I believe that these three words can have more weight than “I love you”. For instance, I love people in general and I love my cat. Based on a previous definition I gave of love (Love…Anyone?), it is impersonal but also delightful.
Trust, on the other hand, is very personal. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Sounds quite personal to me. Trust can be developed, or it can already be established, depending on the situation.
Either way, it can be lost.
Someone can love another person but feel he or she cannot trust that person. Trust is a delicate gift that requires vulnerability.
In my profession of healing and transformation, the people I serve must trust me. They trust me to keep their best interests in mind. They trust me to be knowledgeable and experienced in the services I provide. They trust me to honor their sacredness and respect their privacy. Most of my clients do not say the three words out loud, but their actions and willingness in the sessions speak to this truth.
Ultimately, when you trust someone, you are allowing yourself to be in the vulnerable space of innocence and complete surrender. One of the most detrimental things that can happen in this line of work is for the healer to violate or break the trust of their client.
I could go further into this issue, but I will focus more on things you can do (as a client) to see if someone is trustworthy. These suggestions are geared towards the healing profession; however they can also be applied to personal interactions as well:
Do your research (Is the person qualified? What do others say about their experiences with the person? What skills/characteristics are you looking for?)
Listen to your gut (Intuition supersedes intellect; Do you feel safe? Do you feel heard? Do you feel respected?)
Ask questions (Get clarification on whatever you need to.)
Express yourself (Make your requests and needs known. Then refer back to number 2.)
In a society that promotes selfishness and self-centered gains, it is important for those of us in the healing profession to be selfless and genuine about providing the service the client needs.
The MOST VITAL part of any healing relationship is TRUST.
Working as a Metaphysical Coach, I ask my clients this simple question: What motivates you?
Often, the first response given is, “Money! No doubt!”Would you respond the same way?
Don’t get me wrong, this response is not completely negative. What it IS, is a reflection of what the person values.
When someone says his or her only motivation is money, this person is also saying that money is the boss and has power over him or her.
I promise I’m not trying to be extreme.
During the weekdays, in most metropolitan cities in the United States, people spend a great amount of time commuting to and from work. When I used to participate in the busyness of the daily commute, I often wondered what was going on in the minds of the other commuters around me. I took a step back and looked at the ENERGY of the situation, and it was disturbing because people basically became drones. If they were the drones, who was the Queen Bee? Many people would say, “Money.”
Money itself it not bad, but it is the consciousness we have around it that can create undesirable results.
I encourage you to rethink what money is to you. Money is energy that is manifested in our lives through an exchange of energy.
Remember this: Energy is never lost.
Speaking of consciousness, there is another layer to my question above (Of course there is! I like Metaphysics…lol):
In Behavioral Psychology, there is something called Operant Conditioning. I won’t bore you with a drawn out definition or psychobabble, but I will tell you the basics. Operant conditioning is the process of learning behavior through reward and punishment. When someone is rewarded for a behavior, it is done more often. When someone is punished for a behavior, it is decreased or stopped.
We ALL are affected by this.
I am not bashing them, but I must say that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have maximized on this tremendously. In fact, our cell phones and other electronic devices apply this concept in some ways, too.
Don’t believe me?
Think about it. When you log into your social media accounts, you are bombarded with information. However, the one thing that stands out ON PURPOSE on all these platforms is your NOTIFICATIONS. The way they are set up feeds the reward system in the brain. These things become addictive because they activate pleasure centers in the brain, similar to what a drug would do.
While researching, I read somewhere (sorry, no citation) that people on average spend 20 minutes or more on social media sites even when they intend to spend a few minutes.
Pay attention. When the mind is in that state, it is similar to a trance, and the mind can be more open to suggestion. A person can get so caught up in this reward system that the person does not realize he or she is under the control of the next like, swipe, scroll, or newest filter.
So, who or what do you give your power to? It is whatever you give these things to: your time, energy, and ultimately your mind.
