My Opinion of Opinions

 

Hello everyone! Today I’m preparing to host a garage sale this Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. How can one household accumulate so much stuff…?

As I was scrolling through some of my older posts, I ran across this one. I like it, and it still rings true. It’s opinions that have turned me off social media use. Don’t misunderstand me. There are tons of things I enjoy about social media. I like sharing jokes and sharing music. I like “meeting” people from all over the world, folks I would never connect with otherwise. (Hi Firdaus!)

Social media can be fun and informative. It’s also great for advertising. In fact, I had a friend (Thanks Sandra!) post my garage sale ads all over Facebook. If I ever return to Facebook and give up that wee part of my soul again, it will be because of that platform’s advertising reach.

I hope that you all have a great Tuesday. It’s sunny here and a good day to do organizing-type chores. Stay well and be happy!

Cheers,

Lori

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Here’s my favourite photo from our recent trip: me with showgirls on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can listen to me read this here or read it yourself below. The choice is yours!

Over the years, I’ve found that expressing my opinion loudly is the best way to convince others of my point of view. It feels great to scream out what I believe into the faces of those who previously held a contrary belief. It’s delightful to see their faces light up with understanding as I bellow my truth.

When the exchange is over, I often think, “If only I’d loudly expressed my opinion sooner we would’ve seen eye-to-eye earlier.”

What? You’ve had a different experience upon expressing your opinion? It didn’t change minds? It irritated friends and family? Hmm. That’s strange. People love it when I express my opinion.

They say, “Tell us what you think, Lori, especially about religion and politics. You are so wise and we can’t get enough! And when you’re done that, would you please give us some unsolicited advice?”

Preaching to the converted is rewarding.

Even better than changing minds is sharing my truth with those who already accept it. They cheer without hesitating, nodding in agreement and spurring me on. I appreciate the reinforcement of my truth by the folks who are already as smart as me.

It’s great to meet people who think exactly what I think. I sure like them better than the folks who think differently than me. They’re much easier to relate with and I don’t have to go through the work of listening to what they say or trying to see their point of view.

Heck, we’re so similar that we don’t even have to really listen to each other. This makes me feel comfortable and it makes me feel right.

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Opinions don’t convince. Opinions annoy.

In reality, I’ve only ever annoyed others with my opinions unless they happen to share my exact opinions. This doesn’t happen very often. Like never.

We’re complex beings with complex minds. We have our own ideas and our own life experiences. We are not going to agree on everything. Start with that premise.

Opinions are divisive.

Strongly-held opinions divide us as solidly as brick walls. This may feel good sometimes. Opinions can help us establish an identity, a belonging to a certain group. It’s nice to belong. It feels good to feel welcomed. We all want to be accepted.

But too close an association with one group can be limiting and stifling. And what if you develop a new opinion, a point of view that differs from the group’s view? Then shut up or get out. You’ve found a safe place within those walls. Don’t mess it up by thinking too much.

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Talking is easy. Listening is hard.

I enjoy talking. It’s fun to sit around and chat about myself, what I think, what I’ve done and what I want to do. Just as I get going, though, someone else wants to talk about what they think, what they’ve done and what they want to do.

That’s fine. Their talking gives me a chance to decide what I’ll say next about myself. I’ll keep nodding and they’ll keep talking. When they stop, I’ll resume the important work of telling them about me.

Listening is difficult and it’s not natural. It takes intention and practice. We have to choose to listen and then work to do it. Where’s the fun in that?

I know there are drawbacks to social media and emails, but here’s a plus. Typing to others makes us slow down and read what they have to say – just like letters used to do. It’s the same idea.

In conversation, though, we’re not often focused on that moving stream of words. With our own ideas flowing through our minds it’s hard to concentrate on someone else’s thoughts. Listening is hard, but it’s one of the only things that can bring us closer.

Listening is powerful.

Listening can change the world. Hearing what others have to say isn’t necessarily agreeing with what others believe. It can be, but more importantly, listening opens the door to understanding.

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“Oh, so that’s where she’s coming from! Her experience formed her opinion. I sure don’t agree with her perception, but I can see why she thinks that way. If I’d had that same experience, maybe I’d hold that opinion, too.”

Reaching an understanding about why people believe what they believe is a very good start to mending our differences. The only way to get there is through listening.

Spout tales, not opinions.

If we want people to listen, let’s say something worth listening to. Storytelling is engaging. That’s why all the best teachers throughout time have used storytelling to convey their messages.

