An Interview with author
1. What is REDEFINING?
ReDefining is a unique approach to exploring and creating personal experience. By examining our language and the words we use every day, we discover how their meanings affect and influence our experience and how we can create experience defined by our own sense of fulfillment and vision.
3. How does REDEFINING work?
The philosophy of ReDefining begins by looking at the ‘underside’ or the ‘infrastructure’ of our experiences to explore ourselves and make foundational changes – changes that truly take hold and shape new, life-changing experience.
Words are simply the symbols we use to communicate our thoughts, ideas, and emotions – the infrastructure of our experiences. By examining words, and the concepts they represent, you uncover what you really think and believe about many different things. Then as you redefine each of these words to hold your personal vision, or sense of ideal, it gives you a framework and a guideline to use when you make choices and decisions in your life suited specifically and purposefully to your intents.
4. How will REDEFINING benefit me specifically?
One of the most important ways ReDefining benefits you is in orienting you to your own values and visions – not those of another person, organization, or a society. This is significant for creating personal fulfillment, and as importantly to be able to draw upon personal ideas and inspiration to meet a challenge, or to pursue a goal or a dream.
We, of course, can’t use another person’s academic credentials nor have access to their bank account, but we often borrow or use another person’s inspiration, only to find ourselves depleted, and unable to refuel and continue without an outside resource. I’m not saying this isn’t useful – we all need to reach out to others at times. However, I do think it is important, and at times vital, to be able to draw upon and trust your own ideas and ideals.
5. Can you give me an example of REDEFINING a word?
Yes, of course. One of my most memorable experiences was at Barnes & Noble in Washington, DC. The Key Word for the evening was “respect.” We had just completed the second part of the ReDefining process.
Elaina, a young professional woman from Brazil, nervously interrupted to say that she didn’t think she would be able to redefine the word respect. It was obvious she was uncomfortable by her situation. She immediately followed her comment by describing her father’s determined effort to command his family’s respect. As if to reenact a moment witnessed many times, she lifted her head high and pounded her fist upon her chest as she mimicked her father’s command, “You will respect me!”
I was caught off-guard by the intensity of her emotions, and thought for just a moment. I then reached for a duffle bag I brought for the evening and began to make an analogy. I explained that the duffle bag was symbolic of the word, respect – or any word. As a word, it carried meanings and feelings, objects, emotions, ideas. And just like the duffle bag, I could take out of it was not meaningful or useful – what no longer had value, and I could fill it with necessary and important items. If I never examined the bag, over the years it might become filled with unnecessary items I never used, things that no longer had meaning. This would cause the bag to become cluttered and heavy - burdensome. In the same way, a word can become laden with antiquated connotations and ideas.
Moving from the analogy, I asked Elaina how she would envision or create a different meaning for herself for the concept of respect. Her whole demeanor changed as she described having an imaginary family of her own where she would teach and exemplify respect with a sense of compassion and genuine honoring of each other. Elaina had redefined respect to hold her vision and her sense of ideal in connection with the concept of respect.
6. This is intriguing; will you give me another example?
This one I’ll always remember. As an Iranian, this woman sought a new country with freedom in which to live and create her life. Though her past and her perspectives may be different, the depth in which we seek ourselves is similar. This is her perspective and exploration of the key word vulnerable.
I am vulnerable when I fight the past.
I am vulnerable when I am too scared to act.
I am vulnerable when I feel ignorant.
I am vulnerable when I lose hope.
I am vulnerable when I have enough hope to take risks.
I am vulnerable when I am not what I am expected to be.
I am vulnerable when I am who I am.
I am vulnerable when I forget the long way I have come with the choices I have made.
7. How will REDEFINING change my life?
Once you begin REDEFINING, your approach to life changes. You look at things differently – not in a patterned or predictable way. Your awareness heightens – and you become conscious of everyday happenings and what they really mean to you – your actions, your communications, your surroundings, your traditions, routines, relationships, and responsibilities. Along with a heightened awareness, you find yourself with a new sense of enthusiasm, as you explore ways to implement your redefinitions and know you’re changing your life.
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