Kindred Spirits

I have the pleasure of meeting a lot of different people in my every day. I work with a lot of different people from different organizations. I socialize as often as I can, and that leads to new connections. No matter how many people I meet, there are always those who stand out as “kindred spirits”.

These are people who come into your life, sometimes at random, othertimes not so much, whom you have an almost instant connection with. You are comfortable around them, you enjoy talking to them, you’re genuinely curious what they have to say (and they, you), and there is just a general sense of friendship even before those ties have truly been forged through the experience of time. You may see these people here or there, but each interaction is truly a delight and leaves you energized, happy, and perhaps a part of something greater than yourself.

These kindred spirits are rare. They come and go, but when they do, I’ve noticed how radiantly they stand out. There’s just a naturalnesss that comes with the interaction with them as you share stories, experiences, hopes and dreams. Its like we are all little puzzle pieces, and a kindred spirit is a person who fits next to us in the grand puzzle board of life.

When you find a kindred spirit, you’ll know. And it is important to pause, appreciate that natural connection, and help it flourish when you can.

Our lives are busy and we come across many hundreds of people in our day to day. But every once in a while, a kindred spirit comes along and stands out in your life, even if only for a small fraction of time. Cherish those times, cherish these people. They’re rare, and they make life absolutely delightful.

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Kindness in Rage

I had a recent experience where someone was absolutely frustrated and angry and hurting. As the nearest person in the area, that anger became directed towards me. At first, I felt my own frustrations rising (just further proof that these negative emotions can be quite contagious).

But realizing that returning the anger would only increase the source of the anger even more, I decided a different tactic. I listened. I replied with good intention. I demonstrated I understood their pain, and their hurt. And despite a bit of pushback, I kept being kind to them.

It worked. Within a few minutes, the anger had subsided and the person was feeling much more calm. They were very appreciative of my response, and I was grateful that I hadn’t just inflamed the situation.

I’m going to keep an eye out for opportunities to combat negative emotions with kindness, and see how well it works in other areas as well. Looking forward to it.

Why so Frustrated?

Just yesterday I had received a nasty email from a lawyer. As I read through it, I could feel my blood boiling. I wanted to hit “REPLY” and give them a piece of my mind. But since I started writing again, whenever I find myself getting emotionally reactive, I am curious to find out “WHY?”. It has served me well so far.

Why ask “WHY?”? There are a few benefits I can think of:

  1. It immediately places a bit of distance between you and reacting. The process of thinking about this could very well give you enough time to cool down a bit.
  2. Emotions are natural. Anger, frustration, hurt, these are all normal. Trying to understand them can help us uncover the reasons why we do things, which can help us react better in the future.
  3. Looking for the reasons why we do things triggers our pre-frontal cortex. Rather than looking at things as simply ‘just the way they are’, we treat it like a problem that should be solved. It’s a puzzle, and there’s a bigger picture that needs uncovering. This too could give the necessary space from the problem and the emotion allowing us to deal with it with grace.
  4. By shining the spotlight on yourself, instead of the subject of your anger, you give yourself the chance to grow and to improve. There is no limit to how much we can improve, and the only person we need to best is the person we were yesterday.

So the next time you feel yourself growing angry, or frustrated, and want to lash out, pause and ask “WHY?” to try to uncover the reason why something triggered that reaction within you. Responding to these situations with calm, grace, self-awareness, and self-love/care not only makes the situation better, but it makes us better humans overall.

Overcoming Writer’s Block – Talking it Out

Last night I was sitting at my desk, wanting to create. There had been plenty of time for Netflix, for work, for social media, and relaxing. Now I wanted to produce. The creative process was calling out to me. But when I sat down to write something, I hit a complete blank. I stared at the screen, nothing coming to me.

After a few moments, I realized that I wasn’t having a dialogue the way I normally do with my ideas. So I started asking questions. What do I want to write about? Something about humans? Sci-fi? Philosophy? When I settled on writing something sci-fi, I started asking myself some basic questions:

  1. What is the world in this story like?
  2. Who are the key players? Why are they the way they are?
  3. What are the rules of this world?
  4. What is the major conflict or problem that needs resolving?

Those questions got the creative juices flowing.

An hour later, I was talking to my partner about some of the ideas. Telling her about them helped me flesh out this world even more. Then she started asking some questions I hadn’t even thought of. This was perfect. Answering those questions helped flesh this world out even more.

And then she and I started talking about the world, about the characters, and the more we talked, the more excited I became, the more inspired I was. Talking it out with her had sparked the creative energy that may have been missing. We had a great exchange of ideas, and her questions helped fill in the blanks perfectly. Our dialogue was exactly what I needed.

My point in writing this is that sometimes throughout the creative process, the roadblocks we face are created by ourselves. Sometimes we’re able to break through them by asking ourselves questions but the creative energy still doesn’t come back in full force.

During these moments, I’ve learned to talk out some ideas with someone. The exchange of information, being able to explain to them what it is I am writing about, and answering their questions can help spark the creative process yet again.

This isn’t surprising. I’ve found that some of my best ideas didn’t happen in a vacuum, but when I was interacting with someone. Having an outside voice can help trigger the internal elements that result in the creative flow of ideas.

What are your experiences with writer’s block?

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Compassion as Civilization

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes a civilization great. The more I think about it, the more I think compassion is the greatest aspect of a civilization, especially one which is as diverse as Canada is.

People come in many shapes and sizes and colours and cultures and beliefs. The ability to see self in others, and others in self, this is what true compassion is founded on. We can look at people who are fundamentally different from us, and recognize the many similarities. We see them as equals, as partners, as humans. We see them as people who are trying to make their way in the world.

A compassionate society is one that embraces differences as something that can be learned from, rather than something that needs to be oppressed. It is a society that realizes that every member within it offers a contribution to the greater whole.

This may be a difficult thing to do. Civilizations can be quite large. The egos in play can sometimes derail things. The gaps between people are accented when people focus on the differences, rather than the similarities.

But integrate compassion into the moral fabric of your civilization, and it will be great. It will allow more and more people of many different backgrounds to come together, learn from one another, and co-exist peacefully.

I can think of nothing greater that a large group of people with compassion for one another, and for the outside world. I’m very proud to be Canadian right now.

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7 Relationship Mantras to Stop Small Misunderstandings from Turning into Big Mistakes

In life, in business, and in our relationships, the biggest mistakes can arise from the smallest misunderstandings.  We can avoid these misunderstandings with a simple approach: slow down, listen to others, and clarify what they mean.  Yes, it will take a few more moments of your time.  But it will also save you from painful headaches and heartache later on! 

Source: 7 Relationship Mantras to Stop Small Misunderstandings from Turning into Big Mistakes