WHAT CAN ANIMAL GUIDES DO– AND HOW DO I WORK WITH THEM????

WHAT CAN ANIMAL GUIDES DO– AND HOW DO I WORK WITH THEM????

Animal guides can help you in many areas of you life whether they are of the
physical or astral plane.

They can help focus and raise the energy of a ritual or magickal circle.

They can protect you in your dreams, meditations and quests, as well as in the real world.

They can teach you how to take on their abilities through shapeshifting.

They can help you learn to take yourself less seriously (or more so if needed).

A guide can be your friend, confidant, sister, brother, teacher… They can be
playful, loving, protective and supportive. They will change and grow with you throughout your life.

You work with spirit guides the same way you work with anyone else, ask them for help, advice, or support, whatever you need. They will decide if they will do what you ask.

If it is for the best they will almost always help.

To talk with a guide, do a visualization in which you call to them.

They will come if they choose.

If they do not, try again later or try to work out the problem on your own.

If your guide is a physical one just talk with it. It will help if it chooses.

Talk with your guide. Ask it to teach you. Get to know your guide as you would get to know any close friend. Spend time with it.

You will learn how to work with it as you get to know each other, as you learn to become a team and understand each others needs.

Just remember to always, always, treat your guide with respect and gratitude for the help it gives.

Your Daily Horoscopes for August 4th

The relationship-oriented Libra Moon encourages us to reevaluate how our individual desires conflict with the needs of the people closest to us. Nevertheless, it will require some extra effort to communicate what we want because Mercury is retrograde, prompting others to misinterpret what we say. Thankfully, we receive support when assertive Mars forms a supportive sextile to Mercury, motivating us to try again if we miss the mark the first time.

 

Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Although something might have gone awry in a relationship recently, it simply may be due to a breakdown in communication. Unfortunately, a disagreement could arise if the other person cannot understand your point of view. You could even be accused of being negative because you want to talk about an uncomfortable subject. Fortunately, there’s no need for complete resolution now; bring up your thoughts and then let them go. You can return to the discussion when your partner is ready to engage in the conversation.

 

 

Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

You may not get the practical results you want today, but you’re still able to rationalize your behavior. You might need to stretch a bit, but you can learn new ways to manage a recurring situation at work. Although you would be happier if you changed how you prioritize your responsibilities, it’s less effort to keep things the way they are. Nevertheless, push through your resistance and plan for the future without looking back.

 

 

Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

The Moon’s visit to your 5th House of Fun and Games is dampened by her run-in with somber Saturn. Although you may be able to recover your lighthearted attitude later in the day, you could have a hard lesson to learn along the way. Thankfully, quicksilver Mercury’s alignment with assertive Mars gives you the energy to say what needs to be said. Once the air is cleared, you’ll be able to get back to business as normal.

 

 

Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

Your words pack more power than you realize today as warrior Mars in your sign lends assistance to clever Mercury in your 3rd House of Communication. Your mental agility, combined with a strong conviction in your beliefs, is an unbeatable recipe for success. You can sell anything now, as long as your heart is in it. Decide what matters most and then get busy asking for the support you need to make it happen.

 

 

Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

This is an action-packed day that can bring you closer to what you want if you’re willing to walk your talk. The words flow off your tongue easily when you tell others about your dreams. But idle chatter is cheap, so it’s crucial to galvanize your thoughts into actions. However, your current interactions must be in line with your plans or nothing will seem to gain traction; when your behavior is aligned with your passion, anything is possible.

 

 

Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

The Moon’s visit to your 2nd House of Resources reminds you to get your money’s worth from every financial transaction today. Unfortunately, meeting your basic needs may be more complicated than it appears at first. Look beneath the surface for a missing piece of information that could have significant consequences before signing an agreement or handing over any cash. And most importantly, be clear with your intentions and precise with your words or things could get muddled quickly.

