The Importance of Clear Communication in Scientific Papers

Getting the results of your scientific research published in top peer-reviewed journals depends on many factors: your research design, your statistical analysis and the interpretation of your results. Above all, these need to be communicated to your audience clearly and concisely.

Consider your audience. You are writing for journal editors and reviewers who will ultimately decide whether or not to publish your paper. You are writing for the journal’s subscribers who might only have a passing interest in your topic. You are writing for others in your field who you hope will cite your paper and build upon its results. You need to write your paper so that it can be easily understood by a diverse audience. You’ve put a lot of work into your research, now you need to make sure that people learn about it.

Scientific papers are written using a formal style but that doesn’t mean that they have to be dull. Many authors feel that they have to use complex language to sound clever or more scientific. What they forget is that they are writing for a wide audience, and that they should be using clear and concise language. Don’t use too many words when a few will do, and don’t use an overly complex word when a simple word will do.

Other than general issues of writing style, there are other barriers to clear communication that can adversely affect your paper’s chance of publication in a top journal. Almost all journals ask that you keep the use of non-standard abbreviations to an absolute minimum. But many authors ignore this request without realising that excessive use of abbreviations makes reading difficult. There is nothing wrong with spelling out words in full. Your readers will be happier because they won’t have to keep a mental list of unfamiliar abbreviations while they read your paper.

Correct grammar is essential is scientific writing (and in all writing) to ensure that you are conveying your message clearly, and also that the reader will understand it. Grammatical errors will frustrate even the most patient readers, and they will give up on your paper if they are spending more time working out what you are trying to say than learning about your research.

Most journals will have a preference for American or British spelling, or they will ask that you use one style consistently. If you ensure that you use the required spelling and correct any spelling errors, you will be showing that you have taken a lot of care in the preparation of your paper. And importantly, you will be credible in the eyes of your audience.

Not everyone can write well naturally. If you’re not confident in your written expression, it helps to read articles in top journals to get a sense of the quality required to be accepted for publication. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues to look over your paper, or you might like to seek professional editing services.

Does Text Messaging Abbreviations Speed up Communication or Degrade Relevant Dialogue

Perhaps you have noticed the challenges with text messaging, and how hard it is just communicating a simple idea, or how telling someone something can take four or five exchanges. I have found it completely frustrating and utterly inefficient. I’m sure you’ve had the same difficulty at times, when someone sends you back an abbreviated text; “how ru” and you say “fine” and they say “cool, what RU doing.” Why all the nonsensical chatter?

Worse, if it is something which is important, some message that needs to be conveyed, it could take you 10 or 12 small bite communications back and forth before you even come to any sort of fundamental understanding over what the hell you’re talking about. Indeed, I’ve sent extremely long messages to people, and they send back some one line gabled message with abbreviations that they received my message, and tell me that they will re-contact me later, but never do. You know, they get too busy, they forget about it. It probably would have been better if they had just waited and sent me a full e-mail later.

Sending back stupid abbreviations often kills the conversation, ruins the dialogue, and reduces the whole thing to irrelevancy, in which case why bother to do it at all. The other day, I mentioned to someone that I am not on Twitter, I am not on Facebook, and I don’t send text messages. He indicated to me that I was a Luddite, and I laughed, because that’s certainly not the case, I just don’t find that technology of any real value. Indeed, I’ve always been on the leading edge of technology as it comes forth, but I don’t see SMS as new technology, that is actually old technology, albeit coupled with current social networks.

Idle chitchat and nonsensical chatter is unworthy of my time, it’s distracting, and it digs into the productivity of more relevant work. If you have nothing better to do in your life, and you don’t care, then by all means tweet yourself into oblivion, and text message until the skin on your fingers falls off. But don’t bother communicating with me, I have better things to do, and would like to take my mind and thoughts to a higher level, I am not amused, I don’t think it’s funny, and I don’t need silly one-liner abbreviated humor to keep me giggling all day about nonsensical things through meaningless bursts of laughter.

And it’s not that I can’t do one-liners, I used to be the king of one-liners, but I have graduated from that. It’s not funny, especially if you are trying to have a serious conversation, which you can’t have with someone who has one of these devices. And mind you, I believe in freedom of communication, and you can do whatever you want, but I would submit to you that it is degrading relevant dialogue in our society. Indeed, I hope you will please consider this, and if you disagree, I’d love to hear your comments in a full-length e-mail, with a well thought out point of contention.

