Finding ways to be grounded…

when the world feels like a batshit crazy place is pretty challenging. I don’t know the best way to access a more grounded version of myself, but I do know the quickest. When I’m acting childish and feeling like I deserve more (or less) of whatever—a little gratitude for all of the good things in my life seems to ground me the most.

Gratitude not attitude seems to do the trick.

grounded—mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (Merriam Webster)

I’m not entirely sure about “admirably sensible” or “unpretentious“. However, feeling grounded, well, that’s worth a little exploration.

the art of communication…

I woke up this morning with a desire to share these 5 brilliant techniques I use to communicate all the time. I’m certain that I alone can help you with any communication challenges you’re facing in your life.

🛒 📞 ☎️ 🗓 📲 💻  💵 📬 🕰 💔 ✍🏽

My ideas are basically always the best anyway…or so I’m told. I know loads of brilliant people who know a lot of things and they always adore most, all of my ideas.

I’m intelligent, kind, creative, and generous. Always. Anything that challenges that belief based on my behavior, I will just have to flat out disagree with every damn time.

I don’t like having things pointed out that are in conflict with how I view myself. It feels yucky. I want that feeling to go away quickly.

🤒 🤕 🤢 🤮

Below I’ve condensed my five most effective communication tips:

#1 When someone brings attention to something I’ve done that doesn’t fit my personal view of me, I simply say that it’s a false narrative. 🤦🏼‍♀️

They’re clearly mistaken about what they think they witnessed me say or do.

For added effectiveness, I throw out some questions to help people understand why they are confused. 😳 🤪

Are you sleeping well? Still taking that medication? Do you have your eating/drinking/legal challenges under control these days? Is your brother/uncle/dealer out of jail yet? How’s that rash? Did your haircut turn out as you intended? 👍

Repetition creates familiarity, use it to your advantage.

Folks just love this technique because they don’t have to waste any time being discerning. The wordage becomes ingrained, second nature.

NOTE: Because people felt brave in even starting a difficult conversation with me, they burned a lot of their emotional energy. 😫 😴 

Capitalize on their fatigue. 🛏

#2 When someone writes me an email and I respond in a way that was confusing, somewhat cruel or insensitive to them and they take me to task about it, I have a brilliant idea for that too. 👎🏼

Well, of course I do.

I just say that someone on the internet, some bad actor must’ve edited my email to persecute me.

Then I add…you know I’ve been hacked a bunch of times, right?

See what I did there? I “primed” them by repeating that I’ve been hacked a bunch of times before.

See, you just have to plant a little, tiny seed for honest communication. 🌱

#3 When someone doesn’t want to do or say what I want them to do—here’s another fun technique I’ve come up with. I create a harmless, little nickname for them.

All in good fun, of course. 😁 😂 🤣

Here’s an example: I write a blog post about something that I think is clear and spot on. Someone decides to speak their truth about what they see or tell me how it could be improved or better understood. I don’t want their stupid feedback so I have to find a way to knock it back…so I make a joke of it.

Here’s how this technique works. After their feedback, I give them a mean, fun nickname.

Say, Clueless Miss Know-It-All, are you here from the Office of Bullshit Observations? 🕵🏼‍♀️

Who died and made you the editor of everything, Little Lord Fauntleroy? 🤴🏻

So much fun…basically a brilliant team-building exercise. 👊🏻

#4 Whenever something is said that just doesn’t really jive with how hard I work and how efficiently I get things done all the time, I have this communication skill at my disposal.

Do you know about the brilliance of “whataboutism”? You don’t? Well, that’s sort of stupid of you, anyway… 💁‍♀️ 💁‍♂️

Whataboutism is so disarming that it makes people just walk away, confused and forgetting what you were even talking about in the first place. This technique is such a blast!

Merriam Webster: Whataboutism gives a clue to its meaning in its name. It is not merely the changing of a subject (“What about the economy?”) to deflect away from an earlier subject as a political strategy; it’s essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse than what the original party was accused of doing, however unconnected the offenses may be.

The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, which means “you too” in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you’ve just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you.

Here are some whataboutism examples:

If my husband says or texts

I wished you had called to say you were going to be late? ME: Well, you were late last Tuesday and the dinner I slaved over was ruined. That really hurt my feelings.

Why didn’t you mention X, Y or Z? ME: You never tell me anything that I need to know and it’s really taking a toll on our marriage.

Did you deposit the check in the bank? ME: Remember when you forgot to send that payment in and we paid that huge penalty? So…

What time will you be home? ME: Why are you so obsessed with knowing where I am all of the time? It’s really creepy.

