Empathy: A Key

Good Evening, God!

I was idly flipping through this book when I was stopped by his use of EMPATHY.  It seemed that was a key to one of the best Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley.  I had thought of “empathy” as a virtue . . . a stand-alone sort of character quality.  I’d surely never thought of it as being essential to successful Venture Capitalists!  Or to generals, spies, etc.!

Our secular culture tends to ignore or deny the practical benefits of being able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, minds and hearts.  Yikes!  I was doing it too.

Apparently, empathy allows us to understand a much wider array of people and thus learn more.  And updating our information . . . learning and growing and adapting . . . is essential. As Laurence Gonzales said. “Some people update their [mental] models better than others. They are called survivors.”

Hmm.  One last point — from a book FULL of them — was about the different “success rates” of Foxes vs Hedgehogs. Hedgehogs know ONE area very well.  Foxes know a lot of areas.  And when asked to make predictions on what would happen in five years — the foxes were way out in front and the hedgehogs way behind.  The foxes were widely interested in the world around them. They updated their understandings frequently. And they were skeptical of one big answer.

I can understand curiosity as useful.  But empathy — the ability to feel with other quite different people — that was a huge surprise.  But, then isn’t empathy intertwined with love?  And so as You are Love . . .it shouldn’t surprise me that love would be a useful virtue . . . not just “spiritual”.

 

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Posted in Curiosity, Empathy, Laurence Gonzales, learning, LOVE, mental maps

Feeling a bit bleak

Good Evening, God!

I’m tired.  After a great night’s sleep on Thanksgiving I was up and down most of last night.  And I am feeling a bit bleak.  So this photo fits my mood perfectly.  The view is of the beautiful blue ocean . . . but it is seen through the shadows of a Lauhala tree.   Sigh.  This tree was planted as a memorial for a friend’s son.  Somehow, God, my normal UP mood is down.

It feels like the wonderful rest I’ve had is giving my Body and Heart a chance to “Clean Up” and “Clean Out”. Bringing up worries and fears for the future — up to the surface so they can be brought to You. This feels like a good thing. It’s kind of like cleaning out cabinets and closets.

Acknowledging this is hard for me.  I’m an enneagram Seven.  I’d rather turn away and make a joke.  But that is not showing backbone!  I need backbone. And that means consistently working on developing discipline . . . so now I will go do my stretches and lift my 5 pound weights.  And keep track on my iWatch.

I’m back.  I am puffing a little but I’m already feeling less bleak . . .

 

Posted in adoring Easy, authority over my life, becoming the change I wish to see, Changing, Cherishing our Bodies, discipline

A RESTFUL Thanksgiving Weekend

Good Evening, God!

I was busy as usual on Wednesday . . . but then Thursday I slept in and then napped later on.  We were joining a dear friend’s family at 6:00 for dinner.  Around 3:00 I made the fresh cranberry relish and at 5:20 gathered up the pumpkin pie and wine and off we went.  A lovely and delicious evening!

This morning I slept until 7:30 a.m.  Got up and had a bite to eat with my wonderful  husband Kit and then I went back to bed until 12:20.  Sleeping longer at one time than for months and months!  I’m thankful!

I’m also thankful that I now know rest does not mean that I stop moving!  The body is designed to MOVE.  And thankfully a friend was willing to go swimming with me.  Swimming with a friend means twice as much time in the salt water — which is good.  And a little less time swimming hard which isn’t good . . . but worth it to be in the water longer.

Now I’m home and hoping to get to bed soon and sleep-in again.  Appreciating what feels like it might be a sabbath type rest.  Hmm.  One day in seven of full rest.  What a loving Commandment, God!  Meant for our good.  But oh my!  So hard for me to keep!

Posted in awareness, connecting, healing, health

Being Stretched – Being Thankful

Good Evening, God!

I have so very much to be thankful for, God!  My amazing husband . . . our darling daughters . . . our growing grandsons.  Our family and our dear friends.  The people we interact with . . . humans are mostly good folks.

I had a thought come to me yesterday — while I was swimming with the giant school of little fish — that has stretched my heart.  I was looking at the fish.  And I noticed that while pale they did have colors . . . a thin yellow line down the side and other subtle shadings. I, of course, couldn’t begin to tell one fish from another.  But then I  thought — God knows them all by name!