 

 

Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You may have a lot of good ideas that all seem worth pursuing today, but you cannot possibly turn every inspirational flash into immediate action. Instead of trying to do too many things at once, be smart and write down your most innovative thoughts. Since they are transitory, even the most brilliant one could fade back into the depths of your unconscious. You can create a plan now and put it into motion once you have the chance.

 

 

Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Today you might be able to clear up a problem that has been bothering you for a while. Nevertheless, trickster Mercury still has a wild card up his sleeve, so you could inadvertently outsmart yourself by mixing up your facts. Although you’re not normally inclined toward sloppy thinking, you’re so concerned with getting the right answers that you could stumble. Watch your step; everything should work out if you pay careful attention to the difference between truth and illusion.

 

 

Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

The socially astute Libra Moon in your 11th House of Friends encourages you to act graciously, but unresolved issues could sneak in amidst the congenial gestures. Unfortunately, you can’t tell if a topic is significant enough to address or if it’s only a temporary frustration that intensifies a problem. Thankfully, you can take the course of least resistance now so leave the heavy lifting for some other day.

 

Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You may feel as if you’re running around in circles without accomplishing very much. You might even revisit the very same issues over and over again. Fortunately, you are able to change the dynamics by discussing your concerns with a friend. Participating in a conversation about your goals allows others to support you in your efforts and helps you break out of the vicious cycle.

 

 

Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Your ability to imagine the future is heightened by the Moon’s presence in your 9th House of Long-Term Goals. Your self-assuredness encourages others to seek out your approval of what they are doing. Although you like being asked for your opinion, you’re not sure why anyone thinks you know enough to offer advice now. Save the self-questioning for some other day and just help out however you can.

 

 

Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Your imagination is running the show now and you are eager to share your current inspiration. Although you may feel secure within the context of your life, Mercury’s retrograde still makes it tricky to say what’s on your mind. Just remember that the more generous you are with others, the better it will be for everyone involved.

Tell It Like It Is – And Make It Count

Tell It Like It Is – And Make It Count

Author: Autumn Heartsong
“I’m not a pussy-foot Pagan; I speak my mind I don’t care if everybody gets mad at me.”

“I call it like I see it. If you’ve got a lousy attitude I’m going to tell you about it. That’s what makes me such a terrific high priestess.”

“I hate that we’re not friends anymore. I was just trying to help and she got so angry.”

Know any of these people? Maybe you’ve made one of those statements yourself.

There’s no doubt that honest feedback is helpful. People with the skill and willingness to provide good feedback are valuable in any community. Unfortunately, some people are long on willingness and short on skill. They tell it like they think it is, like they wish it were, like they hope it will be, but without the skill needed to make all that telling count for something. Some succeed handily in expressing their opinions and making people angry, and they excel at turning angry reactions into badges of honor. They may even feel a little smug when they tell everyone exactly what they’re doing wrong and no one does anything about it. There’s a lot of moral superiority in being the one with the answers and even more intellectual smugness when no one else is smart enough to take your good advice. More often, though, people are just sad and disappointed when their attempt to help is, at best, rejected or, at worst, creates angry confrontation and lasting resentment.

Why should we care about the effectiveness of our communications? Because honest, helpful feedback is essential to any community. Whether you’re addressing your circle, your coworkers, your family, or the customer service rep with whom you’re trying to resolve a problem, clear, effective communication gets the best results.

Nowhere is the need for good feedback skills more evident than in our spiritual communities. In a spiritual path that stresses personal accountability, each of us is responsible not just for what we say but how we say it. If we truly have the best interest of another in mind, we have a responsibility to do the best job we can when we offer constructive criticism or positive feedback. And for those who hold positions of leadership, the ability to guide a coven or circle is directly tied to the ability to effectively deal with behaviors that can erode the group’s foundation, as well as to offer praise that is meaningful and encourages continued success. Yet time and again, circles and covens undergo major upheavals over poorly thought-out and badly delivered feedback. Broader communities experience rifts that all but destroy those communities. Online groups explode into flame wars over emails that set out to improve some situation but miss the mark. Best friends have walked away from each other over what was meant to be helpful guidance but was delivered and received as anything but helpful. The phrase heard most often after such events is, “What just happened?”