Obviously, I am not writing this post to degrade social media. There are positives to it too. More than likely you found this post through a social media site!
The purpose of this post is to get you to THINK, BE CONSCIOUS, and SHIFT your mindset.
Be conscious of why you access particular accounts, or do certain behaviors. It has been said over and over that we do many things subconsciously.
Be mindful of how you feel when you see notifications or prompts to keep clicking your time away. When something feels good, we are more likely to repeat it.
And finally, Shift your mindset, and know when you need to turn these distractions off.
Encouraging you to be the power center in your life,
Did you ever hear that when you were younger, or do you have to say this now as a parent or guardian?
Well, you would have LOVED me as a child. Eating vegetables was a non-issue. Do not tell anyone, but one of my nicknames was String Bean. It had a double meaning. Some people called me a “Little Rabbit”.
As a kid, I did not like the smell of chicken, but would eat it (most of the time). At one point, I remember I had grown tired of the weird-smelling bird. One time, my mother mixed pieces of the chicken in my rice. I recall pointing at it and saying, “That’s not rice!”
For a long time, I had a love-hate relationship with sausage and eggs. ‘Why?’ You might ask.
I clearly remember biting into a sausage link and crunching into a piece of BONE. Although I was a kid, I knew something was wrong with that. So, for a little while, I only ate grits, eggs, and biscuits together. (I’m from the Southern United States).
What made me stop eating eggs for a while? One morning I saw my mom crack open a bloody egg. It grossed me out enough that I stopped for a good while. Unfortunately, with no eggs, I went back to eating sausage. I needed some type of breakfast protein, right? The dilemma!
I was a sensitive child and remember being sick from allergies and sinus infections often. I was mildly “lactose intolerant” but drank milk anyway to “build strong bones.” More on that later.
When I was about 15 years old, one of my brothers pointed out to me that my skin was breaking out. He was not talking about pimples, but a breakout like a reaction. This was DEFINITELY NOT something I wanted to hear as a teen. My brother then asked me a question that became a game changer for me. He asked, “How much soda are you drinking?” At that time, I was a soda connoisseur. Immediately, I stopped drinking sodas. If there were situations where soda was the only option, I’d pour small amounts of soda in the cup, put more than half a cup of ice, and let it melt until the soda was more like flavored water. Guess what happened when I stopped?My skin cleared up. Fast forward to now. I still do not drink sodas.
This experience sparked my awareness about the foods I was putting in my body. I asked my mom if I could start baking most of my foods instead of frying them. It felt good to make this minor change at the age of 15.
I went off to college and continued to be conscious about the foods I was eating. I chose lean meats and continued baking most of my foods. I stopped drinking whole milk and switched to 2% to reduce “side effects.”
Horror Story Number One: Beef, it’s not for breakfast.
When I graduated from college, I went to visit family members in California. For the trip back, I decided to purchase a breakfast sausage biscuit from McDonald’s at the airport. BAD IDEA. Less than 30 minutes later, I was feeling dizzy and shaky. I sat on the floor at the gate to my flight awaiting to board back home. I vomited once but managed to make it on the flight. I do not remember everything that happened on the flight, but needless to say, I spent the whole flight in the bathroom sick. When I got back to my place, I had to be taken to the hospital for dehydration and given an IV.
I stopped eating beef after that (and stopped eating McDonald’s too).
In all honesty, I was still eating pork. Bizarre, right? I gave it up one night after I cooked pork chops with gravy over rice. I just did not like the smell anymore.
Horror Story Number Two: Goodbye Chicken.
One day, on the way to work a morning shift, I went to Chic-Fil-A to have a chicken biscuit for breakfast. No big deal, right? WRONG. Within an hour, I began to have an upset stomach and was forced to leave work early. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it all the way home before I pulled over into a grocery store parking lot and vomited for what felt like 5 minutes. (Sorry for the visual.)
