Here is my column this month, in Saathee.

 

Trust the Process

vignettes, writing

Trust the Process

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Philip Oroni

 

 

Soft Skills in the workplace, at home, and in the world

&Cojournal, 100 Conversations, vignettes

Soft Skills

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essays, found

Researching ‘advice for young people’ for my last column, for Saathee, I found this intriguing short piece called Desiderata. Now, this may be quite familiar to many, because of the very real nature of Western intellectualism being more commonly delivered to our textbooks and into our everyday lives if we grow up in the West than, say, those who may have other perspectives, like the one I ended up writing about, after all. (Silence, namely. Letting people decide their own things. Jiddu Krishnamurthi’s unpackaged suggestions through his writings and lectures have pointed me this way, and the perspective of keeping quiet instead of over-verbalizing your opinion has been etched further from the many, many conversations that I’ve been lucky to get to have with those whom I have gotten to know, who have opened up, and who have come out and told me when I outright ask, ‘What do you think?’, and, importantly, who are wildy uninfluenced by Western traditions. So refreshing.)

That said, it’s sometimes worthwhile to keep these footnotes around as a reference point. Except for the ‘God’ reference, which I could do without, personally, I feel this short letter, reportedly from a father to his daughter, has some real heft to it.

Here it is.

Desiderata: Original Text This is the original text from the book where Desiderata was first published.

‘Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

‘Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

‘But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’ -Max Ehrmann, 1927

Advice for young people

Quote

I like quiet space. I always have. This book expands on it, in vignettes from Phnom Penh. / Photo: Debby Hudson

 

Next from Kismuth’s collection of short books is Into the Quiet. It’s a curated collection of articles, and additional bits and pieces, on the subject of stilling, quieting, and finding comfort there.

Here’s a link.

http://kismuth.com/into-the-quiet

Thanks.

 

essays, vignettes, writing

Into the Quiet

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See https://kismuth.com/soft-skills-in-the-workplace-at-home-and-in-the-world/

 

kismuth members

Soft Skills mini-conference No. 2

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This season I am reading articles, and conversing with experts, on Soft Skills for my weekly e-mag, S P A C E. This involves a lot of internet conversation, back-and-forth about how it works when it works well. Of course, this is a spectrum.

The more you read and discover, the more you find out.

It’s not like anyone has this perfectly down pat, but, I think, if we can aim to understand someone by giving them room to talk and not thinking while they’re talking about [insert anything] or being defensive or taking it personally or judging, then the result will be much better quality. In terms of communicating well. My opinion.

Communicating effectively in 2024. How do you do it?

It’s very easy to talk about this and it’s hard to do it; but there are tools, there are kits, there are quizzes and self-assessment tools all over the internet right now, because we are in an era of multi-channel communication and ‘even silence says something’ thinking which is hard to work with if you have something that is very real and labeled ‘information anxiety.’

I am reading about those things, too.


Talking about talking


Soft Skills, in this current season.

I’ll expand further, in my crowdfunded zine, S P A C E. It’s a weekly.

Meantime, if you want to hear more, or get links to some of the best sources I’ve found, definitely let me know; say hi.

Thanks.

found

Listening to understand, not to reply

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It’s nice to be writing a column, Kismuth & The Way II, for Saathee Magazine. The first series ran for a time and then the pandemic hit. I resumed the column this year, to gather a few new pieces, mostly tiny vignettes about everyday life in Cambodia. Where I live. It’s a long story.

More about that, soon.

vignettes, writing

Writing a column again

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It’s 2024.

People I know who are 24-35 are asking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ They’re asking, ‘What can I do to make meaning in my life?’ I’m digging into this question a bit, for good advice for young people.

Honestly, there’s not anything to find that’s readily applicable across the board. For now, I’m reading, listening, joining email lists about the topic of Personal Growth, investigating blogs, finding out about podcasts, and, of course, occasionally dipping into the ocean of social media posts. Rarely, I find something that I can say ‘Yeah, that applies, even with the pandemic-adjusted world, it still fits.’ Sometimes there are commencement speeches that I used to think were amazing, but they failed to take into account all the things we know now and factor in that mark 2024 and not 2014, which was when I landed in Southeast Asia. In the decade since, much has changed. Of course. Naturally; and talking about change comes easily to me since I was exploring this well before arriving here, too.

Now, I’m understanding more and more that when some talk about ‘change’ they’re not really talking about change at all – that is a given, after all, that change will come – but they’re talking about something more internal than that.

More personal.

The reality of it is becoming clear to me. I’ve observed countless startups, and nonprofits, and NGOs talking about change and making change and the center of what these things are really about is emerging after a decade of sitting back and watching from the sidelines.

I’ve already talked about it.

Ego.

People in the higher-up places in their positions corroborate this. It gets in the way.

But it’s there. It’s always, always there. Ego, competing with the big thing that the true self is seeking: connection. Oh, there’s so much to say, and so much to feel, and of course, it’s a personal take anyway no matter what I could write or share. I know that.

Still, I want to try.


