Archive | John’s thoughts

Do you not relate well to others?

Do you find that in some area of your life you lack the ability to relate well to others? You’d not be alone, since our ability or inability to connect with others is something that is the cause of much heartache and conflict in our society and in organisations. For some it is about avoiding making effective connections and for others it is where they overdo it and cause harm. Some people are for example reserved or non-assertive while others can be aggressive.

A key underlying issue can be due to a lack of emotional intelligence, our self-awareness, how we manage ourselves, our awareness of others and how we build relationships with them.

Emotional intelligence is often described as the distinguishing feature of good leaders in organisations, and yet it is not one that figures amongst those that leaders themselves express, the latter more often judging themselves and being judged by their results. As one client client said it to me once, “I deliver but I leave bodies”. However this perception can mask the underlying contribution to success of EI, since it is arguably not so obvious and can be dismissed in business macho cultures as “soft skills”. What matters, it is implied, is “hard” results. Coaches know otherwise since they are so often working with their clients to connect more with their “soft” side and in that of others in order to get better at the hard end, as this article shows.

In personal relationships, what can be key is our ability to be aware of what is going on inside us, especially emotionally, to manage ourselves and our feelings, to sense and empathise with what is also going on for another and build a connection where there is authentic resonance, where we truly get one another.

When I start coaching people I often find it is in this seemingly scary arena of our emotional life in relationship that can be a minefield for people. Thus it pays to unpick what goes on for people so that they understand and know themselves better. Self awareness is absolutely the most important area to work on. If we don’t know ourselves, we don’t know what to change. With self awareness comes the ability to identify and manage what occurs in us and thus be able to deal with disruptive emotions and be more present, calm and centred. Teaching people self management skills is in itself a course in how to manage life.

At the same time we also explore how we might learn more about what goes on for another, so that we can better relate to another. This requires emotional self awareness since when we know more of our own emotional life we can do the same for others – though, let it be said we never “know how you feel!” But we can ask, find out and respond appropriately. As we tune in better we also learn to manage our responses better. One flows with the other.

Building better relationships is the final arena, and key to people having better personal lives and managing others better at work. It is all about how we connect and build resonance, how we overcome our own and others’ barriers, how we get others on our wavelength and us on their’s, how we tune in and speak their language and help them better understand our’s, how we value others and help them understand our values, how we get others along us, how we resolve conflict and build trust and good everyday communication skills, and how we become more fulfillingly connected.

Then the love can truly flow!

To find out more about my life coaching and my business coaching, click on the links just given and you can contact me here.

Honesty and openness not secrecy and distrust heals us and brings peace

Under pressure, a knee-jerk response is to close down and defend oneself. One classic stress response after all is to prepare the bodily system to engage the enemy, or to take flight, or to freeze to the spot. Traditional cultural conditioning is arguably to be careful what you reveal. It might be a natural “free child” response in Transactional Analysis terms to be open, spontaneous and expressive, to show honesty and openness, and yet that’s not how people have traditionally tended to react in social situations. Social conditioning closed down the “free child” response. To be honest, open and direct however might be a behaviour we’d adopt when we feel safe and confident, although the more firmly extrovert amongst us might have that more as their default position. However our culture has in recent years if anything been heading more in the direction of the latter, being more “out there” with how we feel, warts and all. Shows on the TV that attract a lot of views are ones where people will score higher the more honesty and openness they show.

So it might be somewhat puzzling that recent events about secrecy have shown up another polarity in our public life.

The secrecy state

Since the summer I have found myself absorbed in part by the Snowden revelations about internet snooping by the US’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ. It’s provoked a lot of discussion, much more in the US than here, about privacy and oversight of the security services and about the freedom of the internet. Yet there’s not been so much about the other polarity, honesty and openness as an alternative value set.  Some of course argue for the need to delegate autonomy to our security services, whilst others advocate privacy as against state intrusiveness and surveillance “to keep us safe”. The “openness” trend clashes with the closed one. It’s a bit like the personal.

Some say, well this is about the national interest and the need for security against terrorism, and yet it’s a puzzling contradiction. There have been claims for secrecy and tight laws to protect against various threats at different times in our recent history, going back to, in the UK context, scares about German spies in the First World War and the Defence of the Realm Acts, through the Cold War “reds under the beds” anxiety about “communist infiltators” and “subversion,” through to the present-day Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000. You might even feel your system shutting down as the fear level rises at the thought of it.

