i am calling in my spirit guides to help me out with this one. and i am drinking some downright magical chai tea. and my baby is nestled in our cassis waves didymos as i bounce and type, asleep and snug snuggled. so i hope the power to speak clearly about some complex ideas is with me. or write i should say, speak silently.
last week around thursday my twitter feed was suddenly overwhelmed with blogher09 tweets. i was surprised by how much it took over. i don’t think i had realized the reach of the conference or the way i would feel, sitting at home, a new and totally unestablished blogger, like i was missing something. when the location for blogher10 was announced as new york city i got kind of excited imagining the possibility of attending. and i confess that for me one of the things that made me feel like it might be so possible is the idea that the people are nice and accepting of a parents needs – for example having your baby with you. i also thought it would be neat to meet some of the bloggers i truly admire and respect and learn more about how and why they do what they do.
the excitement i felt was slowly transformed as i read tweets and blog posts from some of my favorites that i understood to be expressing the feeling that they had somehow “messed up” by bringing their nursing, young children to blogher. i am fairly sensitive about this topic because i felt very shunned from my spiritual “community” when i tried to include the bean when he was first born (then i gave up). because of that i decided to try to read more.
it was in the reading more that i started to get my panties kind of wadded up. it is not a secret that i practice attachment parenting and although i know it is not for everyone it always makes me sad how much parents and parenting can be misunderstood. the comments i was reading (in the comment section of blog posts) saying that all children should be left with a sitter if you want to attend a party started to get me down. what if you believe your child belongs in your arms? what if you feel you can’t use a sitter? what if you feel that you are capable enough to make a moment to moment decision about if your child is ok at a bar or a party, so you want to try going, and pull the plug if it doesn’t work? why does that have to be so unacceptable? why does everyone have to be so certain they are Right “period.”?
at some point i stopped reading and decided sleep was a better idea of me. i am parenting alone for a few weeks here and i need my rest. while i slept i dreamed of blogher. rather strange given the fact that i wasn’t there but i awoke remembering some of the feeling of the dream. and it has stayed lingering enough that i decided to put some thought into what it is that is bothering me about the current post blogher storm. is it that people don’t agree? no. is it that some people feel that other people are “ruining things”? not exactly. it is the way that information is being shared. the negativity that is spewing forth. the energy that is going into labeling “us” and “them” and making sure it be known that us is good and them is bad.
i come from a counseling background and i am a firm supporter of “fair fighting” and i know that conflict is inevitable but i like to see it done in a way that does not involve name calling and hitting below the belt. just recently, i felt i came under attack for expressing my own idealized desires of what conversations might be like. because of that i am a little hesitant to continue with this train of thought. but tools are tools and they are worth sharing.
i guess i should also mention that i believe that what we give energy too only gets bigger. so all the focus on the things that people should not have done just makes the actions bigger, and stronger, the event that much more powerful. i would love to see more focus on what should be instead of what should not be. a great example of spreading the positive is the blog with integrity movement that is going on right now. i hope we see more and more of this kind of positive energy rising out of the dust of the name calling, finger pointing, separation, belittling and questioning that is currently live.
aside from the great big thought of being positive (even when working with an incident that was displeasing to you) by which i don’t mean you have pretend that it didn’t happen just that it’d be nice to be able to say, “i felt really sad when i saw or heard x and in the future i hope to see and hear y. here is what i want to do to contribute to y being the norm. anyone else have ways they think we could get from here to y?” i would also like to share some of the rules of fair fighting. i think these are great tools to have for a one on one fight and also good things to keep in mind when working through your own reactions to things in the public writing sphere.
1. ask the person you need to fight with when a good time to talk is, don’t just start in on them.
2. state the issue using “i feel” sentences not “you are.” saying, “i feel sad when you forget to say good bye to me.” is much easier for someone to hear and work with than “you are so thoughtless, you always forget to say goodbye to me.”
3. have the person tell you what they heard you say so you can be sure you are talking about the same thing and have been understood.
4. the other person uses “i feel” statements to respond to the issue.
5. no matter how heated the argument gets do not resort to the “below the belt” style of fighting (those you are statements). ”you are bad.” ”you are mean.” ”you are rude.” ”you did the wrong thing.” ”how dare you?” hearing that does not help anyone be in the right place to work on themselves and facilitate communication and change.
the whole idea of fair fighting is opening the lines of communication. we may not agree on things but we can find ways to disagree without resorting to being mean. i firmly believe it is possible and i hold out hope that the communities i am a part of (and that i observe from the sidelines) can make such a transformative change.
yesterday when i was hanging about on twitter i was getting a little down about several different threads of unkind disagreements going on and i felt it would make sense to me to link back to an older post of mine about kindness it takes a headmaster. another article i read recently also feels pertinent to the current state of the interwebs and that is about the importance of understanding the “needs” behind what people do and say sensing the needs of others no matter how they express themselves. and in case my instructions on fighting fair were too short winded there is a lot of nice information on it here fighting fair to resolve conflict.
i feel, as a very small voice sitting on the sidelines watching a lot of well read voices discuss, that it might not even make sense for me to chime in and that perhaps i should stick to what i do here (whatever that is?) and leave the blogher discussions to the real bloggers. but i guess, my blog is a place where i like to share my views. and my views today are that we can always try to find ways to express disappointment and be kind. my sincerest appreciation goes out to those bloggers who have hundreds and thousands of readers and are taking the time to do that.
now back to my tea. peace people.
i also want to take a moment to send all the peace and courage i can out to mckmama and her family and wisdom and strength to baby stellan’s doctors. if anyone knows a way that boston local’s could help the family out please contact me.
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