Great Conversations #MondayMusings

Great Conversations #MondayMusings

It was only a few years ago that I embraced the truth that I am an introvert. And I’m happy with that.

I do enjoy the company of people, especially those I can connect with on a deep level. Sadly, I’m finding it more and more difficult to do that.

I come away from most social gatherings, even small ones, wondering if I had wasted my time going. Conversations seem to be kept at a surface, we all seem to talk at each other and most of all there are always mobile phones to add noise and photographs to the gathering! I find myself drained after such social events. I’m grateful that I have José to come home to and really have a good conversation with.

What makes great conversations?

When is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation that wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture?
But … a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew? That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost … a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plane? … a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards …
I’ve had some of them recently … they are food and drink for the soul.
– John O’Donohue –

Doesn’t that sound so good? I’ve been musing how we can have more meaningful conversations and here are just a few things I can think of

  1. A sense of awareness to realize who you are speaking to and what you are saying.
  2. It’s important to make your words count, but it’s also important to count your words. Succinct speech can be more effective than long winded talk.
  3. Being genuine and talking because you want to and not because it seems something you have to do.
  4. Trying to find common interests with the person  you are talking to, so that both can participate actively.
  5. Asking leading questions that gets the other to talk about themselves or the subject.
  6. Listening with the intention to understand the other – even going beyond what they say, to understand what they feel. Empathy is highly under-rated.
  7. Checking with the other to see if you’ve understood her correctly.
  8. No attempts to impress or flatter.

great conversations

When was the last time you had a great conversation? Would you like to add something to my list?

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#MondayMusings 

Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.
  • Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.
  • Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.
  • Share the love.

Today I’m happy to be co-hosting with Parul Thakur of Happiness and Food. Please read, comment on and share her post too. 

#MondayMusings

 


 

Love Enough To Be Honest #MondayMusings

Love Enough To Be Honest #MondayMusings

A functional relationship must have intimacy, love, respect trust and truth. When I talk of relationships I mean all relationships and intimacy being of the physical or emotional kind.

I’ve had a lot of experience of broken relationships and friendships – lost because of a lack of honesty – on one or the other side and sometimes both. It’s hard for me to say what motivated other people to be dishonest, but I can certainly speak about my own dishonesty.

Looking back, I know that my dishonesty is a refusal to share my true feelings with the other. Love, according to me back then, was putting up with all manner of bad behaviour from the other and not sharing my feelings of disappointment or anger. In doing so, I never allowed myself to be ‘real‘ in these relationships. I never consciously allowed myself to be real in a negative way around anyone. And the few times, I was unable to control an outburst, I’d be consumed with guilt and most apologetic.

What I didn’t realize is that the very act of trying so hard to be ‘nice‘ and ‘good’ all the times is what killed the relationships.

I think that my fear of rejection kept me from being ‘me’ in these relationships.

Love Enough To Be Honest

I’m glad to report I’ve changed. I speak my mind in most of my relationships – at least the ones I value.

It’s a constant process of learning to be real, but I’m glad to have started.

If I’m in a bad mood I try to let the other person know that they must back off.  If I don’t like the way I’ve been spoken to or treated, I let the other know. If I find that the other person has made some wrong choices, I share my feelings about this. There have been times, that I’ve also dared to be myself and found that it put people off, but now that too is okay for me.

I’ve found that there can be no love, respect or trust without truth. Truth is the first thing necessary to create trust in our relationships. Respect is earned from trust, and love follows from respect. Intimacy is the reward we get when we dare to be honest.

Do you feel the same?

“ Love people enough to tell them the truth and respect them enough to trust that they can handle it.”
– Iyanla Vanzant

 

Love Enough To Be Honest

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#MondayMusings has now officially shifted over from Write Tribe to Everyday Gyaan

Would you like to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.
  • Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.
  • Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.
  • Share the love.

I am happy to co-host today’s #MondayMusings with Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life. Please visit and comment on her post too.