So, what’s honesty and openness got to offer then? What’s the connection?

There can often be a conspiracy of silence in this subject, something many observers have remarked upon in relation to the UK. Keep your views to your own arena and leave “serious” things like security to us security experts who know what we were doing, and as our Foreign Secretary recently told us, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear”. Such whitewashing of the issue prevents more insightful thinking about what we’re otherwise allowing to happen that keeps us stuck in the past, old paradigm. “Trust me, guv”.

Fear keeps us stuck

Fear attracts fear. One begets the other. If you live with a conflict mentality, you attract it to you. You get more of it. The world-view will be that of threats. There’s hate, suspicion and distrust. If however you move from an “avoidance” strategy to an “approach” one in mindfulness terms, you draw to you what is positive, kind, loving and gentle. You can get how very different these two energies are. In the approach paradigm, people are healthier and have much stronger immune systems. They get less stress. They have, surprise, surprise, better relationships, self acceptance, meaning and purpose, creativity, and expansion. Conflicts are more likely to be solved, because people are more drawn to each other in this paradigm, and there’s greater trust. It’s a love space, basically.

No wonder positive businesses, for example, that want to encourage innovation, good team working and customer satisfaction, seek to foster a climate of openness and transparency. The results speak for themselves.

There’s also another point, that when we are honest about our lives, when we admit to what’s really going on, both to ourselves and to others, when we let go of what we’re holding on to, then there’s a release, a letting go, and a healing. When truth happens, so too does healing. Then we get peace.

Thus, when we get involved in debates and discussion that get stuck in the secrecy/distrust paradigm, it helps to take a deep breath, pause, be aware, notice our fear reactions, and let them go. They don’t serve us, and indeed by contrast help to keep us stuck. This applies at the personal level, in terms of personal growth, and at team and organisational levels too, and therefore it also applies at the national and international level. We need to challenge this fear-based way of thinking, since it serves none of us in terms of our evolution.

Being challenged by openness privacy and secrecy

Recent events have been nicely highlighting an old dilemma we humans face, how much we reveal of ourselves to others. In the public domain, phone hacking and surveillance touches a raw nerve. Yet in the personal domain we may wish to express ourselves openly and without fear, or by contrast to hold closely to ourselves what we feel unsafe to reveal to others. We may feel under pressure to be more open than we wish to be. Yet a whole trend in social affairs is towards being more open in self-disclosure, even to the extent for some of “to let it all hang out there”.

In the public domain, contrasting challenges about privacy, secrecy and openness are presented in issues such as the mobile-phone hacking scandal and the Snowden revelations of spooks’ surveillance of the internet. At one moment there is consternation over journalists hacking into a murdered child’s phone and at another of our internet communication being accessible to spies and (in the UK) efforts made to censor journalists’ disclosures. Yet we want to know more about abuses of power by the privileged and the powerful. People take to the streets against authoritarianism, corruption and embedded elites. We want freedom of expression but then we also want to curtail others’ exercise if not abuse of those freedoms. It’s an old issue.

In the business environment people may hold up approvingly the value of openness, the extent to which for example you share and discuss and involve others, and allow for plurality of views, or the extent to which you share of yourself and are “your own person”, in other words authentic. Leaders who lead best are those who are genuine and achieve emotional resonance with others. In public life, we devote (and/or the media devotes) huge attention to celebrities and to talent and reality shows where the most successful are arguably those who are the most genuine and deemed worthy of our trust, the last-mentioned of course being a quality at present in diminished supply.

In the personal domain, we cherish our privacy and yet we’re curious of the behaviour of others, and often quick to pass judgement. There’s aspects we keep closely to ourselves and might not want to reveal to others. For some, such revelation is potentially humiliating, and can trigger old shame responses and reminders of our own history we’d rather not be put in touch with. Embarrassment and shame are very powerful childhood patterns that can limit us as adults.

