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  • feedwordpress 20:00:07 on 2016/11/18 Permalink
    Tags: , Cross Cultural, , cutural, Differences, , ethnic tension, mating in captivity, religion,   

    How To Address Cross Cultural Differences 

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” – Ethics of the Father, Hillel

    Whomever you voted for, most likely, you were surprised by the results.

    This is a good moment to take stock. What does this election mean about me, and how do I connect to others?

    Working with broken relationships between people who are unable to relate to one another is central to my work as a couples therapist. I help them listen, acknowledge their respective experiences, and communicate across divides.

    We are experiencing a severe polarization. New conversations around the world are in dire need, and creating a safe space to dialogue is more important than ever.

    When faced with otherness, we can respond one of two ways: with fear or with curiosity. The “other” may refer to your partner, sibling, neighbor, or fellow citizen. Depending on how threatened you feel, your mind and body will either contract or expand.

    Many of you know me through my work on sexuality. What you may not know, is that before writing Mating in Captivity, the first 24 years of my career I was a cross-cultural psychologist, primarily focusing on race relationship, ethnic tensions, cultural and religious intermarriage, immigration and acculturation.

    For decades, I have worked with groups and couples to bridge divisiveness and conflict. In Montreal, I worked with teachers and students in public schools on the tensions between the Haitian students and the Quebecois. In Belgium, I led workshops on Jewish identity which brought together a spectrum of Jews from the ultra-Orthodox community and the secular community. In the US, I worked for a decade with rabbis, educators, donors and families helping the Jewish community to open it’s doors to interfaith couples.

    While we can not be knowledgeable about all cultures, we can learn how to approach those that are unfamiliar to us and understand their essential features. How can we all develop a more cultural way of thinking and increase our understanding of the multifaceted meanings of race, culture and religion?

    I think we can all start by asking ourselves these four questions:

    1.  What are the messages you received at home about “the other”? Were you encouraged to get to know them? Or were you taught to distrust or ignore them?
    2. Did you grow up in a neighborhood that was primarily racially, ethnically, economically, religiously homogenous? Or did you grow up in a mixed neighborhood, as you see it?
    3. Today, are you more likely to emphasize how others are similar to you, or how you may be different?
    4. What has been your experience when you’re in the minority, vs. when you’re in the majority?

    How do these questions make you feel? Are the answers what you expected? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments. I ask you to be mindful of the varied views within our community, and I hope this is a productive and respectful space for us all.

    The post How To Address Cross Cultural Differences appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:00:23 on 2016/11/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Brain Pickings, , fire, flame, intimacy, judy brown, mating in captivity, poem, , power, The Sea Accepts All Rivers   

    Poem on Desire: Fire by Judy Brown 

    Today, I am reflecting this idea of power through psychological and physical distance as a way to awaken intimacy and desire inspired by Judy Brown’s poem, “Fire”. This piece echoes the ideas in my book Mating in Captivity — so beautifully articulated.

     

    Fire

    by Judy Brown

    What makes a fire burn

    is space between the logs,

    a breathing space.

    Too much of a good thing,

    too many logs

    packed in too tight

    can douse the flames

    almost as surely

    as a pail of water would.

    So building fires

    requires attention

    to the spaces in between,

    as much as to the wood.

    When we are able to build

    open spaces

    in the same way

    we have learned

    to pile on the logs,

    then we can come to see how

    it is fuel, and absence of the fuel

    together, that make fire possible.

    We only need to lay a log

    lightly from time to time.

    A fire

    grows

    simply because the space is there,

    with openings

    in which the flame

    that knows just how it wants to burn

    can find its way.

     

    Image Source: Pexels

    The post Poem on Desire: Fire by Judy Brown appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
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