Tools for my toolkit

These tools came from a book I listened to today by George Simon. They were presented nicely the context of communication with particular aggressive character types but I think that there is application in a broader sense as well. My own thoughts I will include in bold. Otherwise it is a direct summation.


  • Accept no excuses especially from myself. The ends never justify the means for inappropriate behaviour.The objective of aggressive behaviour is always to resist civil conduct.
  • Judge actions not intentions.
  • Set personal limits; both for what you will tolerate including from yourself and what you expect.
  • Make direct requests. Use I statements.
  • Insist on direct responses
  • Stay in the here and now.
  • When confronting an aggressive communication, behaviour or person keep the weight on the aggressive behaviour.
  • When you need to confront someone avoid sarcasm, hostility or put downs.
  • Avoid making threats. It’s a form of manipulation.
  • Take action quickly
  • Speak for yourself.
  • Make reasonable requests.
  • Be prepared for consequences.

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Intentional shopping quarter – the rules

It was my birthday last Tuesday.

Birthdays matter to me. Mine and also other people’s (though I admit that I’m not as good at remembering them as I should be): and IDPwD are my sacred days. Much more so than most of the other Day festivals.

It’s a reflective time for me. I tend to start resolutions and try to start a project. I take myself in hand a bit more on my birthday. This year I had a lot to challenge myself on especially in terms of my character. I’m actively starting to work on some of that now.

Instead of trying for an all year project I’m going to try a 3 month project to actually behave more minimally. Rather than just talk about it and do a rash three-day purge only to go shopping out of boredom or a mix between boredom (3 or 4 things) mixed in with the 1 thing I actually really needed.

So these are my rules (subject to change with reflection)

  • Use things up. I have several instances of unnecessary multiples eg moisturisers, breath mints, USB cables. Multiple things can be useful in some instances like having a cable in your handbag and one at home, but beyond that usefulness I need to pare down. I did try this but found I felt too wasteful. A lot of my duplicates are just knocked around enough by even light use that they aren’t worth ebaying, so I felt like I was wasting money that I don’t have by throwing them away.
  • If something needs replacing, throw the old out and go ahead and replace. If I get weekly use of a critical item and it ceases to be capable of doing the task, I will replace it with a product of the same value. After the project I might reassess for upgrade.
  • If I lose something, I will wait to replace it. Exceptions being life critical items for which I will look for cheaper alternatives during the project.
  • I will renew my web hosting (if you want to help cover the costs, click on an ad every time you visit or if you prefer making a donation via PayPal)
  • For gifts, I will offer experiences with or without me, or a donation to an item they will choose.
  • I won’t buy food for time or respect. I have a bad habit of buying food out to allow me to use a table to write, read or think. Or sadly to convince the general nobody-in-particular that they don’t need to worry overly about my welfare. I will drink coffee when I need coffee.
  • I will recycle or donate purchases I make in this timeframe. Like the two books I ordered today (more on that later), I will read and then donate to the library.
  • I will track my spending, using apps or equipment I already own.
  • I will not pay for any new subscription services till the end of the trial. But I will maintain the services I am currently actually using.
  • When shopping, I may browse in person, but will try to buy online.
  • Use wish lists. When I want to get stuff I don’t need to get in the next three months.
  • I will make lists
  • I will document the journey here.
  • I will try to be intentional in all things.
  • I will enjoy the precious things and people in my life.

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Smacked

I’m pretty deep into some serious rebuilding of my soul. Party self-inflicted. Partly a big-for-me birthday. Partly some relationship issues and betrayals. So I’m reading a lot. Literally sitting in my woman made cave somewhere. I’ll get there. But I’ve never gone this deep, on my own before without just labelling it depression and having that colour the experience or have me pull back from the work. It’s hard but it’s going to be better to have been through, rather than to the edge, or around the chasm. It’s also multi faceted, which makes it easier.

All that to say courageously that in my cave reading yesterday I came across this quote that I’m loving, strike that finding challenging from Brené Brown’s work Daring Greatly.

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose;the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

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Off time

I’m not one for app reviews, because although I’m a nerd when it comes to technology I tend to be an indecisive nerd. I tend to switch things up, sometimes faster than I blogged. I also used to be an early adopter and a staunch Apple user. That combination especially the indecisive bit made tech reviews seem not part of my written “view”.

