TED Conversations

Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

Part II: When, How and Why have your most strongly held views changed?

A week ago I asked How, When and Why people have changed strongly held beliefs.

The answers were exceedingly rich, even as they were given embodied both personal and interpersonal examples of lived and, indeed “living,” in-situ transformations. Far from detached or observational, discussants expressed deep nuance about themselves and persistently engaged with others of diverse ages, perspectives and geographies in vibrant co-reflections.

There were, as human conversations go, divergences and occasional disagreements. These and the sustained connective momentum throughout the thread demonstrated energy and passion for the topic – and, in many ways, each other as co-stakeholders of sorts in mutual self- and other discoveries.

As these unfolded seeds of this follow-up question were planted and coaxed. A call to continue, perhaps even deepen, the dialogue was made.

So, lets.

To orient this phase, consider these questions:

1. If you engaged in or observed the first conversation: Did your view of changes you’ve made evolve in any way due to the discussion? If so, what was the impact of others’ voices you heard in the conversation on your changed views?
2. How, when and why do we notice our truths converging with others? And conversely: how, when and why do we notice our truths diverging from others?
3. How can self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all?

I’m eager to see where this “go-deeper” conversation goes.

Many thanks, again!
Andrea

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Closing Statement from Andrea Morisette Grazzini

When I posed this question I expected the momentum of the original conversation would carry-over a multidimensional chorus of "inner-voices," as participant Lindsay referred to it. Momentum was certainly achieved.

What of it was constructive is more complicated to discern.

Of the three questions I posed to orient the topic #2 elicited the most visible energy. What came though clearly was the effect of reactivity as a powerful conversational contagion. In this case, translated by much difference and divergence.

The evidence of this lies mostly in what can’t be seen.

First is the absence of numerous comments that no longer remain, traces of which are hinted at only by notations they have been “Removed.” These dialogic divergences featured escalating exchanges that catalyzed more, devolving into various and accumulating personal disparagements.

Second is the absence of unknowable comments. One wonders what might have been offered, were it not for ever-present off-topic tensions.

At several turning points various participants engaged with some success to redirect to the topic. As they did new, richly textured voices offered stories and fresh perspectives on how change has and can occur in transformative ways for themselves and with others.

By the broadest definition: what remains, what’s been retracted and what hasn’t been said all amount to relational change.

It’s critical to note which have been reductive, rather than constructive to the ideals of the conversation. Herein lie complicated answers that are perhaps nearly as powerful as those so clearly expressed.

I'm grateful for those who persisted by modeling, inviting and engaging with diverse, dimensional dialogues here. Their presence was a powerful example of how counter-contagions of support can scaffold shared ideals and intent when unproductive behaviors threaten to topple progress. And give example to constructivist-style, dynamically construed paths to new views.

Andrea

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    May 4 2011: It's always interesting to read what other people think/believe about a particular subject and how they react/respond to it. What makes it interesting, first off, is the degree of one's openness and acceptance of another's point of view (POV) and more importantly the degree of attachment to one's OWN POV.

    Depending on this, mostly I notice my own "truth" converging with others when I find that their POV is on the same lines as mine, if not on the exact same track. (THAT would make me lu-hurv the other person!). Conversely the divergence happens when either the POV is different from mine or the conversation that starts in my head is "this guy/woman is out to get me and prove me wrong" - i.e. when I perceive a threat to me/my POV. The underlying belief has to do with the human (crazy) penchant for right/wrong; is/isn't; should/shouldn't, etc. This, of course, could start a whole new debate about "THE Truth", therefore I shall move on to the next point :D

    From where I stand - self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- CAN be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all. This can happen on the fertile ground of maturity, self belief and high self -esteem. Even if we go back to Richard Berne - I'm OK, you're OK does lay the ground for the above. Maturity allows for an expanded horizon and the ability to look at multiple POVs. Self belief allows for putting forth one's own POV with conviction and relate it to other POVs in-depth. High self esteem allows for being able to accept that a) my POV isn't the only one; b) My POV holds lesser depth than another's and c) If I let go of my POV, it doesn't mean I'm small or stupid.
    Once these 3 are in place, that's when my listening becomes keener, my analysis deeper and my application more authentic, thereby making the discovery lasting and meaningful for myself - and if I can share it - for others.

    That is MY POV. Interested in what others have to say.
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      May 4 2011: Very well said Shaluu:>)
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        May 4 2011: Shaluu,

        This so nicely articulates, to use your lovely phrase, "an expanded horizon" POV.