Fortunately, willingness to engage in feedback is more than half the battle, and anyone with a sincere desire to tell it like it is and make it count can learn how to give feedback that is both honest and helpful. Whether you’re telling someone that their habitual Pagan Standard Time arrival for ritual is impacting the group or complimenting them on the stellar job they did organizing the community clean-up event, you will create more impact with a well crafted and delivered message.

In this article, I’ll discuss the characteristics of effective feedback. I’ll also outline models for giving honest, direct feedback with candor and skill. Finally, I’ll share a model for how we receive feedback to help us understand and plan for reactions in others and ourselves.

For those of you who are thinking, “This isn’t standard Pagan essay material, ” I respectfully disagree. This is EGM – Elbow Grease Magick, physical effort to accompany your energetic contribution in your community. Just as doing a “find a job” spell without sending out a resume or filling out an application isn’t likely to land you employment, opening your mouth to deliver constructive feedback without paying attention to how you do it isn’t likely to net the results you hope for. By combining a willing spirit with proven techniques, we can strengthen our relationships and our communities.

Characteristics of Effective Feedback

Think back to a time when you received truly helpful feedback from someone – maybe a teacher, a boss, a coworker or friend. What made it helpful? If you’re like most people, your recollections will include some or all of the following:

They were specific and used examples.
Vague feedback isn’t very helpful. Telling someone, “You need to do better in circle, ” doesn’t offer any clues as to what “better” means. “Your ritual robe has a wine stain on it from when you dropped the chalice at our last moon. You should make sure your robe is clean before you come to circle, ” is more effective. Likewise, “You’re such a joy to work with, ” doesn’t give the recipient any guidance on how to continue to be a joy. Try, “I enjoy working with you on community projects because you’re energetic, detail oriented, and always willing to pitch in wherever needed.”

They focused on behavior, not a personal attack.
Telling someone, “You’re a slob!” is far less effective than, “You left your feast gear unwashed on the counter and Moondrop had to clean up after you.”

They were sincere, had my best interest at heart.
Sincerity is often a matter of perception. Body language and tone can speak louder than our words. It’s estimated that in face-to-face communications as little as seven percent of a message is perceived from the actual words. (Read Radical Collaboration, by James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet) .

They helped me understand why it was important.
Everyone receiving feedback asks, at some level, “So what?” When we include the why, the what has more impact. “When you’re late for ritual, feast runs late, the children get hungry and cranky, and everyone’s enjoyment of the evening is lessened.” The why can also include the benefits of change or the consequences of continued behavior. “In the future, we’ll have to start without you if you’re late.”

They included suggestions for improvement or alternate behavior.
If a behavior is causing problems, suggest a better behavior. “We need you to be here at least 15 minutes before ritual is scheduled to begin.”

They chose an appropriate time/place.
Common wisdom suggests that we correct privately and praise publicly. While public praise isn’t always necessary, constructive criticism is almost always best done privately. An embarrassed person is not receptive.

They kept their emotions in check.
If you cannot control you own emotions when delivering feedback, the message will be lost. Crying and anger are sometimes understandable reactions to bad behavior, but get them under control before you enter into dialog about the behavior. If you lose your cool, you lose control.

Models for delivering feedback

Two models provide specific steps to help craft and deliver effective feedback.

NORMS is a model for crafting your message and helps ensure that you’re focusing on behavior and that your feedback is specific. This should be your first step every time to make sure your feedback is behavior focused. NORMS is an acronym for five attributes of objective feedback.

