Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On being Heard, Acknowledged, and Loved. Prepping for the Holidays.

If there is one thing that I can share with you this Holiday Season that has made a huge difference for me in dealing with my family and loved ones is really understanding the extent to which I have been driven by the desire to be HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED, and LOVED.  And if I am honest with myself , it really comes down to the fact that I’m an acknowledgment junkie at heart. Just about everything that I do or say is rooted in this existential narcissistic need. It is this need that has me, do the right thing, show up on time, smile at the right moments, say certain things, not say other things, accomplish great tasks, achieve levels of success and on and on.  On the flip side it also the need that is responsible for me feeling “not good enough,” less than, and at other times has had me become passive aggressive, angry, and shut down.  I’ve actually distinguished 2 characters that have emerged in this dynamic… "Shasheen the Great" and "Shasheen the Horrible." I’m either feeling the love or not, and in both instances the places that it takes me don’t really serve me at all. Somewhere in there is Shasheen. (More on that in another post) Each one of these characters are highly sensitive and show up in response to the feedback that I get from my environment.  Its pretty amazing to watch.  The pendulum can swing from one end to another by sometimes the simplest comment, gesture, or lack thereof.  That’s what’s going on the inside. :)   On the outside I’ve developed strategies to keep the expression of these personalities in check.  But man it’s a lot of work and I’ve done a lot of work, read a lot of books and taken a lot of seminars that have told me that its an inside job and how I need to be the source of my own satisfaction, love, and acknowledgment.  While I continue to move in that direction, being around loved ones and especially family can immediately turn me into a narcissistic needy and sensitive little child if I'm not careful. Its truly amazing!

One of the things that I’m most grateful for this year is that as a coach, consultant, and my work in the Pink Elephant Project, I've had the privileged of being let into so many lives and so many situations which have provided such an incredible reflective mirror for me to see for myself how the dynamic that I have experienced has been playing out in the lives of others.  And from the seat that I sit in, I’m here to report back that you that I'm not alone and if any of this resonates with you, you're not alone either.While its great to have this awareness, the real freedom for me has come from stepping out of my own narcissistic needs and recognizing that:

EVERYONE around me is in their own version of this conversation –

What that says to me is that at any given moment, what I’m needing from a conversation and interaction is exactly what the other person is needing as well. It really makes things kind of crazy when you think about it…all of us needy souls running around LOOKING to others for the same thing that others are LOOKING for from us.  On the other hand, when I keep this in mind it does give me great insight and provides me with an incredible amount of compassion and understanding in the dynamics that unfold in those uncomfortable moments when dealing with family and loved ones.

The challenge that I’ve found for myself time after time is that when I don’t get what I want, I’m not willing to give what it is that the other wants. Or the other version is that I feel as if I've given over and over again and have not received anything in return.  It feels frustrating, disappointing and at some point I end up shutting down or lashing out.  It’s the good ole Fight or Flight response. Its as if I play the game of being HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED or LOVED as if it was some kind of Zero Sum game. When I get honest with myself, in most cases everything I've been asking for is right there but I’m not hearing it or experiencing it because its not being delivered in a way that I want it to be delivered. I heard once that as human beings we behave as if we are the directors of some incredible screen play and that we get frustrated and angry with the cast on a regular basis for not following their lines.  The problem is that in most of the cases we’ve never given the cast the script.  What I typically do is tell them what I don’t want rather than what I do want or how I want it. Interesting, huh? What I have found is that if I can keep this dynamic in mind I can really approach all of my interactions with the ones I love with a much greater compassion and understanding and avoid getting tripped by the triggers that have been set off in the past.

The question that I have for myself that I will pose to you: During this Holdiay, knowing that all it IS that your family and loved ones want.... is to be HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED, and LOVED….who will you be able to provide that for and who are you unwilling to provide that for. The bonus question: For those whom you are unwilling to do that with… WHY? Is it because you don’t feel HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED and LOVED by them?

