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Thinking Beyond Dichotomies

May 22, 2017

I’m trying to rise above dichotomous thinking of all or nothing. Perhaps it’s possible to adhere to  “everything in moderation” and “to thine own self be true.” There is a lot of gradient between dropping people completely or being around them all the time.  Part of me doesn’t want to waste my time on the people that cause me to feel badly about my light. It takes too much energy to get back to homeostasis. It’s a heart thing and the heart matters.  Another part feels the need to bring light to darkness. Therein lies the dilemma for which moderation can provide the answer. Above all, I know that this life is fleeting and temporary, and while I don’t like wasting my time, I also feel the responsibility to help guide people to the light.

Place Your Plant in the Correct Amount of Light

We have been given free-will and choice to choose the amount of light in life that allows us to grow.

People, like plants, require differing amounts of light to grow. If you give some plants too much light, they will die.

Others in that same light actually thrive and grow. That’s where the “to thine own self be true” part comes in.  Perhaps some can only handle so much light, while others like me thrive in bright light.  We tend to give what we like. However, one of my children once told me that while I seem to get energy from large groups of people, too many people actually drain their energy. Now, that’s food for thought!  How much light can or should you give? How much light can you handle? How much light do you require? I guess these are questions that we all must eventually ponder.

I, just as everyone else, am a unique creation of God, endowed with gifts and strengths to share with the world. As a poet, author, speaker, coach, and trainer, the gifts of a loud voice, high energy, and a sense of responsibility to share and inspire what I’ve learned, assist greatly in being able to do what I was born to do. These same gifts while appropriate on stage, might not be in other settings. Other people have their unique gifts and purposes that do not require the same tools that I was blessed with. The great thing is that this world is filled with diversity and there is a space and place for us all.

Barbara

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine…..

May 22, 2017

Do you remember the spiritual song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… Let it shine; let it shine; let it shine!”

It may seem okay and even normal to shine if it’s a little light,  but, what if it’s a BIG light? That is my meditating question for today, “to shine or not to shine?” Most people see me as high energy; for some, my energy is inspiring; for others, it is exhausting. I am aware of this high energy, extreme thirst for knowledge, and pure desire to share what I learn when I feel it is helpful and appreciated. I’m also aware that I am not always valued by others, because of these gifts of high energy, certitude, gift of gab, and enthusiasm. And, for a time, I began to see my gifts as a block instead of a blessing. Fortunately or unfortunately, we all have an innate biological need to belong, “to fit in.” However, if the person fitting in isn’t the real me, then am I truly accepted?

Answer from the Mouths of Babes

My oldest son used the analogy of headlights:  “Some people may just be blinded by the intensity of high beams to the point where they cannot see.”  In that context, it’s just courtesy to turn the high beams off.  To others, it might be just the amount of light that they need to see in the darkness and so they are appreciative.  After a little discussion, he also acknowledged from my response that I had a point, when I talked about choosing a tribe that had higher beams than mine.  In that environment I get to grow and don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring the switch!

I was discussing this same question with my youngest daughter, about turning down my light, and she said, “Mom, isn’t that the opposite of what you told me to do when you shared the Marianne Williamson quote with me years ago?” Marianne Williamson wrote:

“We were all meant to shine” and “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

From the mouths of babes, I got my answer. I am choosing to shine. Dimming my light doesn’t help others adjust to the light, it just makes me comfortable in less light. It’s kind of like Plato’s parable of the caves. There is a lot of darkness out here and a need for a lot of bright light. We need to choose the space where we can shine and are encouraged to shine.  I understand that my “playing small does not serve the world” (Williamson, . I am choosing to find my tribe, to be around those who value my God-given talents, and encourage me to grow and shine.

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Sadly, around some people, I feel that I am only truly accepted when I dim my light, when I shine less, or when I ride the breaks of life. A few people in jest have actually told me that my energy drains them. So, I have consciously, over the years, spoken less, tried to be less excited, but have felt drained by the experience. But, to be fair, far many more have told me that I inspire them, so that is why I am meditating on this topic today. I want and need to be around people who appreciate me for being me, to do otherwise takes too much energy, which I don’t have.

One thing however remains a truth: “Let’s all help each other shine more brightly and be conscious to not put out anyone else’s light.”

Barbara

To Shine or Not to Shine?

May 22, 2017

Find Your Tribe

The challenge of life is to find the tribe or community that we fit into naturally and to find a place where people encourage us to shine! There is innate beauty and a diversity of talents, gifts, and skills within each of us. These gifts are there as tools for us to complete our life’s journey.  Each of us has a unique purpose and each of us has been given the specific tools necessary for fulfilling that specific purpose. Some of these talents are visible, others need to be mined and developed.  However, a supportive tribe is critical for finding and becoming our true selves.

