Triggers…everyone’s got ’em…those things which turn you from a reasonable, rational human being who is having a conversation into someone who is shrill, yelling, or otherwise way more intense than the conversation calls for, leaving the people around you wondering what just happened. Some have relatively few triggers, are aware of them, and are able to make skillful conversations happen, regularly. Some have so many it is less like walking on eggshells and more like walking through landmines. I’ve been reading a book, lately, which asserts that an essential quality in a leader is the ability to manage one’s own upset in a way which doesn’t severely impact those around one, although this comes up over and over in the literature on living in community.
The big question is not whether you have triggers, but what do you do with them? Do you “act out”, lashing out at everyone around you, or just those you perceive as less-powerful than you? Do you “act in”, bashing yourself and taking responsibility for more than you need to? Do you use the trigger and your reaction to it as ways to learn about yourself, those around you, and your relationships with them? Do you take time to get to know your triggers, exploring your psyche before those bombs go off, to make yourself a little easier to be around, a little kinder to those around you? A little of each, at different times?
This is of great concern, these days, obviously, and is a central issue in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, written by 27 psychiatrists and hailed as one of the most important books written this century. This is a sobering book, if one needed sobering, but also offers much for all of us to chew on, in relation to how we work with others, and with ourselves, and, also, how we move forward in the Transition Era.
Talking about Triggers, at Red Rock Coffee, this Friday, 9 March. We often go to dinner afterwards, maybe we will this week, too.
The Guidelines are below. Read ’em, learn ’em, bring a copy if you think yer gonna forget ’em.
Venue information is below the Guidelines, and check out the random and useful other stuff below the notes section. Feel free to forward this widely.
Transition Café Guidelines:
– Whoever shows up are the right people
– Whenever it starts is the right time
– Speak when you are moved to speak
– The conversation gets to go where it wants to go
– Pauses in conversation are good, they allow information to sink in, thoughts to happen, and quieter people to have a chance to speak
– Silent listening is fine, you do not need to speak if you do not wish to
– The “Law of Mobility”: if you feel like you are neither learning nor contributing, you may use your mobility to find a place in which you are doing so
– Bring friends, if we overpopulate the venue, we’ll figure something else out
– If you are able, please buy stuff from the venues. We’re trying to support local businesses!
– Anyone can host a Café! All you need is an hour or two, an independent
café you like, this list of guidelines, and a starting subject. Bring something to read while you wait for folks to show up (see the first guideline).
Please note venue changes:
This week, we will be meeting on Friday, 9 March, from ~6:10-7:45pm, at Red Rock Coffee, in Mountain View.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting the venues by buying stuff while we’re there!
See you at the Café,
Notes: Free Form
Lots of personal sharing
Random and Useful Other Stuff:
Toby Hemenway’s (author of Gaia’s Garden)
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, by Gary Paul Nabhan
Thinking in Systems, a primer, by Donella H. Meadows
Masterminds and Wingmen, Rosalind Wiseman
Queen Bees and Wannabees, Rosalind Wiseman
I’ll post other links and readings in this space, as they occur to me.
Please join us on tpa_cafe, or tpa_chat, you can join at http://www.transitionpaloalto.org./