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Last month we started to consider the difference between a working and workable life and a flourishing life, e.g., one that is functioning well and a life that is soaring. There are three basic ingredients in a life that is working: integrity, communication and completion. We started looking into integrity last month and we move on to communication.

Eileen L Epperson
Spiritual Center Coaching


2. Communication

COMMUNICATION: We have no clue what great communication can be in our lives. This is my stand in the matter: there is no problem, no argument, no misery, no stuckness and no regret/ resentment that cannot be resolved through effective communication. There is no guilt or bitterness that cannot be dissolved through truth-telling.

Here is what communication is not: dumping, yelling, spilling your guts, speaking loudly, getting things "off your chest," talking for ages, writing/speaking honestly but without considering the receiver or a monologue. Honest, authentic, responsible, and appropriate written or spoken expression that originates from a commitment to one's self-respect, is the foundation for GREAT communication in a flourishing life. When you are able to speak your mind and heart without being aggressive or submissive, you find out whether you have been heard. Until you are clear that you have been heard and that you have heard the other, you cannot be sure that you have communicated.

It is so joyous to know you said exactly what you wanted to say, albeit perhaps with your knees knocking. And you did it in a way so that no one was damaged and in fact, you made a contribution. Nothing beats that joy in my book.

Two gifts of clear communication are ending loneliness and enhancing self-esteem. When we practice saying what is there for us in the moment (really an unbelievable idea for most of us), we begin to feel known in the world. We shift this niggling background thought most of us have that the world is chock full of adversaries waiting to make our lives more difficult.

My bereavement group continually inspires me. These hurting people gather weekly to talk and listen and then they go back to the same empty homes. They heal in this group. As one person said recently, "I leave knowing that someone else knows how tough and hard every single day is. I still have to deal with it all, but these people know I'm doing that. That makes all the difference." They communicated and listened.

When someone has expressed feeling hurt or disappointed or annoyed at some misstep, I often recommend that they let the other person know. If I had a dime for every time the response has been, "Oh, it isn't worth talking about," or "I really don't care that much," or (my favorite), "I don't want to cause problems," I would be living permanently in the Bahamas. Yes, I would be coaching from there, but you get my point. WE ARE SO UNPRACTICED AND SO SCARED TO BLOW IT if we dare attempt to say what we think or want (I include myself and I am working on it). We don't know how to speak when we are upset or disagree or have a point of view that differs from another's. We do not know how to make requests and are left with only the fruitless option of complaining. We do not want to upset people or have them withdraw from us. We do not want to provoke.

I often see myself not quite saying everything I am thinking in a discussion. I excuse myself - it isn't that big a deal. Not saying something is better than saying it and, 1) not being understood or 2) sounding stupid. Yeah, right. This habit SO does not work for having a flourishing life.

So, where can you learn to speak and listen? Well, not at home or at school or at a place of worship, sad to say. Most of us have to step outside of the usual modes of education that we have and look elsewhere. Good group therapy, support groups and workshops and even the 1970s-style assertiveness trainings can teach us useful practices.

Bottom Line: communication is an AREA FOR TRAINING. Start where you are. Make one request today. If you are unhappy with someone, write a letter (don't mail it) and be really honest. Write it again and take the blame out of it. Write it again and be as clean and clear as you can about sharing your experience. One step at a time will eventually lead us to recover/uncover/create our own voice.

Next month, we will wrap up this initial foray into the legs of the Fundamentals Tripodô and look at Completion.

If you would like to talk about the possibility of bringing more "workability" to your life, let me know and we can set up a complimentary 20-30-minute conversation.

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