I had no intention to stop eating chicken or poultry, but I developed an aversion. I did not know until I had some food with chicken broth in it and it tasted disgusting. I thought I could eat turkey instead. Nope. I let poultry go completely. What meat was left at this point? Fish. I never had an issue with fish, but I did not eat it that often. Somehow, I was still eating eggs too.
I’ll share with you about eggs after these two points:
I stopped drinking cow’s milk by “accident.” In 2014 I lived with two other young women in a three-bedroom house. We had one refrigerator. At least one of my housemates did not drink cow’s milk, so to save space, we shared certain food items. We drank Almond Milk, Rice Milk, and Soy Milk. I lived there for about a year and was only drinking those types of milk. When I moved out, I had my first bowl of cereal with cow’s milk. I spit it out immediately, thinking the milk was spoiled. I had someone else taste the milk, and they said it was just fine. I tried again, but the milk tasted terribly sour.I could not make myself drink it if I tried. It was only later that I learned about the things in cow’s milk (pus and other gross stuff). So, I stopped drinking cow’s milk in 2014.
Many years ago, I was curious about organic foods, so I did an experiment. I went three months eating organic apples only. Everything else I ate was either organic or not, but I made sure all the apples I ate were organic. After three months passed, I bought a mixture of organic and non-organic apples. I cut up a non-organic apple and bit into the slice. It tasted like wax. I could not believe it. Over time, I tried to eat non-organic apples, but kept getting the same result…they tasted fake. I began researching more about organic and GMO foods and was surprised at what can pass as food in the US.
Now back to eggs:
In 2015, I was on the fence about whether I should stop eating eggs. I meditated on it, asked for clarity, and asked for signs. I was pescatarian, only eating fish for meat, but I still had eggs for breakfast every day. Then it happened. The horrible memory from childhood came back to me. I was about to make a breakfast omelet and cracked open a VERY bloody egg into the mix. There was my “sign.” I stopped eating eggs from that day forward.
What was left? Fish and CHEESE.
By this time, I was ready to give Vegan eating a chance. Vegan means no dairy products and no animal products. It is eating plant-based foods.I had close friends who were Vegan and their food tasted good. I had gone to Ghana and the family that hosted me ate Vegan as well. It didn’t seem too bad.
I sought out a friend who was Vegan and knew about nutrition. He was excited to learn about my decision and directed me to start by documenting everything I ate for a few weeks. Then, we reviewed my eating patterns. Overall, they were pretty good, but he pointed out something to me that was surprisingly true. He said, “You’re addicted to cheese.” Writing down my daily meals and snacks revealed that I had been eating cheese with EVERY meal and sometimes with snacks. He then said to me, “You need to detox from these foods and products. For your detox, you cannot have processed foods, nothing that comes in a box, no soy foods, and you will fast until 12pm or later each day, only consuming a shake if you get hungry.” He gave me a recipe for the shake and I was directed to drink plenty of water, of course.
He directed me to follow this prescription for three weeks. Being the overachiever I can be at times, I did it for 6 weeks or so. I really wanted to detox from all the crap that was in my system. During the detox, I started eating 100% Vegan foods. If I started to feel hungry, I was surprised at how filling the shakes were.
I told myself I’d give this new way of eating for 1 year, check in with my doctor, and then go from there. I had to learn a new way to prepare meals, cook, and season foods. I saw this as a positive challenge and it caused my creativity in the kitchen to increase. I started playing with oils, seasonings, and vegetables I never tried before. In hindsight, I see that I ate mostly raw meals for a while and created some staple items.
Changes I experienced while becoming Vegan:
Eating vegan, I felt more energetic, alert, and didn’t get tired after I ate. I was quicker on my feet and overall I felt happier. There were a few challenges. Going to restaurants required me to read more, ask more questions, and educate people about vegan food. I realize it made me more conscious of what I was eating and that I didn’t trust everything at restaurants. Dating became a challenge as well. Many people who expressed romantic interest in me cited my eating habits as a barrier. Oh well. I knew this issue would resolve itself. 🙂
The final test:
As I mentioned, I decided to try vegan eating for 1 full year, then do a follow up with my primary care doctor. I had bloodwork drawn, did the full physical, etc. The results came in. Everything was perfectly normal.
