Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Why Don't You Understand?"

This is the title of a new book, written by Susie Weller, local Spokane author and a friend of mine. It is a book on the different ways our brain is wired - not just right brain or left brain, but four general quadrants that interact with each other - and how we can choose "whole brained" thinking (using all sections) if we want. The local newspaper did a great article on her, and there were a lot of people last night at her book reading at Aunties - our wonderful local bookstore - ready to learn how to communicate better with their kids (or spouse, or co-workers, but mostly kids, I think). I went because I wanted to support a fellow author friend. But this was just a wonderful presentation! So interesting. Susie spoke for about half an hour about how our minds work while using, I'm sure, different techniques to speak to all four quadrants of our minds. On the left brain side are Logical and Practical, and on the right brain side are Creative and Relational. Sounds like a happy brain family, right? But not if we insist on functioning out of only one or two of the quadrants. It is the quadrant that is diagonal from our favorite quadrant that gives us the biggest headache. So, for instance, when Logical goes up against Relational, havoc may ensue. Same with Practical and Creative. Providing space, in your own brain and for others' styles, for all quadrants seemed to be the key.

At the end of the night, Susie gave us Chinese finger traps as a reminder of how pulling away on the diagonal will just create more of a trap. (Have you ever used one of these? Fun.)
What impressed me most last night was not Susie's brilliant presentation. It was, instead, her raw honesty. And her ability to see the best in anything. To really see it. At the end of the night, one comment led to another, and Susie began explaining how, two years ago, just as the book was to be released, she was diagnosed with cancer. Hey, God, what's up with that? Within it, though, she saw how the cancer was a good thing. She said the cancer made it necessary to do a smaller run of the book, which was good so that they could get feedback on how to improve the now-final product; the book still came out, which meant her father could see it published before he passed away; her sudden need for assistance gave her daughter a chance to step up and help out.....

Susie's attitude last night towards her cancer experience is why I chose today's Free Write (entry immediately below). It is so important to appreciate the fortunes and consequences "however they arrive." And look at the drawing, with everyone looking up at the sky, worried. See the little boy? He's got a smile on his face. He's the one who gets it.

I know a lot of people who say they are willing to look for silver linings. My friend Susie though - she walked her talk on this one. My friend Gay is another one who does that. People who look beyond the wound to the gift.... they are uncommon. Perhaps by giving a voice to people with that kind of perspective, we all will get better at appreciating all gifts, however they arrive.

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