Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year End Thoughts


This year I seem to be spending much more time leading up to the New Year in thinking about where I've been as well as where I'd like to be - within myself, with myself, my work, my family, my friends.  Some health resolutions I've already started (possibly so the shift won't be quite so drastic come the 1st).

Basically, it's all about taking an inventory on what really is important to me. Sometimes that isn't quite so easy to answer.  I've been heading in one direction for so long (such as teaching), that it's quite startling to consider making a change.

Somehow I'm sensing a year of change..... at the least the potential is there.

New year, new thoughts, new directions.  As I replace the old marked up desk blotter with a new pad, fresh sheets, clean slate, I'm free to contemplate fresh changes in several areas of my life.

You have to love the start of a new year!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas as a Baha'i

Celebrating Christmas, as a Baha'i, is a very personal matter.  I love attending the Lessons and Carols held here on the island in the Episcopalian Church (along with most of the islanders, no matter their faith).  I love seeing the lights and decorations, although I usually do not put up any myself. (Well, I have decided that next year I might put up some lights around the windows.)  I look forward to the loving times and meals with my family - our family rituals and foods that make it so special (including making gingerbread houses with the grandkids each year).  We do exchange gifts, but not outlandishly.

The following article truly articulates what this season, and its festivities, mean to many Baha's.  It certainly resonated with me, and may help to untangle some confusions.

Whether you wish to read it or stop right here, may I wish you a joyous season, special times with your loved ones, and a renewed lift in your spirit, no matter what your personal belief system may be.  Christmas blessings!!


Do Bahá’ís Celebrate Christmas?

Naturally, at this festive time of year, people like to ask whether or not Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas. And the simple answer is: No. Yes. Sort of. Sometimes. It depends.
How’s that for definitive?
The confusion here, I think, lies more in the question itself than in the answer. My befuddled answer above is appropriate to the question, “Do Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas?” because that particular question is really an umbrella for several related-but-different questions.
To clear things up, I thought I’d try to break it down to the best of my ability (with the caveat that these answers are based on my own understanding, which is hardly infallible). So here are some questions that are usually wrapped up in the more general question of whether or not Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas, and my undoubtedly imperfect answers to those questions.
Do Bahá’ís believe in Christ?
Yes, we do.
Here is a synopsis of the Bahá’í view of Jesus:
As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended.

The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá’u’lláh as the “Spirit of God,” is proclaimed as the One Who “appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost,” and is even extolled as the “Essence of the Spirit.” His mother is described as “that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous, countenance,” and the station of her Son eulogized as a “station which hath been exalted above the imaginings of all that dwell on earth,” whilst Peter is recognized as one whom God has caused “the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth.”
“Know thou,” Bahá’u’lláh has moreover testified, “that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened and the soul of the sinner sanctified…. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.” — Shoghi EffendiThe Promised Day is Come, p. 109
So yes, we revere and adore Christ, and believe in Him as a Divine Messenger of God. (For more info about the Bahá’í relationship to Christianity, go here.)
Do Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas as a religious community?
No, we don’t. We accept Christ wholeheartedly, and therefore honor the celebration of His birth, but we do not celebrate Christmas as a community. We accept and honor Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Muhammad, and other Divine Messengers as well, and if we celebrated all of their births and other holy days associated with each of them . . . well, we’d be partying all year long. And as fun as that sounds, it doesn’t really make sense logistically. And it wouldn’t make sense to only celebrate some and not the others. So as a community, we only celebrate the holy days and holidays associated with the Bahá’í calendar.
But CAN Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas?
Yes, just not in relation to each other. Many of us do joyfully celebrate Christmas with our families and friends who celebrate it. As individuals, we are free to partake in any religious activities that don’t directly interfere with the Bahá’í teachings. In fact, sharing one another’s spiritual traditions is one of the best ways to form bonds of fellowship and unity among people of all faiths, which is one of the central teachings of Bahá’u’lláh: “Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.”
So do Bahá’ís have Christmas trees, bake Christmas cookies, put up Christmas lights, exchange Christmas gifts, etc.?
Maybe. Sometimes. Sort of. It depends. Part of what gets confusing is that Christmas has really become a cultural holiday for many people. Every atheist and agnostic I know still puts up a Christmas tree, sings Christmas songs, and gives Christmas gifts. For most Christians, it’s a very holy holiday. For non-religious folk, it’s a time for family and tradition. For Bahá’ís, it’s sort of both and sort of neither, depending on what angle you’re looking from. Sorting out the cultural practices of the holiday season from the religious ones is enough to make your head spin.
I know some Bahá’í families who put up Christmas trees, but I would say most do not. I personally LOVE a good cookie exchange. Some Bahá’ís exchange gifts with their families and circles of friends, especially those whose extended families are not Bahá’ís. We have a major gift-giving holiday called Ayyam-i-Ha at the end of February, so we usually save the big gift-giving until then.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Staying On Target

As I struggle with my very long to-do list for preparing kits and materials for teaching in January, I came across this quote from Seth Godin “Rather than having a daily debate about today's agenda, you can decide once that you will do something, and then decide every single day how to do it.”  (Actually, a friend just posted it on her weekly status report.)