It was late 2016 and I had a decision to make. Do I keep eating vegan, or go back to what I used to do?
The benefits I experienced far outweighed the disadvantages. Besides being more alert and feeling energetic, my meditation practice became stronger and deeper. Working as a metaphysical teacher and coach, this new resonance amplified my skills.
So, here I am, still Vegan.
You may be wondering if I have thought about “going back”.
Yes. I thought about it just out of curiosity. I only thought about going back to fish. Oddly enough, even though I never had an issue with fish, since I have been Vegan, it does not smell good to me anymore.
I wrote this post to share my experience and satisfy curiosity you may have about the journey. I’m not trying to sway you either way. AFTER I made the decision to be Vegan, I watched many documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Supersize Me to name a few. These only supported my decision to eat plant-based foods and continue on this journey.
If you are thinking about “going Vegan”, do your research. Pay attention to your medical needs and nutritional needs and ease into the process. Seek support where needed.
I became vegan not because of the popularity or what others said, but because I listened to my body. I’m grateful that I listened.
“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.” -Gary Lew
This is one of the reasons why I do what I do.
We live in a world where there are several, easily accessible distractions from Self and the transformative power within.
I took a hiatus from blogging and public speaking to detach and recharge from all the energetic “stuff” that has been happening, to re-mind myself of what is true for me, and to stay grounded in this knowledge by seeing through the distractions.
We can become so accustomed to looking at social media, websites, and the news that these things easily become subconscious influencers.
The next time you scroll or flip the channel, think about what you really believe, what you really desire for yourself (and the world), and if the things you are entertaining and doing match those desires. If not, put down the phone (tablet, remote, etc.), wake up from the distractions, and do something different.
Recently I posted for the “Man Crush Monday” (#MCM) social media trend for the first time ever when I was visiting Miami Beach, Florida with family.
We left the beach and walked to a nearby restaurant. A very attractive host greeted us with a dazzling smile and sparkly eyes. He was approximately 5’10” with a fit physique and perfectly sprinkled salt and pepper hair. I noticed his universal attractiveness. (Many people smiled or gasped at his appearance.) Something else that made him attractive was his kindness, patience, and that he legitimately provided great customer service. (During our trip, we discovered that not every place provided the best service, so this was a plus.)
After brief thought, I decided to post about him using the MCM tag, not only because his looks were breathtaking, but also to promote the restaurant, which served good food too.
As I mentioned, I don’t normally post for the “Man Crush Monday” or participate it in, but I decided to do something different. I posted a few pictures with him on my Instagram account and a few of the restaurant.
The first response I got was condescending. I won’t repeat the words in this post, but I will say that it was clear why the person wrote the message.
You see, the handsome gentleman at the restaurant had green eyes, short straight hair, and he was not Black. He was Cuban.
I wasn’t going to write publicly about this, but I do realize that I need to “Go There” and talk about “Race” again on this Metaphysical blog site.
I am a Black female whose ancestors were slaves (and some slave owners to be real about it). I was born and raised in the South where I have been discriminated against, called names, and prejudged because of my skin color. I am a proud descendant of slaves, knowing that I am alive today because of their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strength.
My parents were strong enough to survive segregation and the pains of going through the Civil Rights Movement. This wonderful DNA is in me now. Their evolutionary spirits are in me now. I am proud of who I am.
With this being said, I have always been attracted to men, whether they are the same skin color or not.
When I was in elementary school, I had a crush on a classmate named Owen. He had blonde hair and hazel-green eyes. Unfortunately, I was not blind to our differences, so I asked a female adult “mentor” how she would feel if I liked a White guy. Imagine a six or seven-year-old asking you this question. The “mentor” said, “I prefer you stick with your own kind.” As a very young child, I felt disappointed with her advice and felt like she was telling me that my feelings were wrong in some way. I also wondered, “Why did she say, ‘kind’? Aren’t we both human?”
