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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project

Difficult Conversations
I have tried to keep the notes as neat as possible. You can find another great summary here –
http://www.fscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Difficult-Conversations-Summary.pdf

Click to get the book or audiobook

– 3 Conversation
1. The “What Happened?” Conversation. Most difficult conversations involve disagreement about what has happened or what should happen. Who said what and who did what? Who’s right, who meant what, and who’s to blame?
2. The Feelings Conversation. Are my feelings valid? Appropriate? Should I acknowledge or deny them, put them on the table or check them at the door? What do I do about the other person’s feelings? What if they are angry or hurt? These feelings are not addressed directly in the conversation, but they leak in anyway.
3. The Identity Conversation. This is the conversation we each have with ourselves about what this situation means to us. We conduct an internal debate over whether this means we are competent or incompetent, a good person or bad, worthy of love or unlovable. What impact might it have on our self-image and self-esteem, our future and our well-being? Our answers to these questions determine in large part whether we feel “balanced” during the conversation, or whether we feel off-center and anxious.

– 3 fronts — Truth, Intentions, Blame
1. The Truth Assumption. As we argue vociferously for our view, we often fail to question one crucial assumption upon which our whole stance in the conversation is built: I am right, you are wrong. This simple assumption causes endless grief. There’s only one hitch: I am not right. They are not about what is true, they are about what is important. (Paras note: Something I say about relationships. Either one person wins/is right or the relationship wins/is right)
2. The Intention Invention. Did you yell at me to hurt my feelings or merely to emphasize your point? What I think about your intentions will affect how I think about you and, ultimately, how our conversation goes. We assume we know the intentions of others when we don’t. Worse still, when we are unsure about someone’s intentions, we too often decide they are bad. Sometimes people act with mixed intentions. Sometimes they act with no intention, or at least none related to us. And sometimes they act on good intentions that nonetheless hurt us.
3. The Blame Frame. Most difficult conversations focus significant attention on who’s to blame for the mess we’re in. We don’t care where the ball lands, as long as it doesn’t land on us. But talking about fault is similar to talking about truth—it produces disagreement, denial, and little learning. It evokes fears of punishment and insists on an either/or answer. Nobody wants to be blamed, especially unfairly, so our energy goes into defending ourselves. Talking about blame distracts us from exploring why things went wrong and how we might correct them going forward. Focusing instead on understanding the contribution system allows us to learn about the real causes of the problem, and to work on correcting them. The distinction between blame and contribution may seem subtle. But it is a distinction worth working to understand, because it will make a significant difference in your ability to handle difficult conversations.

– Why We Argue, and Why It Doesn’t Help. We think they are the problem. They think we are the problem. We each make sense in our story of what happened. Arguing blocks us from exploring each other’s stories. Arguing without understanding is unpersuasive.

– Move from Certainty to Curiosity. Curiosity: the way into their story. Embrace both stories: adopt the “and stance”. They can feel one thing and you can feel something totally opposite. Exceptions are I really am right (caught daughter smoking) and giving bad news (firing/breaking up).

– Disentangle Impact and Intent. Separating impact from intentions requires us to be aware of the automatic leap from “I was hurt” to “You intended to hurt me.” You can make this distinction by asking yourself three questions: 1. Actions: “What did the other person actually say or do?” 2. Impact: “What was the impact of this on me?” 3. Assumption: “Based on this impact, what assumption am I making about what the other person intended?” Share the Impact on You; Inquire About Their Intentions.

– Listen for Feelings, and Reflect on Your Intentions. When we find ourselves being accused of bad intentions — we have a strong tendency to want to defend ourselves: “That is not what I intended.” We are defending our intentions and our character. However, as we’ve seen, starting here leads to trouble.

– Listen Past the Accusation for the Feelings. Accusation about our bad intentions is always made up of two separate ideas: (1) we had bad intentions and (2) the other person was frustrated, hurt, or embarrassed. Don’t pretend they aren’t saying the first. You’ll want to respond to it. But neither should you ignore the second. And if you start by listening and acknowledging the feelings, and then return to the question of intentions, it will make your conversation significantly easier and more constructive.

– Be Open to Reflecting on the Complexity of Your Intentions. When it comes time to consider your intentions, try to avoid the tendency to say, “My intentions were pure.” We usually think that about ourselves, and sometimes it’s true. But often, as we’ve seen, intentions are more complex.

– Blame Is About Judging, and Looks Backward. Contribution Is About Understanding, and Looks Forward. Contribution is joint and interactive.

– Three Misconceptions About Contribution.
1: I should focus only on my contribution.
2: putting aside blame means putting aside my feelings.
3: exploring contribution means, “blaming the victim”.

– Four Hard-to-Spot Contributions.
1. Avoiding until now.
2. Being unapproachable.
3. Intersections.
4. Problematic role assumptions.

– Two Tools for Spotting Contribution. Role reversal. The observer’s insight.

– Map the Contribution System. What are they contributing? What am I contributing? List each person’s contribution. My contributions. His contributions. Who else is involved? Take responsibility for your contribution early. Help them understand their contribution. Make your observations and reasoning explicit. Clarify what you would have them do differently.

– Don’t Vent: Describe Feelings Carefully.
1. Frame feelings back into the problem.
2. Express the full spectrum of your feelings.
3. Don’t evaluate — just share. Express your feelings without judging, attributing, or blaming. Don’t monopolize: both sides can have strong feelings at the same time. An easy reminder: say “I feel . . . .”

– The Importance of Acknowledgment. What does it mean to acknowledge someone’s feelings? It means letting the other person know that what they have said has made an impression on you, that their feelings matter to you, and that you are working to understand them. “Wow,” you might say, “I never knew you felt that way,” or, “I kind of assumed you were feeling that, and I’m glad you felt comfortable enough with me to share it,” or, “It sounds like this is really important to you.” Let them know that you think understanding their perspective is important, and that you are trying to do so: “Before I give you a sense of what’s going on with me, tell me more about your feeling that I talk down to you.” Sometimes feelings are all that matter.