SMS Language – Some Examples of Text Messages Including Txt Abbreviations

Is the SMS language taking over the English-speaking world?

Is it taking over the non-English speaking world, too? Well, this article is a brief insight into SMS language, and it includes some examples of text messages, with some popular text message abbreviations (aka SMS dictionary) included too. And, as you read it, I hope this SMS language article illuminates rather than irritates.

Remember, it’s not only on mobile phones that such SMS language is appearing these days:

* Facebook and Twitter updates are equally likely to have shorthand sentences that could look meaningless to many

* Instant messaging software like Skype often sees people writing in “txt speak”

* And online forum messages, where everyone is in such a hurry (or people just don’t know any better), are often littered with these so-called text message abbreviations

So whilst you may soon be gritting your teeth (as you read this SMS language article), remember it *is* useful to know a bit of this txt lingo…

TEXT MESSAGE EXAMPLES

Okay, here are some examples of text messages including some classic cell phone abbreviations:

1) My smmr hols wr CWOT

2) I wntd 2 go hm ASAP, 2C my M8s again

Believe it or not, these SMS examples were taken from an English essay submitted by a 13 year old British teenager. At school. Seriously! And their meaning, of course is…

1) My summer holidays were a complete waste of time

2) I wanted to go home as soon as possible, to see my mates again

I could easily make up an SMS example or two, by removing vowels and shortening words as much as possible – lk ths, u c! – but I believe this genuine SMS example is of more educational value.

Yes, that’s how the SMS language is composed – it’s all about word reduction, fewer characters to type (crucial for speed, for example, as well as space on Facebook and Twitter status updates!) But then it’s all about knowing some well-established SMS shortcuts too – no need to reinvent the wheel, I guess. And that’s where text message abbreviations come in, otherwise known as ‘SMS dictionary’.

Here’s a really short example of what I mean:

SMS DICTIONARY

BF – boyfriend

GF – girlfriend

D8 – date

L8 – late

U – you

LMAO – laugh my ass off

IMAO – in my arrogant opinion

IMHO – in my humble opinion

(Er, in my humble opinion, opinions should always be humble!;-) )

And, finally, here are a few txt msg abrs for you to nod your head in agreement with…

TEXT MESSAGE ABBREVIATIONS

BRB – be right back

RUT – are you there?

LOL – laugh out loud

MTE – my thoughts exactly

OMG – Oh my God!

AFZ – acronym free zone (!)

FFS – for *freak* sake

2M2H – too much to handle

2MI – too much information

IK – I know

:-* – kiss

:-@ – screaming

O:-) – saintly

πŸ˜‰ – wink (just in case you didn’t know!)

NB freak is more often replaced with a different word beginning with F! If you get my drift!

As with all languages, the SMS language is ever-evolving, and only a few of the thousands of words/phrases/shortcuts available will ever be in common use at any one time. So panic not!

Still, these examples of SMS messages give a flavour of the communication going on out there, via phone or online…

Twitter’s Impact on International Communication

There have been, over the last hundred years or so, many minor revolutions in the manner in which we communicate, beginning with the telegraph, the telephone and, in more recent years, the Internet with its many different forms of communication. Where once a written communication might take several months to reach its destination, it is now possible to communicate with almost anyone in any country throughout the world, either verbally through the telephone, or in writing through e-mail, chat rooms, video chat and similar. With the manifold changes in communicative possibilities, the world of commerce has opened up and, with it, communication between private individuals. With changes to communication methods has come a change in the manner in which we communicate, how we speak to other people, and the style of language we use. The former rules of etiquette, mainly based around letter writing, have had to be rewritten and a new generation of Internet users has literally created a language of their own.

Aside from e-mail, text messages and differing forms of chat rooms, the world of communication has been drastically changed by social networking sites. Forced to be brief, through a limited space for status updates or messages, a system of abbreviation has grown up around these new sites which, to the uninitiated, seems almost impossible to break through and understand. Where once smileys and emoticons were used to express emotions, the abbreviation has gained hold to such an extent that a translator is needed at times. Leader in this language revolution, in the pushing of necessary abbreviation to get a message across in as short a space, as few characters as possible, is the social networking site Twitter.