Yet we don’t like it when others keep things from us and behave secretly. We want others to be open with us and let us know where we stand with them. We for example expect our partners to share of themselves and thus help us to trust and feel safe with them. People want to know how we really feel about something. Some are more effective at sharing how they feel than others. For example you can see what problems ensue in TV soaps’ plot lines, which are often built around a failure to disclose. Some societies and cultures do it “better” than others. Some may go OTT on it and we now talk of variations on narcissism by those who look open and genuine but are presenting a grandiose and even a false self to others.

The trend towards greater openness and authenticity, which observers of cultural trends would argue is what is going on, poses potential difficulties for us, both at a public level, in our work and in our interpersonal relationships. Yet, what can be missed in all this is the potential that authenticity presents us with. Being who we really are brings others closer to us. We trust each other more, and can collaborate much better. The glue that holds society together can be healthier and much more effective. We can get far more of what we need, and…it is so much easier.

So often in personal development, when people cross the “authenticity” threshold, it feels like a breakthrough, like one has let go of a whole lot of baggage and constraint, and a massive sense of freedom and love floods in. Maybe our society has this journey to make too, since the personal and the interpersonal are so often closely intertwined.

There is a field I’ll meet you there

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field.
I’ll meet you there” (Rumi)

As the world contemplates yet more conflict in the supposed cause of wrongdoing and rightdoing, the poem by the Islamic mystic Sufi Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī serves as a useful reminder across the centuries and cultures of what is universal to us all – if we pause and reflect. There is indeed a field, which we each find in our own way.

In the ruler and warrior traditions as usually conceived perceptions of wrongdoing are usually followed by knee-jerk responses of counter-action. These counter-actions, often intended to punish or deter have very often been followed by escalation of conflict and thus results well beyond what the originators intended. However, we don’t pause and reflect on what we’re doing, so caught up as we are as humans, in the world of ego, in the sense of “rightness”. Only later do humans tend to reflect and wonder on the utility of what they do, often too late.

Hence the very act of pausing has great, universal value. It can open the portal to a higher truth, beyond perceptions of right and wrong, and beyond different ideologies and belief systems.

Taking a pause in the onward flow of thoughts, wonderings, ideas and action is an opportunity to become aware, be present, be mindful, notice what’s going on, take stock, review options, develop new strategies, become resolved. Our glass might need regular replenishment and it’s good to stop and allow it to be refilled from the abundant river of the universe.

In meditation, practitioners may often become aware of the gap between the inflow and the outflow of the breath, and the outflow and the inflow too, and allow their awareness to be present there. In the flow of conversation there are pause points, as people take breath, collect their thoughts, and reflect on what’s being said. People may have pauses between jobs when they need to think about the way forward and re-gain new energy. We go on holiday to “have a break” and allow ourselves to get a re-charge or whatever.

In the pause can be silence and stillness and it can also be pregnant with new possibility. The skill is to be unattached to what may emerge – and even to whether anything may emerge! The creative space needs that opening, the right brain to be freed of the logic, rationality and judgement of the left. Habitual learning is to cut that off, as part of the survival and coping process of everyday life, but it doesn’t serve us for long. In the silence of the pause there is infinite possibility. Many options lie there, more than we consciously know. NLP has it than we can only hold plus or minus 7 such pieces. So think what else is floating around!

Caught up in ego, we get attached to a particular option and lose the ability to take the broader view and access other ways of acting, including not acting at all. In the present situation in the Middle East we here in the west seem to have lost that ability to hold a higher state and be the witness.

Being the witness, connected to your own deeper truth, helps give you the ability to be present with What Is, to choose not to engage, and to allow things to be – and maybe in the process resolve themselves as they need to. While caught up in being “right”, in positions, in beliefs and in culturally-inherited attitudes, we lose that ability and descend into child-like conflict, where nobody really “wins”.

In questioning our values we are calling time on what’s not working

Interesting that Stephen Hestor has spoken today of the “selfish and self-serving” culture in banking that needs to be eradicated not just from his bank, RBS who have just been fined £390m for manipulating the LIBOR rate, but also right across the industry. This time right now is one of those defining moments when we as a society take a hard look at what has been going on within it over the last few decades, not just to the time just before the crash of 2008, but over an era stretching back arguably to the political and economic philosophy represented by the Thatcher and Regan era. Such an outlook that made legitimate the behind-the-scenes dishonest fixing of the LIBOR rate begs questions about our values as a society, indeed about the whole moral outlook of a generation.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “selfish” as “concerned chiefly with one’s own advantage or welfare to the exclusion of regard for others, deficient in consideration for others; actuated by or appealing to self-interest”. Presumably in the case of banking culture, certain individuals and groups behaved in ways that showed insufficient regard for say the reputation and integrity of the bank they worked for, the wider customers whose money at some level they were responsible for, and the society in which they lived. Balancing having regard for self compared with consideration for the needs of others is often a balance we all have to manage as social beings. “Selfishness” as a term of course begs a question since it implies a moral judgement, and it is such a judgement we apply to manage our actions. Some might for example put a higher premium on their own interest compared with others and others might or might not have a view about that.

