14.4.14 – “Class”… upper or lower? Where’s my fit?

I have long pondered the realms of my existence and how much it differs with others and their existence. I have pondered class difference, and how this word ‘class’ can / should be defined, and how people use it to stereotype and box other human beings. I have worked with cleaners, C.E.O.s, managers, labour force and such a wide variety of ‘class’, ‘intelligence’, ‘social’ and ‘political’ mix-ups and combinations in my short life. Now it appears to me that the options for ‘being a human being’ are truly expansive and extend beyond the realms of what most people see in their limited vision, restricted space and ritualistic lifestyles.

I fall into a ‘middle-class’ monetary bracket and have reached a highish level in the academic echelons. I interact with many who are on anti-depressants, many who are not happy with life and are searching for more. Outside of private conversation, around the dinner table, conversations often revolve around booze, sport, sexual innuendo, work and travel. I am there, I can contribute, but mostly I just listen and wonder what is going on with their souls. I feel like I do not fit because my focus in life is not, nor has it ever been about, pleasing my body alone, or this world I live in. I don’t have ‘sex’ stories or enough “we were so drunk…” stories to contribute anything that would interest many people. So I sit and listen and hear my own inner voice saying: “surely this isn’t it?” Then the night will wear on as I sit. Somehow souls end up next to me and in one evening I’ll go from a philosophical conversation on acceptance, even though the person doesn’t have the words to tell me what they mean, but give me a: “you get what I’m saying…”. A second topic on relationships and affairs and whether or not it is worth getting married, which couples appear to be working, which not: “I think they are working, but I can’t put my finger on why, but you know what I mean…” “He’s having affairs, but if his wife doesn’t find out it’s ok, I won’t tell her, know what I mean…” Third, “I only have one tot in a long glass, so I always have litres of water every night, it’s good, you know what I mean…” The examples are endless… but similar, without being able to say what they mean – you know what I mean…

No, I don’t know what they mean. I don’t understand why they would play sport to keep their bodies fit and young, but feed themselves alcohol (a.k.a. hospital wound disinfectant) which destroys their bodies. I don’t know why you would promote marriage, enter marriage, but have affairs and forthrightly act to destroy that marriage. Why be out to please every single person, get accepted by everyone, but you cannot accept yourself? You cannot love yourself? Contradiction after contradiction after contradiction. This is great skin cream / make up for staying young, so why are you smoking to cause aging?

I reflect on this and know that the response to faith is similar too, “I don’t quite… but you know what I mean…” Do the ‘upper’ circles passing judgments and comments all over the place really know what they mean? Do they know they live in permanent contradiction? If they did, surely they would correct themselves and have the words to express it and leave nothing open to “whatever you are interpreting it to be” or “I believe ‘a’ and practice ‘b’, get my drift, nudge nudge…”. I hear no solid answers, no concrete: “This is what I mean, and this is what I’m standing for and living by.” Is it a polite thing? Is it an “I don’t want to be excluded” thing? Is it an “I want to accepted” thing? Or is it a genuine: “I have no idea” thing? Is it a coping method? It appears to me as a polite nothingness in the upper middle arena, whereas the lower arena of people, as crude as they often seem to be, seem to know what they mean, and seem to contradict themselves less. They are also more forthcoming with gratitude and awe and stories of faith and life where hands have gotten dirty and life has been lived in its rawness, no politeness about it… I ponder on my observations and experiences. The lower classes, and those where each day is seen as a blessing, and words are seldom minced, versus those where each day is a labour, something not achieved, something left unsettled… there are so many mixes, so many purposes and none can be seen as ‘the best’ or ‘the right’ way, they all just are. Where do I fit? Is still the question that looms before me, it’s not in the upper, the middle or the lower arenas that are like foreign planets to each other, nor is it alone or exclusively with other ‘mis’fits…

Once again God stepped in. I returned from another ‘upper-middle-class’ function once again tossing questions in my mind and
God took me back to Tolstoy, a book I own by ‘chance’. “Confessions” 1879, pg 56: “The whole life of believers in our circle {upper class} was a contradiction of their faith, but the whole life of the working-folk believers was a confirmation of the meaning of life which their faith gave them.”

Page 56, “In contrast with what I had seen in our circle {upper class}, where the whole of life is passed in idleness, amusement and dissatisfaction, I saw that the whole life of these people {lower class} was passed in heavy labour, and that they were content with life.”