I just love whataboutism. 💁‍♀️ 💁‍♂️ You will too.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

#5 Everyone really seems to enjoy this final and really cool technique. It’s so simple, even you can understand. It’s chaos…dizzyingly, exhausting, constant chaos.

From morning till night, make sure no one actually knows what you’re doing or talking about. This creates a clever, hard to pinpoint mystery about you. You’ll look so busy, important and then you’re off the hook for any of your words or behaviors.

🚖💃🏌️‍♂️🏇🏽🎳🤹🏻‍♀️🎭 🎨🛩🚦🔍🎱 📊 📈

This technique really works best if you can be on-the-go a lot—in and out of cars (or better helicopters), shuffling stacks of papers, off to meetings, taking phone calls (they don’t have to be real) or doing whatever busy looks like in your little life.

The chaos technique is really effective if you have lots of people around you who also enjoy playing the chaos game. But, it works just fine as a solo act. Trust me. 👼

In conclusion, if anyone asks questions anything you’ve said or done that doesn’t fit how you see yourself, just breathe and use any of these five techniques I’ve so generously offered today. 🧘🏼‍♀️

Here they are in a nutshell:

1. You don’t like what someone said about you, call it a false narrative.

2. There’s evidence that you wrote or said something crappy, say you were hacked.

3. Not in the mood for honesty or criticism, play the fun nickname game.

4. If someone asks about your behavior, use whataboutism and walk away.

5. To dodge questions about your words or actions, try constant, dizzying chaos.

Good ☘️ Luck!

tight knots, loose ties & and everything in between…

Last week I posted photographs of fabric fraying with this quote: “Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra

Well, it sure sparked some interesting dialogue. Right now, I do feel that it could potentially take generations to weave our society back together. However, as a rather optimistic realist…I wholeheartedly believe we can. Don’t we all want to feel safe, loved, connected and purposeful? What if we focused on our similarities, not our differences? Threads.

Humans need threads—tight, loose and in-between to other people, places and groups. How we choose to connect our threads is up to us individually.

Are we going to weave from a place of FEAR or LOVE?

When we’re anxious or fearful we tend to look outside of ourselves to make sense of our feelings. It’s so much easier to scan for someone or something else to blame than to be self-reflective and take responsibility for our emotions and actions. I would sooooo much rather blame someone else than acknowledge my own bullshit. I’m working on it. It’s a process.

Right now, it seems to me that politics are filling some sort of identity gap where other threads should be continually and carefully woven.

WHY? Why now?

Our party affiliation won’t ever bring us homemade soup when we’re sick, pick up a middle-of-the-night call when we’re in distress or just show up, even when we don’t understand what we actually need ourselves.  

are we frayed beyond repair?

“Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra

Frida & Phyllis…

June 6th, 1907 is Frida Kahlo’s birthday. She truly was a women so extraordinarily ahead of her time. Her example of individuality, boundless creativity, courage, and resilience is needed now more than ever. Frida’s influence throughout the world is a marvel.

Frida, please help me understand, why it’s taking so damn long to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? Phyllis, I’m well aware of why after doing some research.

https://www.equalrightsamendment.org/the-equal-rights-amendment

EQUALITY OF RIGHTS under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

I needed to learn more about the history of the opposition to the ERA. Feminism, Gloria Steinem, ERA—these were almost dirty words when I was growing up in South Dakota in the 70s and 80s. I was told that it was Phyllis Schlafly who had womanhood and traditional gender roles all figured out.

I’m a feminist and I was a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I dreamed of working, while my working friends dreamed of being home. Many Dads worked part-time or at home. The kids were fine. Marriages survived. We didn’t have a culture war. And yet…100 years later, the same crap is still being debated and the Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified. EQUALITY WILL RUIN FAMILIES, REALLY?

The Equal Rights Amendment to me seems like a matter of simple legislative “housekeeping” just as Phyllis Schlafly thought women should be delighted to do at all times. Only one more state is required to ratify the ERA…come on Virginia…Arizona?

A few details about Phyllis Schlafly’s life were conveniently left out of her anti-ERA messaging. Perhaps a classic case of, “do as I say, not as I do”. I doubt it would have changed anything though? She certainly was a brilliant grass roots organizer and marketer. I have to give her credit where credit is due.

Phyllis Schlafly had her law degree and according to her LA Times September 5, 2016 obituary: “Critics said that though Schlafly presented herself as a traditional homemaker, she often traveled, had a full-time housekeeper and a personal assistant, and a resume that most feminists would envy.”

LEARN MORE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Schlafly

So, while thinking about womanhood and the examples of Frida & Phyllis, i realized that they have both been inspiration to me—in very different ways.

Sometimes, we’re inspired by someone and their life just ignites our imagination. Other times we need someone/something to push against, so our own views and voice can emerge with more clarity and depth.

