Cutting Loose …

“Never cut what you can untie.”

We often do cut things, don’t we?

Process, relationship, thing …that is not working, that seem to us to no longer have value, or that we think are too much or too large.

We cut people out, we cut old ties, those apron strings, and “the cord” – all signifying a fundamental change in our relationship with something.

Making the cut means you are on the winning side, while others are on the losing side.   Cutting someone loose means you no longer want to have a contact with that person.

When you cut, you sever the relationship with that thing forever.

Sure, you can tape something back together, either literally or symbolically, but the cut or at least the evidence of the cut is still there.   You cannot “undo” a cut.

… and sometimes you should not want to.

When a relationship, a situation, or a behavior is negative, sometimes the best thing to do is to cut it off, cut it out, or just cut it away.  Make the separation irreversible, so you have no choice but to move forward without the thing or the person.

… but sometimes we cut when we should untie.

Untying a knot preserves the complete thread or rope.  Nothing has been taken away in the process of changing the function of the rope.   Sometimes we cut because we are afraid to try a new knot.

When should you untie instead?

When the thing or person still has value to you.  

Cutting is irrevocable and always results in permanent change,whether you can see the change or not.   Cutting up your credit cards does not address the cognitive and emotional issues that result in all those bills for stuff you don’t really need.

When the thing or person can change.  

Sometimes we cut out things because we do not see the potential for a difference story being written.  Job got you down?   Maybe you should leave, but what could you do if you stayed?

When the thing or person is not the problem and you are.

Okay, this is the hard one. Cutting something or someone out is often easy, although it might be painful.  Just walk away or stay put.   However, when the same issues continue to “pop up”, we eventually have to focus on the common factor – “Me”:)

Of course, being able to discern the honest answer to these criteria in a specific situation does require some self-knowledge and the ability for brutal honesty with ourselves about ourselves.

Trying to tell it like it really is and not like I want it in the Heartland …


Kissing and Telling …

“A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left.”

Marilyn Monroe As quoted in The Virgin Memoirs: Getting Past the Past, (2011) pg. 139
Rather a bleak outlook on romance from one who certainly had reason to be a little cynical.

All is Forgiven … Sorta.

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

John F. Kennedy As quoted in Mayor (1984)

Sounds a tad malevolent, doesn’t it?

I have a vision of Don Corleone imparting this advice to Sonny, with that marvelous accent and paced delivery.  Since I’m not a fan of The Godfather, for all I know, he might well have said this in the film.

At least at first blush, I imagine many think JFK’s advice is to not trust others once you have been in opposition to them on some issue.   Given that the man was a highly successful politician and powerful leader, that may be exactly what he meant.

A somewhat gentler interpretation is to simply recognize some truths about the how people act and interact:

1)  Roles change:  

Sometimes you are an enemy and other times, you are a friend or at least an ally.   The person who you once viewed as competition or who you disliked may someday become a friend or at least someone with whom you are no longer at war.  Of course, it helps to remember that this gate swings both ways – sometimes the trusted friend becomes the opposition.

Things change … People  change … History is interpreted anew.

Roles change, which means that rather than engaging in a blood feud, ala Hatfields and McCoys, we should always be sensitive to shifts in our relationships with others.

2)  Forgiveness is good:  

Forgiveness usually costs nothing more than emotional energy and paves the ways for more positive days to come.  Holding grudges past a point is not just counter-productive, but often results in excessive expenditures of precious energy holding on to old wounds and affronts.  

Forgiveness opens the door to a positive future.  

If nothing else, forgiveness clears your emotional decks for action.

3)  Reality Rules:  

Remaining aware of history and past relationships is not a negative thing, unless you let it influence your present and your future.   Countries which once fought bloody wars now align for economic growth and security.    People who were once bitter enemies can become good friends or at least allies.

The trick here is to balance awareness of what has happened in the past with awareness of your current reality.  

Good people sometimes sink into obsession with a past affront and allow themselves to lose the possibilities of the present. 

I find it significant that JFK did not say “Never forgive the affront”, but simply reminded us that what has happened is real, but past.

How do you balance reality and forgiveness?

Trying to stay in the “now” in the Heartland ….


Will You Be My Friend …?


Becky Robinson tends to get my attention through her well-crafted and fascinating questions.

This week, she is asking whether we can truly have friends who we only know through social media.  This is a challenging question and one that tends to divide people dependent on their involvement in and experiences with different types and levels of social media. 

 Go to Becky Robinson Weaving Influence to read her question in full, along with some fascinating answers from some very intelligent folks.  Heck, you could even add your own thoughts to the comment stream.

While you’re there, subscribe to her blog if you want to receive more thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary on living in the social age.   She is one of the Good Ones.

Below is my somewhat abbreviated and edited response to Becky’s question.  Please feel free to praise or rebut as you so feel moved:

Hi, Becky

As usual, thought-provoking and a razor-like focus on the human side of social media and relationships.

My “friends” in social media are much like yours, a mixture of real-life and virtual, from long ago and right this instant, of varying degrees of communication, connection, and intimacy.

A friend is someone who you know enough about to trust.

I have a relatively small group of trusted advisors (like you:) who I respect for their talent, their knowledge, AND their willingness to share in this very ill-defined medium we spend so much time navigating.

I have a much large group of people I consider friends at the acquaintance level.  We “see” each other regularly or sporadically, we have some knowledge of each other, and our sharing is calculated. 

Then there are all the others.  I follow thousands on Twitter, for example, and many are just names.  On a somewhat regular basis, I cut the spammers and the inactive folks, but leave the rest there.

You never know when a name might become an acquaintance or an acquaintance become a friend or an advisor.

Trust is always the key element in where a person is in my little personal pantheon.

I tend to offer some level of trust easily and early in a relationship, then let events and actions determine whether that trust is strengthened, weakened, or blasted apart.

Regarding social media environments, I have had serious discussions with “heathens” (non-social media types) who believe that online relationships cannot be real.  I respectfully disagree.

I have been disappointed and even betrayed by people with whom I have had long, significant, face-to-face relationships and I have received wonderful blessings from people whose breath will never mix with mine over coffee.

Social media is simply one way to communicate and connect.  It has its limitations, but it also has its values.  For example, how else would many of us establish warm professional relationships with people somewhere else, especially in this day of reduced travel funds and increasingly busy daily “grinds”?

An interesting side observation:  I trust some online relatively recent relationships more than some relationships which are long-term and on the same turf.

Bottom line for me:  Trust determines the level of relationship and lack of physical proximity is not a deal-breaker.

Wondering who considers me one of their virtual friends in the Heartland ….


Love Stories ….


Sometimes you just need something that will make you feel better about life.  These little vignettes of people expressing and sharing love will do that … I guarantee.

With great appreciation to MarkandAngelHackLife, one of my soulful sources.

Barely holding back tears in the Heartland ….