Ha! I knew you’d open it. The curious ones always do. I’m probably going to be preaching to the converted! Curiousity isn’t talked about very much but it is such an important attitude and skill. When we bring curiosity to situations..... we learn. We learn about things, subjects, ideas and people. We learn about ourselves too. When we enter into discussions ‘knowing’ what we think is the ‘right’ way to handle things then we maintain a closed mind and can come across as controlling. Even if we think we are right an attitude of curiosity about someone else’s idea or way of doing something conveys to them that they, and their ideas, are worth listening to. It takes longer but it is worth it if you want the people in your life to be treated the way that you would want to be treated. Fear, anger and judgement can lead to rigid interactions that prevent negotiating differences with flexibility and mindfulness. There is often a grey area in relationships where it is unclear whether it was one person’s behaviour or the other’s that caused the situation to derail. An attitude of curiosity means that you do not automatically ‘own the problem’ and you are not automatically disregarding your part in it. You are curious and evaluating the incoming information and deciding how best to proceed. In human relationships curiosity probably didn’t ‘kill the cat’.......it’s what is needed!!!
I knew that would get your attention! Now I don’t wish this man any ill will and I don’t know what his demons are but he has become the unfortunate teacher for our culture. I’m guessing that there aren’t many people in Canada that don’t know this man’s name and immediately think ‘addictions’ and ‘out of control’. Well.....actually some of the things they think are way worse but that becomes the problem. As long as the person with the addiction ‘knows’ that people are thinking horrible, awful, bad, terrible things about them, then the demons in their heads become even bigger and more vicious.....and they need to run away from that by.....escaping into their addiction. The ONLY way out of adaptive behaviours is forgiveness, self-responsibility and self-love. For those around the addict.....well.....thank you again Rob Ford. As a country we have now all learned that you CAN’T MAKE THEM GET IT!!! You can’t love them out of it, you can’t control them out of it and you can’t manipulate them out of it. An addict will stop when they decide to stop and in the meantime what those around them need to do is focus on what they do have control of (which is themselves and not the addict), be kind, and know that at a spiritual level that person is being tortured. While we don’t need to condone the behaviour and we shouldn’t trust people who are not trustworthy, I believe it is our social responsibility to work towards a society that is compassionate and connected so that people don’t feel as compelled to numb out in these ways. And we’ll all do that together....one day at a time.
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
New evidence about addiction isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts....
I had the privilege of witnessing and being a part of a ‘tipping point’ event last Thursday. A ‘tipping point’ is” that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” The Kitchener Fire Department held an event for the firefighters and their partners to honour Mental Health week. A very well respected career firefighter, Doug Sharp, began the series of three talks. He spoke about the importance of being aware of critical incident stress, cumulative stress and PTSD if you don’t want to become ‘that guy’. And then he disclosed that after a series of really bad calls and line of duty deaths he had become ‘That Guy’. He spoke eloquently about the horrific calls that had triggered it, how he had gone for help and how he had felt better as a result. The room was quiet, respectful and when he was done they gave him a standing ovation. It was an indescribable moment. Through his combined action of disclosing he has struggled with mental health issues and the respect he has as a firefighter in that organization, he broke the doors down for others in that department to process unresolved trauma.....and maintain their pride!!! There were 6 new recruits in the room and they will have their careers in a healthier, kinder environment. They will be able to work in an organization where it is still expected for you to put your feelings aside to do your job but it is recognized that you are a whole person who can be triggered by the horrors of what you see and do and deserve to have their support to process those calls. I watched and was impressed by the management and colleagues who openly congratulated him for his courage. Mental health professionals can teach and support all they want but in the end it is the culture that the First Responder is embedded in that will have the most significant impact upon their mental health. Doug’s talk will have shifted the culture and attitudes of the people working alongside of him. I will wait and see if the attitude and significance of this spreads to other First Responder organizations and in the meantime I am just proud to know the people at the Kitchener Fire Department and watch as they lead the pack re: taking care of the mental health of their employees.
So it's a funny thing how things get labelled and judged. The same behaviour in different settings can illicit very different responses and judgements. Right now Mike Duffy is in court because he has claimed his residence as being in PEI. We will watch and see how the details of this issue get spun by the lawyers and the press while the average Canadian knows the truth in their heart that he was claiming as much money as he could and that this was condoned by his peers and a culture of privilege and power that has not been held accountable to date. In the DSMIV the symptoms of not being able to access feelings and not being accountable for behaviour would be labelled as a sociopath or narcissistic. In marriage, that kind of entitlement to take advantage of and them perceive himself a victim would be called abusive. This past week the topic on the CBC show the ‘Debaters’ was marriage. One comedian voted for marriage because you could be taken care of in marriage regardless of how the spouse feels about it and the other comedian voted against marriage for the same reason. And that just makes for a funny show. So there you go......same behaviour.....several different interpretations from user, to abuser, to lazy, to mentally ill. What I know is true is that if you want to be happy you have to be present, take responsibility for yourself and the impact of your behaviour on others and the impact of their behaviour on you. Healthy relationships are transparent and accountable while sharing power and common goals and visions. Now let’s see what the courts say!
I’m very in favour of ‘ish’. Anyone will tell you that boundaries, structure and rules are important. They provide a sense of security and safety to the systems or people that they protect. However, rigid boundaries do the exact opposite. They can create a breaking down of communication and trust. A few years ago I did a talk at the Grand Valley Institute for Women for their Wellness week. It was right after the Ashley Smith inquiry. This is an example of an organization, I believe, where the rules had gotten out of control and become too rigid. It's understandable that First Responder organizations would try to create safety by using their left brains to create more protocols. However, for a one hour talk they had me sign a 20 page document!!! We know from the news that they had implemented rigid rules about when the staff were allowed to relate to Ashley and that she ended up killing herself. It’so sad. I’m not saying there is an easy answer. I’m just saying that often it’s not as easy as creating a rule. If as a society we were a little more ‘ish’ we might be able to rebuild trust in relationships and have different outcomes. Rigid rules negate peoople's spirit We need more communication about how situations have gotten to be out of control and more buy-in from all parties about how to pull it back into line. Yes rules. They keep the chaos at a minimum. (Have you ever driven in a country where no one follows the rules of the road??? Yikes!!!) But more grace, forgiveness and curiosity. More ‘ish’.
Drawing is what Ramon does. It¹s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just "right." Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.