Monthly Archives: March 2009

Being Mindful of What You Say…

In a recent talent development workshop, I was given an interesting homework assignment. For one week, I was asked to listen to then write down my speech patterns in a journal. The purpose of the assignment was to become more mindful of what I said and how I said it.

It is now halfway through the week and halfway through the assignment. While I have not written down everything I should have in my journal, the assignment’s purpose has been realized as a truly humbling experience. During the past few days I’ve had a chance to really listen to my speech patterns. It did not take very long to discover that I did not always like what I heard myself say much less how I said it. As a result of this exercise, I learned 7 important lessons about interpersonal communications; lessons I would like to pay forward:

  • Be nice. As my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” because no matter what you say or how you say it, your message always reveals your true thoughts and attitudes.
  • You DO have an effect on others. Whether you choose to admit it, your words DO have an impact – positive or negative – on others; and more than you really care to know! In fact, your words not only effect the person you communicate them to, but what you say has a ripple effect, touching all those that person interacts with afterwards. A true communicator is mindful of the effect their words have and adjust those words accordingly.
  • Be positive. Mindful communication goes beyond getting your message across, or clarifying the thoughts of others; it leaves people feeling better than they did prior to receiving it.
  • Do not assume you are understood. How many times have relationships failed because a shared message was misunderstood? Messages are often misunderstood due to lack of detail; a misused or misplaced word; or a vague or incomplete thought resulting in misinterpretation or multiple interpretations. All add up to a distorted message being received.
  • Know when to remain silent. Native Americans are very wise in that they value silence. They know that silence allows for mindful listening and reflection. Rather than rambling on incessantly about things with little or no value, take time out. Try staying silent with the purpose of truly reflecting on the words of others. The best communicator is one who is secure enough to know when they have little to say.
  • Do not interrupt. It has been said that “There is no such thing as conversation… only intersecting monologues.” It is rare to see people listening with complete openness and non-judgment until another has stopped speaking. Even rarer is to hear someone ask for clarification to aid understanding. The mark of a true communicator is one who is a good listener; someone who holds back his/her own thoughts until they have listened to the thoughts of others.
  • Do not gossip. Not only is gossip idle chatter, but it serves no real purpose other than to make yourself feel better at another person’s expense. If you hear others gossip, simply disengage yourself: do not reply, do not allow yourself to be drawn in, and most of all… never ever do it yourself.

Most of all, as a result of my most recent homework assignment, I learned that effective interpersonal communications does not occur overnight; it is in fact, a masterpiece in progress. As much-needed time is taken to reflect on what to say and how to present it, thoughts, feelings, speech patterns, and physical connections start to change. With this change, the barriers that get in the way of trust break down, paving the way for more truly intimate relationships that work.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa

Be Fearless

I am currently taking a series of Talent Development workshops called “Dream, Believe, Achieve”. During one session we talked about how we often hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential. What really struck me is how we are often more fearful of our potential than we are of our shortcomings. The reason is that while we are aware of our shortcomings, we are not aware of our true potential.

In her book, “Return to Love”, Marianne Williamson elaborates on this fear about our potential with such brevity and clarity that I wish to pass along to you. She writes: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa

Rediscover the Lost Art of Letter Writing

When was the last time you wrote letter to a loved one? I don’t mean an e-mail, a text message, or a mail-merged Christmas letter sent to all those on your list. I mean a real letter handwritten on a nice piece of stationary mailed in a stamped envelope. That long? Thought so.

As a nation, we have become so obsessed with instant communication that the very idea of writing someone a letter seems as archaic as a typewriter. In fact, our world has become so fast-paced that text messaging is no longer fast enough. We now find ourselves using cryptic abbreviations to speed up our message. At the pace we are going, the letter is not only becoming a lost art, but it is also endangered. By danger I mean that we run the risk of becoming the first generation in history to leave no written record of ourselves to pass on to the next generation!

A letter is a very intimate form of communication; especially now that we receive so few of them. The content of each letter matters; not only because of the personal nature, but because of the time and effort it takes in producing one in an increasingly disconnected world.

