The star system to the left is called Eta Carinae. It is at least two stars who have rubbed against each other in an implosive and explosive way. I found these stars when looking up a visual representation through google images of abundance and scarcity. These stars have an abundance of some elements and a scarcity of others. Together, they represent one of the brightest stars in the sky... sometimes.
Where does civility matter most during the increasingly polarized time we are all living in?
A friend recently invited me to a talk on Civility by the Masons at a local lodge. The speaker, Russ Charvonia, asked the audience to consider the difference between debate and discourse.
This post started in March of 2018 as a title, draft, and intention to address gender discrimination. I believe that it is up to the privileged to redistribute our power and bring greater inclusivity and safe places, which will create diverse environments for all. Figure It In is about remembering the harm of compartmentalizing and how to begin including all the puzzle pieces (and people) into the equation. In this situation, my role as the leader of my Returning to Compassion Counseling LLC and Figure It In, LLC businesses was finding a way to bring unisex bathrooms to the building where I rent my offices.
This morning, 13 months later, uni-sex bathrooms are finally a reality throughout the building! I am telling this story to model the conversation on how change happens considering that when I researched non-binary restrooms activism, I didn't find any such posts/blogs/articles that offered this recipe.
Here are the highlights of the process of calling my building manager and owner IN (versus calling them OUT and publicly humiliating them).
This reflection is to continue a conversation on racism and how much I and we are all swimming in it constantly. I invite your reflections on additional ways I could have responded in this recent attempt to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and all the ways I can find more balance in my attempts to redistribute my privilege to minorities.
Setting boundaries can be hard. Experiencing set boundaries can be even harder. Understanding that we get to set boundaries even when they are experienced as hard or uncomfortable is an important part of becoming our most healthy and human self. Lately I've been contemplating the archetypes of the swan and the dragon and representations of how boundaries can be experienced. If a boundary is felt like a swan, it is felt as beautiful. If it is felt like a dragon, it is felt as burning. Sometimes however, our inner ponds or lakes of connection turn to swamps, and in order to replenish, they have to burn off the undergrowth and soggy dead roots. When this happens, anything no matter how gentle and lovingly offered as a boundary can feel like we are being harmed.
After a longer than usual day at work, I decided to splurge and take an Uber pool home (instead of walking). My intention in sharing what happened on my ride is to keep growing and learning on how to improve my awareness and response in these situations, and also to invite you to join me in this journey of owning my privilege and being a better ally to those without.
Years ago I took a call on a suicide hotline from a distressed male caller who started by saying, "I need to talk to someone because I am having thoughts of organizing my closet by color!" This man's story led me down a path of understanding suicidal thoughts with new curiosity and next I'll share a few of the most important things I've learned.
Whether you have ever had thoughts of not wanting to be alive and/or know somebody who has, you probably know that talking about suicide can be quite uncomfortable and even scary. These thoughts often feel like the elephant nobody wants to acknowledge. If you had answered crisis lines and sat with hundreds of people contemplating thoughts of ending their life over the years like me, you would also know that they can be an important turning point in someone's life and are even an opportunity to bridge to something better. Here are a few different ways to understand and handle suicidal thoughts:
Why do we like fireworks when they can cause so much terror in our furry friends and destructiveness to our natural habitat? Are they a reflection of our self-centeredness? Or do they bring us into an awareness of how terribly beautiful life is and how it joins us together in a giant display of celebration? Another way to say self-centered is to use the word narcissist.
I recently quit my job. I left the place feeling tearful, angry, and eventually relief. I jokingly called this time in my life a period of divine disappointment. Hundreds of hours poured into the hardest job of my life and the disappointment was not in what I was doing, but the company I was doing it for. Right as I was concluding my last few days at this place, several clients brought up stories that included an infuriating sense of helplessness in their life. I kept hearing the question on what to "do" with helplessness. Below is what I have practiced sometimes on an hourly basis in order to survive 21 months with this divinely disappointing company. If you take nothing else from what you read below, my invitation is to lean into the helplessness and keep breathing deep from your belly.
I often hear people say that they "aren't the trusting type." Meaning, they have been burned so many times that they consider it a feature of their personality that they do not tend to trust easily or at all. Respectfully, and with great curiosity, I like to ask questions about how anti-trust they really are.
About the Author
Ruth Diaz, LPC, Psy.D. is a counselor, consultant, and coach on returning to compassionate connection in relationship with ourselves and each other at every level. She works as an organizational psychologist in Portland, Oregon.