N – Not an interpretation. Address the behavior, not how you interpret the behavior. “You’ve been late for the last three circles, ” is behavior. “You don’t have enough respect for me, your coven, or the gods to show up on time, ” is an interpretation.
O – Observable. Address behavior that can be seen, heard, or otherwise observed by more than one person.
R – Reliable. Goes along with observable. Base your feedback on reliable observations, not hearsay or conjecture.
M – Measurable. Address behavior in terms of how many, how long, etc. Avoid absolutes like never and always. Use actual numbers, times, etc., whenever possible.
S – Specific. Address specific behaviors and cite specific examples.

DISC is a model for delivering your message and is an acronym for four steps to ensure that your message conveys both what and why, offers suggested alternative behavior, and identifies benefits/consequences.

D – Describe the behavior. Describe the behavior you identified using the NORMS model. Include measurements and observations when possible.
I – Identify the impact. Why is this behavior a problem? How is it impacting the individual, you, or the group?
S – Specify what you would like to see. Suggest alternate behavior or ways to improve.
C – Clarify the benefits/consequences. What will the individual gain by changing behavior? What are the consequences if she doesn’t change?

Putting it together

Scenario: Oak Moon, a member of your coven, wears a strong patchouli oil fragrance. Three coveners have commented on it and at least one covener, Starlight, is asthmatic and has difficulty breathing when she stands next to Oak Moon in circle.

Using NORMS, you focus only on the behavior – wearing strong fragrance that bothers others in circle. The strong fragrance is easily observable by anyone present and has been reliably observed by other coveners. It is measurable – three coveners have spoken up about it. You’ve made your message specific – the strength of the patchouli oil fragrance and its effect on other coveners is the issue.

Delivering the message using DISC might sound like this:

Describe: “Oak Moon, your patchouli oil is a lovely, strong fragrance – sometimes a bit too strong for the closeness of circle. Three people have come to me because the fragrance bothers them when we’re in circle, including Starlight.”
Identify: “You may not know that Starlight is asthmatic and has trouble breathing around strong fragrances.”
Specify: “Could you skip the patchouli when we’re in circle?”
Clarify: “It will let everyone breathe easier and focus more on what’s happening in the circle.”

The DISC model works well with positive feedback, too. Here’s an example:

Describe: “Oak Moon, you did an exceptional job on the essay you sent to WitchVox last month. The organization was excellent, and your analogies really helped me understand your point of view.”
Identify: “Sharing experience and thoughts with others helps our larger community grow and sets a good example for newer members of the coven.”
Specify: “I hope you’ll write more articles in the future.”
Clarify: “You’ll probably get a lot of comments and make some good contacts from your writing.”

Receiving feedback – the SARAH Model

So far, our examples have all been delivering feedback with no response from the person receiving. Of course, the person receiving will respond, and anticipating and preparing for the reaction is part of the effective feedback process.

SARAH is an acronym for five stages people go through when receiving constructive feedback. In addition to helping us deliver effective feedback, SARAH also helps us when we’re on the receiving end of constructive criticism. Recognizing our reaction can help us move more quickly through the stages and get the most benefit from the feedback.

S – Shock. “What? You’ve got to be kidding? I can’t believe anyone would say that about me!”
A – Anger. “How dare she! Who does she think she is? She’s got no right to talk to me that way. It’s none of her business.”
R – Rejection. “Well, that’s just stupid. She doesn’t know everything and I don’t need her advice.”
A – Acceptance. “Well, she did say it…and maybe there’s some truth in it.”
H – Help. “I can see her point. Maybe I’ll try her suggestions and see what happens.”

Do you recognize your own reactions? Have you experienced those reactions from others? When planning your feedback, take some time to anticipate the reactions and think about how you will respond. How can you keep the conversation on track? By thinking through the possible conversation ahead of time, you can avoid being caught off guard by emotional response from the recipient.

What if they just won’t listen?

It’s important to note that people don’t always get through all five stages. Shock, anger, and rejection may be as far as it goes. What do you do when your best efforts fail to produce results?

Perhaps the best advice is an adaptation of The Fourfold Way by Angeles Arrien:

Show up.
Pay attention.
Speak your truth.
Let go of the outcome.