Hmmmmmm....? Processing that one right now... :)

And don’t be shy…bring the Pink Elephant Promise with you, read it again, and share it with the loved ones in your life. You have a vested interest in strengthening those relationships as do they. The holidays may not be the appropriate time to have some conversations but by Observing what’s going on in your head, being responsible for your interpretations of your experience, and setting the stage with the Pink Elephant Promise my hope is that you are able to take your relationship with the loved ones in your life to the next level.

As I continue to do the work I look forward to sharing with you what it is that I'm learning. So grateful to all of you. Wishing you, your family and loved ones a beautiful and loving Holiday Season! So much to be Grateful for!

From the heart

Shasheen Shah

Would love to hear your thoughts and if so moved please feel free to repost!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meet the Founder on Where's My Guru with Jessica Durivage

Here's a link to the most recent radio interview on Where's My Guru with Jessica Durivage: What is the Pink Elephant Project and how it works.  Check it out online!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"What is it that you're saying to me that you feel that I'm not hearing"

Today a more tactical strategy for averting a complete breakdown in communication: The power of the sentence "What is it that you're saying to me that you feel that I'm not hearing."   Right now I'm in one of the most incredible relationships that I've had in my life and regardless of how "aware" or "communicative" I think I am, at the end of the day there are moments in time where I find myself in a conversation that ends up in total breakdown.     The Pink Elephant Promise is great, it really has allowed for a momentary pause and a commitment to find a resolution much faster than I've ever experienced in my life.  However even in the conversation that ensues, I find that my triggers get activated sometimes with out knowing that they are being triggered.    I've actually found myself in some conversations where I can actually see myself uncontrollably going down a path of destruction.   Its as if I'm watching myself about to jump off a cliff and the other me is saying "Noooooooooooooooooo!  Dont do it, don't say it!"  While I've been getting better and can sometimes stop and pause, there are other times when its too late, and I find myself right in the heart of an old pattern of communication reminiscent of a frustrated teenager living at home.   I can actually watch myself growing more and more frustrated, my voice getting louder, and I'm starting to talk faster.  Its like a snowball running down the hill gaining velocity with each word coming out of my mouth.  And with each word, the intended outcome and resolution drifts farther and farther into the distant future.    We both walk away shut down, frustrated, and a bit passive aggressive.   

Time to pull out that Pink Elephant and try again!  

After watching this pattern in myself over and over again I can say I've made some progress.  I understand where the pattern has originated, I've communicated the triggers that seem to set me off, and I've also learned how to clean up my own side of the street and take responsiblity for the mess I've created, but that gets old after awhile.   
At the core of this pattern is a desire to be heard and understood and I think that its nothing more than a fundamental human trigger that can get the better of us at times.    There are many versions of the pattern and what's most crazy is that we do this to the people that we love and love us the most.   
In our commitment to communicate in one of our Pink Elephant conversations it became clear that when either of us is getting frustrated it typically comes from a desire to be heard and understood that is apparently not being fulfilled.    

Since then we've both agreed that in the event that either of us see the other starting to get frustrated we've agreed to simply pause and ask the other  

"What is it that you're saying to me that you feel that I'm not hearing?"    

What we have found is that such such simple words said with love can tame the the wildest beast with in us.  

What do you do in those situations?   Would love to hear from you!  

From the heart! 



Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gift of Acknowledgment

This morning I was struck by my horoscope that basically reminded me to nurture the current relationships in my life today, to reach out to loved ones, and acknowledge the difference that they make in my life.

It also reminded me of a status update from a member of the Pink Elephant Project Facebook Group named Ashlie that asked:

"What are the things that you think to say but feel you could never actually say?  What would happen if you said it?"

Of course I was quick to throw in my two cents about "difficult conversations" in the context of the Pink Elephant Project and talk about the promise.  To which she astutely reminded me that
"I don't think it's always something "bad" that we don't say... Sometimes it's expressing love or appreciation. I think it but I don't always say it."