The following are a few suggestions for starting or renewing your letter-writing efforts:

  • Select a few friends or family members who would most likely agree to starting a written correspondence with you. This is not critical, but it helps to have someone with whom you can actually have an on-going correspondence.
  • Use good stationary and a quality pen to make letter-writing more meaningful and enjoyable. For example, I received a beautiful, hand-made pen from my brother-in-law at Christmas time. Using the pen when writing a note or letter enhances the writing experience.
  • Write about what’s going on in your life. Use this letter-writing experience as an opportunity to delve into deeper things, whether it be about the world, your relationship with the person you’re writing to, or about yourself.
  • Keep writing even if your letters go unanswered. With time, you will derive as much pleasure from writing the letters as you will from receiving one. One word of caution though… be prepared to receive e-mails in response to your letters. After all, it will take awhile to change the habits of others 🙂
  • Keep an open mind as to what a letter IS if you are having a writer’s block. Think outside the box and redefine a “letter.” suggests:

  1. Write on some unusual surfaces such as a handkerchief, a scarf, or even a napkin.
  2. Try a non-traditional format. No one says you have to use white paper. Use white ink on black paper. Or write a letter in the form of song lyrics.
  3. Create your own envelope out of newspaper, gift wrap, or magazine pages.
  4. Don’t use an envelope at all. Consider a soda can, a DVD case, or a gift box.
  5. Get poetic. Write your news in the form of a haiku. Or write everything backwards so you need a mirror to read it. Better yet… make a rebus letter, omitting words and replacing them with pictures.
  6. Make your own stationary using old wallpaper books or old register tapes.
  7. Try a progressive letter. Start a letter in a notebook then have your friend add to it then pass it along to a third friend.
  8. Send your friend pens and paper from a stationary store and receive some in return.

For more fun tips, go to

With each letter, you are not only using your creativity, but you are also slowing down the pace of your life long enough to think about and be grateful for the little events that make up your day. Best of all… you leave a personal history of your experiences to pass on.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa

Do you consider withholding information and/or truth the same as lying?

Recently, a friend of mine and I were discussing whether the withholding of information and/or the truth was the same as lying. This is a hot topic as it has both moral and ethical implications; not only on the home front, but at work, school, the social scene, and even on the church pulpit. In fact, upon research, I learned it is a dilemma many of us face. What’s more, rather than being a solid Yes or No, the answer lies somewhere in between based on intent.

As for detail…in a recent poll on GrassCity. com respondents were asked: Is Withholding Information Lying? 30.23% of respondents said Yes; 55.81% said No; and the remaining 13.95% were compelled to say, “Let me explain” so that specific examples could be cited.

Yes, even if you are being honest with everything else, it’s still deceptive. 13 30.23%
No, as long as everything else is true, it’s okay. 24 55.81%
Let me explain. 6 13.95%

Clearly, the results amplify the dilemma many of us face today in our relationships – whether it be with friends, co-workers, family members, spouses, students, mentors, and even with our congregation! In fact, as this survey indicates, many people claim there are times when it is acceptable or even good to lie and cite specific situations. The trouble with this practice is that it is not only very easy to justify lying in “extreme” cases, but over time it becomes just as easy to lie for any number of reasons! Granted, it may not be his or her intention to do this, but the end is often cited as justifying the means, with a “reason” being given to justify every lie.

As a result, we allow circumstances and opinions to rule our conduct. Over time, we lose any objective, unwavering standard for making moral decisions. If the Bible is one such standard, concrete examples can be provided in terms of how, when, and why it is important to be completely open and honest in our relationships with others. For example:

  • Leviticus 19:11b tells us “You must never lie or deceive another person.”
  • Matthew 5:37 tells us “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything that goes beyond this is condemned.
  • Colossians 3:9 focuses on the all-encompassing principle: “Do not lie”. By implication, being truthful – along with having integrity, honesty and other similar traits are to be characteristics of our lives.
  • Even the original commandment, “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16 and Deuteronomy 5:20) tells us not to lie about our neighbors.

So when all is said and done, is the withholding of information and/or the truth really the same as lying? Surely, the debate continues beyond this post with no clear cut answer. I truly believe though the answer is found in the motive or intention of the person doing the withholding. If your motive or intention is pure and altruistic, then withholding information (as in the case of sparing the feelings of another who cannot handle the news) is not a lie. However, if you are consciously aware that, by withholding information, you are deliberately misleading or fostering a misconception in another person’s mind, then YES, withholding information is as bad as an outright lie. In fact, it is a form of deception designed to hide, manipulate, or circumvent the truth. It is for this reason it is just as evil as lying. Also keep in mind that while many withhold information to protect another “from the pain the truth would cause”, it is often a smokescreen designed to avoid consequences associated with the truth coming out.Bottom line: Truth always has a way of coming out… often in unexpected ways and when you least expect it. So, if at all possible, be completely open and honest with those who are in your life. What’s more, do not withhold any details. Finally… be mindful of not only the message you share, but also on how you deliver that message. Along with intent, delivery can make all the difference!!!

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa