Are we related? We could be cousins . . .

Are we related? Over Thanksgiving I found out I’m related to 12 of the 102 Mayflower passengers (5 directly), so if you have any connections there chances are good we could be cousins.

Are we related? We could be cousins.

How did I find this out?

www.RelativeFinder.org

Join my group and lets find an answer to the question “Are we related?”

The password is my first and last name together (this website without the ‘www’ and ‘.com’) — all lowercase, no spaces.

Even if we aren’t related, Relative Finder will show you if you’re related to a large basket of famous authors & poets, saints and popes, composers, entertainers, movie stars, sports figures, U.S. Presidents and their families, signers of The U.S. Constitution, signers of The Declaration of Independence, European royalty, scientists and technologists, and more.

FYI, if you’re a family history / genealogy noob . . . “3rd cousins twice removed” explained:

Your first cousins are the children of your parents’ siblings, i.e. your aunts & uncles’ kids. First cousins because you are the first generation down from the sibling connection.

Your second cousins are the kids of your parents’ cousins, or your grandparents’ siblings’ grandkids. Second cousins because you are two generations away from the sibling connection.

Now, your second cousins’ kids, what are they? Your second cousins, once removed. “Removed” just means however many generations down the ladder on either side. The smallest number of generation lines to the sibling connection is the “___ cousin” and the “___ removed” counts the rest.

So when my second cousins’ kids have kids … they will be my second cousins twice removed.

My Grandpa Doug‘s line goes way back to early U.S. colonial days so I’ve got some cool connections, a lot of which are through him. People including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emerson, Thoreau, Steinbeck, Elvis, Harry Truman, Jefferson, the Bushes, Johnny Carson, Carrie Fisher . . . lots of people.

Pretty cool to find these things out.

If you need a hand getting into the group or set up with anything, post a comment.

Have fun, cuz.

By |2021-12-13T14:21:22-07:00November 26th, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Metabolizing Anxiety: Highlights from Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist (Ep 20)

If the mere mention of Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist in my bio hasn’t prompted you to listen, maybe these selections on metabolizing anxiety will.

Btw, these interviews are all Q&A based — usually two Qs per episode, this one has three. To get the backdrop on this metabolizing anxiety conversation, jump to the start of the third question and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s answer at @ 22:00.

What follows are loose transcripts from the episode. I cut “you knows,” “I thinks,” and so on, and added content (in parentheses) that I believe accurately connects allusions to previously mentioned ideas so that it’s easier for you to follow the excerpts.

 

@ 34:33 – Giving people space to grow

To tolerate the discomfort of another’s discomfort is part of what it is to actually give people the space that they need to really grow, and to manage your own anxiety.

 

@ 35:59 – Metabolizing Anxiety

If you’re going to actually grow, you have to metabolize more anxiety within yourself and not use the people around you to manage what is your work, or what is your job, or what is your responsibility.

What is of virtue is to take 100% responsibility for exactly what your responsibility is — in a marriage, or in a family, or in any group — and 0% responsibility for what isn’t your responsibility.

That sounds very selfish, but that’s actually one of the most virtuous things you can do: to really do what your job is in any situation.

It also frees up other people to grow in the ways that they need to grow.

When we get in trouble is when we rush in to kind of get anxiety to go down in the moment, but then we stabilize and mature our destructive patterns.

The virtue in creating goodness is tolerating difficulty up front. That’s what sacrifice is: you take your difficulty up front to create something better ultimately.

It’s against our human nature (to do that, to sacrifice, to tolerate difficulty up front) — it’s natural man to not to do it (to avoid difficulty up front, escaping to an easier path). But what creates goodness and godliness is doing that (tolerating difficulty now).

 

@ 40:15 – When’s the time for metabolizing anxiety?

It’s when you’re having a hard conversation, and they’re pushing on those buttons on you that you like to react to, that you get all self-righteous about.

Instead of getting self-righteous and reacting, you calm yourself down and you stay constructive. That’s what I’m talking about in the “real time”: that you don’t (use) your losing strategies, which are the reactive things we do that feel good in the moment but that keep suffering alive.

You have to really track what it is you do (habitually) so that you can push yourself to do the better thing in the face of a lot of pressure to do the thing that’s familiar. (Catching yourself before you do the familiar thing) is what development is all about.

 

@ 42:56 – The effect of metabolizing anxiety

When you step into new action, or action that’s driven by a sense of what you believe is right, even if it’s hard, you literally expand your capacity as a person, and you expand your sense of self.

 

@ 43:52 – Metabolizing anxiety includes not doing the familiar thing to get validation

Many of us prefer to kind of just do and deal with the (familiar) things that (have, in the past, managed to get us) validation from the other person, and so we constrict our relationships (to doing just those things, even if they are losing strategies that perpetuate suffering) to our detriment.

We have to work against that natural-man tendency.

 

Ask A Mormon Sex Therapist is a sub series of the Rational Faiths podcast.

Have a listen.

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Metabolizing Anxiety

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

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By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00August 31st, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Neal A Maxwell: A Complete Chronology of His Talks and Speeches

In mid 2016, I read a book by Neal A Maxwell. Shortly after, I embarked on listening to his entire BYU Speeches archive, in chronological order.

I listened to many of these talks while making the long drive from Salt Lake to Heber City. At the time I was seeing someone who lived in Heber, and each time we made plans to get together I looked forward as much to her company as I did to the drive from my home in Millcreek, up Parley’s Canyon, past Park City and back down into the neighboring valley — my quiet, private time with Neal. The drive being an hour each way, I listened to one talk there and another on the way home.

In 2017, I started listening to the entire archive of his General Conference talks.

His perspectives certainly colored this piece I wrote, where I included just one of his golden nuggets.

I thought I’d put together all the speeches and talks of this man who seemed so well to maintain proper perspective for all life’s experience. For as he once said, “This world is not the one we are preparing for.”

