Symbols are living mirrors of the deepest understandings that have no words

“Symbols are living mirrors of the deepest understandings that have no words.”

Mark Nepo, poet and spiritual adviser

Image from Unsplash by Mariano Rivas

My wedding band is one of my most precious possessions. It is the only object I’ve worn every day for over 43 years.

When I look at it daily and spin it around my finger, I feel a deep sense of groundedness.

It is a living mirror of my love and commitment to my wonderful Wendy and the life we have created and shared. It represents the fact that we continue to give ourselves to one another and our ongoing promise to be there in both good and difficult times.

We are each other’s person and it is very comforting to know this.

My ring has been fitting a bit tighter in recent years, and I choose to see it as a tighter hug from the person I love the most.

EXERCISE:

What are the symbols in your life that have the greatest meaning?

What words come close to describing their profound significance and importance?

“To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”

“To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”

Maria Popova, Bulgarian-born, American-based essayist, and poet

Image from Unsplash by Suzana Ruttkay

During the holiday season, many people experience the ritual of gift exchanges in their personal and professional communities.

These days, more and more of us let our fingers do the shopping on our phones and other devices to find that perfect gift without breaking a sweat.

Who are the people in your life that would benefit most from greater understanding and personal connection?

How can you show greater interest, listen more deeply, and more fully honor their thoughts and feelings in your upcoming interactions.

EXERCISE:

In the coming weeks, how will you be extra generous by giving the most personalized gift of your understanding to those you care about most?

Friday Review: Understanding

FRIDAY REVIEW: UNDERSTANDING

What does it mean to truly understand? Here are a few understanding-related posts you may have missed.

 

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

 

 

 

“Help me understand that better.”

 

 

 

 

“Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains.”

“Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains.”

—Rabbi Meir, ancient Jewish Sage

Image from Unsplash by Sharon McCutcheon

In recent weeks, the subject of death has become more prominent than usual in my personal and professional communities.

The focus on being sincerely interested and seeking to fully understand others results in numerous deep and meaningful conversations.

Of particular interest were the beautiful and soulful discussions of how the passing of certain individuals with hearts of gold and other wondrous virtues has impacted the lives of so many.

EXERCISE:

How often do you look beyond the surface of the people you meet?

What value and beauty would you potentially discover by doing so, starting with those closest to you?

“Help me understand that better.”

“Help me understand that better.”

—Author Unknown

Today’s quote can be extremely helpful in the development and enhancement of relationships, especially for men.

A few months ago, I attended a coaching conference. One of the key “conversation starters” was John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

Given the importance of relationships to maximize the benefits of the coaching process, we were “all ears and all in,” seeking greater mastery for ourselves and our clients.

If you are a student of Gray’s work, it is pretty apparent that many men have a limited attention span in certain conversations, and almost always seek to solve or fix problems even when the other party has made no request of them to do so.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would seeking to understand others better make a significant difference in both your professional and personal relationships?

A Point of View Can Be a Dangerous Luxury

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

—Marshall McLuhan, 20th Century Canadian Professor

Image of a messy drawer

Image from Unsplash by Ashim D’Silva

Most people generally prefer order to chaos. We tend to like thing organized neatly, whether it be our closets, our files, and in the case of today’s quote, our minds.

When we take in information and experiences, we like to put them into neat piles based on previous knowledge. We categorize them by varying points of view on what is right or wrong, good or bad.

When you hear those around you – or maybe even yourself – saying, “I Know,” it often means they or you have stopped listening or closed their mind to alternative insights and perspectives.

EXERCISE:

With whom and on what issues have you developed a point of view that is holding you back in either your personal or professional communities?

“I wonder how many people…”

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”

-John Steinbeck, American Author

Image from differencebetween.info

Image from differencebetween.info

 

What is the difference between looking at something, and truly seeing it?

Whether it’s a painting or a person, my sense is that the differences can be great or small, considering the circumstance.

Great art, and in the case of today’s quote, the art of relationship creation and sustainability, requires a level of mastery seldom available to the paint-by-number novice.

EXERCISE:

Where can you place the time and effort to gain the depth of connection, cooperation, and collaboration you desire in your professional and personal lives, through more seeing and less looking?