Friday, May 13, 2016

Cinco de Mayo: The new Mother's Day.

What does a margarita and homemade guacamole have to do with creation? Other than creating a full belly and perhaps a slight headache the following day, nothing. I got a little confused about this as I sat in choir practice last Wednesday night and listened to the choir director's prayer: "...and Dear Lord, please be with us in the upcoming holiday as we celebrate the beauty of life..." Okay, so maybe it didn't go exactly like that, but close was more than a week ago. Don't think just because my head was bowed and my eyes were closed that there weren't some thoughts stirring under my "big top." It was May 4, and me, mentally prepared for a tasty margarita, guacamole and steak tacos the next day, automatically assumed he was praying for Cinco de Mayo. This short internal conversation took place in my head: "Seriously?!? We are in God's House and this so-called 'leader' of the church is praying for Cinco de Mayo? Well...I do enjoy Cinco de Mayo and have high hopes for my perfectly crafted margarita, but really? And since when is this holiday associated with celebrating life? I guess it is a celebration of winning a battle, but can we really compare this to life and pray for it? Oh wait...hahahahaha...he's referring to Mother's Day. Yep, better get those Hallmarks in the mail before my margarita tomorrow..."

It was this particular instance that made me think harder about perceptions. A lot of times we all think we are on the same page, and even though someone could be saying something plain as day, we perceive that message based on many different factors. For instance, I had not enjoyed a good margarita in a while and had just gone shopping that morning for my Fiesta feast, so while I was silently criticizing the choir director in my head for being crazy, it turns out I was the one who needed to keep fiesta thoughts in check.

On my run the next morning, I contemplated other times I have been quick to react (in my head, at least) solely due to how I perceived a message or situation. Many of these instances were sparked by email. I will say that while email is my preferred source of communication because I love to write, Old Soul Torie truly believes in the power of communicating via phone or face-to-face. Why? Email is a real pot stirrer when it comes to communicating because of three reasons: 1) Tone of the conversation is much harder to detect; 2) The tone is determined by someone whose perception may be altered negatively by the very horrible day, week or year they're having; and 3) Due to many different personality styles, someone who is the queen of exclamation points and smiley faces may be reading an email written by the queen of periods (grammatically speaking...Lord, wouldn't it be a curse to be the queen of menstrual periods?!?)  and no nonsense. So while I am ashamed to say I have been a repeat offender of the email battle, I am aware and actively working on just picking up the phone before it gets to that point. I challenge you to do the same. Most of the time the conversation ends in a "Ohhhhhh!!! That's what you meant! Sorry, I totally misunderstood where you were going with that one!" And then of course that is followed with heads tilted back, belly chuckles...maybe some knee slapping.

You know, I thought about adding some more very deep thoughts to this post, but have decided it's grown long enough. And...I need to run some errands. So a few lessons learned before I yell "Yota!" (because that's what cool Toyota drivers do when they peel and squeal out of their quiet neighborhoods to run errands): 1. Mother's Day has not been replaced by Cinco de Mayo, and my choir director is a much better human than me; 2. Email can be a very effective communication tool but can also cause unnecessary human anger explosions if used incorrectly; and 3. Embrace different personality styles and learn how you can best communicate with each individual, not just what suits your preference. Isn't going a little out of our own communication comfort zone totally worth avoiding walking into a war zone?

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