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Below are the 8 most recent journal entries recorded in For people interested in sharing their ideas' LiveJournal:

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
11:54 pm
New Community
Posted this originally in _INFP_. Thought you guys would like to know.

Hi everyone. I've spoken before about an idea which I was looking at to further the process we've begun here with the Book of Questions. One of the things which I found challenging was having to regularly post the questions. As an INFP, part of me wanted to just leave it aside, not wanting to be dictated by a compulsory chore. But at the same time, another part of me, probably the stubborn part, wanted to pursue it and finish it. We are now getting to that point with less than 10 questions to go.

In order to continue this process, independently of my posts, I've created a new community called 5gratitudes. Its goal is to simply name 5 good things that happen to you daily, as you look back. It's an exercise that was proposed by my girlfriend, in order to better shape my outlook on life. According to her, after a month of doing so, her outlook has changed significantly. Maybe it will do the same for you or me. I don't know, but I'm willing to give it a shot, however much time it takes. Post your comments and let me know. So come on by and say hi. You're all welcome.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
7:23 pm
It was a Saturday at noon and the phone rings at Lisa's apartment. It was Joe on the phone, Lisa's boyfriend. He tells Lisa that he would like to hang out for a few minutes. Lisa agrees to meet him at a local coffee shop.

Lisa arrives at the scheduled time and sees Joe standing in line to get a drink. Lisa is a little disappointed because she feels Joe should have waited for her to arrive before he ordered. Lisa joins Joe in line, they order, and Joe pays for her coffee. Although Lisa thanks him, she can't help but think that he should have waited for her.

Lisa and Joe find a table and sit down. Just as they begin to talk, Joe's older brother Bob plops down with them and takes a slurp of Joe's drink. He cheerfully thanks Joe for the drink and joins the conversation. Lisa is irritated with Bob's intrusion and grows increasingly intolerant of Joe's brother. Whispering to Joe, she asks if they could go for a walk and possibly hang out with Bob some other time. Joe grabs Lisa's hand and asks Bob to excuse them for a moment.

"Lisa, I don't know what's going on here, but you seem to be upset. I thought it might be nice just to hang out for a while but not with this attitude. You seemed irritated from the time you arrived."

"Well, I was a little irritated. I got here and you were already in line. You didn't even wait for me to get here before you ordered. It felt awkward when you paid for my coffee because if I had walked in 2 minutes later, I would have bought my own. After we finally get a table, your brother just decides to join us. You didn't even say anything. I thought we were going to hang out, just us two, and I felt like you weren't even disappointed when he joined in on the conversation."

"Hey Lisa, I don't know what you were expecting, but I didn't say anything about us being alone. Secondly, Bob and I have been here for a half hour. I called you from his cell phone because he suggested it. About the being in line thing, Bob had already gotten me a drink so I was returning the favor. Maybe you didn't realize it, but Bob drove me here because my car is being repaired. Bob was nice enough to drive me here, wait until my car was fixed, and was even willing to hang out with his little brother and girlfriend. And to make matters worse, you've been rude to him. I think you owe us both an apology."

It is appropriate to have expectations at certain times. It is especially important to understand when to expect specific behaviors and how we should communicate our expectations, keeping in mind that when we are disappointed, it is usually based on an assumption or expectation that was never communicated. Our disappointments are typically of our own making.

In a loose sense, expectations come in all sorts of forms and types. Rules for example, are a type of expectation. Most adults understand by definition, that they are expected to follow rules. Most managers or companies write their rules down somewhere, usually in a company handbook or within a memo. There are normally consequences when rules are not followed. Another type of expectation is a goal. Goals are certainly not rules but, in a way, are expectations. When a team sets goals, there is usually a time line established and a set of actions defined and assigned to specific people or departments. Ideally, the team stays in communication with one another and they adapt their plan as needed, always keeping their objectives or goals in mind. They know the expectations and agree to them. Rules and goals work when everyone understands the objective or desired outcome. Rules are pretty simple. They can be accepted by most people pretty easily because most of us have been trained to "follow the rules" from the first day of preschool on. Meeting goals are pretty simple too, that is if everyone understands the objective, wants the same things, and the lines of communication stay open. Expectations in general are much the same. If all the parties involved understand that first, there is an expectation of some sort and secondly, that they are expected to do something or act in some specific way, it works out- but only if everyone wants the same thing.