Page 57, “And I began to look well into the life and faith of these people {working class}, and the more I considered it the more I became convinced that they have a real faith which is a necessity to them and alone gives their life a meaning and makes it possible from them to live.”

Page 58, “It came about that the life of our circle, the rich and learned, not merely became distasteful to me, but lost all meaning in my eyes. All our actions, discussions, science and art, presented itself to me in a new light. I understood that it is all self-indulgence, and that to find meaning in it is impossible; while the life of the labouring people, the whole of mankind who produce life, appeared to me in its true significance.”

Having finished ‘The Artist’s Way’ now and yesterday, Palm Sunday, I began ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ once again, I continue to pursue these ideas of the meaning of life, no, the meaning of my life, the way in which I’m meant to leave my mark in some way on this planet, and how I am traveling towards the core of my purpose and my desire to be true to myself and live in love through it all… and I wonder if maybe a little of Tolstoy’s, Cameron’s, Warren’s, Walsch’s and other such souls chatted to mine before mine found its way into this body…

Incompetence INFURIATES ME!

Good evening. I’m writing this blog, once again, from a place of complete anger and frustration, where I have nowhere else to vent and let go of the anger inside me. I’m vexed because people are NOT COMMUNICATING like it is supposed to be done – LISTEN, READ, RESPOND TO CORRECT TOPIC! People are not LISTENING TO or genuinely reading other people at all. It keeps confronting me over and over again, this apathy and laziness and disinterest in doing one’s job competently and effectively, this inability to communicate to a question and respond accordingly!

It starts at the school level… Grade 8:
Question: “Write about creating …”… Answer: “In presenting…” When did the creation become the final presentation?

Then Grade 12 feedback on the matric papers every year: Learners MUST ANSWER THE QUESTION. For example: Write about Stanislavski… Answer: Grotowski… They aren’t even from the same country!

Then it explodes from the microcosm into the macrocosm of my life – Tellers at the tills.
Me: “How are you?” … Teller: “Do you want a plastic bag”… how the BEEP is that an answer to the question?

Then – Service providers (no flipping service about it!). I emailed my insurance company this week asking them to please let me know the number I need to call in an emergency car accident to get the right tow company etc, and why have they started taking an extra R10.00 off my account each month for no reason whatsoever? … Here’s the email, the reply and my response to that reply… to the person who could not be bothered to READ MY EMAIL!
Me: Good Day,
Please would you assist me with two points:
1) If I am in an emergency on the side of the road, what number do I contact to initiate towing etc?
2) My debit order went up by R10.00 a month this month. Please advise why as I was not informed or contacted about this.

Them: I tried contacting you yesterday after 3pm and again this morning.
Please advise me of the date of loss in order for me to register the claim.
I trust you find this in order.

Me: I didn’t receive any missed calls on my phone at all, nor any messages?
I’m not sure what claim you are referring to?
My questions were:
1) If I am in an emergency on the side of the road, what number do I contact to initiate towing etc, so I’m not left alone on the road dealing with a tow-truck driver?
2) My debit order went up by R10.00 a month this month. Please advise why as I was not informed or contacted about this.

Ahh, but that was not the end of my frustration. I recently took up a points system with my Medical Aid. I filled in all the details correctly and received 2 items in the mail, but not the third. So I emailed them to find out why and they replied to tell me that I haven’t filled in my address properly!@#$! How is that possible when I have already received the two other items in the mail?!?!?!? So I reply asking them to explain how it is possible, and what do they do? They couldn’t freaking well be bothered to read my email and they reply with a generic response apologizing and that they are sending me another card that I have to pay for! AND THEN THEY TAKE MONEY OUT OF MY BANK ACCOUNT!!!!! They STEAL MONEY from me!!! And the bank let it happen!!!
Here’s that correspondence:
Me: Thank-you for the response.
I have gone into the site and cannot find where my address is logged differently?
I have received my …. card, why would that get to me, along with my magazine and not this card?
Please let me know as I find this very odd.

Them: We have ordered a replacement card for your HealthyFood™ benefit. Your reference number is…. You will receive your HealthyFood™ loyalty card in the post in the next 2 weeks.
If you have any more queries, you can contact us.

Me – replied with an email that began with : “I AM LIVID!” and went on to ask them how dare they steal money from me, to return it and I’ll return their card!

SIGNED, EXASERATED and – just as my fraudulent car sale and that mess no-one could care less about – HELPLESS!