Despite my disappointment, I continued playing with Owen on the playground and cherished my time with him. He was fun and affectionate. (As affectionate as you can be on a rated G level). Neither of us said anything about liking each other, but we always found each other and played together until the time was up.
One day, I was given the opportunity to transfer to a new school and my teachers and classmates knew I would be leaving soon. Owen and I kept on doing our “play dates”.
On my last day, I overheard and witnessed two classmates picking on Owen. They said to him, “Ha-ha! That’s why you like a Black girl! That’s why you like Dana!”
I felt happy and sad at the same time. Happy to know he liked me back. Sad to see him get pushed around and picked on for liking me. I transferred to my new school and never told him how I really felt.
I learned my lesson though. When high school rolled around, I didn’t hold back. My “high school sweetheart” was a 6’3”, blonde haired, and blue-eyed football player. It was during the relationship with him that I learned not to focus on what other people thought about me.Black and White people alike called us names, stared at us nastily, and had underhanded things to say about us being together.
In my mind, I kept thinking, “This is so crazy! They don’t like this because our skin is different! What century are we in?” As the behaviors continued, my thoughts changed and my fear dissolved. I gained clarity. I began to recognize, “They don’t like this because of their ignorance. They don’t like this, and it’s THEIR problem, not mine.”
I’m not blind to our history and the painful things that continue to happen in our world today. I am not blind to the stereotypes about Black people and how we are wrongfully portrayed in the media. But, to try forcing myself or anyone else to be blind to LOVE just because a person is a different skin color or culture is completely inhumane to me.
I love who I love. He can be as dark as the night sky with a smile like the moon and eyes like stars. He can have hair as light as sand and eyes as blue as the midday sky. I love who I love, and I have the freedom to do so.
We, as humans are beautiful. We are culturally diverse and flavorful. Ultimately, we are made of dust. No matter our skin color or our culture, when our physical bodies die, they all return to the Earth.
This is the SAME Earth we share right now, while we are living.
WREK Radio Interview March 6th at 12 Noon (Eastern) 91.1 FM
It’s March 2017 already! When I look back at my previous posts, I see how much I continue to evolve as an individual. When I look at things happening within the world, I see just how much we are evolving as people.
I intentionally took a hiatus from bloggingto allow myself the time to get clear and to be in a mental and emotional space of peace to keep sharing Truth with the world. I have been working on posts, but have not put them up yet. One of the main things I have felt the pull to do lately is to speak out more. So, with that being ”said”, I did a radio interview with a local radio station in Atlanta, GA on the North Avenue Lounge show. In this interview I share my story and work as a Metaphysical and Spiritual Teacher and Coach. It will air on MONDAY, MARCH 6th at 12 Noon (Eastern Time) on WREK Radio 91.1 FM.
This is one of many speaking engagements that I have coming up in 2017. I will also share with you (Beloved reader) through videos, and of course blog posts, too.
In numerology, 2017 equates to 1, which is “New Beginnings”. My life path number is the Master Number 11. The more I own what I am here to do, the more I empower myself and serve you. Great things are coming. Matter of fact, they are already happening.
As a psychotherapist, one of the last things that I want to hear is that one of my clients has killed or taken the life of himself or herself (or someone else). It is not because of a personal feeling of failure, but because of a sense that somewhere in the process, my client has lost hope. As therapists, one of our most powerful intentions is to instill hope. It is not a starry wish, but a sense of purpose and encouragement.
When I was in graduate school, I was drawn to the more intense subjects such as traumatology, addiction, and crisis stabilization work. I loved them! I remember sitting in a crisis intervention class and hearing my professor clearly state, “In all your years as a therapist, all of you will lose at least one client to suicide. Be prepared for it. It will happen. Oh, and those of you who are working with trauma and addiction, you can definitely expect it to happen.” He spoke those words with a matter-of-factness that revealed long years of personal experience. I did not want to believe him, but I also knew that there was some underlying realness to what he said.