#MondayMusings

 

Listening Is An Act Of Love  #MondayMusings

Listening Is An Act Of Love #MondayMusings

I remember a session on listening which went very wrong and right at the same time. The trainer made an error of judgement when he asked a participant to share something personal about himself. The rest of us were asked to listen and then make suitable empathetic responses. The participant began to share. But what he shared was deeply personal and full of emotion. The trainer turned to us, a group of ten odd people, and asked us to respond empathetically. People tried to respond, but their responses sounded so trite in light of the depth of his emotions. A friend and I had no response to make. Too moved by what he shared, we chose to remain silent.

At the end of the session, we gathered courage and went up to him to explain how we were silent only because any other response seemed trivial. He told us, that our silence was the only response he truly appreciated!

Listening is an act of love. It demands that we be completely present to the other person. Most often, that means a meaningful silence, a hug or an arm around the other’s shoulder. When we truly listen with our hearts, we make space for the other to be herself or himself.

I’m convinced that if every one had at least one person that listened to them without judgement and made space for them to be themselves, the world would be an infinitely better place.

Do you agree? 

listening is an act of love

When Someone Deeply Listens to You
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
– John Fox

Today I am rather belatedly writing for the 1000 Voices of Compassion (click on the link for more posts and read about it below). The theme for this month is ‘Listening’. You can also find #1000Speak on Facebook,Twitter, the blog or the hashtag #1000Speak on social media. I am proud to have written for #1000Speak on the topics of Compassion, Bullying and Acceptance.

I’m also linking in to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings post.

 

Is Predicting Behaviour Bad? #MondayMusings

Is Predicting Behaviour Bad? #MondayMusings

Past experiences of people almost cutting me off and then suddenly connecting when they want something leave a poor taste in my mouth. By now, when someone connects out of the blue, I’m quite good at predicting why they are doing so.

Is Predicting Behaviour Bad?

A little confused about my predictions which are based on these people’s past behaviour, I wonder if my predictions make me judgemental. (Funny thing about the word judgemental is that it’s come to be a bad word. We often forget that it also means ‘the use of judgement’.) I also wonder if it’s okay not to help, when I know that I’m being used, only to be discarded. This, especially when their problems don’t come under the category of an emergency, a matter of livelihood or life and death.

Hmmm…tough one, no?

I ask myself, “What would happen if I don’t help persons like this?”

At worst, they’ll call me selfish. Do I care? No.

Then I come across this paragraph in Anthony D’Mello’s book ‘Awareness‘.

You can almost predict how this person is going to react. If I study a person, I can tell you just how he or she is going to react. With my therapy group, sometimes I write on a piece of paper that so-and-so is going to start the session and so-and-so will reply.

Do you think that’s bad? Well, don’t listen to people who say to you, “Forget yourself! Go out in love to others”.

Don’t listen to them! They’re all wrong. The worst thing you can do is forget yourself when you go out to others in the so called helping attitude.

For me that’s an affirmation that using my judgement to predict behaviour and not help such people is fine.

And here’s why I like Lucy better than Charlie Brown! 😉

lucy make others happy

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It is time for #MondayMusings and all you have to do is:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts on a subject of your choice. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to Write Tribe.
  • Add your link to the linky which you will find either here or on Write Tribe or on the post of a co-host.
  • Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.

Every Monday, another blogger will be co-hosting with me. If you’d like to be that blogger, let me know either in the comments or by using the contact form. I’ll let you know the date and provide you with the code.

Today’s linky can be found here below and my co-host is the inspiring  Chocolate Loving Gal, Ashwini. She’s one of the bravest and sweetest Indian bloggers I know. More about her on my blog soon. 🙂


 

Now You Want Me Now You Don’t

Now You Want Me Now You Don’t

Now You Want Me Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it, and ten ways to manage it in your relationship
by Dr. Jeanette Raymond
published by Independent Book Publishers Association Members’ Titles

Book Description

In Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship, psychologist Dr. Jeannette Raymond, a relationship expert, exposes the secret that 9 out of 10 calls to the therapist’s office come from men who crave emotional connection with their partners. She offers hope via a 10-point program enabling meaningful connections.

