Saturday, 25 June 2011

Talk about layers......

Well, what can I say, how long have I been doing this work for? Nearly ten years now and still I have learning about how it unfolds over time.
I had a very sad personal experience recently, the loss of a good friend to Cancer after a four and a half year battle - she fought hard to keep her dignity and always remained determined to maintain the best quality of life she could, until the very end.

I had been with Ruth when she went for her first Chemo appointment, it was distressing to see someone who had always put a 'brave face on' scream in the distress as the nurses were not able to get the needle into her vein to start the treatment. This first visit has left a huge mark on me and my experience that day really helped me to understand that honoring values is does not always feel good at the time. Now, however I am so proud that I was with her, not just on that day but on every appointment for her first round of Chemo and then again when she got diagnosed as the tumor reappeared after a small time in remission.

As my friend got sicker she withdrew from her extended friendships and focused her energy on her family and grandchildren and very closest friends. I tried to contact her on many occasions and although we talked, briefly and emailed some we didn't really see much of each other in the last year of her life. I realised after our last conversation on 31st October 2010 that the next time I would be with Ruth would be her Funeral. And that turned out to be true!

As I write this, (bye the way, after the initial sorrow and tears at the time she died, I have been in neutral about this topic for about 3 weeks) I notice that it is starting to stir things (emotions) up inside me. I like that feeling.

I believe that my sadness around Ruth's death is without doubt the loss of a dear and loving friend with whom I shared lots of professional experiences at work. I will always remember our first meeting, which happened to be in a smoking room when she was talking about the people she was managing at the time. Ruth had a sharp mind and sometimes an even sharper tongue. Anyway, she said that the people she was working with only walked straight because they had a 'chip on both shoulders', well I laughed until I almost cried.... so I miss those times and the times after she retired when we shared holidays and other experiences together.

Her loss has also opened something else up in me, I realised that those people who I had expected to be there for me, were not. No calls, no emails not even a cyber hug! That hurt me a lot and I was bewildered, shocked and stunned at this. I had people from my Choir calling me and hugging me in the street, people at the gym doing the same and friends of myself and Ruth were able to support each other, all of which was a great help to me.

The realisation of the old pattern came just a few days ago, and to be honest I am quite shocked at this discovery myself, so stick with me, this might get messy! The realisation I had was, this is the same pattern that has shown up all my life in intimate relationships, I am always there, I always lean in, sometimes more that 100% and guess what, the pattern is that quite often I fall over! Because the people I was leaning in to, can not, or do not lean back to stop me from falling.

It makes me sad to admit this to the world and yet I know it is true, my Gremlin in having a field day right now, telling me I'm not lovable and its because they think I am so independent that I don't need help. What I know to be true is that I have a value around 'being there' for people and clearly I also want people to 'be there' for me. So, when they are not I feel alone and isolated and very sad.

This has both painful and great learning all at the same time. What I am most proud of during this experience is that I have owned my own emotions, I have not placed blame on others and projected my needs onto others as their inadequacy. I have stayed with the emotions until something shifted, some realisation happened and some learning took place within me.

I am now ready to engage in conversation about this experience and this blog has helped me to create learning around this whole experience too. I didn't have much idea what I was going to write today and yet when I put finger to keyboard, it just seemed to flow.

With love to you and those you love, alive or not, may you remember them always. The priest at Ruth's service said 'people die twice, the first time physically and the second time when they are forgotten'. Ruth will never be forgotten nor will the learning she gave to me in my friendship with her when she was alive and the gift she left me with as she passed on to the next world. Thank you my friend.

I'm leaving this blog with tears in my eyes and love in my heart.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Are you moving towards, away from or against people?

Interesting eh! What did you notice about your behaviours?

Are you moving against people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Compete with people? Set exacting standards? Strive for perfection?
Need to get your own way? Do you .....
Exert tremendous effort and energy to achieve goals? Speaking directly and bluntly?
Push yourself and others to win? Take charge in most situations?

Are you moving away from people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Holding back to see how situations unfold?
Identifying what is wrong, illogical or lacking in plans?
Do you see the flaws in others' thinking, speaking and actions?
Are you always analysing what is right and wrong all the time?

Are you moving towards people? Do you demonstrate any of the following?
Being a do-gooder?
Saying 'yes' when you really mean 'no'?
Cautiously managing what you do to stay in the good grace of others?
Calibrating the emotional climate in situations to see if it is safe to speak?
Double checking with Authority/Hierarchy before taking any action?
Couching your speech so that others will not have a strong emotional response?

There are gifts and costs the these behaviours and usually the impact depends on the receiver!
Yes I know, that's a downer isn't it - the impact you have is typically different depending upon who you are in dialogue with or being with at the time.

Where I would point you (any myself) is to notice the emotional impact on yourself of these behaviours and know that whatever you are experiencing is of your own choice. There may be nothing happening with the other person or people you are interacting with.

We could save ourselves a lot of time and effort in simply noticing our learned behaviours and asking ourselves the question. How does this serve me? and Where does it get in my way?
Then choose the behaviours that serve you and get curious about what beliefs create the behaviours that get in your way.

What are the beliefs you are attached to that no longer serve you?
Get writing.....