Johari Window

Johariwindow

Song #11:  The Fishbowl Song

(lyrics below)

I’ve decided to take a little break this week from Piti Theatre songs.  I’ll resume next week with another selection from our new CD, Piti Theatre’s Greatest Bits, Vol. I.  This week, I want to reflect a bit on how I learned to Communicate, with a capital “C”.

In the early 90’s, when I was an undergraduate student at U-Mass Amherst, I was part of a student-run cooperative vegetarian restaurant called Earthfoods.  We served lunch 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year.   The food was cheap and good and the servings were huge.  We served about 300 students, staff and faculty members a day.  Because the business was cooperatively managed, we had a big “All-Staff” meeting once a week.  Management was divided into a bunch of different committees which supervised various aspects of running the business: menu planning, budget, paper products, hiring, etc.  (I was on the Spice committee, though I never did find out what that meant exactly). Decisions were made by consensus, so the meetings were sometimes very long.

Earthfoods  is where I learned to have good communication hygiene.  Our advisor, an older grad-student who basically served as mentor, den mother, and therapist, would do presentations at All-Staff coaching us on how to give constructive feed back. This is where I learned about  Non-Violent Communication and the all-powerful “I -Statement”.  For example:  “When you (insert action) I feel  (insert feeling).”

The idea of being aware of and owning one’s own perspective when communicating with others, particularly when having conflict, was gutsy and revolutionary to me.  Theoretically, it was a tool that could be applied to romantic relationships, work relationships, friendships, family, possibly even politics, though I quickly discovered that it seemed to work best when all players were basically equal with little power differentiation, and when everyone had agreed to participate.

I learned about the Johari Window at  Earthfoods.  It has a mysterious sounding name but is actually just a combination of the the names of its two psychologist inventors, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham.  I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that we have  several, perhaps many, different selves, some that we present to the world knowingly or unknowingly, some that we keep totally hidden.

Thinking about all this stuff was the very beginning for me of growing a core self that did not automatically wobble and blow around, crumble, dissolve, shrink, vanish, disappear, mutate, blend, accommodate, apologize, or abandon ship when I came in contact with an opposing, or even welcoming force/personality.

The challenge of learning to listen, observe, feel, communicate and engage from a place of both personal power and humility, with flexibility and grace, has turned out to be a life-long, and extremely rewarding, process.

In my twenties, newly in love, newly separated from my parents, newly out, and just plain new new new in general, I used my songs as tools to puzzle through and articulate these ideas.  (Geez, I still do.)  This song is another one from that era.

 *

The Fishbowl Song
Written and performed by Carrie Ferguson
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Tommy Byrnes at Sovereignty Music Services
Album: Walking Songs

Well I’ve been feeling crazy, feel like I’m out of my mind
Feel like I’m standing at the bottom of a fish bowl staring up at time
I don’t know about love, but that’s the only word I know
For what I feel when I’m standing next to you or thinking ‘bout you when I’m alone

One thing I can say (one thing I can say)
I’m gonna stick around (I’m gonna stick around)
Connect my head in the sky with my feet on the ground

Cause the wind keeps blowing and the river keeps flowing
Sometimes I forget I’m free
Green green growing, who knows where we’re going
But I’ve got a light on in me, yeah, I’ve got a light on in me

Sometimes things get complicated, useless conversations get reincarnated
Beating each other with capital ‘C’s, yelling “don’t you Communicate at me”
Well, all we really want is to be loved, all we really want is to be held
Won’t you take me to your body and hold my hand
And kiss me as you tell me that you’re trying to understand

One thing I can say (one thing I can say)
I’m gonna stick around (I’m gonna stick around)
Connect my head in the sky with my feet on the ground

Cause the wind keeps blowing and the river keeps flowing
Sometimes I forget I’m free
Green green growing, who knows where we’re going
But I’ve got a light on in me, yeah, I’ve got a light on in me

Well you know I’m gonna marry myself someday, until I’m ready I’ll wear this ring
round my neck, on a string
That don’t mean I plan to live my life alone, it only means I plan to love myself
And if we’re gonna love each other might as well do it now
I thought I had the answers but I’m still learning how
To give what I can and get what I need and recognize the things that make me bleed

One thing I can say (one thing I can say)
I’m gonna stick around (I’m gonna stick around)
Connect my head in the sky with my feet on the ground

Cause the wind keeps blowing and the river keeps flowing
Sometimes I forget I’m free
Green green growing, who knows where we’re going
But I’ve got a light on in me, yeah, I’ve got a light on in me

4 thoughts on “Johari Window

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