You’ve shown up when you care enough to give feedback. You’ve paid attention when you learn and practice effective feedback skills. Once you’ve spoken your truth, the rest is up to the recipient. Let go of the outcome and let the recipient process your message and do with it what they will. For every friendship that is lost because someone gets angry over feedback they’ve received, another is lost because the person giving the feedback becomes angry and frustrated when their good counsel isn’t taken. Don’t let that happen to you.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you’ll consider applying these skills in your interactions. Sharing our love for each other with honest, candid, effective feedback is a great gift. May all your efforts be blessed and rewarded.

Tell It Like It Is – And Make It Count

Tell It Like It Is – And Make It Count

Author: Autumn Heartsong

“I’m not a pussy-foot Pagan; I speak my mind I don’t care if everybody gets mad at me.”

“I call it like I see it. If you’ve got a lousy attitude I’m going to tell you about it. That’s what makes me such a terrific high priestess.”

“I hate that we’re not friends anymore. I was just trying to help and she got so angry.”

Know any of these people? Maybe you’ve made one of those statements yourself.

There’s no doubt that honest feedback is helpful. People with the skill and willingness to provide good feedback are valuable in any community. Unfortunately, some people are long on willingness and short on skill. They tell it like they think it is, like they wish it were, like they hope it will be, but without the skill needed to make all that telling count for something. Some succeed handily in expressing their opinions and making people angry, and they excel at turning angry reactions into badges of honor. They may even feel a little smug when they tell everyone exactly what they’re doing wrong and no one does anything about it. There’s a lot of moral superiority in being the one with the answers and even more intellectual smugness when no one else is smart enough to take your good advice. More often, though, people are just sad and disappointed when their attempt to help is, at best, rejected or, at worst, creates angry confrontation and lasting resentment.

Why should we care about the effectiveness of our communications? Because honest, helpful feedback is essential to any community. Whether you’re addressing your circle, your coworkers, your family, or the customer service rep with whom you’re trying to resolve a problem, clear, effective communication gets the best results.

Nowhere is the need for good feedback skills more evident than in our spiritual communities. In a spiritual path that stresses personal accountability, each of us is responsible not just for what we say but how we say it. If we truly have the best interest of another in mind, we have a responsibility to do the best job we can when we offer constructive criticism or positive feedback. And for those who hold positions of leadership, the ability to guide a coven or circle is directly tied to the ability to effectively deal with behaviors that can erode the group’s foundation, as well as to offer praise that is meaningful and encourages continued success. Yet time and again, circles and covens undergo major upheavals over poorly thought-out and badly delivered feedback. Broader communities experience rifts that all but destroy those communities. Online groups explode into flame wars over emails that set out to improve some situation but miss the mark. Best friends have walked away from each other over what was meant to be helpful guidance but was delivered and received as anything but helpful. The phrase heard most often after such events is, “What just happened?”

Fortunately, willingness to engage in feedback is more than half the battle, and anyone with a sincere desire to tell it like it is and make it count can learn how to give feedback that is both honest and helpful. Whether you’re telling someone that their habitual Pagan Standard Time arrival for ritual is impacting the group or complimenting them on the stellar job they did organizing the community clean-up event, you will create more impact with a well crafted and delivered message.

In this article, I’ll discuss the characteristics of effective feedback. I’ll also outline models for giving honest, direct feedback with candor and skill. Finally, I’ll share a model for how we receive feedback to help us understand and plan for reactions in others and ourselves.

For those of you who are thinking, “This isn’t standard Pagan essay material, ” I respectfully disagree. This is EGM – Elbow Grease Magick, physical effort to accompany your energetic contribution in your community. Just as doing a “find a job” spell without sending out a resume or filling out an application isn’t likely to land you employment, opening your mouth to deliver constructive feedback without paying attention to how you do it isn’t likely to net the results you hope for. By combining a willing spirit with proven techniques, we can strengthen our relationships and our communities.