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Don’t Devalue Your Natural Gifts

The desire to fit in or the pain from exclusion can make us devalue our unique gifts if we are not careful. I remember a few years back  (as a test) for an entire weekend, consciously turning down my light, speaking less, and even changing the subject to put the spotlight on a specific person who didn’t usually shine in my company, but did seem to shine when I was not around. IT WAS EXHAUSTING.

Perhaps I overdid it and moderation was the key, BUT the person (who I sincerely cared about) began to shine and was sooooo happy. I ended up not not spending that much time over the next few years with the person because of the amount of emotional energy regulation it took to not shine so that they would feel more comfortable in my presence. All relationships can increase or deplete our energy. I’ve learned that it takes too much energy to be something other than who we really are. Some people just naturally exude less energy and some exude more, and taken on the whole, the balance of life is equalized. My energy comes from the joy I create from my goals, my gratitude for my gifts, and my desire to make the world a better place. My light is a bi-product.

Now, years later, again I am confronted with the same question. In one of my circles, I do not feel valued and am contemplating letting them go especially when I have joined some new circles that value me and my time is so limited. Should I just choose to only be around those folks that appreciate my bright light and stoke my fire (as I try to do for them), OR constantly turn my dial down around those that seem uncomfortable with my brilliant light?

Answer from the Mouths of Babes

I was discussing this question with my youngest daughter, about turning down my light, and she said, “Mom, isn’t that the opposite of what you told me to do when you shared the Marianne Williamson quote? From the mouths of babes and as a result of true consultation with someone who has purity of motive, I got my answer. I am choosing the former. I am choosing to find my tribe, to be around those who value my God-given talents, and encourage me to grow and shine.

I decided to re-read the quote and share it with you. Your thoughts?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

The Brain, the Heart, and Emotional Control

May 21, 2017

Today, my thoughts are on THE HEART, or emotional control. I’ve never met a person who hasn’t been out of control at one time or another, and left people wondering, “What were you thinking?” The truth is, when we lose emotional control, we are NOT THINKING, we are FEELING!

Did you know that you have two minds, and that they need to work together? One is the thinking brain and the other is the feeling brain. Like a muscle, what you use the most gets the strongest. Both brains are partners and when congruent, life is great and in the flow. When operating alone, there are challenges. If you live primarily from your head, you can be perceived as insensitive and cold and may even miss the intuitive messages that come to you. If you are only in your heart, you might be perceived as illogical or irrational.

I often talk about “Amygdala Hijacks” in my workshops. It’s when something outside of us pushes our buttons and we find ourselves REACTING rather than rationally THINKING and FEELING in the moment. A person who is usually rational can do something totally uncharacteristic and irrational, while a person who is normally seen as loving and caring, can also come off cold and uncaring during a hijack.

An amygdala hijack is a biological and subconscious response to a stressor (person, place, situation, thing) and it happens in a split second. The amygdala takes control from the rational brain, and the brain redirects energy resources to the extremities so you can freeze, fight, or flee the stressor. The rational brain is now off-duty.

To understand this, remember that your mind and body remember EVERYTHING and creates a program from those remembered responses so you don’t have to think consciously when under stress and a split second response can mean the difference for your survival.

And that’s the gift and also the challenge of our two brains. What if we don’t want to react from the past? What if we don’t want to live in the past, and instead, want and need to change and create a new reality? What if the old program is no longer serving you well and causing more problems than it solves? The answer is that we have to become emotionally intelligent, mindful, and aware.

During a hijack, the first thing to do is breathe and get away from the stressor if possible, preferably in sunshine and nature, and give yourself time to regroup. Now is not the time for logic, because the logical brain is still on break! A favorite joyful song, brain entrainment music, a happy memory, PACE routine, yoga, or walking (or some other stress releasing exercise can get you back in control again.

So many mindfulness techniques out there allow us to slow down the mind and integrate the heart and mind together. And, when you add the soul, now you are really in control. So, breathe, focus on your breath and your higher spiritual aspirations, guidance, and goals, pray, meditate, observe, and be kind to yourself during your tests. After all you are still under construction.

Life-Force Enriching Leadership Lesson #1.

June 26, 2016

Lesson #1: Living Systems Move In One of Two Directions.

(Tools from the Appreciative Inquiry Toolbox)

Choice or free will is a gift! To choose where to expend one’s life force is not only the goal of life but the gold of life. Every human being has an energy, or life force, that fuels them, propels them towards their very best self, and generates the power of attraction. This life force has many names: qi, frequency, or zone. It is that internal condition when we seem to move effortlessly towards our goals in a spirit of exuberant joy and certitude.

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Our value appreciates when we consciously and consistently move towards those things that add value to our lives. Living things move in one of two directions: towards life or towards death, towards advancement or towards destruction, towards growth or towards decline.  Which way we decide to move is the choice that the gift of free will offers each of us in each moment. Every thought, feeling, and action we choose will move us in one direction. We each have the opportunity and responsibility to choose the direction that we wish to travel and expend our life force.

Every human being, community, and organization has a life force that has no geographical boundaries or limitations as to its reach or impact. This life force is either released to do good for the whole or it causes harm. When it ceases to do good, its strength is misused and, consciously or unconsciously, contributes to humanity’s decline. Done correctly, we not only increase our own value, but we also enrich our relationships, organizations, and communities in which we have the bounty to serve. When we choose incorrectly, everyone loses. When we choose correctly, we all win; for we are all connected. We breathe the same air, cry the same tears, and rejoice when we are cared for, respected, and valued. Remember, life is a workshop and there are guidelines for the journey.

Barbara Talley
“The Poet Speaks”
Dig-Discover-Dazzle
240-813-0522

HIGH HOPES FOR FUTURE ELECTIONS

May 3, 2016
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2016 Bahai National Convention- Photo Credit: David Simmons

High Hopes for Future Elections

Before you wonder if I’ve bumped my head, let me say, I’m not talking about the current method of elections. I’ve heard so many people speak about their growing hopelessness and frustration about the lack of civility, kindness, and respect on the national scene. So why am I so hopeful?

That’s the topic I woke up pondering this morning. I’d just returned from a wonderful four-day conference in Chicago electing the members of the Bahai National Spiritual Assembly. In addition, delegates from across the United States gathered to discuss our latest divinely inspired plan on how to bring peace, justice, equity, and unity to the world.  I left the Conference with renewed hope, focus, and commitment. It’s much easier to be hopeful around people who are hopeful, organized, believing, professional, courteous, loving, and willing to work (and not just talk about) bettering the world. Very few people are dispensing hope these days but I received a heaping helping over the last four days.

“As ye have faith, so shall your powers and blessings be, this is the balance; this is the balance.”  Baha’i Writings. In the Bible, “Faith can move mountains.”

Dr. Dale Archer wrote in Psychology Today, “If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market. Hope, is often the only thing between man and the abyss. As long as a patient, individual or victim has hope, they can recover from anything and everything. However if they lose hope, unless you can help them get it back, all is lost.”  He explains that hope is more than a wish it is a belief.

It is so easy to be disheartened listening to the constant media reportings of hatred, greed, prejudice, violence, corruption, and the lowering of moral standards in the world. Causing more angst is the discourteous nature of our political candidate elections and the way it is bringing out the worst in far too many people. Fortunately, as Delegate to the Baha’i National Convention for my electoral unit, I got to witness a rarified election in stark contrast to the current political scene.  So many distinctions, that one can only have hope the world gets to one day witness a model like this that works.  First of all, we had 100% participation. Who has 100% participation in anything these days?  Secondly, there were no invalid ballots. This was due to an informed and educated electorate. Thirdly, there was no electioneering; no partisan or negative politics. Everyone there had been elected from their electoral units across the country, and as such represented the grass roots.  The Delegates began by reflecting on how we should choose our leadership.

“..It is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience….” (3 June 1925 to the Bahá’í Convention, published in Bahá’í Administration p. 88)

We approached our sacred task with humility, honor, and joy.  Everyone rejoiced about the final results.  When not voting, we consulted on topics of interest for the advancement of humankind, studied the guidance for the 5-Year plan (2016- 2021) on how to serve others, and shared progress nationally on our successes and commitment to our children’s moral and spiritual education, youth empowerment, and to creating spaces to pray, fellowship, and encourage each other.  So that is why am I hopeful!  I’ve witnessed a model of elections that works. I’m hopeful because maybe the world will get to witness it too!  To learn more about what the Bahais are doing to build the kingdom of God on earth, click here.

Barbara

The Power of Belief

September 26, 2015

The Power of Belief

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 12.53.01 PMBelief holds the power to bring our visions from the realm of thought into the realm of reality.

We see it first in our imagination, for it is the space designed for our creativity. And, once we see our goal (in our mind), we are on our way to achieving it.  We have confidence because it does not require blind faith to believe in something we see.

The key is that the “seeing” we are talking about is first internal.  We craft the vision through the use of the power of imagination.  That vision becomes your internal road map. It gives the prefrontal cortex (logic brain) something to focus on and plan out. It gives the Reticular Activating System (RAS) guidelines for the search. The RAS is your internal GPS that constantly scans the input from your agents of perception (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) and zeroes in on only those things that match what the conscious brain is thinking about.  When we visualize a goal regularly, with excitement and passion, and are willing to take the action steps we are inspired to take, then we will have more and more faith and confidence in our ability to achieve our future goals.

So, go ahead! See it; believe it; achieve it!

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