– Three Core Identities. Am I competent? Am I a good person? Am I worthy of love?

– Vulnerable Identities: the all-or-nothing syndrome. Denial. Exaggeration. We let their feedback define who we are.

– Ground Your Identity.
1: become aware of your identity issues.
2: complexify your identity (adopt the And Stance).

– Three Things to Accept About Yourself.
1. You will make mistakes.
2. Your intentions are complex.
3. You have contributed to the problem.

– Learn to Regain Your Balance. Let go of trying to control their reaction. Prepare for their response. Imagine that it’s three months or ten years from now. Take a break.

-Three Kinds of Conversations That Don’t Make Sense.
1: is the real conflict inside you?
2: is there a better way to address the issue than talking about it?
3: do you have purposes that make sense?

– Remember, You Can’t Change Other People. Don’t focus on short-term relief at long-term cost. Don’t hit-and-run. Letting go. Adopt some liberating assumptions. It’s not my responsibility to make things better; it’s my responsibility to do my best. They have limitations too. This conflict is not who I am. Letting go doesn’t mean I no longer care. Create a learning conversation.

– If You Raise It: Three Purposes That Work.
1. Learning their story.
2. Expressing your views and feelings.
3. Problem-solving together.

– Why Our Typical Openings Don’t Help. We begin inside our own story. We trigger their identity conversation from the start.

– Getting Started.
1: Begin from the Third Story. For example, in the battle between bicycles and cars for the streets of the city, the third story would be the one told by city planners, who can understand each side’s concerns and see why each group is frustrated with the other. When tensions arise in a marriage, the third story might be the one offered by a marriage counselor. In a dispute between friends, the third story may be the perspective of a mutual friend who sees each side as having valid concerns that need to be addressed. Think like a mediator. Not right or wrong, not better or worse – just different. If they start the conversation, you can still step to the third story.
2: Extend an Invitation. Describe your purposes. Invite, don’t impose. Make them your partner in figuring it out. Be persistent.

– “I Wonder If It Would Make Sense . . . ?” Revisiting conversations gone wrong. Talk about how to talk about it. A map for going forward: third story, their story, your story.

– What to Talk About: The Three Conversations (What Happened? Feeling. Identity). Explore where each story comes from. Share the impact on you. Take responsibility for your contribution. Describe feelings. Reflect on the identity issues. How to talk about it: listening, expression, and problem-solving.

– Listening to Them Helps Them Listen to You. The stance of curiosity: how to listen from the inside out. Forget the words, focus on authenticity. The commentator in your head: become more aware of your internal voice. Don’t turn it off, turn it up. Managing your internal voice. Negotiate your way to curiosity. Don’t listen: talk.

– Three Skills: 1: Inquiry, 2: Paraphrasing, and 3: Acknowledgment.
1: Inquire to Learn – don’t make statements disguised as questions. Don’t use questions to cross-examine. Ask open-ended questions. Ask for more concrete information. Create a learning conversation. Examples – can you say a little more about how you see things? What information might you have that I don’t? How do you see it differently? What impact have my actions had on you? Can you say a little more about why you think this is my fault? Were you reacting to something I did? How are you feeling about all of this? Say more about why this is important to you? What would it mean to you if that happened? Make it safe for them not to answer.
2: Paraphrase for Clarity – check your understanding. Show that you’ve heard. Create a learning conversation.
3: Acknowledge Their Feelings (Paras note: big one for me) – answer the invisible questions. How to acknowledge. Order matters: acknowledge before problem-solving. Acknowledging is not agreeing.
A final thought: empathy is a journey, not a destination

– Failure to Express Yourself Keeps You Out of the Relationship. Feel entitled, feel encouraged, but don’t feel obligated. Start with what matters most. Say what you mean: don’t make them guess. Don’t rely on subtext. Avoid easing in. Don’t make your story simplistic: use the “me-me” and.

Telling Your Story with Clarity: Three Guidelines.
1. Don’t Present Your Conclusions as The Truth.
2. Share Where Your Conclusions Come From.
3. Don’t Exaggerate with “Always” and “Never”.
“Always” and “never” do a pretty good job of conveying frustration, but they have two serious drawbacks. First, it is seldom strictly accurate that someone criticizes every time, or that they haven’t at some point said something positive. Using such words invites an argument over the question of frequency: “That’s not true. I said several nice things to you last year when you won the interoffice new idea competition”—a response that will most likely increase your exasperation.

“Always” and “never” also make it harder — rather than easier — for the other person to consider changing their behavior. In fact, “always” and “never” suggest that change will be difficult or impossible. The implicit message is, “What is wrong with you such that you are driven to criticize my clothes?” or even “You are obviously incapable of acting like a normal person.”

A better approach is to proceed as if (however hard it may be to believe) the other person is simply unaware of the impact of their actions on you, and, being a good person, would certainly wish to change their behavior once they became aware of it. You could say something like: “When you tell me my suit reminds you of wrinkled old curtains, I feel hurt. Criticizing my clothes feels like an attack on my judgment and makes me feel incompetent.” If you can also suggest what you would wish to hear instead, so much the better: “I wish I could feel more often like you believed in me. It would really feel great to hear even something as simple as, ‘I think that color looks good on you.’ Anything, as long as it was positive.”

The key is to communicate your feelings in a way that invites and encourages the recipient to consider new ways of behaving, rather than suggesting they’re a schmuck and it’s too bad there’s nothing they can do about it.

– Give Them Room to Change. Help them understand you. Ask them to paraphrase back. Ask how they see it differently — and why.

– You can reframe anything. The ‘you-me’ and (I can try to understand you and you can try to understand me). It’s always the right time to listen. Be persistent about listening. It takes two to agree. Gather information and test your perceptions. Say what is still missing. Say what would persuade you. Ask what (if anything) would persuade them. Ask their advice. Invent options. Ask what standards should apply. The principle of mutual caretaking. If you still can’t agree, consider your alternatives.