While it sounds really simple, upon further reflection I realized that there are many people in my life right now that have been and continue to be incredibly helpful, supportive, encouraging, just simply fun to be around, and who put a smile on my face that I have really not really taken the time to acknowledged in any kind of intentional way.  On the other hand, I can also easily say that the people in my life already know this, and that nothing really needs to be said. They get it already. :)

So I asked myself: what would it be like for me to simply reach out and express that to them?  Would that be awkward, uncomfortable or wierd.... if so why?    For me it really wouldn't feel that way but knowing that I have not been that intentional in doing so makes me wonder...What WOULD it be like?

I know that if anyone that I knew picked up the phone today or shot me an email to just simply reach out and and say hello or expressed gratitude for being in their life  I'd love it!  It would leave me in a place of feeling even more connected and simply just put a smile on my face.  What a wonderful surprise and break in the day it would be!  I can think of no situation that I wouldn't welcome a message like that from anyone.  So why wouldn't I do that for someone else?

I guess really nothing is, other that the fact that I have been consumed with my own life and my own needs.   Its been quite a year for me and from the people that I've been talking to its been the same for them.   If you've picked up the paper lately or turned on the news its been down right depressing.   The message of fear and insecurity continue to inundate  us from every direction we look these days and if we're not careful it can affect even the most positive and conscious people that I know...myself included.   Add in the intensity of the Holidays and all of the logistics involved  and it can really infiltrate our experience, and if not careful, in a negative way.  I know I just got done with a couple of weeks of feeling pretty disconnected and just focusing on getting things done.

For those of you that have been in the flow and in the Holiday cheer...all I can say is Bravo!

For me: today, I'm going to take a spoon of my own medicine to have the Courage and Commitment to Communicate and be intentional in finding opportunities to acknowledge the people my life and the people I come across.   I know the more I look for those kinds of opportunities in my day, the less time I'm spending being consumed over the minutia of my own life.   Plus, knowing how powerful it is to be on the recieving end of a simple acknowledgment, it seems silly for me to not take that practice on all the time, let alone during the Holidays!  Whether its picking up the phone or connecting with someones eyes and extending a warm smile, or simply wishing someone a Happy Holidays, I think it could be the most simple and most powerful gift that I can give others and myself this year!

How about you?   Would love to hear your thoughts!  For now please feel free to leave your comments here or email me directly!  

Wishing you, your family and friends a very Happy Holiday's and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

From the heart


As I complete this post I'm reminded of Juan Mann the "FREE HUG'S" Guy.... Video Below If you're feeling the love.... and wait I just received a lovely email from a dear friend of mine Nancy... it just reminds me how important it is to just simply spread the love!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Role of Conditioning in the Roles we Play

"How can we be free to look and learn when our minds from the moment we are born to the moment we die are shaped by a particular culture in the narrow pattern of “me”?

For centuries we have been conditioned by nationality, caste, class, tradition, religion, language, education, literature, art, custom, convention, propaganda of all kinds, economic pressure, the food we eat, the climate we live in, our family, our friends, our experiences - every influence you can think of - and therefore our responses to every problem are conditioned.

Are you aware that you are conditioned?"

From "Freedom from the Known: Chapter 2" J Krishnamurti

It is this awareness, the awareness of the machinery, and the awareness of how this machinery guides our interpretation's of every stimulus, and ultimately how we respond in any given situation that is at the root of the Pink Elephant Project's mission.

Its been over 4 months that I have not written anything on the blog and I have been confronted by the time it has taken to get the community site running, confronted by the project and the willingness of people to engage in the core of the projects conversation, confronted by my own fears of communicating with the people in my life, confronted by my inability so simply BE me, confronted by the measuring stick that have been arbitrarily installed in my life, and as a result felt the need to just let go for awhile.

What I have experienced and witnessed for myself in my relationships with others is the number of roles that I play in my life and how sometimes those roles can conflict with one another. That said in another way is this idea that how I choose to BE in certain situations is sometimes not an active choice but rather a conditioned response based on shame, guilt, obligation, or just simply a fear of not being accepted, acknowledged or loved. I guess at the end of the day its doable and I can say to myself well that's just the way it is. But what I have been noticing for myself is that its just simply exhausting and for me, unsustainable.