The book tells the story of Rick and Christy’s stormy relationship, tracking their lives from childhood before they come together, then taking us into Rick’s private sessions with Dr. Raymond after Christy storms out of the office, refusing counseling.

As Rick recounts his frustrations, he learns the many subtle ways in which Christy keeps him at bay because she’s terrified of emotional intimacy. But for each way she blocks him, Dr. Raymond gives Rick a strategy that enables Christy to let her guard down. Elated when he succeeds and heartbroken when she pushes him away, Rick persists with Dr. Raymond’s plan, determined not to give up on his marriage. Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! is a handbook of winning strategies for couples who crave yet fear emotional closeness.

The author

Dr Jeanette Raymond is a licensed psychologist with thirty years of experience working in the United Kingdom with children , adolescents and adults and in California with couples. Her doctoral dissertation explored the elements of attachment and dependency that influence the choices single women make about their romantic partners. She  now works to help people use angry energy as fuel to propel them toward their goals.

now you want me now you don't
My brief review: [rating=4]

This is an excellent book for couples struggling to find real intimacy in their marriage. Told from the doctor’s experiences with a male patient who is struggling to find intimacy in his marriage. When his wife refuses to continue couples’ therapy, Dr Raymond convinces him to continue on his own. His journey towards discovery his own insecurities and his little triumphs with his wife. I enjoyed the perspective which reinforced many of my own beliefs of how the dynamics in our family of origin affects the way we relate to our partners.

 

Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t!: Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship

Grateful to NetGalley for giving me a chance to review the book. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a top reviewer on NetGalley. Just saying! 😉

Loving And Being Loved

Loving And Being Loved

I’ve read this quote often,  but only looked at it deeply today.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.-Lao Tzu

How is loving deeply different from being loved deeply? The answer is obvious. You are the ‘giver’  in the first case and  the ‘receiver’ in the other.

But what about one gives you ‘strength’ while the other gives you ‘courage’?

Now I’m puzzled. What’s the difference between strength and courage? There are subtle differences, I’m certain, but the dictionary doesn’t help much.

courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

strength: moral power, firmness, or courage.

Perhaps something was lost in the translation. Or am I missing the deeper meaning of this?

I’m not going to work myself up over solving this. I’m going to assume that Lao Tzu meant that loving and being loved gave you strength and courage. (If you know any different, do enlighten me.)

Loving and being loved. What would we be without love? In my opinion, there’s no better investment we can make in our own well-being than to love and be loved. Nothing brings us more happiness and peace.

But we often enter into relationships and then reach a dead end. The loving turns out to be one-sided. Sometimes both partners end up asking “What’s in it for me? Why should I continue?”

Different priorities. Unfulfilled expectations – sometimes unspoken too. Lies. Taking the other for granted. Constant fault-finding.  A lack of respect. Cheating. Comparisons. Abuse. Neglect. Disinterest.  All work to kill love.

People walk away and often that seems the brave thing to do. Most often people stay in relationships – unhealthy, clingy relationships. Relationships that suck the marrow out of our bones.

Why do we stay? Perhaps, we lack both the strength and courage that Lao Tzu associates with love.

But what if we don’t walk away?  What if we stay and do the most courageous thing of all? Re-invent our way of relating to each other.

Stay – not because of societal pressure or for the sake of children – but because we want to give this relationship a fresh chance.

What if we started with a clean slate?

What if we admitted that we were wrong in the way we related to one another?

What if we changed our priorities and made the other our priority?

What if we looked to each other of strength and courage to start over?

What if we made space for healing and grace?

What if we gave love another chance? Will we allow love to bloom again?

loving and being loved

Loving and being loved. It’s never easy. But worth us giving it our all.

Would you agree?