The first book I read was We Will Prove Them Herewith. I think it’s out of print, but you can find it on Amazon.

Will update this with all of his Ensign articles, books, etc. I have a book that isn’t on the Wikipedia books list, so I think it will take some work.

I also recommend his biography, A Disciple’s Life: The Biography of Neal A Maxwell, which I finished fall 2017.

Neal A Maxwell - A Disciple's Life

From the Life of Neal A Maxwell

b. Jul. 6, 1926

1970 – Appointed Commissioner of Church Education

1970 – Feb. 23 – Spiritual Ecology – BYU/CES

1971 – Oct. 23 – Mormon Milieu – BYU/CES

1972 – A Time to Choose – Deseret Book

1972 – Apr. 27 – Freedom: A “Hard Doctrine” – BYU/CES

1974 – Jan. 15 – Family Perspectives – BYU/CES

1974 – Apr. 6 – Called as Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

1974 – Apr. – Response to a Call – LDS General Conference

1974 – Sep. 1 – But for a Small Moment – BYU/CES

1974 – Oct. – Why Not Now? – LDS General Conference

1975 – Apr. – The Man of Christ – LDS General Conference

1976 – Jan. 4 – Taking up the Cross – BYU/CES

1976 – Apr. – “Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King” – LDS General Conference

1976 – Oct. 1 – Called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

1976 – Oct. – Notwithstanding My Weakness – LDS General Conference

1976 – Oct. 26 – Insights from My Life – BYU/CES

1977 – Nov. 8 – All Hell Is Moved – BYU/CES

1978 – Feb. – The Gospel Gives Answers to Life’s Problems – Ensign/Liahona

1978 – Apr. – The Women of God – LDS General Conference

1978 – Oct. 10 – Meeting the Challenges of Today – BYU/CES

1979 – Nov. 27 – Patience – BYU/CES

1980 – Apr. 21 – In This Time of Complexity and Challenge – BYU/CES

1980 – Oct. – The Net Gathers of Every Kind – LDS General Conference

1980 – Oct. 7 – True Believers in Christ – BYU/CES

1981 – Jul. 23 – Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

1981 – Sep. 15 – Grounded, Rooted, Established, and Settled (Ephesians 3:17, 1 Peter 5:10) – BYU/CES

1981 – Oct. – “O, Divine Redeemer” – LDS General Conference

1982 – Apr. – “A Brother Offended” – LDS General Conference

1982 – Sep. 5 – Meekly Drenched in Destiny – BYU/CES

1982 – Oct. – “Be of Good Cheer” – LDS General Conference

1983 – Feb. 18 – Try the Virtue of the Word of God – BYU/CES

1983 – Apr. – “Shine As Lights in the World” – LDS General Conference

1983 – Oct. – Joseph, the Seer – LDS General Conference

1984 – Apr. – The Great Plan of the Eternal God – LDS General Conference

1984 – Jun. – Friend to Friend – Liahona

The subtitle of this article is “From a personal interview by Janet Peterson with Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve.”

And from this article comes this quote, which is plastered all over the internet and attributed to Elder Maxwell without proper citation — in all but one instance.

Elder Maxwell would like to give this message to the children of the Church: “It’s extremely important for you to believe in yourselves, not only for what you are now, but for what you have the power to become. Trust in the Lord as He leads you along. He has things for you to do that you won’t know about now, but that will be revealed later. If you stay close to Him, you will have some great adventures. You will live in a time when instead of just talking about prophecies that will sometime be fulfilled, many of them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit.”

The internet memes and quote-spiration pages often end the quote here, although the conclusion is:

All the easy things that the Church has had to do have been done, so you’re going to live in a time of high adventure. You were brought to this earth because you can handle that time of adventure, and you will do well.

So long as Janet Peterson transcribed her notes correctly, what can we do but say this is indeed Elder Maxwell.

Kudos to Tim Tanner for tracking down and citing the Liahona source in his Aug 6, 2019 BYU-I devotional address.

1984 – Oct. – “Out of Obscurity” – LDS General Conference

1984 – Dec. 4 – If Thou Endure Well – BYU/CES

1985 – Mar. 19 – Part of Destiny – BYU-I/CES

1985 – Apr. – “Willing to Submit” – LDS General Conference

1985 – Oct. – Premortality, a Glorious Reality – LDS General Conference

1986 – Feb. 7 – Good and Evil Spoken of Among All People – BYU Management Society

  • Address given at a dinner event of the BYU Management Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter.
  • Only exists as two print copies — no known recording or transcript. Print copies on file at HBLL Special Collections – Americana Collection, BX 8608 .A1 no.2968.

1986 – Mar. 30 – Joseph Smith: “A Choice Seer” – BYU/CES

1986 – Apr. – “Called and Prepared from the Foundation of the World” – LDS General Conference

1986 – Oct. – “God Will Yet Reveal” – LDS General Conference

1986 – Oct. 11 – Great Answers to the Great Question – BYU/CES

1986 – Oct. 21 – “Meek and Lowly” – BYU/CES

1987 – Apr. – “Overcome … Even As I Also Overcame” – LDS General Conference

1987 – Oct. – “Yet Thou Art There” – LDS General Conference

1988 – Apr. – “For I Will Lead You Along” – LDS General Conference

1988 – Oct. – “Answer Me” – LDS General Conference

1989 – Mar. 26 – “A Wonderful Flood of Light” – BYU/CES

1989 – Apr. – Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity – LDS General Conference

1989 – Oct. – “Murmur Not” – LDS General Conference

1990 – Feb. 4 – The Children of Christ – BYU/CES

1990 – Apr. – “Endure It Well” – LDS General Conference

1990 – Oct. – Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror – LDS General Conference

1991 – Mar. 31 – “In Him All Things Hold Together” – BYU/CES

1991 – Apr. – “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds” – LDS General Conference

1991 – Sep. 27 – On Consecration, Scholarship, and the Defense of the Kingdom (pp 12-21 in the PDF, printed as pages x-xix) – FARMS

  • The version linked to above is the transcription Daniel C. Peterson published in the Interpreter in 2003. Peterson got the transcription from Matthew Roper, who was present and recorded the speech, and then transcribed it on 5 October 1991, slightly more than a week after the event. As far as anyone knows, that recording (and no others) exist.
  • This speech is more commonly known by the title “Discipleship and Scholarship,” under which it was published in condensed and polished form by BYU Studies in 1992.
  • That he would speak at the FARMS annual banquet in the Wilkinson Student Center at BYU is reported in the Sep 1991 FARMS newsletter, INSIGHTS, page 5.

