Ice On Trees: Standing in My “Generational-Conditioned” Truth

“1” Cold. Icy. Uncomfortable. Because, when it comes to trees, I am an autumn- girl.

I like to do this a lot with my students: “On a scale of 1 – 5 evaluate how much you liked the ending to Romeo and Juliet (or any text). Then, in 3 words and one phrase explain why.

Here’s the rating scale: 1 = not much and 5 = a lot and 3 = it’s okay.”

I’m guessing you’ve had some experience with ‘evaluating feelings’. A situation crops up in your life: someone wants you to meet their deadline, wants you to take on the majority of the work, or wants to talk/text on their cell-phone during an important meeting/conversation. And, if you were asked to evaluate it on a scale of 1 – 5, in how good it makes you feel, you’d flat out say “1”.

Now, I was a teenager in the Eighties, too. So, if you read this and you think “I have no problem with someone putting technology before me – who am I to ask for their full attention?” I am NOT saying your thinking is wrong. Heck, I’m not even sure what you are thinking. I am simply saying, “We think differently.”

Understand the Eighties-generational-conditioning I bring here:

In the Eighties we wore fluorescent clothing, held stock in Aqua Net hair spray, and deeply labeled people: jock, burn-out, punk rocker, nerd etc. Not things I’m proud of participating in! (In fact, I still use way too much hair spray!) But, if something important needed to be communicated, we talked: eye to eye, face to face, person to person. My fellow-Eighties participants know what it means to look for a pay-phone in public, go to the main office to call our parents in school, or wait till “we got home” to share an experience with our parents in full detail, face to face. No glossing over the details, in a quick text for us! And, that’s how it was.

So what does today’s technological communication movement have to do with icy trees, being an Eighties-child, and a scale of 1 – 5? Here it is:

I am homing in on what situations contribute to me feeling good (5), and what situations lower me down the scale of feeling pretty icky (1). So, let me clarify. Ice and snow on trees,  while it holds a certain mystique, it’s not my seasonal situation of choice.  Auburn and golden leaves creating a colorful canopy through country back roads, on a Sunday drive to pick apples – now that’s a 5 on my feel good scale. Comfort. Nostalgia. Warmth. Because, when it comes to trees, I am an autumn-girl. And when it comes to communication, I am an Eighties-child.

When it comes to communication, I’m a person to person, face to face girl. Give me that situation, and on a scale of  1- 5, I’ll say “5.” And whenever I try to use technology, to get my peers, my students, my colleagues, my family, to understand me fully. I fall short, every single time.

Why?  It’s like comparing ice on trees to color on trees. One just makes me feel better than the other. Now, if you are an avid skier/snow-boarder, we are going to butt heads a bit on the beauty of ice vs color. And if you are an avid texter, Facebook-er, Tweet-er, Instagram-er, we’ll have some contrast here, too. (Notice – I just labeled you – it’s an Eighties-thing: sorry.)

There’s a great phrase I learned this year. It’s called: A Healthy Disagreement. This is when we are in contrast with another: we haven’t reached a mutual understanding (with our family-member, friend, lover, students, colleagues, associates), yet – but both sides are compelled to stand in our truth. And I want you stand tall in your truth. But I hope you want me to stand tall in my truth, too. And that’s the “Healthy” in the “Healthy Disagreement”.

This is not the phrase “We are going to agree to disagree.” Who really wants to do that anyway, right? That’s potentially divisive.

That’s like me saying to those icy trees, “You know, you are so cold. You make me so uncomfortable. Now, Trees, you can see my point, right? I know you won’t change. And I dislike that about you right now. And I just don’t see either one of us changing.” Those trees will never see it. Because the more I push those trees on what I think is right and feel is right for me, the more those trees (or you, or my colleague, my friend, etc.) will pull away. And I’m not into division. (BTW: I’m not really into labeling either.)

So, how does this autumn-Eighties-girl come to terms with the snow-boarder-Nineties guy, or the 2017-texting-aficionado? I am learning to how to speak: in the love of my own worthiness, in the love of your worthiness, and in the honoring of both of our truths. In fact, if we ride out this storm long enough (as the snow continues to fall this winter morning). Guess what will happen? Spring. Spring will happen. The season of re-birth. This is not avoidance, however. This is the “revisiting” of our contrast, with my 2017-texting-aficionados until we both find a “3” on our 1 -5 scale. Balance.

So, in times of political, seasonal, and personal unrest, let’s have “Healthy Disagreements” by learning how to speak our truth: with honor and love of our own and our fellow-person’s (cat’s, dog’s, tree’s, ocean’s) worthiness.

Now, I’m not saying to be walked on (or to walk on) — I’m saying walk in it. Choose your rating: “On a scale of 1 to 5 how does ______ make you feel?” Then, explain why. Speak. Love. Honor. Wait… and see if you can adjust your placement on the scale after you give your fellow-person (no labeling here) a chance to speak, too.

“Techno-turtle”. For years I labeled myself as such. For literally years. And here I am, blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking (look out Instagram, here I come).

It feels like a “2”. A bit uncomfortable. Scary. Revealing. I don’t know all the ‘rules’. I wonder if what I say is relevant…So, I’m in the spring of this all this “technology-learning”. Who knows, maybe in a year or two, you can text me, while we sit face to face(under a leafy-green summer tree), and we’ll have a laugh about it!

For now, I’ll love you anyway, as I speak my truth. And as you speak yours.

Until next time, appreciate the ice! Spring IS coming!

Blessings and peace,

Pamela Rae

 

 

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