Characteristics of Effective Feedback

Think back to a time when you received truly helpful feedback from someone – maybe a teacher, a boss, a coworker or friend. What made it helpful? If you’re like most people, your recollections will include some or all of the following:

They were specific and used examples.
Vague feedback isn’t very helpful. Telling someone, “You need to do better in circle, ” doesn’t offer any clues as to what “better” means. “Your ritual robe has a wine stain on it from when you dropped the chalice at our last moon. You should make sure your robe is clean before you come to circle, ” is more effective. Likewise, “You’re such a joy to work with, ” doesn’t give the recipient any guidance on how to continue to be a joy. Try, “I enjoy working with you on community projects because you’re energetic, detail oriented, and always willing to pitch in wherever needed.”

They focused on behavior, not a personal attack.
Telling someone, “You’re a slob!” is far less effective than, “You left your feast gear unwashed on the counter and Moondrop had to clean up after you.”

They were sincere, had my best interest at heart.
Sincerity is often a matter of perception. Body language and tone can speak louder than our words. It’s estimated that in face-to-face communications as little as seven percent of a message is perceived from the actual words. (Read Radical Collaboration, by James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet) .

They helped me understand why it was important.
Everyone receiving feedback asks, at some level, “So what?” When we include the why, the what has more impact. “When you’re late for ritual, feast runs late, the children get hungry and cranky, and everyone’s enjoyment of the evening is lessened.” The why can also include the benefits of change or the consequences of continued behavior. “In the future, we’ll have to start without you if you’re late.”

They included suggestions for improvement or alternate behavior.
If a behavior is causing problems, suggest a better behavior. “We need you to be here at least 15 minutes before ritual is scheduled to begin.”

They chose an appropriate time/place.
Common wisdom suggests that we correct privately and praise publicly. While public praise isn’t always necessary, constructive criticism is almost always best done privately. An embarrassed person is not receptive.

They kept their emotions in check.
If you cannot control you own emotions when delivering feedback, the message will be lost. Crying and anger are sometimes understandable reactions to bad behavior, but get them under control before you enter into dialog about the behavior. If you lose your cool, you lose control.

Models for delivering feedback

Two models provide specific steps to help craft and deliver effective feedback.

NORMS is a model for crafting your message and helps ensure that you’re focusing on behavior and that your feedback is specific. This should be your first step every time to make sure your feedback is behavior focused. NORMS is an acronym for five attributes of objective feedback.

N – Not an interpretation. Address the behavior, not how you interpret the behavior. “You’ve been late for the last three circles, ” is behavior. “You don’t have enough respect for me, your coven, or the gods to show up on time, ” is an interpretation.
O – Observable. Address behavior that can be seen, heard, or otherwise observed by more than one person.
R – Reliable. Goes along with observable. Base your feedback on reliable observations, not hearsay or conjecture.
M – Measurable. Address behavior in terms of how many, how long, etc. Avoid absolutes like never and always. Use actual numbers, times, etc., whenever possible.
S – Specific. Address specific behaviors and cite specific examples.

DISC is a model for delivering your message and is an acronym for four steps to ensure that your message conveys both what and why, offers suggested alternative behavior, and identifies benefits/consequences.

D – Describe the behavior. Describe the behavior you identified using the NORMS model. Include measurements and observations when possible.
I – Identify the impact. Why is this behavior a problem? How is it impacting the individual, you, or the group?
S – Specify what you would like to see. Suggest alternate behavior or ways to improve.
C – Clarify the benefits/consequences. What will the individual gain by changing behavior? What are the consequences if she doesn’t change?

Putting it together

Scenario: Oak Moon, a member of your coven, wears a strong patchouli oil fragrance. Three coveners have commented on it and at least one covener, Starlight, is asthmatic and has difficulty breathing when she stands next to Oak Moon in circle.