Jesus and Buddha and Gandhi and Mother Teresa and Einstein did their best teaching through telling stories and by walking the walk. They gave us information based on their experience, and they gave us stories to help us understand those experiences.

I’m sure they all had opinions. We all have opinions and that’s okay. But opinions aren’t what these teachers used to change the world. Opinions would’ve slammed the door on our learning and they knew that. Opinions don’t change the world. They divide it.

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The listening challenge:

I don’t think I’m up to changing my opinions this week, but I think I’m ready to sharpen my listening skills. I’ll take these baby steps:

  • When someone’s talking, I’ll try not to think of what to say next.
  • I’ll try to focus on the speaker’s words.
  • I’ll make an effort to understand the intention behind the words I’m hearing.
  • I’ll try to honour different life experiences and different backgrounds.

If you want to join me on this listening challenge, let me know how it goes for you. We can share our stories about how darn difficult it is to really listen. And on that, we can definitely agree!

If you enjoyed reading and listening to this re-post, please consider following me here on WordPress. That would be great.

 

 

 

Free from Facebook

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Telephone switchboard operators, Alberta Government Telephones, Edmonton, Alberta, 1926

I published this post for the first time back in April. I’m still not on Facebook.

Hey, fellow Albertans, remember AGT (Alberta Government Telephones) and how we all hated that regulated organization back in the day? Well, maybe not everyone hated the communication service, but as a kid the only comments I remember from my seniors about it were negative. Mostly it was all about the cost of long distance calling and the occasional service fee price hike. “Costs so damn much to make a call anymore…”

Remembering AGT made me consider Facebook. That corporation allegedly reads our personal messages and sells the information therein to make money. And we are pretty much cool with that. Imagine if AGT would’ve pulled a stunt like that, eavesdropping on our private conversations and selling anything useful they heard to an interested third party. We would’ve burned telephone effigies in front of our local AGT offices.

Listen to me read this post:

 

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AGT office in Delburne, Alberta; photo from albertahistoricplaces.wordpress.com

So why aren’t we terribly offended when we hear that Facebook could be eavesdropping on all of us, scanning for juicy information it can profit from? Because Facebook is free and it will always be. The service provided by AGT cost money.

However, the biggest obstacle to Facebook ever changing its devious ways is not Facebook’s legal department, but rather, public apathy. It seems most people just don’t care that their private information is being read, recorded and sold to companies. “So what?” people ask. “I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry?”  ~ Rebecca Savastio, The Guardian, 2014

Like LUSH Cosmetics’ advertisements, my unpaid ad posts were choked off from my audience, the 1073 folks who had liked my Facebook page. I was asked to pay for advertising. Even when I did, the reach was pretty pathetic. So for me and what I needed it for, Facebook was not free.

facebook not for meI still enjoy being off Facebook. Time away has really freed up my mind. I didn’t realize how much time I spent considering what to post and then creating those posts. I craved the likes and wanted the attention. Facebook depended on the fact that I was seeking attention. My content helped drive their machine.

I do miss interactions with several people who don’t communicate with me outside of Facebook. I get it. Facebook is convenient and the feedback from it, negative or positive, is immediate. There’s satisfaction in that along with a sweet little dopamine hit. I liked it too, the attention and the rush, but what I like more is being free from Facebook.

Thanks for being here with me today. If you want to stay connected even though I’m not on Facebook, follow me here on WordPress. That would be great.

Take care and enjoy life.

~ Lori

 

Free from Facebook

nd-3-3361b-telephone-switchboard-operators-alberta-government-telephones-edmonton-alberta-10009-102-ave-1926
Telephone switchboard operators, Alberta Government Telephones, Edmonton, Alberta, 1926

Hey, fellow Albertans, remember AGT (Alberta Government Telephones) and how we all hated that regulated organization back in the day? Well, maybe not everyone hated the communication service, but as a kid the only comments I remember from my seniors about it were negative. Mostly it was all about the cost of long distance calling and the occasional service fee price hike. “Costs so damn much to make a call anymore…”

Remembering AGT made me consider Facebook. That corporation allegedly reads our personal messages and sells the information therein to make money. And we are pretty much cool with that. Imagine if AGT would’ve pulled a stunt like that, eavesdropping on our private conversations and selling anything useful they heard to an interested third party. We would’ve burned telephone effigies in front of our local AGT offices.

