Every so often I get the opportunity to witness real, no hold's barred love. Whether it is the love between a child and a parent, the love between friends, the love between siblings, or the romantic love that forms between two people that have made up their minds that they will spend their lives together; it is actually all good!
People like to talk about the human condition as though it's shaped by only pain and loss. We hold up the tragedy as though it is the most essential narrative that humanity has to offer. Here is my rebuttal...
From a psychological perspective, pretty much all animal life has an innate ability to be aggressive. If you put the cutest puppy in the wrong situation, you get an aggressive dangerous animal that has no choice but to follow it's fight-or-flight instincts. When you move to higher order mammals, you begin to find the ability to seemingly emotionally bond with other animals. Going back to the puppy example, a dog seems to have the ability to see other dogs, and other animals as worth protecting, and even seems to enjoy contact with other animals.
Here is the funny thing about it. When you come down to it, other animals [with the exception of higher primates, dolphins and whales.... maybe....] use simple metrics in order to define their bonds. It is all about conditioning. Who does a dog bond with, it bonds with the person who feeds and protects it. Simple as that... So why all the talk about dogs, when I'm arguing that Love is human. Well, here it is... Humans have all the same cognitive structures as dogs, cats, fish and whatever else has something of a brain. We have just added on to it. And our big add is our frontal lobe. That's where we house our executive function, our ability to reason. And the core of executive function is the ability to choose based on reason, instead of based on emotions.
This means, while we are affected by the same instincts as other animals. We can choose to not follow them. So just because someone feeds and protects you, you don't have to love that person. Love is a choice. And when, in a world where the very action of loving another opens a person to tragedy of loss, people still choose to open themselves to loving another in the most foolish and beautiful way, I can not help but be grateful for the privilege of baring witness.
I'm Grateful for Love!
Just a Thought... #CarryOn
Keeping it simple tonight folks. Empathy is a type of insight into the feelings of others. Through observation and interaction, one might not only become aware of another's feelings. One might move beyond awareness and begin to, in a limited fashion, begin to vicariously experience another's emotional state.
Now, this is not telepathy or some other paranormal phenomenon. We can use the same mechanism in order to become immersed in the emotions of a song or story.
Today was not the best day, however various people and K9's used empathy to understand that. Which led to kind words and poitive energy.
Today I am grateful for Empathy.
Just a Thought... #carryon
Today I had brunch with my lady. We went to a place called the Oakland Grill that we have not been before. Gotta say, it was a good find. It is a chill atmosphere with great service and there wasn't a wait. Now don't worry, this is not an advertisement, but it is a positive review. The food was great. I had a dungeness crab omelet with spinach, peppers, and potatoes. My coffee mug stayed full and my plate ended up getting scraped clean... And yep, I would have licked it, if I wasn't trying to be all proper and stuff.
So here is the point. All of the things that I described above were great, but the most awesome thing was that I got to spend the morning with the most important person in my life, and we were not interrupted by having a mediocre meal and bad service.
This morning, I'm grateful for good food...
Just a Thought... #CarryOn
Today I was able to have breakfast with one of my mentors and his wife. There are really very few things that I enjoy more than sitting with one of my mentors and talking to him or her about life, career, and how good the eggs are. It really does not matter what the topic is, I always take something good away from these interactions. Today was no different.
You know, there are many different models for mentoring. Some are short term, and only help folks move from one transition to the next. While others may be impersonal and focused on professional interactions. The model that I have been brought up in is familial. Not in the sense of giving family titles like "work mom" or "kinship group," but more in the actual familial bond. When I spend time around the circles of people with whom I share mentors, it's like being at a family reunion. And the social support that I get from my mentor family is as real as it gets.
Having breakfast today was like a booster shot. It reminded me that I have a whole lot of people that care about me and want the best. From biological family to the family that I picked and who have picked me. It's all good, and I couldn't be more thankful.
I'm grateful for mentors!
Just a Thought... #CarryOn
Today I started the day off by preparing for a multicultural training. I love doing these, as they give me the opportunity to really witness growth in others, as well as feel myself growing as well. It is satisfying, in that building multicultural competence is not an easy thing. It is like an obstacle course with pitfalls and walls, and that cool zip-line thing. I get to watch while people challenge themselves in the most dangerous way, as in order to really work on your multicultural competence one must become open to the idea that you're reality is not actually reality. You have to be willing to see yourself as a full character. You can't just be the hero or the villain. You have to accept that there is a duality in your existence. In fact there is a multiplicity to your existence that is complex and interwoven with the multiplicity of the existences of the people around you. And then you have to begin the process of being mindful of how those complex existences are affected by the relationships that we all have to power and privilege. Basically, its not easy...
But here I am, just after finishing another training, amazed that folks would willingly put themselves through that crucible and then come back for more.
I'm grateful for open minds!
Just a thought... #CarryOn
So, I think that making gratitude lists is such a good practice that, My challenge for you is to write down one thing that you are grateful for each day!