Not quite sure why, but that seems to help!  Juggling my work requirements with holiday responsibilities (gifts, cooking, family, parties) seems overwhelming at times.

All that stands between me and total disarray are my lists.  Bless you, Workflowy!!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

How Many Crochet Hooks?

Just how many crochet hooks does one need?  I have my own set, what is left of my mother's set, and those that my aunt left me.  Yes, I've been crocheting since age 8.

Unfortunately, I haven't met a crochet hook that I didn't like.  I have some mahogany ones now, one that lights up, and tunisian hooks. Ah, but yesterday I saw a fancy brass one.  So in tribute to those who crochet, and love hooks, I need to share.  Perhaps to prove that I'm not the only one in the world with this fascination??

Crochet hooks.


Monday, December 15, 2014

A Simple Summary of Living Simply

The following post is a perfect, simple summary of why I want to live simply.  As we work on clearing out the mainland house in preparation for selling it, I needed an easier way to sort through all the accumulated "stuff".  The easiest determining factor was would it fit in the house here on the island.  But for the smaller stuff, another way of making the decision was needed.  This is it!  If it's not my/our favorite, out it goes.  Actually, it helps me to breathe, when I can release this stuff.

How to Enjoy Your Favorite Things Every Day

How to Enjoy Your Favorite Things
I used to save my favorite things for special occasions. I thought that made them more special, or maybe I thought I didn’t deserve them all the time. Mostly though, I couldn’t enjoy my favorite things and all of the everyday stuff. It was too much.

It was too much …

  • to take care of
  • to afford
  • to think about
  • to enjoy
  • to appreciate
After decades of accumulating stuff and things, I forgot what my favorite things were. Ruthless decluttering was a great reminder. After selling and donating the majority of our stuff, we were left with our favorite things.

The best way to enjoy your favorite things every day is to only own your favorite things.

Having it all doesn’t require owning it all. Take a look at the things in your life, the things you use every day. Are they your favorite?
Donate your duplicates, the jeans that haven’t fit in a long, long time, and those trendy items you thought would make you happy, but now reside in the back of the closet. Dress with less and wear your favorite things every day.
Sell the equipment, gear, or supplies from the hobby you gave up years ago and make room for your favorite hobby or interest. If sleeping on the ground isn’t your thing anymore, let the tent go and discover more enjoyable ways to explore the outdoors. How do you really want to spend your time? Make time and space for that.
Use your grandmother’s china, the wine glasses from your wedding, and other things you love in your kitchen every day.
Display sentimental photos or other items instead of trendy decor.
If your kids play with the same things day after day, those are their favorite things. Donate the rest with their help.
The best things aren’t things, but less is not nothing. We do need some things in day to day life. Getting rid of the clutter, and things you don’t use or love provides space to discover what you really want and need, and the time you deserve to truly enjoy and appreciate it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Define "Work"!

Back on the island, ready to buckle down and get to work.  But as I said just that to myself, really, what is my "work"?  Getting organized for my gallery responsibilities, ordering the rest of the materials for basket kits, working on new pieces - all part of living my dream, working for myself, doing what I love.  (Yes, including the organizational bit.)

How happy the world would be if we all could "work" at what we love!  Or at least love what we do?  My wish for everyone this coming year is to take that leap, make the necessary changes to have a happier work life, or at the very least start figuring out just what it is that you really want to do.

Yes, it takes courage.  And sometimes stepping off a cliff, hoping your wings will hold you up.

Be yourself.  Live your dream.  Make mistakes, then pick yourself up.  Try.  At the very least, you will feel alive.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ah, Alaska

Teaching, exploring, visiting friends, weaving, shopping Native stores ...... I love it here.  It's my annual jaunt up north.

Not much snow this year, but the hoar frost is awesome.

I'm recharging my creative batteries for a new year of teaching and weaving. Now if the moose would just make an appearance, as they usually do!

Monday, December 1, 2014

About the Hummingbird Table Cloth

Having received several requests, here are the particulars on the Hummingbird Table Cloth
(posted earlier at http://sallyanaya.blogspot.com/2013/08/hummingbird-table-cloth.html):

There is no pattern, per se.  I started with a chart, but the pattern evolved from there, as I saw where I needed to add vines, delete some busy-ness, etc.  It is one of the few things that I've made where the original concept and pattern changed constantly. So my apologies that there is no pattern to share.

