It's the holidays-- Yay! Many of us will be visiting with family and friends we haven't seen in a while. This time of reconnections is a wonderful thing, and after we've shared a nice feast of food and drink, things usually go pretty smoothly. But those opening lines of conversation leading up to that... Well, they can actually be quite stressful for some of us.
For a surprising number of people, the "small talk" that helps get conversations going between strangers, occasional acquaintances, and distant relatives can be unbearably awkward and dissatisfying.
Some people offer strategies for overcoming this such as asking lots of questions about the other person and just listening to them carefully. This is not bad advice. But if you implement these strategies the wrong way, things could get even more awkward as you subject your unsuspecting uncle to an accidental interrogation...
I used to hate small talk too (even as a child), but now that I'm here living in Japan I find that small-talk is everything... and I have come to realize that it's just the process of building the temporary emotional connection between people in order to have a better talk about something more important, or even just to have a more connected experience of something that will not be primarily verbal (eating a meal, playing a game, or a watching a movie).
So whatever side of the awkwardness you are on, don't get too wrapped up in the content of it (how unimportant or uninteresting it might be) and just focus on the safe, caring connection that is being built by the seemingly trivial surface speech.
As a Gemini-Cancer cusper, I am both blessed with the gift of gab and yet deeply concerned with serious authenticity. So I am very aware of the struggle between wanting to communicate but being less interested in discussing the weather, the latest sports scores, or the tea we are having... and I don't want to fake it because that makes me feel unsatisfied, dishonest, and guilty.
But I also came to understand that small-talk isn't really primarily a content-based form of communication. It's really much more like animal calls, purrs, and tail-wagging. With this realization, we can be more committed to the authenticity of the underlying emotional experience than to the details of the surface statements... Commit to the connection rather than the meaning of the words.
I'm not suggesting to lie about stuff, but just let the surface flow lightly while you engage authentically at the deeper level of the emotional connection.
This change of mindset really freed me to heartfully meet anyone engaging me and connect with them where they were at, without feeling like I might be faking something...
...after that, the conversations themselves simply fell right into place without any effort at all--
I hope this helps you smooth out your enjoyment of the holidays and joyfully reconnect with your family and far-flung friends! Happy Holidays!
From today the Year of the Boar officially begins.
Here at Sant-o-menel we are celebrating with our own local boar family. So precious!
The traits of the Boar are tolerance, optimism, and sincerity. I hope we can all follow the Boar's example this year and infuse our world with such virtues--
Boars are also known for being a little on the lazy side, which I think is just fine. Maybe we can all use a little more time to relax and release the stress which permeates our life with disease and disharmony.
But Boars are also all about making steady, determined progress. So to inspire you to keep on going in this exciting new year of opportunities-- cute little boar butts!
Don't get left behind!
The most beautiful and grand Japanese-style Christmas cake I have ever seen/eaten. Lovingly hand assembled with the Rainbow View Miyazaki LGBTQ community. Not quite straight but standing tall, which I think is just perfect. In unity many hands make monumental work and bring joy to all--
Thank you to EarthWalkers for providing support opportunities such as this--
Clear skies, deep blue twilight, and not too cold-- a perfect evening for 'hatsumode'. This is the time when everyone in Japan goes to the local shrines to connect with the spirit of the land for an auspicious new year. From here in Miyazaki, I'm wishing you a happy and successful 2018!
Happy New Year!
This is 'osechi', traditional Japanese New Year's cuisine. It comes in a giant 3-tiered wooden 'bento' box filled with symbolic foods such as shrimp for longevity, lotus root for success, candied chestnuts for wealth, and candied black beans for vitality. May your life be filled with all of these--
Live long and prosper--
Mercury has just gone Direct, wrapping up a few weeks swerving through its Retrograde cycle. Much like a good night's sleep, Mercury Retrograde periods are perfect times to reflect, clear out the old backlogs, and prepare for a bright new day. And that day is now dawning! Mercury just going Direct is like waking up from a deep sleep, so take a moment to shower, brush your teeth, eat some breakfast, and power up to create the awesome goodness that is coming with the New Year 2018!
For those of us in the bewintered North, today marks the longest night of the year. If you are a night owl or vampire, please make the most of it! For the rest of you, have a long, deep, fruitful dreamtime... As for me, having already spent years as a dreamy vampire, I'm looking forward to the days getting longer and longer from now. Yay! And for those of you in the South, today is your longest DAY of the year! Get out and enjoy that late afternoon sun!
The waning moon just passed its peak and will start showing us a fresh new face, so look for that lovely silver sliver of a crescent slowly expanding over the next few days. Look for it around sunset, hanging large just above the setting sun before following it down for the night...
New moons are great times to prepare and start new things. And with the sun soon to follow suit in the northern winter solstice and Mercury to go direct again just after that at week's end, the up and coming new year is going to be perfectly positioned for launching new projects.
So if you've got something new in the works, work on wrapping up your final preparations this week and the next. Then get ready to put it on the menu for 2018. Good luck, and may the Force be with you--