        And I think maturity is a good way of identifying the level of character development that allows interpersonal change to to be co-produced. That said, I have a preference for the term wisdom.

        My reasoning here is that maturity is often associated with adulthood and age -- something that can be attained fairly easily and chronologically. Maybe even something assumed with both.

        Wisdom, on the other hand, doesn't confer age as much capacities for empathy, insight and the ability to embrace complexities of self/other. Certainly life experience, education, etc. often weaves into ones font of wisdom, and yet don't we all sometimes witness exceeding wisdom among children, people of little education or even narrow life experience.? Wisdom it seems, in my mind, somewhat more natural, less linear.

        I'd add that intentionally seeking maturity is one way to practice wisdom. Speaking for myself, when I've fallen flat on my face for some untoward or immature act it is a good reminder for me that I need to mind my maturity ideals. Wisdom, I think, would lead me to forgive (or even chuckle) at my mistake if it was unintentional, if nothing else, so I don't fall apart from the guilt of knowing I've failed again. Wisdom, then, allows both self and other move forward in constructive ways.

        To bring this back to your comment and go somewhat beyond, can you isolate any specific story that leads you to your POV here?

        Andrea
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          May 4 2011: @ Andrea RE" Wisdom, then, allows both self and other move forward in constructive ways.

          the way you have framed that is such a handy useful daily in the moment guide to measure our own thoughts words and eeds..in the moment..and hopefully before we speak, even as we frame ourselves to listenn.
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          May 5 2011: Thanks Andrea, and yes, Wisdom would be a richer expression than Maturity. It encompasses what I'm saying and is not limited by demographics :)

          And there are so many incidents that converge to lead me to my POV here. Let me pick a few -
          I've a passion for photography and in my earlier Avatar where I wasn't good enough, one critical word from someone was enough for me to pack my camera in and not click anything for months together. I would also pick up a fight with/isolate myself from the individual. Then, as wisdom, self belief and self esteem came in, I saw that i'm listening to their POV on my photographs and giving them my take on why my photograph was shot the way it was. I also saw that I'm taking their feedback and trying it out the next time. If I like the result, I'm tucking that away in my long term memory. If I don't like the result, I'm going back to my own method!
          In the last organization where I worked, a colleague and I would be at loggerheads most of the time. One day invited her to hash it out and we discovered a mutual love for flawless, quality results. We agreed to complement each other's strengths and to agree to disagree where it mattered. Most importantly, we chose to drop our pre-conceived conversations about each other and ours became a team that delivered in any circumstance!
          Another one has to do with an acquaintance of mine. She and i share mutual friends. In my POV she has an issue with anyone who she perceives to have authority. According to my friend, she's just someone who's vulnerable and therefore abrupt. I used to get very annoyed with her and since looking at her world from my friend's POV, I see myself as accepting her the way she is and the way she's not. I'm also calmer now when she shoots off her mouth and don't react as I used to earlier. This gets her to calm down when she's around me now!

          So all in all, I see higher productivity and better relationships when we accept multiple TRUTHs and allow our POVs to be malleable.
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        May 5 2011: Thanks Colleen :)
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      May 4 2011: Thank you Shalu..hadn't seen this when I responded above to Richard saying the same thing ( but not so eloquently as you have here). I believe that closed systems of exchange ..systems where people talk within a community of shared vaues or beliefs) are a great danger to freedom and growth and to a healthy vibrant community. The more we interact with others, especiallyothers who don't share our views, the more we grow to a higher ground that is about himanity..alabout living from and into all we say we believe about respect, compassion, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Thank you Shalu
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        May 5 2011: Thanks Lindsay. I agree with your "the more we interact with others, especially others who don't share our views, the more we grow to a higher ground..." comment.
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      May 1 2011: I agree Pabitra, there are so many things in the life experience that cannot be analyzed, dissected, or understood logically that are so precious. We sometimes fail to see the beauty and joy all around us...the smile of a child...hug of a friend, joy, laughter, that are so important and valuable in our lives. Listening to our heart and letting go of the mind chatter that usually tries to put things in a logical order, is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others.

