Daniel Zopoula

The Digital Musings of a Bushman, Speaker, Author & Trusted Advisor.

Author: Daniel Zopoula (page 3 of 4)

Critical Carefrontation:

Critical Carefrontation:

Self-management Practices

  • Desiring to be at peace with people is a good thing
  • Use conflict as an opportunity to serve others
  • Encourage good practice by personal example
  • Deal only with issues that are too important to overlook
  • Overlook minor offenses
  • Guard your attitude from negative thinking

Helpful conflict management thinking

  • “It is my intention to provoke your thinking.”
  • “It is not my intention to offend you.”
  • “People decide to be offended.”
  • “Please decide not to be offended.”
  • People are responsible to be gentle
  • People are responsible to be forthright
  • People are responsible to challenge ideas
  • People are responsible to detach their self worth from their ideas.

From the “Critical Confrontation” Principles

  • Start with Heart. The clearer you are on goals, the less you’re controlled by fears.
  • Learn to Look. What you see is what you get.
  • Make it Safe. Defensiveness is not a sign of too much candor, but too little safety.
  • Master my Stories. To take control of your emotions, take control of your stories.
  • STATE my Path. How to be persuasive without being abrasive or evasive. Work to say things in the most acceptable way possible.
  • Explore others’ Path. When you learn to do this you have a responsibility to increase the pool of shared meaning…
  • Move to Action. How you end a crucial conversation is as important as how you begin it. At the beginning you need safety, at the end closure. Tricky parts are beginning and end.

Why does it help to stop and examine your motives?

  • Because the motive you can’t see controls you.
  • Because you aren’t that good an actor.
  • Because if you can see it you can change it.
  • Because questions provoke the brain.

Under His Wing

While farming, my husband was out on his tractor in the field when he accidentally ran over a partridge. She was killed, but left behind was a nest with her eggs.  He thought the kids would enjoy seeing the nest, so he brought it back to the shop.  Days later, after having forgotten about it for a while, he was bringing the nest home to show the kids and an egg fell and broke open.  He was so surprised to discover a live chick inside! Despite days with no heat and no mom sitting on the nest, there was still life.  So he decided to throw the nest with the eggs under a lamp in the shop. It was less than ideal conditions for the eggs, as sometimes they would have heat from the lamp, and at times be forgotten again while the lamp was used for something else.  But after a time, another egg was opened to check for life. Another chick inside was still developing- still growing, still fighting to survive.

Eventually the nest made its way into our back entry, where it was placed under a heat lamp, and a little home was made around the nest to hopefully welcome some baby partridges.  We took a video as the babies began to break their way into the world.  It was so exciting to watch this passage take place, and we were delighted when two little babies survived, peeping and bobbing around.  We had food ready and we fed them every three hours with a little dropper.  I learned how to hold their little tiny heads and how to put just the right pressure, in just the right place so that their little tiny beaks popped open. Then I would drop the little drops of food into their mouth. Just a few drops and their little bellies were full!

It was so fun to learn all about them. We learned what kind of home to make them, what to feed them, and how to set them free into the wild when the time came.  I was tired from getting up even in the night to feed them and it was a big responsibility to be there every 3 hours to make sure they were nourished.  But I loved them.  They were exciting, strong, and yet fragile little beings, so dependant.  I felt very important in my role of keeping them alive, yet realizing that their life was a miraculous gift from God.  They would not be breathing, unless God has made it so.  The next step was to teach them how to eat on their own.  It was recommended that I get little baby chickens so that the partridge could learn from the chicks how to peck his own food. It was also time to move from the “baby formula” to a seed.  Sadly, one of them died.  He had some issues from the start and was not able to survive. But we still had one, and it was time for him to learn to eat.

We brought five little chicks, into our back entry and we placed the feed on the floor.  Then we placed the partridge with the chicks.  The chicks were busy eating already, completely consumed by it actually.  But when we placed the partridge in their midst, he bee-lined over to one of the chicks, and nuzzled in close. He continued to push and squirm and nuzzle until he had gotten under the chick’s wing.  The tiny chick looked quite huge in comparison to our baby partridge.  The chick didn’t even seem to care or notice, and just kept on eating.  The little partridge just kept step and kept himself tightly tucked under the wing.  It was so precious!  I saw that although I provided heat, and safety, shelter and nourishment, I had not been able to provide this much needed contact, this much needed wing.  Watching our little partridge nuzzle under the wing was like watching it find home. It found what it had been longing for.  I realized how sad his life had been without his mom.  And soon he learned how to peck and eat.  He became quite pro at it.  We no longer had to feed it and he was happily finding his place in his new family of chicks.