4.4.14 Part Two: DATING – The Baggage Claim section

This talk in the DVD series blew me away, absolutely blew me away! Louis Giglio set up the stage with a little coffee table and two chairs, two mugs and a little vase with flowers. He then began to bring on these huge trunks and suitcases and plant them next to and on the coffee table, so the audience members were visually seeing a wall literally build up between the two imaginary people who would be on a date, seated at the table, drinking the coffee.

Suitcase one: YOUR HANG-UPS. When you go on a date you bring your hang-ups, whatever they may be. Your dislike of yourself in the mirror, arrogance, the-world-has-done-me-wrong, whatever. Every human has a suitcase with their hang-ups in it.

Suitcase two: YOUR MOM AND DAD. You genetically comprise of: 50% of your Mom and 50% of your Dad. It is not possible for you to separate yourself from your history, your parents, or your genetics. However you were brought up, whatever you tell yourself you will not have of your parents, it is most likely that you will end up like your parents. I remember once upon a time being at a function chatting to an incredibly hot guy and something happened and my response was literally: “My Mother would kill me if I …” I have no idea where the line came from, but it was there, the brainwashing of my Mother’s voice reared its head years after I had moved out of her home. Giglio suggests that meeting the other person’s parents should be one of the very first things on your agenda, because that is who your other half must inevitably become, and how they treat their parents is inevitably how they will end up treating you. Every human being brings their parents into their relationships. Giglio advises to put it out there: If you had a father who never hugged you, or a mother who kept her distance, realise it. Know when you are starved of affection, starved of love, know that you are bringing that into your relationships, and you may jump into any arms, no matter who’s they are, simply because you feel accepted, you feel hugged and less depraved in someone’s, anyone’s arms.

Suitcase three: WORDS AND WOUNDS. In their lives people have had the experience of being hurt, of being wounded, of having someone tell them something that has stuck with them forever. I had a high school boy tell me I was “too fat to date him” … I had another tell me that “You’re not pretty enough to be a News Reader”… and those moments, as many years ago as they are now, those moments are frozen, solid and non-erasable from my memory. How about: “Your sister is so much more…” or “Your brother is so much more…” or “You’ll never…” or “You are so…” BAM – Moment – Frozen… those words, those wounds, people bring them on their dates – they are there, big and looming… “Why would anyone date me, I’m weird, there’s no point to this.” … “I already know I’m a loser… I’m too fat… I’m too tall… I’m… I can’t ask someone to date me; I may as well end this now.” A big suitcase indeed.

Suitcase four: HIM OR HER (the ex). Whether you are still texting him/her, whether you are out there to show him/her that you are ok without them that you can move on, or you are just trying to get over the rejection of being dumped, that ex is still there. S/He is right there at that table with you through every sip of your coffee. You aren’t on that date to praise and be loving to the person opposite you, you are on that date to prove to the person who isn’t there that you are lovable, that someone in the world wants to have coffee with you, someone else is not rejecting you… so there…

Suitcase five: FALSE EXPECTATIONS. Giglio put it right out there and said that girls have NO IDEA how much pressure they put on guys. Why, he asked the audience, why do girls always have to ask: “Is this the one?” … a dozen times before she has even sat down to the cup of coffee… Giglio asks if girls have any idea how much pressure that creates? How rejection has been set up by guys and girls, and stress has been set up before the date has even begun? He said it is crazy to have expectations of perfect. Perfect figure, perfect intelligence, dress sense, morals, sexual drive, perfect family and all the rest that people set up as their expectations before they have even said hello. How can anyone live up to any of that? How? It’s not possible.

Suitcase six: SEFLISH PRIDE. “I’m going on this date to make myself feel good.”… “I am going on this date to be the best me I can be.” I am for me, me, me… not: I’m going on this date to learn about you, to love you, to be kind to you… “I’m doing this for me…”

I sat there ticking off my own list of baggage and what rang true for me in the display of suitcases and how much of a barrier of luggage I have on my table, on my back and in my life. Giglio doesn’t stop there. He brings out a SEVENTH suitcase. This suitcase carries The Ultimate symbol of love and acceptance: The Cross, The Crucifix on which Jesus suffered and was tortured in order to show the world what LOVE REALLY IS. He makes a crucifix out of the placards that came out of suitcases 1 – 6 and places all the suitcases under the cross, opening up a space once again at the coffee table. He picks up the gorgeous glass crucifix from suitcase seven and places in slap bam in the middle of the coffee table and says that Jesus is all that you need to bring on your date. He points to the placard cross and the suitcases under it and instructs the audience to take everything else there, take everything that is in your past there, bring it, ALL OF IT, ALL YOUR BAGGAGE, EVERY LAST OUNCE and place it at the cross, The Love Of God will forgive, heal, replenish and make you perfect to become a new you. The Ultimate love of Jesus will turn all your baggage into something that you can fit in the compartment above your head in an aeroplane.