That will probably continue to be the case. Not just because of the aforementioned issues but because as with my handbags, my requirements seem oddly unique to the way my oddly unique body works.

This is not a sponsored post. However, I think that I found a solution to my earlier post about wanting a semi dumb phone. So I thought I’d share. The app is called (OFFtime). I’ve paid for the android pro features and have been using it for a few weeks. It’s working very well for me.

I needed (ok wanted) a way of having access to some of the online features of my phone (for example banking or google maps) without having to either turn other “sometimes useful but not now” notifications off or try and ignore them. I didn’t want it to be so fiddly. Putting it on silent, just made me hyper vigilant to every vibration and or I’d look more often so I didn’t miss the one person I might want to hear from.

For me this is the answer.

I have set up a few different profiles. Within each profile you can determine which apps you might want to use during that activity. The app will “let” you use those apps with no difference. Depending on the settings you choose, when attempting to access other apps you are met with varying levels of resistance, with snarky-ish comments. The trick is that you need to think ahead enough about what you want to do. Therein lies just enough self discipline to make it both workable (the phone can be a tool) and a challenge (I find myself looking over at it still way more than I want to admit, seeking distraction)

Same principle applies with calls and SMS. Rather than double check each vibration in case it’s so and so, or disconnect entirely, I can determine who I want to hear from whilst doing what. My parents and my dr are pretty much it for the vacuuming my head profile, a slightly expanded group can interrupt me if I’m using my writing profile for example. For the “lucky” ones, text or call will make whatever noise is “normal”. Otherwise you have silence, no change in LED and the option to send an SMS to the texter explaining that you’re busy, with an expected return time of whatever time you specified at the start of your off time. It includes a link to the website of course. Again you can do anything you want during your off time as long as you’ve planned for it.

At the end of the time, or if you have given yourself an option to opt out early (and taken it), the app will give you a run down of how long you were off time for and who said what in SMS and anything else that happened so you can reply when ready.

The only thing that I’m less than keen about is that it monitors your use seemingly all the time.

Remember when phones rang when people actually want to talk to you?

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Intentionality

I had a sloppy day yesterday. By the time that it got to 11 am, and I hadn’t yet done my spiritual practice or anything else on my todo list or my bed side pile of books, I had more or less accepted this fact and yesterday turned into a rest day. It was filled with a game on my iPad that will ultimately means nothing and thinking. The study I still have to do by the end of today still needs to happen. I need to get back on the horse in terms of my spiritual stuff.

But at some point yesterday I was okay with letting yesterday go. In rest. Not like the day was stolen from me in laziness like others have felt before but because  I chose to let it be my sabbath. Without any scheduling, or ritual. Without the promise of a routine. Fully aware in my own mind at least that I far from deserve a day off at this point.

There was no great crash out on Friday. I’ve had it lot on my mind lately and I do need to reboot some major stuff; like my integrity. But it wasn’t one of those.

I also needed  to lie down earlier I was planning on last night so I didn’t get to write about it. But between Friday night and now a few things have come into focus. This is nice as I have felt like a study in contradictions lately.

  • I realised that there are a lot of books that I want to read but my library doesn’t have and I don’t want to buy a lot of books.
  • I realised again that I want to write more, speak less, think more.
  • I want to live minimally but be well informed and have just what I need when I need it.
  • Silence doesn’t scare me. Judgement does. My own stings more than anything another can do.
  • I realise that I fall to easily into trying to be someone that I am not. That needs to stop now even though it’s going to be very uncomfortable for a while.

I have always thought that when I was being really me, I lived very consciously. Things like; Think carefully through what you are going to do, say, wear, eat. Not just once but each time. Make your choices consciously and be aware that the act of not making a choice is in fact a choice. That even when a situation doesn’t seem to have a choice, your response to that situation is your choice. That there will be hard choices, but being adult means accepting that even those are choices.

This lifestyle felt right but very hard and very unpopular. It seems out of kilter with the way I was “supposed” to be. It was not easy or fun. It was hard to be unpopular again. But I think that I need to go back to that. A life of intentionality and conscious living and see what happens. I am older now so maybe that will help.