Listen to me read this post:

 

delburne-agt-building-mhr
AGT office in Delburne, Alberta; photo from albertahistoricplaces.wordpress.com

So why aren’t we terribly offended when we hear that Facebook could be eavesdropping on all of us, scanning for juicy information it can profit from? Because Facebook is free and it will always be. The service provided by AGT cost money.

However, the biggest obstacle to Facebook ever changing its devious ways is not Facebook’s legal department, but rather, public apathy. It seems most people just don’t care that their private information is being read, recorded and sold to companies. “So what?” people ask. “I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry?”  ~ Rebecca Savastio, The Guardian, 2014

Like LUSH Cosmetics’ advertisements, my unpaid ad posts were choked off from my audience, the 1073 folks who had liked my Facebook page. I was asked to pay for advertising. Even when I did, the reach was pretty pathetic. So for me and what I needed it for, Facebook was not free.

facebook not for meI still enjoy being off Facebook. Time away has really freed up my mind. I didn’t realize how much time I spent considering what to post and then creating those posts. I craved the likes and wanted the attention. Facebook depended on the fact that I was seeking attention. My content helped drive their machine.

I do miss interactions with several people who don’t communicate with me outside of Facebook. I get it. Facebook is convenient and the feedback from it, negative or positive, is immediate. There’s satisfaction in that along with a sweet little dopamine hit. I liked it too, the attention and the rush, but what I like more is being free from Facebook.

Thanks for being here with me today. If you want to stay connected even though I’m not on Facebook, follow me here on WordPress. That would be great.

Take care and enjoy life.

~ Lori

 

The Sun is Shining and the Water’s Running

Finally it’s springtime. And we’re not experiencing one of those raging spring blizzards…yet. We will, but today the sun is strong and the water’s running in the ditches and along the curbs. The world feels brand new and I almost do, too.

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Here’s a photo I took early this afternoon during my sunny walk.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the response I got from my last post. Several people emailed me, and we had a chance to catch up a little. Upon leaving my 1400 friends on Facebook, one of my aspirations was to cultivate more meaningful connections, something deeper than a click or a like. Clicks and likes are nice, and they’ve been strategically created to keep us wanting more, but what I want is to feel less isolated in this big old world. So thanks for getting in touch! I appreciate it.

I especially like longer-form communication, letter-length emails. It’s a treat to take the time to read them and to take the time to write back. This kind of communication is worthwhile, deeply meaningful. So if you’re looking to fill 20 minutes one evening, drop me a note. It would be so nice to hear from you!

A few more of you have started following my blog and another few have also been posting my links to Facebook. Facebook’s reach remains broad and many device-users access it for most of their information and communication. It’s quick and easy, so when my posts can be found there, they get more readers.

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Another picture from along the road.

I finally broke down and bought a cell phone that I can easily text from. Because I relied on the free service provided by Facebook Messenger, when I left Facebook, I needed a new way to send short notes to friends and family. My phone is user-friendly and intuitive. I’m happy with it and quickly building my contact list.

I hope you’ve had a great Wednesday and that you’ve enjoyed this first glorious day of spring!

Take good care,

Lori

 

 

Words in a China Shop

Words in a China Shop ImageMy mom had a saying: Don’t be a bull in a china shop.

Nowadays there are not so many china shops around, but you get the picture. She was advising against going into tight, delicate situations and moving through them clumsily and aggressively. Also, sometimes when we were in the glass-wear aisle of a nice store, she’d give us the same, slightly more literal warning. We kept our elbows in and moved slowly and usually nothing got broken.

Listen to me read this post:

That’s what I do these days. I keep my arms tucked close to my body and move cautiously. I do my best to avoid breaking anything or anyone. I didn’t always operate like this but this is me now: quiet and cautious.

Why, you ask? Because as I’ve aged, I’ve lost some flexibility and it’s more difficult now to pry my foot out of my mouth or someone else’s out of my butt. And I’ve gained some wisdom. The younger me thought, “People don’t really care or remember what I say.”

The older me understands this to be utterly untrue. In fact, not only do folks care and remember, they also view my words through the lens of their own experience and pain. We all do. It’s like viewing an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day. The ant gets real big and looks scary, and then it bursts into flame.

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In fact, even being polite and standing out of the way can get me in trouble. More often than not I’m asked suspiciously, “Why are you so quiet today?”

This is what I think in response: “You could cut the air around this place with a knife. I’m keeping my head down so I don’t get it bitten off.”

This is what I politely say: “Oh, do I seem quiet? I guess I’m lost in thought today. See you later!”

At meetings, I’ve been asked to speak up and give my opinion. “Lori, we’d like to hear what you have to say.”