Using NORMS, you focus only on the behavior – wearing strong fragrance that bothers others in circle. The strong fragrance is easily observable by anyone present and has been reliably observed by other coveners. It is measurable – three coveners have spoken up about it. You’ve made your message specific – the strength of the patchouli oil fragrance and its effect on other coveners is the issue.

Delivering the message using DISC might sound like this:

Describe: “Oak Moon, your patchouli oil is a lovely, strong fragrance – sometimes a bit too strong for the closeness of circle. Three people have come to me because the fragrance bothers them when we’re in circle, including Starlight.”
Identify: “You may not know that Starlight is asthmatic and has trouble breathing around strong fragrances.”
Specify: “Could you skip the patchouli when we’re in circle?”
Clarify: “It will let everyone breathe easier and focus more on what’s happening in the circle.”

The DISC model works well with positive feedback, too. Here’s an example:

Describe: “Oak Moon, you did an exceptional job on the essay you sent to WitchVox last month. The organization was excellent, and your analogies really helped me understand your point of view.”
Identify: “Sharing experience and thoughts with others helps our larger community grow and sets a good example for newer members of the coven.”
Specify: “I hope you’ll write more articles in the future.”
Clarify: “You’ll probably get a lot of comments and make some good contacts from your writing.”

Receiving feedback – the SARAH Model

So far, our examples have all been delivering feedback with no response from the person receiving. Of course, the person receiving will respond, and anticipating and preparing for the reaction is part of the effective feedback process.

SARAH is an acronym for five stages people go through when receiving constructive feedback. In addition to helping us deliver effective feedback, SARAH also helps us when we’re on the receiving end of constructive criticism. Recognizing our reaction can help us move more quickly through the stages and get the most benefit from the feedback.

S – Shock. “What? You’ve got to be kidding? I can’t believe anyone would say that about me!”
A – Anger. “How dare she! Who does she think she is? She’s got no right to talk to me that way. It’s none of her business.”
R – Rejection. “Well, that’s just stupid. She doesn’t know everything and I don’t need her advice.”
A – Acceptance. “Well, she did say it…and maybe there’s some truth in it.”
H – Help. “I can see her point. Maybe I’ll try her suggestions and see what happens.”

Do you recognize your own reactions? Have you experienced those reactions from others? When planning your feedback, take some time to anticipate the reactions and think about how you will respond. How can you keep the conversation on track? By thinking through the possible conversation ahead of time, you can avoid being caught off guard by emotional response from the recipient.

What if they just won’t listen?

It’s important to note that people don’t always get through all five stages. Shock, anger, and rejection may be as far as it goes. What do you do when your best efforts fail to produce results?

Perhaps the best advice is an adaptation of The Fourfold Way by Angeles Arrien:

Show up.
Pay attention.
Speak your truth.
Let go of the outcome.

You’ve shown up when you care enough to give feedback. You’ve paid attention when you learn and practice effective feedback skills. Once you’ve spoken your truth, the rest is up to the recipient. Let go of the outcome and let the recipient process your message and do with it what they will. For every friendship that is lost because someone gets angry over feedback they’ve received, another is lost because the person giving the feedback becomes angry and frustrated when their good counsel isn’t taken. Don’t let that happen to you.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you’ll consider applying these skills in your interactions. Sharing our love for each other with honest, candid, effective feedback is a great gift. May all your efforts be blessed and rewarded.

Mercury Retrograde in Aries Horoscopes, How Will This Affect You?

Mercury Retrograde in Aries Horoscopes

How the trickster planet’s backward spin will hit your zodiac sign from March 30 – April 23

Mercury joins expansive Jupiter on April 11 and impatient Mars on April 19, days in which it will be crucial to slow down, think before you speak and act, and consider what you’re taking on vs. what you can actually take on. On the plus side, you might also see old concepts in a different light, which can breathe new life into old habits or projects.

How may this Mercury Retrograde in Aries affect you?