All you need to bring on your dates is the crucifix, Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the number one love. He is enough to heal your hang-ups and wounds, break the generational curse, he has already accepted you, He will NEVER be an ‘ex’, and He is the Ultimate the One who fulfills all expectations.

Once you have made God your Number One Love, you can sit at that coffee table knowing you are loved already, knowing you have been accepted already, knowing that you aren’t looking for a “The One” because you have already found Him. You sit at that table not judging, not hating, not selfish, no hidden agenda but to be there, to be kind, to learn about the other person and be there in the perfect peace that you are loved and cherished and no human being can ever destroy or take that away from you, ever.

For the perfect date: God Picked You. God gave His life FOR YOU. Your first awesome love relationship is already eternal. . . Nothing on earth can come near to matching or beating that, so don’t expect it to :-)

4.4.14 Life story TRUMPS Love story

A date too good not to blog on 4.4.14. What to blog about though? I’ve had loads of ideas and observable moments running through my life of late, but I’ve been so bogged down with admin and pulling my life into some semblance of order, that the moments keep running right out of my day and into the space that all grand ideas disappear to when they aren’t acted upon. Hmm, I may as well start with the now. What has happened in the last three days, other than my getting sick and on antibiotics? A DVD series by Louis Giglio entitled: “MY REALLY BAD DATE”. I bought it on sale many moons ago and for some reason it came back to haunt my conscience on Wednesday, so I put it on. . . WOW!

At first purchase I thought it would be like a breakdown of a bad date, as the title infers, but it isn’t (this was a relief as I haven’t started dating yet, so I didn’t think it would be applicable to me). Instead it turned out to be a logical set of talks on looking at yourself in the dating picture. Part One: “It’s not you. It’s me”. Who hasn’t used or heard that line at some point? Giglio challenges everyone to never ever use that line again, and if you hear it to laugh out loud at the person and to tell them to just get honest already. Instead of using “that line”, put it out there that you are just not that into the other person. Giglio reckons that human beings are petrified of just being honest and telling someone that they “just aren’t into them”, and thus make up stories to get around their fears and get out of the relationship / possible relationship. No-one wants to hurt another or be hurt in return.

The common factor, Giglio points out however, on all the dates that you go on, is you. So if every single person you date is “useless” or this, that or the other, then you need to step back and look in the mirror and find out why that pattern is there. He suggests a 5 step plan where you step back and be an objective outsider to your life: 1) Go to an honest, genuine, close, loving friend and ask them why they reckon you aren’t successful in your dating life. 2) Confirm. Go to another honest, loving source and say Mz Whoever said I’m not being successful with dating because of xyz, do you agree? 3) Work at whatever needs to be worked at and then 4) Go back to those people and see if you are making progress or need to change your plan. 5) Repeat / do as necessary thereafter. The idea behind this plan is exactly the same rationale as the blog I did awhile back from that service about Meeting, Dating and Mating; namely: It is far more important for you to be becoming the best possible you that you can become, than for you to be looking for the best possible someone else to try and compliment an incomplete you. Search for and learn to be an incredible YOU first, build up your relationship with your number one love – God, then let the rest happen. “Who you are becoming is more important than who you are finding”.

Giglio offers these reminders as he speaks: 1) You have great potential and worth. 2) You are a work-in-progress. 3) You have to begin to become and 4) LIFE STORY TRUMPS LOVE STORY. You have to have your own story, because no other human being on this planet is going to be able to give you everything you need all the time – ever (and to ask someone else to do that / be that, is just not fair). When your story and your purpose, your God –story, matches another human being’s life story, God-story and purpose, then you will have the most incredible love story going on. Yet never forget, you HAVE to have your own story first, do not look for another person in order to become part of their story. Your duty to yourself is to spend time creating your story, being in your story and, if you choose to, then making your story part of The Ultimate God Story.

Remember – husband and wife journey = mortal; and your soul journey = eternal. “If you don’t have a life story to bring you together, then you won’t have a love story to hold you together.”

Being naked: Yes or no?

