Monday, May 07, 2018

Channeling Leo

If I were to name the person who influenced my treatment of others most beside my grandmother, it would be Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998).

As hokey as it sounds he was known as Dr. Love and taught courses in love. I first heard of him when I was looking for a motivational tape to use for a staff meeting. I wanted to create a nurturing environment among the staff.

Later at an International Association of Business Communicators' major conference in Atlanta, he was one of the speakers. Prior to his speaking there was much posturing. After his speech, the tenor of the meeting changed, warmed, became helpful.

His speeches are on youtube. When I'm down, I listen even if I know the stories of how his father insisted they bring some knew knowledge to the dinner table, his mother's limits, how garlic was suppose to ward off colds. How he had his students go to an old age home or convincing someone to smile. I felt good.

I don't think of him constantly but last week we were in our bank. The line for the one customer service person was long and each person seemed to have a difficult problem. A man in his 20s kept barging in, complaining and she tried to juggle them all. Her face could have been in an advert for a product about stress.

We had several things to accomplish and were unhappy with how repeated efforts to correct them had failed. I suppose we could have, like that angry young man who berated her, but she hadn't created the problem.

I wanted to make her feel a bit better.

"Hard day and that line must be making you nervous," I said.

Her shoulders relaxed. "Oui."

I told her how at one job when we were often faced with unreasonable people we had a company voodoo doll and we would name and rename and twist its little arms. Since we weren't good at voodoo no one was really hurt, but we felt better.

She laughed "I need one of those."

She solved our problems (we hope). Her body seemed a little less tense as she called the next person in line after we wished her not the usual "bonne journée" but "courage."

It wasn't me so much me that wanted to reach out to the woman, but Leo had been channeled through me some 20 years after his death. That's love that lives on.

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