Tag Archives: relationships

The Classic Pamela Positive: Communicate With More Than Words

It is so amazing to me that when we communicate, the words really ‘come in third place.’

First, it’s tone.  Tone communicates the most for us. If we are kind, inclusive, loving, we have opened up a wealth of goodness, opportunity and long-term relationships.  That’s enriching, positive communications.

If you say “you look so nice!” – that can be lovely or sarcastic. It can be kind, gentle, or demeaning and contradictory.  So calm, proactive, inclusive, “slow” conversations, or enthusiastic, proactive and loving statements, can help provide dynamic change.

Your tone is what opens up the conversation and action for change.   

Second, it’s is body language.   If you say something with gusto but your shoulders are caved in, you are contradicting yourself.  How you carry yourself, walk, speak — and especially the intent of your eyes, communicates profoundly. Be strong but humble with your body. Honest and clear, but fluid in your movements.  Find that special balance of strength and openness in how you present yourself, your postures and even the way you move.

Third, it’s words.  Words are the least communicative.  You can reinforce by thousands of percents the words in a positive way or negative depending on how you say it.

How we communicate and the tone we choose, each moment, can create a more loving, trusting world. Realize how much you can impact the world today, by this simple but important commitment.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Look Deeply and Recognize the Real Enemy” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“If I can say anything to you, it is to invite you to look deeply and recognize the real enemy. The enemy is not a person. That enemy is a way of thinking that has brought a lot of suffering for everyone.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Anything negative — is not from a person.

Radical thinking?  It shouldn’t be.   If we view the enemy as simply a thought and not a person, we depersonalize it.   It’s temporary, changeable.   And we allow the person to grow beyond it, rather than be it.

We can then eliminate personal offense, and work constructively towards a solution.

Look at the Why

If something seems to be negative, we can encourage ourselves to look at “the why.” Why might someone think, or take action, in this way?   This offers us an opportunity to develop empathy. Perhaps this person—let’s call her Jeanine—came from a difficult circumstance or has been hurt.

It’s not Jeanine who is “bad,” but the experiences which occurred in her life which impacted her.  It’s those events that led to the thinking and action behind negativity.

So Jeanine’s identity is not “Prejudice”, “Anger” or “Hurt”:

It’s instead:

The most beautiful thing about this is the following.

She can change.

Allow her to do so.  Wouldn’t we all wish to be forgiven for a past action?

Happy PeopleEvery day we can begin again.   We can embrace a fresh purity for each person in our lives, allowing us and others to lives to our fullest – with Love.



Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk and Zen master.  He is a well-known poet, writer and peace activist.  A native of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War he helped found the “engaged Buddhism” movement, combining the contemplative practice of the monastery with active ministry to victims of the conflict.  He founded the School of Youth Social Service, a Buddhist University, a publishing house, and a Vietnamese peace activist magazine.

During a trip to the United States, Thich Nhat Hanh persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War; King subsequently nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Thich Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks.

Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of more than 85 books on mindfulness and peace.  He founded the Plum Village community in France, a Buddhist community in exile.   He continues to live and work at the Plum Village, and leads retreats worldwide on “the art of mindful living.”

The Classic Pamela Positive: The Most Positive Things You Can Say

Here are the top things you can say to make a relationship work, from All There Is:

You look great.

Can I help?

Let’s eat out.

I was wrong.

I am sorry.

I love you.


Say Something Positive Today!!

All There Is by Dave Isay grew from the StoryCorps initiative, a project to record the oral histories of individuals.  StoryCorps has collected stories from more than 75,000 people, in an attempt to record the history of people who rarely appear in history books.  In 2010, Isay published another book from StoryCorps stories, Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps.  All There Is celebrates love, with heartwarming stories from real couples.  Leroy A. Morgan contributed the list quoted above.

The Classic Pamela Positive: The “Big H”: The Unfailing Recipe for Happiness

We search. We search for the “Big H,” happiness, all the time.  We try to find our right calling.  Our right partner in life. The right home, city, school.  And yet…

Happiness is about sharing.  It’s experiences which show we care about others, or sharing a special moment with someone.   It could be a celebrating an occasion, sharing a thought, or simply sitting by someone you love.

The happiest times in your life are usually in the presence of someone special.

So I love, then, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s wisdom on the recipe for happiness:

“Serve others. The unfailing recipe for happiness and success is to want the good of others. Happiness and success is when I see others happy. Happiness is a shared thing.”


Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a Christian cleric known for his work for human rights.  Active in South Africa, he was an important opponent of apartheid.  Other causes he has worked on include fighting AIDs, homophobia, tuberculosis, racism and poverty.  Nelson Mandela described him as “the voice of the voiceless.”  Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

“UnConference Room” Your Meeting

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled conference rooms.  Chairs are set uniformly around the table.  The walls are plastered with policies or goals.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. There is a stark white board.  “Gosh darn it,” I can hear the executives say, “in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’”  

Yet what if we looked at doing business, or holding meetings, under a banyan tree?

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is the place for political meetings: In Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath its welcome atmosphere.   So for much of Asia, spirituality, commerce, entrepreneurship and politics are taking place right outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity and rootedness.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power and peace. It is firm; but welcome. All qualities we need in a positive meeting. This return to nature could help conversations flow more easily.

Banyan Tree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai; picture submitted by Ranjani Shanker

Let’s imagine this atmosphere. We are surrounded by gentle winds and visionary clouds floating across the sky  - not a blank wall.  A brilliant welcome sun, not a whiteboard.  We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  Would we then settle into a more authentic course of conversation, and more impactful solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, our business relationships and  personal matters can soar.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, natural presence.


The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.”  Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism.  Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.