If you’re like me, your social media feeds were full of people sharing actor and activist Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech at the BET Awards, and with good reason. His speech is a searing indictment of racism and police brutality and has some blunt words for critics of the Black Lives Matter movement. If you haven’t […]
Originally posted on carsonrenomysteryseries.com: Thanks for your support
Originally posted on BRIDGET WHELAN writer: The very first creative writing workshops were pioneered at the University of Iowa in the 1930s and they still have a mighty reputation today. They are now offering a free open online course to explore Walt Whitman’s writings on the American Civil War, looking at how writing and image…
is the American-born widow and former student of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche who was ordained as a lama as well.
I have been with her many times for teachings with her as Rinpoche’s translator and with her as the teacher. For those who don’t know, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche passed in 2002, but he was my first empowering lama and my root lama’s, Padma Drimed Norbu (Lama Drimed)’s root teacher.
I first learned P’howa (the practice that includes transferring consciousness intentionally at and after the body dies or helping others do that, including those who are brain dead, already dead, or dying/dead animals) from Chagdud Khadro at a three-day event I organized for Chagdud Lhundrup Ling (A dharma center I helped start) in Maine in 1997: she was fabulous. I had the good fortune to attend several other teachings she gave or translated for Rinpoche or rituals she attended as a lama in New York, New Mexico and northern California between 1997 – 2007. I keenly appreciated her humor, knowledge, insight and compassion.
If you live near or can get to any of these events, these teachings and rituals are rare and precious. They are in the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition but made accessible to Westerners who speak English. Well worth your time if you’re already a practicing #Buddhist, a meditator or interested in #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Buddhism.
Spread the word! Donations requested; no one turned away for lack of funds.
Chagdud Khadro’s 2016 Summer Teaching Tour
July 9 – 10
More Information: http://goodnesssake.org/special_events/special_events.shtml#phowa
Looking into the Mirror of Death to Find Purpose in Life and Peace in Dying
La Jolla, CA
robertrosson2000 @ yahoo DOT com
Rigdzin Dupa Drubchod
in attendance at Ati Ling/PPI – Cazadero, CA
with Tulku Jigme Rinpoche (Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche’s son)
July 13 – 19
More Information : http://atiling.org/events/102-rigdzin-dupa-drubchod-2016
White Dakini Drubchen
in attendance at Tara Mandala – Pagosa Springs, CO
with Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche and Lama Tsultrim Allione
August 7 – 16
More Information: http://taramandala.org/program/white-dakini-drubchen-2/
Looking into the Mirror of Death to Find Purpose in Life and Peace in Dying
at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde – Cooperstown, NY
August 20 – 21
More Information: http://gomdecooperstown.org/august-20-21-chagdud-khadro/
Looking into the Mirror of Death to Find Purpose in Life and Peace in Dying
August 22, 7 – 9 PM
More Information: http://chagdudgonpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Syracuse-Flier-Khadro-2016.pdf
Looking into the Mirror of Death to Find Purpose in Life and Peace in Dying
Emotions as Obstacles; Emotions as Wisdom
Chapel Hill, NC
August 27 – 28(times vary: check flyer)
More Information: http://chagdudgonpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Khadro-NC-FINAL.jpg
cindy.palay@ gmail DOT com
Chagdud Gonpa Foundation
341 Red Hill Rd
Junction City, CA 96048 USA
530.623.2714 ext 126
Those of you who read my blog somewhat often know that I don’t usually share anything very personal from my past unless it’s positive. However, this year, due to timing and other factors, I am changing that with this post. If you’re not interested in hearing about my somewhat traumatic childhood or long-deceased father, skip this post! If you are, read on.
If you’d like to leave comments, you are welcomed to do so below this post, on my site: http://wp.me/p2bP0n-1HM [If you leave comments anywhere else that this post may appear (when it’s reblogged or cross-posted), I probably won’t see them very soon, if at all.]
The Mixed Bag of Lessons from My Father
My father died in 1991 at the age I am right now: almost 62. It seemed young even then, when I was only 37. Now, it’s appalling.
Here he is at about the age I was when he died:
Ira Fleischmann, age 30
Dad died of a massive heart attack while playing doubles indoor tennis. He “was dead before he hit the ground,” according to the three doctors he was playing with at the time. They know this because he fell face forward and hit his forehead but never put out his hands to catch himself in the fall.
Because he had always been a coward about his health and avoided doctors, he died from what was actually a treatable condition (blocked arteries). We found out later that he had been having chest pains for months prior to that and hadn’t done anything about them.
My three siblings (ages 26 – 38 at that time), my dad’s third wife (age 48) and elderly parents (90 and 91), his sister (57) and others in our family and his friends were shocked at his early demise. Understandably, some of us who knew that he had avoided the doctor’s exam and that his death was likely postponable were also angry.
At least 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke each year are preventable.
FACT: 6 in 10
More than half of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths happen to people under age 65.
We became even more frustrated with him when we found out what a mess he had left his financial affairs in and how much his third wife would have to do to clean it all up. Ironically, even though he had sold life and other insurance policies for most of his life, he had cashed in his latest life policy to get quick cash (he was always short on cash) and died without any insurance. He had not only had made no provisions for his demise, but left no Will, either.
