Join me and a few others in the Kismuth and S P A C E online conversation spaces for the new 12-week ‘MIRROR’ project. Reflection and writing. Together, in online forums and over email 1:1 with me.

How did this topic arise? I’m a fan of the Open Space method, which gets people together to talk about things that interest them.

Some titles from the last ten years that pop to mind as I reminisce on this include: Gather: What does it mean to have Community, Origin: ‘What is fromness?’, Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh, Beauty: What is it? Who gets to decide?, Aether: Is the Medium Still the Message?, and you see what I mean? Quite esoteric, but it gets real and cool when we make time to show up, and talk, together, about what it is that intrigues and invites those who might not know one another to discover together on a theme. Dialogue is that style that has a center and not sides, for me, when I host these things.

The one that I had held last week in virtual space was themed ‘A Change of Perspective.’ Through a series of fascinating exchanges, I got to see that there is an even more specific topic we could zero in on. True to Open Space style, I’ve allocated another spot to dive deeper into this topic. It is ‘A World Apart.’

Asing questions: An online reflection space for the very curious

Some of us are far, far away from what we thought we knew, and are on the road ‘indefinitely.’ In these places, on these journeys, we meet and talk. Sometimes we share. I’m looing forward to the next set of online conversations for this series, and I invite you to be part of the Cojournal, ‘A World Apart,’ if you are interested in engaging with us in a written way. That’s also a way to discover, and co-discover, what we don’t know.

Apply at this link…

http://dipikakohli.com/apply

 

Participation fees start at USD10/week, (USD7/week for returning guests.)

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The Mirror | ‘A World Apart’

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$5


Thanks for following this blog. There are a few people who have asked me to keep writing it, so here I am.

Additionally, these days I’ve been writing a monthly column. It’s called Kismuth & The Way II. If you know about this column and you know about Kismuth and you are reading here, thank you. I wanted to share this issue before it gets published next month, for some people who might enjoy it and want to get it first. Perhaps that’s you? Welcome.  I invite you to read ‘Pathways.’ It’s a short PDF, and it’s in the S P A C E shop. It’s $5.

Here is a link.

https://designkompany.gumroad.com/l/dupvc


 

Writing is all rewriting, and so on, and so forth


For context, see this post at my personal site, too. I’ve been making the weekly e-mag S P A C E since 2017.

Pathways

kismuth members, writing

Kismuth & The Way

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On beauty

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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

 

 

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.

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Listening to understand, not to reply

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Seek first to understand, then, to be understood

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More is here.

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Soft Skills: A series of conversations in the cloud

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What are soft skills? Why are they important?

 

Talking about soft skills, the job site Indeed says:

Soft skills are abilities that relate to how you work and interact with other people. Commonly noted soft skills include communication, teamwork and other interpersonal skills. Employers look for candidates with soft skills as these skills are hard to teach and are important for long-term success. Soft skills are different from hard skills, which are technical in nature and job-specific.

 

In their ‘HR Toolkit’ category, the website Workable blogs:

‘Soft skills are general traits not specific to any job, helping employees excel in any workplace. They include communication, teamwork, and adaptability, often termed as transferable or interpersonal skills. They’re essential for professional success.’

‘Essential.’

Let’s explore, then.

 


Soft skills vis-a-vis the conversation salon


I was happily writing my books for these last ten years, but it’s time to bring some of what I’ve learned from memoir-writing, namely, the work required to reflect, and deeply consider, multiple angles and listen for those (even 1:0, this matters), for others purposes, now. That’s why I’m going to invite anyone curious about soft skills to a ‘mini-conference.’ We’ll talk in a forum I’ll host on Zoom voice; no more than 4, because, it’s the way I like to host these open spaces. See more about Open Space Technology at the Wikipedia page for it.

So, whoever comes is the right people. It starts when it starts, it’s over when it’s over, and whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve. In a nutshell, that’s what ‘open space’ means. I’ve adapted it slightly, here and there, over these last 20 years for my conversation salons, roundtables, ‘parties’, and various get-togethers with new and different others convening for the ‘craic,’ as we would have said, in West Cork. There, and other places, like Seattle, Durham NC, Phnom Penh, are where I’ve spent chunks of time in a row (3-10 years), and where I’ve gotten to understand how other people explore, engage, invite, connect, and become part of a conversation that’s elegant, not just there.

 


Making space for ‘Soft Skills’ dialogues


Personally, I think Soft Skills come right into play in parallel with designing space for elegant conversation; that’s what I’d like to explore with HR professionals, this spring. The event is free to participate in, but application is required.

Apply here.

More from there if it’s a fit.


Connect with Kismuth


More there and perhaps on LinkedIn for Kismuth and Kismuth on Facebook. Let me look into how to make the best use of these channels, for 2024’s goals for Kismuth to connect leaders in HR. To be continued, in an empathetic, conversation-led way.

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Soft Skills

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