The initial Twitter site, an Internet-based status and messaging system, began with the idea that if anything needed to be communicated it could be done in one hundred and forty characters or less. Brevity became the order of the day, and users were forced to construct their thoughts and ideas in as short a written space as humanly possible. Those unable to convey what they wished to say within the maximum number of characters either had to send two – or more – messages, or find some other means of bringing their message across. In recent years other Internet services had sprung up to compliment the Twitter ideal, allowing users to send longer messages where, through the use of a short link, readers are taken to a new site to read the rest of a message. Photographs and other images were added to the array of possibilities, with Twitter software often showing a thumbnail version for those unwilling or unable to click through and view the full version.

Despite the availability of services allowing longer messages, many users rely on abbreviations to get their message across, or to give the simplest of status updates. The well known terms LOL and BRB for Laugh Out Loud and Be Right Back, were soon joined by considerably more complex abbreviations only known by a select few. A new language, crossing borders and the limits of foreign language ability, was born and is steadily growing. What, for the uninitiated, appears to be a jumble of meaningless letters is, for those in the know, a clear message in its shortest possible form which jumps across all language limitations. A person using the abbreviation LOL in Russia is going to be understood by readers in China, the United States and elsewhere throughout the world, regardless of whether the reader can speak or understand Russian.

Twitter, despite its message size limitations, has become a major player in communication amongst social networking sites for the younger generations. It is possible to follow other users throughout the world and see, almost in real time depending on time zone differences, exactly what that person is doing, assuming that they post an update, and to comment on their status updates. Music, sport and celebrity fans can follow the antics of their favorites regardless of where they are in the world, discovering everything from which perfume Paris Hilton has just tried to initial thoughts by journalists on debates, news stories and political happenings worldwide. Through a very select choice of who is followed, it is possible to keep up to date with events before many of the major news sources have a complete story, before the gutter press manages to produce photographs of their current star or celebrity in compromising positions. It is also possible to gain insights into the spontaneous thoughts, often posted without considering the consequences of their actions, of those in the news, or those who wish to be in the news.

The communication impact for private individuals is also immense. The ability to follow their favorite stars and celebrities wherever they may be in the world. The ability to remain in contact with family and friends without the need to log in to a more complicated social networking site such as Facebook. The ability to send out a short and snappy status update through their smart phone no matter where they happen to be and, with the right settings and applications, have these status updates placed on other social networking sites automatically. For many private individuals, the loss of their Twitter access would hurt them considerably more than the closure of their Facebook page. Where social networking sites like Facebook and Google Plus limit the number of friends or followers allowed, the only limits on Twitter are those of speed. Anyone caught adding too many other users too quickly, awaking the suspicion of ulterior motives, can have their account suspended temporarily – called Twitter Jail by users – and reinstated either after a specific length of time or upon application and explanation of their actions.

Twitter is not an ideal means of communication. The brevity of its message field and the number of possible users who could be followed – celebrities having upwards of twenty-five million in some cases – limits it to a certain extent. It is, however, an ideal means of getting a message, short and to the point, across to a massive audience in the shortest possible time and, since those reading the Tweet are all there of their own free will and through real interest, the target audience is always going to be reached. The impact, as far as celebrities are concerned, is clear to see: they have instant access to their fan base and can create the impression, even when the accounts are not used directly by the celebrity whose name stands at the head, of closeness and caring. For politicians and other people in the public eye, the impact on their political message is also clear to see; each can react almost instantaneously to events; each can spin their own story immediately; each can remain in the spotlight through a well-placed comment which, if it is sharp enough, will be picked up by the press as well as a dedicated base of likeminded followers.

Twitter’s impact on international communication – with its ability to avoid language limitations through the growing number of abbreviations used, its ease of use and clean, clear set up – is likely to remain at a high level in the near future. For immediate but lasting communication to a large follower base it is unbeatable at present. For individual communication, one person to another, it is severely limited – direct messages are also limited in length – and will probably never replace either e-mail or other forms of direct communication. In the future, if the company’s plan continue to succeed, it will also be a major advertising medium, with sponsored and highlighted Tweets sent out to many millions of people at one go, direct onto the Timeline, regardless of whether they are on a follow list or not. The possibilities for international companies, capable of bringing their product or service across in as few words as possible, is great and, at the moment, unexplored. Twitter’s impact on international communication in the future, both private and commercial, should not be underestimated.