1991 – Oct. – Repentance – LDS General Conference

1992 – Apr. – “My Servant Joseph” – LDS General Conference

1992 – Aug. 18 – The Inexhaustible Gospel – BYU/CES

1992 – Oct. – “Settle This in Your Hearts” – LDS General Conference

1993 – Apr. – “Behold, the Enemy Is Combined” (D&C 38:12) – LDS General Conference

1993 – Jul. 4 – Provo 1993 Freedom Festival Fireside – BYU/CES

1993 – Aug. 25 – Wisdom and Order – BYU/CES

1993 – Aug. 26 – Out of the Best Faculty – BYU/CES

1993 – Oct. – “From the Beginning” – LDS General Conference

1994 – Mar. 27 – “Called to Serve” – BYU/CES

1994 – Apr. – “Take Especial Care of Your Family” – LDS General Conference

1994 – Oct. – “Brightness of Hope” – LDS General Conference

1995 – Apr. – “Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness” – LDS General Conference

1995 – Oct. – “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father” – LDS General Conference

1996 – Jan. 23 – “Brim with Joy” – BYU/CES

1996 – Apr. – “Becometh As a Child” – LDS General Conference

1996 – Oct. – “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts” – LDS General Conference

1997 – Apr. – “From Whom All Blessings Flow” – LDS General Conference

1997 – Oct. – “Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ” – LDS General Conference

1998 – Jan. 4 – The Pathway of Discipleship – BYU/CES

1998 – Apr. – “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” – LDS General Conference

1998 – Oct. – Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ – LDS General Conference

1999 – Jan. 12 – Sharing Insights from My Life – BYU/CES

1999 – Apr. – “Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8) – LDS General Conference

1999 – Oct. – Lessons from Laman and Lemuel – LDS General Conference

2000 – Feb. – Jesus, the Perfect Mentor – BYU/CES

2000 – Apr. – Content with the Things Allotted unto Us – LDS General Conference

2000 – Oct. – The Tugs and Pulls of the World – LDS General Conference

2001 – Apr. – “Plow in Hope” – LDS General Conference

2001 – Oct. – The Seventh Commandment:A Shield – LDS General Conference

2002 – Apr. – Consecrate Thy Performance – LDS General Conference

2002 – Oct. – Encircled in the Arms of His Love – LDS General Conference

2003 – Apr. – Care for the Life of the Soul – LDS General Conference

2003 – Oct. – How Choice a Seer! – LDS General Conference

2004 – Mar. 16 – “Free to Choose” – BYU/CES

2004 – Mar 19 – Blending Research and Revelation – adaptation of remarks made at BYU President’s Leadership Council Meetings

2004 – Apr. – Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been – LDS General Conference

d. July 21, 2004

Neal A Maxwell: A Man with Perspective

Sources:

BYU Speeches by Neal A Maxwell

LDS General Conference Archive of Neal A Maxwell

More Interesting Neal A Maxwell Resources:

Maxwell Bibliography. An on-going project by Tyler Snow. Elder Maxwell’s lifetime cited works, grouped into Books, JD, HC and CHC, and then sorted by frequency of citations.

From “A” to “Z”: A is for Alliteration, Z is for Zion. By Don Duncan. 1997. (Working on converting this to a spreadsheet format.)

By |2024-03-05T16:10:29-07:00June 29th, 2017|Faith|75 Comments

Sang in General Conference

My stake and a neighboring YSA stake were asked to staff the choir for the Priesthood Session of April 2017 General Conference.

I sang T1. About 40 guys I go to church with each week spread themselves out across T1/T2/B1/B2.

#ThisIsWinmill

We sang . . .

Rise Up, O Men of God

Jesus, Once of Humble Birth

(Made the camera on this one, around 0:48)

Redeemer of Israel

and

Hope of Israel

Great times. Hats off to our conductor Brett Taylor, music boss over at Mountain View High School.

Takeaways:

  • There are 364 seats in the Conference Center choir loft.
  • Brett embraced his choir-geek music-nerdiness so much that it worked in his favor and won over the cooperation and trust of 364 mostly-amateur-singer dudes to sing with form and sound like a choir.
  • A teacher who loves what they do, cares, finds simple ways to convey and teach building blocks of technique, who provides lots of “this way, not this way” demos, and who provides lots of “see, you’re improving” feedback makes a world of difference in short time.
  • “The more in-tune that 5th is, the more truth there is in it. And thereby, the more the Spirit can testify of the truth of what we’re singing.”
  • “If you come to the performance unshaven and with unkempt hair, heaven awaits you . . . but the choir does not.”
By |2023-11-05T21:02:18-07:00April 3rd, 2017|Faith, Music|0 Comments

For My Future Mate: The Pillars of Our Partnership

Hey babe,

Been thinking about you.

I don’t know what you’ve been up to, but I’m sure it’s good and I can’t wait to find out. I’ve been working on this thing I’m calling The Pillars of Our Partnership. I’d give anything for a window into your world, if even for only an hour. Here’s a little window into mine.