I really thank God for this picture.  The Bible talks about us being safe tucked under the wing of the Almighty.  But until I saw the little partridge bury himself there, I don’t think I valued that picture much.  But after that, I saw how there is this place we long for, this home, this momma bird, this touch, this comfort, this belonging that all of us crave so much.  We can have food, and shelter and basic needs, but until we find our place, tucked under His wing, we are so vulnerable, so fragile and so lacking.  But once we discover it, we will nuzzle in, and wiggle and keep step, just so happy to find this great spot to be.  All the other needs are secondary.   Sometimes now, as I am afraid, or sad, I think of this picture.  I think of my Father, lifting His wing and offering me His comfort, His protection, His love, Himself.  I think of how I am welcomed to nuzzle in and enjoy His presence.

I also think of how so many of our lives are like the life of this partridge. We are meant to have a certain environment to thrive.   A man who worked in a partridge hatchery was absolutely amazed at our story of our little survivor.  He said partridges are so hard to hatch. They need just the right heat at just the right intervals and the eggs need to be rotated.  And even with all the scientific strategies working for them, partridges are hard to hatch. I think of how we are meant to be in our nests with our mom’s right there, protecting us and feeding us and tucking us under her wing. There are so many stages and details that need to go just right so that we can thrive. We are meant to have these ideal conditions, but I think most of end up more like our partridge.  There are detours, and disruptions, and we get tossed around.  And even as we survive it all, and maybe even have our basic needs like food and shelter, we will just be scared little birds until we find our Wing.  I think too, of how much we love finding that wing, and how we are left for a time to develop that hunger and deep desire for the Wing. Some of us experience the wing, but then decide to check life out, without it.  It feels a bit invasive perhaps.  Or we feel a bit too sheltered.  But usually we discover that life lived outside the shadow of His wing, is not a good place to be at all.

I think what I learned is that I take that place for granted.  I learned that I have stopped appreciating how great it is, and how much I need to be nuzzled close to my Heavenly Father.    I got to see a beautiful picture of how important that place actually is… and I love it that my Heavenly Father lifts His wing and offers me a place close beside Him.  Unlike the chick who wasn’t that interested, the Heavenly Father is interested in showing us our need for that place, and then offering us the shelter of that place.

Contributed by Mara Veldman

Call Me Mara

We stand at the doorway of our child’s room, and tell him, “Clean your room.”  We know if he does all the great toys will be rediscovered. We know they will be taken care and not lost. We know there will be a sense of accomplishment and a lesson of responsibility learned.  We know we are training him to take care of himself.  We know there is even a lesson of submitting to authority. There are so many lessons. Not to mention our own pleasure of order around us.  If he cleans his room, he will learn to value what he has.  He will learn that at times it takes effort, even discomfort to care for things of value.  We are teaching value itself even.  We are teaching organizing skills. To clean a room, often a child has to picture the vision of the clean room and break it down into a step by step process.  He learns so many skills this way!  He will learn he can do what feels impossible!  He will learn to persevere and so then even develop character. He will develop hope. He will be able to accomplish even more. One day perhaps run a household of his own!  Hold a job. Pay the bills. And teach children of his own, to clean their room.

We ask a simple thing really, an ordinary, doable thing.  We have no doubt that the boy can accomplish this task. In fact we’ve even seen him do it before.  We think he will remember last time it only took ½ an hour.  We aren’t saying it to be mean.  It’s not a punishment.  It is simply a passage. It is a small step in a process that will involve many steps.  Perhaps we don’t even want to enforce this. Perhaps we feel unprepared for a battle. We may be distracted by the discomfort of standing our ground, risking back lash and possibly hurtful words.  It seems like a sure way to break peace.  Yet, most of us will go ahead anyway.  And not just for the selfish satisfaction of our home getting organized.

