downsizing to a one bedroom apartment, using my bike whenever possible, and cooking my own convenience foods from scratch.

While I haven't posted here about it I have been considering whether I could manage without a car for at least a while. One issue is that there is not public transit in the area but there are some small taxi services and really I am close to most of the places I need to go to take care of my personal affairs and business stuff.

But for what it would save on insuring and feeding the car I think I could get basic internet at home and pay for the truly unavoidable rides plus the cash from the sale would boost my emergency fund. This is still in the research and decision process but more and more it seems to make sense for the short-term.

If anybody has given up owning a private car; share how you came to a decision and how it worked out for you.