The other day I was telling Nate, you know, my buddy who started The Loveumentary — the podcast where he’s interviewed hundreds of couples and relationship experts like Gary Chapman who invented the 5 Love Languages — yeah, that guy. I was telling Nate I think he needs an anthem.

Not a song (are all anthems songs?) but like a creed.

(Brian, from Boston, said, “yo! a manifesto!”)

Yes, a manifesto.

A statement of values, the pillars he is gonna preach and that he can build a community around. Something that people listening to Loveumentary episodes, and who might show up to one of his events or a conference or a meetup or join a Loveumentary Facebook group, could all point to as the foundation of what they are working on in their relationships, and a set of ideals they can use when offering support to each other. In Seth Godin language, it’s the “people like us do stuff like this” situation. For Nate, “things like this” hasn’t been codified (yet).

So I suggested he do that.

A few days later I thought, “why wait on Nate? I’ll write my own.”

Before I share what I’ve got, a few obvious things:

[1] It’s a work in progress.

It’s about partnership, and until you and I actually start working on our partnership, all this counts as preparation.

And preparing for a thing isn’t the same as doing the thing.

[2] Perhaps even more importantly, I can’t even say we’ve come to a “first draft” until you add your say.

What’s below are my words. I know I’ve come a long way in learning and practicing the fundamentals of partnership, so I believe in my contribution, but that’s just it. It’s my contribution and I’m awaiting yours to round out this super rough draft.

I know you’ve got so much to contribute that’s unique and powerful. What you’re doing right now, what you’re learning . . . ah, I can’t even imagine how much awesome you have to contribute. Your perspective will deeply impact my understanding of partnership, as well as my performance of actually being your partner.

[3] These aren’t practices and positions I’ve perfected. I am a work in progress. It’s OK that you are too.

Just as preparing for a thing isn’t the same as doing the thing, knowing enough about something I’m striving for to write a handful of paragraphs about it doesn’t mean I’ve come anywhere near mastering the practice of it. Working with and toward the ideal of these pillars is something we’ll do together. I imagine that even if starting in a “maximally prepared” state (I read all the books! Listened to all the podcasts! Went to ALL the seminars!), actually being in a partnership will be incredibly challenging, shaping, stretching and growth-inducing. (Those are positively sounding words for HARD, incredibly frustrating and at times SUPER challenging.)

So yeah . . . this is my first cut and I eagerly await your input to get us to draft 1.

From there, every year and month and day we’ll get to revise and refine.

Preface

There are a couple life fundamentals that aren’t unique to partnership in my book, but are necessary pillars for living. Those are Choice, Responsibility and Communication.

Choice: people get to choose and we not only tolerate choice, we celebrate and embrace it . . . man, this is the first one and I’ve already re-written it several times. There are SO MANY THINGS that go into what all I mean by “choice” and how important it is. Our words and actions allow for others to choose. Every moment is a surprise because in humility we cannot predict and should not judge what others will do, and even when we do predict and predict correctly, we don’t arrogantly assume our prediction had anything to do with the outcome. Like I said, there’s a lot here. I could really use your help boiling down my thoughts. God’s ultimate gift to us is power to choose; we choose, circumstances and other people don’t choose for us no matter how much it seems the contrary, and we’re responsible for our choices.

Responsibility: directly following choice . . . because people choose, they and they alone are responsible for their choices and the following consequences. If this has a boundary where it’s no longer the case or becomes conditional, I don’t know where that is yet. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable at times. Especially nowadays when people love to blame life’s circumstances on “the system” or “the man” or some external object. Yikes. Ah . . .  so much to say!

Here’s another thing on my mind in this realm: expectations! Expectations are like choices we try to make for other people. They represent, among many things, made up rules we think everyone knows and has agreed to, even when they haven’t.

Example close to us and what we may face as we date: “If you really wanted to be a good boyfriend, THEN you would _____.” SAYS WHO? I mean, maybe. But is there a DEFINITIVE manual on being a good boyfriend? No! So if you WANT me to ____, ASK me. If you don’t ask . . . I may . . .  but I also may not! It may not be something I’m even thinking about . . . so if you want to be sure it happens, and you’re thinking about it, then ask me! Then I can choose to say Yes or No. And then I’ll be responsible for it, truly, because I have chosen.

Wow, there’s so much in here about boundaries of responsibility to unpack, but for now I’ll say: no circumstance can force choice upon a person, all choices are ours, therefore all results are ours.

OK OK OK some more here too . . . when it comes to development and personal needs, it’s my job to find out what I need to learn, it’s my job to then learn what I need to learn, it’s my job to seek mentors and teachers, it’s my job to learn and develop; it’s my job to be healthy, it’s my job to be fulfilled, it’s my job to discover what I like and what nurtures me and then do the work to obtain those things; it’s my job to ‘discover’ and decide what’s important to me — my values; it’s my job to declare for myself that “I am enough.” It’s no one else’s job to do any of those things for me. The same is true for you. Can I ask for help? Absolutely. I look forward to yours. Can you ask me for help with those things? Absolutely, I want you to.

Communication: pretty inescapable from the above on responsibility. Communication is . . . using words to express yourself as accurately as you can — yourself, meaning mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually; all the aspects of you.

Communication is using the words “will you” for requests (see my unfinished rant on people saying “Do you want to ____?” as an imperative or invitation). In response to people’s requests, communication is using the words “Yes,” “No,” or “No, and here’s my counter offer.” Communication is verbally expressing wants and desires, and then for the ones you want right now actually making the request (Will you…?) beyond the statement of desire.

Communication is transforming all internally held desires/hopes/expectations into words. Communication is not ever putting someone else in a position to mind-read their way to connecting/helping/working with/serving/loving you. Communication is not attempting to mind read, but is instead asking questions to let the person you are interested in hearing from speak the truth from their own mouth rather than getting answers from your imagination.