We spend the first few days after his death in a haze of mourning but needing to make many decisions. We ended up arguing about basic stuff:
—should there be an autopsy?
—should he be buried (my observant Orthodox Jewish brother insisted on this) or cremated (the rest of us, including his wife, knew that this was what he had talked about wanting)?
—what to do with the chaos of his home office, files, obligations, etc.?
We worked most of it out, but found out some disturbing facts along the way.
We found hundreds of business cards with some other man’s name, which turned out to be our dad’s alias (a mash-up of his two deceased uncles’ first names). The false name of this business and a local address were on letterhead and there were a few other “clues.” We opened file drawers and a desk drawers and compared notes: our dad had had a secret, alter ego, including another “business” of some type, complete with a fake office nearby.
My sisters and I, in a whirlwind of semi-hysterical giddiness and grief, put on our trench coats (literally) and slunk around to peer into this office’s windows: practically empty. No one was there or appeared to have been recently, but his fake name was on the door. The desk and chair looked unused. Nothing else was in this small room: mail drop only. For what? We knew we’d never find out. This was 1991, before Al Gore gave us the full internet, before Google, etc., and we had no money to pay to investigate in ordinary ways, so the trail ended there.
It took almost a year for his wife to make sense of the rest, pay off his numerous debts, settle some lawsuits (he was the defendant or the plaintiff in several). Even though she didn’t have to, she decided to disburse from what was left to us, his three children. It wasn’t much, but we were grateful.
We found out a few years later that our dad had purchased some oil wells in Illinois in the 1970s (yes, there are some!), when we siblings each received a notice about being his beneficiaries: where did we want to have the checks sent? Yippee!? Again, not much, but something.
So much for his financial legacies.
What else did I get from my dad? It was definitely a mixed bag, just like his financial detritus.
Planning for Death
It is cruel and selfish to one’s descendents and mourners to leave one’s affairs unsettled. Since none of us knows when or how we will die and we all know that death and/or incapacitation can happen quite suddenly and unexpectedly, there is no excuse for leaving these things undone when one has children, spouses, property and/or businesses.
The deceased one’s lack of preparedness causes what is already difficult (grieving a sudden or unplanned-for death) to become complicated, making the grieving a longer and more arduous experience for all mourners. Unwinnable arguments, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and vying for power, money, possessions, property and decision-making victories can take up the time we should be spending in simple grief and storytelling amongst us.
image from http://news.mdl.com.au
Dying Intestate (without a Will)= BAD
Lessons: Prepare for your death NOW
Because of the mess my dad’s disorganized death left, my son’s father and I responded. We both immediately signed up for a small life insurance policy and wrote our Wills when we got back home (our son was 10 at that time). I made sure I signed up to be an organ donor. We wrote our “Living Wills” so others would know our wishes should one of us become incapacitated and we each assigned a healthcare “Power of Attorney.” I have continually updated these documents and my list of whom to contact and what to do in the event of my death and for the disposal of my remains, any service to be held, etc.
Our dad taught me and my brother (13 months older than I, so we did most early learning together) to swim when we were three and four, something I always loved from then on. I trained to and became a lifeguard and swimming instructor as an older teen and ran several waterfronts at summer camps as an adult, training lifeguards and teaching swimming myself. I was fortunate to have had intermediate and advanced swimming lessons every summer while a camper and I appreciated passing those skills on to other campers as I got older.
I developed a love of all places watery and being in the water from my dad. I had many years of jobs at summer camps because our parents sent us to them every summer—starting with the same camp, Camp Hawthorn, which I’ve written about on this blog—that he had attended as a child!
LESSONS: Water Love
I still swim many times per week, right here in St. Louis where I grew up, at the same Jewish Community Center where he taught us to swim (but a recently constructed pool replaced the old one). Because I’ve had many injuries to both legs and my back, swimming is my main exercise.
I have loved and swum in dozens of lakes, several oceans and probably a hundred pools around the world.
I am lovin’ my sister, Ellen’s, backyard pool in California, 2013
Abuse and Strength
Our father was often an angry, impatient, intolerant, mean and frustrated person. He had been raised with physical and verbal punishment and passed those horrible habits onto my brother and me (mostly just us two oldest kids, because our younger sisters are very much younger). Our father beat up on us regularly, usually for no legitimate reason (most abusers operate that way), e.g., the TV was “too loud,” we weren’t moving quickly enough, we said something he didn’t like, we were tussling with each other too much, etc.
Our dad also yelled at us and our mother a lot and called us all terrible names. He was both physically and emotionally abusive for all my childhood years. When we got older, he focused on hitting my brother but pulling my very long hair. When he got violent and was looking for a target—any target—, I would tell my little sisters to lock themselves in our bathroom. I’d stand between him and that door, letting him pull my hair and slap me to distract him from going after them.
As soon as I got my driver’s license, I’d take them with me rather than leave them at home with him and my mom, who was very ill a lot of my high school years and not much help. They tagged along to visit my friends as we went to movies or listened to music. I took them to play rehearsals and other activities to avoid having them be at home with no one to protect or supervise them.
