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Practica – In what language do you talk to yourself?

Clearly we are talking to ourselves most of our waking hours. There are many ways to explore this phenomenon, but I would like to raise some questions for reflection and discussion particularly for those of you who speak more than one language. For example, my default is my native US American English which is regularly chattering away in my mind as I interpret experiences and make decisions, not just weighty life decisions that even such things as whether I should climb the steps or take the elevator to my upstairs apartment given the weight of groceries that I am carrying. My ecological discourse argues with my convenience discourse. But this is not always the case, for example when other languages are involved. Being relatively...

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Pedagogica –
"Mindfulness", hearing our own listening

“Mindfulness” (in the intercultural field we generally call it “awareness") has become such a big part of psychobabble, that we really need to pay attention to exactly what we mean buy into it. For me it is essentially the act of attempting to posit ourselves in a neutral point where we are capable of listening to the flow of discourse (emotional as well as content) while at the same time recognizing that it is our autonomous system attempting to provide us with interpretations of the realities we are experiencing. Essentially listening is accomplished by the autonomous system delivering potential interpretations (simply put, “talking to ourselves”) and our then choosing which inner conversation we are hearing seems most fit the reality and the needs...

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Poetica – Identity sans culture

I’m not like my folks, though they wanted me to be – stories with advice.   Kids made fun in school of whom they thought me to be, laughed behind my back.   “Where’d you get that name?” “What’s that funny stuff you eat?” “You talk so weird, too!”   “If you want to fit,  don’t wear that thing to work, and mind your hairdo.”   I could not be me to survive in this world, being hand-me-down.   Don’t ask me who I am. Don’t tempt me to nostalgia about old assets.   So now I’m cosmo. It’s just stereotyping, having a culture.   Flaunt my uniqueness – that’s my chosen strategy (to hide loneliness).   I can't stand the...

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Politica –
Look for the pain in identity denial

On the run from our collective past? Who are we? There are liabilities to having a culture or, should we say, being a culture. It makes us vulnerable to stereotypes both negative and positive. And as we know naming has meant dominion from Adam on. Culture can be both a liability and resource.  How much of our past do we try to deliver ourselves from? Mothers say, "Don't be like your father!"  "I gotta' be me!" TCK's insist they have no culture but are "global citizens", cosmopolitan. What prevailing conversations do you hear that discourage you from tapping into your cultural inheritance? Is culture actually fighting culture within you? What hard-to-swallow cultural bits of yourself have become tasty when you have...

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Practica – My mind is in the clouds

  Lying in the grass on a summer's day, I see the clouds slowly shape-shifting, and inevitably they picture familiar things, a bearded face like my own, the continent of Australia, a phoenix, and medieval rider with lance poised, and so on it goes one thing turning into another. Floating in the Mediterranean on my back I make my hour-long morning exercise swim rich and painless with these fascinating images. When the sky is cloudless, I turn my imagination to the great rocks at the end of the beach, reminiscent of a classical Chinese landscape. Their regular erosion reveals from week to week images that have been stored for eons in the face of the rock and hidden in me. I see a whale swallowing...

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