What is so serious here is that such a striking of a balance came at the enormous cost of the destruction of the trust and integrity of a whole banking system on which so many people’s livelihoods are directly and indirectly linked.

I wrote that this is one of those defining moments in history, since it has obvious that writers, journalists and speakers of many hues are now calling time on the philosophy of the untrammelled free market that emerged in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Often with these big changes in social thinking is that it can take time to become really apparent and for new ideas to emerge, and the ongoing crisis of the current recession provides one of those “cooking pot” situations in which the pressure of crisis forces new ideas out of the confusion: “before clarity we have confusion”. Interesting therefore that one party in the UK, the Conservatives, are in the process of tearing themselves apart as these contradictions strike home. If a predominant philosophy is no longer “OK”, then what are we for?

As was recently pointed out in this blog, students of values have been pointing out a “dysfunction” between commonly held values in the UK and those of its leaders. At large people place a stronger emphasis on caring, integrity, compassion and other values that emphasise thought for others. Yet this is not how we are being led. Even just now a former Cabinet minister is on trial for perverting the course of justice, basically by lying. It’s like the glues of trust in civic life are being dangerously weakened, and yet even now out of confusion can come clarity and just perhaps there is emerging a new paradigm whereby the values of the Whole, the One, can be more vigorously asserted. Thus this is a very important time to be looking anew for example at what we mean by “selfish-ness” and “selfless-ness”.

 

Be yourself: How easy is it?

A guest post by Akasha Lonsdale

Everyone seems to be talking about how important it is to be yourself.  When someone expresses nerves about something, maybe an interview, a presentation, a speech, the general advice seems to be “just be yourself”.

Authenticity
There is a huge emphasis at the moment on Authenticity and the “know, like, trust” factor that comes from “being real”.  But just how easy is it to be yourself?  Do you even know who yourself is?

What amazes me is how often I come across people who are trying to be authentic, which of course totally misses the point.  I vividly remember a highly regarded professional speaker who gave an impassioned talk about being real, being yourself and being authentic.  It was very inspiring and I approached him at the end of the talk to say how much I’d enjoyed it and how it had resonated with me.  However it was totally clear that he wasn’t the slightest bit interested in what I thought and he couldn’t get away fast enough.  It was clear that his talk had been “an act” and as soon as he’d come off the platform he’d dropped it.  He was a very good example of NOT “walking his talk”.

The dictionary definition of authentic is: real, true, actual, genuine, original, reliable, trustworthy, not counterfeit.   I particularly liked the last one because it made me think of the question “are you who you say you are?” ie do you walk your talk.

But maybe there is another question too.  Does being authentic always mean just being one way?  Is there a requirement for us to be different depending on the circumstances?  For example, I know that I have more of a business demeanour when I go to a networking event than I do if I’m out with friends.  And I’m different again when I’m working one-to-one with a client than when I’m speaking professionally.

Inauthenticity
Does that mean I’m being inauthentic?  I don’t think it does.  It means that we adapt our behaviour to suit the situation.  However, the danger is when we move too far away from the core of who we are, to the extent that we might hardly be recognisable in a different context.  That’s when we are likely to be considered inauthentic.

Years ago when I was involved with an experiential personal development group, people would often be at the front of the room sharing their story and their journey.  When they were being totally real and present with what they were saying, you could hear a pin drop but as soon as someone started to be inauthentic, people would start shuffling in their seats, coughing and generally switching off!  It was a good gauge…

A Cartwheel…..
So perhaps one way to think of authenticity would be to imagine ourselves as a cart wheel where the centre point is our core; the essence and truth of who we are, and the spokes are the different ways in which we adapt that core and truth to match our circumstances while remaining “true to ourselves”.