Luckily, Dad started having tennis matches (and affairs, we found out later), and was mostly out of the house a lot by the time we were in high school. After one extremely violent episode on the eve of my brother’s leaving for college, my mom finally threw him out. It was the beginning of my senior year.
My ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score is very high, mostly due to my father. A high ACE score has been connected to causes of a myriad of other physical and mental health problems well into adult life, some of which I do have.
ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) impact from http://www.npr.org
LESSONS: Lemons into lemonade
I developed tremendous courage, intolerance for abuse, the ability to stand up to anyone, any time. After growing up with and surviving an abusive parent, I would never be intimidated by anyone else.
I vowed never to be like him in those areas. I went out of my way to practice meditation, get counseling and incorporate anger management techniques. I also learned to use many “positive discipline” methods while raising my own son and being a teacher of young people. As a master teacher, I supervised and trained dozens of others and helped them learn the positive discipline techniques I had honed.
I am proud to say that I have never hit my child (who is now 36) or any other child. Furthermore, I intervened whenever I witnessed physical abuse or when I saw that hitting was imminent in public or private places. I do not call children or teens derisive names, nor do I put up with anyone else’s doing it.
I was on the board for a local child abuse prevention task force. I learned and then taught creative conflict resolution techniques and mediation. I also taught parenting classes, mentoring many teen, bio, adoptive, foster and step-parents to help them become more positive and to curtail / end any incipient habits of abuse.
I became an advocate for those being abused. For example, I intervened once when I witnessed several police assaulting a teen and then testified at his trial to get his (bogus) charges dropped. After they falsely arrested me to try to intimidate me out of making a formal complaint against them, I filed a lawsuit which I won. Those assaulting officers were reprimanded and fired. That police department then changed the ways they trained, supervised and managed officers in the field from then on.
My mom and both her siblings and her mom, my dad’s sister and many others in our family were amateur musicians of sorts, mostly piano players or singers. My dad had “flunked out of” his piano lessons, according to him, but he had a great, operatic tenor and loved to sing.
I grew to hate opera because of my associations of his abuse with his favorite music, but I began to play the piano and sing along with many songs and loved music from a very young age. Our dad took us to the symphony a few times (I usually feel asleep, though).
Because of my dad’s commitment to music education, my and my siblings’ love of music was educated (but I still do not like opera, hip-hop, twangy country, bluegrass, free jazz or rap). He paid for my and my sisters’ piano and my brother’s drum lessons and arranged for us to have his own piano teacher to teach me and my sisters for our first years.
Mrs. Rosenblum was ancient, to my young eyes (probably in her 60s!), and a harsh task mistress, but classically trained and very skilled. I became a gifted sight reader due to her tutelage. I won piano competitions and played complicated pieces in her annual recitals, from ages 9 – 16. From ages 16 – 18, I learned theory and improvisation from a different teacher, the talented Herb Drury, who also had his own quartet (my dad also paid for that).
Because of my accomplishments and talent, I was selected to be the accompanist for rehearsals and the annual school musicals in 11th and 12th grades (a great honor). I also sang and accompanied in several of the school choirs as a teen and in/for many community and women’s choruses as an adult.
After I graduated college, I used the small amount of money left to me by my great-grandmother to buy my first piano, one I kept and moved over a dozen times to five different states. I took piano lessons for one year during my first year as a teacher, since I lived alone and had time to practice.
I enjoyed being a paid or volunteer accompanist, musical director, piano teacher and chorus member for most of my adult life. I also have written more than a few songs, am mid-stream in writing a musical (still festering my my files…), performed in and musically directed/accompanied several musicals and cabaret shows and continue to enjoy teaching (rarely) and playing piano.
LESSONS: Music rocks!
Music is a connector: more than a few of my lovers were musicians and/or singers and so is my son, who also composes. His father also plays several instruments and so do many of my friends and all three of my siblings. Music is a language: when I have trouble expressing or finding meaning in some extreme or complicated emotional states, music helps me understand my own and others’ experiences.
Playing piano, especially sight reading, uses both “sides” of my brain. Putting my fingers on a keyboard my son sent me and making music have helped me in my recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (from about two years ago).
When my sisters and I get together, we often sing. My son and I have had a lot of fun with “kitchen opera” (the only kind of opera I like), improvising lyrics and melodies as we cook or clean together.
My dad’s later years and my early adult life
Having worked for decades with youth and families, parents and professionals who work with youth in a variety of capacities, both educational and therapeutic, I know that my negative experiences are not even close to “the worst.” I have heard so many horror stories that it puts the difficulties of my life into a proportional perspective. Some of my childhood memories are actually quite positive.
I, our dad and my brother, 1955, Clayton, MO
At this point, I do not deny the problems my father and his problems caused us, but I have grown to appreciate and be grateful for the good things he did provide. I am resilient and stronger due to a lot of help from other adults and friends. I have developed enormous empathy and compassion for others’ pain. I understand many of the conflicts that arise between parents and children of all ages.
For most of my college and early adult years, my dad and I were estranged to a large extent. I didn’t see him very often and we almost never talked on the phone. My sisters were little when he moved out (6 and 11), so they had the whole divorced parents-visitation-dad’s girlfriends things to contend with that my brother and I never had to do since we were already in college when our parents’ divorce came through.
