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Koinonia

An interesting new term for me – Koinonia.  In Greek, it means ‘talking through’.

In a broader and deeper sense, it refers to the “spirit of fellowship” principle.

The Greeks believed that the key to establishing dialogue is to exchange ideas without trying to change the other person’s mind. This is not the same as discussion, which from its Latin root means to “dash to pieces.” The basic rules of dialogue for the Greeks were: “Do nott argue,” “Do not interrupt,” and “Listen carefully.”

To clarify your thinking, you must suspend all untested assumptions. Being aware of your assumptions and suspending them allows thought to flow freely. Free thought is blocked if we are unaware of our assumptions, or unaware that our thoughts and opinions are based on assumptions. For instance, if you believe that certain people are not creative, you are not likely to give their ideas fair consideration. Check your assumptions about everything and try to maintain an unbiased view.

Say what you think, even if your thoughts are controversial.

This practice by Einstein and his colleagues was observed and recorded in “The Spirit of Konoinia”.   During these interactions, they exchanged and dialogued about ideas which later became the foundations of modern physics. They exchanged ideas without trying to change the other’s mind and without bitter argument. They felt free to propose whatever was on their mind.  They always paid attention to each other’s views and established an extraordinary professional fellowship. This freedom to discuss without risk led to the breakthroughs that physicists today take for granted.

It was Alex Osborne’s idea to illustrate this concept in the picture below.   His notion is that it needs a systematic effort and disciplined practice to produce ideas in a group.  Ideas have to be offered by the participants one at a time.   One member records ideas and suggestions on a flip chart or chalk board.  All withhold judgments, regardless of personality differences work on common goal.

Group A represents a group of creative ideas, in an un-inhibiting environment.

Group B also represents a group of creative ideas, in an inhibiting environment.  Which group do you prefer to join?

While circle A looks expanding, circle B is contracting and restricting creative thoughts.  The restrictive nature of the forces (due to trusting issue, fear of having silly questions, reluctance to openly share) in Circle B even make the circle appear smaller than it is (although they are identical in size).

 

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One month since my last post, I am finding myself in the mood for writing again. April was a busy month with mainly family-related matters, as it turned out.
After finishing up work-related projects, I found myself travelling to California attending my cousin’s funeral. He had passed after 1 year of struggling with lung cancer, was survived by a beautiful wife and three young kids. She (his wife) wore an exhausted look, but was so strong. So were the kids. Parallel to that, re-visiting other relatives in the west coast was a refreshing and renewal event.
Back home in Texas, it was Mom’s birthday and the brother was home. At the same time going on was the community event at Vietnam Temple.
The other relative in town needed help with attending his kids as his wife was in Vietnam visiting her ill father. I was relieved that he’s recovered well after the surgey. Hope the thing in his brain is going away, by some magical power…
It seems that I am a “girl on mission” (someone has viewed me coming across as that).
As always, when May is here, I am nervous as I am afraid of losing summer time. I always have that feeling that summer will run out on me. For years, I have made it a yearly mission for me to celebrate Summer beginning (Memorial weekend) and Summer ending (Labor Day weekend).
Social life-wise, I believed in giving the best shot in whatever I do and while I am at it. I gave it 6 months since I started opening up my horizon… It’s weird that things just started picking up. There are things in life that happen when you least expect. I believe that is also my case, when the timing is right. It could be also some kind of message that I have paid enough attention to and listened to… A powerful message or a strong feeling?
Over the years, with lessons learned and time so precious, I have narrowed down the list of my preferences, at the same time resorted to all possibilities. There are men who impressively reads/understands me well in the very first place without a question in mind, and the number of them is small. Then of whom there are those who communicate their thoughts well, some don’t. Some with fascinating mind. Others with mysteries… for me to discover, hm? It is quite a challenge, but I gain many interesting perspectives indeed. It’s an insanely crazy world when everyone is looking for someone and is so skeptical and/or so cautious at the same time…
A quote has this, “those of us who listen and follow the messages that life offers live closest to our destiny and have the best lives.” How Life’s destiny and purpose merged, what Life offers next – I am curious and excited to see …

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1. Does a true scientist (or any truly educated person) have the social responsibility to behave a bit more responsibly with more open, logical attitude outside of his/her area of work?
2. If the answer to my previous question is “Yes”, then, can we afford to continue compartmentalizing inquisitiveness and rational thinking?
3. Lastly, is it at all possible to become rational in some issues but not in many others?

Intrigued by this article at Nature Forum, and triggered by the author’s questions, I have now brought this topic out of my belly after holding it in for so long …
Truthfully, the trigger happened three years ago, when I had a conversation with a Vietnamese elderly – a healthy, lovely woman in her late 70s. I always commented how good and young she looked. It was quite pleasant seeing how she loved to dress up and take care of her self, while she was also such an active lady, gardening and doing houswork from inside out. She loved to talk about how she took care of her kids even now they are in grown-up ages, and share her family stories. She loved talking to me ( I think I am good with seniors). How many kids does she have? I think she said 8, older half of whom are girls and the younger half are boys. It was just one sentence she uttered during one of our conversations – “just being a (did she say “good”?) human is enough …” Wow, not all Asian parents can say that, I thought. A Vietnamese traditional mother can expect alot from her kids but to her, she realized that her kids are always hers and do not expect them to be perfect, I guess at some point after all the mundanes of life … She struggled with approving her son’s marriage with a Filippinos girl. She was proud of her son who is a doctor, who and another turned out to be gay men. She admitted having forced her daughter into being married at a young age (in college years) to an older doctor, then her tone changed as she did not feel happy for her daughter’s marriage life. How many more such Vietnamese mothers who could come out of that hard-shell and become so true to themselves. Not that many…
So back to the 3 questions above, here are my answers/comments:
1. Yes and No. First we have to define, what is “open” or “logical”; what or when to be considered outside of work. Traditionally, scientists always strive to be good examples, at least for their children and for their own values, serious and humble at the same time. We can hardly see a scientist who is dressed-down, bikes to school/lab, and has such characters nowadays… There is only one Isăc Newton or one Albert Einstein. Scientists do not make as much earning as their (working) peers do in the same profession. And there are amateur scientists and scientists. The competition and the desire to accomplish more have put more pressure on them and unfortunately, a minority of them has become greedy and dishonest. They are human beings, after all. They don’t call themselves “geniuses”. We the community of admirers praised them “genius”.
Is there such a condition as in “to be a (good) scientist, you have to be a good human being”? Another saying, “does preacher practice what he preaches?”. I notice that scientists do have good analytical thinkings, but sometimes some (but not all) have no common sense out of a life situation. As an adult, we are responsible for our own acts and words. Don’t we teach our kids not to lie, to steal, to kill? Then these are the basic principles. To a higher level, we all should have our own established principles. Practice makes perfect. Knowing that habit is the result of recurring activities, we should learn to train our thoughts, our daily acts and reactions into healthy habits. It would be ideal if we all keep our ethics consistent in all and every aspect of life. Someone, an anlyst or a reporter on a news channel recently broke out that “Humans are the only animal that has or is clearly aware of our own morality…” which then led to my another question, “what moraliti(es) do humans have?” What’s moral for one maybe not for other? We need exception rules here.
A scientist has no choice except to kill one mouse or one rabbit to learn how their brain reacts to certain concentration of saline intake, to help cure the high blood pressure and obesity in humans.
Does that define him/her as immoral or a bad human being?

2. “compartmentalizing” or “acting accordingly” or “multi-faceted”? I agree with another commenter. If a person is rational in true sense, s/he will be that way all the time.

3. Talking about rational again – What are those “some” issues? Define! Well, we’re human beings and sometimes act silly, or goof up a little bit, but have to define a fine line between what’s acceptable and what’s not accpetable. And simply, just being yourself, true self is good enough.
It is ok to be divergent, but keep your own values consistent.

Lastly, how about putting all irrational people in a rooom and hear them talk – it would be hilarious. A comedy show, I think. It was just a funny thought while sitting in a meeting and somebody mentioned having some staff go to a “Rational Thinking ” class.

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In recent years, the gps tracking technology has expanded into different industries – from leisure/travel to cellular communication to vehicle/truck fleet tracking, law enforcement, banking/packaging… “Little Buddy Child Tracker” device sold by Best Buy helps parents track their children ‘s whereabouts. Should we have similar device for tracking partner? About a year ago, fascinated by the gps tracking technology, I mentioned the idea of tracking a human with a chip embedded in human body (the arm, especially). The use of these chips is not new – as far as department of intelligence concerned. We see them popular in many spy and scy movies. The agents for sure do not like much about the control issue. But when it comes to relationship, it is the “trust” issue. The controversial’s kick in. I don’t mean all men cheat. But I believe, men and women cheat. There are women who are faithful and take care of home, kids, and husbands in every way still cheat. When you have that suspicion in mind and can’t find time to fit those questions such as “Where were you tonight?”, “Why is there lipstick on your collar?”, “Who is this phone call to?”, “Why are there unfamiliar charges on the credit card statement?”, “Why aren’t we ever intimate any more?”, on and on…, will this technology help catch a partner who cheats, ensure the suspicious men/women of their partners’ integrity, and keep them entrusted in each other? What if he cheats right in his office/house where his wife expects him to be at that time? Cynical I may be. But integrity is a hard-to-find quality nowadays. Leaders are trained to lead with integrity, but they are also humans at the same time. But wait a minute, aren’t we even more evolved humans?
Bernie Madoff or Tiger Woods or John Edwards are a few example of power-abuse. They cheated “just because they thought they could” (per Bill Clinton) without necessarily thinking of the consequence…
Spyware might help provide evidences. But when the trust is broken to the extent that a gps tracking chip needs to be used, the relationship is fragile or already at the probationary stage – like a form of “punishment” or “jail time”. Communication hurts; emotion dies; slight chance of holy rescue if there is.
The keys are respect and responsibility. We adults need to continually learn the word “respect”. In my opinion a “real man” is somebody who treats his wife with total respect, loves her no matter what and is a good dad to the children they have had together. Being committed to your love takes not only respect and self-respect, but also takes constant work. Each partner in the relationship takes charge of preventing the “cheating” from ever happening. You are responsible for your own act(s). If your act was a mistake, apologize and undo your act, then learn to forgive your self and each other. You both will grow out of that mistake, re-nurture each other so that your relationship will grow stronger. Sometimes things don’t always work the way we expect. Frustration from work from business from life is inevitable. But frustration from between the partners should be eliminated. I would discourage the couples from saying “I am frustrated…”. It can put your partner in sunken feeling before you finish your sentence. Instead, ask questions such as “how would you feel if …” and discuss the “why”, the feelings.

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I have gained a new perspective from reading this comment posted at AnswerBag. What led me to this page was a triggering comment by a guy friend yesterday, about “women are complicated” (from his experience, I confirmed). I could analyze on and on, I would or may never get what he had in mind. I could have a bunch of questions for him to answer, but then I would become so aggressive or opinionated. Good or bad?
Well, I am very convinced by this excerpt that sometimes instead of analyzing we’d just accept the facts or be aware of the happenings. A kid in me always wants me to ask why, ponder into the reasons behind certain incidents. But over the years, I’ve learned to accept the answers, to just be aware of the facts to what happened, not to ask why too much. Awareness refers to knowing or finding out the why, the what, it takes some problem solving (again, analytical) skills, I believe, and then we have to understand that is the how of the matter. The final picture is what we hold as a lesson or just an acknowledgment. And now I find the word for this process, “synthesis”.

Complicated and simple are actually two sides of the same coin: in order to see complexity, you have to have the notion of simplicity, and vice-versa. So neither complexity NOR simplicity have any independent reality of their own.

But so what? That’s not really what we humans are concerned about when this question comes up, is it? What we want to really know is “why am I confused, and how can I know what’s important and what to focus on?” There’s an anxiety associated with this sense that life is so complex that it’s pulling us in many directions at once and we can’t get “centered”.

There are two opposite capacities that we have as humans: analysis and synthesis. Analysis is based in the mind’s ability to separate things from each other: to form concepts, draw boundaries, build models of relationships, etc. This discriminative ability is what makes life look complicated: WE chop reality up into lots of little pieces and study them in isolation, and the number of such pieces we can create is actually infinite.

So if we ONLY have analysis running (without any synthesis), we end up with a distressingly LARGE supply of pieces to study.

Synthesis is different: synthesis puts pieces together into larger wholes. Most of us are not nearly as good at synthesis as we are at analysis, but many of us can do it well in specific areas: someone who has really “mastered” an art form, craft, or sport is practicing synthesis — they have “become one” with their chosen discipline, creating a synthesis in which “self and paint”, or “self and instrument”, or “self and ball” have ceased to be two completely separate things, and have merged into a larger whole.

From the outside, such a synthesis may look like magic, and in a way it is. But it’s more valuable to see the deeper process at work: the collecting of bits and pieces and restoring their original wholeness, prior to discrimination / separation — that’s what resolves our anxiety about complexity.

So why does THIS explanation sound so complicated? Because the mind which analyzes wants to cling to thorough explanations, and having such an explanation helps it to relax a bit. What we’re really talking about in practical terms is learning to be aware (synthesis) instead of continuing to focus on thinking (analysis).

Awareness is synthesis: if you want life to be simpler, without going down some strange tunnel like throwing out 90% of your stuff, learn to be more aware. That will solve the life-is-complicated problem where it really matters.

I used to have this saying “Life is complicated already. Simplify it.” Since I’ve practiced awareness and synthesized all that life has offered, yes, “life is short. Life has its own meaningful seasons”.
Next time I would just say “That is so her”. Or, “that is just him”. The choice we make, the life we take. We can choose to accept him/her, but can’t change who he/she is.
On a Christian TV station, the hostess always says bye with “Life is fragile. Take care of each other.”
So, using the opening sentence I can conclude it in this quote: “Complicated and simple are actually two sides of the same coin – the key is you can flip your coin.”

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If you have email and have used email, I am sure you have come across at least once in your internet life this kind of email. The email that asks you to forward to 100 people and you’d be blessed or lucky and winning lottery… Did you read, and/or forward? I received this kind of chain email so many times, and who is it from? It is from my sister!
Geez, I wonder if she ever reads these, or just is enthusiastically pre-wired to just click and send/forward. So this time I decided to write back with a dry sense of humor:

Full View
My dry humor – Re: Fwd: [FWD: FW: Feng Shui (read – Please don’t delete)]

From: Lyna Le
To/Bcc:

——————————————————————————–

1. Chain letter is considered SPAM. While you have nice intention of sharing “wisdom”, you’re sharing everyone’s email addresses. A lot of people do not like their privacies being shared around the world. My 2cents for email etiquette: There is “BCC” for you to use and hide email addresses of your circle; or remove people’s email addresses from the message’s content. Resize the message. Consider people ‘s computer limitations.

2. Why wouldn’t someone get bothered by these changes of font color from red to green to purple.., big font to small font, small case to upper case inside the message? Don’t you feel like you’re being yelled at while reading these? Wouldn’t you want to enjoy reading a more eye-pleasing message?
It would be a big surprise if someone spend time scrolling down to read this entire message, while not even touching or finishing reading a magazine for years. Yeah, you know who. 🙂 Talking about “click and just send”, or “delete”, it seems we are all pre-wired by these chain mail?
…..
Even a preacher can’t practice what they preach. What do you think of that “read – but don’t delete” ?

Hope you take it as my dry humor for today.

Peace, folks.

START OF THE CHAIN E-MAIL
——————————————————————————–
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 09:26:20 -0700
From: @yahoo.com
Subject: Fwd: Feng Shui (read – Please don’t delete)
To: @hotmail.com; g

— On Tue, 10/20/09, MikeSubject: .

Begin fo

Feng Shui
This is without a doubt one of the nicest good luck forwards I have received.. Hope it works for you — and me!

Lotus Touts: You have 6 minutes

There’s some mighty fine advice in these words, even if you’re not superstitious. This Lotus Touts has been sent to you for good luck from the Anthony Robbins organization. It has been sent around the world ten tim es so far.

Do not keep this message.

The Lotus Touts must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES. Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired.

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
…..

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This post is to correspond to the article at Resources.

When people get busy, hurried, and stressed they put aside
their own needs and the needs of their relationships in the
rush to get thing done. But when you are busy, hurried and
stressed is when you need time for yourself and with your loved
one(s) the most. Time and space nourish you, and allow you to be
more effective – and being more effective means you get things
done better and faster.

This is counterintuitive. Just when you think you have
absolutely no time for yourself or your relationships (family or
significant other), is when you should take the time in order to
be more effective. Think of time you spend on yourself and on
your relationships as time spent charging up your body and
spirit.

How do you carve out that time? Here are a few suggestions to
help you out.
1. You don’t have to do everything you have to do
Sometimes people who feel overwhelmed want to do everything on
their list as a way to relieve the pressure. This will not work
because you simply will not get everything on your list done-
and, if you came close, the list would start filling up again
with additional must-do tasks.
What do you really have to do? Be as clear about this as you
would be if you were advising a friend: only a few things on
that list are really in the “must do” category. Erase the rest,
forgive yourself for not doing those other things, and spend the
freed-up time on yourself or your loved one(s).

2. Simplify
Look carefully at the items on your list that involve a lot of
steps or look like they will take a lot of time. If they really
must be done right now, is there a way to do them more simply,
more directly? Think about your experience with complex
projects, and how they often seem to double in complexity and in
the time required as unexpected problems crop up or extra steps
have to be added.
This may be the time to go for a “good enough” result, rather
than a perfect one. Opt for simplicity and ease: it’s ok not to
struggle. Use the freed-up time to spend on yourself or your
loved one(s).

3. Set a realistic to-do list for the day; stop when it’s done
If you work for someone else, your boss only gets to tell you
what to do during the hours he or she has paid for. Beyond that,
if there is any justice in your work world, someone else has to
do the things that you could not get to, or they have to wait.

Try this experiment: pretend that your to-do list has hired you
for a certain number of hours each day. Work your hardest for
your to-do boss in the time you have agreed on. And then stop
for the day: enough is enough. You may need to pare down your
idea of what you can reasonably accomplish in a day.

4. Take care of yourself
Do one (or more) self-care actions each morning. This can be
vastly different for different people: from a 10 minute
meditation to a short walk, to making sure you have some quiet
time even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, to using a
special body-care product, to applying moisturizer to your face,
to making a special cup of tea or coffee before you run out the
door. Do something easy, fast, and special to recharge your
batteries and let you know you are important.
You will then find it easier to make better choices throughout
the day, having been recharged a bit by your self-care action.
You will be more likely, later in the day, to make wise
decisions about making time for yourself and your loved one(s)
instead of doing more stuff.

5. Set a drop to-do list time, before you drop from exhaustion
Set a time every day when you will stop everything you are
doing to give yourself some space and time or spend time with
your loved one(s). Make sure this is a time long before you drop
from exhaustion. If you tend to pass out at 9 pm, make sure your
alone or together time starts no later then 8:30. Better yet,
make it 8 pm.
Alternatively, decide on a time that works best in your
schedule and stop for half an hour to an hour in the middle of
the day or early evening to spend time on yourself or on your
loved one(s).

6. Refuel with love
It seems impossible during a busy period to carve out any time
at all for yourself or for a loved one. But you can and you
really should. We all know people function better on adequate
sleep. But do you know that people function better on adequate
love?
When you are spending time on yourself you are loving yourself.
This self-love will nourish you and make you more effective.
When you are spending time on loved one(s) you are allowing
yourself to be nourished by them/him/her and that will make you
more effective as well.

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