Smilies and Abbreviations in Email and Instant Messaging

Electronic mail and instant messaging seem very different from phone conversations or postal mail. In fact, it’s almost as if a new language has been born from these mediums. E-mail and instant messages tend to appear to the uninitiated as meaningless collections of misspelled words, nonsense letter combinations, and odd groups of punctuations.

Many electronic mail messages lack the formal structure one is used to with regular mail. E-mail does not have to start with “Dear Sir or Madam” or the like, nor must it end with “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or “Best wishes”.

E-mail and instant messages do not conform to ‘normal’ syntactical rules. They may contain incomplete fragments. Punctuation may be used incorrectly, if at all. Some write in an E.E. Cummings-style (or should that be e e cummings ?) forgoing proper capitalization rules for sentence beginnings, proper words, and the like. A new set of “rules” has truly emerged from these mediums.

How can you decipher these sometimes incoherent messages? It helps to learn about smilies and abbreviations.

1) Smilies – What are they?

πŸ™‚

What’s that – a colon and a parenthesis?

No, take a further look. Turn your head to your left. Now you should see a smiling face. The colon has become two eyes, and the parenthesis has become a smiling mouth.

Smilies arose from the old days of communicating via computers that could not easily transmit graphics in a way other computers could decipher. Sure, nowadays you can attach digitized scans of your smiling face in an e-mail message if you desire, but many years ago, such modern conveniences were unheard of. Thus, to signify emotions in a normally unemotional medium, the ‘smilie’ was born, using characters and symbols common to almost all different types of computers.

Here are a few common smilies used in electronic mail messages, chatting, instant messaging, and text messages:

Smile – πŸ™‚

Frown – πŸ™

Wink – πŸ˜‰

Laugh – πŸ˜€

Here are a few lesser-known or nonstandard smilies, though they get their messages across:

Excitement or surprise – :O

A bigger frown – :C

Smiling guy with a nose – πŸ™‚

Smiling guy with a mustache – :{)

The possibilities are almost endless…

2) Abbreviations

Bandwidth hasn’t always been cheap. Plus, people don’t like to type. Combine these two facts and you see why abbreviations became so popular in electronic communication. Abbreviations are often used in instant messaging, as well as text messaging on cell phones where it can take several button presses just to type a single letter.

Though it’s not recommended to use abbreviations when sending a letter to the president of a corporation, you’d be surprised how many people use at least a few of these time-savers!

Here are some common abbreviations:

brb – Be Right Back

lol – Laugh Out Loud

l8r – Later

cul8r – See You Later

rotf – Rolling on the Floor [Sometimes with an L suffix for Laughing, ‘rofl’ or ‘rotfl’]

luv u – Love You!

Electronic mail is different from regular mail, and instant messaging compares little to verbal conversation. Both have their own sets of conventions, including the usages of smilies and abbreviations. Smilies, even in the age of graphical e-mail, still serve as a common method of expressing emotion. Abbreviations continue to communicate frequently-used statements, requiring limited amounts of typing. By understanding these conventions, you have a better chance of understanding, and using, electronic mail and instant messages.

Country Markets – Traditional, Homemade Social Enterprise

There are approximately 300 Country Markets across England, Wales and the Channel Islands, which make up a network of people devoted to selling homemade goods and local produce. This network has been keeping these markets open and active for over 90 years, as part of a great co-operative social enterprise. Being part of a nation-wide co-operative offers a support network to these local markets, and helps encourage and expand the small businesses that produce homemade, local goods to sell.

The markets across the UK are usually held weekly, in a variety of venues in various cities, towns and villages. The social enterprise also encourages and support Farmers’ Markets, town markets, as well as agricultural and specialist food shows.

The regular small businesses and individuals who produce and sell the local, homemade produce in these Country Markets are called the Producers, who also participate as Members in this co-operative. Although it is national, the network is organised into more local Co-operative Societies, which are all registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act of 2014.

Anyone over the age of 16 can become a Member, which then allows them to sell their produce in their local Market. The cost of joining is 5p (which is the modern equivalent of a shilling), and everything is then sold co-operatively. This means that the Producers receive payment at the end of each month for all of their sales, minus a small commission for running costs.

The local Producers can sell anything local and homemade – including baked goods, preserves, homegrown fruit and vegetables, handmade crafts, and fashionable produce. These markets help to promote the diversity of these local, homemade produce, as well as to encourage local residents to shop locally in these markets. Additionally, they help to showcase the skills and talents of these local craftsmen, farmers and small businesses.