But the child, living in the moment, lacking the ability to see all that this will prepare him for, responds with a whine.  “But that will take forever!”   He begins his battle.  He launches straight into emotional warfare.  If he is a seasoned pro, after many rounds, he may even end with, “You don’t love me!  You never listen to me! You aren’t fair!”

Perhaps if the parent has some training, she won’t respond personally.  No matter how many emotional swords get used, she will understand.  This is just a test.  This is just a process. These are natural murmurings of growing pains. And right before her eyes, a child is becoming something more.  She won’t be fooled for one second, because she knows it won’t take forever, and she always knows she loves him.  She loves him so much that she will stand in the doorway again, knowing he will throw these hurtful words.  He will sacrifice relationship for ease.  But she knows he will understand someday.  Probably not this day.  But he will get it done.  Sometimes she will even help pick up some of the mess… but most days she knows he needs the natural consequence to learn a new pattern. To learn that our choices have outcomes. 

I realize sometimes I am this child still.  The room is bigger. The mess is more complicating.  And it is not as easy to figure out who to use these emotional swords against.  I feel like it will take forever.  I feel like even ½ an hour is too long.  I feel scared because I can’t vision it clean yet.  I forget that I have been developing these skills for all my life, and those I don’t have yet, God will provide as I go.  I am scared because it just seems like maybe He is asking too much.  He is asking something I am not interested in anyway.  I don’t care if the room is clean. And I am not thinking about going out on my own anyway, so what do I need all those skills for?  I have a long tantrum. I try sacrificing relationship with Him, for ease.  I try asking if He even loves me?  I ask Him what it even matters if my room is clean? Isn’t it my room? Shouldn’t I decide? Is He really being fair?

He doesn’t respond without emotion.  But He isn’t afraid. Not at all.  He understands my childishness and lack of vision.  He knows exactly what I can do, and how it will look when I am done.  He loves me enough to stand in the doorway again and again and instruct me to do this thing even though He knows what I will accuse Him of.  He knows I will feel some discomfort and frustration, and even some fear.  He also knows that He would never leave me untrained, unprepared.  He is not threatened because He knows He loves me even when I don’t understand.  He even helps when I ask!

God, give me peace in this moment…. I will trust you and I will believe you see more in me than I can, and that you know all things.  You aren’t asking me to do something I can’t do, or even to do it on my own.  You love me enough to stand in my doorway again and again. You stand right in front of me, right behind me, right beside me.  I will trust you know the outcome, and the purpose, and even my abilities. I don’t have a clue what reasons you are asking this of me.  Without knowing the reason, I will surrender. I will do my best, and I will look to you as I go, because as of now I am kind of unsure… For now, these are musing of my soul. What is my name?

Call me Mara

The Paste of Life

Took time to muse about Professor Philip Zimbardo. Here he is speaking about how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. A very interesting commentary on our civilization.

Please let me know what you think!

Daniel Zopoula

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Police raid Nigeria ‘baby farm’


Police raid Nigeria ‘baby farm’


Police have raided a private hospital in Nigeria where they suspect new-born babies were being sold to traffickers.

Police found the hospital in the south-eastern town of Enugu, when a 17-year-old girl escaped.

Four people – two nurses and the hospital’s owners – have been arrested in connection with the “baby farm”, police said.

Seven pregnant young women discovered in the hospital during the raid are now in the care of the state government.


State police commissioner Sani Magaji told the BBC Hausa service that a 17-year-old who was days away from giving birth had escaped from the hospital.

The women, according to the police, had spent up to six months in the hospital, waiting to give birth.

Their babies would be sold for as little as 15,000 naira ($127, £72), the police said.

It is suspected the babies were to be sold to traffickers who sell children into forced labour or prostitution.

The BBC’s Abdussalam Ahmed in Enugu says several similar cases have been discovered in Nigeria in recent years.

Poor, unmarried women face tough choices if they get pregnant in Nigeria.

Unmarried mothers face exclusion from society, our correspondent says.

Abortion is illegal except in rare cases, and illegally obtained abortions are very dangerous.

In May, a Nigerian woman was jailed in the UK for trying to smuggle a baby into the country in order to get on the list for a council flat.