– Putting It All Together. (See below checklist for more details). 1: prepare by walking through the three conversations. 2: check your purposes and decide whether to raise it. 3: start from the third story. 4: explore their story and yours. 5: problem-solving.

– Expression: Speak for Yourself with Clarity and Power. Orators need not apply. You’re entitled (yes, you). Failure to express yourself keeps you out of the relationship. Feel entitled, feel encouraged, but don’t feel obligated. Start with what matters most. Say what you mean: don’t make them guess. Don’t rely on subtext. Avoid easing in.

– Don’t Make Your Story Simplistic: Use the “Me-Me” And. “This memo shows incredible creativity, and at the same time is so badly organized that it makes me crazy.” In your attempt to be clear, you say, “Your memo is so badly organized it makes me crazy,” or worse, “Your memo makes me crazy.”

– Problem-Solving: Take the Lead. Reframe, reframe, reframe! You can reframe anything. The “you-me” and (“I can listen and understand what you have to say, and you can listen and understand what I have to say.”). It’s always the right time to listen. Name the dynamic: make the trouble explicit. Now what? Begin to problem-solve. It takes two to agree.

– Gather Information and Test Your Perceptions. Propose crafting a test. Say what is still missing. Say what would persuade you. Ask what (if anything) would persuade them. Ask their advice. Invent options. Ask what standards should apply. The principle of mutual caretaking. If you still can’t agree, consider your alternatives.

– Difficult conversation checklist
Step 1: Prepare by Walking Through the Three Conversations
– Sort out What Happened. Where does your story come from (information, past experiences, rules)? Theirs? What impact has this situation had on you? What might their intentions have been? 
What have you each contributed to the problem?
– Understand Emotions. 
Explore your emotional footprint, and the bundle of emotions you experience.
– Ground Your Identity. What’s at stake for you about you? What do you need to accept to be better grounded?

Step 2: Check Your Purposes and Decide Whether to Raise the Issue
– Purposes: What do you hope to accomplish by having this conversation? Shift your stance to support learning, sharing, and problem-solving.
– Deciding: Is this the best way to address the issue and achieve your purposes? Is the issue really embedded in your Identity Conversation? Can you affect the problem by changing your contributions? If you don’t raise it, what can you do to help yourself let go?

Step 3: Start from the Third Story
– Describe the problem as the difference between your stories. Include both viewpoints as a legitimate part of the discussion.
– Share your purposes.
– Invite them to join you as a partner in sorting out the situation together.

Step 4: Explore Their Story and Yours
– Listen to understand their perspective on what happened. Ask questions. Acknowledge the feelings behind the arguments and accusations. Paraphrase to see if you’ve got it. Try to unravel how the two of you got to this place.
– Share your own viewpoint, your past experiences, intentions, feelings.
– Reframe, reframe, reframe to keep on track. From truth to perceptions, blame to
contribution, accusations to feelings, and so on.

Step 5: Problem-Solving
– Invent options that meet each side’s most important concerns and interests.
– Look to standards for what should happen. Keep in mind the standard of mutual caretaking; relationships that always go one way rarely last.
– Talk about how to keep communication open as you go forward.

Contents:
Foreword by Roger Fisher
Acknowledgments
Introduction

The Problem
1 Sort Out the Three Conversations

Shift to a Learning Stance – The “What Happened?” Conversation
2 Stop Arguing About Who’s Right: Explore Each Other’s Stories
3 Don’t Assume They Meant It: Disentangle Intent from Impact
4 Abandon Blame: Map the Contribution System

– The Feelings Conversation
5 Have Your Feelings (Or They Will Have You)

– The Identity Conversation
6 Ground Your Identity: Ask Yourself What’s at Stake

– Create a Learning Conversation
7 What’s Your Purpose? When to Raise It and When to Let Go
8 Getting Started: Begin from the Third Story
9 Learning: Listen from the Inside Out
10 Expression: Speak for Yourself with Clarity and Power
11 Problem-Solving: Take the Lead
12 Putting It All Together

A Road Map to Difficult Conversations
A Note on Some Relevant Organizations

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How to raise kinder, less entitled kids (according to science)

Author: Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education, and the Making Caring Common Project have come up with recommendations about how to raise children to become caring, respectful and responsible adults.

1. Make caring for others a priority

Why? Parents tend to prioritize their children’s happiness and achievements over their children’s concern for others. But children need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others, whether it’s passing the ball to a teammate or deciding to stand up for friend who is being bullied.

How? Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. For example, before kids quit a sports team, band, or a friendship, we should ask them to consider their obligations to the group or the friend and encourage them to work out problems before quitting.

Try this
• Instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.”
• Make sure that your older children always address others respectfully, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry.
• Emphasize caring when you interact with other key adults in your children’s lives. For example, ask teachers whether your children are good community members at school.

2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude

Why? It’s never too late to become a good person, but it won’t happen on its own. Children need to practice caring for others and expressing gratitude for those who care for them and contribute to others’ lives. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.

How? Learning to be caring is like learning to play a sport or an instrument. Daily repetition—whether it’s a helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, or having a classroom job—make caring second nature and develop and hone youth’s caregiving capacities. Learning gratitude similarly involves regularly practicing it.

Try this
• Don’t reward your child for every act of helpfulness, such as clearing the dinner table. We should expect our kids to help around the house, with siblings, and with neighbors and only reward uncommon acts of kindness.
• Talk to your child about caring and uncaring acts they see on television and about acts of justice and injustice they might witness or hear about in the news.
• Make gratitude a daily ritual at dinnertime, bedtime, in the car, or on the subway. Express thanks for those who contribute to us and others in large and small ways.

3. Expand your child’s circle of concern

Why? Almost all children care about a small circle of their families and friends. Our challenge is help our children learn to care about someone outside that circle, such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, the school custodian, or someone who lives in a distant country.

How? Children need to learn to zoom in, by listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, by taking in the big picture and considering the many perspectives of the people they interact with daily, including those who are vulnerable. They also need to consider how their
decisions, such as quitting a sports team or a band, can ripple out and harm various members of their communities. Especially in our more global world, children need to develop concern for people who live in very different cultures and communities than their own.