Through Country Markets, local people and businesses have expanded, bringing more and more local, quality produce to the nation – and particularly so when it comes to the homemade food and homegrown produce. In a new initiative, the enterprise has recognised the Producers of this food and local produce, and launched The Cooks of Country Markets to help encourage these businesses and individuals to operate additionally to the markets.

The demand for homemade food has grown exponentially, as people in the UK are recognising the importance of real food, made and grown by real people. The Cooks are using their own kitchens to bake and make local produce that they can sell within their local communities. Country Markets helps and supports them to sell in their community stores, village and farm shops, and garden centres. This has helped the cooks to earn money additionally to the markets themselves, through producing the homemade goods they love.

Similarly to joining the co-operative, anyone who is interested in cooking and producing local food and produce can join The Cooks, and create some delicious food for people in their local area.

The focus on encouraging local, homemade food and produce doesn’t stop with The Cooks of Country Markets, however; the social enterprise is also involved with the Making Local Food Work Project. This project is a Β£10million Big Lottery funded programme, which promotes community local food enterprise.

They want to highlight the importance of local food, and show people that it matters and connects us all to the land. The project also supports local farmers, as well as helping communities to learn new skills and build trading systems. The Making Local Food Work Project has helped and supported the markets to keep going, ensuring the sustainability of the co-operative social enterprise.

Additionally, the co-operative has worked with and been supported by other projects and partners, such as the National Farmers Retail and Markets Association (FARMA), the Alliance for Better Food and Farming (Sustain), and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Many of the Country Markets across the UK are thriving, filled with people from their local communities producing, selling and buying local, homemade, quality produce.

Achieving Affordable and Efficient Public Transport

Wheels 2 Work is a scheme designed to provide affordable transport for individuals who need it. The people that the scheme tends to target and benefit most are individuals who are unemployed or disadvantaged, and who are unable to easily access new jobs, work or training schemes that will further their careers.

The association aims to solve the many issues with available public transport across the UK, in terms of it often being unreliable, inadequate and only available during specific daytime hours. The enterprise claims that the scheme is therefore more successful in more rural areas (as opposed to built-up areas and cities), as that is often where public transport is most inadequate.

The only way to avoid relying on public transport is to own your own private transport, such as driving a car or riding a bike, which is an option that can be too expensive for unemployed or disadvantaged people. Therefore, Wheels 2 Work wants to help those people out, and offer an alternative to both public and private transport, through providing transport for easy rent at affordable prices.

The transport provided is usually either a moped or a scooter, but some schemes even offer bicycle transportation. This transport is only offered to people to provide a way of getting to work, a job scheme, or a training opportunity.

Although many of the schemes around the UK only offer this option to unemployed people, a few schemes have extended to include people who are currently employed, but have difficulty getting into work. Some schemes even offer the transport to people who are over 16 and want to access further education.

Limited access to or unavailable transport can be a major barrier for people trying to gain and maintain employment or training opportunities, and could lead to providing a negative effect, such as confidence issues. This could therefore lead to further detrimental effects, as more people will feel less able to apply for new jobs, work schemes, or training. This is one of the main reasons why the social enterprise understands that it is so important to run this programme.

Their Association is a company limited by guarantee, which acts as a national network for the schemes across the country: every scheme is therefore a member of the Association. It has been running since September 2012, when the Motorcycle Industry Association was awarded a limited grant from the Department for Transport to help facilitate the Wheels 2 Work schemes, and set up the Association as a network.

As the Association relies on the individual schemes across the country, this means that anyone can set up a scheme in their own local area. So, if you want to set up your own, the Wheels 2 Work Association will help you and can offer support and assistance to set it up and keep it running. They also offer a range of consultancy services, which means they are always prepared to help your individual scheme.

The Hidden Tool in Your Tool Box

If you ever get the chance, ask a firefighter to show you what he carries in his turnout pockets.

As this firefighter is pulling out the tools that she has carefully deemed the most necessary and beneficial ones that she wants at her side in the storm of an emergency, ask her to tell you about them, and why she has chosen these specific tools for her pockets. You will come away having learned a lot about firefighting and the firefighter too.

What Are Your Go-To Tools?