Police have not been able to trace the child’s real parents.


Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 13:44 UK

Wait For It!

There is a rampant and exceedingly high deficit of patience on the hill where I live. This deficit seems to be easily exploited by an ever clever class of marketing specialists and I wonder if they are hiring our pshychologists to work on their behalf to exploit this deficit and profit from it through feeding our discontent and creating consent.

Manufacturing our consent involves various operations designed to influence our opinions, emotions, attitudes or behavior in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly.

Impatience breads so many vices! I do wonder if they  are convincing us to buy certain things we really do not need and medicate various diseases they have created!

I wonder if we are underestimating the price we pay for impatience in terms of anxiety, mispent credibility and lost resources. I wonder what fruit might grow out of our individual and collective impatience.  I wonder what a little patience in our diet this week might produce.

Truly, patience is a discipline that needs to be practiced, and space needs to be created in our lives to cultivate this great discipline which I am afraid, we might all be in deficit of. Certainly all the great things of life we aspire for are worth the wait…. Though they linger, wait for them; they will certainly come and will not delay.

Waiting breads new strength; not weakness. Waiting casts out weariness…. Perhaps It is not what you are waiting for, it is who you are becoming in the process of waiting; it is what grows in you through the time of waiting that produces greatness. It is in the process of waiting that character is built and heroes are formed.

Perhaps what you intend on achieving is not what is important… Maybe it is not your intent as much as what you are intended for… Perhaps the end is perfecting your “becoming,” not achieving things. So, enjoy the journey of becoming.

There is a joy in this journey, even in the wildness of this troublous and feverish life until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done.. There is a freedom for those who wait… Those who seek shall find and those who thirst shall be quenched, there is hope for the hopeless, sight for the blind, riches for the poor.

Discouragement does not know my address. So, take it from me, delist your address from discouragement’s direct mailings! Get the heck with perfecting your becoming. Who knows? Maybe this waiting is a set up for a season of abundant provision!

Sara, Affia, Dansia, Daniel, myself, and our extended families who now mourn the death of mom (Eunice Siggelkow), we await for the consolation reserved for those who grieve. We cannot manufacture it; we await for it. It certainly will come to us.  When it comes, it will turn our mourning into dancing again.  When it comes, it’ll lift our sorrows. When it comes, we wont stay silent anymore, we will sing from the glorious joy now come.  When it comes, Oh! When it comes, we shall feed from it, we shall drink from it and we shall speak from it’s abundance.

Traditions for a change?


Because of our traditions,
we’ve kept our balance for many, many years.
And because of our traditions,
every one of us knows who he is
and what God expects him to do. – Words from  a fiddler on the roof:

I wonder what we might need to learn from the people of Anatevka, in “Fiddler on the Roof” for our generation

Think about this for a minute:
Without traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof
How does that sit with you? As a people, how do we keep our balance? are traditions synonymous with ‘balance?’ what signs, what rituals & what symbols characterizes your life? What does  the rhythms of our lives say about us? How should we care?

Unedited Musings

Perhaps we need to understand something about the sanctity of each of our lives and each of our stories! Your life is both a message to be illustrated and a ministry to be manifested –  Your journey is but a microcosm of the macro story powered by the Almighty – I’ve been musing about the story of David and King Saul found in 1 Samuel chapter 24 again –

One man is in pursuit of another. Saul is angry with David (the one who killed Goliath)! With David’s growing popularity and rising influence on the national and international scene, the young David found himself running from the old man, the old leader, the man of the status quo, ever more infuriated. The old man is not ready to pass the torch in honorable ways: He had a fear and an anger, and managed his life around that fear and anger. So many a time, transitions fail because one generation of leadership is unwilling to leave power when the time is up, for selfish reasons or fail to properly manage themselves in those critical moment of deep change.

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

We find David in the Crags of the Wild Goats in the wildernes, in exile, away from the old man. Saul is closing in, ever so near. As fate has it, Saul went in a cave to relieve himself. Unbeknown to him, David and his strong men were far back in the cave, ready to strike. David’s special force unit gave him the honor to destroy the old man for ever and take over the throne and the crown. So, David crept up to Saul, unnoticed. But conscience-stricken, he could not lay his hand on his fierce enemy who was at his most vulnerable space, uncovered and without any body guards around. What he thought was a very private act in a cave was in fact a very public act. Hmm… the naked emperor. David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Saul did not even notice that a corner of his robe was cut off!