[Tweet “Loving and being loved. Never easy. But worth giving it our all.#FridayReflections #MidLifeLuv”]

Today I join Janine Ripper and Mackenzie Glanville and some other cool bloggers for #FridayReflections.
The writing prompts for this week’s Friday Reflections are:
What is your guilty pleasure?
Reflect on how exercise has made an impact on your life.
What motivates you to make positive changes in your life?
Reflect on the following quote:“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu”

I’m also joining the MidLifeLuv Link up hosted by Kimberly Montgomery of Fifty Jewels and Elena of Living With Batman

Fifty Jewels

 

The Importance of Respect In A Marriage #MarchMarriageChallenge

The Importance of Respect In A Marriage #MarchMarriageChallenge

I shared with you a review of a lovely book called, I Choose You Today, a short while back. When I saw the #MarchMarriageChallenge, I couldn’t help thinking of the book and also wanting to join in with Melissa Ann of The Eyes Of A Boy and several other fabulous bloggers.Click on the image below to find the links to the other blogs in this challenge.

MarchMarriageChallenge

The Importance of Respect In A Marriage

If you were to ask me what I’d choose in marriage, love or respect, I’d go with respect. I know you’re going to tell me that love is so much more than respect and that love includes respect. You might even tell me that love trumps everything and that even when we can’t respect someone, we can love them. I’m still going to choose respect.

To me love is rather difficult to define, whereas respect is easy to identify. I think, love is more a feeling, while respect is evidenced in behaviour.

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
― Steve Hall

What is respect in a marriage?

When you respect your partner, you understand that she is a unique individual and not a reflection of you. He is not an object you own. You learn how to respect the other’s needs and to mesh your own needs with theirs, so that both of you can work towards what you want to achieve. You don’t control, manipulate or try to change her or  into what you want her to be.

treat each other with respect

How can we show respect in our marriage?

# 1 – Make sure you speak well of your spouse to others. If you are having problems in your marriage speak to someone (preferably a qualified person) in private. Don’t put your spouse down in public. It shows a lack of respect and doesn’t reflect well on you.

# 2 – Respect his/her family of origin. Our spouses might not agree with their families from time to time. Leave them to deal with their families. Don’t humiliate his or her family.

# 3 – Show common courtesies. Although it’s nice to let your hair down with your spouse, it’s also important to be polite, kind and respectful of his time and personal space.

# 4 – Examine your own behaviour and responses from time to time. There are times you might feel frustrated with your spouse. Check if it’s their behaviour that is causing the problem, or your own unresolved issues.

# 5 – Don’t argue in public. Nothing is more embarrasing than having a husband and wife argue in front of you. You might lose your temper, but keep discussions and arguments to resolve in private.

“I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, ‘Please — a little less love, and a little more common decency’.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

# 6 – Be quick to apologize. Own your mistakes and acknowledge the hurt feelings of the other.

# 7 – Show gratitude. Look for the good qualities in your spouse and acknowledge them. Thank her for all she is and him for all he does.

# 8 – Seek her opinion. Actively seek your spouse’s opinion on things. Often their perspective on a situation will throw new light on a problem you might be facing.

#9 – Don’t be sneaky. I’ve often seen wives hiding information about spending, etc from their husbands, even if they are earning. And husbands, will go out for a drink and pretend it was work. Dishonesty is definitely not a mark of respect.

“Love is honesty. Love is a mutual respect for one another.”
― Simone Elkeles

#10 – Never, ever get your children involved your marriage. Perhaps this should have been at #1. Making your children choose sides and disrepect your spouse is an absolute no-no in any marriage.

“Two people can only live as one when each is prepared to give and receive trust and understanding. Above that lies respect. Without respect for how the other feels, no marriage is worthwhile.”
― Helen Hollick

I’m sorry if this sound like a set of rules. This post comes out of my own experience and beliefs. Respect in marriage, and any relationship, is something I feel very strongly about. Do you feel the same?