      I'm curious...with your life as it is now...listening to the heart ...do you still see a reason and purpose?
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          May 1 2011: Hello Balanced Friend:>)
          I don't think we ever need to give up anything to embrace change. That is one of the fears people sometimes have about change. As you insightfully point out, we can use our emotions, rationality, and logic skills in a different way:>) I LOVE your statement: "I still see reason and purpose in many things as much as I do not see reason and purpose in many things too". Makes me smile and touches my heart:>)
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          May 2 2011: yes.. Ithink that what you refer to as balance, Pabrita, is the same thing I mean when I speak of an alinement of heart, mind and will...that they are all working ttigether as a team harnessed to something menaingful and worthy...not striggling and ocmpoeting with one another. I think these moment sof insight people have shared in Part I and here are jjust that..an alinement of heart mind and will that for once gives the inner voice a chance to speak and for once be heard...
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          May 1 2011: Nice insightful story Pabitra. So, you gave up your diary (written memories), which is precious, and you still had/have the precious memories of life experiences in your heart?

          Reminds me of how I felt at the time of my near fatal head injury. One day, I was a competitive athlete, performer, mother, sister, daughter, very active member of the community, etc. etc., and then I was in a child like state emotionally and physically.
          There was certainly fear, and the recollection of how I was prior to the accident. Those precious memories are still part of my life, which has evolved in different ways. I embraced the changes, realizing that I wasn't giving anything up, while moving in another direction.
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          May 1 2011: Pabitra--

          I'm glad you've taken the liberty for telling your story. Such a vivid picture it paints!

          What immediately comes to me is a sense of both permanence and impermanence. That your journal was your permanence, in a sense, perhaps. And that in leaving it behind you were forced to leave a part of your permanence behind. Taking it further, if it should ever be returned to you perhaps this would suggest an unseen permanence -- not by presence but by "perseverance" of the journal to "survive" and be reunited with you, so to speak.

          Three things in the words of your mentor echo for me.

          One is this possibility of moving into a state of impermanence with the material expression of your words with the journal. The second is the possibility, perhaps exceedingly unlikely given the conditions, but (...) that the journal might be found by another, who finds in your words some connection to the permanence they offer. And the third relates to your mentors mention of need. Perhaps your need at that time was to be less distracted by personal thoughts and more focused on the survival of your and your men.

          As a "thinker" and writer this last one is the hardest for me to willingly embrace. And yet I see parallels in your story that relate to times I was forced to abandon time for reflection or writing, only to find there was great need I wouldn't have otherwise noticed to be physically and mentally present to "do" in important ways.

          You've reminded me of how these unbidden times provide needed transitions I wouldn't otherwise make.

          Thank you,

          Andrea
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      May 1 2011: pabitra..I am interested in your story of change and am gratfeul you have shared it. Could you feel it beuildingin you..did you have a sense of growing mis alinement between the core of you and how you were living into the world? Or was there one big moment where it all just came into focus .?
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          May 1 2011: I HAVE EDITED THIS COMMENT TO RESPECT PARTICIPANT DEBRA.

          The volume of focus on processing with others here is off-topic. While there are parts that relate to the intent of my questions these are deeply clouded by extraneous perseverations.

          Please yield space so others can share and converse about transformations.
          And please refrain from clarifications of others' comments.

          Powerful epiphanies as those processed here can be exceedingly complicated. The act of experiencing them can temporarily deplete energies. To nurture growth it's useful to give space to breathe and rest in quiet reflection.

          Though Debra's contributions are not visible, they none-the-less are of significant value and importance. I appreciate and respect them.

          Andrea
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          May 2 2011: Happy to oblige.
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      May 1 2011: fascinating and a generous share..until your epiphany..did you track it back to the suicide? ( did you make one of those pacts we make..I promiseI'll..." or did you just make the connection as part of the epiphany?). I am asking because I often find the pre cursor to this kind of epiphany is a growing uneasiness with what I have been doing or how I have been doing it ( my inner voice trying to get me to listen) and then boom it comes in a flash and often connects back to a very specific moment or event in my life. That is what my own expereince has been that I was not aware that the incident or event had created a change or adpation in me until the big epiphany connects it all up..and in that moment..poof it is gone truly gone..gone forever..fresh slate.Do you think the TED Converstaion shave somehow stirred the pot and brought this to ight for you?I have appreciated your courtesy and we must never give up being polite..in the sense of courteous and respectfuland civil..I have appreciated your questions and comments to others which mostly try to build the conversation, bring out the commenters point a little more..raerley ( I think maybe never) to "showcase" your own ideas.These are all very important contributions to what this venue is supposed to be about. I hope your epihany does not mean we will see less of you here at TED.
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      May 1 2011: nicely put. however, beware not to swing too much to the other side. now here would come some bubbling about type-I and type-II errors, but i'll cut that.
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          May 1 2011: I agree that Debra's sharing of her epiphany ( which took courage..especially the context that emerged here as tangent off the main theme) was very much on topic and made an important contribution to the .conversation Andrea has invited us to have..but it seems these old unresolved personal issues..which I feel strongly have no place in TED conversations have crept back in. I would very much appreciate it if you two could have this conversation in another context. If you read the whole record on this part II it is shambles..Debra's personal comments still left hanging there even though all other comments related to that were courteously removed. It's not a good record and it really overshadows the exploration of the very powerful stories shared in Part I and conti uing here.
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    Apr 29 2011: Hello Andrea,
    My perception of life is an adventurous exploration, so I feel like I am constantly changing and growing.The greatest change happened 21 years ago. My mother died, I ended 24 years of marriage, 3 months later was diagnosed with cancer, the next month sustained a near fatal head injury while horseback riding. I was not expected to live, and when I did, was not expected to function "normally" again. Five months after the head/brain injury and craniotomy, I had surgery to remove the cancer...then my father died. My life was a whirlwind of emotions. My partnership of 24 years was ended and I was living alone, which I had never done in my life. The body was challenged in many ways, and I wasn't sure how the brain was functioning. How would I live the rest of my life?