This blog is a random one to do with a radio show I was listening to a few weekends ago. The D.J., who is renown for believing our geographical area desires to hear what goes on in her personal life, brought her drive to work to the fore. On turning out of her friend’s home there was a little girl jumping on her trampoline on private property. As she was jumping quite high she was visible over the fence with her up-jumps. The D.J. was appalled and had had her whole afternoon ruined because the child, though not yet maturely developed, was naked. The D.J. out rightly said that she deemed this child’s state as completely offensive and that no-one going past should be subjected to seeing a naked child. She proceeded to ask callers to call in and give their opinions on the matter and decide from what age it is inappropriate to be naked (good thing none of my skinny-dipping drunken varsity mates live in the in area!). The majority of callers appeared to support the D.J.! Very few called in to support the freedom of the child in her own home. A couple of callers were, however, worried about the child’s sunburn in the heat of the noon-day sun.

Even though the discussion happened a few weeks ago, I am STILL offended by the D.J. and the callers who believe that everyone should be clothed all the time from about the age of 3 or 4. Obviously this topic of debate has been going on since Adam and Eve took offence in the Garden of Eden and picked up leaves to cover themselves, due to the embarrassment of entering a life without love and God’s presence. A life controlled by society, self-consciousness and shame. That little girl had no shame, she experienced no guilt, she was pure and beautiful and having a wonderful time. Why is that a ‘bad’ / ‘offensive’ thing? The D.J. was the one staring and forming opinions and creating shame. The D.J. even went on to tell more of her life story, she does this all the time, and let the province know that she once waited naked in her brother’s cupboard to jump out and scare him when he returned from school. Problem was, her brother didn’t enter his room on his own and she ended up being more embarrassed than she had ever been in her life. So, due to her embarrassment, she believes that no-one else should be naked either.

Recently Miley Cyrus took up a wrecking ball role as the original “Eve” (like the little trampoline-er), which also became a topic of mass generated gossip and “shame on her” because she isn’t ashamed of her body and herself. In exasperation I say: “honestly?”! I sit and I look at the awesome freedom of those souls who naturally know how to love their bodies and their beings and then I turn to the miserable lot with baggage, embarrassment and shame in their lives and I think: “You, the broken and hurting, telling the free that they have it wrong? Seriously?” It’s the broken, hurting and ashamed people, the sick pedophiles and repressed, self-loathing individuals who are the ones with problems, not those who are having harmless fun and enjoying their lives, whether it be that they are naked or not. As a society of incredibly beautiful people, why do we not see own natural beauty? Why don’t we enjoy that beauty? Look after that beauty? Celebrate that beauty? Why do we cover up (and that’s not the only thing we ‘cover up’ or ‘brush under the carpet’ either!) and call it “offensive”? Why do we let broken people run our lives and our minds? Why? I don’t get it.
I just don’t get it :-(

… Surely if you can’t be comfortable with naked bodies, then you can’t be naked with your own body, mind and/or soul either?… The strappings of society grip, tighten and squeeze out all the beauty of being human and conform uniqueness into one claustrophobically repressed group of reciprocating zombies… ugh… make that a double UGH!

Why do we write? A writer shares her why…


I thought her post worth the ponder … maybe it is why I write too… maybe… or maybe my belief that Good Orderly Direction, is a great acronym for GOD and why we need to be creative; as creativity is the air that binds us, it is mingled in the words we try to use to communicate the incommunicable… release the frustration… share the loneliness… set our souls free…

Words, stories… they too can frustrate; and the story can never been completely told or understood by any other soul – there can be only one… Maybe ‘The Highlander’ spoke more truth than I realised…

Be blessed – be creative – let your soul leap and soar and revel, no matter what form it takes :-) no matter how deep the depths of the incommunicable go… create, create, create – it will alleviate :-)

28.2.14 Empathetic Listening

Maybe this is another blog I shouldn’t type… but that won’t erase my observations…