So, for an expectation to be realistic:

a) All the parties involved must understand that the expectation exists
b) All the parties involved understand that the expectation requires that they are supposed to act in some specific way
c) All the parties involved agree that the expectation is what they want, no matter what their motive

Lets look at the case of Lisa, Joe, and his brother Bob again. Each time Lisa became disappointed, it was based on an assumption with an expectation attached that was not met. First, she assumed that Joe had called her from home or somewhere other than the coffee shop. She also assumed they were meeting alone. She was offended when Joe was in line as she arrived because she assumed he got there as she did. She also assumed that Joe drove to the coffee shop on his own and that Bob was an intruder at their table. This is a classic example of how we somethimes set ourselves up to be disappointed. In this case Lisa was completely responsible for her unhappiness. Joe and Bob did not understand that any expectations existed, they didn't realize that they were supposed to act in some specific way, and could not possibly have agree that they wanted what Lisa wanted- they had no way of even knowing the expectation existed in the first place.

Unfortunately, we can set ourselves up in much the same way at the office if we aren't aware of our assumptions. In the case of our character Lisa, is likely that she did not understand that she assumed anything at all. This is key- becoming aware of our natural tendency to assume things with people, places, or things we are familiar with. There is no reason to completely avoid assuming certain things- for example you might be safe to assume that the conference table and chairs will be in the meeting room tomorrow because they have always been there in the past, but it may not be smart to assume that your boss will be at a meeting you are presenting at when you have never given a presentation before. No precedent has been set so there is nothing to base the expectation on. You are familiar with your boss and you may be tempted to assume something about his character or management style that would lead you to believe he would attend your first presentation; but you cannot make that assumption. Your boss may be committed to other activities or may feel that it would be good for your confidence to go it on your own. There could be a million reasons he would not attend and no real reason he might; none other than your unreasonable assumption that he'll be there. Your boss doesn't attend and you are likely to become angry and hurt. And who is responsible for your pain? You are. No one else. If you behave badly as a result of your hurt, it only complicates things further.

We can't nor should we stop making assumptions completely, but the awareness that some expectations are rational while others are not can help us avoid feeling angry or hurt. It is human nature to feel that we "know" people or believe that we can predict how they may behave. And It can be argued that past behavior can predict future behavior- but not every time, no matter how well we know a person. When we are wrong about our assumptions, we get disappointed. The number of expectations we have on the people in the world will be exactly proportionate to the degree of happiness we experience. Think about Lisa, Joe, and Bob. I hope the story looks different now then it did when you first read it.

Julie Johnson- AH HAH!

PS : View my segment on Clear VS Muddy Communication
Saturday, December 17th, 2005
4:04 pm
A possible difference between living to 100 or not
Today on the news, it was mentioned that the Guinness World Record people have said that the oldest living person on the planet is an Ecuadorian woman. She is 116 years old. Her daughter, who is 79, said that her secret to living to that ripe old age could be her calm disposition.

This got me thinking. If a calm disposition is a personality trait which is inherent in some people, can it be developed in others who are lacking it? Becoming angry is something we all have gone through at some time or another. Yet anger affects us differently and for various reasons. Some of us have less of a tendency to hold back and express our anger as it comes. Others, on the other end, accumulate and build it until it explodes. Still, others internalize it completely with no outer release because they simply don't give themselves permission to do so, as we see in people with anxiety disorders, whereas for other people the situation and circumstances dictate the amount of anger which is released. This latter form is usually what is privileged.

That said, our temperaments and dispositions play a role in forming us as individuals. Though there is opportunity for change at a younger age, I am persuaded that we somehow become prisoners of our identities at an older age. This is where the proverb "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" came about. I wonder if our temperaments don't affect us at an older age, to the point where unhealthy patterns adopted actually become conducive to our demise. Being ourselves, and choosing to follow certain detrimental temperaments that could have been toned down at a young age could possibly be a deciding factor in the difference between living up to 100 or not.