Thank you Frida & Phyllis.

LEARN MORE: https://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org/

“At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can.” ―Frida Kahlo

our virtual connectedness…

Yesterday in therapy it was suggested to me that perhaps I try only check my mail once or twice a day and put myself on a “news diet”. Well, this sounded a bit drastic when all I said was that the world seems far too anxious right now. However, this morning thanks to David Brooks at The New York Times I have a better understanding of what our hyper-vigilant (and virtual) relationships are doing to our collective consciousness. Yikes!

VIRTUAL:

1: being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted

2: being on or simulated on a computer or computer (Merriam Webster)

This is a very quick read.

EXCERPT: People ensconced in social media are more likely to be on perpetual alert: How are my ratings this moment? They are also more likely to feel that the amount of attention they are receiving is inadequate.

If you orient your life around money, you will never feel you have enough. Similarly, if you orient your life around attention, you will always feel slighted. You will always feel emotionally unsafe.

—David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College commencement address

The crybully starts with a genuine trauma. The terrible thing that happened naturally makes the crybully feel unsafe, self-protective and self-conscious to the point of self-absorption. The trauma makes that person intensely concerned about self-image.

The problem comes from the subsequent need to control any situation, the failure to see the big picture, the tendency to lash out in fear and anger as a way to fixate attention on oneself and obliterate others.”

I’m going to try to check my mail only twice and get away from my computer today. My eyes have been extra tired lately and would really welcome the break, as would my consciousness it seems.

morning mind…

I woke up with a different sort of clarity than I’ve had for a while. I thought it was worth memorializing. I slept well. My energy is different. I love rainy days. I’m spending the afternoon with my daughter. I’m traveling to South Dakota to visit my family on Saturday. It’s spring. It’s trivia night at our social club. I’m alive and that simply on its own is something to be truly grateful for.

Excerpt from James Comey’s New York Times Op Ed: “You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America.”

It’s a curious process to see where the mind goes first thing in the morning.

Dear America…

“This world of ours…must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

—Dwight D. Eisenhower

FEAR in America

“Fear in America”—mixed media • layered digital image—2018

Lisa Lillibridge

scanning for patterns…

humans are pattern seeking creaturesNOTE: There is no pattern. I doodled.  It’s random.

Our brains don’t like chaos, we want to believe things are connected, not random.

brainResearching pattern seeking got me thinking about conspiracy theories…of which I am not immune.  I went down a rabbit hole after 911, wanting to make sense of the attack on our nation and all of the lives we lost.  I really thought I was finding all sorts of insider information.  I wasn’t.

Humans are pattern seeking creatures.  There’s so much interesting research on this subject.  Our brains are capable of gold medal worthy gymnastic moves to confirm our preconceptions. I know I like feeling that confirmation buzz. That heady feeling has a shadow side though.

download

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”      —Daniel Kahneman

This quote reminded me of when I hear a song I initially don’t like. If I hear it over and over, it begins to grow on me. Next it becomes familiar…I even begin to like it…hell, maybe even love it, playing it often. With repetition my brain will eagerly override my initial dislike and discernment. This is great when you’re making a conscious choice.

Not so great when the goal is manipulation or brand loyalty.

hate + repetition = acceptance

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“The premise of (most) conspiracy theories is inherently unscientific.”

“You should be skeptical of any theory that starts out with the exact same premise every time: Some malevolent and ill-intentioned individual, group, or organization is somehow out to get you.”

“It is not wrong to have a hypothesis. What is suspicious, however, is when that hypothesis never changes.”

“The interesting thing about conspiracy theories is that they start out with the need to confirm a particular premise (i.e., some evil actor must be responsible).

“…psychologists refer to it as a fundamental attribution error—the tendency to overestimate the actions of others as being (intentional) rather than simply the product of (random) situational circumstances.”         

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?  by Sander van der Linden Ph.D. Psychology Today

Here’s an example of FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR:

My husband started the laundry SO obviously he thinks I’m lazy and not holding up my end of our shared household responsibilities.  OR…and far more likely, he needed some clothes washed and is just doing the laundry. 

laundry clip art

It’s so easy to make this error. I know I need to slow my brain down a lot more often before I jump to conclusions in many aspects of my life.

We inadvertently create mini conspiracy theories when we attribute people’s actions as personal and not situational in their nature. 

The trick is to learn when to take a moment to see if our attribution is actually accurate.

When I slow down my pattern-seeking brain, I feel more in control of the chaos around me. When I don’t, and I often don’t I feel far more anxious and uncertain.

RESOURCES

a short video about fundamental attribution error from the U of Texas

US National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health on conspiracy theories

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman about slowing our thoughts down when making decisions and judgements.