Tag Archives: gratitude

What if you didn’t view conflicts as a problem?

You could view conflict as a sign that someone or something is wrong. That attitude makes conflict something to avoid and the solution would seem to be to control the other person or people.

Or you could see conflict as natural, occurring because people care. Something that can be handled. And if handled by “win-win” methods, conflict can be enriching and can help create new ways to cooperate.

In a conflict, it’s important to see what you have in common. If nothing else, we’re all human. Stay connected to the other person’s humanity.

That was one eye-opening message I took home from the first night of a 6-week course being taught by Kit Miller and Malik Thompson from the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester.

It’s so easy to see conflict as a problem. It mucks things up, right? But how much happier life could be if we can see someone’s contrary view as a sign that he or she really cares about the issue. Look for each person’s underlying needs. Assume we can find a way to meet them that serves both of us.

The course: Nonviolent Communication, an approach and training created by American psychology Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.  (1934-2015). Special thanks to First Unitarian Church of Rochester for hosting the classes.

lesstupid

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Being grateful, Good ideas, Learning

Beautiful blue

Blue, I say.

That’s my favorite color.

Like water. Like sky. Like water reflecting sky.

Image

Not sadness.

Harmony.

Image

Image

Image

Today’s blog post brought to you by the color blue.

Seagull/sky photo by Tim Farnum. Other photos by Chris Swingle Farnum.

Leave a comment

Filed under Being grateful

Why I like writing

This week I interviewed a local artist about how she is evolving into a consultant. I created a text story and a viImagedeo for the Rochester Professional Consultants Network e-newsletter, which publishes at the end of this month.

As we talked about her unusual art form and about the artisans group she created, I was reminded why I enjoy my professional writing career.

I get to meet and interview fascinating people who do interesting work and have intriguing ideas. I have the privilege of telling their story so that others get to know them. And as in this case, when the person reads the story and says it’s exactly right, I have the satisfaction of a job well done.

Every story, just like every person, is unique. I appreciate that my writing work enables me to continue to  learn and grow.

August 2013 RPCN newsletter (including the article about artist Stefani Tadio), and video.

1 Comment

Filed under Being grateful, My freelance writing

Sharing beauty

The beauty of nature begs to be shared.

The gardens at the George Eastman House, Rochester NY.

The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.

Gorgeous flowers at Cornell Plantations in   Ithaca, NY.

(Updated:) I shared these photos (on handmade notecards and matted and ready to frame) at the Metro Justice Alternative Fair, held annually on a Friday night and Saturday at the beginning of December.

For other Farnum Fotos images, see www.farnums.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Being grateful, Good news

Moments of delight

I’m grateful for the delight that small things can bring. Just in the past few days:

I’ve watched a butterfly flutter among purple flowers on my butterfly bush.

My family and I biked along Lake Ontario and enjoyed  beautiful sights. (Did you know that the bike path along the Lake Ontario State Parkway goes through nice wooded sections?) This pond is across from Durand Eastman Park.

Kids always bring a fresh perspective. I enjoyed seeing my nephew explore what happens when  you throw a rock into the lake. Plunk! (Where  did it go?)

I stop for farm stands. I love getting fresh fruits and vegetables right from the source. I love the simple stands with the hand-written price signs and an honor-system jar or box where you leave your money.

I hadn’t seen a silver dollar plant since my youth. But they appeared in my garden this year, probably planted by a bird. Last night, I was reminded how to slide the thin seed pod covers off to reveal the silvery circles.

How many of those round black seeds do you think two stalks of the plant contained? My son counted. I’ll let you guess. Then I’ll post the answer later. Prize offer: Closest guess without going over can have the seeds!

Photo: all of the seeds in a baby food jar.

Best delight of all: Carving out time to notice simple joys.

5 Comments

Filed under Being grateful

Millions of heartbeats per year

Put your hand over your heart.

Each beat that you feel requires tissue-paper-thin membranes to open and close. The heart valves regulate the flow of blood, millions of times per year. The movement of the valves creates the sound of the heartbeat.

But when a medical professional with a stethoscope to your chest hears an extra sound – a lingering noise like the sound of scraping your fingernails along a tablecloth, rather than the distinct lub-dub sound – you have a heart murmur.

My mom’s murmur was caused by a leaky mitral valve, which separates the upper and lower left chambers of the heart. This inflow valve has two flaps that open to let blood flow into the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. Then the valve is supposed to close to keep blood from leaking backward when that lower ventricle squeezes the oxygenated blood out to the whole body.

(You can hear the sound of so-called Acute Mitral Regurgitation here, courtesy of the University of Michigan Medical School. Listen to the fourth one on the page: http://www.med.umich.edu/lrc/psb/heartsounds/index.htm)

Some people with a defective valve feel fatigue, exhaustion, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or have a cough (especially when lying  down). My mom didn’t have any clear symptoms. But leaky mitral valves tend to get worse. Over time, echocardiograms showed that her leak had become significant. Untreated, the valve problem could cause heart failure or serious heart rhythm problems.

It’s scary to face open-heart surgery, to know you’ll be put to sleep, your chest sliced open, your ribs broken, your heart intentionally stopped and sliced into. It’s hard to believe that a heart-lung machine can keep your blood flowing while the surgeon and team do exacting work with Gore-Tex suture – the same kind of material as in specialized outdoor clothing. This form of “expanded” Teflon has tiny pores that allow human tissue to grow into it without forming scar tissue.

People asked who was doing my mom’s surgery. “Oh, he’s good,” they said. One physician from a different specialty at the same hospital added, “They’re all good. They’re like God on earth.”

I’ve interviewed surgeons and other medical professionals over years of writing about health as a journalist. This week I’m newly appreciative of their skill and care.

I’m grateful for successful surgery yesterday and good hospital care. I was so glad to be able to see my Mom walk a lap – slowly, gripping a walker — around the nurses’ station today.

I’m grateful for her much better chance at many more healthy years.

I hope you’re sleeping well tonight, Mom.

6 Comments

Filed under Being grateful

An elderly woman’s last taxi ride

Life is a series of small moments. Don’t miss them in a rush to focus on the Next Big Thing you think you have to do. (I’m as guilty as anyone. My “to do” list is way too long.)

I’m so glad that a friend shared on Facebook this sweet and sad essay about an elderly woman’s last taxi ride:

http://www.brooklynyid.com/2009/12/31/the-taxi-ride/

I like its lesson:

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware — beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

2 Comments

Filed under Being grateful