Certain stresses that are easily handled at 25 can perhaps have a more negative effect on our persons were we to be 60 or above. Anger is a powerful emotion. It can lead to high blood pressure, physical pain in our bodies, higher levels of adrenaline and thoughts of injuring others in one way or another. It is often said that anger is experienced as a form of trespass on the part of another person. If some of these issues remain unresolved, they can have devastating effects on the person. Yet how can a relative tell if such patterns are detrimental if the person does not disclose how they felt and to which point it affects them? Older people tend not to talk about their personal problems. And if they do, they do so more out of the need to vent then out of the need to actually change anything in their particular situation. This attitude opens the door to a variety of "unfinished business", meaning issues that can remain unresolved because of the general attitude of the person, simply based on a more difficult temperament and the reinforcement of a person's identity with age.

Could this then be why some of us live up to and past 100 while others do not?

These were the words of What_I_Believe*
Thursday, December 15th, 2005
7:47 pm
Whatever Matter Is, It's Not Made of Matter
Although we may not know the external world directly, we can draw conclusions from our experience as to what it might be like. This, in essence, has been the focus of our scientific endeavours. Scientists have sought to understand the functioning of the world around us, and draw conclusions about its true nature.
Read more

Just thought you all might find that article interesting!
Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
2:19 am
My main passion in life, I just discovered...
Well, here's the main thing on my mind...

Today, I finally figured out what I really want to do with my life, and I felt lighter --- but there's no job for it, and most would probably consider it crazy -- what I REALLY want to do is create and develop characters. LOL. I don't even necesarily want to write stories about them, I just want to develop them so that someone else can write stories about them.

Character development is something I spend half my life doing, and it's what I probably do better than anything else, lol. I just didn't realize it until now. I get very involved in the lives of characters I create, and then I have a forget to focus on MY life, especially if I have a dream about one of my characters. That means the next day all I think about is that character. It drives me crazy sometimes (or maybe I already am crazy), but I do love it.

Creating a character takes only a second, but developing one is a long, continuing process. I do this by doing what I can to make them real to me. I have to get to know them. In the past, I used to just write out every detail about my characters, but in recent years, I've experimented with writing AS my characters - that is, having them write journals, blogs, etc, from their point of view, in their own style. Some of my characters materialize enough that they "graduate" from blogs to an actual story.

My problem with writing a story is that 1) the story idea is non-existent and 2) when I do have a story, it's too personal (and in some cases, embarassing) to share with anyone, so I wouldn't be able to make a living off of it.

Ok. That's it. Just wanted to share!

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, December 6th, 2005
12:50 am
Welcome: Tell us what do you find yourself often thinking about?
Hi everyone. I never got to personally welcoming each and everyone of you here in this new community. I'd like to thank those that have participated so far and encourage those that watch to join in on our little discussions. In the spirit of inclusion and making this page personal to you, I'd like to know what issues/questions/thoughts you may have noticed you've had lately that you'd like to pursue further. Is there something you'd like to bounce around in this community?

Of course, you're free to divulge up to whichever degree that you feel comfortable with. I invite you to make this as much your page as it is mine.


Sunday, December 4th, 2005
5:31 pm
Memories and desires
Deepak Chopra once said that our minds consist mainly of memories and desires. Put otherwise, the past and the future. How real is the present moment if it remains ever elusive?

8:42 am
A new take on the 4 Horsemen?
Today, I read the last of the vertigo miniseries entitled "The Four Horsemen". I've sent a piece off to a few friends of mine but have yet to hear of their comments regarding the first issue.

Inspired by The Book of Revelations in the Bible, the four Horsemen, as presented, are Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. In the comic, they are somehow summoned by a rock singer invoking the apocalypse on New Year's Eve. Astonished at the fact that they seem revered instead of feared, they temporarily retire to a nearby pub to discover one by one, through various interactions with people walking in and out of the bar, that today's world just isn't what it used to be. That there are much more insidious ways of realizing their goals, thanks to the luxury of modern times.

Pestilence, who was the representation of an epidemic or even a pandemic of a virulent and highly contagious disease, came to understand that there are much worse fates than those he was accustomed to bringing:

"Let surveillance and information replace lesions and sores! If humankind now finds solace only in hiding itself, I must reallocate my ressources to invade privacy, not physicality. Destroy intimacy, destroy independence, destroy initiative...can the ultimate destruction be far behind?"

- 4 Horsemen # 3 of 4 (DC: Vertigo comics, 2000).