Even with this warning, I pressed on and continued down the path to become a licensed therapist. I did not and could not lose hope in the long-lasting positive impact of the work we do. I believed that following my passion and helping others to see their inner light was worth much more than living in fear of those who might not see it.
For a little while, I even worked for a crisis hotline. Some of the callers were blatantly at the point where they had chosen to end their lives. I encouraged some to rethink their situations and to see that life might actually be worth living. However for some, I do not know if they did or did not take their lives…the calls simply just ended.
Ironically enough, I didn’t feel disappointment, but gratitude. How might one be grateful for such a thing? I fully understood that the conversations that I had with the callers may have been their last conversations ever. I was at least thankful to talk to them in the present moment and be some type of positive, loving voice before they departed (or decided to live).
And here I am… 8 years and 2 client suicides later.
I will not get into too much detail about the 2 client suicides; however I will say that both were very sobering experiences for me. I re-learned that suicide shows up in many forms.
A spiritual reality about suicide came to me as well:
A person’s exit from this world is not an accident. The way we transition may serve a greater purpose, just like the way we live. It is true that sometimes a person’s life purpose may not be easily understood or clear. But be aware that every life, no matter how short, undoubtedly leaves a precious legacy on this planet.
Every day that I choose to continue working as a psychotherapist and addiction counselor, the possibility of losing a client to suicide, overdose, or something exists. Yet, if a little piece of hope surfaces, then I believe there is a chance that the person will see tomorrow. I Know the power of hope. It starts as a glimmer, and then it becomes a belief. Belief is when the person sees more light and direction. Then a belief transforms into Knowing. Knowing (in this context) is when the person is aware that Life Is.
If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm, please Know that There is Hope.
For nationwide support in the United States you can contact: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
It may be surprising for you to read the statements in the picture above, and then refer to the purpose of this blog which addresses: mindfulness, spirituality, consciousness, and intuitive awareness. However, the challenges mentioned above are pains that people are experiencing every day. Therefore, these issues are a part of our consciousness as humans. In other words, these events are reflections of things within our mindset and collective thinking as a race of human beings.
Ultimately, these are things that can be changed.
How do we change them? It starts with first acknowledging that these things are happening.
We have created these issues in our world, and it is time to transform our collective thinking and our approach to them.
Part of my daily service as a Professional Counselor involves working with marginalized and stigmatized groupsof individuals such as people with mental health diagnoses and people with addiction challenges. Almost all of my clients have experienced some type of trauma in their lives as well (abuse, military-related, assault, gun shot wounds, etc). As a Trauma Therapist (and from life experiences), I have learned that abused people, abuse people…if the cycle is not broken. People who experience abuse and hurts from another often turn around and inflict pain onto others. It is fascinating to sit back and observe what we learn from the people around us and closest to us.
Here are some examples of what I hear from the people that I serve:
“I was raped when I was 5, by my uncle. Then my cousin raped me again when I was 10. I don’t trust men, and I don’t like being around them.” – 47 year old woman addicted to crack cocaine and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
“I cut myself because it eases the pain. I was abused all my life, and I still get angry. I know that if I allow myself to get that mad, then I will black out and hurt someone, so I hurt myself instead.” – 28 year old male diagnosed with Depression
“I was told that I was worthless all of my life by my dad. My mom and dad got into fights all the time, and my mom left. Then, I was molested by a man. I don’t trust nobody. I don’t like to sit with anyone behind my back. I got attacked a few years ago, and I got shot. You can’t trust people.” -40 year old male addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and pain medications and diagnosed with Schizophrenia
“The world is so different now. I was in prison for 15 years for marijuana charges even though I didn’t have a weapon, there was no violence, and nobody was hurt. I don’t know where to begin now! My family is distant, and I am having a hard time finding a job. They don’t want someone who has a record.” -50 year old African American male
Sometimes we end our group counseling sessions with this:
“Let’s have a moment of silence for the addict that just picked up, the addict that just died, and the child who has no say in the matter.”