It will require radical honesty. First with myself and then with others. About who I am, and what I really want. That will take time, but after my Sabbath i feel quietly ready. Not in a zealous let’s run and have a packing party and I’ll move to India. But in a confidence and courage that I haven’t felt in over 10 years. I feel more myself today.

I can now see some intersections between what I think my values are and actions I can take.

I was listening to a podcast on YouTube interviewing Colin Wright who moves intentionally every 4 months. Watching a TEDx talk of his gave me a word for it all. The seemingly endless contradictory goals.

Intentionality.

Coming into another birthday my word of choice will be intentionality for the next phase. His talk was not just looking at stuff; the minimialism piece but intentionality in relationships. Contextual friendships. Draining relationships. Being “on purpose” here too. This is an area I need to address, both in the repair (if possible) of some that I have abused and or neglected and in the clearing of others which do not serve now in the way that I have been trying to make them work.

But first to me. I’m not going to make radical commitments to myself right now. That hasn’t been healthy for me. I’m just going to start by trying a little harder to pay attention and use my hypersensitivity to my advantage. To think more.

Start from there.

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The rainbow elephant

I might be a little late in coming to this conversation. At least in the written form. But I’m here now and I’ve had a bit of time to think and listen and observe and try to absorb too.

It’s been personal. I’ve felt attacked and rejected by some of my dearest people. For me in a different way to others. But yes for me too. Less than others I’m sure. But I was surprised. It’s about love after all, not about me.

I might be more used to the personal is political mindset than some. There has been an undercurrent that the Question is a referendum on the very value of a whole segment of society. From that segment too has been a sense that “its us against the rest of you”, and “either your with us or you are against us”. All the nastiness and extremism of trying to generalise a few bad examples or rogue statistics as representing the whole. All the judgement and all the fear that goes along with being a minority, through no fault of one’s own. It hurts. Keeping all these segmentation up hurts too. Individually and collectively. It may have become political but Questions like this don’t have to stay like that. But that’s a tough balance.

The background

Within Australia at the moment we are having an ongoing debate regarding same-sex marriage or marriage equality as it has been dubbed. It’s been a warm and getting hotter topic for years. The Question: should same-sex attracted couples be included in the Marriage Act (which currently defines marriage as being between a man and a woman), and more recently, if there is to be a change in the law, how do we go about doing it.

Any revision could have been done by a revision of an act by Parliament which at least until recent dramas would have probably been simpler and cheaper. It is also outside a Constitutional change so falls exactly within the role we commission our elected representatives to do. They are charged to lead and govern our country, We “trust” them for a term to debate and decide the difficult and the easy; not deflect difficult ones to opinion polls which are not binding.

Whatever my view of the Question Let me say that I think Australia has lost its sense of statesmanship and become all too reactionary to opinion polls and the deflecting of responsibility for leadership. The decision was taken to elect our current Prime Minister and his view was clear. His job was to listen and lead the government and parliament to a consensus.

So we are having a plebiscite which is a cop out in my view. All the opinion poll will do is take a snapshot view of a politically jaded country. The Act will still need to be debated and drafted adding delay and drama whichever way the plebiscite goes.

The debate has been hard and cruel in both directions. Given my situations I have been attacked quite viciously from vocal, fundamentalist members of both main camps. The misinformation and generalisations coming from both directions has been hard to watch and has affected my thinking.

Part 1
I have a faith in God. My faith which feels more alien to what is being touted as Christian than ever informs my take on social justice. I’m less judgemental and more liberal as regards many issues precisely because of my faith. I also believe that it is not for people who are not privy to my understanding of God to represent their views as mine or are tell me how I or anyone should interpret scripture. A brother or elder is allowed to offer correction and instruction , but no one speaking in this debate has that role in my life. So stop telling me how to decide Rev/Fr never met you just because I have a faith. Jesus is my middle man to God, if I need one, not you, and his approach to love (and a whole lot of other stuff) was quite radical. Y’know stuff like Judge not let Ye be judged, love your neighbor as yourself. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. *I don’t think love can ever be a sin, but even if even if it is, by fundamentalist theology we all have to face our Maker and our reckoning will be between that person and God. It is not up to me to judge. Or you.