Try this
• Make sure your children are friendly and grateful with all the people in their daily lives, such as a bus driver or a waitress.
• Encourage children to care for those who are vulnerable. Give children some simple ideas for stepping into the “caring and courage zone,” like comforting a classmate who was teased.
• Use a newspaper or TV story to encourage your child to think about hardships faced by children in another country.

4. Be a strong moral role model and mentor

Why? Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. They also learn values by thinking through ethical dilemmas with adults, e.g. “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her?”

How? Being a moral role model and mentor means that we need to practice honesty, fairness, and caring ourselves. But it doesn’t mean being perfect all the time. For our children to respect and trust us, we need to acknowledge our mistakes and flaws. We also need to respect children’s thinking and listen
to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others.

Try this
• Model caring for others by doing community service at least once a month. Even better, do this service with your child.
• Give your child an ethical dilemma at dinner or ask your child about dilemmas they’ve faced.

5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings

Why? Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.

How? We need to teach children that all feelings are okay, but some ways of dealing with them are not helpful. Children need our help learning to cope with these feelings in productive ways.

Try this
Here’s a simple way to teach your kids to calm down: ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them with her. After a while she’ll start to do it on her own so that she can express her feelings in a helpful and appropriate way.

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Companion of God by Dadi Janki

Click to get the book

Companion of God by Dadi Janki
– Each topic is a page or less and pretty basic.
– When you build a house, every brick counts. When you build a character, every thought counts. I will not become pure unless I think about it first.
– Which self do you address?

Contents
– Dadi Janki: A Spiritual Leader
– A personal Account by Sister Jayanti

Part 1 FIRST STEPS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
– Dadi’s First Thoughts …
– Inspiration
– The Spiritual Path
– Original Peace
– Early Morning Contemplation
– Child of God
– Self-Respect
– Silence
– Introspection
– Cheerfulness
– Tolerance
– Spiritual Tolerance
– Faith in Others
– Respect for Others
– Co-operation
– Patience
– Humility
– Honesty
– The Drama of Life
– Playing your Part
– The Spiritual Army

Part 2 THE JOURNEY CONTINUES – TALKING TO THE SELF
– Dadi’s First Thoughts …
– Quality of Thoughts
– Courage
– Detachment
– Strength
– Purity
– Self-awareness
– Accomplishment
– Leading Others
– Women as Servers
– Subtle Service
– Pure ‘Thoughts
– Making Peace
– Religion
– Staying Peaceful
– Talking to the Self
– Ruler of the Self
– Learning
– Success

Part 3 OVERCOMING OBSTACLES ON THE PATH
– Dadi’s First Thoughts …
– Obstacles on the Path
– Obstacles Within
– Problem-solving
– Friends and Relations
– Comparison with Others
– Influences
– Friendship
– Relationships
– Emotional Pain
– Calming the Mind
– The Benefit of Sickness
– Understanding Sickness
– Physical Pain
– Spiritual Health
– Spiritual Medicine
– Worry
– Traps
– Removing Unworthy Habits
– Testing your Self-Respect
– Protection
– Desires
– Grades of Tolerance
– Mistakes
– Checking the Self
– Changing Thoughts

Part 4 MOVING ONWARD – DISCOVERING TRUE LOVE
– Dadi’s First Thoughts …
– Going Beyond
– Giving Your Heart to One
– Knowledge
– Ethics
– Integrity
– Contentment
– Thought Power
– Happiness
– Creating Peace
– Love
– Trust
– True Respect
– Spiritual Education
– Being a Teacher
– Spiritual Progress

Part 5 JOURNEY’S END – KNOWING GOD
– Dadi’s First Thoughts: ..
– Spirituality
– God the Almighty
– God’s Light
– Mercy
– God as My Everything
– Blessings from God
– Connection with God
– Knowing God
– God as Director
– Helping God
– Devotion and Wisdom
– TIle Intellect
– Eternal Happiness
– Newness
– Walking the Spiritual Path

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The Moneyless Manifesto: Live Well, Live Rich, Live Free by Mark Boyle

The Moneyless Manifesto: Live Well, Live Rich, Live Free by Mark Boyle
The Moneyless Man Interview – Living without Money and being off the grid

Click to get the book or ebook (Free option below)

