Boundaries vs Walls: Creating Closeness or Making Distance?

Boundaries and wallsYears ago, a friend of mine told me a terrifying story. While on vacation in Mexico, she and her companions were walking along a beach taking photos and not paying attention to where they were going. Suddenly, a jeep filled with Mexican military personnel appeared and took them into custody.

They had stumbled onto military property. The property was not surrounded by a fence. There were signs posted, but in their mindless wandering, they had missed them.

Fortunately, for my friend and her companions, they were released after several hours of questioning. They were hassled, detained and their cameras were confiscated, but these are small consequences compared to what could have happened to them.

They missed the boundaries that would have kept them safe. Continue reading

6 Tools to Improve Communication

6 Tools to Improve CommunicationHave you ever been in a meaningful conversation and not known how to continue? Perhaps you dread the first few minutes of a party because you find yourself at a loss for conversation starters.   Or the conversation may begin, but soon fizzles out.  Maybe others tell you that it feels like you are not listening when you are doing your best to hear what the other person is saying.

Good communication is an important skill for all your relationships. The more comfortable you are with having conversations the more comfortable you will be connecting with others.

Here are six helpful tools that can help you in any of those situations, and anytime you want to communicate.  These suggestions can help you start a conversation, keep it going, and have people think that you are a great listener. Continue reading

5 Blocks to Empathy: How to Hurt Your Love

5 blocks to empathy“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”                                 Maya Angelou

Now that we’ve talked about what empathy is and why it is important, it can be easy to wonder why more people don’t practice it more often. As with most human characteristics and behaviors, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Empathy has to be developed. It is taught and practiced. We learn through words, actions and the experiences we have with important caretakers in our life. As we have pointed out before, when our teachers are less than adequate, we don’t progress as far as we could.  Blocks can and will develop that greatly hamper or prevent our ability to be empathic. Continue reading

Empathy: A Way to Make Love Grow

Empathy: The Way to Make Love GrowEmpathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.  (Daniel H. Pink)

Empathy is more than a word in a quote posted to someone’s Facebook page in an attempt to be poetic.  It’s a key ingredient in fostering loving and caring relationships. Being able to experience a situation from someone else’s point of view is a requirement for creating intimacy. Continue reading

“Finding Dory”: Words of Wisdom from Dory, Her Family and Friends.

Words of Wisdom from Dory, family and friendsSometimes, life is simply too much.  Too much at home, too much in the news, too much violence and sadness and loss. Times like that, your best option can be to escape the intense moment and rest your mind and spirit.  This week, I escaped with my grandchildren and a fish named Dory.

After rushing to the theater, buying popcorn and getting two small children settled in their seats, those new reclining ones, I settled back to enjoy the beauty of Finding Dory (“Not Dora, but Dory,” my granddaughter says. “Repeat after me: Dor…y.”).

Continue reading