The cosmic classroom

My mother always said that the universe constantly reflects what we need to learn. I never listened or gave it much thought, until recently.

Its taken me a while to write this modules blog. Not because I’ve fallen into my usual style of procrastination, but rather to coin a phrase used often in class, “avoid the elephant in the room”. So thank you to the previous brave blogger for mentioning what has been center stage in my yet to be freed mind the past two weeks. The student protests, a raw example of people not listening and people not being heard. Ah! Lesson learnt you might cry, but there is more….

My daughter bit my head off the other morning. It came from nowhere. The encounter was brief, yet caustic and it left me reeling in a wake of destruction. Never under estimate the stealth and accuracy of a 16 year old with something to say. When I enquired whether she thought that was an effective way of communicating she retorted by saying, “you never listen anyway”! Imagine my dismay. I thought I had a handle on this facilitation stuff…

She also says I exaggerate. Me? Never!

PS:

To the universe:

WHY.. OH.. WHY do we have to be the group to follow group 9 and their dynamic presentation on “freeing the mind”?

Reply from the universe:

Take a deep breath in and bring to mind an image of endless rolling fields of green…

Oh yes… and don’t forget to breathe out!

Listening…an attitude

Today was actually quite an amazing “lecture” and I put this word in inverted commas, because this class is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had in life. It is not like any other lecture I’ve had in my time at Wits, in fact it is not like a lecture.

Ok, now back to listening…

So today when we paired up in groups of two doing the learning exercise, something amazing happened. Just as Ros said it should be and made it out to be. You know when you listen you actually hear so much more, without interrupting the next person trying to know their problems better than they do. So, I paired with a man who was way older than me. I estimate a 15 year difference between us and I was really not too happy about this, because I also did not know him at all. I always decide whom I share my personal life with and who I let in, but I’ve come to truly learn the true meaning of listening through this. Well, I wasn’t going to start sharing my business with him though he was willing to and so went first. I just had to hear what he was going to say so I could get the importance behind the exercise and so decided that I am going to listen attentively and be completely blank. I think I was also very reluctant in the beginning, because I had to do this with a male person and we know how “tough” and “macho” they like to act and as a result of this assumption I did not think we would really get the importance, because he might not be willing to open up to a little girl and I am very shy.

BUT, this man immediately started telling me about things that were very very personal. I was so shocked. I decided to just stay calm and listen and allow him to let me in. And this would have only happened as it was a two-way thing. It was beautiful what had happened and I can honestly still not believe what I had heard. The man is actually a hero in my eyes, even though he felt that he has lived his life from end to beginning which completely screwed him. But I think he has achieved much and wish he could only see himself the way I did from what I have heard.

I believe that is how our relationship started…

 

Improving relationships with others- factual communication is key

10 September 2016

Today we learned of the importance of factual feedback. And this would be something like “it upsets me when you come back home late”, instead of “it upsets me when you act disrespectfully” after your child arrived after curfew. This I have learned is very important, since we do not always know people’s motives for doing certain things. Your child could have arrived after dinner, because he/ she may have been injured on the way back home or even with our spouses’ behaviours. I always say things like these to my partner which always hurts him and I end up looking like a fool, because it is never true and so I am honestly willing to try using factual information rather than making up my own assumptions. It is quite true what Ros said during class; what we cannot see is not factual, for instance other people’s motives and feelings, etc. what we see (verbs- doing word) are facts.

The decision spiral followed after this which has taught us that making assumptions is not always as bad as we might think. I had to discard of the “Assumptions make an ass of u and me” “principle” as certain situations through logic can be interpreted as they really are.

Bottom line of today’s lessons: factual feedback helps build relationships by only speaking of what you see and not adding what is unseen and is most probably never true. Assumptions are necessary
to a certain extent…

I’m just wondering as I’m writing here of what will come of this. Cannot wait to actually try it out, though I feel it is just going to be tough 😀

Seeing with new eyes

A job well down to this group. I really loved the pictures they gave us especially the one i thought looked like Jesus while others thought it was sheep, houses or trees.

Its fascinating how we see different things but at the same time we were all correct. It is only when you take a closer look that you begin to see what someone else sees. This is what happens sometimes in life , we go about so stuck up in our point of views that mentally we block ourselves from taking that extra look and hopefully learn something new.

From the presentation, i have learnt that if you want to learn more about yourself and other people always allow yourself to see with new eyes. When you know everything you refuse your brain to learn anything else new. As Ros once said “At high school they feed you information which you just have to offload on examination day (paraphrased) so your brain is still in the comfort zone. But when you come to a facilitation class your brain is stretched and it explores different angles. Its not always about having just the right answer to a question , its also the possibility that they maybe many answers to that same question if you choose to explore them.

Failing Forward ….hmmmm

The fear of failing has always kept me in my comfort zone.Who would have thought that you fail “forward”. Clearly i have a long way to go because my mind has been so caught up in thinking that failure is going backwards.Like wasting time. But in this class i have come to realise that not taking risks is actually far worse. I am so used to playing it safe and knowing i am in control of every situation that i have not allowed myself to try new things or explore what life has to offer. I am so worried about my security and future that sometimes i limit my dreams.

Just because i tried something once and it did not work out , i just gave up. But now i am beginning to learn that in everything there is a season and a time and that when you think you failed sometimes it just means get up and do better. Rejection is not the end of the world, when you have a dream keep persevering until you live it.Fail forward.It is painful because i am my biggest critique but baby steps…

I will not be hard on myself anymore (that is i will try), but all the times i have wasted beating myself up about it instead of strategising was actually the real failure. My biggest lesson now is that i can not control everything but i can chose how i behave or respond when things seem to be falling apart or not going according to my perfect plan.

Failing forward – a real life lesson

The group presentation on failing forward is one that has stuck in my mind for weeks and I was lucky to find real life evidence of how failing forward can actually happen, and surprise you.

I went on a work trip where I visited a lodge in Northern KZN where we met a spectacular tour guide called Gibson. He looks about 50-years-old, but is actually 67 and very reluctant to retire. Gibson Mkhize grew up in a village that is now located in the isiMangaliso National Park and when he left school he went off to work as a petrol attendant in Germiston. His plan was to make enough money to be able to help his village, but after years of working in Gauteng he returned with very little after being retrenched.

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“I failed dismally,” he told us.

But he actually hadn’t. At over 50, he started a new career as a tour guide and it turned out this was his true calling. Through the people he met on tours he was able to help build a new school, get books and bags for the kids and has gotten many young locals employed at the lodge. Gibson is the best real-life example of someone failing forward. He also showed me that it is never too late to start over!

UBUNTU – umuntu ngu muntu nga bantu! honouring the difference

Honouring the difference – 13 August 2016

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I really enjoyed this week’s group presentation!

What was my biggest AHA?

I realized how important it is and crucially beneficial that I am not only aware of the role I play in society and how who I choose to be affects the people around me that may be positively or negatively. Knowing me helps me to know you better. Once I am comfortable in my own skin.

What questions do I still have?

I would like to know how I can use these tools effectively in my family. Everything that I am learning is for my “betterment”, I would like my close friends and family to also experience this. So that we call all live together in perfect harmony.

Finally the Song! so look to your left say how do you do.. look to your right… #singing