– We have come to believe that we need money, that we depend on it to survive. We believe that money provides for us when it is actually Nature. Even Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, said that “all money is a matter of belief”.
– He makes so many potent points and ways of alternate thinking. I mean there is just so much in such a small book! Ideas, resources, quotes. So far 2 pages are dedicated to other moneyless people and their blogs or books or clubs or whatever form of legacy they have left for others.
– How money started as something good and ended up ruining the world in more ways than just morality and environment.
– Excellent breakdown of how we are a part of a whole. The water in the stream is in a glass now and then goes in our bodies and makes part of us.
– Tribal people didn’t store or horde. Families spent real time with each other and had a sense of community.
– Money has made things cold and transactional. A doctor births the baby and accounts are squared and the relationship is over. And these days it’s just numbers on the screen.
– If you grow your own food you wouldn’t waste it. You need your own water you wouldn’t pollute it.
– Economy of Scales EOS – the more you produce the cheaper it costs to produce. It’s so efficient that the planet is being looted. You’re exchanging money with people you will never meet instead of supporting and connecting with the locals.
– Division of Labor DOL – Spending 40+ hours at a desk doing unfulfilling crap. Instead of having different needs and skills.
– Nappies: Most parents are aware that you can make reusable, washable cloth nappies. If these were used by everyone it would save 8 million nappies from being dumped in landfill every day (3 billion annually) in the UK alone, saving parents an average of £500 a year into the bargain. Yet there is an option that saves you both the bother and expense of making and using washable nappies. It is called Elimination Communication (EC), also known as Nappy Free Baby. This is a toilet training technique where a parent uses methods such as signals, cues and intuition to cope with a child’s toileting needs. This method’s ideal is to use no nappies whatsoever, but you may combine it with washable nappies when the situation requires it. Not only would the widespread use of EC take a big chunk out of our landfill sites, save all the energy and materials involved in producing nappies in the first place, and reduce the workload o f parents.
– A culture of scarcity that makes you worry about the other person breaking what you’ve loaned them, or not giving it back, leaving you feeling like the cheated one.
– Interview with Dr. Chris Johnstone about addiction. Connection of consumerism with tolerance.
– Once the land was free for all to roam. More recently, our land was held in common, for the commoners. Now it is owned by the few – 1% own 70% of the land.
– Suggests looking into Freemen when it comes to paying tax.
– Insurance in the old days used to be an understanding with locals who would help. Say like if something happened to your house, the neighbours would have the tools or know how to help.
– He created Freeconomy. You share your time, skills, knowledge for free. Update: The site has teamed up with Streetbank.
– Questions why a bird is free to live on land while we have to pay. Ideas and resources to live as free as possible.
– Indian flag wheel and Gandhi’s meaning of swadeshi. Mahatma Gandhi believed that true national independence would only be achieved through Swadeshi, which roughly translates as self-sufficiency. He believed that India would only truly earn political independence when it achieved economic independence. In order to do this, he encouraged the millions of Indians to start spinning their own cloth again and to stop buying it from industrial fabric centres such as those in Lancashire in England. This culminated in bonfires of Lancashire cloth lighting up the land as a powerful symbolic act. Therefore, the spinning wheel became the symbol of true political independence.
– If I were to create a flag for the planet, it would have a compost toilet on it. The flush toilet represents everything that is psychopathic about our current culture and mindset – we shit and piss into a life-giving liquid, spoiling it in the process, instead of using both of these potential resources (in different ways) to fertilise the soil which, in turn, makes the food that we eat more nutritious. Instead, we import polluting fertilisers from distant laboratories once we’ve finished polluting our waterways. Somehow we’ve managed to take a really beneficial resource for the soil and turn it into a major ecological problem. I urge you to ditch your flush toilet and install a compost loo as a symbolic and, dare I say it, spiritual act. It’s a no -brainer for anyone who wants to simultaneously stop polluting their source of life, drastically reduce their water consumption, and obtain a high quality organic.
– Given the tragic fact that every year in the UK, 3 million pheasants, 800,000 rabbits, 50,000 deer, squirrel and badgers, as well as 25,000 foxes are killed on our roads, (and extrapolating from these appalling statistics, whilst taking into account the differing size of the various animals and, for arguments sake, assuming that 50% of such animals are serviceable as food – i.e. avoiding the tabloid cliché that anyone who eats road kill ‘scrapes it off the tarmac’) then (when accounting for the differing number of servings from each animal) we’re looking at least 8,900,000 potential meals for the practical, discriminating and opportunist forager. Bon appétit!
– If you ever need glass jars or bottles of various shapes and sizes, just do the rounds of the recycling bins of some street in my area on the morning the recycling gets put out each week – you could start a jam factory from the amount of jars you can find during one morning’s stroll.
– Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to import lots of food stuffs into your own food system in order to preserve that which you grow or forage – people have been storing their food in the UK long before industrialised processes and fossil fuels came along. What is important is to slowly learn the skills you’ll need to preserve food – the best way to do this is by asking some of the elders of your community who hold so much unappreciated knowledge that needs to be tapped before it is lost.
– Skin is a little micro ecosystem in itself, and using soap is, in my book, on a par with cultivating the soil – I can see why people do it, but it’s the shenanigans of a people who don’t fully appreciate the intricacies of ecosystems, and the long-term damage we can do from what initially seems like harmless, innocent behaviour.
– Since I’ve been The Soapless Man for many years now, my overriding advice on most things in relation to hygiene is to use water and little else. There rarely is any need for anything more than that, with a few exceptions. When you use soap, you strip away much of the goodness and moisture as well as what we think of as ‘dirt’. The result being that we then become dependent on the same companies that sold us this moisture-robbing agent in the first place to put the moisture back in. They get to sell us two products when none were needed in the first place. People who don’t wash their hair for a few months are regularly quoted as saying their hair starts to clean itself. The same is true for skin. The main reason I can live without soap is that I generally eat a very healthy diet: wholegrains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and clean fresh water, the odd herb tea and little else. All organic and fresh. If you put good stuff in, what comes out will smell fine. If you put junk in, what comes out will smell like junk. It’s that simple.
– Bums and toilet paper: The first question you should ask yourself is – do you need it? I’ve no doubt that almost everyone will say yes! But many cultures use water to clean their bums, and considering we use water for all other parts of our body, there would seem to be a lot of logic in that. If you do prefer to have a wipe, then there are a number of options. First, you can approach your local newsagents and ask them if they’re happy for you to take a couple of copies of the previous day’s papers that they have to normally throw out. Similarly to your dishes, pine cones (choose the softer, decomposing ones from the forest floor) and big clumps of grass work well. Anything broad-leaved is good, though take care not to use any leaves that are toxic or poisonous to humans; a dock leaf will suffice, its anti-inflammatory qualities are particularly soothing if you’ve been on the curry the night before. If you are striving for Enlightenment and want to transcend the mundane material world, then use a bunch of stinging nettles and that will test your mettle. Surprisingly, smooth rocks with no sharp edges also work well, and the more porous the better. If you’re lucky enough to have moss at hand in an emergency situation, go for that. If it’s winter and all of the above are covered in a icy white blanket, then I’d advice using that blanket. Snow certainly isn’t the most appealing option at 6am on a winter’s morning, but that’s sometimes what living ecologically means, so man-up and deal with it! Remember: it’s only poo, and it came from you in the first place!
– Stay4Free is a project which allows you to have a house all to yourself. How it works is simple – you sign up, list both your home and your desired destinations,
and contact anyone on their database that could potentially fit the bill, requesting a house swap. If they fancy coming and spending some time in the part of the world your house is in, then you can agree dates and details between yourselves.
– Hushmail encrypts your email before it is sent so that nobody other than those who are the intended recipients can read it, after they themselves have decrypted it by one means or another. In Hushmail’s words, “a typical email message is no more secure than a holiday postcard sent through the public postal system”, whereas with their system it is more like “a letter in a sealed envelope”.
– Children learn best from practical involvement. Paras note: some squares don’t comprehend how true this is.
– Personal anecdote on his vasectomy and going the natural way to heal himself from complications.
– Medicinal plants work on the body in four main ways, via stimulation, relaxation, nutrition and elimination.
– Using roadkill buckskin is actually ‘more vegan’ than buying natural fibre clothing that has come from the global industrial-scale economy. Vegans who think that buying cotton and other pesticide-ridden fibres produced on land that has, first, been relegated from Wild to agriculturally managed land before, subsequently, being shipped around the world using fossil fuels (which have been extracted in ways that inevitably destroys huge swaths of habitat and all that once lived in it – the Gulf of Mexico being but one example), are deluding themselves to some extent about how ‘vegan’ their lifestyles really are. Pesticides are not vegan, the clue is in the name. Neither are fossil fuels.
– POP Model example – Level 1 (100% local gift economy): Walking barefoot, connecting with the earth beneath my feet. Level 2: Walking in shoes I made myself (or were unconditionally gifted to me) from local materials. Level 3: Walking in shoes I bartered for, which were made from local materials. Level 4: Walking in trainers made in a Chinese factory. Level 5: Cycling on an industrial scale bicycle. Level 6: (100% global monetary economy): Driving a hybrid car.
– As Epicurus once pointed out, there are two ways of getting rich: increasing your financial wealth, or decreasing your desires.

