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“…at the deepest level all any of us really want is to be validated, is to be seen, to be met fully, to have our experience held and contained by another. It sounds so simple, but in practice is in fact a revolution.

“We long to somehow receive permission to be what we are, for another to understand how we are organizing our experience, for another to somehow be willing to enter into a burning love – field with us, without needing us to be different, to be ‘cured,’ or even to heal. when we are truly met, when our organization is fully validated by another, a very organic process of healing is initiated  one that does not come from us or from our friend who is suffering – but seemingly from some mysterious Other.

“When we allow ourselves to enter deeply into the subjective experience of another – and when they feel us with them inside the cracks and crevices of each and every cell of their heart – love takes over, grace begins to whisper its secrets, and we turn toward home, together.”

Unknown Author


Below is an except from an old Conan O’Brien interview of Louis C.K. which turned out to be one of the best commentaries on the 21st century and a humorous reminder the secret to happiness is gratitude. Enjoy.

Louis CK: Those were simpler times I think. I just feel like, we may be going back to that by the way, but ah, in a way good because when I read things like the foundations of capitalism are shattering I’m like maybe we need that. Maybe we need some time where we’re walking around with a donkey with pots clanking on the sides, ya know.

Conan O’Brien: You think that that would just bring us back to reality.

Louis: Yeah, because everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Like in my lifetime the changes in the world have been incredible. When I was a kid we had a rotary phone. We had a phone you had to stand next to and you had to dial it, (yes) you know. You know, you ever realize how primitive, you’re making sparks in a phone and you actually would hate people with zeros in their numbers ’cause it was more (right) oh, this guy’s got two zeros, screw that guy, why do I wanna, ugh… and then if, if they called and you weren’t home the phone would just ring lonely by itself. And then when, if you wanted money you had to go in the bank for (yes) when it was open for like three hours. You had to stand in line, write yourself a check like an idiot, and then when you ran outta money you just go, well I can’t do any more things now (yeah, right) I can’t do any more things (that’s it, yeah) that was it. And, and, and even if you had a credit card they, the guy’d go ugh and he’d bring out this whole shunk, shunk and he’d write and he’d have to call the president to see if you had any money…..

Conan: It’s all true kids. You had to call the president, yeah. It was rediculous. (yes) Do you feel that we now, in the 21st century, we take technology for granted?

Louis: Well, yeah, ’cause now we live in, in an amazing, amazing world and it’s wasted on the, on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots that don’t care because, this is what people are like now. They got their phone and they’re like eeaagh, it won’t… give it a second! Give it, it’s going to space, would ya give it a second to get back from space, it’s the speed of light, it’s true, it’s true. (yeah) I was on a, I was on an airplane and there was internet, high speed internet on the airplane (yes) that’s the newest thing that I know exists. And I’m sitting on the plane and they go open up your laptop and you can go on the internet and it’s fast and I’m watching YouTube clips it’s amazing. I’m in an airplane and then it breaks down and they apologize the internet is not working and the guy next to me goes psssh this is bull____. Like how quickly the world owes him something (yes) he knew existed only 10 seconds ago (right, right) and on planes….


Flying is the worst one because people come back from flights and they tell you their story and it’s like a horror story. It’s, they act like their flight was like a cattle car in the 40’s in Germany. (yeah) That’s how bad they make it sound (right). They’re like it was the worst day of my life. First of all we didn’t board for 20 minutes (right) and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for 40 minutes. We had to sit there. Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air incredibly like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero? Wow, you’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, oh my God, wow! (yes) you’re flying! You’re, you’re sitting in a chair in the sky (yes, yeah, yeah). But it doesn’t go back a lot. And it smells really. You know, here’s the thing. People like they say there’s delays on flights (yeah) delays really New York to California in 5 hours. That used to take 30 years to do that and a bunch of you would die on the way there and have a baby. You’d be with a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now you watch a movie you and you take a dump and you’re home.

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“Every good relationship between two or more people, whether it is friendship, marriage, or community, creates space where strangers can enter and become friends. Good relationships are hospitable. When we enter into a home and feel warmly welcomed, we will soon realize that the love among those who live in that home is what makes that welcome possible.

“When there is conflict in the home, the guest is soon forced to choose sides. ‘Are you for him or for her?’ ‘Do you agree with them or with us?’ ‘Do you like him more than you do me?’ These questions prevent true hospitality–that is, an opportunity for the stranger to feel safe and discover his or her own gifts. Hospitality is more than an expression of love for the guest.  It is also and foremost an expression of love between the hosts.”

Henri Nouwen

Bread for the Journey

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“In our culture there is a severe illusion about faith, or belief. It is one that has been produced by many centuries of people professing, as a cultural identification, to believe things they do not really believe at all… Thus there arises the misunderstanding that human life is not really governed by belief.

