Daniel Zopoula

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

Category: Emotional Life (page 1 of 2)

Our human quest for self-knowledge, self-awareness, social sensitivity, empathy and ability to communicate successfully with others. It corresponds to heart.

Ubuntu: We are all connected

Happy New Year!

May this year be for each a season of “Goodwill” to ALL people at ALL places(Luke 2:14). I champion to deliberately find every excuse to extend the generosity, profoundly over-extending goodwill to ALL

As the African Philosophy of Ubuntu teaches us, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” or “I am a person through other persons”. “A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.”

This truly is the essence of being and becoming; you can’t exist as a human being in isolation; you can’t be human all by yourself, you belong.  We are all connected! What you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. You diminish when others are  diminished, when others are humiliated; you famish when others are famished, when others are tortured and oppressed. This is the year, this is the moment.

The government of fear is over! I am resolved, aggressively, provocatively and deliberately living to enable the community around to improve and become it’s uttermost. When we struggle to feed only ourselves, everyone goes hungry. But when we focus on our neighbour’s hunger, we discover there are ways to feed everyone. The world is my Parish.

No one walks  alone into higher realms. As expressed in the title of the acclaimed, and Number one hit song released in January, 1970, with gospel overtones, and recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, unity is our only “Bridge over Trouble Water.” Without a bridge that leads to unity with others, who will support us through our perilous times, we will fall and sink, hopelessly, into the troubled water.

With unfeigned love, always, still becoming,
++ Daniel Zopoula

  1. It is not fair, it is not reasonable, it is not right. Where does all this come from? These are the fruits of sickness and dysfunction. These are the fruits of abuse and poverty.
  2. The question becomes … What do I do with what I have experienced? What do I do with what I am experiencing?
  3. How do I come to understand the affects of all of this upon myself? How can I reshape how I feel and respond to these events and their affects?
  4. How do I learn (and relearn) to manage myself?
  5. A man once said to me that “I have a lot to learn about people”. I have learned that while this is true I also have a lot to learn about myself.
  6. I started with the question: how could I ever have known? Who was around to teach me? Who was committed to try to teach me?
  7. A problem that I have encountered in the church is that some people in it presume to know the answers to these questions. It is my experience that this is a lifelong journey of discovery and I am responsible to do most of this work.
  8. I think the question now becomes “who will walk with me in this journey of discovery and restoration.
  9. What will I do with this strength. How will I invest myself?,
  10. Isn’t all this interesting? Lots of good questions … Who will do the work? Why does this work matter? What will grow out of this work? What will fail to grow if I do not do this work?
  11. Many of us have direct and indirect knowledge of the terrible cost of a failure to  do this work.
  12. Who will I trust to walk with me? Who will say that I have proven myself to be worthy of your trust?….

Many a time we work so hard to cast out the hell  from “in there” to “out there” only to realize that the very hell we try to cast out is only given life, energy and fueled by our demand to um-pluck it out of the depth….You are more than a paragraph, you are the book.

Musings of a Friend

Is silence the worst form of violence?

We hear people speaking about the “silent” treatment in their relationship. I wonder if you have ever experience the power of silence in creating drama, destabilizing relationship and fostering a culture of fear and distrust. The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships.  It breeds bitterness and anger on both ends. It is a poison, a lethal weapon in breading emotional abuse. From the Book “Crucial Confrontation” we learn that silence is a potent form of violence. So, watch for the manifestation of silence in your relationship and increase dialogue when you see manifestation of it.

Silence episodes include:

  1. Withdrawing – Pulling our of communication completely; physical, emotional, psychological
  2. Avoiding – Staying away from unsafe topics or issues
  3. Masking – understating, sugar coating, sarcasm, selectively showing

Violence episodes include:

  1. Controlling – coercing others through how we share our views – interrupting, overstating, absolutes
  2. Labeling – trying to win or have others give in through ridiculing their ideas
  3. Attacking – making sure others hurt; emotional, physical, psychological

So, what is your story? may be you said so much by not saying anything? what is shaping your relationships? Silence or Violence? Increase diligence and care.



  • “People do not see the world as it is – they see it as they are. A leader needs a broader view.” From the movie Anna and the King
  • “… Since our interpretations hinge on our expectations, beliefs, and values, our internal world is as important as what is outside – sometimes more so, because we manage to see what we expect and want. The fuzziness of everyday life makes it easy for people to make the world conform to their favored internal maps.” Reframing Organizations by Lee G. Bolman and Terrance E. Deal  (p. 33)

If it helps, ask:

  • How does my point of view inform how I hear and understand?
  • How does my point of view take away from how I hear and understand?
  • Are we solving the “right” problem?
  • What does a “win” look like?
  • Confirm what “success” looks like

Create the right space to seek understanding

  • Create space to see from another person’s point of view
  • Create space to listen
  • Create space to wonder
  • Create space to explore
  • Create space to discover
  • Create space to risk

Keep Commitments

  • Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Make commitments carefully and keep them.
  • Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor.
  • Don’t break confidences.

Extend Trust

  • Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust.
  • Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.
  • Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of the people involved.
  • Demonstrate a propensity to trust.
  • Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain Get some perspective, Get Help

Helpful conflict management attitude Tip-2

Helpful conflict management

  • “Conflict is not bad – badly managed conflict is bad – but worst of all is to deny space for conflict to surface.”

Find ways to discover and safely discuss the “undiscussable”.

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 offences
  • Guard your attitude from negative thinking

It might be too costly to not settle conflict

  • Consider the cost of continuing conflict verses settling it
    • Emotional, relational, financial
  • Am I guilty of reckless words, gossip or slander?
  • Have I kept my word and fulfilled all of my responsibilities?
  • Have I abused my authority?
  • Have I respected those in authority over me?

Do unto others as you would have it done unto you!

  • Have I treated others as I would want to be treated?
  • Are my motives worthwhile?
  • Am I committed to a healthful relationship?
  • I will listen responsibly by waiting patiently while others speak
    • Clarify through appropriate questions
    • Reflect their feelings and concerns with paraphrased responses
    • Agree with them wherever possible
    • There is great value in the discipline of “seeking to understand before seeking to be understood”
    • It is helpful to confirm rather than presume that you understand
    • It is not enough to just “hear” people – people want to know that they have been heard
    • Effective listening creates an opportunity to build a foundation of trust
  • I will listen responsibly by waiting patiently while others speak…
  • Choose a time and place that will be conducive to a productive conversation
  • Believe the best about others until I have the facts to prove otherwise
  • Talk in person whenever possible
  • Plan my words in advance and try to anticipate how others will respond to me.
  • Use “I” statements when appropriate

Clarity is worth a thousand time more

  • State objectives facts rather than personal opinions
  • Ask for feedback
  • Offer solutions and preferences
  • Recognize your limits and stop talking once you have said what is reasonable and appropriate
  • When possible resolve problems one to one
  • When it is not possible to resolve problems one to one seek appropriate 3rd party support (facilitator, arbitrator)
  • Upon resolution:
  • I will no longer dwell on the incident
  • I will not bring the incident up again and use it against the party
  • I will not talk to others about the incident
  • I will not allow the incident to come between a potential relationship (using appropriate judgment)
  • I will affirm my respect and concern for my opponent.
  • I will do what is right no matter what others do to me.

Helpful conflict management attitude Tip-1

Find ways to discover and safely discuss the “un-discussable”.

  • Create space to see from another person’s point of view
  • Create space to listen
  • Create space to wonder
  • Create space to explore
  • Create space to discover
  • Create space to risk

Helpful conflict management

  • “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.

“Conflict is not bad – badly managed conflict is bad – but worst of all is to deny space for conflict to surface.”

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

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

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.

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