Communication is knowing you can only hold people to the promises they have actually made with speech and signatures (that sounds like responsibility and choice too).

Communication is acknowledging fulfilled promises and healthy behaviors; I think that’s a not-yet-complete functional definition of gratitude.

Communication is: owning and stating your stake in the ground, what’s important to you, what you value, the thoughts and intents of your heart, and taking the responsibility to let the world know what you’ve chosen in those realms.

See? I need your help here.

What’s missing? And how can it be said better . . . more simply and in fewer words?


With all that in the background . . .

Here’s my start at:

The Pillars of Our Partnership

The Pillars of Our Partnership
Not a stock photo — snapped this at Yale. Inside there are memorials for every student who has ever served and died in the U.S. Armed Forces. I was moved.

Why Partnership?

Because we believe that all performance is elevated and enhanced when done with the support of a dedicated partner. Even if the ‘act’ is solo (such as running a race or giving a speech or performing a piece of music) . . . a human preparing/practicing/living/acting without a dedicated partner will always, in the long run, underperform a human acting with the support of a dedicated partner.

What do I mean by dedicated?

Tennis star + coach  >  tennis star + coach(*0)

tennis star + coach + spouse  >  tennis star + coach + spouse(*0)

A coach could be called a partner. But a coach isn’t a dedicated partner. A coach is a partner for the activity they coach. A dedicated partner is a partner for all things.

This ‘math’ is our belief.

And it’s not performance alone that’s elevated and enhanced, but experience too.

Shared sorrow is half sorrow.

Shared joy is double joy.

Remember in Into The Wild when Alex Super Tramp writes “happiness only real when shared”? Yeah. All experience of that sort happens in the space between the Self and another.

And on.

The Pillars: Priority, Striving, Belief, Equality, Service, Togetherness, Forgiving, Vulnerability, Unconditionality

Priority: Partnership is a relationship that comes first. When I can respond to several people, I respond to you first. When I choose to allocate my time to several opportunities, I allocate time for us first. Regardless of circumstance or proportion and in all cases of competing choices, consideration goes to our partnership first.

Striving: I am a human. You are a human. I live and act imperfectly. Even when my intent is thoroughly pure, my actions will fall short and be laced with imperfection. The measuring stick, therefore, is not result or absolute ability. What counts is striving, putting forth effort that matches the bounds of present ability, accompanied with a willing heart that were it immortal and perfect would perform perfectly. Jesus asked if anyone had any fishes and loaves. He didn’t complain when the numbers were few. They gave what they had, and He made that work. Likewise, I give what I have and you make that work. You give what you have and I make that work. Together, we give grace to each other for our imperfect humanity.

Belief: Ready for this?

  • I believe in my own goodness. You believe in me believing in my own goodness. I believe in you, believing in me, believing in my own goodness.
  • You believe in your own goodness. I believe in you believing in your own goodness. You believe in me, believing in you, believing in your own goodness.

This is the ever presence and victory of belief (over fear and doubt). We give each other the benefit of the doubt. We assume first and always that the other has and is acting with the best intent — even when it seems and feels there’s ill will or intent to do harm. We assume positive will because we believe in each other’s goodness.

Believing in goodness also means believing you always have something to contribute and teach, while believing the other has something to contribute and teach you. Belief is believing in value.

Belief includes courage, and when I say, “you are enough,” you believe it, you believe that for me it really is enough and because I haven’t said so, I truly am not expecting more.

Equality: I hold myself to the same standards to which I hold you. Every agreement is a two-way street. Everything we ask for is also something we are willing to give. What applies to me, applies just the same to you.

Service . . . and Acceptance of Service: This is a pillar to love AND be loved. It’s not enough to give. Sometimes giving is easy. Service here is also to receive it. Sometimes, it is hard to receive help and support.

I look for ways to serve you, you look for ways to serve me.

You look for ways to ask me to serve you, I look for ways to ask you to serve me.

We both ask for help and support and service from the other. Especially in areas where we know the other may be lacking competence, comfort and confidence.

Because I know you embrace my meager, imperfect offerings of service, I look forward to you asking me to do things I’m no good at doing, but that will make the world of difference for you and for us. This is one way I really show my love and demonstrate Priority. Likewise, I look forward to asking for your help with things I know will be hard for you or that you may not enjoy, but you’ll strive (just as I strive) to serve because you, like me (equality), put us first (priority), being more willing to serve our partnership and be possibly embarrassed or frustrated, than tickle those insecurities and withdraw from growing our union.

Togetherness: We do all things together. See above re: how this holds even for solo performances.

You still have your victories, I still have mine. You are still responsible for your choices, as I am responsible for mine.

And yet we embrace an element of togetherness in all things.

We invite and value and recognize an element of shared victory. Of contributing service that enhanced the outcome. Of a material impact worthy of acknowledgement and commendation.

We don’t have boundaries about “my things” and “your things.” There’s always some shred of sharing and togetherness. If it isn’t obvious, or if it’s tempting to do solo and to push the other away, we resist that urge and look for and invent some way to do all things together.

Why? Because at least tangential involvement is always possible, and because of complementariness: my strengths support your weaknesses, my weaknesses are supported by your strengths. Complementary support IS how we grow together. And that’s what we’re committed to as partners: growing, excelling, experiencing . . . together.

Are we attached at the hip? No. Do we text each other every hour of the day? No. Do we relay every thing that happened to each other every day? No. Must we like the same things? No. Must we always travel together? No. Is asking for space ok? Yes, with a definite time limit of when we’ll reconnect.

All experiences are OPPORTUNITIES to grow individually and they are LEARNING experiences in how to come closer together, more fully knowing each other, operating together and fulfilling … partnership.

Forgiving: I see two kinds here.

