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5. When have I experienced good listening?

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

When have I experienced good listening?

One of the easiest human acts is also the most healing. Listening to someone. Simply listening. Not advising or coaching, but silently and fully listening.

Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell someone our story, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances. I have seen the great healing power of good listening so often that I wonder if you’ve noticed it also. There may have been a time when a friend was telling you such a painful story that you became speechless. You couldn’t think of anything to say, so you just sat there, listening closely, but not saying a word. And what was the result of your heartfelt silence, of your listening?

A young, black South African woman taught some of my friends the healing power of listening. She was sitting in a circle of women from many nations, and each woman had the chance to tell a story from her life. When her turn came, she began to quietly tell a story of true horror—of how she had found her grandparents slaughtered in their village. Many of the women were Westerners, and in the presence of such pain they instinctively wanted to do something. They wanted to fix, to make it better, anything to remove the pain of this tragedy from such a young life. The young woman felt their compassion, but also felt them closing in. She put her hands up, as if to push back their desire to help. She said: “I don’t need you to fix me. I just need you to listen to me.”

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Medium 9781574412444

6. Baby's Birthdays

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe University of North Texas Press PDF

We discovered wild apple trees along the route. When the fruit began to fall, we tucked a brown paper bag in the back of the trailer so we could stop and pick the best ones. Back at the flat, I made a tangy applesauce with cinnamon. Sam wouldn’t touch it, but Michael enjoyed it.

The trail was paved close to town. But further out, past

Penfield, it was covered with fine gravel. On wet days we turned around at the gravel. If we didn’t, the mud sprayed up and off the back tire and stuck to the back of my jacket, or up the front of the trailer. The boys thought the mud spray was hysterically funny.

One dry day we made it all the way to Fairfield where there was a store like Fowler’s, with toys packed from floor to ceiling. Another day, Mark drove too slowly down a curb by the

Jewish Community Center and the tandem twisted perilously sideways. I felt the bike tipping, and I planted my left foot down to try to stop it from falling. Suddenly, and quite forcefully, the handlebars pulled out of my grip.

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4. What am I willing to notice in my world?

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

What am I willing to notice in my world?

During the winter of 2001, I was in England shortly after a devastating earthquake in India. Daily, the BBC carried photos and descriptions of unbearable suffering, along with interviews with Indians in London whose families lived in areas most affected by the quake. It was a sobering experience, day after day, to listen to the stories and look at the images of horror. During this time, I had dinner with a spiritual leader whose compassion had already led him to India many times to establish orphanages and schools there. These orphanages were unlike traditional orphanages—they were clusters of homes where children lived into adulthood as a community. I was impressed by how much caring had gone into these facilities, and the depth of his love for the people of India.

However, when I began talking about the earthquake, I was surprised when he replied: “I can’t deal with it or even think about it. It’s just one more overwhelming devastation visited upon a third-world country.” I wasn’t shocked by the sentiment, but by the words coming from him. How could he work so actively for India, and then close down in the face of this suffering?

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Medium 9781574411904

Chapter 23: Milan—Sensory Damage, Auto Accident

Naomi Scott University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Twenty-Three

Milan—Sensory Damage, Auto Accident

Milan McCorquodale is a very determined young man. He wanted a basketball scholarship. No matter that he wasn’t exceptionally tall—he had talent. He worked hard, practicing day and night, and he earned the coveted scholarship. Graduating from high school, he looked forward to playing four years of collegiate basketball at an Alabama university. It was not to be. A car crash sent him to the hospital with traumatic brain injury. “. . . kind of like a stroke on both sides of the brain,” his mother,

Christa McCorquodale, described the damage.

Milan spent close to four months in a coma. One morning his nurse walked into his hospital room and said, “Good morning, Milan.” Her patient answered, “Good morning.”

“The nurse just about fainted,” McCorquodale said. “Milan didn’t speak again for a while. But those two words showed us that he was still with us.”

After Milan came out of the coma, and was able to leave the hospital, he began physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which he continues as of this writing. However, there was no NARHA center within driving distance where he could start a program of equine therapy.1

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20 Finding Outward Peace

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Connecticut?” Lou asked in interest, as it was his home. “And tear gas?”

“Yes,” Yusuf answered. He looked contemplatively at the group for a moment. “Avi shared his story of coming to the States. Perhaps it is time I shared mine as well.

“As you’ll recall from yesterday, I ended up in Bethlehem when Jordan annexed the West Bank. I began my hustling of Westerners and, as it turns out, my lessons in English when I was about eight. That would have been around 1951. Unlike Avi, I didn’t have any friends from across the ethnic divide, which probably wouldn’t surprise you given my antipathy toward Mordechai Lavon. In fact, I spent most of my teenage years dreaming of revenge for the murder of my father. This desire had fertile ground in which to grow, as a kind of nationalistic fever started to burn among the Palestinian people beginning in the fifties and continuing into the sixties.

“In 1957, at the age of fourteen, I joined a youth movement known as the Young Lions for Freedom. This group was an informal offshoot of student unions of Palestinians that began emerging in the region’s universities in the 1950s. The younger brothers of these students, longing to attach themselves to the causes of their elders, hatched mirror organizations among their neighborhood clans. Ours was such an organization, patterned after the foremost of the student unions, which was located at Cairo University and headed by an engineering student named Yasir Arafat.”