“This is a disastrous error.

“We often speak of people not living up to their faith. But the cases in which we say this are not really cases of people behaving otherwise than they believe. They are cases in which genuine beliefs are made obvious by what people do. We always live up to our beliefs — or down to them, as the case may be. Nothing else is possible. It is the nature of belief.”

Dallas Willard
The Divine Conspiracy

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  • Communication is a dynamic process — it continuously changes, evolves, and moves on
  • Communication is systemic — it occurs in particular situations or systems that influence what and how we communicate and what meanings we attach to messages
  • Communication has two levels of meaning — the content or literal meaning and the relational level which defines each person’s relationship to one another
  • Meanings are created through human interaction with symbols — symbols are abstract, arbitrary, and ambiguous and require mediation and thought with interpretations

Martha tells George that she is worried about her friend. George gives a minimal response cue, saying only, “Oh.” To Martha, this suggests he isn’t interested, because women make and expect more of what Deborah Tannen (1986) calls “listening noises” to signal interest. Yet, if George operates according to norms of masculine speech communities, he is probably thinking that, if Martha wants to tell him something, she will. Masculine rules of speech assume people use talk to assert themselves (Bellinger & Gleason, 1982). Even without much encouragement, Martha continues by describing the tension in her friend’s marriage and her own desire to help. She says, “I feel so bad for Barbara, and I want to help her, but I don’t know what to do.” George then says, “It’s their problem, not yours. Just butt out.” At this, Martha explodes: “Who asked for your advice?” George is now completely confused. He thought Martha wanted advice, so he gave it. She is hurt that George didn’t tune into her feelings. Both are frusterated.

The problem is not so much what George and Martha say and don’t say. Rather, it’s how they interpret each other’s communication–actually, how they misinterpret it, because they fail to understand that each is operating by different rules of talk. George is respecting Martha’s independence by not pushing her to talk. When he thinks she wants advice, he offers it in an effort to help. Martha, on the other hand, wants comfort and a connection with George–that’s her purpose in talking with him. To her, George’s advice seems to dismiss her feelings. He doesn’t offer sympathy, because masculine rules for communication define this as condescending. Yet the feminine speech community in which Martha was socialize taught her that giving sympathy is a way to show support.

Talk about troubles or personal problems, is a kind of interaction in which hurt feelings may result from the contrast between most men’s and women’s rules of communication. Nancy might tell her partner, Craig, that she is feeling down becuase she did not get a job she wanted. In an effort to be supportive, Craig might respond by saying, “You shouldn’t feel bad. Lots of people don’t get jobs they want.” To Nancy this seems to dismiss her feelings–to belittle them by saying lots of people experience her situation. Yet within masculine speech communities, this is a way of showing respect for another by not assuming that she or he needs sympathy.

Now let’s turn the tables and see what happens when Craig feels troubled. When he meets Nancy, Craig is unusually quiet because he feels down about not getting a job offer. Sensing that something is wrong, Nancy tries to show interest by asking, “Are you okay? What’s bothering you?” Craig feels she is imposing and trying to get him to show a vulnerability he prefers to keep to himself. Nancy probes further to show she cares. As a result, he feels intruded on and withdraws further. Then Nancy feels shut out.

But perhaps Craig does decide to tell Nancy why he feels down. After hearing about his rejection letter, Nancy says, “I know how you feel. I felt so low when I didn’t get that position at Datanet.” She is matching experiences to show Crait that she understands his feelings and that he’s not alone. According to the communication rules that Craig learned in a masculine speech community, however, Nancy’s comment about her own experience is an effort to steal the center stage from him and focus on herself.

Julia Wood

Gendered Lives

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“In love hands don’t take, grasp or hold. They caress… In love the mouth does not bite, devour or destroy. It kisses. A kiss is not to take in, but to allow for the full and fearless surrender… Only when men and women give themselves to each other in total surrender, that is, with their whole person for their whole life, can their encounter bear full fruits. When through the careful growth of their relationship men and women have come to the freedom of total disarmament, their giving also becomes forgiving, their nakedness does not evoke shame but desire to share, and their ultimate vulnerability becomes the core of their mutual strenght. New life is born in the state of total vulnerability–this is the mystery of love.”

Henri Nouwen


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“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we love most cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies, the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.

“Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”

Henri Nouwen


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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There‘s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela


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“The great paradox of life is that those who lose their lives will gain them. This paradox becomes visible in very ordinary situations. If we cling to our friends, we may lose them, but if we are nonpossessive in our relationships we will make many friends. If fame is what we seek and desire, it often vanishes as soon as we acquire it, but if we have no need to be known, we might be remembered long after our deaths. When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we often find ourselves in the center.

“Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human acts. This will gain us our lives.”

Henri Nouwen

Bread For The Journey

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