We don’t sit in harsh judgement of whether a straight marriage will work to anywhere near the extent that some of you do with a same-sex relationships. The stats are not good for straight couples, leaving plenty of couples missing the Good birth influence of one gender. The same-sex stats put us to shame. Families are built based around who loves who, not who sleeps in what bed. Common sense says that divorces of all types will happen, and when they do, they do. We are all human beings. The sky will not fall. Many kids of straight couples have had a rough upbringing. There will be some kids of same-sex marriages if it comes to that who feel the same. But if we mainstream it, the stigma will go and that will help all kids be kinder. Growing up I would fantasize that everyone had a crappy left arm and a head tilt…… just so I felt normal

There are the full range of people in all communities. Pedaphilia is in the straight world as it is in the gay, just as much if not more. Both sorts are in all the Churches and outside. The good the bad and yes the ugly are across the board. We are commanded to love and not to judge. By our fruit will we know each other, and knowing is different to judging which is in God’s hands. My suggestion is that we are generally built with two ears and one mouth. Let’s try and use them proportionally?

To quote @frbower Fr Rod Bower

“For the religiously inclined to participate productively in the public discourse of a secular democracy, there is required of them the ability (and willingness– JN) to translate theological specifics into universal values, accessible to all people regardless of their faith or lack thereof”

Part 2
My only request ok, two requests of those fighting for marriage equality: just as you don’t like to be tarred with the paedophile brush on the basis that some of you have been, please don’t judge all of those who claim a faith as being homophobic or for that matter are or condone child abusers. We come in all shapes and sizes too. Some of us are saints and some are down right bastards. Some are loud. Most are not. We are all individuals. Generalisation is dangerous and insulting. Some churches are preaching their view, but you are also using the venues open to you to advertise (as you should). Passion for an issue can be lovingly expressed, by all of us.

My second request is simple I hope. Talk to us all, don’t yell at us. We didn’t choose the plebersite. Issues don’t have to stay political even if they start there. We have had to recognise minorities before in less than ideal ways. We will have to again no doubt. Alienating won’t help your cause or Australia . We are all humans. We have had struggles, which may be different to this or not. You are not alone. I for one am not the enemy. Please talk to me like you are my neighbour, my sibling, best friend, my doctor, my accountant or my barista; about your love and fear and hope and plans. I’ll be listening and so will others.

All in all right now I’m simply ashamed of being a human being in Australia …..We need to behave better . I’m confused, and sad that it came to this.. This has hurt my faith and my faith in people tremendously and that’s not a good place to be if we are discussing love. Is it?

just my 5 cents.

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Grace

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the roles of regret, remorse, guilt and related topics in my life.

In extreme summary they are different and each have a use in my life and can also be abused.

Of course you can’t think about those topics without thinking about Grace. I came across this quote from Kathleen Dowling Singh in the context of a spiritual (auto) biography;

Grace has enabled whatever healing we’ve experienced thus far, whatever degree of inner peace and freedom we feel in this moment.  We can gratefully acknowledge the grace of our heart’s yearning that led us to begin a spiritual journey to begin with.

Liked it. I’m a striver so it’s a gentle tap to stop and smell the roses and go forward with gratitude for the lessons so far.

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A semi-dumb phone please?

My phone keeps going off. Notification wise. As its supposed to be its really distracting – some sounds worse than others. The majority of sounds are not urgent, but I am conditioned to react to the sounds on the off-chance.

I really wonder if I need to switch to a dumb phone. But I like the screen real estate of a smart phone. Also, there are some aspects useful to me of being able to be connected in an instant and I don’t necessarily want to be all silent either. I like to be able to reach out to twitter or my banking apps for examplewhen I need information without having them hit me back with irrelevant stuffing they want me to have when it suits them. It’s not in my interest or even in theirs for me to unplug entirely and I don’t really want to. But it is tempting.

Sometimes you need alarms, even to interrupt when you don’t think you want to be interrupted. But not necessarily every time milk needs collecting on HayDay, or so and so posted on twitter especially when one is working – though on the weekend it’d be nice to be reminded sometimes that there is something lighthearted available.