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The courage of conversation

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

the courage of conversation

It’s not easy to begin talking to one another again. We stay silent and apart for many reasons. Some of us never have been invited to share our ideas and opinions. From early school days and now as adults, we’ve been instructed to be quiet so others can tell us what to think.

Others of us are accustomed to meetings to discuss ideas, but then these sessions degenerate into people shouting, or stomping out angrily, or taking over control of the agenda. These experiences have left us feeling hesitant to speak, and frightened of each other.

But good conversation is very different from those bad meetings.

It is a much older and more reliable way for humans to think together.

Before there were meetings, planning processes, or any other techniques, there was conversation—people sitting around interested in each other, talking together. When we think about beginning a conversation, we can take courage from the fact that this is a process we all know how to do. We are reawakening an ancient practice, a way of being together that all humans remember. A colleague in

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Medium 9781771870788


Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
“Father Kennedy’s Jubilee” by Donald Ward is about a childless and essentially abstinent married couple returning to Saskatoon after having visited a small town to attend a mass for the wife’s uncle’s fiftieth anniversary as a priest. When a strange man passes them in his car and appears to be about to throw his cat out the window, a miracle occurs, injecting new life into their marriage.

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4 Beneath Behavior

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Just then, one of the young employees of the company walked in the room and whispered something to Yusuf. Excusing himself, Yusuf quickly followed the worker out of the room.

After he left, Pettis said to Avi, “I’m not sure what Yusuf meant by a heart being at peace. I’d like to hear more about that.”

“Sure,” Avi said. “To begin with, let’s compare Saladin’s recapture of Jerusalem to the earlier capture by the Crusaders.” He looked at Pettis. “Do you notice any differences in the two victories?”

“Certainly,” Pettis responded. “The Crusaders acted like barbarians.”

“And Saladin?”

“He was almost humane. For someone who was attacking, anyway,” he added.

“Say more about what you mean by humane,” Avi invited.

Pettis paused to gather his thoughts. “What I mean,” he finally said, “is that Saladin seems to have had regard for the people he was defeating. Whereas the crusading forces seem—well, they seem to have been barbaric, as I said before. They just massacred all those people as though they didn’t matter at all.”

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Medium 9781574415247

Chapter 4. Running

Kathryn U. Hulings University of North Texas Press PDF


Before it happened, the day was bucolic. I stood on the dewy

September lawn in back of the synagogue drinking cream soda and eating a bagel shmeared with cream cheese. Michael, who was three years old, was sandwiched between Jim and me. Jim was in a neck brace, still recovering from an accident. A month earlier, he, Nathan, Sean, and

Joedy had been in a roll-over on I-25, while driving home from a day at

Water World; at the time, I was at home with Michael and Edie. After the accident, the kids were black-and-blue from seat-belt bruises, and

Jim was left with a compression fracture of his fourth vertebrae. They were still achy and sore, but on that September day, they were happy to be alive, in the sun, on the grass, at the Temple.

Between noshes on my bagel, Jim, Michael, and I waved goodbye to my four oldest children as they trotted off to their indoor classrooms for the first day of Hebrew school, to learn their alef-bet, how to daven

(pray), and the meaning of tzedakah (charity), so that dropping their allowance quarters in a charity box every Shabbat and each Sunday would make sense. The Rabbi stood in the middle of a swaying circle of parents and sang a lilting prayer, blessing the arrival of such a lovely morning and celebrating the future of the Jewish people, our children.

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Medium 9781576751794


Stewart Levine Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is no single correct way of approaching complex systems and their
interactions in the world, though the art of listening is a most desirable skill.
. . . Multiple realities inform each other, fertilize, stimulate,
and stir the cauldron of creativity.

—David La Chapelle, Navigating the Tides of Change

One of the most significant ingredients for effective and efficient organizational productivity is the ability of departments to collaborate effectively. Although it should be obvious to all concerned, people often “forget” that everyone is engaged in the same mission. Unfortunately, the norm is for turf battles and department-centric behavior to develop. More times than I care to recall I have facilitated dialogue among sales, manufacturing, and implementation. The problem is almost always a lack of communication coupled with a perception of “us/them” in the other department. Here is a representative example of one of the “fixes” I facilitated for a major telecommunications organization. It is critical to keep reminding everyone that they are all inside the same circle.

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9 The Beginning of an Idea

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Lou picked at the Mexican food Carol had brought him while the group assembled back into the room. The mood was much lighter among them than it had been at the beginning, when they were sizing each other up. And the tension that had filled the interchange during much of the morning session seemed to have faded away. Gwyn, in fact, was deep in conversation with Miguel and seemed to be enjoying it. Elizabeth and Carol were in the back of the room browsing a Camp Moriah leaflet together.

Just then, Pettis walked up to Lou from behind.

“So, Lou,” he said, as if they were just picking up on a conversation that had been recently interrupted, “four years in ‘Nam.”

Lou nodded.