One is forgiving in response to misperception: seeing that our experience of hurt follows our mistakingly and temporarily believing the other’s intent was for harm or driven by ill will. To come around and believe there was no ill intent and our hurt was not desired is to forgive. It’s not so much forgiving me as I didn’t intend to harm, but it’s forgiving yourself and our mutual imperfect communication that led to your misunderstanding. This again is a humble acknowledgment and an embrace of our common humanity, and it is where leaning on the Lord is so helpful. I didn’t mean for you to feel hurt. Yet, you felt hurt. It’s OK, because He felt that hurt. He can take the hurt. I didn’t want you to have the hurt. But now you’ve got it. Give it to Him. You can be whole.

The second kind is forgiving in response to actual ill will or intent to harm. I pray these situations between us will be few and far between. Ideally, never. To not include forgiving as a pillar would condition partnership on perfection. Perfection is unattainable in this mortal sphere. The moments we stand on this part of this pillar will hurt the most.

But the Lord has healed me and He has healed you. We can be made whole again and again and again.

Vulnerability: Vulnerability is a particular type of communication. It’s communication where you and I share and express all our thoughts and feelings, even the ugly ones.

There is a boundary here which is “dumping.” That’s vomiting all the nasty, which is sharing all that with no commitment for healing, improvement, forgiveness, etc. That’s not vulnerability. That twisted “vulnerability” is a form of dominating and emotional manipulation.

As Brené Brown says:

“Real authenticity actually requires major self-monitoring and isn’t . . . [communication with] the lack of self-monitoring.”

Healthy vulnerability, what I’m talking about, is that anything could be shared. There’s a willingness to share anything, and what actually gets shared is the complete truth of what’s relevant. (What’s relevant? Hmmmm . . . )

Vulnerability, in both directions is knowing it’s OK to be fully transparent because sometimes thoughts and feelings are just passing by and temporary . . . and hanging on to them and not sharing them has a way of keeping them around longer and allowing them to do more harm. So we share them, to be honest about how we feel and where we’re at in the moment. And (together) we work through them so they soften and then lose their grip.

It’s OK to share because I can stack up what you’re thinking and feeling in the moment as an experience you’re really having and not as something you’re committed to forever. And likewise, you won’t hold anything I ever share over my head, especially the stuff that I’m passing through. How can I say this better? Maybe we can borrow straight up from Neal A. Maxwell and Joseph Smith:

“Our light speeches from time to time, have nothing to do with the fixed principles of our hearts” said Joseph Smith. Should we not distinguish between the utterances of the moment and considered opinions? Do not all of us wish for that same understanding on the part of our friends, hoping they, “with the breath of kindness,” will “blow the chaff away”? (NAM, Mar 1986)

More . . . some of this came out in the section on service: vulnerability is asking for things that seem and feel hard to ask for . . . help where it feels embarrassing you can’t do it alone, desires that seem dark or weird or unconventional, challenges you’d rather me not know that you have.

Vulnerability is sharing the “darkness” within. Our inner demons. Our naughty thoughts. Our carnal natures. We all have light, and darkness. Vulnerability is letting down all propriety in each other’s company. It’s OK to be 100% you, even all the things you’ve ever thought were never OK about yourself.

Everything that’s there is you, and all that makes up the you that you are that I love. Therefore, it’s OK to share.

What else?

Vulnerability is also this: I can be strong for everyone in the world, but you are the one person where it’s OK for me to expose myself completely . . . I don’t always have to be strong for you. I will be strong. I will be strong with you and for you. But in my weakest moments, it’s OK to bare my all and be completely weak and exposed. It’s OK to have moments of powerlessness with you, moments where you have total advantage over me. And it’s OK because you’ll love me still. And I’ll love you still. And you won’t take advantage of me. And I won’t take advantage of you. And we won’t abuse the privilege of seeing the other in our weakest, most exposed positions.

I am a man. I’m supposed to be strong . . . and with you, just you, my partner, it’s OK in those moments if I’m not strong. While I’m strong for everyone else, you are the one person who gets to be strong for me.

Unconditionality: We live and choose and speak and love and act on these pillars. No. Matter. What. Nothing you do earns my fulfillment of my promises. Nothing I do causes me to deserve your fulfillment of your promises. We each, independent of the other, at all times and in all things, choose to strive to fulfill our promise in the partnership.

# # #

Whew.

I have no idea how grand and soul-stretching a journey this is going to be.

If being an entrepreneur has been a rollercoaster, then I imagine we’re in for the face-smashing, extreme-Gs of interstellar space travel. But tell you what, and this is probably obvious, I’m up for it. Not looking for an ordinary-tier partnership. I want and am working and will work for what’s extraordinary.

So, there they are for now: nine Pillars of Our Partnership.

Nine though? Don’t like the number. Would rather there be 8 or 10 or 12. I bet you’ll point out some biggies I left out. We’ll get there.

I’m so . . . just brimming and teeming with anticipation for you and what you’ll add.

When you get this, will you holler?

Onward and upward,

Nat Harward

P.S. also toying with mottos, crests, etc. “Truth and Kindness, in Deed and Word.” <== What do you think? (what led to this: strive to be kind, but never demote the truth. Words are powerful, but greater sermons are preached in action.)

P.P.S. [Nov 15] Had this thought . . . conflict and negotiation gotta go somewhere, right? Are they pillars? I don’t know . . . conflict is inevitable, you and I will never be 100% on the same page and that’s a good thing because it means we’re both continuing to have unique and meaningful contributions. We need each other. And when we’re not on the same exact page, that reality requires negotiation . . . which is communication that gets at how two people who want to choose differently will then choose to choose together . . . ok, so maybe there’s a second tier of pillars, things that combine pillars . . . communication + choice + togetherness ==> conflict; resolving conflict requires negotiation.

