Sometimes I Sort for Same!

There’s a concept in the field of Neuro-linguistic Programming that says that some of us sort for same and others sort for different. 

All boiled down, it basically means that some people prefer things they way they’ve always been. Tradition. Routine.

And others prefer variety and novelty and things we’ve never done before.

At least that’s the way I learned it.

With all due respect to my learned teachers, I think there’s something they forgot to mention.

Most of us do both! Here are a couple of examples I know best.

When it comes to music, I sort for same. I’ve actually had the same CD in my car for about five years! And I have about three choices for painting alone times. All of which I’ve known for at least 20 years.

Bill, on the other hand, sorts for almost everything when it comes to music, as long as it’s loud.

Food is a whole different deal.

I sort for variety. Novelty. Local food. Ethnic food. Darn near everything except snake, octopus, or bugs. As long as it doesn’t come in a cardboard box with cartoon characters on the label.

The Legendary Husband sorts for same in food. Same restaurants. Same order. (The “Bill Special”!)

Recently, I’ve had a new experience with food. You see, right around Thanksgiving last year, one of my favorite restaurants was closed due to smoke and water damage from a nearby fire.

I’ve really missed them! Noodle Decatur. 

As you probably guessed, noodle dishes. Bowls. Soups. All really good. (If you leave out the tofu!)

And, even better, dumplings. Just a few, for appetizers. If we’re telling the truth, fried pork dumplings.

And, best of all, sushi. Really, really, really good sushi.

I’ve tried other sushi, of course, in the long months Noodle has been closed. Finally, I gave up. And took to checking at least once a week to see when “the permit problems” would be resolved and I could, once again, have the food I missed so much.

Same order. Every time. Which is extremely sort for same-ish for me!

You guessed it… they’re open again!

Lunch. Virtually unchanged menu. Some of the same staff. (And some new guys learning to fold napkins.)

New tables. A bit more pared down decor.

Dumplings, yes. And my favorite sushi roll.

And I am, kind of oddly for me, relieved.

Which is, I guess, variety of a sort!

I tell you this story today, in the middle of my happy dance, knowing that if you’ve been hanging around for a while, you may have heard some of this before. That’s okay, though. You see, I think there’s an important reminder in here.

First, to borrow a bit of language from Bill Harris, most of us have more than one strategy for handling things, like choices.

Last week, after my fall, my strategy for dealing with food was pretty much whatever hurt least to reach. Today, an excursion to the land of familiar and comforting. Often… as often as possible… exploring new things. (Italian, house-made pasta with fresh shaved truffles comes to mind!)

And food isn’t the only thing for which we have strategies. How to mow the lawn. Or pay the bills. If it’s working, great. (Until your bank changes its system!)

Have you had the same argument 27 times with the same person?

Or backed into your trash can once a month for 3 years?

It might be time for some new strategies.

The good news is that we don’t have to give up the old ones to add new ones. Sometimes we just need some more choices.

Just now, after about 17 coats of paint (!) I’m developing a new strategy for hair on one of  my paintings. It didn’t happen all at once, this new strategy. It happened by going back, again and again, and listening to the outcome from each attempt. By learning from experiences that didn’t quite work and not giving in to old voices whispering “failure”.

I’m headed back to the studio next. Some different. A bit more same. A lot more learning.

And, it’s entirely possible that when my friend comes for lunch tomorrow, we may be back at Noodle!

More Dots and a Pot of Broth

A guy called Bill Harris, whose name probably means nothing to most of you, passed a couple of weeks ago from this world, where cancer exists, to the next, where it doesn’t.

I spent a weekend, years ago, in a workshop he was leading. I didn’t know him well. I might, at least back in the day, have been ok with that.

All of that aside, Bill Harris changed my life. And, just maybe, the lives of some of you who’ve known me a while.

You see, Bill Harris is the guy who taught me about filters and maps of reality and the ways people change.

He taught me some other stuff, too, but this, for me, is where it all comes together.

Bill made this chart that basically explained human perception — at least as much as we understand about it — and its relationship to the results we get in our lives.

I used to give my clients copies of the chart, with none of the words written in, and walk them through it so they could fill it in for themselves.

It has a lot to do with neurophysiology and quantum physics.

Here’s the link to Bill’s latest book, Thresholds of the Mind. It’s way worth the reading. The chart is in there and he explains it better than I do!

This is the short version.

There are 2 or 3 billion bits of information coming at us at all times.

On a good day, our brain can handle a couple of hundred in any given moment.

The way we survive is to establish a complex set of (mostly) unconsious filters to block out all the stuff we can’t manage.

What gets through the filters is, largely, what matches the map of reality we all have.

Which is a lot like seeing only what we expect to see.

That, combined with the choices we make and the context in which we exist, determines our experience of the world. The results we get in our lives.

And everybody we know is doing the same thing, all the time, and most of us have no idea it’s even happening.

This weekend is a good example of how it all works.

Ten lives were lost in a school shooting in Texas on Friday. Countless more were impacted in ways we can’t begin to know.

There’s been a wedding going on across the wee pond. A wedding that is, in many ways, groundbreaking.

The American political primary season is in full swing and many of us are wondering not only which candidates to support but what the odds are that our votes will be counted accurately and fairly.

And which of those things are getting through to us have a whole lot to do with our filters and our map of reality.

There’s no judgement here. Just hope.

I didn’t get up at 5 am to watch the wedding. I know a lot about weddings. And I was up late the night before making prayer dots on paintings for the victims in Texas, and for a very sick baby and his grandmother whom I adore.

Today, more dots and an enormous pot of turkey broth that will feed lots of people I care about and quite a few I don’t even know.

All the while hoping that the big wedding across the wee pond will somehow bring more tolerance and peace to a world that could use a whole lot more of both.

And a reminder that when we get conscious of some of those filters, and the fact that our maps of reality are maps and not concrete reality (Whatever that is!), things can, indeed, get different.

Bill Harris drew the chart.

The work is up to us.



Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach