Friday, January 28, 2011

Speak Peace

Speak Peace in a World of Conflict by Marshall Rosenberg

This is the second book I’ve read by this author/on this topic. As he is quick to point out, the method is simple, but difficult.

The major tenants are: Observation, feelings, needs, requests. Articulating each of those steps without judgment or blame is the challenge. As or more hard is mirroring back those steps to someone you are listening to who isn’t actively presenting his concern that way. Hearing the underlying feelings and unmet needs of the speaker.

The premise is that motivation by reward or punishment is flawed and unproductive. All actions stem from an attempt to get our needs met. Trying to get someone to do or not do something by threat or praise will ultimately be unsuccessful. Helping them to see a better way to get their needs met is likely to be successful.

Two particular sections that struck me concerned apologies and praise (two things I would have previously classified as positive and useful tools).

Mourn, don’t apologize. Apology implies wrongness. Talking about the past is not useful, but instead increases and perpetuates pain. More important to get to the present feeling and unmet needs and empathize with (mourn) those feelings the prior action caused.

Praise and compliments are equally “violent” because they use the language of good/bad. Praise motivates for a short time, just like punishment. Expressing gratitude by telling someone how what they did met which of our needs and how we felt about it is much more productive.

Another section that hit me like a slap in the face concerned excessive talk instead of allowing the listener to determine what is necessary to say. In his words, “Don’t fill the air with words.” Start by saying exactly what you want to happen and let others ask the questions they feel they need to understand. Conversely, my tactic has always been to exhaust all angles up front, often leaving no questions to be answered and so a very one-sided “conversation”.

The issue with these sorts of books, for me, is that I have a hard time translating them into practice. I can say to myself as I’m reading, yes, yes, I’m going to give that a try. But as soon as the book in shelved, I promptly forget. I seem to be really great about putting progress towards physical goals into action, but much less so when it comes to mental goals.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

hola espanol, adios yoga!

Day 14

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 6

Of course the setting of the goal is the easiest part. My two week crack at getting back into yoga and starting to learn Spanish wasn't a complete failure, but i'm not exactly proud.

I come in at a lowly 21% completion for yoga, which simply strengthens my assumption that i'm just not into it anymore. if publicly (well, sort of) challenging myself to do it didn't work, i think it's time to stop trying.

Spanish, on the other hand, I completed only 42% over the past two weeks, but I still feel like i'm really learning and am excited to continue.

so spanish makes the cut, adios (for now at least) yoga!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

el perro es grande

Day 13

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 6

Put in about 2 hrs of Spanish today. completed lesson cuatro and therefore unit uno. by the end of lesson cuatro, i was answering questions faster than they could say them, feeling all badass. the format of the questions gets predictable and there is a lot of repetition throughout the lessons. and then they give you the unit milestone...

all of a sudden, you're on a virtual hiking trip in the woods and trying to communicate with another group of hikers and their damn hungry perro. what!? i failed miserably and i'm sure they talked about me (in spanish, of course) after i left. end score - 75%:(

i'm worst at speaking, followed closely by hearing. my accent for "r"s is terrible. i was repeatedly buzzed on tres and cuatro, not what i (previously) considered difficult words. i should probably blindfold myself to get better at hearing. my eyes process the words and i get the answer correct without really having to understand what they're saying. then they take the words away and i'm instantly dumb.


Days 9, 10, 11 and 12

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 5

Spectacular lack of motivation this week. Ran twice, which has my foot back to hurting, which leads me to think it's time for my long recovery period.

despite getting out of work at a reasonable time every night, my mind just wasn't in a place to use the time productively. much ER was watched this week, a good book finished and a great one begun.

the long weekend is upon us, though, providing ample opportunity to finish unit one and make some progress on unit two.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yo corriendo!

Day 8

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 5

and so begins week 2.

i'm at about 38% for yoga and i'm really not inclined to be upset about that or push it further. i didn't run all weekend to allow my knee to recoup and was able to do a solid 4 this morning which got me to my goal of 40 miles for the month. i am *so* happy to be able to average 10 miles a week!!!

Spanish is a much more respectable 63%. not bad for a week that included a long weekend with the outlaws, a picnic and a baby shower. nothing slated for evenings this week so i plan to hold steady.