Aries (March 21 – April 19)
The communication planet’s backward turn in your sign makes it harder for you to get your message across. Others tend to misread your intentions, especially when you are in a hurry and don’t express yourself clearly. Be especially careful on April 19 when Mercury joins your impulsive ruling planet Mars. You could say something that you’ll regret later due to your spontaneous outbursts of thoughts and feelings.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Mercury’s retrograde turn in your 12th House of Privacy can stir up secrets from the past. Confidentiality must be respected because a simple slip of the tongue can be embarrassing. On the plus side, this is an excellent time for meditation and reflection if you take a step back for a more objective perspective. Taking a break or time-out for yoga or relaxation between April 11 and April 19 could be just the re-charge you’ll need to endure the last few days of the retrograde period.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Miscommunication and confusion with friends and colleagues is expected with Mercury retrograde in your 11th House of Groups. Teamwork may become more challenging, but this period is a favorable one for reconnecting with an old pal or someone with whom you’ve worked in the past. If you can maintain a sense of organization and togetherness, your relationships could become greater — if not, the opposite may be the case.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Mixed messages in your professional life are more likely while communicative Mercury is retrograde in your 10th House of Career. Avoid taking on new responsibilities without proper planning. It’s better to delay projects until you’ve laid down a solid foundation than to take on more than you can handle. The pressure could be enough to catapult you in a better direction at work, or in a personal relationship, especially between April 11 and April 19.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Travel and communication to and with faraway places are likely to be complicated with Mercury’s retrograde passage in your 9th House of Travel. Education issues are also more complex during this transit, requiring greater attention to detail if you want avoid scheduling and study issues. Use this time to focus your strengths on improvement, rather than succumbing to the building pressures of schoolwork, or your job – so that you can more easily escape, mentally and physically, after the retrograde period.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Retrograde Mercury in your 8th House of Deep Sharing can kick up relationship issues that you thought were already settled, which can lead to sudden confusion and ultimate frustration. Renegotiations in personal and business matters may be required to overcome different points of view — but don’t let yourself be rushed by impatient and irresponsible people. Be the bigger person when discrepancies are left unsolved.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Mercury’s retrograde turn in your 7th House of Partners revives relationship questions that you thought were already settled. Past romances, flings and acquaintances you left behind may spring up once again, causing you to interact with unlikely figures. Getting off to rocky starts with new people is also possible. Standing up for yourself may require more effort, but it’s better than letting things slide until they’re too late to fix; this could make you a stronger and more confident in the end.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Mercury retrograde in your 6th House of Work could stir up confusion on the job, especially if new systems are being put into place. Watch for technological snafus and disorganization in your professional and personal life. Be extra careful around April 11 when a tense Mars-Pluto square spurs conflict unless you are willing to alter some old habits or ways of doing business.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Mercury’s retrograde turn in your 5th House of Romance should stir memories of love that make you nostalgic for the past. Just make sure you are prepared to deal with the emotions that could easily begin to resurface, and the actions that may result in your sudden desires. On the other hand, you can also use this time to revive old creative interests and hobbies that have been put to the side. Reconnecting with forms of recreation you’ve left behind inspires a sense of playfulness and joy.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Family matters you thought were long finished may return to demand your attention. Although it’s frustrating to address something that was once settled, you may be able to produce an even better outcome this time around, clearing the way for stronger working relationships with family and friends. Home repairs and maintenance are other useful activities during this cycle.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Retrograde Mercury in your 3rd House of Communication tends to complicate conversations and muddle messages. Slow down when you speak if you want to be understood and take the time to listen to others more carefully, as arguments are readily sparked with a few wrong worlds. Before you know it, a small disagreement could turn into something much bigger during this time, so make sure to absorb emotions before releasing them.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
Mercury retrograde in your 2nd House of Resources could play havoc with your accounting. Spending impulsively is especially risky now, so avoid any serious expenses now — you won’t want to deal with the debt accrued during this retrograde period when stress runs higher than usual. Re-evaluating your abilities, though, could reveal underused talents that may be ripe for revival, leading to even more ways in which to make some unexpected income.