I am struck by David’s restrictive hand. I wonder what disciplines led this man to exercise so much restraint, candor and good will in times like these. What operating principles might have governed this man’s life such that he would manifest so much show of force in the presence of so much hostility? It is very easy to diminish our lives around the Saul(s) of our lives, those who might be hostile towards us, those who have no interest and good-will in contributing such that we would reach our full potential. It is possible to focus the energy of our lives to stifle every voice of decent against us. Evidently, many have hired themselves to this dysfunctional life ! Perhaps David was beyond that,  he knew that there is a show of force that is greater than raw killing power instinct.  Could it be that:

  1. David understood something about friendship we might need to learn – Boy! If this man can show such kindness towards his enemy who is ‘bent on harming’ him, what might be expected of him, had it been his friend? –
  2. David understood something about the law of the farm, and that is, “you reap what you sow” – Perhaps deep in his soul, David knew he would be king someday when space becomes natural and he needed not force himself to the throne,  crown and proclaim himself the total authority and king over the people. He understood that how one gets to the throne is as important as being established king. He would entrust himself to God to establish his right to rule and his dominion not to raw force.
  3. David understood something about Honoring the ‘anointed’ that we need to learn when he says “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD. – Perhaps he understood something about the sanctity of each life and each story! you are ‘anointed!’ – Perhaps we need to understand something about the sanctity of each lives and each stories! Your life is both a message to be illustrated and a ministry to be manifested –  Your journey is but a microcosm of the macro story powered by the Almighty

Sitting in my own cave, nursing my wounds, musing about the symbols and metaphors of my own life, cradling God’s word, I crave something so deep and so eternal – I live between two mythical cities –  the temporal has lost its grip on me – Drawing from  memory (Oh! the dark tears of Babylon!);  igniting imagination (Oh! the wiping of every tear in the valleys of the New Jerusalem!); rethinking symbols and metaphors of victimism or victory from past and future, reflecting the Glory of God in me, infinite script, singing the old song of the redeemed by the mythical rivers of Babylon where we sat down in that strange land where the wicked carried us away in captivity and requiring from us a song. Oh, may my soul sing and live it out-loud ! “We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome, someday! Oh, Deep in my soul, I do believe, We shall overcome someday!” And right there, on the horizon, I see the lines of the golden city and its’ mythical river! From Babylon to Jerusalem, I now sing the eternal song of freedom: Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last

So, Christmas 2010 is long gone now – Under the shadow of  the horizons of yet another year thundering in, I still find comfort and hope in the words of Christ our Redeemer, conveyed and proclaimed by the angels, immortalized through Calvary: 1) Do not be afraid 2) you will conceive 3) you have found favor with God  4) nothing will be impossible with God.

I still wonder what my life is in response to, these days. I wonder what economy might be fueling the energy of my life – I wonder what the rhythm of my life says about me – I wonder what a renewed understanding of the sanctity of my life and my story may produce, what fruit (if any) might grow or fail to grow! What kingdom value might profoundly manifest as I offer my humble life away and welcome others to witness its’ twists and turns. Thanks for the journey!

Musings of the Soul

I need God’s grace; I crave His perspective of things below the heavens, and tremble when his presence becomes manifest.

I wonder how to live close enough to  what is important and how to attend to what is most important to  the Lord our Father, without feeding anything that is not most conductive to elevated health and helpfulness at the highest level.

I ask for divine fortitude to travel this journey called hope, with my brothers and sisters. Oh, that I may always be  most mindful of where I begin and where I end, where the human ends as the Divine encircles us all. Oh Lord, bid me not boast in my understanding; I know that it is in you alone that ,I can we find understanding and in your hands I entrust my humble understanding and let you validate all thing – We understand in part, we know in part and we speak in part –

As Divine fortitude permits, Oh Lord, bid me be found diligent in finding my part, owning my part, saying my part and doing my part, and making my life available to others as best as I know and as best as I am able. I know this full well, this is where I will be held accountable at the highest level.

Daniel Zopoula

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