I’ve recently joined Facebook (say hi if you're there, too!). I resisted social networking
for the longest time, and I can’t really say why. I’m introverted (it’s a great
place for someone like me to connect with others), and I’m incredibly
relational (a key ingredient for doing well in that medium). I should have
recognized a good fit ages ago, but I didn’t.
So now, I’m there, and it’s such a fabulous place to learn
and grow and meet and mingle, and …well, I love it. The whole thing, for me, is
one huge life laboratory, and I’m conducting fabulous experiments that are
delighting me at every turn.
One of the delights has been in an app I’ve downloaded and
added to my profile called Define Me.
It provides people with
access to me on FB to list words they would use to describe me. It’s done
anonymously—I have no idea who is adding words, or clicking
on words already added that they agree with.
The output of all that input is a word “cloud.” If you’ve
never seen one of these before, it’s a way for you to visually see what’s been
voted on or added most frequently. Take a look over there in the right sidebar--my categories are displayed in just this kind of cloud. On FB, Define Me uses the same idea, and with regard to my cloud of words, the
biggest word in the cloud is the one most people have agreed with, the next
biggest is the next most agreed with, and so on.
Here’s my cloud:
Now, for the longest time after adding Define Me, the
biggest word in my cloud was “articulate.” Although I know myself to be
articulate, it never occurred to me that it would be something that would be
thought of by friends and those who know me when they stop to consider what
words describe me. Maybe that’s silly of me, but it really surprised me.
Now, of course, “articulate” is being given a run for its
money by “authentic,” “delightful,” “joyful,” and “welcoming.” As more people
weigh in, it changes. And I love watching those changes. I find the whole thing
If I were to have guessed what words people would have most
used to describe me, I would have said, “Loving, gracious, welcoming, smart.” I
might have added “authentic.” Interestingly, "smart" isn't even on the cloud. "Bright" is, though...and I'm not sure I know what the difference is (is "bright" smarter than "smart," less smart than "smart," or otherwise?), but I assume there's a difference.
It all just goes to show that what I think people are
experiencing of me isn’t necessarily what they’re experiencing of me.
I'd written about how excited I was, but as it turned out, and to our utter dismay, Honfest was, for us (D and me) a complete bust this year.
Oh, sure, there were hons (but not many--perhaps because it was Father's Day?), and other usual hon-ish things, but the majority of Honfest is the long row of vendors down the center of the avenue, and they were seriously lacking in quality this year.
A friend remarked that he would have thought that the vendors at Honfest were more about selling kitsch than anything "wonderful," but in the past, there have been some pretty awesome local artisans, selling fabulous things. This year, not so much. ::dramatic sigh:::
At Honfest proper, we probably spent an hour. The rest of our time was spent at The Golden West Cafe. They used to have this breakfast concoction called a Bismark (and no, it's not a coffee roll), and I was really jonesing for that. Unfortunately, they no longer make it, and so I contented myself with amazingly huge and fruity blueberry pancakes.
You really have to love a joint that loudly says things like, "We use real butter. If that's a problem for you, you probably don't want to eat here."
All-in-all, it boiled down to a lovely afternoon with D. And that was what was supposed to be at the core of it all, anyway.
Today’s lesson was toward something that’s become a core
value for me—fairness.
Nearly nothing makes me bristle as much as a lacking of
fairness, or of equity. Measure for measure; parity, doing what’s fair because
it’s what’s right—all of the utmost importance to me. And every time something
happens in my life that has fairness at its core, I learn more about the
importance of it in my life.
See, I don’t fundamentally think things should be unfair.
The saying, “Who said life had to be fair,” really pisses me off, because,
conversely, I have no idea who said that life would be unfair. Surely, if it
can be unfair, as a simple matter of course, we can choose to make it fair,
also as a matter of course, no? It’s certainly something I’m always working
In today’s lesson, I learned that I had to say no to a
really nice business opportunity—one I’d worked pretty hard toward. And I had
to say no because the other party—a company--had created a contract—a release,
specifically, that was unfairly advantageous to it. In essence, it required me
to give up all my rights, in perpetuity, without any recourse against them, no
matter what they did with what I was giving them. And I’ve no doubt that there
are plenty of people who went ahead and signed it so they could benefit from
the opportunity being presented. I’m just fortunate to 1) have an attorney who refuses
to let me do stupid things, and 2) have a strong annoyance with unfairness.
I asked the company if we could negotiate the release. They
said no, so I said I couldn’t participate in the opportunity. End of the story.
Except it really isn’t. It’s another lesson to me about
fairness. About more than fairness, really. It’s a lesson to me about
self-protection, vs. balance.
See, the agreement/release I’ve been talking about,
could have been drawn in such a way that it would have been fair and balanced
toward both parties. But some attorney somewhere, no doubt, thought it smarter
to draw up something iron clad that would be uber protective of his client,
without any real regard for the people who would be signing it. And that, in
reality, is his job—to zealously represent his clients within the bounds of the
law (thanks again, E!). But the problem is that, in this case, at least, it’s probably not doing so much for
the client, long term, because the people signing it, if at all awake and
aware, have to notice the inequity inherent in it, and it has to, on some
level, feel like they’re selling their souls to the devil. Who wants that,
really? A good question, that, and one I’ve had on my mind all day; I know I certainly don't want it, and that's why I walked away from the opportunity (which really was substantial).
In truth, some of my business agreements are pretty iron
clad, and 100% self-protective. Some of them genuinely have to be because, for example, they spell out how people can use my
intellectual property. But others…well, they are just self-protective, drafted
by another attorney just doing his job. And I’m going to change them to be more
fair…more balanced, so that the relationships that are created by the mutual
signing of them will start off with some equity, rather than with me in the
one-up position. It will be interesting to see whether anything changes for me,
and/or for the relationships I form.
Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine sivery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you. --Sheng-yen