P.P.P.S. Guaranteed I will keep thinking of more facets; this chain of post-scripts will prolly get mighty long. Will work in those thoughts with you.

P.S.x4 [Nov 16] The word mindfulness belongs here. It’s laced in throughout already, but is so distinct it deserves to stand on its own, no? Perhaps as a pillar of living and there’s a version of it for partnership.

By |2023-11-05T21:00:28-07:00November 14th, 2016|Faith, General Life|3 Comments

(draft) Silence and Feeling

I haven’t had the radio in my car on since . . . May. Or April.

Every now and then I’ll stream music from my phone or listen to a book or podcast.

But for 90% of the miles . . . I drive in silence.

# # #

Feeling and emotion is as real of a dimension in our human experience as thinking and intellectualizing.

We’re prompted so so much to interact intellectually.

Or to interact with responsive emotions, those emotions which are secondary. They are easier to inflame. You can kind of turn them on and off at will … anger, frustration, annoyance, disgust to name a few.

But dwelling there . . . in mind and in responsive emotions . . . has me miss out on the actual experience of being me that happens at the level of primary emotions.

Hurt.

Sadness.

Grief.

Rejection.

Contentment.

Satisfaction.

Honor.

Acknowledgment.

My world has been filled with NOISE that interrupts and drowns those out.

Those emotions are calmer.

Deeper.

Quieter.

More still.

If I move too fast and have the volume too loud, I don’t feel them.

I miss them, feeling instead whatever’s triggered by my environment.

So I’ve turned the volume down.

To feel . .

That is to be connected with myself and what’s actually happening. That is to allow what exists to be there. That is to know myself. That is to resolve all the underlying bits and pieces of my life. That is to do the actual self-awareness and self-improvement work to be available to accomplish more on my own and give more to others.

So yeah . . .

I’m a fan.

Of primary emotion feeling.

And for me, it happens in spaces of stillness and quiet.

It’s there too that, as Elijah said, comes the still, small voice of the Lord. There is that “inner wisdom” narrator. When all that there is to hear is what is inside … not the messages and agenda of others outside … there’s some good stuff there.

A lot more to say.

But for now, that’s all.

I’m a fan . . .

Of primary-level feeling.

And that happens in quiet spaces.

# # #

OH one more thing . . .

 

SOMETIMES that can even mean NOT listening to “good stuff” like General Conference talks. We can take ANYTHING and make it noise. Even holy music and holy writ and holy service can, in our dark desperate moments, be used as distractions.

It’s OK to have time and space of doing nothing but being with yourself and feeling.

We’re NOT required to cram every second of every day with content consumption and busy activity.

By |2016-10-09T23:32:39-06:00October 9th, 2016|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

(draft) A Seemingly Innocuous Argument for HRC as President that’s Actually REALLY Unhealthy

“But think of what it would mean for all the little girls in the United States and the world to see a woman in the White House . . .”

. . .  said a pro-HRC friend.

I’ve heard stuff like this before.

The token victor who then “opens the doors” for everyone else of the same demographic to feel able and capable and worthy.

Well.

It’s a totally unhealthy framework to come from.

The healthiest place for a person to affirm his or her identity is from Self.

In fact, it’s UNHEALTHY to affirm value, capability, identity, worth, possibility, in the actions of another.

Little girls don’t NEED a woman in The White House to say, “as a girl, I can do whatever I want.”

That’s unhealthy.

To place stock of one’s ability in the accomplishments of another.

If a young girl did that . . . built a chunk of her identity as a WOMAN/FEMALE on HRC being president . . .

What if HRC does a horrible job?

What if HRC gets assassinated?

What if HRC gets impeached?

What if she loses in re-election?

What if ANY un-stellar thing happens?

Then all the girls with their identities wrapped up in HRC, a female, being president, could have their futures shattered … “ah, I wanted to be president, but look how it turned out for HRC, a woman . . .”

Or whatever.

There are 100 ways to spin this.

Bottom line:

The ONLY healthy place from which to assert and affirm one’s value and identity is from the Self, and connected with that for those of us who credit existence to a supreme creator and more specific believe we are created in His image . . .

“I have worth because I say so(, that I am a child of God who believes in me and loves me fully, always). I can do good and make a difference because I can and do choose to do that(, with the gift of agency He’s granted unto me and with the power and support He lends to me every day).”

You think this girl needs to see a woman in the White House to become president?

No.

With self-affirmed value like this, she’ll get there all on her if she so chooses to commit herself to that endeavor.

It is a MISTAKE to say, “Oh, but an upside of having a token first-timer of a new demography in this visible position is GOOD because think of the message that sends to everyone of that demographic . . .”

NO.

Think about the ILL already existing in our society if YOU believe that people NEED to see “someone like them” doing something good in order for them to grant themselves permission to go for it.

EVERYONE has value.

EVERYONE is better off believing that and affirming their value on their own, rather than locating it or “finding” it in someone else’s accomplishments.

YOUR value is NOT contingent on ANYONE ELSE’s choices.

If you can see this is true for you . . .

Then indeed I believe you can see it’s true for EVERYONE else too.

# # #

Btw, this is the case for ALL combinations of demographics and roles/positions/accomplishments.

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00October 9th, 2016|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Faith Is . . .

I’m tired of lots of gospel words getting thrown around without precise definitions, so as an exercise for myself I’m laying out what I MEAN when I say . . .

 

And Faith would be one of those.

 

Faith is . . .

 

faith is deciding that a set of principles or positions are true and that you are going to live and abide and act as though they are true, when you have no factual reality/basis that they are, universally, for everyone, true

 

and it is going forward with that framework, believing in it, believing in yourself for having made it, believing in the source that makes it work (God), believing that come what may, you will weather it and the framework will still work and bring about the results you want

the belief is all there … and it’s living / speaking / choosing / acting in accordance with … that is the faith part

By |2016-10-09T19:02:43-06:00October 9th, 2016|Faith|0 Comments

(Draft) A Testimony Is . . .