Note: Bhavna made a good point about the author’s profits from book sales and how that is the opposite of being Moneyless. He might be gifting it or contributing it in some way. Update: Just found a site where the book is made free online and looks like you can order a copy too. http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/why-free/

Table of Contents – with subtitles to reduce notes
– Foreword by Charles Eisenstein
– Introduction
A reluctant author
All art is propaganda

1. The Money Delusion
Moneyless philosophy and the delusion of self
Time isn’t money
Real community requires interdependency
Our disconnection from what we consume
The Economies of Scale (EOS) married to money
The Division of Labour (DOL) married to money
Money causes waste
Gross inequality through the storing of value
Prostitution is to sex what buying and selling is to giving and receiving
Time to choose a new story?

2. The Moneyless Menu
WHAT IS A MONEYLESS ECONOMY?
The moneyless economy defined
The gift economy
THE GIFT ECONOMY IN ACTION
The 100% local economy
Local currencies
Barter
The resource-based economy (RBE)
Pay-it-forward

3. The POP model
HOW IT WORKS
Moneyless women and men

4. Challenges and transitional Strategies
Current human culture
Addiction to industrialisation
Land ownership
Planning permission for low / zero impact living
Council tax – the tax on being alive
Insurance
Being a parent

5. Labour and Materials
Labour
Freeconomy
Gift circles
Help Exchange
Other skillsharing schemes
The art of flint knapping
Materials
General stuff
Freecycle and Freegle
The Freeshop
Street freecycling
Skips
Sharing – not giving away – your stuff
Nappies
Books and paper
Booksharing websites
Booksharing clubs
Bookcrossing
Libraries
Newspapers
Paper and pens
Tools, gadgets and equipment
Five things to do with a pallet
Pallets

6. Land
Land of the free
Windowsills and small spaces
Landshare
WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
Turning urban wastelands into growing spaces
Create an inspiring vision and pursue it passionately
EMBERCOMBE – THE STORY OF ITS CREATION
Join an established community
Ghost towns
Buy land
PERMACULTURE AND RELOCALISATION
Campaigning for realistic land reform

7. Home
Free house
Squatting
House – and boat-sitting
Caves
The blackhouse
Cheap (or potentially free) to build, free to run houses
Passive solar designs
Earthships
Earth bag construction
Straw bale homes and guest houses
Subterranean houses
Circular houses
Compost toilets
COMPOST: ONE MAN’S SHIT IS ANOTHER MAN’S FERTILISER
Humanure
Wormeries

8. Food and Water
FOOD
Wild food foraging
WILD PROTEIN: LEAF CURD AND ROADKILL
How to make leaf curd
How to store and use the curd
Wild food and roadkill
Growing
Seed saving and swapping
Perennial plants
Closed loop systems
Organics
HOMEMADE NATURAL, ORGANIC PESTICIDES, FERTILISERS AND PLANT AND SOIL ENHANCERS
Pests
Biodynamics
Forest Gardening
AGROFORESTRY: ESSENTIAL FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
No-dig gardening
THE NO DIG (NO-TILL) METHOD
Guerrilla gardening
Skipping
Other ideas
Eggs
Honey
Storing your produce
Community orchards and the Abundance project
Water
Water wells and bore holes
Rainwater Harvesting
Springs, streams and rivers

9. Washing
WASHING OURSELVES
Showers
Baths
Bodies
Hand soap
Deodorant
Moisturisers and toners
Bums and toilet paper
Teeth and mouth
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Mouthwash
Hair
Washing
Haircutting
Shaving
Clothes
Washing
Drying
Detergent
Home
CLEANING USING 100% LOCAL INGREDIENTS
Dish Scrubbers

10. Transport and Holiday accommodation
AN ODE TO WALKING BAREFOOT
– Transport
Moneyless shoes
Hitchhiking
RULES OF THE ROAD
Bicycles bits and pieces
Liftsharing
Freebus
Accommodation when you get there
Wild Camping
Bushcraft Shelter
Long-term free accommodation

11. Living Off-grid
Electrical Energy
Lighting
Cooking
The Campfire
Rocket Stove
Hay box
Earth Ovens
Heating
Jumpers (and long johns)
Gas bottle wood-burner
Masonry stove
Sources of wood
THE FIREWOOD POEM
Solar Thermal
Open source ecology
OPEN SOURCE TECHNOLOGIES AND FREE COMMUNICATION
Computers, mobile phones and other communication devices
Free Communication
Skype
Linux
OpenOffice and LibreOffice
Information security
DuckDuckgo and Startpage
Hushmail
TrueCrypt