Lesson 4 is long! i also (finally) clued into the fact that they spend a lot of time sending you back to review parts of previous lessons. completely logical and useful, but also slow going for the long lessons.

i fear my accent is simply too horrendous. even with a new headset microphone, i still got buzzed a little too often. i am a mouth breather, so i tried holding my breath before each attempt which seemed to help. what's a little lack of oxygen for the good of an education, right?

sunday ranty sunday

Day 7

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 4

After getting lost coming and going, baby gift bingo and a car with a mind of it's own, i was in no shape to accomplish anything but ER on Sunday night. The first episode i put on featured Ray Liotta (almost solely) and went a long way to improving my mood. take out (and by that i mean delivery) indian was equally uplifting. sometimes you have to just go with it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yo llevo pantalones

Day 6

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 4

Hanging with the outlaws in the 'burbs for the weekend. The foot and leg are miraculously feeling much better, likely because i didn't bring any running gear, assuming I'd need the weekend off. not going to complain:) didn't bring the yoga dvd either, but may give it another go tomorrow night upon returning home if the leg is still feeling good.

made a dent in lesson 4 tonight, whereupon we began to count as well as buy and wear clothes. i see the ability to assert that I wear the pants coming in handy.

Donde esta mi taco?

Day 5

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 3

Couldn't run or lift legs thanks to the sore knee and with my wrist still not completely healed, there was nothing to do but sleep in again on Friday morning. Then after a jam-packed work day, with emails pouring in until the very last minute, we hurried to pick up the rental car, packed and headed out for the weekend. by the time we arrived, we were starving and taco night, complete with margaritas and other fun beverages, immediately began. So yet again, no structured relaxing or learning. but it's hard to feel guilty about missing my goals first because of socializing with co-workers and then with rarely seen family.


Day 4

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 3

Thursday conspired against me. I slept in then went for a run. while i planned to run longer since i had the morning free, the ache in my foot, shin and knee told me to turn around and make it 3. i blame this on the yoga, which seems like a good idea, stretching and all that, but actually puts additional stress on my knee in strange ways. so i wasn't going to make it a priority to do yoga that day.

i had the morning off because of a staff day, when we officially closed and instead met up for a BBQ in the morning and headed over to a Phillies game in the afternoon. the weather was perfect, everyone was in good spirits and it was a great day. and of course beers were drunk. having two beers was the only thing that made sitting in the nosebleed section not paralyzingly terrifying! so while it was still early by the time i arrived home, i was suffering from that "i drank in the daytime" lethargy that was in no way conducive to learning a second language. somehow i managed to finish the book of the week (strong indication of how good it was), but that took all the energy i could muster and it was an ER evening the rest of the way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

de nada

Day 3

Yoga - 3
Spanish - 3

RJC wanted to grab a beer after work. of course i was game but had serious concerns about the effect it would have on my motivation. We went to Headhouse, formerly Zot, which has sooo much potential that is sooo being wasted. huge bottle selection, 20 taps, but suffering from a massive identity crisis (sushi?)? we thoroughly enjoyed our beers and chatting with the bartenders and will likely continue to go back...for as long as it lasts.

so anyway, one (22 oz) beer later, i get home, drink a few glasses of water and dive into some yoga. nothing exciting, no complaints, just some general good feeling about sticking to my goals despite a potential detour.

not much Spanish tonight. just enough to finish lesson 3. if i can complete lesson 4 tomorrow, i'll be through unit 1!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

buzz off

Day 2

Yoga - 2
Spanish - 2

it's amazing how a little goal setting can shift a mind. for the first time in the nearly 3 years i've worked there, i "accidentally" forgot my work phone on my desk tonight. it was one of those afternoons of meetings after meetings following meetings after which some urgent last minute business took me to 5:30. at which time i shut down and gtfo. wasn't until i was on the bus and about to do my first of many compulsive blackberry checks that i realized said blackberry was not in my bag. i'm ashamed to admit that i had a moment of panic and very nearly went back. but i didn't, and made it home with plenty of time to spare for worthy pursuits.

shit got real in Spanish tonight. i had to disable the voice recognition or risk throwing my laptop out the window as it repeatedly buzzed me for mispronouncing "bi". really? then, content made a leap in lesson 3. went from "what is it" to "what are you (he, she, they) doing?". knowing this phrase would be so much more relevant to me if i knew the words for "the hell". RS really should include a cursing unit.