As I start to think of all the roles: Consultant, Coach, Father, Son, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, Grand Son, Friend, Acquaintance, Surfer, Skier, Lover, Boyfriend, Confidant, Host, Speaker, Blogger, Writer, Client, Employee, Independent Contractor, Waiter, Founder, Leader, Follower, Entrepreneur.... I can clearly see a fundamental challenge for someone like me. Its not to say there is anything wrong with the roles or that any or all of the roles are mutually exclusive of one another. However, if I take the concept that at the core of the human experience is the desire to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved then for someone like me, my core essence can easily get lost in the pursuit of that acceptance, acknowledgment and love resulting in having to BE and perpetuate a way of being that is not at the core of who I really am. The sometimes subtle or not so subtle realization automatically generates more shame and guilt and the feeling of somehow being a "fraud" gets created. As a result I've notice that there is a greater reluctance to BE self expressed, say whats on my mind, or sometimes simply say NO in certain situations.

I think one of the clearest examples I can think of was in the naming of my company. I took on the name Enterprise Management Consulting, which really wasn't my name but a mentor of mines name that I took on for myself. Why? It was serious, it had credibility, EMC.... it seemed powerful, and if I was going to go after corporate clients... well I needed to be more corporate. After a year of operating with that name and getting powerful new clients and making quite a bit of money, I found myself absolutely miserable. What was happening is that I began to start sacrificing what my core message was which I later declared was "There's a pink elephant sitting in your board room and no one is talking about it....and its killing your company!" and simply molded myself to what the company's needs were. CEO after CEO kept saying well... that's interesting but can you help us with.... To which I always replied, sure and slowly tried to keep bring my message of perspective and awareness to the employees of the company. The strategy worked but again it was exhausting and unsustainable.

I remember that fateful day when my dear friend Jonathan Khorsandi sat with me to work on my marketing material said to me "well...why don't you call it Pink Elephant Partners?" I remember going back and forth with the idea and finally came to the conclusion is that if someone thinks its not serious enough, or someone doesn't get it then I dont want to work with them. What followed next was the Pink Elephant Project... my real calling.

What was is important for me to realize in this dynamic that I have described above is that it's nothing more than a self inflicted dynamic. As I raise my awareness of this innate human desire of acceptance, acknowledgment, and love; realizing that everyone is out there doing the same thing, I can start to pay attention and notice where my self expression is being stopped. The moment I can see that, I suddenly have the ability to ask the question "what do I want?" "what ultimately serves me in this moment?" and finally if I'm not getting what I want how can I make a simple adult request of someone else to actually get what I want.

When I am unable to do that, it is a sign for me to examine what is really stopping me. That's what the Project is about and I look forward to hearing your experiences with this idea.

Post on the blog or simply send an email to shasheen (at)shasheen(dot)com

From the heart,


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Understanding My Own Triggers: An Awakening

So last weekend was the weekend I was supposed to get married. June 13th, Colgate Day, My Dads Birthday and supposedly a wedding. As some of you already know the inspiration for Pink Elephant Project was a product of the failed engagement, knowing deep in my heart that what was missing was the ability to communicate about our differing perspectives on various issues in a productive way. That's not to say that utilizing some totem and a promise would have solved our issues but at the very least it would have eased the shock of the ending of our engagement.

The truth is however the "shock" really wasn't really a "shock."

As I sat there in my bed, single in Santa Fe reflecting on what happened and got honest with myself, it wasn't too surprising that the relationship was over. As a coach one of the major areas that I focus on with my clients is dealing with fundamental perception that they have about the world that typically was created from some kind of childhood experience that shapes the way they end up relating to the world. When I am able so show my client that the way that they are relating to the world is from a made up perspective of say a 10 year old or teenager and when the client finally sees how that has been impacting their life, they are able to finally move forward and experience real freedom.