Every year schools meet up in my area to listen to a unified motivational speech. There was a different approach this year as we met up at a school and had a speech on leadership which was followed by team-building exercises of the mentally challenging kind. The initial speech was by a previously high up employee of Alexander Forbes, before that he was in combat with the army. He shared some of his life experiences with us as the parables for his objectives. He opened with a brief intro and then asked the large group of us our ideas on the meaning of leadership. We had some great answers: humility, being inspirational, being motivational, having followers, being a role model, setting the example and so on… He didn’t scribe our points as he had pre-written his definitions on the next page of the flip-chart positioned on the stage: “Aligning people and vision, setting an example, developing, resolving conflict, motivating, maintaining discipline, focusing on results and developing other leaders”. My guess would be that these are the summarised textbook meanings. He emphasised that the most important thing for a leader to do is to develop themselves (life-long learning) and to “trust yourself”, not to host fears of success, failure and/or ridicule and/or the like. His second emphasis was on “respecting and appreciating people’s differences”; and his final emphasis was on listening. Not ‘pretended listening’ or ‘selective listening’, or ‘attentive listening’, but on ‘empathetic listening’. In other words, the listening where you do not use yourself as the reference point, but, instead, you ask lots of questions and build up the real truth the other person holds, not your own truth.

Once the Q&A was done we were all broken into various groups and sent off to competitively win as many tokens as we could. At the end of the afternoon the group with the most tokens would win. Then came the ‘rub’. One of the organising leaders stood up and told the teachers that they could “earn” tokens through seducing the men running each task. I stood there thinking “how odd”, that’s a strange thing to say, never mind discriminatory against the male teachers. I knew I wouldn’t be ‘seducing’ anyone, it’s just not in my character scope, I’ve never been bothered with all that. Anyway, we moved along. In the end, however, it turned out that other teachers did not possess the same inhibitions that I possess!

By the end (completing 4 tasks where we could win a maximum of 2 tokens per task) one group had won 11 tokens! That’s 4 wins and 3 seductions! I was in awe. How on earth could anyone manage to have the self-confidence to go ahead and follow the optional instruction of seducing the task leaders? At the token announcement session they asked for any confessions and the teachers who had flirted away openly laughed and joked about it. It sounded like they had had a lot of fun enjoying the optional flirting task. I had a good giggle and enjoyed their energy and that they were able to stand out in front of all those people and be true to themselves. That takes guts, or audacity, or self-confidence, or however you frame it, it’s quite something, and of course they had the most tokens, so they won.

Then Shannan steps out of lala land and into reality. The fun team-building exercise morphed into a session of moaning that the results were “corrupt like the country”, that the winners were “unfairly and unethically” chosen, that the flirts were xyz (no need to get into details here) and they degraded the exercise. My mind wasn’t computing it all… the instructors told them they could flirt; the whole point was to have fun; how else were they going to have a tie-break between all the teams that got 7 or 8 tokens because we are all highly intelligent… My brain baffled.

At the social function afterwards the battering of the flirts continued over their appearance and how they should be excluded, or repelled for their behaviour… I went silent and didn’t respond to the judgments and harsh criticisms of the people I was in awe of. I had been bleak with the instructors for bringing in the ‘seduction’ option. I thought THAT was unprofessional and unethical. The idea of the task leaders wanting their ego’s brushed up wasn’t something I was happy with. The idea DID NOT come from the teachers. Then my mind went to the hypocrisy of it: If we as teachers give our learners instructions, we expect them to follow them. If we put suggestive ideas in their minds on a different way to do a task, we hope they will follow them. In this scenario we were the learners and the ‘flirts’ were being the learners who take the teacher’s instructions to try a different way as another ‘safe’ option in the ‘controlled’ environment. How can you expect learners to do as you instruct for a task, but adults must do differently to their task instruction? It did not sit well with me… or am I the “unacceptable” teacher for seeing it “incorrectly”?

I sat their in my observational silence. I sat there with this feeling inside that was totally supporting the flirts, totally chuffed that they had fun and enjoyed themselves. I sat there listening to people who had taken the focus off the exercise and placed it on the people who were being true to themselves. . . I sat there wondering if I was the only one with an inner child who was saying: “If I wasn’t going to be judged like those ladies are being judged and ostracized, then maybe I would have had enough self-confidence, self-love, spunk, pizzazz and non-stuffy, non-conservative-social-system-locked-and-imprisoned guts to flirt myself. It would’ve been fun”… I sat there wondering if any of the people so openly raging their opinions had read the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character”… I sat there thinking that maybe it’s not only empathetic listening “to others” that people should practice, but maybe they should practice empathetic listening “to themselves” too… never mind the: “respect and appreciate people’s differences” part of the talk…

Of course these are only the thoughts in my head… but they ran very deeply for me… I’m not advocating affairs or sexual misconduct by any means. I’m exclusively referring to the exercise and how people responded to what was essentially supposed to be innocent ‘fun’… or do we distrust ourselves so much that we must never have ‘fun’?