I Will Never Forget

I Will Never Forget

I Will Never Forget: A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia
by Elaine C Periera
Published by iUniverse
ISBN 1475906900 (ISBN13: 9781475906905)

Book Description

It is extremely difficult to watch a loved one decline as dementia ravages his or her mind, robbing him or her of memory, thinking abilities, and judgment. In her touching memoir, I Will Never Forget, Elaine C. Pereira shares the sometimes heartbreaking and occasionally humorous story of her mother’s journey through dementia, as seen through the eyes of her little girl.

Pereira begins by offering entertaining glimpses into her own childhood and feisty teenage years. Through it all, Pereira shares how her mom’s unconditional love and creative parenting style helped mold an opinionated young woman into a resourceful adult who eventually would move mountains on her mother’s behalf. As Betty Ward slowly begins to wander down the dark and narrow corridors of Alzheimer’s, Pereira details her mother’s amazing ability to mask the truth until something as innocuous as a drapery rod suddenly launches a waterfall of events. As their roles shift and a new paradigm forms, Pereira transforms into a caregiver who blindly navigates dementia’s unpredictable haze while her mother orchestrates Houdini-like disappearances and surprisingly rallies to take charge of her own destiny.

I Will Never Forget shares a powerful, emotional story that can help people affected by dementia take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

i will never forget

 

The author shares the impetus for writing the book:

My mother’s is a story that needed to be told. She was a kind, brilliant and talented woman all of my life until Dementia took hold distorting her persona and leaving an agitated, bewildered and compromised person in its wake.

In the shadows of WWII, during an era when very few women attended college, my trailblazing mother earned her Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and later on acquired a Master’s in Education.

Many years later, though, after experiencing a decade of unspeakable tragedies, Mom began to exhibit uncharacteristic and disconcerting changes in her personality. Episodes of irrational behaviors, paranoia, flashes of hostility and illogical thinking, replaced her formally patient, bright, organized and articulate essence.

In what would be her final months, as my mother continued her rapid descent into Dementia’s clutches, her once strong voice faded away. Our quiet visits together afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the vivacious life that defined her. I was determined that she would not be remembered as a withering mumbling older woman but as the strong, courageous and gifted lady who was my mom.

I am humbled and honored to have been able to give back to the woman who gave so much and blessed to have many great friends and family who supported me in my endeavor to write I Will Never Forget.

And another excerpt:

I envisioned dementia as a smoldering fire, its smoke whirling up and down, in and out, around and through Mom’s brain. It would choke her orientation to time, cloud her vision or pretzel-twist her gray matter. It always lay in wait, concealed in the crevices of her short-term memory centers, fogging judgment, reasoning, and logic. For a while, it would remain dormant, having already ravaged parts of her mind permanently until, like wildfires, something sparked it to flare up, engulfing and consuming its insatiable appetite for brain cells.

Mom would never get better. All I could do was be there for every step of her journey through hell and pray that was enough. She deserved better; everyone did. She deserved to go out with her boots on, not have her mind chipped and chiseled away piece by piece.

About the author

Elaine Pereira
Elaine Pereira retired in June 2010 as a school Occupational Therapist where she worked with special needs children. She lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband, Joe. Between them, they have five children — Joe has three sons and Elaine has twin daughters-and soon-to-be five grandchildren. Elaine has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Wayne State University. Elaine is the author of I Will Never Forget and she was inspired to tell her mother’s incredible story in part to help other caregivers coping with memory loss issues in their loved ones.

My review

[rating=4.5]

Having watched, from a distance, friends and family who have suffered from the what Alzheimer’s does not just to their loved ones but to the entire family, I was keen to get an insider’s view. Elaine’s story is told in a warm and personal way, allowing the readers to see Betty Ward, her mother, for what she was before the illness struck and later as her mind was taken over by Alzheimer’s. This makes the story even more poignant.

Although each patient and situation is different, Elaine’s lucid style of writing and her honesty about her mother’s journey and her own role as a caregiver, makes this book a great read for those who have loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and  anyone who wants to know more and spread awareness about dementia and dementia related diseases.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.