Well on the 13th it was time to take a bit of my own medicine. I have always known that the time I proudly came home with a 99 on my exam and not having an answer to my fathers question of what I got wrong has haunted me my whole life. His point was simple, the only way you are going to learn and grow is to know what you didn't get right and learn from that. What I made up about that experience was that I will never be good enough unless I got it perfect. Even worse is that if I did get something wrong I better have a good reason for why I did. Now, was that true? Absolutely not. Was that my dad's intention. Hell no. However, from that point forward how I chose to live my life was to be incredibly critical and look for what was wrong in every situation. For years, I would get involved in relationships and crush them before they ever got started because I would constantly focus on the 1% that wasn't right. While 99% was working, I continued to simply see what was wrong and focused on trying to fix it. I can't imagine what it must have been like for the women I dated over the years to endure someone like that! For those of you that had that experience of me I want to officially say...I'm sorry.

The other way it has showed up for me is in my work and the projects that I was on. Operating from the fear that I wouldn't be able to get it 100% right, I would systematically sabotage situations to ensure that I had an excuse for why it wasn't 100% right. In effect it was like training for a marathon for 6 months and the day before the race taking a sledgehammer to my foot and running the marathon anyway. I figured at least if I didn't win I had an excuse to fall back foot really hurts!

So I dealt with that one years ago and while some of that still lingers in the background today I find that its not as impactful as it once was. I can see it now and nip it in the bud before it takes over. In fact I think that what has brought such great results for my consulting and coaching clients is my keen ability to get right to the issue and create effective solutions for them.

On to the next one that really seems to be at the core of what has been driving me to this day. I can remember one conversation with my dad telling me that "My money is for your excellence" and another conversation in my high school guidance counselors office where my dad declared that "If he isn't going to get into a Ivy League school then he should go to a state school...I'm not going support this kind of mediocrity" To my dad's credit I was a handful and at that point I was an entitled, dope smoking, arrogant, pissed off teenager. For the record he did end up footing the bill for 4 years at Colgate University.

Nevertheless what I made up about myself was that I "wasn't good enough," "I wasn't excellent," and most recently what I have noticed for myself is what I really made up was "I'm not loveable." Now was that true? Hell no. Was that my dad's intention, absolutely not. Nevertheless that's what has been running in the background for the past 38 years for me.

To do a little Pop Psychology 101 on myself, it was clear that who I became was a gregarious people pleasing person running around the world looking for a sense of approval and belonging where ever I went and continued to base my value as a human being based on others response to me. While on the surface I made it work for myself with the people in my life, it was also one of the biggest triggers that would get in the way of difficult conversations with loved one and friends. Its clear that I would do anything to avoid criticism or conflict. The thought of someone saying something about me that they didn't like drove me to extraordinary ends to make sure that didn't happen. If it did, it was either Fight or Flight. It made it virtually impossible to have any self expression because everything that came out of my mouth was in the background designed to win others over and make you like me.

What I really didn't see until this past weekend was that what has really been going on for me over the past 38 years is that I actually have been doing is periodically creating situations and circumstances in which I "need" to be rescued or "need" to be helped. WHY? Well if you love me you would help me...

If I'm really honest with myself what the cycle looks like is the following. I start a new project. I get really excited, tell everyone about it and try to get them excited. What operating in the background it "I AM good enough, see... I AM excellent, see... I AM smart enough...see!" I get things done and rely on my god given talents and skills to make it happen. I do it, and do it well; and I make sure that everyone in my life knows that I'm doing it and doing it well. Just before getting to the top of the mountain...getting to the 100%... WHAM! I destroy it! The excuses and the stories kick in and suddenly I'm talking about the unfortunate circumstances I find myself in once again. I then need help, I need support, I need people to come to my rescue to help me through this tough time. Phew! Its exhausting even writing about it! Thank god I'm loveable!