    I experienced many changes in my views of life, and probably the most significant change for me, was learning more about my physical and emotional strengths, and the love and support of so many people in my life. I learned more about the meaning of life and my participation in the process.

    I did not participate in this discussion previously, but will attempt to answer your questions above.
    2. We notice our truths converging with others when we are open to that possibility. With an open heart
    and mind, we "feel" whether we are converging or diverging, and we make a choice.
    3. Discussions, whether in agreement or disagreement, can be meaningful and productive, when participants
    really listen and engage without expectations or attachment to a particular outcome.
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        Apr 29 2011: Dear Pabitra,
        Thank you so much dear friend...your comment brings tears to my eyes. If the only thing I accomplish in my life is to help inspire others, then the challenges have all been worthwhile:>)
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        Apr 29 2011: Thanks Pabitra...recieved it with appreciation:>)
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      Apr 30 2011: RE:2. We notice our truths converging with others when we are open to that possibility. With an open heart
      and mind, we "feel" whether we are converging or diverging, and we make a choice.
      3. Discussions, whether in agreement or disagreement, can be meaningful and productive, when participants
      really listen and engage without expectations or attachment to a particular outcome. ..colleeen thank you for this
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    TED 10+

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    May 2 2011: We have removed several threads and off-topic comments in this conversation. While we welcome differing opinions, we ask you to engage in respectful discussions and refrain from posting off-topic comments.
    Because some of you have removed your own comments, the comments posted as responses now do not make much sense. Please consider posting them as stand alone comments instead.

    Thank You,

    TED Conversations Admin
    conversations@ted.com
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          May 3 2011: Thanks Richard,

          I figured your comment re: "wrongness" was tongue in cheek. Sometimes endless-loop riddles do have a clever element of philosophy. So, I've learned to probe for evidence ;-).

          And appreciate your sharing about other Qs I posed, too.

          It seems deep doubts are often what it takes to catalyze and engage lasting resolution.

          Andrea
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          May 3 2011: Lindsay (to your point about direct email below) that is great in theory but that is not available for many people. Take Richard for example. If you click on his picture or his name it does not lead to more information about him. There are many people on this site that have no identify beyond the name. Even those whose picture or name leads to a profile do not always have an email for personal correpsondence. Apparently there is a way to 'protect' your profile so that you are unreachable beyond the thread postings. Do you always deal one on one in direct email when you have something that affects an individual?
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          May 3 2011: richard..when I have something I want tosay or explore with an other personin the conversation that does not belong in the conversation ..contribute to the onversation..I write to them directly via TED email.. that is the place to work these things out. Esay to forget..this is not email..not csocial media..this is a differnt venue where the discourse has different standards.
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    Apr 30 2011: andrea..this is so not what I evisioned as Part II ..I think the thread is hopelessly lost. ..and a shame too,,you framed the part II so well and that would have been a very rich conversation.
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      Apr 30 2011: Hi Lindsay,
      As a new participant to this thread, which was still open to new participants, I feel totally lost!
      What was the vision? Why is it "hopelessly lost"? I tend to believe that everything happens for a reason. Why did this conversation take such a turn?
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        Apr 30 2011: Hi Colleen ..always feel heartemed to see you voice in any conversation. Did you read Part I? As I read and re read those stories of tranformation top to bottom I thought something very profound and worth exploring further was emerging. I was struck by the fact that most of these accounts of transformative experience were outside of faith, religion or spiritual practice. They were really encounters with the inner self..the inner self demanding to be seen and heard..as a whole I saw it as a choir of inner voices with the same luminosity as Eric Ehitakers virtual choir. The questoins Andrea posed were intended to explore that more deeply.Unfortunately what carried over was the very personal engagement between two participants in theis conversation which I feel is not at all on point with what Andrea was asking or inviting us to carry over from Part I and which has taken what could have been a very profound exploration off track into territory that is not what TED is here for. In fact , now that you ask, I would aski those partcipants to review all of their comments here and voluntarily remove all that are really personal and not clearly on point with Andrea's invitation. May be then we can have the conversation Andrea invited us to..