Occasionally, Dad would send me a check for some odd amount (he liked to round off his checkbook running total to all zeros) with no note. Sometimes I’d rip that up, even though I needed the money. I was angry and hurt, unwilling to connect solely over money.
He remarried twice. The first time was when my brother was in medical school and I had just graduated college. He skipped my graduation, but he invited me and my brother to join him and his new wife, with our current dates, at a resort in New England (where my brother and I were both in college) later that summer. I didn’t want to go, but my brother said we had to. That experience was very weird. We played a lot of tennis and ate too much food; that’s about all I remember. The wife was unremarkable.
On the few occasions I did go to St. Louis during their brief marriage, I remember Dad’s being almost the same as when I had lived with him: he was frequently yelling at this woman’s three kids, calling them names, being horrible. I was disgusted.
At one tense dinner, the oldest (a girl) had left the table in tears due to his name-calling. I followed her into the hallway and stood next to her as she cried. When she was a bit calmer, I told her (from the vantage point of my ripe old age of 22 to her 11) that he was a horrible man and that he had been horrible to me and my brother, too. I then said that I’d stand up for her and that she should call me if he ever hit her or her brothers.
I don’t know what I would have done about his abuse of her and her brothers at that time (I didn’t know about child abuse hotlines, if there even were any in Missouri in 1977), but I do know that I would have appreciated it if ANYONE in my family or among my parents’ friends had ever offered any of us an acknowledgement of his abusiveness, any emotional affirmation of the trauma we were suffering, any kind of lifeline like that; no one ever had.
Luckily for those kids, my dad and their mom divorced soon after that visit.
My brother and his wife had their first child in 1979, a year before we had Merlyn, and then they had another one about a year and half later and two more in the next seven years. Our middle sister had her first child in late 1989. Both my sister-in-law and I took had privately taken Dad aside early on and told him, in no uncertain terms, that if he ever yelled at or laid a hand in anger on any of our children, he’d never see them again. He must have believed us, because he never lost his temper with any of the grandchildren.
Throughout the 1980s, my dad loved his 6 grandkids and enjoyed spending time with them. He happened to be visiting when my son was just learning to walk: Merlyn ran/fell into my dad’s arms as he took his first independent steps in August, 1981. Precious.
For his third marriage in 1986, he married a woman with three daughters around my sisters’ ages who was the same age as Merlyn’s dad. That was creepy, but we liked her all right. We later found out that this wife was an active alcoholic who almost immediately went into recovery soon after they got married.
Because of his wife’s personal recovery work, in the last few years of our dad’s life he had begun his own therapeutic journey. He went to some Al-Anon meetings, read some books relevant, talked with her and others.
During her senior year, my youngest sister, Lauri, went to live with them “to get to know our dad better.” Our mom had also remarried a few years prior to that and she didn’t much like her husband or being the only child at home (my middle sister was finished with college and living in California by then), so those were her other motivating factors. She reported during and after that year (1984) that Dad was starting to develop some insights into his own issues and kept his temper better around these teens (only two, Lauri and her youngest, were living at home): no hitting and very little yelling.
I participated in peer counseling (Re-evaluation Counseling, known as “RC,” and then Co-Counseling) from 1979 – 1986 and then had about ten years of regular therapy, starting in 1986. I also kept meditating, attended many other rituals and personal growth workshops and generally began to understand, heal and assimilate the consequences of my childhood’s traumas.
Due to both of our being involved in personal growth work and the mellowing effect of his having grandchildren, my dad and I were finally—very tentatively—having a more connected, positive relationship. This was helped by my living in New Hampshire and his still being in Missouri (distance and very few visits were key).
Ira Fleischmann, age 59, at my sister, Lauri’s, wedding, 1988
In the summer of 1990, we were visiting Dad and his wife (as well as my mom and her husband and other family) in St. Louis. My brother and his family still lived there (he had been doing his medical residency at a local hospital). At my dad’s condo’s complex was an outdoor pool. Merlyn and his cousins were frolicking with my brother and Merlyn’s dad in the pool while my dad and I relaxed in the shade on chaise lounges, drying off after our swim.
Suddenly, my dad looked up from the book he was reading on co-dependency and family problems to say, in a surprised and completely unironic tone: “Oh my God! I grew up in a dysfunctional family! Do you have any idea what that’s like?”
I was so shocked at his lack of awareness, I almost lost my breath. But, I could see that he was authentically having this insight for the first time. I didn’t want to discourage him.
Using my most neutral tone, I responded mildly: “I think I have some idea, Dad.”
He nodded and went back to his book. That was one of our last conversations.
In January, 1991, both of his parents, then in their early 90’s, were celebrating their birthdays. The entire extended family gathered in St. Louis to honor them. Unexpectedly, our dad died about 7 weeks after that reunion, so we were very glad that we had had that time all together.
At the last family reunion, January, 1991. Counter-clockwise, from bottom left: our youngest sister, Lauri Stern; Ira Fleischmann with his youngest granddaughter, Ellen’s oldest, Sarah Miranda Kneeland; Dad’s sister, our Aunt Nancy Levin; her middle child, cousin Hillary Levin.