I know you can set granular app by app notifications but I don’t want it to get too fiddly. I want to be able to set it and forget it to be a smart phone for me; available to me, for me when I need it to be.

I also know that it’s in many of the app developers interests to try to distract me, and entice me back, and yes, I admit that that has worked well for them in relation to me. This is especially true of apps that serve ads, but even google and YouTube get pushy sometimes. I also to know that there are apps on the Android (like the old dumb phone app which can’t run because of operating system upgrades).

I get that they are serving a purpose and that works for them or they wouldn’t do it. I just wish my phone was actually designed to work for me and my needs first. Like I say, I want to reach out, not be spoonfed. Trust me to do that and I’m more likely to buy from you. Spoonfed = resentment = uninstall

If they aren’t careful I’ll just switch the whole thing off.

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I’ve been scared to come back

Some of that fear has a greater basis in “legitimate” concern. Some of the fear is far less practical and that fear is getting worse the longer I went.

First about the practical stuff.  I felt that for safety reasons I needed to take myself offline for over two years. Those fears and their basis probably still exist.

I guess I figure that  one can’t live one’s life in fear and if I do suffer actually real world consequences for being back “out” (as in online) I’ll deal with them then. I have dabbled in YouTube but didn’t really have the courage to continue. I think it also had a bit to do with my second fear.

I lost my voice. I didn’t know if I had anything to say anymore even to myself, much less to anyone else. I didn’t think that in all this time blogging I had much of a following. At one level I get that how popular your blog is doesn’t or shouldn’t matter. But I did hope to be relevant. I get that consistency is the key and that as a result of my neglect any readership  beyond my real life friends I did have I have possibly lost. But I’m willing to try.

Because…… I’ve missed it.

Over the last little while as well as feeling far dumber and more insular than I want to I’ve said to myself a few times “Oh I could write about it on the blog….. umm but I’d have to explain where I’ve been” and then the fear and embarrassment of one more I’m back post sets in and I would just give up.

I paid both the domain and hosing fees in the last week, bills I could ill afford this month with other bills needing paying but I had put it off too long and finally needed to because a friend has email and storage on my server. It had already been archived.

In a strange way that difficulty getting on here was the final push.

I’ll try again then.

I’m still not going back on Facebook. For the moment comments are off, but I’ll respond to twitter or email in my time. Postings will hopefully be more regular, but unlikely to be live. I’ll write or post when the mood takes me and schedule them to go live after the fact. I might try batch writing.

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The other race that stopped our nation

In Australia, we have an idiom for the big horse race, the Melbourne Cup. It is known as the race that stops the nation. It is run annually on the first Tuesday in November. It is, regardless of whether you live in Melbourne or not, more or less a national holiday. Offices hold sweeps and long lunches breaks, women who wouldn’t normally wear a hat become fascinated with fascinators and even normally fairly serious news presenters and politicians are dressing up and talking or tweeting about their tips. These tips are often based on very random criteria, rather than any sort of history with the form guide. After all the fuss, the people who can and do stop to watch the race do so for the 3 minutes or so it takes to run and then return after a bit of celebration to merry-making or work.

In years past, the US election has been held in the same week as the Melbourne Cup. I recall 8 years ago, watching the horses one day and Obama’s speech the very next.

This year it was the week after, and more so than any other election “over there” that I can recall, ordinary Australians were glued to the news channels on Wednesday as the news came in. I was at an airport way ahead of my flight and everyone was talking about it among themselves and even to complete strangers. It was shock and disbelief. But we were glued to it for a good couple of days later. Friends who I don’t normally talk politics with were expressing shock and degrees of discomfort at the idea of Donald Trump as the leader of the free world and what that says about our global mindset and future. I’m sure there are messages there to be examined even before he takes command in January.

The last time I remember seeing Australians glued to the tv for events overseas like they were a week ago was when the World Trade Centers went down. Seems we tend to be the onlookers to the crashes we can’t tear ourselves away from.

My recovery method has centred around becoming hooked again on the West Wing. I know it is fiction but it has to be based on some degree of reality or it wouldn’t work as a drama right? I want to use my intellect more and use it for good .

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