Sunday, February 24, 2008

skillful communication

I spoke to my friend today using the begin anew process I talked about yesterday. ( flower watering, sharing regrets, sharing hurt skillfully) We felt closer when it was complete. Just the act of planning how to clear with her on this blog cleared things up a great deal before I even talked to her. At first I felt guilty about preparing on the blog before I spoke to her. However, I think it is respectful to get help to be able to clear with a loved one in a skillful way. It's very different from dissing someone to a friend or venting with the purpose of making another wrong. Preparation to be more skillful is a time when it is useful to talk to a third party about an issue with a friend, family member or colleague. Thanks for being that third party. In families when people aren't direct about how they are feeling, one person often talks to another about a third person behind their back. This is called triangulation. If you imagine that one person has an issue with another and instead of working it through with that person he or she goes to another person to talk about it , not for preparation to clear the issue but rather to enlist the third party's opinion that he or she is right and the other person is wrong. Families often operate by triangulating and calling it connection. When I was growing up my Dad used to talk to me about how hard it was for him to live with my mother. Although I felt special that he was confiding in me, I was also very uncomfortable and didn't know why for many years. My Dad was using me to play "ain't it awful" about my Mom and as an excuse not to deal with her directly. When I first started therapy in my twenties it took me a year to screw up my courage to tell my Dad that it wasn't o.k. for him to talk to me about my mother anymore. We had little to say to each other after that until we had a clearing process together in my thirties. We had to find a different way to connect that wasn't about triangulation, and was more about getting to know each other as people. It was challenging for both of us and very fruitful, especially because we were so different. It is my intention, when Person A talks to me about issues with Person B, to support Person A in taking responsibility for their part and if it is appropriate, to skillfully bring the issue directly to Person B. It is also my intention to work with my tendency to vent with my friends about my boyfriend and instead to use them to help prepare to skillfully clear things with Gary. It is my intention to continue growing in my process of seeing him as someone I can safely clear things with lovingly and directly. What if it was safe for families to skillfully talk about what they were feeling with each other? What if it was safe for countries to skillfully talk to each other about what they were feeling?
In our daily lives can we use being direct and loving to create a more peaceful planet and greater inner peace? Yes we can.

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