Important info and instructions for preserving #authors’ rights to post #reviews on #Amazon and not be blocked. Thanks, Phoenix Rainez (and Sally Cronin) for posting/re-posting!
Click on the links in this post for more important information.
IMPORTANT: IF YOU REVIEW BOOKS ON AMAZON
Amazon appears to use your social media connections to detect “relationships” with other reviewers or sellers that might indicate manipulation of reviews. Unfortunately, this system is imperfect, and often flags innocent accounts and prevents them from writing any reviews for particular sellers/products. When this happens, you will get a message that you are blocked from writing a review because you have a relationship with a seller.
Go, RIGHT NOW, and double-check your Amazon account to make sure they’re not linked.
1. Go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/socialmedia/settings.
If either Facebook or Twitter is connected, click “Disconnect from Amazon”.
2. Now check periodically to make sure they stay disconnected! These accounts have a funny way of relinking themselves (for example, Amazon reveals that they can be linked “when you participate in certain promotions”) without you realizing…
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Originally posted on Silver Threading ~ Fairy Whisperer ~ : Do you write YA fiction or children’s stories? Read this!❤ Source: 11 Magazines that Pay for Short Stories for Teens and/or Children
How to Estimate Agenda Times for a Meeting/Workshop in the USA
Time Management for the Eternally Optimistic and Always Late Facilitators/Leaders
I have worked in nonprofits, educational and other venues for which meetings (workshops, Board meetings, conference convocations, etc.) are a necessity. I cannot count how many times I have sat through a session run by someone else who could not figure out how to manage the time for the stated agenda, nor how to create an agenda that could actually be completed in the time allotted.
Frustrating, insulting and disrespectful to those in attendance, and otherwise a TIME WASTER.
image and meme info from http://www.inspiredemployee.com “Running Effective Meetings”
My friend and colleague, Mario Cossa, and I have coined the term “pre-crastinators” endearingly to refer to ourselves. Pre-crastinators are prepared early so that we are able to and do send out agendae AS PROMISED, distribute minutes or preparatory materials in advance and do not make other wait.
Leaders are training people with every move
—I never start late, even if I and only a few others are on time, because if I did, then I would be dishonoring those who made the effort to be punctual and training participants/members to believe that being on time won’t matter in the future.
—Similarly, I always end on time, unless I have asked the group for permission to extend our time and been granted that.
When an item requires more time
I must notice this so that we can take a break from the agenda to discuss this dilemma PRIOR to the ending time and list what our options are. The members can then let me know if adding a specific number of minutes to complete a specific item/task is acceptable or if we have to postpone that item’s completion.
If we run late, then, it is as a group and not based solely on my decision or due to poor planning. These approaches to time management show respect and organizational control. Therefore, I make sure that I/we can conclude the event and its agenda by the end of our agreed-upon time limit, with designated items labeled in advance that must be discussed at more than one meeting.
image from http://http://www.slideshare.net/gretchenrubin/gr-14-tips-for-running-a-good-meeting-2/2-1_Very_obvious_Start_on “Start and End on Time”
Therefore, I offer my pearls of wisdom from decades of managing time extraordinarily well. Take notes.
Let’s use an hour-long session as the prototype for this list of tips.
Opening, Closing and Pacing a Session
- Allow three minutes extra for “entry” and “ending” than whatever you have planned. TOTAL TIME: 6 minutes
- Allow one minute between agenda items/activities for transitions. TOTAL TIME: 6 minutes
- Include announcements, brief introductions, setting meeting format/ground rules (if needed), selecting timekeepers/co-facilitators (if desired), site’s logistics (for longer sessions, the locations of bathrooms, break times, fire exits) thank-you’s and other necessities up front or at the end: allow about two minutes for each. TOTAL TIME: 4 minutes
image from http://vismap.blogspot.com “Opening the Meeting”
- Allow a “next steps” agenda item preceding the conclusion of any session for at least five minutes to have participants be assigned/volunteer for tasks, set time expectations/deadlines, and confirm/set the next meeting date/place/leadership. TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
- Remind people of the last session(s) or read and accept the minutes to get everyone back into this group’s objectives from wherever they each just came to your session from, especially if more than two weeks have elapsed between sessions. Allow 5 minutes for this re-cap. TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
- Make sure everyone has a chance to speak during an hour-long session by inviting individuals by name to contribute at least once. During the wrap-up, ask if anyone has anything else to say before ending. Allow 4 minutes for this. TOTAL TIME: 4 minutes
You actually have only 30 minutes for your “hour-long” session’s actual agenda. Truly. And, that is only if you start and end on time. Schedule more sessions if you need more time.
What about introductions?
—NEVER use your precious session’s time for longer introductions of members’ UNLESS that is the sole purpose of your session.
—When your group has more than five people and you have only scheduled one meeting, you can’t use more than about 15-30 seconds to “meet” each other by way of self-introduction for each person.
—Be clear about that up front and then model the proper format for the group by going first.
Generating and Upholding Realistic Time Expectations
- For a 30-minute agenda, no item should be allocated more than 10 minutes unless it is the main focus of the entire session.
