Monday, March 10, 2008

Help BOLD Get Funding

Shortly after having my son, I got involved with a maternity rights group called BOLD. BOLD is an organization that uses the arts to inspire social action. The organization has been operating for the last 2 years, has made a great impact on local communities that have participated and has been growing by leaps and bounds!

BOLD has two main projects, first is the Performance & Talkback Initiative in which communities perform Birth a play by Karen Brody, which is a documentary style play about real women's birth experiences. Afterward, each community hosts a talkback panel at which local leaders discuss with the audience their own community's maternal child health concerns. Our second project is called BOLD Red Tents. This is a birth storytelling and oral history project. At BOLD Red Tents community organizers create a meaningful and trusting environment to allow women to give voice to their birth experiences, get support and learn from each other.

We recently applied for some funding and need help (votes) securing it. There is information at the following website about the award we have applied for:

The process is very democratic - winners are the ones with the most votes! I hope that you can take a minute to go to the website and vote for BOLD. The award would be the first real infusion of cash to our efforts and would make a very real difference in our success!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Live-Action Turn Around

When I first starting working with Brooke "Why Can't I Lose Weight" Castillo I was surprised by how little we talked about food and exercise and how much time we spent on thoughts and feelings. "I have a weight problem," I'd say. "You have a thinking problem," she'd respond. So it came to pass that I would spend most of the last year learning to observe my thoughts. Find their connections to my feelings and actions. And learn to turn the thoughts that made me fat into thoughts that lead to me being fit. All that's well and good, but changing your thoughts leads to consequences far beyond weight. When Brooke said I had a thinking problem - I thought she meant my thoughts about food were screwed up but she just meant my thoughts were screwed up.

Changing my thoughts has lead to some interesting work improving my collaboration with co-workers. This week I have been practicing a new technique I learned which is called a "Contrasting Statement" and when I read about it in a book called Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et al; I really was sure it would not work. The idea is this "When we're aware that something we're about to drop into the pool of meaning could create a splash of defensiveness, we use a Contrasting statement to bolster safety - even before we see others going to either silence or violence" (80).

It's a two part sentence that goes something like this:
"I don't want your to think X; I do want Y."

The first time I tried this I was shocked... my husband had been watching our son and I knew it was a hard night but was was annoyed and snapped at him about something. Defensiveness (a lack of safety) came into his eyes and I knew we were no longer talking about content:
"I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate how well you took care of Jesse tonight..."
"I just want us to be able to agree on a bed time for him that is consistent."
FINE. DONE! No Fighting!!!

I took the technique to work. A co-worker proposed a new program that I had some suggestions for but didn't want to come off as too heavy handed.
"I don't want you to think for an instant that I don't recognize the thought and care that went into developing this program."
BAM! Resistance down, ears open.
"I just want to make sure that we are clear about who are constituencies are an what each of them needs."
DONE! Mutual Goal agreed on! Progress!!!

The first few times I tried this technique I felt like an 8 year old with no front teeth; awkward, uncomfortable, totally out of my element. But every time I have practices it, I am shocked by the effectiveness of this simple technique.

Even today our company President was discussing a new process and I had an idea I wanted to contribute a perspective I thought he was missing but I knew he'd be sensitive to the suggestion:
"I don't want you to think I am missing all the work and the lengths you are going to to include everyone in this emerging process;"
"I just want to make sure you have considered this from the customer's perspective"
HICCUP - that was my goal not a mutual one.... ears still on but defense creeping in.
"To clarify, I want to make sure we develop a consistent process where we can make sure we are learning everything we can from our customers."
SIGH - agreement on a mutual goal and a clear commitment to seek a mutual purpose.

I know it might not seem like this has much to do with weight loss - but weight loss is a symptom of right thinking (when you are overweight anyway). This type of work on creating harmony and clarity is a key to happiness with the present moment. And what's so great is that it actually works and it's so easy!