“Putting on an act” is ultimately exhausting and unfulfilling.  Authenticity is more about the heart than the head, and the key is to remain connected to our values, our vulnerability, our strength – and all the other qualities that make us who we are.   People might not always like you but hopefully they will get that you are who you say you are.

If you’ve enjoyed this feature and you’d like your own personal copy of Akasha’s monthly ezine [How to do Life] just put your name and email in the sign up box at www.empoweringpartnership.com

© Akasha Lonsdale, 2013. All rights reserved.

www.simplydivineceremonies.com

www.thelaughterschool.com

Where our values don’t translate into action

As this recession (really a depression) in the UK grinds on, the tolerances that were initially retained post-2008 seem to be breaking down and I wonder if we’re moving to a period where we need, where we really need, to take a good look at our values and what we want as a society.

I’ve been noticing how people have been struggling individually in the face of what for the vast majority of us is an unprecedented contraction in the economy. I say contracting, although on the face of it we seem to be “flat-lining”, in other words bumping along with no real growth, and every now and again a “dip down” followed by a “flip up”. Yet, we’ve not recovered back to pre-Lehman’s levels of production and so are technically in depression. Furthermore, businesses are struggling, as we can see with low consumer spending and retail bankruptcies. People are experiencing repeated redundancy and job insecurity. Their living standards continue to contract, as real wages fall.

At the micro level, there is that depression mentality seen in the 1930’s, hang on to your job, cut back, stick it out. There’s a grim endurance, rather typical of the British spirit under pressure. Yet this ties in also with “don’t worry too much about your neighbour”. For them, it might be for example foreclosures (eg. repossession) and the threat of homelessness. Food banks are apparently struggling under the huge pressure of demand. The state meanwhile seems persuaded that people on hard times are really scroungers and they should, in Tebbit’s infamous early ’80’s words, “get on your bike” and get work. So the support being given is being pulled back. Talk to people in the voluntary sector and they’ll tell you that a massive crisis is about to hit a whole chunk of the population, both working and out of work, as benefits are pulled back.

At the macro level, politicians want to pull out of the EU, and others want to pull out of the UK union. They seek to curb immigration, and thus hinder the import of specialised skills on which hard pressed manufacturing depends since we don’t have it here. The prevalent phrase is “austerity”, a reminder of the balanced budget obsession of Chancellor Snowden in the 1930’s. Where, one might ask, is the inspiring vision that might take us out of this?

It feels like the free-market philosophy on which a whole political dispensation was created in the 1980’s is coming home to roost. The “me-first” outlook of Thatcher’s Children, in political generation terms as characterised by our current leaders, is being confronted by the realities of power that stir up forces that don’t fit the now-expiring vision. Socialism as an alternative seemingly died with the fall of the Berlin Wall. A new one needs to be formed, and will no doubt form itself as a result of the experiences of these times.

I hope that as it does, we move on from the “me first” outlook and start to become more compassionate and caring towards those less fortunate than ourselves. Alex Salmond, forever cleverly upstaging Westminster politicians, has promised a constitutional right to a home, for example, in his Brave New independent Scotland. In much of the UK we have a housing crisis, and he’s hit the nail on the head. In this age, knowing what we know, it should not be that people have no support if they find themselves homeless. There’s been a lot of focus in recent years on things like human rights and respect, to take two examples one from politics and the other from many a business values statement, and yet this does not translate into compassion and support for our fellow humans. Running alongside such statements is a prevailing selfishness in our society, where individualism clashes with social need, epitomised for so many people by the behaviour of investment bankers leading up to the Lehmans crash of 2008.

So, it is worth checking out for yourself. How do you respond when you next walk past a beggar in the street? And just think what lies behind that situation and the history and life issues that has perhaps brought that person to that point, and reflect on your own values and beliefs and what part they play too. Because at one level we are all One, and that person begging is me too.

How to look irrelevant in the face of economic changes

There was more than just a tiny whiff of irrelevance in the face of economic changes that emitted last week from elements of our UK political class.