- Sub-divide any complex item’s components into 3- to 10-minute slots to keep people’s attention and keep you (the leader/time-keeper) on task.
- For a 30-minute agenda, a maximum of 3 items should actually require group discussion and/or voting/ consensus/ confirmation of learning. If you have more, you need a longer meeting time.
- Allow up to twelve minutes, total time, for each major agenda item, start to finish, including transitions between sub-items. If any requires more than 12 total minutes, postpone/table some of the decision/learning to the next meeting.
- Put the designated/expected times for each item right next to it.
image from http://northboundsales.com “Sample Agenda with Times Listed”
I do not let others hijack my meetings or workshops with unending stories, unfiltered confessions, boring and repetitious contributions (like your own voice much?) or other time-wasters.
I make sure everyone has a chance to speak who wants to contribute.
When I run the meeting or workshop, everyone can relax, listen and participate well.
I facilitate with humor, grace and firmness.
People LOVE my workshops and meetings because I use their time respectfully.
- If you have groups whose members consistently keep on “running off” verbally, rotate the timekeeping and agenda-maintenance roles (per meeting or per item) and don’t assume these all yourself.
- Bring a visible/audible timer and use it for each item. Set the timer to go off or have the timekeeper announce when there is one minute left for that item and again when that item’s time has elapsed.
- When more time is actually needed for an item than was anticipated (new issues or problems arose, a useful activity or discussion is occurring), discuss extending the time and get consensus about that with the group AND announce that you/we are deciding that some other item(s) will now have to wait until the next meeting OR we can agree to postpone finishing this one until our next meeting.
- Rephrase, reframe or thank each contributor with as few words as possible.
- When someone starts to be repetitive or repeat someone else’s contribution, interrupt them with something like this: “I appreciate your enthusiasm/interest/knowledge, but we don’t have time to go over the same ground here. Do you have anything new to add?”
- Remind people to add to/refer to rather than repeat others’ contributions by saying: “I agree/disagree with [THAT PERSON], AND/BUT…” and thank them for their conciseness in advance.
- Use your hands and face as traffic/time controllers: hold up one finger, a hand in a stop-gesture, use a calming/quelling gesture, a nod, a frown, a smile, a slight shake of your head with clear intention. Point to the agenda (which should be posted where all can see it as well as handed out on paper) and your phone or watch or the wall clock. Count down with your fingers and say: “Two more minutes on this item.”
image from http://vismap.blogspot.com “Ending the Meeting”
- Be firm and grateful, both.
- Briefly summarize what was accomplished, next session’s tasks, and meeting date/time/place before leaving.
image from http://www.opensesame.com/ “Signs of a Successful Session”
Dear parents of Brock Turner, and any “supportive” relatives, friends and associates:
You are making things worse and you are horribly wrong to “support” Brock. I hope you can educate yourself and learn to change your position. Treat the woman he brutalized as the victim rather than Brock Turner.
—This supposedly mentally competent young man (Brock was a scholarship student at a prestigious university) did not “make a mistake” when he brutally assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. His intentions were clear and his actions thought out in advance.
—He did not “accidentally” drag this inebriated young woman off behind said dumpster. He considered his options and chose this as the best place to hide what he was doing to her.
—He was not “confused” when he decided to stick objects and himself into her naked body’s orifices as she lay amidst dirt and pine needles.
—He was not “unclear” about her inability to give consent when he tried to run away because 2 good Samaritans attempted to and did chase and stop him.
When asked about his crimes (which are not in question because there are witnesses and medical records to demonstrate his guilt, which was proven and he was convicted), Brock has lied repeatedly and still has not apologized or shown appropriate (healthy) remorse. These are not good signs.
The legal terminology here is clear: Brock Turner, “with malice aforethought,” “willingly and knowingly” committed “multiple felonious assaults” on a helpless woman.
How can you depict Brock as any kind of victim?
His horribly venomous selfishness and inappropriate sense of entitlement (learned and encouraged, no doubt, from many of YOU) are part of a family and community pathology that shows itself in serious misogyny, part of what is termed “rape culture.”
—Do not defend him.
—Do not excuse him.
—Do not attempt to protect him from the consequences of his own actions.
—Do not pretend that this was a one-time event. Ask him. No one does an assault like this only once. He happened to get CAUGHT this time. I’m certain he has done this before, or worse.
“The research team discovered serial rapists are far more common than previous research suggested — a finding that could change how sexual assaults, including so-called acquaintance rapes, are investigated.” Data that are now considered typical; study from one county in the USA: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606122823.htm
—Your entire family and any “supportive” members of your community, religious and civic organizations need counseling to deal with how you have failed him and how your thinking and emotions are completely distorted about him and this tragic crime that he committed. If you/they have not been able to hear/read the entire text of the victim’s Impact Statement, do that. Read her letter repeatedly until you understand the enormous heinousness of his acts and your misguidedness.
—If you have sons, work with young boys or men, or are one, you should learn from this/teach several things:
1) Women are not anyone’s property to do whatever they want with, any time they want. It doesn’t matter how much or what she drinks, ingests, wears, says, looks like or acts like: she is not “yours.”
