Sunday, September 26, 2010

Intercultural Communication

There's a good chance that some of your coworkers, bosses, or employees will come from a different cultural background. Ever feel like you don't really understand what they're saying, even when you're speaking the same language? It might be because you are not fluent in the body language of their native culture. In the book Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace, authors Iris Varner and Linda Beamer give examples of how even the simplest gestures can have different meanings in different countries.

Forms of Greeting

United States and Canada: Firm handshake.

France: Soft, quick handshake.

Japan: Handshake with arm fully extended, accompanied by a bow.

Germany: Firm handshake. Men traditionally accompany the handshake with a slight bow.

Middle East: Handshake with the free hand placed on the forearm of the other person.

Bowing: Many people from Asian cultures bow in greeting. In Japan, people bow with their hands at their sides, and the depth of the bow is related to the level of respect due to the other person. Thais bow with their palms together and fingers outstretched, while people from Cambodia and Laos bow with their hands in front of their chests. Pakistanis use the salaam, and bow with the palm of the right hand on their foreheads.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I only believed in what I saw
like a candid photographer
until I met you and
found myself
inside a row of mirrors
with endless reflections
and counter reflections.
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 Stillness descends
I touch your skin,
there is a quiver..
is it me, or you, or us?
...will we become one?
as surely as I know
the San Francisco fog
always returns in 3 days.
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I am lonely in your wordlessness...
I am wordless in my loneliness...
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Thursday, September 16, 2010


For me, love has always been like
a small cloud of smoke drifting through my life.
I reach out to touch it, and my hands plunged
right through, as it drifted on.

Loneliness has the heart in hibernation the winter of the soul.
like seeing many, beautifully-wrapped empty christmas boxes.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Join me on my journey towards ILLUMINATION.  I will be reporting my thoughts, my growth, and my altered thinking...I'll be sharing the growth I am experiencing.....comparing my thoughts from the journey to an earlier time.


Whenever I have down time, I go "inside" myself.  Growing up as a single child, rewarded me with a heightened level of creativity.  My mind becomes my active playground.  I love to watch people. Their funny quirks, the way they gesture, and what my "sense" is of them and the situation.  Often times, I allow an observation to link me back to a memory; therefore, a new thought process.

I'm sitting in a small diner.  I spy a mother and her daughter arrive and sit in the booth in front of me.  Without realizing, I am making a value judgment on the mother.  Her daughter takes off a new backpack to place next to her.  The name JULIE blazes across the back.  Evidently, the mother doesn't understand this was a most unwise decision to personalize the bag.  TMI for pedophiles.

Mom orders pie and coffee; Julie orders a hamburger.  I would judge Julie to be 10-ish in age.
What unfolds next, causes me to say yes to another coffee refill...and, then another.  I sit transfixed.  I observe something which indeeds links me back to a memory.

Although the mother speaks gently to Julie, she serves up instructions:  cut the burger in half, use your napkin, you need less ketchup, use your napkin, next time tell them you don't want lettuce, use your napkin, etc.  Julie can't even enjoy her burger with all the instructions given to her.

Isn't this what you do to me?

Aren't you always telling me how to cut and eat my life?

You want the gift of SAM....but, this gift can only be in a certain shaped box, with a certain colored wrapping paper, and a certain style of bow on it. 

If I give you the gift of myself, exactly as your instructions state, am I really sharing SAM?  Or, your version of SAM? 

I spent so much time following your instructions, that I lost track of me.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Practical Psychology

We have all met people who are so prickly and difficult that no one wants to handle them. In most situations walking away is n option, and you escape with no more than ruffled feathers. But some situations are inescapable. You can wait until the thorny personality is gone and moan,"He's just impossible", to a friend. Far better though, it's time to begin skills in practical psychology.

First, take responsibility for your part of the interaction. Animosity is created in your own heart. Even the most impossible person had a mother, and was loved by somebody. If you can deal with your own reaction and take responsibility for it, no other step is more productive.

Detachment is always the best response, because if you can interact without having a reaction, you will be clear-headed enough to make progress in relating to this difficult person.
We all tend to use descriptive words loosely, but it helps to know exactly what is going on.

Clinging types - want to be taken care of and loved. They feel weak and are attracted to stronger people. If desperate, they will cling to anyone. Clinging types cannot be handled with avoidance. They are like Velcro and will stick to you every time you get close. They ignore a polite no, but you can't use direct rejection without making an enemy. Neutrality hurts their feelings and makes them feel insecure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Some days, it's harder to remember that I make a difference at my job.
Yesterday was one of those days. 

Over a year ago, we had a 2 month old who was DOA from home.

Let's call him Toby. His mother was having a hard time sleeping, so she placed a pacifier in Toby's little mouth, and taped it onto his face. As irrational as this seems, I believe she did this so he wouldn't "lose" the pacifer, and wake up. She could get through a night without his waking and crying. with Toby's continual sucking on the pacifier, the tape became wet and soggy.

It migrated to his nose and covered it.  so, toby had no way to breathe. as shocking as this story is...the outcome of her case was even more shocking to me. she received 2 to 6 years for this crime. Verdict finally handed down yesterday.