Examine all of the statements above. Pay attention, and you will notice that at a deeper level, the root of all problems is spiritually based. Even if someone does not follow a “religion”, we all have some form of Spirit/Energy/Life Essence within us. We heal ourselves and others by addressing Spirit.
What does it mean to “address spirit”? It is when we take the time to break free from the mental, emotional, and spiritual trap of the “rat race”. The rat race is when we go to jobs, work several hours to make money to pay bills, stress ourselves over the bills or the amount of time we work at the jobs, and literally work ourselves to death because we associate jobs with freedom, stability, and purpose. This cycle of self-destruction can lead to lack of empathy or disconnection from self and others.
Don’t get me wrong. It is clear that the current economic system within which we have chosen to participatein relies heavily on monetary exchange for goods and services. I am not discrediting it totally, but I challenge you to think about the ways this has affected your relationships, sense of freedom, and self-image.
If an abuser was once someone that was abused, and a convicted felon was once a father trying to make ends meet because his family was in poverty…what would you say is your experience?
Many people forget to take the time and appreciate Life, in the present moment. It is priceless to take a moment, breathe, and really BE PRESENT with yourself.Take the time to notice what you are feeling, be aware of what you are thinking, and engage with your environment. Every living being needs to feel a sense of belonging and connection.
We walk around and ask each other, “How are you?”, but are we willing to listen to the real answer?
We are powerful change agents. The world we live in can be a place suitable for all living beings, but it takes for all of us to contribute to this world collectively in positive ways. We are the peacemakers, healers, and resourceful beings inhabiting this planet. We must understand how important we are to each other.
The next time you see someone, instead of hiding in technology, rushing off quickly, or ignoring the person, simply make eye contact and say hello. Your moment of connection just might be the small gesture that keeps the person from believing that there is no hope in this world.
Communication is the most important aspect to any and every relationship. There are different types of communication: Verbal, Nonverbal, and Paraverbal. PLUS, your Energetic Space/Aura/Overall Vibe communicates to others as well.
As a counselor, coach, and speaker, I am constantly communicating. However, I too have made the mistake of misjudging or making assumptions while communicating with others (especially in my personal life). These mistakes can be costly…leading to hurt feelings, lack of depth, and even loss of the relationships.
Maybe you just celebrated Valentine’s Day or an anniversary of some sort. Good job, you’re on the right track! Now, take a step back and see what your partner, friend, coworker, etc. is communicating to you. We can dive into the different types of communication here:
Nonverbal Communication– Most of our communication is nonverbal, meaning it is not what we say, but everything else. You may have heard this before, but let’s break this down into 2 main parts of nonverbal communication.
1. Proxemics-This is a fancy word that describes how physically close the person is to you, or you to the other person. Typically, the more physical closeness indicates more intimacy (emotional, mental, physical, etc.)
2. Kinesics-This is the fancy word to describe what most people would call body language. This includes movements, gestures, and facial expressions
Paraverbal Communication– Our vocal part of speech, which is our tone, volume, and how fast or slow we talk.
I am often a fast talker. Get me excited, and I talk faster. When I work with the people I serve, I am mindful of this, and I adjust. It makes a world of difference to have an even pace and a calm tone.
The way you say something matters!
Examples: “I didn’t say you were dumb.”– Say this with an even tone. Now try this one, “I didn’t say you were DUMB.” -Emphasize the last word. If you say this out loud, you can see that one of them is not meant to insult, whereas the other may cause conflict.
Of course, the other type of communication that I will address here is…
Verbal Communication: It is the use of words to relay a message or express an idea.
This is where many of us get caught up. In the emotional tornado of a moment, we might forget to pause and use mindful communication instead of emotionally driven words.
Let’s tie this in with conflict resolution. If there is conflict, I ask that you try these two things: Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to apologize.
