Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Joy and Creativity

It has been a long several weeks. CK and I have met with two members of our Sangha Harmony Committee about the feelings around our vegan practice not being recognized or included. For me these meetings have highlighted just how terribly uncomfortable group dynamics can be for me. I feel utterly at a loss around them at times. Having moved over and over again throughout my childhood, really up until the time I moved out in my early 20s, I really never learned the knack of groups. Whenever I started to fit in at all, we moved, as it was I didn't fit in well with a lot of peers to begin with.

The 17th I got to play host to a day of creativity for our Sangha. A spring community day celebrating Earth Day and the Earthstore Bodhisattva. It was small, intimate, joyful, silly, and simple. I put myself in charge of the food, carefully labeling things with known allergens for one of the participants and items that weren't vegan (only one thing that had dairy). Friends came with a box filled with vegan cupcakes, which was really touching. I had time to sit down, enjoy making a Jizo shrine, sharing lunch, and listening to stories.

Although I was tired at the end of the day I felt contented and connected by it. This was just the kind of sangha activity I needed! It was especially sweet when a Dharma sister, who has been part of the Harmony meetings, later emailed me to say that in the evening it had occurred to her the mindful attention I'd paid to her dietary needs. How having all the food labeled so she knew what to take was something that could be felt as an expression of being loved and cared for. It helped her to understand why this is so important to me.

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  1. That is a wonderful picture of you! You look wise.I have been taking a great communication class in my grad school program. In this class we have learned the 4 main styles, and every week we have to analyze a communication interaction in a paper. The 4 styles are- Thinker, sits and says little, takes it all in, likes to know what to do and how, analytical- Socializer, never stops talking, flits from topic to topic and person to person like a butterfly, can appear to have no focus at all- Director – bossy, has a vision and wants it done, always wanting others to GET. TO. THE. POINT.- Relator, just wants everyone to get alongI used to have some low level stress in groups too, but once I learned the styles, and which I am — most people are a combination of 2 styles, a main and a secondary — and how the other styles perceive and interact, I found my anxiety going away. It was super helpful.I could be totally wrong but it seems you are a Thinker/Relator style. You like to get along with people but sometimes worry about doing the right thing and what should you be doing. If any of this strikes a chord with you, you can Google the 4 styles and read up on them. Now that I know the 4 styles and how to analyze them, I know what Relators, Thinkers, Directors and Socializers need in interactions, and I know what *I* need too.

  2. Oh the book we used for class is very cheap on Amazon too — my copy was $4.00

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