12. Education
EDUCATION FOR A NON-MONETARY ECONOMY
Home education
THE OPTION OF HOME EDUCATING
How does it work?
How do your children mix and make friends?
What about cost?
What happens as they get older?
A different understanding
Freeskilling
FREESKILLING IN PRACTICE: SOURDOUGH BREAD
Other projects and ideas
The Barefoot College
Other alternative schools
EDUCATION IN A GIFT WORLD

13. Health and Sex
A personal anecdote
HEALTH OF THE EGOCENTRIC AND HOLISTIC SELVES
At what point do we stop?
Localised healthcare options
Herbalism
WILD DRUGS
Identification
Harvesting
General guidelines
Preparation
Elder – Sambucus nigra
Nettle – Urtica spp.
Dandelion – Taraxacum officinalis
Pot Marigold – Calendula officinalis
Garlic – Allium spp.
Peppermint – Mentha spp.
Thyme – Thymus spp.
Chamomile – Matricaria recutica
A selection of local remedies
Migraines and headaches
Cold sores
Hayfever
Other local forms of healthcare
Plasters for cuts
Women’s health
Wild sex
Contraception
Lubricants
Aphrodisiacs
Dildos
SPEAKING OF SEX
A SIMPLE CHOICE

14. Clothing and Bedding
Clothing
Short-term clothing solutions
Clothes swapping and sharing evenings
Make do and mend
Go freeshopping
Reinvent
Long-term clothing solution
Hemp and Nettles
Braintanned roadkill buckskin
Jewellery
Bedding
Peg loomed woollen underblankets
Pillows
Duvets

15. Leisure
Learn to play (and make) an instrument
SOUNDS FROM THE UNCIVILISED
Painting, parties and booze
PAINTING
STREET PARTIES
BOOZE
LOCAL BOOZE FOR FREE
Other fun stufff
Games
Music, comedy and performance
Groups
Debate evenings
Movies
Imagination
FREE YOURSELF FROM YOUR MONETARY MASTERS

16. The Beginning is Nigh

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Conversations With God – Book 2 by Neale Donald Walsch

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Conversations With God : An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 2) by Neale Donald Walsch
Notes
– Reactive and Creative. When you C things correctly, you become Creative, rather than Reactive.
– Stop changing one’s mind; keep choosing the same thing.
– Negative feelings are not true feelings at all; rather, they are your thoughts about something, based always on the previous experience of yourself and others.
– Time is not a continuum. It is an aspect of Relativity that exists in an “up and down” paradigm, with “moments” or “events” stacked on top of each other, happening or occurring at the same “time.”
– “Older” and “younger” has to do with the levels of awareness of a particular soul. Even other past lives are happening now.
– Hitler went to heaven and there’s no good or bad or hell.
– When you see the utter perfection in everything—not just those things with which you agree, but (and perhaps especially) those things with which you disagree—you achieve mastery.
– Exploitation of the underclass is justified by the self-congratulatory pronouncements from the upper class of how much better off their victims are now than they were before these exploitations. By this measure the upper class can ignore the issue of how all people ought to be treated if one were being truly fair, rather than merely making a horrible situation a tiny bit better—and profiting obscenely in the bargain.
– There is no such thing as space—pure, “empty” space, with nothing in it. Everything is something. Even the “emptiest” space is filled with vapours so thin, so stretched out over infinite areas, that they seem to not be there.
Then, after the vapours are gone, there is energy. Pure energy. This manifests as vibration. Oscillations. Movements of the All at a particular frequency.
– The good news is it’s all right to love sex! It’s also all right to love your Self!
 In fact, it’s mandatory. What does not serve you is to become addicted to sex (or anything else). But it is “okay” to fall in love with it! Paras note: I don’t agree with ‘gods’ message of all the sex you can get especially with the things going round these days.
– Yet do not choose sex instead of love, but as a celebration of it. And do not choose power over, but power with. And do not choose fame as an end in itself, but as a means to a larger end. And do not choose success at the expense of others, but as a tool with which to assist others. And do not choose winning at any cost, but winning that costs others nothing, and even brings them gain as well.
– “Feeling good” is the soul’s way of shouting “This is who I am!”
– You see beauty where you desire to see it. You see ugliness where you are afraid to see beauty.
– Tom and Mary may be far from each other but between them there is a, Tomary energy that wants to manifest and they want it to. Note: God describes sex and union until a third is born and how that makes us gods ourselves.
– For God to know Itself as the All of It, God must know Itself as not the All of It.
– So you unite to know God but then God can only experience himself apart so you push away only to later unite again and there you have sex.
– Betrayal of yourself in order not to betray another is Betrayal nonetheless. It is the Highest Betrayal.
– Enjoy everything. Need nothing.
– When you give your children knowledge, you are telling them what to think. That is, you are telling them what they are supposed to know, what you want them to understand is true. 
When you give your children wisdom, you do tell how to get to their own truth.
– Look up Waldorf/Steiner education. I love the concept of having the same teacher from the start. Teacher moves with the children through all levels of the primary and elementary learning experience. For all those years the children have the same teacher, rather than moving from one person to another. Can you imagine the bond which is formed here? Can you see the value? The teacher comes to know the child as if it were his or her own. The child moves to a level of trust and love with the teacher which opens doors many traditionally oriented schools never dreamed existed. At the end of those years, the teacher reverts to the first grade, starting over again with another group of children and moving through all the years of the curriculum. A dedicated Waldorf teacher may wind up working with only four or five groups of children in an entire career. But he or she has meant something to those children beyond anything that is possible in a traditional school setting. This educational model recognizes and announces that the human relationship, the bonding and the love which is shared in such a paradigm is just as important as any facts the teacher may impart to the child. It is like home schooling, outside the home.
– The same government says it is all right to grow and use another kind of plant, tobacco, not because it is good for you (indeed, the government itself says it is bad), but, presumably, because you’ve always done so.
 The real reason that the first plant is outlawed and the second is not has nothing to do with health. It has to do with economics. And that is to say, power.
Your laws, therefore, do not reflect what your society thinks of itself, and wishes to be—your laws reflect where the power is. Paras note: This book was published in 1997. Half the cotton growers, nylon and rayon manufacturers, and timber products people in the world would go out of business.
 Hemp happens to be one of the most useful, strongest, toughest, longest-lasting materials on your planet. You cannot produce a better fiber for clothes, a stronger substance for ropes, an easier-to-grow-and-harvest source for pulp. You cut down hundreds of thousands of trees per year to give yourself Sunday papers, so that you can read about the decimation of the world’s forests. Hemp could provide you with millions of Sunday papers without cutting down one tree. Indeed, it could substitute for so many resource materials, at one-tenth the cost.
– Goes into politics and geopolitical situations. Too many things in ‘quotes’ and italics as it is.
– The first question when you encounter another in any circumstance should always be: What do I want here? Not: What does the other person want here?
– Live simply, so that others may simply live.
– Talks of how soils are being destroyed.
– How total transparency with money would fix so much. Amounts, where it goes, everything. Things like 2 amounts on a tag, the cost and the price.
– God supports a one world government but not the Big Brother way. Everyone tithes 10% so there is no poverty or starving and equality/equity everywhere would mean most of the problems are gone.