        EDITED 5/2 to remove the names of those referred to in this thread
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        Apr 30 2011: hope this tracks into the right place.(+ thanks for your voluntary editing of this conversation) closed conversations are available for view but not adding..perhaps andrea can post the link..or you can find it my checking on her profile and clicking on the title above..and I will look up and post here as an edit Well worth reading..a very powerful collection of stories of encounter with the inner voice.thanks again
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      May 2 2011: My mentions of Debra and Revett is this conversation refer to two participants who have chosen to remove their comments.

      I have removed some of my posts that, given the absence of theirs, are not useful to the intent of this conversation.

      I've chosen to leave this comment in as an expression of respect for the views of both participants.
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    Apr 29 2011: When, How and Why have your most strongly held views changed?

    I had strongly held views on how and when and why views change.

    And I expressed those views here in a passionate but constructive, thoughtful and considerate way ... or so I thought.

    Later I found my views replaced by one sentence involving the word '"removed".
    [edit: there is more on this somewhere else in this conversation]


    Now I face a choice:
    I must stay silent if I want to keep my strongly held views on this topic
    OR
    I must change and tailor my views on this topic if I want to talk.

    And there is your "in-situ" change not through dialogue but staring down the barrel of a choice.
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      Apr 29 2011: George,

      I noticed that it appeared your comment(s)? were removed. I don't know why. In fact, I thought you were the one who removed them. I don't know how to remove others comments and/or how yours were removed.

      I will send a note to TED and CC you on it.

      As for your choice, I would find your analysis most interesting if there were some evidence of another's nefariousness behind the removal of your comments. I don't perceive there is. But can certainly see how one would come to your conclusion.

      Thanks for laying it out. More to come on what is found regarding the removal of your comments.

      Andrea
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    Apr 28 2011: I loved reading the first part of this conversation. Something I took away from it was a reflection over the fact that I am not the only one that change my mind over time. I think that when I read or engage in discussions with others I tend to identify them with their expressed opinions to a much larger extent than I would identify myself with the opinions I express. I know that I only expresses parts of my own view in any discussion and am aware that I have, and will, change my view. I would never identify myself with what I say in that, or even in the sum of all my conversations. However, when listening to others I would be much more likely to shape my view of them by just a small subset of their expressed ideas. Hopefully it will help me to do less so in the future.

    I would also give some examples of my own changes.

    The first couple of years at the university was quite transformative as I met very many people that had a different background than me. I think it especially was so because the age span was quite large among my classmates. Also, bacause I studied physics and mathematics which are very deductive and logic, I started to apply much of the same reasoning to my own personal life which gave quite a blow to many of my false believes.

    Another transforming experience was a cross-diciplinary course at the university during my sixth year. Everyone were given the same material to study and it was then discussed with people with different background. After having read the material I was quite confident that I knew what it was about. But during the long discussion sessions that followed I for the first time realy understood that given the same material, I and someone else can come away with two different but complimentary interpretations. The lengthy discussions were essential as they allowed for arguments to be examined.

    Discovering TED have been another transforming experience. Realizing how many people with good intentions there is out there.
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    May 4 2011: Hello,

    Firstly apologies for not responding to two responses to my post on the previous question. Here are answers to that:

    @Debra Smith - The Landmark Forum (LF) is the flagship program of Landmark Education (LE). LE itself is a global training and development company that is in the business of transformation. If other training disciples add on to existing skill sets such that one can "improve" or "fix" or even "change" themselves, LE goes under all the knowledge that an individual has and works on whatever it is that is holding them back from achieving breakthrough results in areas of life that are important to people and in matters that people really care about.
    Anywhere from a 150 to 250 people attend the LF, though this may vary depending on the country and location the LF is being conducted in.
    The methodology used is an informal dialogue between the leader (facilitator/coach) and the participants - no videos are shown, no material given...there isn't even a need to take notes as all you're doing is working on yourself and applying the distinctions (main messages) shared to yourself and your life. The more you apply the distinctions in specific areas of your own life, the more the chances of a breakthrough in that area.
    You can read up the basics on www.landmarkeducation.com
    @Andrea: Sometimes the LF can also be fairly confronting - esp. with deeply held beliefs. One of my most disempowering beliefs about myself (and i had a few :)) was that "I'm not good enough" and I did whatever came to me to compensate for that - ALL 34 years of my life. Proving, yelling, being autocratic - you name it. The impact was on my relationships and self esteem. As I confronted that and took responsibility for altering that, the anger and restlessness inside me subsided. The first people to notice it - of course my parents. They started enjoying this new me - to the extent that they enrolled in doing the entire curriculum as well!

    Answering this question in another post.
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    Apr 30 2011: I found this in my archives..I'm note sure where Ken Wilbur leaves off and I begin since I don't write for publication anymore..it's my version of a condensed version of Wilbur's book The Simple Feeling of Being. It's about this connection with the inner voice I saw as the common thread in all the powerful shared narratives of transformation in Part I.

    Within the deep silence of the great Unborn, Spirit whispers a sublime secret, an otherwise hidden truth of one’s very essence: You in this and every moment, abide as Spirit itself, an immutable radiance beyond the mortal suffering of time and experience. Spirit itself is the very heart of one’s own awareness, and it has always been so.
    Something in our present awareness already contains the entire truth. No matter what our state we are immersed fully in everything we need for perfect enlightenment. We are all always looking right at the answer. Getting in touch with the spirit is not difficult..it is in our own simple witnessing awareness in exactly this moment
    We don’t have to call the witness forth, but simply notice that it is already present, as the simple and spontaneous awareness of whatever is happening in this moment. Before the big bang was, iam. After the universe dissolves, iam. In all things great and small, I am.
    When you are the witness you stand in utter Freedom, in the vast expanse of all space..the wind doesn’t blow on you but within you, the sun doesn’t shine on you but radiates from within your being. When it rains you are weeping. Supernovas are born and die all within your heart and galaxies swirl endlessly where you thought your head was and it is a simple as the sound of a robin singing on a crystal clear dawn.

    This is what I think each story said.in its own way..and it moved me because in that sharing we stood together in that utter Freedom.. We felt and saw our own humanity in one another in this sharing.we recognized ourselves in each other
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    Apr 30 2011: I wont say what caused this, but mine changed at a point in time when i realized empathy and perspective from a whole new intense angle. the rest just fell in, perspective lead to questions and curiosity leading to new revelations in regared to my immediate postion in this world and possibility of impact i could have. this point in time gave me a new sense of meaning and purpose.
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      Apr 30 2011: Tim,

      Without sharing the specific cause of your change, can you fill in more about the questions, curiosity and revelations it catalyzed? And, if possible: How have you seen your impact 'in action," so to speak? How do you know what you are achieving your new sense of meaning and purpose?

      Andrea
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        Apr 30 2011: before i viewd my life in a linear matter, partly becuase its more easy to organise goals, but other part becuase i never saw it any other way. i cared very little about the persective of other people in other countries, or even my own. i can say everyone i knew before that point noticed the change, and i think it was for the good. i impacted lives with this new me i guess you can say by allowing a space(house) to be freely used by my friends whenever they wanted. not only did this lead to some good times, but for at least one friend it allowed him to really experince a possibility of life he diddnt hae before. without limitations or real authority within this house it really allowed everyone to to act as his or herself and just focus on the relationships we had with each other. the old me would have just locked the doors and kept the place to myself. its hard thing to explain becuase it was such a radical transition of...exsisiting i guess you can say. i wish i could explain better :(
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          May 1 2011: Tim,
          You explained it very well, and I appreciate your story:>) When we lock ourselves in to our own space (house, mind set, etc) we deprive ourselves of the wonderful relationships you now seem to be experiencing. Kudos to you my friend:>)
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    Apr 30 2011: Colleen, I respectfully disagree with your comment "It is helpful to step back and really listen"

    II think it is important to be empathic and respectful but listening without feedback, in my opinion, is often less than helpful and can be destructive. Brain studies indicate that talking about trauma activates the same emotions as experiencing it. If the conversation does not help resolve tension and enlarge perspective, it can make things worse. I know of a person who had 17 years of therapy with people who listened very deeply to her. She only got worse until she saw someone who began offering some practical feedback and suggestions.