I laughed!  I really don’t know if You have “named” them, God.  But, I am quite convinced that You “know” each of them and that they matter to You.  I pondered that thought.  You know the stars by name . . . why not fish?  Really, this whole idea is stretching my heart and mind.

As Madeleine L’Engle said in a Wind in the Door — size doesn’t matter.  Nothing is too big or too small for You.

Somehow, pondering Your love for each little fish helped me come a little closer to the height and depth of Your LOVE . . . You ARE Love!  And I am THANKFUL.

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Posted in a matter of scale, a series of molts and upgrades, Abundant Life, acknowledging another's existence, gratitude, Growth Opportunities, LOVE

Time, Tides and Change

Good Evening, God,

This is the view from my wonderful husband Kit’s beach — where he lived until he was eight.  It is actually called the Hunakai Beach . . . right at the start of Hunakai Street.  This was taken at low tide. And much to my surprise there were folks sunning themselves on the beach.  At high tide there is no beach.  Timing is so important.

Time is so important.  Eighty years ago the trees did not have their roots exposed.  They were back from the water . . . back from the erosion zone.  And even just in the last two years the changes have been noticeable.

Years ago I bought a book called Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers.  The only point I retained was that we humans are not good in thinking in time.

The example that has stayed with me was asking people to construct a computer model for helping a small village.  The designers of the computer model put in wells and provided medical clinics and the village became sustainable — for a decade or two. But then the uncontrolled population growth (lower infant mortality and no birth control education) erased all the gains.

Considering all the factors is hard. Looking ahead . . . far ahead . . . is even harder.  Then too, even when the future is clearly seen — like rising oceans . . . warmer oceans . . . stronger storms . . . we don’t want to see.

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Posted in Books, Changing, courage, Responding, responsibility, time, Transitions, Trees

A walk down memory lane

Good Evening, God!

This morning my wonderful husband Kit and I left home at 6:20 a.m. to get to the Toyota Service Center for my car’s 7:15 appointment. On the way home we stopped at Kaimana Beach for me to swim . . . and Yes, the giant school of little fish were there to greet me!  After my exercise time Kit suggested we stop at his old homestead.  Actually, I’m not sure leased land qualifies as homestead — but Kit’s family lived there from 1930 to 1942.

The walk down to the beach is so different now.  The big trees that shaded the walk are gone.  The old fences with greenery on both sides are gone.  The homes are gone too.  All that remain are the concrete remains of the World War II pill box. We chatted with a man – maybe in in his 60’s – who was going into the water to hunt octopuses.  Kit shared about living here when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941.  The man nodded and said . . . that was a long time ago.  We chattered on.  And wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving.

I was left with a sense of how impermanent things are.  But I also have a new awareness of just how precious the folks are who share our past. . . who remember the same things . . .with whom we can replay the times long gone.

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Posted in friends, memories, Perspective, relationships, stopping to see, time

Trees

Good Evening, God!

We parked next to this tree and as we returned from swimming I glimpsed it out the car window.  The tree seemed lit up. . . like I was seeing it for the first time.  And that brought to mind Psalm 1:3: That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither . . .

Ah, we are like trees . . . planted in You . . . the Ground of our being.  The Bible is referring to those whose delight is in You.  But, I think You are always hoping that each of us will come closer and grow in our delight in You.  For me that is one of the many ways in which You pour out help.

In my mind Your help is limitless . . . endless . . . how else could You care for BILLIONS of us and countless creatures and billions of galaxies and so forth.  So for me it feels natural to ask for Your help.

And this morning, while saying grace I did ask for help for all of us present.  Afterwards, a dear friend remarked that those of us present really didn’t need help compared to most of the world’s people!  And that is certainly true!

My friend is an extraordinarily good and generous person. And I appreciated her observation.  It is good to be reminded that our needs are not to be compared to the refugees and homeless and abused.

So I am thinking, God, that in addition to the various way I seek Your help — I  need You to help me be more generous in giving and in caring.  And more grateful.

 

Posted in connecting

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