What I didn't see is how this exact pattern was operating in the background of my past relationship. When I met my ex-fiancée I was the President of an incredible Life Coaching Company. A few months later I actually made my role unnecessary as we transition from a big box seminar company to a more virtual coaching company. Here I was again, not knowing what to do and needing to be rescued. Well that's what happened. I got rescued and moved in prematurely with my then girlfriend and started running up the ladder once again. I started my consulting company and actually did quite well and produced incredible results for the clients I worked with.

The ugly side of the story that I can now clearly see is that I did absolutely nothing to promote myself. I had no marketing materials, no website....hell I didn't even have a business card. I just sat back and made the woman that I was with responsible for finding me new clients and connecting me with her contacts and "helping" me get things going. Why? I'm really not loveable and the only way I'll know I'm lovable is if you help me. When she finally had enough and got fed up, that's when all of the fight or flight responses came in for me. I totally checked out. I made it virtually impossible to have any kind of discussion about our future that wouldn't involve me getting defensive or pissed off. While she was trying to encourage me to look to our future together and sat by my side every step of the way, operating from my fundamental misperception, I blamed her for being critical and trying to make me someone that I wasn't. I resisted like hell and instead of having the conversations, I took to working out, going surfing, and escaping. What happened for her is she gave up. Why? Because I continued to operate my life from the perspective of a pissed off teenager!?!?

I've gone through a range of emotions this past week...everything from anger to total resignation and at this point I'm happy to have identified the pattern so clearly and have actually taken the time to sent a heartfelt letter to my ex taking responsibility for how I was in our relationship. We actually really spoke today for the first time in months and it feels good to have come through to the other side of the conversation I had in my head.

I guess this is the point of this post. While I could have continued to be victimized by the "shock" of what happened by getting honest with myself, understanding my triggers, and looking at how I may have been responsible for what had occurred something very powerful happened for me that I know I will be able to take to the next relationships in my life.

As for the Pink Elephant Project...we are still trying to get a community site built that can provide a platform for all of us to discuss how our perceptions are getting in the way of our communications and understanding how those perspectives were created. I'm really committed to connecting with other fellow seekers that have the courage and commitment to communicate who want to share what's possible when one does. In the meantime I figure I've just got to keep the Pink Elephants out of my relationships, continue my journey of understanding what it is that has me stop in the face of those difficult communications, and continue to share with you the insights along the way.

From the heart


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oh yeah... that's what its all about!

It's 10:00 am in NYC and its pouring on the streets, 5 police cars and 2 fire engines are clogging up the corner of 41st and Lexington, sirens blazing, people running through the streets adeptly navigating their bodies and umbrellas, trading spaces between one another while never trading glances, in what appears to be a highly efficient well choreographed and automated dance. 

I'm late to meet my sister for coffee and I too enter the flow, albeit not as skilled as the hundreds of New Yorkers that seem to have been in training all their lives for moments like these.   Big umbrellas small umbrellas... is he going high or low?  Left or right?  As I try to look into the next persons eyes looking for a sign, I see nothing but focus on the empty space that they appear to be creating for themselves as they move forward. 

I feel alone, disconnected, and find myself sad as I look into the blank faces of my fellow New Yorkers wondering about each person as the walk by.  My mind muses...  are they married, divorced, employed, recently laid off, a mom, a dad, are their parents alive, when was the last time they spoke to their kids?  Lost in thought, I snag a passerby's umbrella then proceed to step right into a running stream of New York's mystery moisture, soaking my foot.   

Finally, a cup of coffee in hand, my sister and I have a chance to catch up.   I reflect on the insanity that I just experienced walking to meet her in the rain and of course she is quick to point out she's got bomb proof knee high boots and a simple yet functional waterproof coat.     

Our conversation quickly moved to the family, at which time I began recounting the seemingly toxic experience that I just experienced with my mother and my father.   As I try to talk myself off the ledge, knowing its simply a matter of perspective, and to simply allow them to be the way they are and the way they are not, I fall into my own trap.   I just cant do it.  I'm right they're wrong.   It just shouldn't be this way...   I'm on a roll... ranting about my parents, wanting to check out, commenting on our completely ass backwards society running around like lunatics trying to convince everyone they are all happy, the Indian cultures obsession with pedigree and achievement, and the overall alienated existence of mankind.   I tell her "I'm done!"  "I'm over it"    I just want to go back to Santa Fe, get back in the garden, coach my clients, work my couple of nights at the restaurant and just get back to basics.   