    Listening to someone justify a narrow negative perspective only solidifies that perspective. Change requires that we see a larger picture where improvement is seen as an option.

    The purpose of discussion and TED in my understanding is to have discussions which challenge our beliefs and expand our horizons. "Really listening" to someone may make them feel good for a little while but that is not what I understand to be the purpose of this site.
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      Apr 30 2011: Isn't there a kind of listening that has been referred to here and in other TED Talks and discussions ( and elsewhere for eons) that is about listening beyond the polemics..listening beyond what irritates, annoys, angers, disgusts us..staying present to that ..looking behind that..within ourselves first. Isn't there always a clue to what our own inner voice wants to say to us in the strong negative reactions we have to others. Doesn't what we object to most in others mirror what is still broken in us? Isn't that strong reaction our own inner voice saying "pay close attention here..there is something in this that is important for you to learn" And if we can get that far we have a connection with the other We have come to the intersection where I am You and You are me. Rumi has a wonderful poem called the Guest House I think..it says in essence my life is a guest house with noisiy clammoring visitors coming all hours of the day or night with and without my invitation..and each is a wise teacher. ( I am not claiming by the way I am good at this practice..just a novitiate..but I am beginning to get it and do it)
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      Apr 30 2011: Bob,
      I'm not suggesting "really listening" as a way to make someone else "feel good". I'm suggesting it as a way to actually hear someone's story, without our own ideas and judgements interupting.

      I agree Lindsay,
      There is a way of listening beyond what irritates, annoys, angers, etc....staying present within ourselves.
      I also agree that often, what we don't like in others, is a reflection of something in ourselves that we may not like, or may feel insecure about. That's why I suggest "really listening" without our own mindchatter interupting.
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      Apr 30 2011: Bob,

      I agree with your point that passive listening can undermine progress. This is rather what we see in divided social groups. Commiseration and venting is part, but not all of the picture. Ideally active listening opens up a channel for trust. The key term here is "active."

      To maintain trust while also actively engaging change requires both/all to somehow navigate the moving line between when to listen, when to empathize through sharing ones own and when to engage with contrary views, that might open up new windows of insight. At best this is a dialectic process wherein both hold both their own and the others' truth throughout.

      I think it is useful to prioritize a state of awareness of where to protect boundaries and where to very gently push them. Where any (other or our own) boundaries are at risk, these are areas which need to be deeply respected. These are the soft-spots where listening should take precedence over telling.

      Andrea
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        Apr 30 2011: Ahh..nice to see you Andrea and thank you for this amazingly powerful insight

        "To maintain trust while also actively engaging change requires both/all to somehow navigate the moving line between when to listen, when to empathize through sharing ones own and when to engage with contrary views, that might open up new windows of insight. At best this is a dialectic process wherein both hold both their own and the others' truth throughout. "

        That's a 6 month seminar..where do I sign up?
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        Apr 30 2011: Andrea and Lindsay,
        I agree that passive listening may undermine progress in a counceling situation. In that circumstance, it is important to have feedback. So far, TED seems like an arena where active listening and opening a channel for trust is important to the movement of dialogue. I also agree that it is important to hold both our truths throughout a discussion and try to find the balance.
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    Apr 29 2011: To all,

    TED responded by sending their Terms & Conditions, which are entirely reasonable.

    http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms

    Let's move on. I ask that energies re-focus on two themes from the original framing of this Question:

    1. The call to "deepen" our conversation. Please reflect on how your comments do so, before sending them.
    2. Question number #3: How can self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all?

    Onward...

    Andrea
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      Apr 30 2011: 3. How can self/other discoveries wherein both agreements and disagreements are dynamically engaged – as they emerge -- be meaningful, transformative or productive for both/all?

      When people engage in dialogues in a participatory role they usually anticipate the transformative outcome of the event. During the dramatic engagement with other participants they make meaningful transformations of their energy into productive matrixes containing attributes specific to the views of the remaining participants. As the participants redirect their energy away from the dialogue through the act of disengagement and presuming there is no evidence of another's nefariousness behind taking participatory part in the engagement act then all parties in the dialogue could confidently build a conceptual framework that would allow them later on to accentuate the intricacy of their personal framework of views when imposed on the organically created one during the engagement.
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          Apr 29 2011: George, There is a true story from the 1970's or 80's of nuclear talks between the Soviet Union and the U.S. reaching a stalemate. They took a break, and when they came back, one of the Soviet negotiators told a very good joke, which given the escalating tension earlier in the day, broke up the whole room. (I wish I could remember the joke) Then they proceeded to find compromise and the treaty was agreed to and signed.