“Hat’s off to you, my friend. I was there, but it’s different flying above the jungle than it was down below. I know that.”

Lou nodded appreciatively. In peacetime, pilots always think themselves superior to the so-called grunts on the ground. And the infantrymen carry around an inferiority complex about it as well, although they’d never admit it. In wartime, however, the psychology changes. The high-flying pilots quickly develop a deep admiration for their partners on the ground. And soldiers on the ground, although grateful for their cover when they hear the roar of supportive aircraft overhead, would tell you, if pressed, that those well-heeled flyboys never get their uniforms dirty enough or their vital parts close enough to the crosshairs of the enemy to know real bravery—or fear for that matter. In Vietnam and elsewhere, the grunts receive the lion’s share of the admiration and respect of fellow soldiers.

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Medium 9781576752456

CHAPTER 4: Forced Overtime in the Land of the Free

John de Graaf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Not long ago, I gave a speech about Take Back Your Time Day at Southern Utah University. The large student audience was quiet, but very sympathetic, as shown by written comments that were sent to me. However, one professor of economics challenged my support of European laws ensuring vacations and reasonable working hours. It was, he said, a matter of “free choice.” American workers, by agreeing to contracts with their employers, freely choose the hours they work. Why did I want to force them to choose fewer hours? The “free choice” mantra is often raised when one talks about working hours, but as Lonnie Golden (who has carefully researched the issue for the Economic Policy Institute) makes clear, for more and more Americans, long overtime hours are hardly freely chosen. —JdG

On December 12, 1999, grim news came from the state of Maine. Following a winter storm, Brent Churchill, a telephone lineman working almost continuously (with only five hours of sleep in the previous two-and-a-half days), reached for a 7,200 volt cable and was electrocuted. In response, Maine became the first state to limit the number of involuntary overtime hours employers could require from an employee, capping them at 80 hours within any two-week period.

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Medium 9781574413335


Kalena Cook, Margaret Christensen University of North Texas Press ePub

Go Confidently with
Expert Encouragement

Ina May Gaskin, C.P.M.

Founder and Director of The Farm Midwifery Center, Author and Founding Member of Midwives Alliance of North America

Spiritual Midwifery, by midwife Ina May Gaskin, inspired the collecting of natural birth stories from women of today for this book.

The Farm’s Midwifery Center delivered 1723 births over a nineteen-year period with an outstanding safety record: zero maternal mortality and only ten neonatal mortalities, three of which being lethal abnormalities. The majority were home births with 4.2 percent in a hospital. Only 1.4 percent of the births were C-sections.

So far, Ina May Gaskin is the only midwife that a birth maneuver has been named after. The Gaskin Maneuver is a position of the mom on all fours—hands and knees—for assisting shoulder dystocia. If a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck during delivery, moving the mom into this positioning allows gravity to open the way for the gentle birth.

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Medium 9780870818462


Kevin Holdsworth University Press of Colorado ePub

The ambulance that carried Whitey to the hospital

was operated by the same firm that ran

our town’s funeral home and crematory,

a coincidence that might have made him nervous,

but Whitey was already too-far-gone, rolling on

to hog heaven now, above the black and orange clouds,

his skull too full for impact, set to burst;

he downshifted into sky Sturgis for the final time.

The deer he’d missed browsed placidly

on the scrub-brush slopes beneath White Mountain,

the one he’d tagged lay smeared in bits and pieces,

dragged off the road by Officer Staples, lights flashing.

Lord, that busted up Sportster, Staples noted,

was as sad a sight as a bloated range bull,

or a dead moose, or a road-killed owl or eagle,

all strewn against the trapeze fence.

He walked the red sea roadside

but found no skid marks on the pavement

and nothing left to salvage.

We all knew Whitey liked to ride too fast—

he boasted road-rash tattoos, close calls aplenty,

but when he broadsided that hapless bambi,

his velocity must have carried him straight through it,

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Medium 9781576754801


Roberto Vargas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Whether you are eighteen or eighty years old, the parent or child in your family, or even if your closest family is made up of your best friends, you can be a force that nurtures group connection and inspires others to be their best. You can create positive changes for your family and friends, and even develop your own activist communities. To do this, your desire and commitment are essential, and knowledge of the Familia Approach will help get you there.

The Familia Approach is a way of living so as to teach love and activate the positive power of our families and communities. It includes various principles, tools, and commitments to strengthen our ability to create the change we desire, and to optimize the healing potential of our family and friends.

I call it the Familia Approach because it was developed out of my experience of being familia. Coming from a Chicano and healer tradition, my family life taught me the core lessons of how to be a social healer and a family activist. Family activism is about healing our society by being more familia, by caring for and being responsible for family and community. It is making our communities safe and healthy by being family with all our relations, including our loved ones, neighbors, the people down the street, the people at church, school, soccer, or work, and even the child care providers, bus drivers, and housekeepers. Being familia with others is treating them with respect and communicating with them to lift their self-esteem or promote their desire to do good for others. In so doing, we 44 prepare our relations to be more caring and possibly to act in more socially responsible ways as well. So the Familia Approach is for all people who want to increase health and healing within their family, community, and society.

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