Testimonies are relationships

Relationships must be nurturerd

Stop nurturing => testimony withers and dies

 

instead of asking, “do I have a testimony?” <== binary yes/no answer

ask instead, “what is the condition of my testimony?” <== assumes you HAVE a testimony … because YOU DO. a testimony is a relationship. there already is a relationship between you and ALL THINGS that exist (materially, existentially, etc.)

By |2016-10-09T18:40:57-06:00October 9th, 2016|Faith|0 Comments

[For Your Reference] Your YSA Ward Is OPTIONAL

This post is for my fellow Latter-day Saints with regard to one particular way that we organize our congregations for worship: the YSA Ward.

In my current YSA ward I’m serving as co-chair of the fellowship committee.

My co-chair and our committee take on the responsibility of supporting everyone who begins attending our ward for roughly their first three months. We ensure they feel welcome. We ensure they connect with resources they need. We ensure the Relief Society and Elders’ Quorum Presidencies are aware of them and arrange visiting- and/or home-teaching assignments. We ensure the executive secretary invites each member to meets a member of the bishopric and establish a relationship there and perhaps receive a calling to serve in the ward. And so on.

Materially, this means every week on Sunday I co-host a Sunday School class for people who are attending our ward for the first time (about 4-8 people every week), and also the ward clerk gives me a report of all the new records we receive that week from Church headquarters … which is usually another 4-8 people who supposedly now live in our boundaries and who haven’t yet shown up on Sunday for us to meet them.

Recently, we got a batch of 40-something names, and it turns out a nearby family ward sent this huge batch of records to us.

Here’s the problem with that: there’s a pervasive belief (at least in U.S. Mormon culture) that if you meet the parameters of a singles ward, then that IS your ward.

Translated: if you are 18-31 years old and not married, then where you “belong” is in the YSA ward in which you live.

But that’s not true.

Let the record show … being in a YSA Ward is OPTIONAL. It’s not the default. It’s a personal choice for any Young Single Adult member of the Church.

I’m writing this post for two reasons:

  1. So I have an easy reference point whenever this comes up in the future.
  2. Almost no one I talk to knows the policy, and I value our pro-agency doctrine. This false belief is a chink against that glorious doctrine of total governance of the self.

The false belief sounds like and looks like this:

  • Leadership (bishopric members, EQPs, RSPs, etc.) expecting that single members of their stake will participate in that ward.
  • Leadership (bishopric members, EQPs, RSPs, etc.) expecting that college students home for the summer will participate in that ward.
  • Leadership (bishopric members, EQPs, RSPs, etc.) expecting that leadership and members of surrounding family/conventional wards will “send” their YSAs to the YSA ward.
  • Bishoprics and/or ward clerks from family/conventional wards mass exporting the records of all their YSAs to a YSA ward.
  • People saying, “Oh you should go to the YSA ward.”
  • People saying anything that implies participating in a YSA ward is preferred, especially before inquiring AT ALL about what a YSA thinks his/her spiritual needs are and whether those are better met in a family/conventional ward or a YSA ward.
  • Any member of a YSA ward lobbying a fully active YSA attending a family/conventional ward to participate in/transfer records to/worship with/accept a calling in the YSA ward.
  • There are countless more ways … leave a comment or email me with your favorite way of seeing people defaulting (or pressuring) to YSA ward participation, and I’ll add it to the list.

WHY is this a problem?

I can think of two reasons:

  1. It’s NOT the design of YSA wards to have ALL “eligible” YSAs in them [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Policy].
  2. It assumes policy of the institution is smarter than agency of the individual [Spiritual].

Let’s tackle policy first.

From Handbook 2 (my emphasis added):

YSA Ward is optional - Handbook 2 cover

16.4 Young Single Adult Wards

Where local circumstances and the number of young single adult members make it desirable, priesthood leaders may recommend the creation of a young single adult ward according to the guidelines in Handbook 1, 9.1.6.

Eligible members may, in consultation with their parents, choose to be members of the young single adult ward or to remain in their conventional ward. The stake president may authorize the young single adult ward to find and fellowship other young single adult members of the stake who are less active. Those who become active may then choose to belong to the young single adult ward or to their conventional ward.

With approval from the stake president, the bishop of a young single adult ward may organize a second Relief Society for young single adult women and a second elders quorum for young single adult men to provide additional opportunities for young single adults to serve and associate with each other.

Membership in a young single adult ward is temporary. Leaders help young single adults prepare to return to a conventional ward when they marry or reach age 31. This transition should provide sufficient time and communication to help the bishop of the conventional ward plan for a calling that helps each transitioning young single adult feel welcome and needed.

May. May. Choose. May. May. May. Temporary.

That seems like A LOT of optionality and ZERO compulsion.

Need I say more?

All that’s needed on my point about policy is this: “Eligible members may, in consultation with their parents, choose to be members of the young single adult ward or to remain in their conventional ward.”

Boom.

It’s up to each person to choose being in the YSA ward. Home base is the family/conventional ward in which they live. That’s “where they belong.” YSA ward participation is totally voluntary. It’s a temporary option for those who choose it.

On the spiritual side…

Not complicated: wards exist to support and strengthen families. A single member of the Latter-day Saint Church is his/her own 1-person family. As the head of his/her own family, a YSA gets to decide what his/her spiritual needs are and choose how they are going to meet those needs.

Shuttling all YSAs into a YSA ward by default is having an institution choose on behalf of the YSA. That’s not the spiritual design of this faith that we have.

So cut it out.

To all my fellow YSAs who are reading this or ever will … the choice is YOURS.

Which means your choice is yours and every other YSA’s choice is THEIRS.

Choice. Choice. Choice.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00May 27th, 2016|Faith|0 Comments