Just an FYI: Conflict is a natural occurrence. The term has been blown up into great proportions meaning war, fighting, and death, but in reality, conflict is a simple, and organic process. Conflict arises because there are different perspectives within the same situation or regarding the same topic. It’s just that simple. We are individuals, so by default, there will be times when we do not have the same point of view. That is the core of conflict. It has been over-sensationalized through media. (That may be for another blog).
One of the keys to facing conflict and communicating effectively is to use Mindful Communication.
7 Core Guidelines for Mindful Communication: 1. LISTEN(And appear like you are listening)-As a counselor, I have gone through several hours of training to be more present with others as they share with me. We call it active listening. You don’t have to be a therapist to actively listen. The concept is simple: Make eye contact, don’t speak-unless you are affirming or encouraging the other to continue sharing, keep your body open, LISTEN FOR FEELINGS, and SEEK to UNDERSTAND what is being said.
Mindfulness Tip for #1–Detach emotionally. Keep in mind that the person you are listening to has something that he or she needs to express. Think to yourself, “Let me be here now. There is something that this person needs to say. I am listening.”
2. REFLECT or RESTATE WHAT YOUR HEARD-Do this BEFORE you share anything about your point of view.
Sometimes this step gets lost. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of this at times. For example, if your partner says, “I worked really hard to get those things that you wanted taken care of, and you don’t appreciate it.”
Be mindful and attentive to these things about your partner: Tone of voice, Energy level, Facial expressions, and mood. Notice…how close is the person to you physically?
Before you start saying your response, do this: A) Listen for the feeling being conveyed; B) Make eye contact (non-threatening); then C) Start with a statement acknowledging what you think you heard. “I hear you saying that you don’t feel appreciated for the hard work you did for me.”
3. CLARIFY: After you restate, check in with the person to make sure you got it right. “Did I hear you correctly?”Truth of the matter is that the person will let you know what’s up and if you got it right. This part is VALUABLE. Clarifying gives you the opportunity to understand the other person. At the very basic level, we communicate in order to express ourselves and to be understood. Understanding someone does not mean that you agree with what is said. It means that you are grasping the view of another’s perspective. Once you have gained clarity, then you can share your point of view from a more accurate perspective because you are identifying the real “issue.”
Mindfulness Tip for #3–Be patient and BREATHE. Take a moment to reflect on the person’s underlying message. Do not get swept away in emotions or the person’s emotional response. Ask, with the sole intention to get clear on what the person is saying.
4. OWN YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, and share them: Use “I” statements instead of “You did this…”, “You make me…” etc.
Example: “When you say that I do not appreciate you, I feel hurt. I understand what you are feeling and what made you feel that way. I did not see it that way, and I was not aware of your disappointment. I have been working several extra hours each day and I feel more tired than usual.”
Mindfulness Tip for #4–Take a few calming, deep breaths and FOCUS ON YOUR HEART chakra. This is the space where you have affinity for others (and self). Speak from this place.
5. CHECK IN AGAIN AND SUMMARIZE: Allow the person to reflect back to you for clarity. (Make sure to use all the other skills mentioned above if needed.)
6. COMPROMISE/RESOLUTION: Remember the main reason for conflict? It is because different perspectives are related to the same situation. Often, there is a common ground or a space for compromise. During this step, request or offer a solution.
Example: “What would you like for me to do differently?”
Apply the skills from steps 1-5 again. Stay on the same topic! Focus only on 1 thing at this time.
Mindfulness tip for #6–BREATHE and remember that A SOLUTION IS ALREADY PRESENT
7. RE-ADDRESS the concern later on: This step might not be needed every time. However, if you and the other person aren’t able to address the issue well enough at the time it is presented, set a date to come back to it. A refreshed point of view about a conflict can make it easier to resolve.
Take these steps into consideration every time you are communicating with someone. This is the practice of mindful communication. It aids in developing healthy communication styles, preventing or resolving conflict, and developing a greater level of understanding.
Communicated with love, Dana D. Robinson (Intuitive Dana)