2) If a potential date or sexual partner can’t communicate coherently or at all, she can’t give consent for sex. Find her a safe friend to be with her and get her safely home.
3) Perpetrating physical acts that are sometimes considered “sex” on someone who has not given consent is NOT sex: these are acts of rape, assault and physical torture and are CRIMES. Do not even consider any other definitions.
4) It is your duty to make sure Brock and others who are legally required to register as sex offenders wherever they go, live and work DO register. Do not let him or others continue to ruin women’s lives.
You can be compassionate about Brock’s pathologies and future problems without condoning what he did or making him “feel better” about it. He should NEVER “feel better” about any of it.
Everyone else who is sane and compassionate
Each month we aim to provide a helpful round-up of writing competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers at all stages of their careers. For new writers, or for anyone seeking a refresher, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines. Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the…
As a mother of an amazing feminist son who was also a ring-bearer at age 4 (and he HATED it), I applaud this piece and your parenting ideas. I LOVE this piece. Sharing. Wishing everyone who had sons (and daughters) would read it and take parenting classes from you.
Best to you and your family,
My son was the ringbearer in my brother’s wedding this weekend. The flower girl was, I think, the daughter of one of the bride’s cousins. To say they hit it off was probably a bit of an understatement; they were pretty close to inseparable at the bridal shower a few weeks ago and not much changed at the rehearsal or the wedding. I’d post a picture of the two of them, but I’m not about to post a picture of somebody else’s kid without her permission and plus I plan on using the word rape a lot in this piece and I don’t really feel like having my son’s photo associated with that in Google.
Here’s the thing. Everybody at the wedding was doing that heteronormative thing that people do when two little kids click and oohing and aahing about oh look at his girlfriend and all that nonsense all…
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Okay, this is old news but I thought I’d bring it up again. Smart TV’s are smart because they are connected to the Internet. Problem number one: they are connected to the Internet. Problem number two: they are easily hacked. Smart TV hackers are filming people having sex on their sofas – and putting it […]
The winners of this year’s Lambda Literary Awards were announced last night in New York. Most of the categories won’t mean much to you, or me for that matter. However, there are always a few of interest. The science fiction, fantasy and horror category was won by The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan. I’ve not read…
As I approach my 62nd birthday (August 22), I reflect on the news stories I see/hear almost daily, now, that corroborate and validate most of my life’s choices, values and beliefs. Sharing, now, so you don’t all have to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I/we were right. Get with it.
Interactions matter. Treating all humans with respect and meeting humans needs (food, clothing, shelter, meaningful and well-paid work, safety) properly are right. Equality, egalitarianism, acceptance, compassion, kindness and respect are the right ways to greet, treat and live with all others, regardless of perceived or actual differences among us and changes in circumstances. Ending oppression, discrimination, bias, prejudice and all forms of subjugation must occur.
image from http://www.tomvmorris.com
Government and economics matter. Democracy (when it works) and socialism are right: we must listen to and take care of each other.
Conflict resolution matters. War is wrong, especially war that only makes profits for a few corporations and individuals and ruins land, kills/maims people and destroys economies for everyone else. All the “police actions”/wars the USA has engaged in since World War II (and some of our actions during World War I and World War II) were/are horribly wrong. Millions have been harmed or died for NOTHING except to enrich a few. We must learn to communicate better, de-escalate, use diplomacy, engage in dialogue, compromise and yield.
image from http://www.popularresistance.org
Health matters. Eating healthfully and organically is right: better for us, better for the farmers, better for the environment. Contact sports that cause head injuries must end: change the rules or close down those sports completely for children and teens and give adults information that allows them to make educated choices about participation. Sugary foods and drinks, salty and fatty snacks and other negative-impact foods should be made less available and/or taxed very highly so fewer people can eat/get them so readily.
Other beings matter. Treating animals with respect at all times if we are going to use, eat (which some would argue is wrong), imprison and otherwise subjugate them (less stress and pain during and before slaughter, while being raised and during captivity of all kinds) is right.
Consumers’ choices matter. Choosing to purchase items that are made by people who are paid well, treated well and free to come and go is right. Choosing to purchase items whose production (harvest/manufacture/acquisition) does not harm or destroy the planet, the economy, or the people involved is right.
image from http://arabedrossian.org
Parenting requires time, effort, knowledge, education and support to be done well. Childcare can be a positive aspect of young children’s lives as long as they also have good parenting.
Minds and bodies matter. Meditation, yoga, stress management, play, listening to each other better, being outdoors more and learning/listening to music/making art all help families, businesses, schools and individuals in every possible way. Beauty, nature and gratitude are important. Learn/include and do these. Drink a lot of clean water. Sleep more and in better conditions.
Reproductive freedom and rights are integral to a woman’s dignity and independence and are the business of no one else besides each woman and her chosen medical team.
Religions whose leaders or principles restrict the freedom or impinge upon the safety of or intend to demean anyone, inspire divisiveness or hatred, or foment disrespect for non-believers or some members of their own sects because of gender, age, sexual orientation or other characteristics are not to be tolerated any longer and must be ended.
image from http://www.patheos.com
Civil and personal rights
Facts are not subject to opinions. No one cares what anyone thinks about facts. Facts are not optional. People who misunderstand, misuse or misguide themselves or others regarding any facts (about the impacts of climate change, the dangers of fracking, etc.) are not to be given any credibility or listened to by anyone with even moderate intelligence.