Some of the tools in my own pocket include a black ninja-like hood, to be worn under my helmet that provides protection against the intense radiating heat from a fire; a brass pocket spanner for charging the hose with water from the fire hydrant; a multi-tool spring-loaded center punch with a seatbelt cutter, for breaking out glass of a vehicle where a patient needs immediate extrication; a pocket knife and cable cutters for cutting entangling wires and cables that I may encounter as I crawl through the darkness of a building, where the structural elements that hold ceilings and walls together are falling apart or melting away; a hose strap for a quick rescue drag; and tubular webbing attached to a carabineer for a hasty escape if necessary.

I continually pay attention to the tools in my pocket, keeping the ones that serve me and changing them up if they don’t.

In our own lives, we each carry a set of metaphorical tools in our pockets. Many of our tools are ones born out of the necessity of our individual experience. Do we move through life with a positive outlook, fierce determination, appreciation, practicality, fear-based mentality? Maybe our go-to tools are ones we have used to survive not-so-ideal environments we grew up in. Defensive walls or victim consciousness or people pleasing may be what we use to help us get through our present situations.

Whatever our stories, and whatever tools we rely on as we move through our journey, it serves us to go through our toolboxes once in a while to see if our instruments of choice are truly serving us. When we abandon the tools that no longer work and try out new ones, we may be surprised at the shifts that may occur in our experience.

The Elusive Tool

Let me tell you about an elusive tool that I have found very helpful in my own life toolbox. She doesn’t look or feel like one of your traditionally manufactured devices. She does not push, shove, or pry. She’s called Allowing.

Huh?? To my inner firefighter this sounds like a pretty passive, even weak and laughable tool. “Move over Allowing, and let my axe and sledge hammer get this job done!” my inner firefighter bellows.

It was many years ago on a fire academy drill ground that I met Allowing and was able to practice her art, first hand. Like every new fire recruit in a fire academy, I found myself fully suited up in my heavy turnout gear, my SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) on my back, breathing twenty minutes worth of air through my mask, ready to practice going into small, dark, and undesirable spaces.

I was crawling on my belly through a hundred-foot long, pitch-black commercial pipe–feeling the hot sweat that I could not wipe through my mask, dripping down my face and into my eyes. I could feel the constriction of the pipe, as my helmet would bump up against the top of it. My arms were uncomfortably bent to the sides of me, pulling me inch by inch through the blackness with the rhythmic push of my steel-toed boots. There was only slow forward movement here, no room to turn back or even reach my arm behind me. I felt for my academy mates of football player stature.

At about the halfway point of this limiting space, I stopped for a second. I could feel the rising potential of a dark, confined, imprisoned freak-out coming on, even in my self-assured, non-claustrophobic nature. In that moment I knew I had three choices:

β€’ Freak out – not an option, not here, no way!

β€’ Push through – better than freak out, do-able, but I would lose a lot, if not all, of my limited air if I pushed and struggled, or

β€’ Allow it to be.

The Art of Allowing

In that second, I went with allow. I closed my eyes, which made no difference in terms of the blackness in front of me, and invited Allowing in. In my allowing of that moment to be exactly as it was, all was transformed.

The darkness, that seemed to suffocate me, became a safe and comforting cocoon. The confined walls of the pipe stretched into an expansive space that cradled me. As I even allowed myself to feel the fear, the fear dissolved into peace. I continued my journey through the pipe, out through the end, like a baby crawling through a playhouse. When we allow, we invite movement, we open space for change, and we invite transformation.

Where can you invite allowing into your daily experience? I have found that she can transform many a situation. When we allow ourselves to feel fear, for example, it might be uncomfortable at first, or even terrifying. However if we allow ourselves to feel it, we will move through those feelings eventually. Conversely, we may choose to push our fear away. This may work in the interim, until it comes up again.

Can we practice allowing in our every day encounters with strangers? Can we allow people to be who they want to be, with out our judgments pushing against the situation? Can we allow ourselves to feel our array of human emotions, without pushing them away? When we allow in these ways, we may find ourselves growing in leaps and bounds.

There is a beautiful element of trust that accompanies allowing, I have found. Do we trust that the people, situations, and circumstances that we encounter are there for a reason, or for a lesson for us, or even for our own good? When we practice the art of allowing, we open up space for change and transformation in our lives.

I admit that there will be times when we feel that other tools in our pockets work best in certain situations. The push-pull tools of determination and struggle are often at the top of our tool chest. Perhaps the next time you are pushing and struggling, you will pause and dig a little deeper in your cache, and look for the unassuming tool that patiently waits underneath. Give Allowing a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.