What I think: “Oh, no. Trust me. You most definitely do not want to hear what I have to say. Past experience has shown me this.”

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Dishes in a shop in Bucerias, Mexico.

What I say: “Thanks for inviting me to speak. Attending this meeting has really given me a lot to think about. I’ll need to give this topic further consideration and let you know.” This last part almost never happens.

When I gaze back upon my less-experienced self with her big mouth and limited foresight, I feel somewhat horrified, slightly amused and occasionally proud. Sometimes I feel these almost simultaneously. She thought she was so funny, this young one, and so did about three other people in the world. The rest of the planet’s reactions ranged from bored neutrality right through to offended rage.

She thought she had brilliant ideas to share and a fresh perspective. Now she understands that it’s all been said before, over and over again, by generations of people throughout time who thought they had brilliant ideas and fresh perspectives. There’s nothing new under the sun and nothing that hasn’t been said before.

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I’m convinced I’m not the only person who has ever learned to smile and shut-up as they’ve gotten older. Otherwise, I wouldn’t share this. The way any of us think about anything is kind of personal. It’s just that I know so many of us who have taken this more cautious path and so many others who have cried, “To heck with it! I’m saying what I want to say finally. I’ve been swallowing my words for long enough!”

Neither approach is wrong. One works well in some situations while the other is better suited to different scenarios. I admire both techniques. I respect the courage of those who tell it like it is and the wisdom of those who bring peace into a room with their silence.

My modus operandi has changed over the years. It’s softened. My own ideas don’t matter to me as much anymore because I recognize that my thoughts are fluid and constantly changing. So I hold them lightly like a butterfly. Mostly I err on the side of not speaking because I’ve witnessed the irreversible damage caused by words. Words are powerful and I treat them as such.

Words can be like bulls in a china shop. So I keep my elbows in, my mouth closed, and I move carefully because I can’t predict what or whom my words might break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squabbling Over a Seed

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Birds in my backyard.

At dinner the other night, my auntie and uncle told me about their recent experience of watching one sparrow brutally kill another. It reminded me of this post I wrote a while back.

The backyard was full of twittering birds. All three feeders were full of seed, and it was party time for the sparrows. Closest to the house, two tiny sparrows sat cute and all fluffed-up in the cedar diamonds of the lattice surrounding the deck rails. The birds were looking at each other with an intense expression that I mistook for mutual admiration.

Then, quick as feathered lightning, the sparrows lunged at each other and, horrified, I realized that I was witnessing a territorial seed dispute.

I thought, “Stupid birds, bickering over something as tiny as a seed!”

Then I considered: Isn’t that what we humans do all the time? Isn’t that the definition of irritation? Someone does one small thing:

  • Gives us unwanted instructions. 
  • Tells us a story with more details than any breathing person could continue to care about.
  • Compares some of their recent successes to our past failures.

Is your heart melting at remembering these special occasions? I know mine is.

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Barn birdfeeder.

Maybe it’s not all about us. Maybe the Being Alive Kit just happens to include feeling and causing irritation. Other beings aren’t doing irritating things to us; they’re simply doing them near us. Whether we know it or not, we’re irritating them, as well.

Being aware of those around us sometimes means we’ll want to argue over a seed and get our feathers ruffled as we ruffle the feathers of others.  Fortunately, we humans can choose not to squabble over something so tiny as a seed of irritation or a rock in our shoe or a pain in our posterior.

It’s easier said than done, but every change starts somewhere.

 

Two Birds

 

My Opinion of Opinions

 

Hello everyone! Today I’m preparing to host a garage sale this Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. How can one household accumulate so much stuff…?

As I was scrolling through some of my older posts, I ran across this one. I like it, and it still rings true. It’s opinions that have turned me off social media use. Don’t misunderstand me. There are tons of things I enjoy about social media. I like sharing jokes and sharing music. I like “meeting” people from all over the world, folks I would never connect with otherwise.

Social media can be fun and informative. It’s also great for advertising. In fact, I had a friend (Thanks Sandra!) post my garage sale ads all over Facebook. If I ever return to Facebook and give up that wee part of my soul again, it will be because of that platform’s advertising reach.

I hope that you all have a great Tuesday. It’s sunny here and a good day to do organizing-type chores. Stay well and be happy!

Cheers,

Lori

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Here’s my favourite photo from our recent trip: me with showgirls on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can listen to me read this here or read it yourself below. The choice is yours!