          When conflict increases, tension increases. This narrows our focus. (This is a survival tactic - tension can imply threat, so we narrow our focus on the perceived threat ) Our view of “reality” shrinks to fit within a frame that gets smaller and smaller. Since tension prepares us to fight, eventually that becomes all we see.

          Humor is one of many ways to break up tension (but it does little to resolve tension built up over time.). When we resolve patterns of tension and restore balance, we see through a much larger frame and will choose options that are more likely to work in the long run. Violence never provides a long term solution. (With the exception of World War II, few wars end a conflict. WWII was different because of the compassionate response of the Marshall Plan)

          Politicians use frames to manipulate voters (Republicans are particularly adept at this, Democrats can’t seem to agree on the size or shape of frame to work with). When we become aware of how much tension we have (by restoring balance), we see more clearly and make better choices. Given that stress levels are probably higher than anytime in human history, this is a critical issue.

          I would suggest you begin meditating, get involved in yoga or Tai Chi, or learn an effective approach to relaxation and then take another look at your statements. I can provide links to video podcasts I have made available to my students if you like.
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        Apr 29 2011: So I'm not identified to the role of mediator, I'll clarify my role is as a participatory researcher.

        I learn about change by lived practice of it. Any suggestions or observations I make are simply my attempt to engage in relational change experiences. Related to this is my belief that dialogues needn't end due to debate.

        In fact, my experience is change rarely happens in the absence of frustration. Stalls can certainly be deflating and when contempt rears it's head, begin to unravel. But my experience also convinces me emotion indicates the presence of energy and investment. So the Q this brings me to is: how do we convert negative energies into constructive ones? The answer, I think, is practice.

        So, here's my attempt.

        Revett:
        As a single mother I appreciate your mention of your mother's fortitude and sustained strength. I can only hope my children will interpret my grittier efforts as formidable someday.
        As a former for-profit entrepreneur I've experienced how business leaders can enhance others well-being.
        As an idealist i appreciate your capacity for seeing and naming your experience of ethical, caring people. I share your views and defense of these types.
        In my civic engagement work I've seen both sides of the term "self-interest," and agree it is unfair to define the term as solely about selfishness.

        Debra,
        As a communicator and a human, I feel the same as you do about direct and sincere dialogue, I find indirect or sarcastic discourse can come off as disrespectful.
        As one who has worked with executives from various sectors and perspectives, I agree that corporations can be quite out of touch with both seen and unseen stakeholders.
        And that incentives for measurable performance often take priority over incentives for good corporate citizenship. Even in organizations with well-intended visions.
        As a woman who occasionally frustrates others for being both fluid and formidable I appreciate your defense of "our" shared style..

        Andrea
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          Apr 30 2011: Richard,

          Thanks for noting the magic of mea culpas.

          The bad news? Apology is a nearly lost art.
          The good news? Sincere apologies stand out.

          A sincere apology (and I would say adult sincerity calls for articulating some insight into the behaviors that one is apologizing for) in great part due to it's rarity, is a powerful way to transform. Self, at least. Other, one hopes, but can't expect.

          The latter shouldn't negate the power of the former. Worth the effort, I'd say.

          I say this from recent experience with apologizing to a friend. It was painful to name my less-than-flattering part of an argument.

          He was wary my apology might have hidden strings, which wasn't my intent. I simply felt he deserved one. Due to his wariness as well as my own need to stay whole, I consciously choose (and articulated this to him) to expect nothing in return.

          I don't know whether the full content of my apology was accepted. But I do have something of a sense internal resolution. I did what in good conscious I felt was respectful of him and our relationship. And can reflect on lessons that can be taken.

          It's what I'd expect my children to do if they offended another child. In hopes they'd learn of the magic powers of apology you note.

          Andrea
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          Apr 30 2011: doesn't this tie in to Kathryn's Ted Talk on being wrong..?
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          May 2 2011: Yes, most definitely!
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          May 3 2011: Richard,

          Can you fill in more background about your riddle-like changes of view ("I once I thought I was wrong, But than I changed my mind...")? And reflect a bit more on why the TV fathers apology to his son so moved you?

          This one brings to mind the "sins of the father" metaphor for me for some reason. Like: if the sons commit the sins of the father, but the father never apologies for his sins to his sons, well, than where are we?

          Andrea