I believe the scourge he is alluding to is none other than our own personal identity. It's not in groups where we learn to better understand ourselves, but rather the interpretation we give it following the interaction; once we are alone and can reflect on what happened. If aloneness is taken away, then how can we best assimilate these new experiences that come to us? If we are not allowed to define ourselves, we risk making bad choices that we'll regret. Regret is the beginning of guilt. And guilt is the diminishing of our Selves. It has been witnessed within African cultures that sufficient guilt can bring about death...the ultimate destruction, as pestilence mentions.

War, who came to represent destruction through battle and fighting, with his red, bloodstained sword, also came to understand that there are other ways to crush your ennemies:

"What if there existed a weapon powerful men used to subjugate their minions that did NOT inspire fear. Whose reign of terror could creep invisibly across the globe. Whose hegemony would mean the world's utter ruin? (...) Physical warfare is too slow and inefficient.(...)I need to redeploy my energies towards a new kind of warfare. Clean! Ruthless! Insidious!"

- 4 Horsemen # 2 of 4 (DC: Vertigo comics, 2000).

He was of course refering to corporate wars and the "casualties" they leave behind (washed up people left out in the cold, others swallowed whole, due to their lost livelihood through takeovers and buyouts). I am reminded of the recent paper mill closings in our general area. People showed up at the plant at 5am only to find out the gates were locked. Like cattle, they were all directed to the local casino for an "emergency meeting", and well...you can predict the rest. In war, there are conquerers and the conquered. And history is often written by the first ones. Those that lose often fade into the background, unbeknownst or ignored by the higher ups. In our society, so much depends on our livelihood. Our very identities are tied to what we do. Society looks down at some who do less then commendable work, whereas others are irrationally elevated to stardom status simply for putting a rubber ball in a hoop, selling the dream to those lower in our caste system. Because we give so much credit to what we do, is it any suprise that people lose hope in themselves and sink everso lower into becoming a casualty of this "War" when they lose that which supports their very quality of life?

Famine, who came to represent scarcity of food, high prices, all in the face of non essential luxuries, was also dismayed at what he saw:

"This world is vexed by starvation, as it ever will be. But it is more greatly imperilled by its opposite: procreation without cease among those whose stomachs know no want. (...)This threat is so uncanny it has caused humankind to question its own worth, doubt the sanctity of its very claim to life."

- 4 Horsemen # 1 of 4 (DC: Vertigo comics, 2000).

I think what Famine is referring to is, the everincreasing devaluation we give to life in general. When society sees a pregnant woman, she is seen simply as another pregnant woman. Joseph Campbell hinted at this in his book "the power of myth", by saying how, in our society, childbirth has lost its novelty, despite the fact that women in aboriginal societies are seen in the same eye as warriors since they fight, at their own peril, to bring and maintain life in this world. There is also the fact that many people who have kids don't really think it through. The impact they have on a child's life, on their self-esteem, their natural curiosity, the management of their emotions and their love of learning, I believe, stem from the parent-child relationship. Those that ignore this only serve to create people who will be ill-equipped to face life, and thus contribute to making an unhappy person with repercussions on society, and ultimately on our own personal well being.

Death, who came to represent sickness and decay, as the final price to pay for all that came before, even went through his own transformation:

"(...) Yet how much more artful a death in which the body continues to thrive in which the vital corpse is no longer guided by thought but drawn hither and yon by mere sensation. The loudest sounds, the brightest lights. A world of human insects buzzing buzzing but to no purpose and to no effect. I can't believe I never thought of this before".

- 4 Horsemen # 4 of 4 (DC: Vertigo comics, 2000)

I believe Death is refering to a person's existential crisis. The pain of living in a hedonistic way with no sense of meaning. This crisis has been well documented in Tolstoy's "Confessions". It's sort of an autobiography that explains how his inner world shifted from that of an aristocrat's point of view to that of a man bent on realizing Jesus' original teachings through his actions. The sentence that changed his life which was uttered by Jesus: "You have been taught an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and I say differently. Do not fight evil with evil". This sentence alone made him realize that passive resistance is a major key to ending conflict. To living out what is important to the individual even in the face of adversity. To refusing to adopt violent ways, by choosing non-violence to end violence. It has been uttered once that "a man who does not live his Vision is living death". I think there is some merit to this.

The comic ends with the 4 horsemen adopting new names that better represent their adaptation to our society:

Information, incorporation, fecundity and incoherence.

Discussion: How do the NEW 4 Horsemen affect your life?

These were the words of What_I_Believe*
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