It is 74" in diameter.  

Completed cloth:

Some of the detail that was previously posted:

Thank you, all, for your interest in this work.  I've already asked my daughter to keep it as a family heirloom....or at least humor me until I die.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving - Just Eat

I stumbled across this article yesterday.  It is a voice of reason in this potentially guilt-laden season,  So before you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, possibly with self-reproach or shame in our health conscious society, please read on.....especially the last paragraph.

So many articles on what you should do for Thanksgiving. And what you should not do. So far this season, I have read articles on why I should not eat butter, turkey, apple pie, pumpkin pie, any sort of pie, cranberry sauce, stuffing or green bean casserole. I have been told that I am "doing it wrong" or "missing out" by preparing the traditional staples of my family's table, such as orange-cranberry sauce, white-bread-based stuffing, plain mashed potatoes, or a stuffed and roasted turkey. I have read articles on how to avoid overeating by using small plates and locating the high-calorie sides on a separate table or, better yet, in a locked safe in the kitchen.
It's time for a counterintuitive "smart take": Eat what you like on Thanksgiving, with a due emphasis on the foods that are traditional to your family and your region. And eat as much as you want of them, without overloading your stomach to the point of illness.
Personally, I find green bean casserole completely disgusting, so much so that I have never eaten it. That's OK! It's also OK if you love green bean casserole and wait all year to dig into its creamy depths. Pecan pie makes my teeth ache with its sweetness, but if you love it, tee up the Karo corn syrup and go to town. I think lots of spicy food on Thanksgiving is a mistake: It's mean to older relatives whose stomachs aren't so hardy, and when paired with overeating, it may result in some digestive disasters even for the younger folks at the table -- but I recognize that some people think it really wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Aunt Myrna's extra-hot Szechuan noodles. I view garlic, sour cream and other Johnny-come-lately additions to mashed potatoes as fundamentally missing the point of Thanksgiving potatoes, which is to serve as a vehicle for more gravy. But if you want your potatoes swimming in wasabi and chantarelles, or whatever crazy combination you've come up with, bon appetit. And if you want to skip the turkey in favor of barbecued pork or planked salmon, well, all I can say is: Happy Thanksgiving.
Just agree to keep your hands off my pumpkin pie, m'kay? I love pumpkin pie. Not pumpkin-and-chocolate pie, or hot and spicy pumpkin pie, or honey-glazed pumpkin pie, but just a simple pumpkin two-egg custard, baked in a homemade pie crust. I love a simple two-crust apple pie, without the addition of crumb topping, cheddar cheese, caramel sauce, exotic new spices or your snotty opinions about my love of such a banal and uninspiring dessert. I love my family's white-bread stuffing, heavy with turkey stock, sausage, apples and ginger, and I love it especially when fresh, hot gravy is poured over a gently steaming pile of the stuff. I want my mother's green beans, my sister's fresh rolls and my own cranberry sauce, just like we have every year. I don't want to change up the entree or any of the sides for something more current and now. I want to feel like I'm having Thanksgiving, not a lavish dinner party of the sort that I could give on any of the other 364 days of the year.
Nor do I want your obesity expert tut-tutting about how the average American consumes too many calories on Thanksgiving -- 4,500 or 7,000 or whatever absurd made-up number they pulled from a tiny, unrepresentative survey of people who responded to some university's research study or newspaper poll. I do not want tips for nannying my guests into foregoing delicious Thanksgiving foods in favor of nibbling on a raw carrot while thinking healthy thoughts. Let me let you in on a little math: Even if you actually did eat 7,000 calories on Thanksgiving, this would result in a net weight gain of less than a pound and a half. The problem is not Thanksgiving; the problem is what you are doing on all the other days that aren't Thanksgiving. If you don't want to gain weight at Thanksgiving, eat lightly for a couple of days before and a couple of days after, and voila -- problem solved.
There is only one way to do Thanksgiving "wrong," and that is to fail to be grateful for the people you are eating it with, and the many other good people of this great nation who are sitting down at other tables. The rest is a sideshow. And don't be afraid to have another helping of that sideshow, with extra gravy on top.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cataloguing Craft Books

First order of business this morning is to catalogue some new books I picked up on my travels, for quilting, curved piecing, sock knitting, fiber covered gourds and bottles, and the like.  Then it dawned on me, as occasionally it does, that what seems natural and necessary to me may not be the norm.

Perhaps not everyone keeps a complete list of their basketry, beading, knitting, crocheting, knotting, quilting (fill in the blank here) books!  I started this list years ago, at first without the ISBN number, but later additions contain that as well.  Then I copy the updated format to "Notes", so I can access it from my phone while traveling, in case I happen to be in a book store or at a conference and think a particular book looks enticing.  This certainly prevents me from purchasing duplicate copies!

And yes, my non-spending mode is most difficult to embrace when I'm confronted with a new book on any of the crafts that I enjoy.  My internal debate is pretty loud, and probably easily overheard by anyone in the near vicinity. I'm afraid I lost some of those altercations lately and am the proud owner of some remarkable new books.....new at least to me.

But I'm behind in cataloguing, and the books can't be put away until that occurs, and with the holiday fast approaching and company coming, it's time to tackle it.  The only trouble is that while cataloguing I start perusing the tomes and I'm quickly sidetracked.  But then, there are worse things that could happen.   A cup of tea.....a craft book.....a quiet island retreat.....

Creating Bottles with Gourds and Fiber                                  The-Quilters-Bible-The-Indispensable-Guide-to-Patchwork-Quilting-9780715336267



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fiber Inspirations

How could one ever be bored with the vast variety of fiber artists in the world?  Two that have come to my attention lately are Deloss Webber and Clair B Jones.  Their work is inspiring, to say the least.  So no more words of wisdom from this quarter this morning....just enjoy the views!

Deloss Webber    http://www.delrocks.com/

Clair B. Jones        http://www.clairebjones.com/



Monday, November 17, 2014

California Sunshine

Just returned from a teaching / lecturing trip to California, and I must admit, seeing the sunshine (albeit after some morning fog) was delightful.  Oh I'm still definitely a pluviophile, but can definitely appreciate the occasional visit to the south.

My workshops at the Caning Shop in Berkeley, CA for the Bay Area Basket Makers (https://bayareabasketmakers.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/twinings-september-2014.pdf) were well attended and most enjoyable.  It's always a joy to teach such receptive and talented students!

From there I ventured further south to speak at the Central Coast Weavers Guild (http://www.centralcoastweavers.org/) meeting.  The topic was my journey as a fiber artist, but we all had some wonderful laughs as I shared photos from "then" to "now".  Again I was much impressed with the knowledge and creativity of the members (as well as their sense of humor).

Throw in a bit of shopping, site seeing (including the monarch butterfly preserve), and visiting with friends, and it was a relaxing and rewarding trip.  I also came back with lots of ideas for new baskets and jewelry.  How perfect is that??


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Images That Caught My Eye

Looking for inspiration yesterday, I found some pretty amazing images.  They have nothing to do with my work, but everything to do with "awe".  Take some time out to enjoy these, and find some of your own choosing.

This life / planet / mankind - utterly enthralling.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Just a Reminder: Gandhi's 10 Rules for Changing the World

In cleaning out some old files, I found this article.  It is definitely a keeper, and so I wanted to share it.  Every time I read it, I am reminded of oh so very many avenues for my personal growth.

Gandhi's 10 Rules for Changing the World

--by Henrik Edberg, syndicated from positivityblog.com, Jun 28, 2013
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”
“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”
Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.
So let’s just move on to some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.
1. Change yourself.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.
And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is thatyou will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.
And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.
2. You are in control.
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you. There may be a “normal” or a common way to react to different things. But that’s mostly just all it is.
You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions to pretty much everything. You don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way. Perhaps not every time or instantly. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction just goes off. Or an old thought habit kicks in.
And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.
3. Forgive and let it go.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.
You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.
If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.
4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.
And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.
So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.
You can check out a few effective tips to overcome this problem in How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips. Or you can move on to the next point for more on the best tip for taking more action that I have found so far.
5. Take care of this moment.
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.
Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.
Have a look at 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment for tips on how quickly step into the now. And remember that reconnecting with and staying in the now is a mental habit – a sort of muscle – that you grow. Over time it becomes more powerful and makes it easier to slip into the present moment.
6. Everyone is human.
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.
And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.
It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.
7. Persist.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.
Find what you really like to do. Then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going, going and going. You can also find a lot of useful tips on how keep your motivation up in How to Get Out of a Motivational Slump and 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.
One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.
Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days. You can read more about this in One Big Mistake a Whole Lot of People Make.
Finally, one useful tip to keep your persistence going is to listen to Gandhi’s third quote in this article and keep a sense of humor. It can lighten things up at the toughest of times.
8. See the good in people and help them.
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.
And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.
By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger. A few articles that may provide you with useful advice in that department are Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation? and Dale Carnegie’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Social Skills. Or you can just move on to the next tip.
9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself.
When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.
With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.
Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.
10. Continue to grow and evolve.
”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”
You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.
Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be. To choose to grow and evolve is a happier and more useful path to take.