A Growing Skill

flower plantI was listening to a woman member of the British Parliament being interviewed by a journalist. Something insightful came up which the journalist himself found extremely interesting. It was how this remarkable woman had slowly learnt to negotiate her way through what was essentially a male dominated world, by learning a skill of using different levels of assertiveness in any given situation. It was something she’d consciously worked out for herself and it was fascinating to listen to how she did it.

The process began unconsciously in her. She didn’t even realize that the skill was growing and developing in her. It just seemed she began to cope better in the situation. Then, suddenly in a moment of illumination, she actually saw the skill and how it was working in her. She was then able hone and shape it even further. Kind of like a seed growing underneath the soil and then suddenly bursting forth in to the light.

Once again I found myself full of admiration for the human spirit with its wonderful ability to acquire and grow techniques, not sure whether that’s the right word, for preventing oppressive surroundings from penetrating and colonizing it’s soul.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Beyond the Rational, inspiration, Life, Spirituality, Transformation, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Growing Skill

  1. Theo Coggin says:

    I have just finished the first volume of the latest biography of Margaret Thatcher. She had a spirit that was probably one in a million, but even she had to learn to cope with these challenges. That she did, and not only in parliament, but on the world stage. You are absolutely correct, Don, in your insight about how we can all develop mechanisms to cope with and overcome those who would oppress. Your post is most timely!

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Theo. Such a good biography isn’t it? She was quite a woman and carved her way in to history in the most profound way. No doubt a person of her time.Thanks for your affirming words, Theo.

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  2. ladyfi says:

    The human spirit really is amazing.

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  3. Forest So Green says:

    Bravo to this woman 🙂 Annie

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  4. Holli says:

    Love that story! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. An inspirational woman developing her skills but I cannot agree about Margaret Thatcher who wreaked so much havoc on communities and left such a terrible legacy . I know she was strong, it’s that she used her strength to damage society so badly that I cannot agree with your earlier commenter.

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    • josna says:

      I second that! In struggling to develop as a woman in a male-dominated world, it just strengthens the system of domination if one uses the same tools (or weapons) to get ahead, focusing on the individual and denying the very possibility of community.

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      • Don says:

        I couldn’t agree more with you Josna. I would probably get shot down here, but it pains me to see women using, as you say the same “weapons” or “tools” to get ahead. I think the feminine’s unique contribution is lost when it simply takes on the same male excesses. It’s tragic to see that, and when I do see it, I can’t help but say, “Here we go again – nothing new.” It’s amazing how many movies do this to me lately.

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    • Don says:

      I sense you feel pretty strongly about this Sally. I too have some real reservations. But I was wondering how you feel about any positives or redeeming features of her tenure as Prime Minister? Hope the memories of your trip and that marvellous city Boston are alive and well.

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      • You’re right, I do! Under her ministry, mines were closed, communities destroyed (I know; I was teaching in such an area and saw the damage), unions were smashed, we went to war over the Falklands, local government was undermined and everything was privatised.
        Most of all, as a woman she did nothing to help other women succeed which could have been her redeeming feature and her legacy.
        You did ask! 🙂

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      • Don says:

        Thanks for sharing that Sally. Appreciate It. Always good to hear from those who were directly involved. Your last observation is a particularly saddening one..

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  6. nrhatch says:

    Sounds like a skill worth honing, Don! Here’s to our most impressive traits!

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  7. Oh, you’re so right, Don. We’re so aware of it in children, the learning to adjust, imitate, combine and incorporate evolving language and behaviors to meet their evolving needs to be successful. What an important reminder that as adults, we need to mindfully do the same thing to adjust and adapt.
    Excellent post.

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  8. Mark Mallinger says:

    Thank’s Marylin. The term “mindfully”, and Don’s description of “illumination, honing and shaping”, is what fascinates me about adult learning. This experience/reflection learning is an art form like learning to improvise with a jazz quartet.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Mark. Improvising with a jazz quartet, sounds quite intriguing. Can you expand a little on that. Thanks for your visit. Appreciate it.

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      • Mark Mallinger says:

        Jazz as a metaphor for learning is something I picked up from Donald Schön’s book “The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action.” He uses the concept of improvisation and ‘thinking on one’s feet’. I like the jazz metaphor because it reflects the value of transcending old forms and building new ones. I also like that it reflects the value of process over product. What is amazing about the individual who was interviewed in the article was not the product of assertiveness but the process of transformation. I also appreciate the critique by Josna and want to believe that this member of the Parliament discovered new ways to be assertive that were less aggressive and violent than her male counterparts.

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      • Don says:

        What marvellous insights Mark. I can see what you mean. I love firstly, the insight of “the value of process over product,” and secondly, ” transcending old forms and building new ones.” There’s something about that word, “transcending.” What I like about it is, it doesn’t speak of a radical discontinuation but an inclusion of the old in to the process of transcendence. I also thought what you said about the process of transformation in the woman and the process of assertiveness. was deeply insightful. Thank you for sharing in such a thoughtful way – really appreciate it.

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  9. Great story, Don…why do we have to fight the same battles over and over again, I wonder. Sigh.

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