So it’s taken me 10 years to get to the second book. I hope to hop on to the third one right after this.

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Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji by A P J Abdul Kalam & Arun Tiwari

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Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji by A P J Abdul Kalam & Arun Tiwari
Thank you Kumar for lending me the book.
– Book of mirdad mentioned!
– Story of Bhagwan Swaminarayan aka Ghanshyam aka Neelkanth Varni.
– History of Akshardham inception to completion.
– He didn’t go for a second term in presidency as per Pramukh Swami’s advice.
– Kalam has written a lot of books.
– There was a time when Indian temples didn’t have images like mosques. Goes more into temples history and differences between northern style and southern style.
– Gandhi’s story.
– Story of Indians travelling to east Africa to work on the railway and later evolving to agricultural enterprises. Uganda was called the Kashmir of Africa. Satsangs were springing up all over the place until Idi Amin came into power and expelled 80,000 Asians. Sir Charles Cunningham helped build the Swaminarayan Mandir (temple) for those who fled to UK. President Museveni later returned 4 BAPS Mandirs in Uganda.
– Mentions 4 of the Six Subtleties. Ruh – divine breath, qulb – emotional heart, sirr – ego and Nafs – pleasure seeking 5 senses. Wiki Laṭaʾif as-Sitsta to know more.
– Gets into different scientists theories of consciousness.
– Emphasises how children should see consistency in what they see and hear from parents and practising what is preached. How they copy what they see from their parents.
– 13 August 2016. As I read this book I see a post from dad with RIP to Pramukh Swami Maraj. One of the first gurus I met and I remember a huge function happening in the school right behind my house. I used to climb the walls then and ended up on top of the thatched structure they made for the function too. My first experience of meeting Swamiji was asking him to get dad to stop smoking. He gave me this necklace with orange dots.
– Ghar sabha is where family gather, members pray, read scriptures, discuss values and amicably settle differences.
– 5 principles which promote family unity: meet each other; praise and appreciate each other; recognise and acknowledged the talents and virtues of your family members, particularly encouraging children by appreciating them; help each other; and, above all, exercise forgiveness.
– Talks about how beliefs can change DNA – epigenetics.
– History of Baruch Spinoza (the Prince of Philosophers) and his idea of God and Nature as two names for a same reality.
– Explains how life came about on the planet and evolved to create the atmosphere we have now, the same with the sun and chemicals involved and how we can see gods work in it all.
– Gives his take on leaders and examples of such brave people.
– Forgiveness is a 5 step process. 1 – not letting go will need energy and sap your vitally it. 2- understanding why it happened. Put yourself in their feet. 3- express the emotion and communicate well. 4- forgive unconditionally. 5- let go fully.

Table of Contents
– Introduction
– Prologue

Part 1 – Experience the Presence
1 – Lead India
2 – You Are Not Who You Think You Are
3 – Peace Grows When It Is Shared
4 – Children Are Everyone’s Future
5 – The Confidence That We Can Do It
6 – Self-Discipline Is The True Path To Dharma
7 – Nothing Less Than God’s Best In Our Lives
8 – Change Alone Is Eternal, Perpetual, Immortal

Part 2 – Spirituality In Action
9 – Portal To The Unseen
10 – Warriors Of The Light
11 – The Doctor Of The Soul
12 – A Status Without Parallel
13 – From Within I Rise
14 – Walking Over The Waves
15 – Living In The Witness Of God
16 – To Give And Forgive Is Divine

Part 3 – Fusion Of Science And Spirituality
17 – In Contemplation Of The Beauty Of Creation
18 – Religions Are The Signposts Of God
19 – Mind Is The Matrix Of All Matter
20 – Growing Into Highly Evolved Physical And Spiritual Beings
21 – The Highest Virtue Is The Intellectual Love Of God
22 – A Dimension As Vast As Space And As Timeless As Infinity
23 – The Unique Throb Of Life In All Creation
24 – God Is The Source Of The Universe

Part 4 – Evolution Of Creative Leadership
25 – A Fearless Look Into The Face Of All Facts
26 – What Prevented You From Prostrating When I Commanded You?
27 – Purity Is The Feminine, Truth The Masculine Form Of Divinity
28 – There Is No Such Thing As Defeat In Non-Violence
29 – Forgiveness Forces Us To Grow Beyond What We Are
30 – The Best Name For God Is Compassion
31 – Vision With Action Can Change The World
32 – The Most Powerful Force On This Planet Is Human Cooperation

– Epilogue
– Notes
– Premukh Swamiji: A Brief Introduction
– Acknowledgements

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