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., facts quote
Play time matters. Violence begets violence: video games, TV shows and films, music lyrics that demonstrate/engage users in repeated and frequent incidents of violence (personal, sexual, group) desensitize the viewers/players and generate much more violence overall in the culture. Games/shows that degrade women/girls and depict members of particular ethnic or other groups as “the enemy” or the objects of degradation cause users/viewers to adopt these perspectives and behave badly towards these individuals in actual encounters. Children’s and teens’ time using these games or watching these shows must be curtailed. Bring back more outdoor play, longer and better equipment for recess play indoors and outside. Sports and games that encourage coaches/leaders to discriminate among, exclude or otherwise demean participants or activities in training or play that cause players harm must be changed or stopped.
Excellence matters. Skills, talents, education and intelligence are not all equally distributed or acquired. We are not all the same even though we are to be treated with equal respect. Not everyone wins. Everyone is not equally good at everything. Not everyone can earn an “A.” 49.9% of any group is below average, by definition. Get used to it.
Collaboration matters. Governments, organizations/groups of all types and businesses of all sizes operate more successfully when they utilize collaborative, inclusive engagement rather than hierarchical, exclusionary dominance do better economically, have higher morale, have lower attrition/crime rates and better attendance/participation.
image from http://www.cptwebs.com
I could have provided a lot of research URLs to back up each of these claims, but I don’t need to, any longer. They are all true. YOU do the research.
I LOVE this. Thanks for posting, Jessica Davidson. Best part: “Buddhism isn’t just meditation, it’s a whole moral and ethical worldview that has to be lived day to day for it to be effective. You can’t do it just by reading books, and you can’t do it just by meditating.”
“Mindfulness is the skill of thinking you are doing something when you are doing nothing. One of the good things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down. Sitting down is good for the mind because so much positive energy is stored in the lap.” – The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness
I recently attended a Writing for Wellbeing workshop which was designed to promote “mindfulness and calm.” We did various writing exercises and a little guided visualisation, and were told: “Whatever you write is right for you – when done mindfully.” Well, maybe I was having a bad day, but I didn’t feel calm or mindful.
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[Cheryl has] received notification of a new speculative fiction magazine that will be launching soon. Titled Persistent Visions, it will be edited by Heather Shaw who has an excellent track record in both short fiction and editing. They plan to pay 7c a word, and their submission guidelines suggest that they are committed to diversity…
I discovered a great podcast app called Podbean. You can get it free or Android or iOS for Tablet and Phone. It allows you to search for podcasts across the web and subscribe to them. You can also access your favorites from your browser on your computer too. Upon downloading you are asked what type […]
Originally posted on Plaisted Publishing House : First of all what the heck is a synopsis? To many of us it is a book blurb, it is what we write to get a readers interest. Many are found on the back of a book. However, there is much more to this than many realise. Synopsis…
Originally posted on Silver Threading ~ Fairy Whisperer ~ Writer, Poet, & Book Reviewer: Great news! More writing contests with CASH Prizes! WOO HOO!❤ Source: 10 Free Writing Contests with Cash Prizes
Art Exhibit, 6/3 – 7/31: “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression,” St. Louis, MO USA
My most recent #author guest on CHANGES conversations between authors Darian Wigfall (Episode 49, 6/1/16, on Google+ https://goo.gl/OYRt1H or YouTube https://goo.gl/x5IxVZ), is also an artist, activist and community organizer in St. Louis County. His #art is part of the exhibit that opens TONIGHT, 6/3/16, and runs through July 31, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA (yes, where #FERGUSON is), with that of many other #artists whose work interacts with #oppression, #activism, #intersectionality and #hope.
GO! TELL OTHERS! Free & open to the public during gallery hours.
Grand Center Arts & Entertainment District
501 N. Grand Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63103
(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Wednesdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Thursdays 11 AM – 6 PM
Fridays 11 AM – 9 PM
Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 12 PM – 5 PM
June 3 EXHIBIT OPENING, 6 – 9 PM
Poetry and interpretive paintings by Emily Timmerman exploring oppression in the areas of race, class, and gender.
Oppression is being exposed all over the world. From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, people are waking up to the fact that we are being oppressed by those who have the money to control the narrative about people and how they are punished.
These paintings are interpretations of the messages that our oppressors have handed down to us to keep us under control. Over time we have adopted these messages for ourselves, reinforcing and perpetrating the oppression against ourselves. The last piece in the 4 stanza poem is a warning that our comfortable lives will be destroyed by the forces that create the artificial comfort we enjoy.
image from gallery’s website
The Kranzberg Arts Center is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District at 501 N. Grand Blvd. It houses three distinct, multi-use spaces: a gallery space dubbed the Kranzberg Arts Incubator, a flex-seat 100 capacity black box theater, and a 100 capacity cabaret/lounge performance space with pro audio & lights. The basement of the KAC is home to the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Education Center while the Black Box is the home of resident theater companies UMSL & Upstream.
For Inquiries: email@example.com