Its been a frustrating couple of weeks.  The Project has been moving slower than I've liked and I've been to two family events over the past two weeks.  Dropping in to a group of highly educated over achieving Indians obsessed with school, vocation, and marriage is enough to make even the most successful person question whether or not they are doing enough.   Questions of when is it going to be live?  I thought it was supposed to be up a month ago?   Is this going to be your business?   How do you plan on making money? What are you doing with your life?   I try to explain that this project is about service... but that falls mostly on deaf ears. 

At the same time I've been confronted with how difficult it is to actually take incredible creative, intriguing copy, a novel idea, and present it in a web format that is easy to understand and have it be compelling.    The Facebook Group continues to grow and everyone that I speak to is intrigued by the concept.   But what is it going to take to get people to really take this on?  Who is going to be the first group of pioneers that will be willing to share their experience with this?   Does anyone really care about the Courage and Commitment to Communicate?   

My sister begins to share with me how she has handled her communications, making direct requests and refusing to get hooked.    As I proudly sit there in total admiration of my little sister's simple yet infinite wisdom, all of the frustration, resignation, and anger started to melt away.   While I'm now jacked on my second cup of coffee, I feel a certain calm...   Isn't this the whole point of the Pink Elephant Project?!?!  Sharing stories with one another about what worked and what didn't.   

At that exact moment a woman who had been sitting in the corner of the coffee shop comes up to us and gently says to us:  "I'm sorry to bother you but I could not help overhearing what you both were talking about but if you haven't heard of this book, I think you might find it helpful."  She proceeds to hand us a note that says... "Non Violent Communication  By:  Marshall Rosenberg."  My sister and I look at each other in a state of disbelief thinking this never happens in New York.   How bizarre.   As we both get up getting ready to leave and thank this woman for her suggestion, my sister just laughs  "What a perfect end to the conversation!"  and headed off to her next stop.   I took a moment to introduce myself,  let her know that I was familiar with Rosenberg's work and proceeded to quickly tell her about the Pink Elephant Project, as I also had to get going.   

As I walked out of the coffee shop, I noticed the rain had stopped and there seemed to be a certain calm in the air, I caught the eyes and a smile from an older lady that passed me by, and I too had a smile on my face.   

Who was that woman in the coffee shop?  She didn't know us at all.  She didn't just sit there listening to us, she heard us, and she decided to do something about it.    How easy would it have been to just sit there and judge my sister and I?  How easy would it have been to just refocus her attention on to what she was doing?   How easy would it have been for her to just simply go about her own business?   But she didn't.  She chose to participate, make a difference, contribute, share, reach out, and connect.  Such a simple genuine and human act of caring... how  awesome.  

What this woman doesn't know is how much that simple act has impacted me all day!  While I started the day exhausted, late, wet, frustrated and filled with resignation I find myself re-inspired and reinvigorated.  My faith in humanity completely restored.  

The need for the Pink Elephant Project project for me has never been clearer.  There is something about dealing with those difficult conversations that seems to be speaking to much so that they would get up out of their chairs and approach two total strangers to offer a helping hand.   And what about my sister...what started out as a simple bitch session from me turned into a healthy story telling about strategies that work and what was possible for her after being straight, clear, and direct in her communications.   This is the Pink Elephant Project, thats what its all about. 

Glancing at my horoscope for the day, it all seemed to make sense!  Sometimes you've just got to puke out the ugly stuff with a loved one or good friend so that you can let the good stuff come back in.  Thanks for the strong shoulders sis.  

Cancer Horoscope
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You may be worried about medical expenses that are coming in, but you may find that what you need is not more expensive herbs or medicines, it's a good old fashioned venting session, preferably with a loved one with strong shoulders and the ability to keep a secret.