Recent claims from some on the UK’s political right that British workers are amongst the idlest will bemuse many people at work. The common comment has rather been that the UK has a “long-hours culture”, with people regularly working longer hours than almost anywhere else in Europe. The danger of course with this kind of debate is to deflect attention away from more pressing problems, for example insufficient stimulus to job creation and to demand in what is really a depression in the UK. There is a danger that the old political shibboleths of state intervention versus free enterprise will obscure what might really be done.

Idleness is not something that today’s bosses would recognise, but rather a very pressured workforce, prone to illness from stress and depression, having had real-term cuts to living standards, and being asked to work even longer hours to keep their jobs and to keep businesses afloat. It is not the most motivating message to hear from some of our politicians that workers are idle, particularly from a section of the community that has recently been through an expenses scandal, where there is widespread suspicion of elitist cronyism and who are currently in the middle of their two-month summer holidays.

What our hard-working staff across UK business and the public sector need is evidence that politicians, both on the left and the right, have a handle on the crisis and are driving forward a positive lead in moving things forward, rather than the current policy vacuum that exists. Hence it is interesting that business leaders have been calling on the political class to invest in infrastructure, particularly how antiquated much of it is, in order to help the UK be more competitive, or to build more houses for our expanding skilled population. Rather than an old-style, Thatcherite, laissez faire capitalism, these very capitalists want us to take more responsibility for our heritage, rather than abandon it to “market forces” as in the 1980’s.

What is missing is rather a coherent interpretation of economic changes that are affecting all of us, which are rooted in the rise of China and other “emerging” economies as against the “mature” economies” of the last 100 years, and the need to reform the structure of international trade and finance as illustrated by an massive imbalance between debtor and creditor nations, between surplus countries and deficit ones. “Austerity” is simply a re-run of the failed policies of the “balanced budget” Treasury orthodoxy of the 1930’s, which was discredited by the Great Depression and swept away by the Second World War, and by Bretton Woods and other wartime and post-war international agreements.

Thus one suspects the little band of ideological Thatcherites and “supply side” reformers have missed the point and that they, as are some on the other side, are trying to fight the political battles of the past and not noticed, or don’t want to notice, that the world has moved on, that we need action from our politicians that addresses needs across our society and in our ability to thrive in  a modern advanced world that is reorganising itself, and not just for the benefit of the few.

Anyway, watch this argument carefully. A whole new political dispensation will arise out of these sterile aruments of the past, and there’s a whole lot of people saying that now is time for real change.

A moment of joy

Sometimes there’s plenty to say – and sometimes there’s not much. And sometimes there’s nothing to say.

Silence can say it all.

And in the silence one can just be very present in that “all”.

This is probably going the rounds, but it came to me today.

One of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, which you can look all around, simply holding down the mouse (“click and drag”) as you twirl the arrow around. You can zoom in and out with the buttons on the bottom left. It takes practice! I found myself drawn to the central point of the ceiling itself, probably very much as visitors do, but without the pain in the neck.

So, maybe you could have a look, and as you do that, just allow yourself to be very present and aware.

A moment of Being.

Experiencing the power of love through music

The power of love.

This cd, called “ Wherever You Are“, was released on 19 December. It is a song sung by a choir of military wives and partners of British soldiers serving in Afghanistan, led by Gareth Malone. The words are taken from correspondence between troops and their loved ones back on the bases in the West Country.

The song was sung at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance on the Armistice Day commemoration in November 2011 before the Queeen and subsequently has been recorded. It was featured in a BBC TV series about the Military Wives Choir, following the inspirational Gareth as he started up and built up the choir.

I found this incredibly moving. The song itself is beautiful but it needs putting in context. Whatever your thoughts on the merits or otherwise of war, armies and the conflict in Afghanistan, here were a group of women who regularly would experience their husbands and partners going away on service, into danger, and therefore they would live not only with their prolonged absence and their need to hold the family together but also in the background, the possibility that their partner might return injured or even not at all. These women would often be used to staying quiet, keeping out of the way, suppressing how they felt in the cause that is the military’s. At last, with Gareth’s choir, they found a voice, and what a moving experience it was to observe. Thus the words of the song have great poignancy.

However, for me, those words speak also to a higher truth, one that is so important to express this Christmas, the power of love. “Wherever you are my love will keep you safe…My heart will build a bridge of light across both time and space…Our hearts still beat as One…Light up the darkness my wondrous star.”

Love transcends all and unites all. This is a time to remember That.

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