Friday, February 5, 2010

Ripples in the Pond

If there's one thing I have learned this year, it's how important it is to build positive relationships.  Even more important is to keep positive people close and negative people at a distance.  Words are powerful things.
It's nearly impossible to keep negative statements and negative attitudes from sticking in our mind somehow.  Even if you know they are not right, you exert a certain amount of energy on the negativity.  I generally don't shy away from people and have always been quite tolerant of people who could be difficult to deal with.  Those relationships are not positive.  They drain energy.  Stay in that place and it will feel like a whirlpool - churning and churning in a circle that goes nowhere.
Get around positive people with positive attitudes and the energy grows - yours, theirs and a new collective energy.  Positive people overcome challenges, create a shared vision, and get things done.  They possess qualities of thankfulness, recognition of the contributions of others, clarity of purpose.  When they throw a stone in the pond, the ripples never stop doing more good.  
The most important thing positive people demonstrate is the understanding and the skills required to build and maintain healthy relationships.  When they walk in a room, people take notice and want to be near them.  They lift the mood.  That's who I want to be and who I want to be around.   

Monday, February 1, 2010

What is Progressive?

Last weekend was the first PA Progressive Summit in Harrisburg.  More than 500 people gathered from varied perspectives to talk about how to better solve serious issues.  It was an amazing mix - labor, education, women's rights, LGBT rights, environmentalists, interfaith community... all feeling we shared much common ground in our desire to make our communities better.
What I love about the experience is that the focus was solutions.  While the issues and stumbling blocks were discussed, there was an overwhelming sense of focus on overcoming the issues and removing roadblocks.  There was no name calling or character assassination regarding those on opposing sides.  There was no talk of protests and attack strategies.
We talked about building bridges, communicating more effectively, building strong social relationships, and supporting those in our communities with similar vision.  I also heard great wisdom about dealing with those who may seem to oppose the issues we may raise.  It was very much an overall message of lifting one another up and lifting our communities - finding common ground through which we can make progress.
It was wonderful to see people I crossed paths with before - from Harrisburg, DC and in other gatherings.  I walked away feeling great about a growing network across the state and feeling great about the positive people I've grown to admire in Venango County.
In my mind, being progressive means working for solutions.  It's about seeing things that need done and finding ways to do them.  
1. Moving forward; advancing.
2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments: progressive change.
3. Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods

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