Black SheepBlack Sheep
“A “black sheep” is an outcast from a family or from society.”
*What does this term bring up for you?
*Can you think of a person who has been so labeled?
*Who do you identify with more: the person who gets described as the “black” sheep or the family that has given him/her that label?
*How do these ideas resonate with you and what is one small action you might want to take today (or so) on that basis?
My Answer in Brief
I think of people who don’t quite fit with those around them or their surroundings. As well, I think of people who too easily get written off as wrong or odd because you’re less likely to hear their side of any story. Perhaps this would include some judged as outcasts because of extreme or unpopular views, only to be vindicated in the long run. So, who do I identify with more? I tend to too quickly write off the so-called extremists as in politics and at the same time, in a family situation, at least for me, I relate more to the person who gets the label than the people who are likely to label her. An action I want to take over the next couple of days: it would be interesting to look for a quick biography of someone considered to be outspoken for their time, e.g. a Ralph nader before consumer protection came in vogue, and learn a little about what motivated him to step outside the box to get out in front on an issue they cared about.
Black BeltBlack Belt
Black belt: the highest awarded belt in the martial arts
*Do you know anyone who has an actual martial arts black belt and what did they have to do to earn it?
*In what would you like to have a metaphorical “black belt” to show you have been really dedicated to something you’re doing?
*How more generally do you feel about becoming really good at something and becoming recognized for it?
*How do these ideas resonate with you, and what is one small action you might want to take today (or so) on that basis?
My Answer in Brief
I do happen to know people who have earned black belts, and I feel mixed about some of them. I admire their work ethic and dedication because I know how much time and effort is involved in this achievement. On the other hand I have some stereotypic views about my associations with black belts. They conjure up images of undue authority and power. They can actually kill you! As well, although a black belt implies a lot of training and expertise, it also strikes me as training and expertise in a really narrow area; so for myself a martial arts black belt is something I genuinely do not aspire to. What’s an action I could take on this basis? What resonates with me is actually the negative association I seem to be expressing with the idea of achieving excellence with a really narrow focus. I’m not sure there’s a specific action I want to take on this basis; this short exercise though has provided me with some really interesting food for thought.
In The BlackIn The Black
In the black: having money or profiting and doing well in business.
*What comes to mind when you think of this phrase?
*How financially well are you currently doing in this regard and how happy are you with where you are?
*If your monthly income suddenly doubled, what would you do with your newfound gains?
*How do these ideas resonate with you, and what’s one small action you could take today (or so) on this basis?
My Answer in Brief
The first thing that comes to mind for me is that this is an incongruous phrase. It’s hard for me to think of “black” in positive terms, so it surprises me that “in the black” really means something this good. That said, I of course like this concept. Doing well economically means to me I have put in the investment, the time and the commitment to stick to doing something I like and to make money at doing it. It also means a certain degree of stability and financial security. Of course, it’s not always that simple; we know the economic system isn’t always fair, and we have all known people who on the one hand workas hard as the next guy and still struggle to make ends meet. But, on average, this is a simple phrase pointing each of us toward a concrete goal. It urges us to just stay a little bit ahead on the financial end or even to take some big new leap on a new and exciting financial endeavor. What action do I want to take on the basis of these thoughts? What comes to mind in the moment is to think of a couple of ways to cut back and to actually save just a little bit more each week, making it just that much easier to come out ahead and in the black.
Black HoleBlack Hole
Black hole: “objects of extreme density, with such strong gravitational attraction that even light cannot escape from their grasp if it comes near enough.” www.space.com/15421-black-holes-facts-formation-discovery-sdcmp.html xx how do you make that a link
*What comes up for you when you read about this idea?
*Do you feel like there are things in your life that are just sucking you in and from which you can’t escape?
*When you do feel like you’re getting drawn into things you don’t particularly like or when you’re just plain feeling really bad, what do you do to bounce back?
*How do these ideas resonate with you, and what is one small action you could take today (or so) on this basis?
My Answer In Brief
When I first read this definition, actually, it fell pretty creepy. Here’s this great astronomical black hol just waiting to suck in everything around it. Like some kind of great monster. No matter what you do, you can’t get out! But moving away from the astronomy, this seems like a great metaphor for how we sometimes feel: sucked in to some work we don’t want to do or into hanging out with people we don’t particularly like. So, if you think about it, it’s actually a pretty wonderful metaphor. And ok, we can’t escape gravity or change the placements of the stars or the planets. But, we do have a different kind of power: if we think about it hard enough, each of us does have the capacity to figure ways to get out of our own personal black holes and even more to find ways to avoid becoming trapped in them in the first place. What’s an action I might take after thinking about these ideas? The concept of black hole helps identify some specific situations (I won’t discuss them here) where I feel sucked in, And I will start to think about specific strategies to lessen my involvement.