Over the years, I’ve found that expressing my opinion loudly is the best way to convince others of my point of view. It feels great to scream out what I believe into the faces of those who previously held a contrary belief. It’s delightful to see their faces light up with understanding as I bellow my truth.

When the exchange is over, I often think, “If only I’d loudly expressed my opinion sooner we would’ve seen eye-to-eye earlier.”

What? You’ve had a different experience upon expressing your opinion? It didn’t change minds? It irritated friends and family? Hmm. That’s strange. People love it when I express my opinion.

They say, “Tell us what you think, Lori, especially about religion and politics. You are so wise and we can’t get enough! And when you’re done that, would you please give us some unsolicited advice?”

Preaching to the converted is rewarding.

Even better than changing minds is sharing my truth with those who already accept it. They cheer without hesitating, nodding in agreement and spurring me on. I appreciate the reinforcement of my truth by the folks who are already as smart as me.

It’s great to meet people who think exactly what I think. I sure like them better than the folks who think differently than me. They’re much easier to relate with and I don’t have to go through the work of listening to what they say or trying to see their point of view.

Heck, we’re so similar that we don’t even have to really listen to each other. This makes me feel comfortable and it makes me feel right.

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Opinions don’t convince. Opinions annoy.

In reality, I’ve only ever annoyed others with my opinions unless they happen to share my exact opinions. This doesn’t happen very often. Like never.

We’re complex beings with complex minds. We have our own ideas and our own life experiences. We are not going to agree on everything. Start with that premise.

Opinions are divisive.

Strongly-held opinions divide us as solidly as brick walls. This may feel good sometimes. Opinions can help us establish an identity, a belonging to a certain group. It’s nice to belong. It feels good to feel welcomed. We all want to be accepted.

But too close an association with one group can be limiting and stifling. And what if you develop a new opinion, a point of view that differs from the group’s view? Then shut up or get out. You’ve found a safe place within those walls. Don’t mess it up by thinking too much.

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Talking is easy. Listening is hard.

I enjoy talking. It’s fun to sit around and chat about myself, what I think, what I’ve done and what I want to do. Just as I get going, though, someone else wants to talk about what they think, what they’ve done and what they want to do.

That’s fine. Their talking gives me a chance to decide what I’ll say next about myself. I’ll keep nodding and they’ll keep talking. When they stop, I’ll resume the important work of telling them about me.

Listening is difficult and it’s not natural. It takes intention and practice. We have to choose to listen and then work to do it. Where’s the fun in that?

I know there are drawbacks to social media and emails, but here’s a plus. Typing to others makes us slow down and read what they have to say – just like letters used to do. It’s the same idea.

In conversation, though, we’re not often focused on that moving stream of words. With our own ideas flowing through our minds it’s hard to concentrate on someone else’s thoughts. Listening is hard, but it’s one of the only things that can bring us closer.

Listening is powerful.

Listening can change the world. Hearing what others have to say isn’t necessarily agreeing with what others believe. It can be, but more importantly, listening opens the door to understanding.

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“Oh, so that’s where she’s coming from! Her experience formed her opinion. I sure don’t agree with her perception, but I can see why she thinks that way. If I’d had that same experience, maybe I’d hold that opinion, too.”

Reaching an understanding about why people believe what they believe is a very good start to mending our differences. The only way to get there is through listening.

Spout tales, not opinions.

If we want people to listen, let’s say something worth listening to. Storytelling is engaging. That’s why all the best teachers throughout time have used storytelling to convey their messages.

Jesus and Buddha and Gandhi and Mother Teresa and Einstein did their best teaching through telling stories and by walking the walk. They gave us information based on their experience, and they gave us stories to help us understand those experiences.

I’m sure they all had opinions. We all have opinions and that’s okay. But opinions aren’t what these teachers used to change the world. Opinions would’ve slammed the door on our learning and they knew that. Opinions don’t change the world. They divide it.

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The listening challenge:

I don’t think I’m up to changing my opinions this week, but I think I’m ready to sharpen my listening skills. I’ll take these baby steps:

  • When someone’s talking, I’ll try not to think of what to say next.
  • I’ll try to focus on the speaker’s words.
  • I’ll make an effort to understand the intention behind the words I’m hearing.
  • I’ll try to honour different life experiences and different backgrounds.

If you want to join me on this listening challenge, let me know how it goes for you. We can share our stories about how darn difficult it is to really listen. And on that, we can definitely agree!

If you enjoyed reading and listening to this post, please consider following me here on WordPress. That would be great.