What is the meaning of growth & change, truly?


I don’t mean to get too philosophical here, today. But I think there’s a parallel you can draw between the design process, which was my practice for a decade in Seattle and Raleigh-Durham, and that of finding inward transformation which is what we explore in Kismuth columns, books, and articles (and conversations – but that’s hard to share since it gets so personal and what we say together is confidential, besides).

Why is trust so important?

Because it takes time. It takes learning, uncovering, and feeling okay with what you see. Who you’re with. It takes aeons to build. It means something: it means lowering your guard. Not everyone is ready to do that, of course, but it’s requisite for real change, I feel.

During the design process, I asked clients of Design Kompany to think bigger than just what other people would think of their new brand identity’s ‘look’, which, if I’m honest, is what people often think they want when they sign up for a design with DK. I’m glad they wanted to work with me because they liked DK’s portfolio, but I encouraged them to go a step further and investigate more deeply into the ‘why’ of what they wanted to do, say, make, and share with the world. This of course got personal and I started to focus more on owner/operated firms with just a few people because DK’s process could be the most useful, in those cases. People who were ready to ask questions, big ones. And think through lots of stuff, with me asking the questions to get them to explore.  I think that what we always find out together is that the design process can call out something cool. It’s not external validation that people care about, after trusting me through this process, it’s something else. More personal. More true to who they really are.


An inward transformation


I believe that the process – with trust in it – can lead to a deep and meaningful inward transformation. Fixing your issues, resolving what’s been unresolved. I’ve helped people make tattoos or personal brand identities for themselves, when going through a big shift in life.

Such stuff to talk together and get a design together to give concrete form to those shifts can be giant work.

I see it. I find out. I watch people start coping with old stuff and dealing with it. Dealing with baggage – the traumas of childhood baggage, relationship baggage, all the stuff you never coped with. I had friends in the past who were therapists and they used to talk a lot with me about their own issues. Long story short, I tried my best to learn how to be a good listener for them, in those times. I learned how to lean on others, too, in other times in life, when things got difficult. Sometimes the skills in listening – soft skills – can be a great source of support. Just listening. Which takes a lot of energy and giving, of course. I feel that a process of inward transformation can truly happen… with trust. Trusting the process. Trusting yourself.

My opinion.

Here’s another one. You can listen to a podcast interview I did with a guest, SV, who had a fascinating take on this. Listen to my episode of the podcast ‘New Baselines’. Which is at this page:

Podcast

 


Being very honest


More to say about the work to find inward transformation and peace, as we all converse and connect and try new things n our own ways wherever we are. It’s a conversation, but it’s also a zine. A zine called S P A C E. More about it is at my crowdfunding page. That link is:

http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine

Thanks!

100 Conversations

A true process of change begins with trust: this is why

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Here’s where I am today. Researching and learning more about listening, active listening in particular.

When was the last time you really truly listened to someone else? Without thinking about what you were going to say, next? Without being defensive (defensive listening is a thing)? With really simply just being there, ready to connect, and let someone talk, until they’re finished talking?


According to VeryWellMind, ‘Active listening is a communication skill that involves going beyond simply hearing the words that another person speaks. It’s about actively processing and seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them. It requires being a mindful and focused participant in the communication process.’


I think this is a very rare thing to get to experience in the 24/7 world. I mean, when do we slow down, really look at each other, really pay attention. Quieting is one way to go into the very comfortable thing that can happen when reflection and pause come into shape.

Active listening is a way to allow others to feel heard, and closeness to develop, from there. Real closeness, not just hanging out, pretending.

found

Active listening

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I’ve spent a lot of time during the pandemic with the videos and podcasts that are online that you can listen to, recordings that capture the things that Jiddu Krishnamurthi gave us to think over. Many of them talk about thought being the bad guy, how it got us to feel that we are separate from others. The dividing that happens is where we get into trouble. With each other. Things create conflicts, clashes, and gettings-in-the-way; misunderstandings. I like this video. I like most of them, especially when he talks about coping with the world and co-existing with the whole of it all. Seeing things clearly. As they are, with both sorrow there, and joy, too. When you feel sort of alone in a foreign country because you’re stuck and it’s a pandemic, it’s helpful to have these philosophical pieces to ‘visit’ because it’s like visiting someone cool and wise and whom you can learn from. I had missed this opportunity being far from my other ‘homes’, and the people in those places who used to give me great feedback, imparting words of wisdom, wherever and whenever luck was with me, and I could hear them.

HT PR


When you look at yourself as an ego, the ‘self’, the self-centered entity, what is it?’ Actually, what is it? The name, the form, the shape, the idea, the concept, the image? That is the me… With all the tendencies and all the rest of it. Essentially, it is the product of thought… Thought is the past, modifying itself, all the time… limited, narrow, can never been whole.

 

found

Ego: ‘Essentially it is the product of thought,’ J. Krishnamurthi

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I updated the page about Soft Skills, with this. More about it is here.

relationships

Seek first to understand, then, to be understood

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